July 14 – 19, 2019
Thermopolis to Basin
Cyclists gathered at the old National Guard Armory that’s just northeast of the entrance to the state park. The armory has since been converted to a recreation facility that houses a gym and has baseball diamonds outside. I parked in a fenced parking lot nearby and camped on the baseball diamond.
The following morning was the ride to Basin. The weather started warm and turned hot by day’s end. I never realized it until this ride, but Thermopolis sits in a bit of a hole. There was a fairly steep climb out of town. Once past that the ride was rolling hills with a general decline. Although a pretty easy day, I felt a touch dehydrated upon reaching Basin. I vowed to keep a closer eye on my water intake over the rest of the ride. I was able to drink a lot in Basin and recovered well.
I camped that evening on the Basin High School football field. In the evening we had a presentation from the Wyoming Outdoor Council and Hot City Outdoor Alliance about outdoor recreation and public land issues. A major concern that they talked a lot about is the amount of public land in Wyoming that is land locked. That’s the term they use to describe public land that’s surrounded by private land that makes it inaccessible without trespassing.
Basin to Cowley
The first half of the ride to Cowley was mostly climbing. My trike, when equipped with saddle bags, is about 25 pounds heavier than most road bikes. That, and the friction from the extra wheel, make it poor for climbing. As a result, this was a more strenuous ride for me than the ride into Basin.
A large portion of the road into Cowley was not good for cycling. The rumble strips were often only about 6 – 8 inches from the edge of the asphalt. This is a pretty narrow strip of pathway to ask fatigued cyclists to follow. There was at least one accident along the route that was caused by a biker drifting off the asphalt. My trike couldn’t ride this path because it was too wide. This forced me to ride to the left of the rumble strips making for concerns about traffic approaching from the rear.
I did a much better job of hydrating during this ride and felt tired, but really good when we reached Cowley.
That evening I camped on the Cowley High School football field. Jalon Crossland performed in the evening. He’s a country singer from Ten Sleep.
Cowley to Red Lodge, MT
This early part of this ride was very nice. The roads were good and the weather had cooled off. Unfortunately, the trike is very difficult to climb with. I had to drop out at Bear Creek, which is approximately mile 60. Portions of the road beyond that climb at 8% and 12% grades. I just didn’t have the legs to pull that off. I would estimate that about 1/3 of the riders dropped off about where I did.
At Red Lodge we camped at the fairgrounds and were on our own for lunch and dinner. For lunch, I walked into town and had a pork chop. Red Lodge is a beautiful town, but classically touristy.
On the hike back up to the fairgrounds after lunch, a thunderstorm blew in. I thought sure I was going to get completely soaked by the time I got back. It turns out there was a shelter at the top of the hill on the trail. I ducked in there just as the sky opened up with a torrential down pour and hail storm.
Later that evening one of the guys discovered that the concessions stand at the fairgrounds was open for another event. We walked over there and had dinner and talked for about an hour or so. It turns out he lived on Kingsbury in Casper and went to Manor Heights in sixth grade, albeit quite a few years behind me.
Red Lodge, MT to Powell
This was a fantastic ride. The weather was cool. The roads had a very comfortable distance between the rumble strips and the edge of the asphalt. A slight tail wind blew most of the way, and the early part of the ride had an awesome down hill run. I coasted for 12 miles without pedaling. I’ve never come anywhere near that before.
We spent the night on the football field at the Powell High School. Powell has a very impressive high school.
In the evening, Screen Door Porch performed. They refer to their music as electrified porch music. I’ve never heard this phrase before. It’s string music with guitars and banjos.
Powell to Meeteetse
The ride from Powell to Meeteetse was a pretty good ride. It rode along a four lane road for a fair distance. However, the traffic was really good about moving into the left lane to pass. As a result, there really wasn’t much concern with the traffic. The side of the road was wide, but had lots of grit. Early in the day the weather was cool will little wind. However, the wind kicked up later.
For lunch, I went down town to the Elk Horn and later walked over to the Meeteetse museum. I was really impressed by the museum. I had expected a little one room place. It’s actually a large place with some terrific displays. If you’re ever in town, I would encourage you to stop there.
We camped on the football field in Meeteetse that night. I looked through all the plaques and trophies in the gym and didn’t see any of my cousin’s names for holding records or winning championships.
Meeteetse to Thermopolis
The last day surrendered much of the altitude that had been gained during the other days. It was a cool, calm day, with excellent roads. This made for a very fast run into Thermop.