Monday 26th July 2004
City Park to Saratoga (Lake Saratoga Campground) - 68 miles. Had breakfast,
went shopping for breakfast and lunch - because there is nothing much before
50 miles are up today! Before breakfast Mark showed us his innovative aluminium
can stove. A alu can cut in half and shoved back together with various ingenious
holes for flames and fuel. It works apparently - no one has been blown to
pieces as yet but there's plenty of time. Headed off, across the 'North
Park' - a huge expanse of plains hemmed in by mountains in the distance.
Mountains were streaked with snow in the distance, but it was warm in the
valley. Eventually over into Wyoming, after a little climb to get out of
North Park. Fast undulating road, up and down but with no headwind. We met
Paul, a Canadian, with his two daughters, getting back into cycling by doing
Jasper, Canada to Florida. Nice people to meet in the middle of the emptiness
that seems to be Wyoming. The photo shows the nicely symmetrical group comprising
Paul Comparelli, his daughters and Guy, just into Wyoming. Admire that sagebrush
that's stretching as far as the eye can see. Eventually had lunch at the
side of the entrance to the Presbyterian Skyline Camp - wonderful views
for miles and miles. Mark and Wands caught us up just as we finished lunch.
Headed on to Riverside - refilled water bottles at the little park (left
off the main road in amidst the trees) at Riverside. Lovely to have cool
water. Guy's tooth was hurting slightly - we may have to explore dental
treatment in the US (expensive?!!!). Then a headwind developed as a huge
storm passed us to the East - slow cycling over more undulating roads (big
switchbacks - you can see about 2 - 3 miles of road ahead at a time) to
Saratoga. Followed signs to Hot Springs. Swimming pool closes, on Monday,
at 6pm, so we were just to late for that, but we sat in the open-all-hours
hot springs. Delicious and very hot, with showers and toilet at the springs.
Free too! Felt like a boiled lobster. Tried to find a campsite, failed initially.
Getting dark - so we headed out to the lake - difficult in the dark believe
me, along a bumpy road to the North of town. Pitched tent in the dark and
went almost immediately into a deep sleep. Now, in the morning, the place
looks a lot nicer than in a stormy evening - the thunder is mostly an afternoon
phenomenon. We've just done our washing in the launderette and are about
to head out to Rawlins.
Our philosophical question today was 'Are Americans just Brits with more
space?' - well, we were inclined to think that largely they were - that
the stressed nature of Brits compared with Americans (rural ones anyway)
is due to being compressed into a small space. The same economy of debt,
keeping up with the next door neighbours, second homes, house price inflation,
bigger and bigger cars, is evident. Steve comments that Americans don't
do sailing much in the states we've seen - just powerboating. This is,
I reckon, the unconscious of the American soul (some American souls anyway!)
- power, not oneness with nature. Where are the windsurfers, catamarans,
There's a short video [mpeg]
clip (or try the ogg format) for today's ride - a 360 degree view of North Park, with Guy
stationary in the huge landscape. It works in both RealPlayer and Quicktime,
but Quicktime defaults to a too low volume, and you'll very probably just
hear squeaks unless you turn the volume up!