Thursday, 21 July 2011

Day 49: High winds on the high plains

Day 49
Rawlings to Jeffrey City 68miles

So it's now 7 weeks on the road. A good deal over half way in terms of time, and also even more so in terms of distance. It feels like so long ago now that I was struggling up the steep slopes of Virginia!

For today, I wanted to have a bit of an easier day after yesterday's exertions. I also tried to get out reasonably early to try and avoid the worst of the wind.

Set out at about 8am in the end, and initially the riding was really good. There was a definite change in the scenery today. Quite desolate, like eastern Colorado, but with many more hills and mountains lining the route. It was also a very empty place. Even when heading through the long stretches of Kansas where there were no services, there were at least farm houses and other signs of life. Here there was absolutely nothing outside of the small towns I passed through. And even those barely had anyone in!

But there were certainly some nice views!

Its pretty isolated out here!

Within the first 35miles or so, I crossed the continental divide twice and then headed downhill to Muddy Gap. This was a possible destination if the wind was too horrible, but thankfully it was still behaving itself at this time.

However, once I got to about 50miles in, the wind got up and was even worse than yesterday. And just like yesterday, the last part of my ride was pretty much directly into the full force of it. There was one point on the route where, due to road works, traffic was only allowed in one direction at a time. I had to wait for a while till it was our turn to go, and took this photo to give some idea of how strong it was blowing. Not sure it really conveys it though!
Sadly I was headed the other way!

Those last 18miles or so were horrible. Mainly uphill, with the wind slowing me to a crawl. Each mile seemed to take forever, and the closer I slowly got to Jeffrey City, the slower I seemed to get. It was like I was always an hours riding away. When I was 10miles away, I could manage 10mph and when I got to 8miles away I had slowed to 8mph!

Eventually limped into town and headed straight for the Split Rock cafe. I had read this place was very friendly to cyclists. Which is good as there wasnt much else in town. Jeffrey City used to be a town of 5,000 people when there was a uranium mine. Now the mine is gone, and only about 50 people live here.

Kelly, the owner of the cafe, also lets cyclists camp outside her house. So after having a bit of rest I pitched my tent. And pretty much got eaten alive by mosquitoes! I seem to have so many bites at the moment.

With not much else to do, I went back to the cafe to hang out and grab some food. They also have wifi, so I can update my blog and send a few emails. Sadly tonight there is a memorial service for someone who lived locally, so the atmosphere is a bit sombre. I'm keeping out the way in the cafe part of the building.

Tomorrow I'm planning on setting off super early to try and avoid the worst of the wind. It was another tough old day in the wind today. It really does just sap your will to live very quickly! Hopefully in a few days I'll be out of the basin and then maybe the winds will stop!

1 comment:

  1. Does wind like a lie in? Great blog so far.