Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 11- Rawlins to Slater 72.5 miles

I awoke late after the two long previous days that had taken something out of me. I was hoping a late start would give me enough time to rest so that I could get to Steamboat Lake (100 miles) by nightfall. I got a hot breakfast then had to ride around for 15 minutes trying to find a payphone. I got some food at a servo, called in, then called the Dutch Creek Guest Ranch to see if I could get a bed and dinner. It was going to be expensive, but they were willing to leave food in the cabin for me as I estimated my arrival after their kitchen closed (9 pm!). I said I would call if I needed the room later in the day from Slater.

Riding along the pavement on the 401, I felt similar to the day after Butte- not exhausted, but very tired, causing several additional stops to get extra fuel on and for a mental break. A clear blue sky gave me good views of the surrounding rock formations, but the desolate landscape was a little depressing. 

But, when I hit gravel and the Climb up to Middlewood Hill I folded- I felt sick in the stomach and almost instanteously exhausted. The short climb ahead of me looked like a vertical wall. I stopped and stood there next to my bike. (Retro- I think I may have had food poisoning. I was 3-4 hours from breakfast and the stomach pain was similar. I did think this, and dropped any ant-acid meds I could find). After 15 minutes of just standing there I felt a bit better and got back on (the notion that I would have to get back on eventually, never left me, and so I think I just needed a break). I am not a fan of rollers, especially when they are on a long uphill, and I lost my map on a rough descent, but I was feeling better (I had noticed the pattern that after 3-5 hours in the morning of feeling slow and a little depressed, I would begin to feel much better. I could pump myself up very easily most days from lunchtime until dinner just by thinking about various things, most of them not race related- just fantasies. This became my favourite riding time, and whilst the sunsets helped, there was always the worry of not making a town in time for dinner).

Writing this three months after the event, I can remember almost every section. On the trail I remember thinking that re-riding this a second time would yield a massive advantage, and that I probably could ride the whole thing in reverse or straight again relying only on memory. However, I cant remember riding the 25 miles from Middlewood Hill to the ranger station on State Hwy 70.

I had run out of water by the time I had reached the ranger station, and, of course, there was no taps/streams or rangers. I spent 30-40mins eating and trying to get into one of the cabins without breaking in, but to no avail. I started down the highway, realizing I probably shouldn’t have stopped for so long (but sometimes I don’t want to think- I continue wasting my time rather than making the decision I know I should make).

There was still plenty of daylight when I reached Slater, but I continued the 5 miles off route to Savery. I knew the grocery store was closed, but I was hoping to get some food and water (as I had run out of both) and then continue up and over the Watershed divide 30 miles by nightfall. My plan failed when the grocery store that I knew had closed also turned out to be the restaurant and motel as well. I found one person in the deserted town, at the Little Snake River Museum and she let me in to get change for the coke machine. I had been surprised at how generous and helpful all the people along the trail had been, and so this woman was even more suprising when after listening to my predicament, all she could say was sorry on behalf of the town and suggest suggest Dixon 8 miles away as a possible source of food. Should I feel disappointed with her? Probably not, I would get less help from most people in Sydney, even though I would be quite generous with a person in need. She didn’t offer me a lift anywhere, even though she drove straight past me on the way to Dixon after I tried to call in on a barely working phone. By this stage I was starving, my days plan completely rearranged, and very pissed off. I would going to need assistance just to get something to eat. I got into the only open bar in Dixon, but the bartender said there was no food. I was told of Baggs 10 miles further to the west, and after 15 minutes standing beside the road, I managed to get a lift. Thank God for big American utes that could take my bike! The restaurant/bar was smoky and quite full. I made the mistake of trying the chicken fried steak, cooked by the most amazing charactiture of a woman- her thin body not hidden by a grubby white singlet and even filthier apron. Chain smoking out the side of her droopy face, she hocked up massive loogies in between cooking meals. I didn’t even touch the “salad bar”, but my thirst was quenched by several beers. Afterwards, I made my way out onto the mosquito infested road but no one that went past was going anywhere near Slater. After half an hour, I went back into the bar and asked the barwoman if she knew of anyone traveling back that way. She introduced me to a guy that lived in Slater- Gary Montgomery, he was willing to give me a lift, but asked if I minded waiting a while. I said “No problem”, not wanting to put the guy out, and then spent the next three hours talking to everyone in the bar and having drinks bought for me. There were some nice guys, truck drivers and guys working in the mining/gas business in the area, latino and American cowboys, farmers etc. When it was time to leave, I managed to get my bike in the truck and we were underway. After a mile or two I realized my new friend was a little tipsy, but I was in no position to drive anyway. He swerved around a bit, responding to the animals on the side of the road, but I wasn’t in the mood to go riding again. He dropped me off at his trailer park and gave me his trailer for the night whilst he went to his girlfriends place. I got a shower, a warm bed, and a microwave the next morning to heat up the breakfast that I had got “charactiture” woman to cook at the restaurant for me.

2007-06-25 15:17:05 GMT

Yeah, it's Alex Field--Monday morning. I'm in Rawlins, I got here last night after having to ride through that wonderful Great Basin of high temperatures, 20-knot headwinds, no water. Fun stuff like that. Oh, that's another thing; there is... you may want to let people know, contrary to what the maps say, there is no water between I think it's Sweetwater River and A & M Reservoir. There's absolutely nothing, even though the maps say there should be. But um, yeah, knees are a bit sore after riding a lot of pavement yesterday, and uh, saddle sores are sort of OK, but yeah. I'm just uh, taking it easy for the next couple of days and just ride. OK, check you guys later.

Audio: GDR Episode 11 6.41-7.46

2007-06-26 01:41:26 GMT

It's uh, Alex Field, it's Monday night. I'm in uh, Savory. And there's nothing here. No restaurant. (unintelligable) ... no grocery store. I'm sort of, uh f****d right now pretty much. Because I can't get over the mountains to anywhere. Um, yeah, I got no... can't get any further, so I guess I'll try to get a lift somewhere. Alright, bye.

Audio: GDR Episode 11: 13.17-13.49

No comments: