Wrecked in Rawlins
Rock River

October 19th, 2015

Just take the Interstate (I80). Don’t do what we did, or what Google Maps suggests.

What happened…

Andrew writes: I don’t even know where to start. It’s 1000hrs on the morning after a day that started poorly and ended wickedly. Amanda is sitting across the kitchen table from me; hungover she claims. I think she brought it on herself, since it was her idea to go to the bar to watch the Monday Night Football game.

Rewinding 24 hours and we find ourselves in our hotel room in Rawlins – it’s raining outside. We decide to wait it out, and don’t end up leaving the hotel until almost noon. No worries. We spent the time mapping out a route on Google Maps. Actually riding the route would prove to be a tall challenge.

Leaving Rawlins were took a secondary highway 8 miles to Sinclair, Wyoming. Then the secondary highway turned into a “County Road”; at least it was labelled as such by Google. In reality it turned out to be a set of tire tracks on private property. We decided to give it a whirl, since the alternative was to backtrack and find a way on to the busy interstate. After two hours of walking and riding through a pasture, the mud underfoot baked hard by the sun, but containing countless potholes from cow hooves, we found ourselves at Fort Steele.

The sign outside of Fort Steele, a historic site, said that it was open to the public from April to November. The gate beside the sign was locked with about 10 padlocks. Rather than admitting defeat and returning to Sinclair, I got out my trusty Leatherman multi-tool and made a hole in the fence that we could squeeze under. Sure enough, we had to do the same when we got to the other end of Fort Steele. Oh well.

There is a giant rest stop in Fort Steele also, and we rode past it in search of the “Old Lincoln Highway”, which is supposed to run parallel to the interstate. After much searching, we decided that it didn’t exist, and gave up. The end result was cycling on the super-busy I80, which I guess wasn’t too bad. We arrived at the exit for Hwy#30 at 1700hrs, and a clerk at the Shell gas station offered us the phone number for a place to stay in Hanna. We took it, and set off, hoping to cover the 19 miles before kickoff at 1830hrs. It was a tall order…literally.

The ride to Hanna ended up being uphill for the first 15 miles and downhill for the remaining 5. We still arrived right near the start of the game and pulled into Dingy Dan’s bar, where it turns out, they don’t get the channel that football is on. Fortunately, this small town of 700 people has 3 watering holes. We rode down the street to Skinny’s Beer Garden, and made ourselves at home.

Skinny and his girlfriend Katrina went all-out to ensure that we had a good time. Katrina made us some free pulled-pork sandwiches, and Skinny invited us home to spend the night in their guest room. Since there were only 2 other people in the bar I figured it would close as soon as the game was over – little did I know.

The football game ended, and then the fun began. Skinny kept us plied with free beer and shooters, and I think around 0100hrs, the karaoke machine got turned on. The six of us in the bar had a great time, and we finally called it a night at 0300hrs before heading to Skinny’s house for roast pork and potatoes as a bit of a nightcap. I think we finally fell asleep at 0400hrs.

I can’t remember the last time Amanda and I have had such a fun night, but I do remember that I wish our friends Megan and Paul, Craig and Lindsay, and the BJ’s were there. It would have made the evening that much sweeter. Thanks Skinny and Katrina for throwing us such a fantastic party. We are honoured to have been the first Canadians you have ever met, and we hope we did our country proud.


Amanda writes:
The lousy route provided by Google was a piss off today but not so much that it ruined it. After traveling for more than a year I’ve learned that things usually don’t go as planned. Arriving at Skinny’s bar near the start of the game was a treat as were Lenny and Katrina. We had such a great time with them and it was so nice of them to welcome us into their home. The more time we spend in the USA the more great people we meet.


Today’s Photographs


Wrecked in Rawlins
Rock River