Johnny Behind the Rocks
A Shoulder to Cry On

Open Season

October 15th, 2015

All Hwy#28, all day. A big climb up to the top of Beaver Rim then downhill to lunch at the Sweetwater Station Junction Rest Area, or rolling hills for dinner at the bar/cafe in Jeffrey City; that’s it!

What happened…

Andrew writes: The sound of a truck pulling in to the parking lot nearby woke me up this morning. Then I lay there listening to a couple of guys rummaging around, starting up their ATV’s and talking for 20 minutes. It was oh-dark-thirty. Why keep them idling?!? Grrr. They left. I got up and started coffee. The day had begun.

It turns out that today is the opening of deer hunting season, hence why the guys with the ATVs had wanted to get such an early start. All day today, as we rode d own the highway, we saw people hunting from the front seat of their trucks. They would be pulled over to the side, binoculars glued to their faces, searching for some meat to put in the freezer. We talked to a couple of hunters near the top of Beaver Rim who had already bagged a buck (male deer) earlier in the morning. One opened up the cooler to show us how much meat he had harvested from his kill. Anything on the other side of the fences that line either side of the road is fair game. Mule deer or white-tail, it’s all the same to these men. They have five days to kill their allotted one deer. For some inexplicable reason all day today, we saw so many deer! It’s almost as though they know it is time for them to be hunted, so they have all come out to play.

The Beaver Rim climb was a nice one, with probably a 5% grade, but the wind was at our back. Then we enjoyed a nice downhill to Sweetwater Station Junction, which used to be a popular rest area for all four of the Oregon Trails. There is more than one 2000-mile long Oregon trail apparently. The Mormon Trail goes to Utah, the Gold Rush trail to California, the Pony Express would deliver mail from Sacramento to St. Louis in 10 days. Yet they would all converge near Split Rock to the east, and over 6 days make their way west towards South Pass, before splitting off again in different directions.

Much of the history of the land we have been riding through for the last few days has talked about the Oregon Trail. With good reason, more than 500,000 pioneers used the trail to seek their fortunes in the west during the first half of the nineteenth century. It wasn’t until the transcontinental railroad came through in 1870 that people started taking the train instead of risking their lives on the open road. So it is kind of neat that we are following this trail, pioneers after a fashion ourselves. We seek our own fortunes, somewhere down the road, for us south, towards South America. At the same time, we are already rich. Rich with love for one another, rich to have so much tie to explore the world, rich with health to be able to enjoy cycling everywhere.

Amanda writes:
Today was a weird day. I felt like we were in a good groove and then Andrew took off ahead toward the end of the day. We had been battling in recent days about drafting and head wind (a battle we’ve had before) and I was particularly annoyed we he took off way ahead of me. Instead of doing the smart thing and stopping at a little town we came upon I pinned it past him after he finally stopped. I was so angry I just wanted to prove to him … hell I don’t know what I was trying to prove. I was just mad as hell. I pedalled my ass off for an extra hour after we could have stopped at a nice little town with a pub and wifi.

As it turns out riding on was okay because then we were that much further along and the rest stop we found was wonderful. Secluded, shelter from the wind and very clean. My body wasn’t very happy. I don’t normally push as hard as I did today because I know that I’ll pay for it the next day. Hopefully I’m wrong and my body can handle more now that we’ve been traveling for over a year. The next couple of days will tell me.

Today’s Photographs

Johnny Behind the Rocks
A Shoulder to Cry On