Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 26 - Friday, July 13, 2001
I got up early enough to have the all you can eat breakfast buffet at the famous Irma Hotel (Buffalo Bill's Hotel named after his daughter) right when it opened at 6 AM. When I got back to the campground to finish packing, I was talking to a Scottish couple - although they were doing a driving vacation in the US, they do most of their European vacations by bike. The conversation lasted longer than I had hoped (I had wanted to get an early start to beat the heat) - all the Europeans I know don't get moving fast early in the morning!
It wasn't too long before I left Cody and entered the vast nothingness. The map showed that there was nothing for the next 33 miles. When you look at a Wyoming map and it shows nothing, it really means nothing! It's not like looking at a California map, where my town of Orange (population 120,000) isn't shown, because it is dwarfed by neighboring Santa Ana and Anaheim, each with 300,000 people.
The dot on the map 33 miles from Cody is Emblem. Emblem has a population of 10 (yes, ten!), so I didn't expect to find any services. I was surprised to see a Post Office (a converted trailer, like the ones on a jobsite) with a soda machine in front of it. So I stopped to get a cold drink and eat a snack. Soon thereafter, the postmaster/clerk/mail carrier came out to water the garden and saw me and invited me inside to cool off. We talked for a bit while she worked. She liked her job situation - her boss is in Denver, so "no one's going postal here", she said. I asked her why a town with a population of 10 would have a post office - it's there to serve the area rural communities, who would otherwise have to make the 20 mile drive to Greybull to get mail.
After lunch in Greybull I found out that the rear tire was a lot softer than before lunch - first flat tire of the trip. Not bad after about 1300 miles, though - looks like I'm on target for 3 or 4 flats for the trip.
The last 13 miles into Shell were a bit tough, with the afternoon heat, rolling hills mostly going up, and a headwind. Shell is bigger than Emblem, with a population of 50, but it has a campground, post office, and there's a cafe/store a mile down the road. There's supposed to be some interesting geological stuff in the area - there's a couple of van loads of college students from Virginia who have a base camp set up here for a while.
Tomorrow is the climb over the Big Horn Mountains - this should be the last major pass, unless there are some surprises waiting for me in the Black Hills!