Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 28 - Sunday, July 15, 2001
I'm glad I camped at the top of the mountain last night instead of trying to find a place at the bottom. There was indeed 4 miles of flatish downhill from Burgess Junction, but then a 6 mile climb to another summit - not a difficult climb, but a surprise you wouldn't want to have at the end of the day.
Those first 10 miles had thick pine forests - I almost thought I was back in Yellowstone again.
Then came the screaming downhill, with lots of switchbacks, forcing me to brake before the turns. What a waste of potential energy! An RV driver - afflicted with the "it's a bike, it must be going less than 10 mph" syndrome - passed me on a blind curve. Since I was going the posted speed limit of 30 mph, it took him longer to pass me than he probably expected. Not a danger to me, but he could have had a head-on if someone was coming the other way. Soon I had caught up to him, and he was slowing *me* down! I was rather surprised to see he had Wyoming license plates, I had expected him to be a flatlander (although it could have been a rental).
There were some nice views of the valley below while going down the switchbacks on the east side of the mountain, but sometimes it's hard to get yourself to stop to take a photo!
At the bottom of the hill is the town of Dayton. Talking with one of the locals, this is ranching country, and the town has a lot of retirees. The high school went to a four day week since most of the students were missing Fridays due to the long travel time to get to other similar sized schools for sporting events.
After Ranchester, Highway 345 parallels I-90 for about five miles until it gets to a hill. Then only I-90 goes over the hill, so I took that for the remaining six miles into Sheridan (this is legal and safe, see Day 13). The entrance to the interstate was like a "T" (sort of like the ramps on Route 1 in Massachusetts between Saugus and Revere), instead of the usual ramp type of setup.
The state of Wyoming was planning on installing rumble strips statewide this summer. This is not the forum for me to gripe, but suffice it to say that some designs and installations can be bicycle unfriendly. But I'm halfway across Wyoming, and I have yet to see one - not even on the Interstate. Now I've jinxed myself and I'll probably see them for the rest of the state. [I did not see rumble strips on any of the roads I rode in Wyoming.]
I decided to call it a short day in Sheridan, since I had things to do - including unloading some ballast (i.e., cold weather clothing) and shipping it back home. The library, Mail Boxes Etc., and both bike shops were all closed because it was Sunday! But I was able to get a box from Big Kmart - I've got it packed and ready to go.
I'm a day late for the annual rodeo here in town. Oh well.
Tomorrow's ride will be toward Gillette, but on the old highway, not the interstate. Since I'm carrying gear, and I have things to do in the morning, it is unlikely I'll be able to make the 100 miles in one day. [More like 120 miles.] There will be little in the way of services - it should be interesting to figure out where I'm staying the night...