Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 29 - Monday, July 16, 2001
Coordinating the morning errands around the opening times of the stores worked well. The cold weather gear box I shipped home weighed just under 7 pounds! The only mistake I made was that both the bike shop and library opened at 9 AM - I should have chosen to go to the library first in order to get an earlier "reservation" for using the internet. (The map dots on the website are updated up to today.)
The pleasant surprise of the morning was that there was indeed a AAA office in town, so I was able to score free maps and a campbook for SD/NE/IA. I had assumed yesterday there wasn't an office nearby, since the phone book only gave a 800 number.
By the time I left Sheridan, I had already racked up 10 miles for the day, even though it was only 3 miles from the campground on the north side of town all the way to the southern edge of town. It all counts to me, since it was all carrying full gear!
The ride east out of Sheridan immediately hit rolling hills. It was 29 miles of no services through ranching and farmland to the town of Ucross. When I arrived in Ucross, there was nothing there. So make that 39 miles of no services until Clearmont. The terrain between Ucross and Clearmont had flattened out a bit, as the road roughly follows a creek and the railroad tracks at that point.
Looking at my Wyoming highway map, Clearmont is the only town between Sheridan and Gillette where the population was given (130, I think). As such, I expected it to be the biggest town on the route - and it was, with a post office, cafe, general store, and campground. The town looked like it used to be busier when this was the main highway between Sheridan and Gillette, and when more trains ran. Now this and the other towns are bypassed by Interstate 90.
It was too early to stop for the day, so I continued on. I had been seeing signs for the "RBL Bison Ranch", with camping, cabins, restaurant, etc. The sign said it was five miles from Clearmont. When I got five miles out of town, there was another sign saying to go one mile down a dirt road. I wasn't feeling that adventurous, so I continued on to see what awaited me in Leiter.
Leiter is a one building town. The building had two signs - an old one saying "Joe's Cafe/Motel/Gas", and a new one saying "Leiterville Country Club". So I walked in to see what was going on. They had a small generic menu with burgers and sandwiches, but the dinner special was lasagna, so I had that.
Martha (the mother) and Jill (the daughter) asked where I was staying overnight. I'm sure they would have let me put up a tent, but showers and restrooms might have been an issue, so I decided to get a cabin instead. "Just remember, it's not the Hilton", Martha said.
Martha was telling the story about a couple that stayed over while bicycling across the state. The husband was a teacher at a culinary school. When it came time for breakfast, Martha said "you're the chef, you make breakfast". So he did. Lucky for me, I can't cook! OK, they may be a little blunt, but they were nice hosts.
It's amazing what $35 (including tax) will get you. I had my own cabin, complete with the best you could get in the 1970s - wood paneling throughout, a living room area with a sofa, a bedroom area, full sized green refrigerator, green stove/oven, microwave (OK, maybe that's post-1970), queen bed, dual sinks, a shower, and a TV that got one station from Rapid City, SD.
Once again, I find myself a day behind in writing these updates. Sometimes they're hard to do, since there's days where all you want to do is eat dinner and then sleep. But I like to do these on the road, since I'll never get around to doing them when I get back, and having a "fan club" helps provide some motivation!