After a wonderful night's rest in Lander and a fairly easier bike ride, I got to Jeffrey City by 2:30pm yesterday after a nice short 56 mile day. So, Jeffrey 'City' has about 30 inhabitants and it's basically a ghost town. It's filled with abandoned homes and buildings and deer in the streets. There are even eery abandoned barracks from uranium mining days. I started to worry about where I'd stay. I thought there was camping there, but alas, I couldn't find anything. Then I saw the Split Rock Bar. I saw two other bicycles, fully loaded. I breathed a sigh of relief. I walked in and there was one guy at the bar, one behind the bar and two cyclists. I introduced myself to them after walking through the squeaky screen door (when everyone looks at you). Tina and Todd will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this summer on this trip and Tina, her 50th birthday, in Dayville Oregon! They are cycling from St Louis to the Oregon coast. They were both laid off from their jobs and seem to be embracing the opportunity versus stressing about it. Good for them! They live in the Charlotte NC area. Tina and Todd have also completed the Oregon coast ride to San Francisco, so we compared stories.
We decided we were in this together and we'd find a place to stay, which seemed like an adventure. But, at least I wasn't alone. We started drinking Bud Light (not my typically drink of choice... but Bud Light just seem to fit the ambience and experience. After two beers, I was pretty buzzed (low tolerance), we walked across the street to see Byron, who was recommended by the guys in the bar to talk with regarding a place to stay. Byron is a very talented pottery maker (44 years old), but currently drinking more than he's throwing clay. We walked into his home/studio/shop and he was sitting on a chair staring into space drinking an enormous glass bottle of whiskey from the bottle. Byron, a very generous person, offers his trailer (named the Octopus' Garden by the artists who painted it originally in Cabo San Lucas) in front of his home/studio/shop to cyclists coming through. There's a couch (where I slept) and a bed (for Tina and Todd). It was, well, kind of safe. His yard was covered in broken bottles and random other garbage. Or treasures, depending on what you may need. Broken cell phones, gardening tools, toothbrushes, knives, spoons. You know, a very kid-friendly place. No running water even.
We ate dinner back across the street at the bar and Byron tried to persuade us to participate in many different common local Jeffrey City activities... such as:
- Going into the abandoned barracks and playing hide and go seek
- Throwing clay on the wheel and making some pottery
- Having a bon fire
- Smoking pot
Being the responsible cyclists we are, we declined his offers for such fun and crashed out in the trailer by 8:30pm. We all slept... well, kinda. No shower, hot and sticky and some mosquitoes. We all woke up with the sun at 5pm ready to get out of this incredibly surreal place. We packed up, said our goodbye's to each other and went our separate ways (Tina and Todd west and myself east).
I biked to the Annalope Cafe, in Muddy Gap and had a nice big breakfast. The owner, Tebra (yes, with a 'T') is closing her cafe this week on July Fourth. Issues with the owner of the building and land. It'll be a long stretch for cyclists without food along this route without this cafe being open. After hearing about my trip and trying to raise $25,000 to address childhood obesity, Tebra donated my meal to me (how awesome is that??), but I did leave her a good tip.
I saw a real cowboy and a cowgirl herding cattle on my ride...
And, I met Patty, a teacher from Portland OR and her dog Digit.
And, I crossed the Continental Divide for my 7th & 8th times! I'm currently in Rawlins WY at Kevin and Lucy's home- warmshowers.org folks. More to come on their amazing hospitality. I'll probably be offline for a few days through WY/Northern CO. Just a heads up.