Before I jump into my topics for today... THANK YOU to Molly and her Mom whom I met at one of the random scenery lookouts in WY and refilled my water bottles even though I knew I'd had enough! Molly attends Yale and is doing an internship over the summer in pediatric nursing (I think) in Jackson WY. They were driving out from CT. Good luck Molly! I wish I grabbed a photo of them.
And, I met Barbara and I forgot the other two names (guy from NH with Barbara) and a guy from Poland. I have their names written down, but not with me here. Barbara is a former PE teacher! YAH! Retired and living in Boston now. She's biking across the US as well.
Today at a rest stop, I met two people who live in NE Portland (where I live) traveling around. Jill gave me a huge hug after we chatted for a bit. She just retired from Emanuel Hospital. At the same rest stop, I met a guy from NJ, but went to Cornell in Ithaca NY, probably 10 years before me. I went to Ithaca College. We talked about the Finger Lakes. He was super proud of what I was doing and I gave him one of my Road to Rhode cards with my website on it. When he went into the bathroom and I finished eating something (I'm always eating), his girlfriend walked over and asked me what I gave her boyfriend. I said one of these cards and gave her one. She handed it back and said, "I'm not thrilled you gave him your information." I was so shocked, I hardly knew what to say. But, I said, "I'm trying to raise $25,000 to eliminate childhood obesity. I gave him my website info about donations." She walked away mumbling, "I don't like that you gave my boyfriend a card." WHAT? Are you that insecure that you think your boyfriend in NEW JERSEY is going to really follow up and contact me? And, he wasn't hitting on me. It bothered me for about an hour while riding. Because I thought about people (especially women) who are so insecure and jealous that they are manipulative enough to make me, the innocent person feel guilty about nothing. What is up with that? Here I am... didn't shower today. Biked 20 miles in the heat. Wearing a helmet and sunglasses. I am covered in sunblock and probably have blobs of it not rubbed in on my face. Wearing biking gloves and bike shorts (so NOT attractive) and she's worried about me giving her boyfriend a card? Anyway, he walked out of the rest stop and yelled, "Good luck and safe travels!" And I waved, thinking... you have a big fight coming your way. What's with her jealousy? Super sad.
Ok- enough of that. Now onto the road topic. I've had to cycle (or not) through construction on roads on this trip. And, it doesn't bother me to stop and chat with the flagger and wait as the one-lane traffic comes through. It happened in MT and now in WY. In some cases, they have to place my bike and trailer (and me) in the lead truck and drive me across the construction (has happened 2X... only a couple miles each time). What is interesting, is that people in their cars get frustrated about having to wait. I hear them because I'm standing there and their windows are down. Or, they get out of their cars to let their children run around and I hear them complain. I understand people are impatient because they want more time in the Tetons or want to see more wildlife. However, chill OUT. Have these people been to other countries or at least seen photos of roads in other countries (ok, probably not)? Our road system is overall amazing. Road construction is an important part of our infrastructure. Not just so that 38 year old fortunate Jess Lawrence can take 3 months mid-career to bicycle across the country. But, roads are essential for our commerce. Our tourism. For people to have access to information, health-care, food. So- sit in your cars and know that your taxes are paying for a very important service. We are extremely fortunate here in the US with our road system. TRUST ME.
On another note, but somewhat related, Wyoming's roads are awful. I was happy to see 12 miles of construction on the shoulder outside of Rawlins WY, however it wasn't a fun time for me. No construction workers (Sunday), and the entire shoulder is ripped up and completely unrideable. And, it's kind of a highway. So- you have your rearview mirror (don't bike tour w/o one!) and you see car and trucks and semi's coming up behind you hoping they will veer into the other lane, OR, they have to slow down enough to wait until other cars coming the other direction pass. Again, an experience my mom and dad will be happy to hear after it happened. I was run off the road two times by cars that were coming up and seemed to be a little too close for my comfort. So, I went into that gravel-y looking stuff in the photo which is like quicksand. NOT FUN. Luckily I had a tailwind and got through the 12 miles in under an hour.
Glad WY is doing that work. However, the roads here, like I said are awful. Not in all cases, but on a lot of this route, the shoulders are tarred (from cracks) and on hot days, when the tar-lines run parallel to your wheels, you don't want your wheels getting caught in those tar-ruts. Today wasn't so bad since my ride wasn't heavily trafficked. However, the cracks across the entire road every 20 feet get annoying. Some are large enough that plants are growing in the shoulder cracks. So- keep working on those roads WY...
I stayed with Lucy and Kevin last night through Warm Showers. They were amazing hosts! Lucy and I went to her community garden plot and harvested our salad and then she brought me to the store so I could load up on some essentials- contact solution, bread, peanut butter...
Lucy made an amazing meal of a large green salad full, beet greens and beets sautéed, and a yummy quinoa with cooked onions, black beans and tomatoes. WOW! And, we had ice cream for desert... Lucy wouldn't even let me buy the ice cream! And, this morning, she made an amazing egg dish with some of the veggies and garlic and added brown rice. YUM! We had great conversations (they read my blog and knew so much about my trip- that made me feel good!) and I felt as if I've known them for years. We even chatted about people who have stayed with them who I've met along the way or have heard of. That was fun! Lucy and Kevin truly made me feel welcome and as I said to them on my way out, I felt like I had a layover there even though I didn't. Just because it was such a relaxing place to be! Thanks L & K!!
And, my ride today was great. 60 miles to Riverside. I stopped at Saratoga Hot Springs (free) and once I got to my campground, I jumped into the river (felt amazing), showered and happy to have internet in the laundry room here. Going to walk across the street and grab some dinner at the local restaurant and crash early in my tent! Oh- and I loved seeing this sign on the road today. YAH!