Cycling from the New Mexico Bootheel to Canada, Day Thirty-Five: Walden, Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming

July 5th, 2016: 66 miles. Total so far: 1,241 miles.

It rained in the night, and it was nice and cool as we rode out. Walden looked more attractive in the soft morning sun than it had yesterday afternoon, and the Moose Creek Cafe was open this morning. I wanted to eat breakfast there, but I also wanted to get to the Wyoming state line, and off of the narrow, shoulder-less Colorado state highway, as soon as possible.

As expected, it was busier than I prefer on CO-125. Also, after 1000+ miles of mostly riding on lightly-traveled dirt and gravel roads, we were still getting used to riding with traffic again.

The scenery was nice the entire morning, but I was mostly interested in getting to the state line as soon as possible. I felt like we’d been in Colorado a long, long time — even though we’d done more miles (700) in New Mexico. I rode ahead of Joy, and upon reaching Wyoming I got out the camp stools, which I don’t think we’d used at all in Colorado. When Joy caught up with me we sat there and celebrated reaching a new state by eating Nutella sandwiches. A heavy jar of Nutella is, of course, an essential item on a long bicycle tour.

I was happy with the nice wide shoulder that appeared as soon as we crossed into Wyoming, although it was still a busy road, with lots of traffic traveling to and from Laramie. Not far from the state line at the small settlement of “Wycolo”, I pulled into the Wycolo Lodge, attracted by a sign near the road that announced “We now have ice cream!” When I walked up to the front door, though, I learned that the place was closed on Tuesdays, and of course this was Tuesday.

After an hour or so of climbing we did a super-steep and kind of scary descent to the little crossroads of Woods Landing. Three years ago I rode this section in the other direction, but I have no memory of what would have been a very difficult climb. Maybe that’s because I was young and strong then, when I was in my late forties.

Woods landing was a neat place. We talked to a funny old lady at the store there, then I read the historical marker (Wyoming has the best, most interesting historical markers in the USA), then we had lunch at the Woods Landing Dance Hall.

As we were leaving, a couple of friendly old guys asked us about our trip, and one of them provided surprisingly correct and useful information about upcoming road conditions. (“Surprisingly”, because locals almost always provide wildly inaccurate estimates of distances and elevation changes.)

We had a nice tailwind all the way to Laramie, and it was mostly downhill or flat, so we made great time. Traffic was heavy, but the shoulder was good, and almost all the drivers were courteous and gave us extra room. We came into the old, historic downtown, walking our bikes on the sidewalk on a bridge over the railroad tracks, where I failed to get a room at my first motel choice, a quirky place called the Xenion. I’d stayed there three years ago, but this time the office was locked, and the guy at the desk waved me away. Not sure what that was all about; it was too bad, since the location of this place is great — close to everything interesting in downtown Laramie. We rode several blocks away and got a room at another place.

Later I walked to a laundromat and did that chore, and then Joy met me and we had dinner at Qdoba (Laramie, the location of the only four-year university in Wyoming, doesn’t have a Chipotle! How bizarre.)

This was a nice, but rather boring day. Tomorrow we would ride to the small town of Chugwater, where an encounter with some very unusual people would not be boring at all.

Joy, adjusting the hated Ortlieb panniers that temporarily defiled her bike. Later this evening she would identify fifteen pounds of unneeded gear, including the two panniers, and mail it all home the next morning.
I love Ortlieb panniers, while Joy hates them. We sent the pair on her bike, along with a bunch of other stuff, home when we got to Laramie.
We arrived in Laramie by walking our bikes over a bridge over railroad tracks. Scenic!