Day 48: Saratoga to Rawlins (48 miles)


We all woke up at Karim’s house around 9 am. Lila and Aaron rose before me and began to work on our breakfast of biscuits and gravy. I had been up late the night before using the precious wifi to download new music for the road ahead. I desperately needed more sleep than I had. When the two of them got up I pretended to be asleep. I wasn’t so much trying to deceive them as I was trying to deceive myself. I wanted to trick myself into being asleep. All I needed were 15 minutes of deception. It didn’t work.

The creeping sunlight, my sofa-cramped back, and my feeling of existential guilt when I don’t help to prepare meals would not allow me to sleep another 15 minutes. I got up in time to help heat up the gravy.

Fortunately today would be a short journey to Rawlins, no more than 50 miles. As a result we weren’t too concerned about getting out of Karim’s place before noon.

We ate breakfast in the common room with Karim and the other bicycle tourist. I told Karim about the deer I had seen in his yard and showed him a picture.

“Yeah, that’s pretty normal. Around here we say that the deer are the local gang. They usually travel in groups and intimidate the neighbors,” he said. We mused about what it meant to belong to a gang of deer. We decided that their initiation rites probably involved either denting a car hood or destroying a garden for no reason.

To be fair, I understand the animosity deer would have for the Saratogans. Their brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers are all stuffed full of cotton or sand and placed over the Cheetos and toilet paper at the local grocery store.

After a little more deer talk Lila decided to go soothe her body in the hot springs. I would have joined her but I needed to work on the blog and I had only just stopped smelling like sulfur.

We ended up leaving Karim’s at about 12. He told us that if we broke down anywhere between Rawlins and Lander (no man’s land) that we should give him a call.

Lila, Aaron and I rode as a trio for maybe 5 miles before Aaron decided to split off to explore a cliff. We kept moving, we’d see him in Rawlins. Southern Wyoming doesn’t have much besides lots of desert scrub, wind, and mountains. We wanted to get through it as quickly as possible.

After doing around 20 on back country highways our directions told us to get on the interstate (gulp). We had to ride it for 14 miles. In general it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be except for the one part where I nearly got wasted by an abandoned screen door on the shoulder of the highway.

After some trying we finally arrived in the town of Sinclair. Sinclair was an oil refinery before it was a town. It is also the center of operations for the Sinclair oil company (that gas station in Toy Story, Dinoco, is an imitation of Sinclair).

Apart from being an oil refinery, Sinclair is also known for a Mexican restaurant named Su Casa. Karim, a Texas native, vouched for its authenticity and strongly recommended we visit. It was a nice spot and I was able to admire my tan line that resembles Neapolitan ice cream.

After our late lunch we rolled into Rawlins. When we arrived we had no idea where we would spend the night. We tried churches, fire stations, parks but no one would give us a place to stay. We were told by the fire chief to go into town to a store called Bi Rite and ask for a man to show us Bureau of Land Management land because it is free to camp on. When we asked him, the best he could give us was vague instructions to go North and look for some trees. We decided to stay at an RV park just outside of town instead.

We paid the money, set up camp, showered, and ate snack food from the office. Lila called her mother and I tried to read a book. As night came Lila and I climbed to the top of a big mountain to watch the sunset.

We watched it for a while.

Once it was almost too dark to safely get down the mountain we headed back. On our way back to the campsite we saw a few cantaloupes run by.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Wyoming flora and fauna, a cantaloupe is the name we gave to these antelope-like deer creatures we’ve been seeing run around. We call them cantaloupes because they can’t be antelopes.

We got back at nightfall and I decided to go get a microwaveable hamburger from the Sinclair gas station before bed. Here’s to a night at the Red Desert Rose RV campground where TransAm cyclists get 10% off.

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