Devil’s Tower/Coal Train

First view – 15 miles away

The wind blew all night. The tent flapped constantly.By morning it had calmed enough for a beautiful ride. There was a tailwind and we were headed slightly downhill. The Datameister said “I knew if I was going 21 mph and only putting out 110 watts, it wasn’t me.” Half-fast Cycling Club said, “wheeeee!”

We cruised for miles at 24 mph with little effort. My face hurt from grinning. At breakfast I had mentioned that I hadn’t seen any of the miles-long coal trains I remembered from 4 years ago. At 8:30 a train passed under us. I couldn’t see either end. A few minutes later I realized there was a string of locomotives parked to my left. I don’t know how long I had been riding beside it, but it went on long enough that I don’t think I have ever seen that many locomotives in one place.

Sleeping outside, waking every few hours to pee, and going back to sleep, I have had vivid dreams. A dream journal might be more interesting to read than this; but if I stayed up to write down those dreams I would have trouble getting up at 5.

After picnic the riding got a bit tougher. The wind shifted and we had more up and down. From 15 miles away we rounded a bend at the top of a tough climb and Devil’s Tower loomed on the horizon. The terrain shifted from open grassland to pine forest. Closer to Devil’s Tower there was evidence of fire damage. We were way too early for the campground to be ready so I stopped at the top of the hill for a beer – the same local amber ale I had 4 years ago, but this time on tap. When Ed’s burger and fries arrived I knew food had to go with the second beer, as it had gone down too easily. A bourbon cheeseburger and fries hit the spot (a bourbon barbecue sauce). After lunch I had ice cream on the veranda.

Devil’s Tower from the bar

When I left the bar, the temperature must have been 10 degrees hotter than when I went in. I rode down to the campground, knowing I’ll have to ride back up that hill Monday morning. I set up camp – we have a little community of 5 tents and a picnic table under a tree – and took a glorious shower. Laundry and a cold drink are due soon. It is now 97 degrees (36 C).

View from my tent. I’ll try to stop now;)

Tonight is the famed margarita party and the nightly viewing of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Tomorrow is a well-earned day of rest. I actually feel stronger than at the end of week three 4 years ago. My recovery from COVID is pretty complete (an occasional brief cough). Maybe the rest did me some good.

Aside to Taylor: Did you get my page Saturday morning? I asked paging to say “I hope you’re having half as much fun as I am.”

Aside to the rest of the staff: Your gift card bought a couple of beers and lunch. The server put my tab and Ed’s together (I said I thought it was because she thought he was my dad), so you bought his lunch as well. Thanks a million!