9/4/2012 to 9/8/2012 – After resting up and getting inspired by some bike racing (to ride faster? yeah right!) we hit the road again and finally hopped onto the Great Divide Route. The ride took us up along the Elk River, where we saw our only bear of the trip (small black bear), Jonny learned to fly fish, and the “Nalgenie” came to be.
The rolling hills were gorgeously green and lush and made for some high quality biking.
We ended up camping up a dirt road in a cow pasture just up from Clark, and the cow pies were prevalent.
The sunset was certainly memorable as well.
The next day we hit the road and headed for Wyoming. En route, we biked around Steamboat Reservoir, through the little establishment of Columbine, CO and enjoyed views of the prominent Hahn’s Peak.
The road went to dirt about a mile north of Columbine and the fall colors really started to get noticeable. For the next month we would be surrounded by a world of yellows, golds, oranges, and reds. We camped at the first place we could find once inside Wyoming – which was much further than any of us expected – and woke up the next day excited to be in a new state!
Dave rallied some cattle trails, proving that fully loaded fatbikes can turn just about anything into singletrack so long as you keep pedaling.
We saw some massive sink holes north of Battle Mountain on WY70. Next we hopped back into Medicine Bow National Forest and biked through one of the more acclaimed miles of the trip.
“Aspen Alley” is a special place, so we enjoyed it by eating, stretching, and taking in the incredible aspen grove surrounding us.
From there, the dirt road was filled with relentless Wyoming washboard (each state has its own definitive style) and loose rock. For Dave and I, on our fat-tired bikes, aired down a bit, and just cruised. Jonny, on the other hand, had to put in some extra effort and was certainly entertaining to watch on the descents! Eventually, we made it to a drainage where we felt adequately protected from the winds and had access to water so we set up camp for the night.
The next day was filled with more dirt… and more washboard…
The dirt eventually turned red as we got closer to Rawlins, WY!
Once we got to Rawllins, we found an all-you-can-eat Chinsese restaurant and pounded down some really low-quality deep fried goodness. We hit the grocery store, then hit highway 287 northbound. That night’s campsite offered us the opportunity to smash a television, make a raging inferno of a fire, and witness a beautiful sunset.
After turning off 287 that next morning, the reality of what lay ahead, the Great Divide Basin, really started to sink in.
It was flat (generally), the roads were strait, and there was just about zero life existing in this high desert. On the plus side, my amazing friend Corey Steimel (aka CoCo) was going to meet us that night for some desert partying and camping at Antelope Reservoir. Driving 4+ hours from Denver, to the absolute middle of nowhere just to hang out in the desert was an amazing feat of friendship and I couldn’t be more appreciative of it!
His little jeep, Molly the Midnight Blue Marauder, met us about 5 miles from the campsite, grabbed our bags off our bikes and let us cruise to the campsite. On our pedal there we where fortunate enough to have a small herd of wild horses running along side us for a mile or so! SO MAJESTIC!
Also, he brought beer… cold delicious beer!
So we went swimming, made a fire, grilled some steaks on bike spokes, drank a bunch of beer and hung out under the wide-open Wyoming stars. Antelope Reservoir, although less than beautiful itself, provided one of the most awe-inspiring sunsets I’ve experienced in my life. Also, the night-time campfire session was most glorious as well!
Our night at Antelope Reservoir also had its downside – it was Jonny’s last night on the tour so we celebrated and enjoyed his company.