Day 28: Period Rush, Short Version

Independence Rock
Independence Rock

Back in Scottsbluff, I brought up the concept of period rush. As you will recall, to history buffs, a period rush is when you want to transcend time and touch the past in a personal way. I inadvertently did that to myself today. As a result, I’m too tired to post. I will fill in today’s events tomorrow, when I expect not to be so tired and to have a little more bandwidth, electronically and metaphorically.

The short version is that I rode the 55+ miles from Casper to Independence Rock without incident. The first dozen miles were all paved, and relatively quick. Hills were also doing that hill thing, where you go up one side and down the other.

Later I climbed to something called Emigrant Gap, the passage through Emigrant Ridge. There must be an “Emigrant” something every 50 to 100 miles of the trail. Anyway, that was a bit of a climb, but so far so good. 

After Emigrant Gap I started running into mud from the rains I hid in Casper to avoid. Some of it looked deep, but you know what? It wasn’t Kansas mud! So no problem. Well, maybe if I plowed right into the middle of a huge patch. I did manage to run through some smaller mud holes and the bike got, well, muddy, but it kept rolling. Good thing, because if I had to wait for Carla . . .

See if you can guess where Prospect Hill is on this ride profile

The next climb of note was to Prospect Hill. People, that hurt. It’s the first time I felt nauseous after a climb. You know that feeling when you’re pulling uphill, not just your legs, but your entire body gets involved, where you can feel the pull through your abdomen? It was that kind of climb. It nearly wiped me out.

I took a break afterward, ate, drank, recovered, then continued on. At about Mile 49, I had a decision to make: stay on the highway (fast, smooth, direct) or take the old trail through Pathfinder Ranch. I chose the latter. Huge mistake. Deep sand, alkalis pools, overgrown trail to where I had to get off my bike to find it again . . . it was slow and hard for nearly ten miles. That’s what I mean by period rush. There were markers for the California/Oregon Trail just yards away. I was following the old trail as closely as you can. And for whatever reason, no one has thought to make any improvements to the road I was on. I might as well have been on the original trail. And I’ll tell you what. It sucked.

I have no one else to blame of course. Wait, maybe I do. Jan put it on the map, otherwise I never would have known about it. And back in St. Joe, Emma and Derek both said I should go by Pathway Reservoir if I had a chance. So it’s their fault. Blame them for the lame post today.

Anyway, as I said, I made Independence Rock. I survived. Took a nap at the adjacent Wyoming Rest Area, drank about a gallon of water, cooked dinner, and now I’m sitting in my tent across the highway from the rest area with a view of I-Rock because I asked for and received permission from Pathfinder/Dumbell Ranch about two months ago. Otherwise I would have had to scoot on down the road and look for some public land to camp on. That would have been no bueno today.

Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll fill this out with quotes and pictures tomorrow. Sorry it’s incomplete. 

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Kurtis

    Finally caught up to the present time. 3 things regarding my love of cycling you have inspired, motivated and confirmed.
    1. I now fully, without question, understand I can only ride a bike if there’s scenic mtns, ocean, forest or an In&Out present. Thank you for helping me figure this out the easier way.
    2. It affirms my motives for riding a bike long distances: mental health restoration, getting enough exercise to eat in multiplicity & impunity (especially donuts), to sleep well, have superior a.m. BMs AND to talk about it as if it were the best thing which happened that day.
    3. I’m still trying to figure out whether past or present is actually tougher….a set of fresh ponies every 10-15 mi is enticing but at least in the present I can be informed how bad it was the day before on my ipad. Keep it rolling!

    1. Scott Alumbaugh

      All of that rings completely true.

  2. Anonymous

    I know it must be hard but these experiences you are having and the stories you are collecting. . .priceless.

    1. Scott Alumbaugh

      It is hard at times. At this point, I am feeling very tired at the end of each ride and am feeling more homesick. Still glad I’m out here tho.

      1. Anonymous

        BTW that comment was from Valerie

  3. Lisa (MTTN)

    Congratulations on completing the first four weeks of your trip! We miss you, and we’re so glad you made it over Prospect Hill.

    1. Scott Alumbaugh

      I will never ride that hill again.

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