Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gearing up and sleeping sneaky.

"Caution: due to the lever mechanism, this door could easily be opened by a velociraptor. Take all necessary precautions." - a sign on the door of the coffee shop in Lander where I had one of the top breakfasts of my life. Homemade corned beef hash, fresh baked bread and jam, and perfect eggs. Delicious coffee. I was impressed with everything, and relieved that I had walked out of the pretentious-assed coffee shop down the street before ordering. Between this coffee shop, and the bar with locally brewed $2 happy hour drafts, Lander has it covered.

The sign in the park claims that the park closes at 11pm. Then: "Exceptions: Tent camping is permitted." Woah. They actually put it right on the sign. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Lander is great. Lander has a nice outfitter. I outfitted myself with a Big Agnes Seedhouse 2. It's a compact two-person tent. I can sit up in the tent, and my head doesn't even touch the top. I can change clothes and move around in there. There's plenty of space to eat sandwiches and horse with books and gear. $220. New wool socks? $14.

I asked for a used box to ship some other gear home: bivy sack, Dickies pants, huge heavy sweatshirt. I went to a cheap store and got fleece pants and a much lighter sweatshirt. After the swap, I bet I didn't even incur much of an overall weight penalty.

I stopped by the bicycle store to get a tube, and ended up talking to a guy there. We talked about bicycle travel and made some jokes about working in bicycle shops. I signed the logbook. I was familiar with some of the bicycles and personalities that had been through. If there's one thing I know, it's details about anybody's bicycle that I've ever seen even once.

The guy at the shop was a real good guy. I told him I wasn't sure if I was going to stay in town or hit the road. It was already getting toward 1pm, and 75 miles might be a long push. The guy said he'd check the weather and wind report. "Go. The wind is never from the south."

I bought a loaf of bread, and took his advice.

The conditions were mostly all good until they turned to crap. With thirty miles to go, the wind suddenly picked up and began to gust directly at me. The weeds beside the road bent and waved to face me. I was slowed to six miles-per-hour, and then to four. I was blown off the road into some gravel. It wasn't even really ridable, and I decided I would need to wait it out.

I found some tall bushes to act as a wind break. I thought a storm was probably on it's way, so I quickly set up my new tent.

I bought a mansion! This tent is awesome! Any buyer's remorse instantly evaporated. I lounged inside the tent and read about Neil Peart's expensive motorcycle adventures as a light rain passed. By 7pm the rain stopped, and the winds died down. I packed up and continued. There wasn't much time to get to Dubois before dark.

A light headwind and a slight climb can really take it out of me. I knew I didn't have a lot of light left, so I pushed it. Actually, I usually push it pretty hard regardless of conditions. For some reason, I don't know, that's just how it is.

I descended into the outskirts of Dubois just as the sun was setting and making the hills beautiful. The light and shadows... it looked great. The temperature was dropping, the sun was disappearing, and I didn't know where I would sleep. I wanted to hit the bar and get a plate of hot food, but I decided to find a place to put a tent first. I could always ask, but I could always look around first. I looked.

I found a disused building on a hill toward the far edge of town. Exploration required a short steep climb up a dirt road. I poked around the back of the large building, and found flat ground that was beautiful and hidden. This was an amazing spot! I was surrounded by grassy hills, and hidden from the view of anybody who might care. It was a quiet secret spot with plenty of space. I set up my tent with a calm confidence as the light began to disappear.

Any desire to go into town disappeared. I would much rather lounge in my capacious hotel room. I had two more PBJs, a book, a little bit a booze, and a pouch of roasted almonds. I was in for the night.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Awesome reviews on the Big Agnes Seedhouse 2, plus it looks like you got an excellent price! Enjoy reading your blog!