The Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland just wrote an article about us on their website, check it out!
News from the Road
After leaving our wonderful stay with Mona and Bill in Pueblo, CO we met up with Katie’s dad, Jack, who rode with us for a few days. We experienced cold and rainy weather upon our arrival to the mountains, which was a nice break from the heat of Kansas. Due to this weather we also holed up in our first hotel room since Virginia (fluffy pillows and warm showers were a welcome change of pace). We watched recaps of stages from the Tour de France while getting tips and advice about drafting and race tactics from Jack (we decided it might not be a good idea to change our shoes while riding, the way the pros do). The next day we headed up and over Hoosier Pass, the highest point on the TransAmerica Trail. It was rewarding to coast downhill into Breckenridge after reaching the top.
In Breckenridge we met up with two college friends, Drew and Perrin, who drove over from Boulder. We all shared a room in the Fireside Inn, a wonderful hostel with a large cozy common space and a fantastic breakfast. It was great to catch up and wander around the ski town. After our departure from our visitors we continued travelling on our own for the first time in nearly two weeks.
Soon we crossed the border into Wyoming, which looks a lot like Kansas without the trees and farm fields. It seems like most of the state is open range-land, which is bordered by snow-capped peaks. We’ve also faced many obstacles, such as cows blocking the road, rattlesnakes cuddling up to tents, and clouds of swarming mosquitoes.
In Jeffrey City, where we encountered the worst mosquitoes, we also met Keith and Al from Illinois. These two cyclists just retired from the John Deere Co. and are also enjoying their cross-country adventure. They noted, as others have along the trail, that there seem to be two major groups of people on the TransAm: Recent college graduates and retirees. We discussed that in American society there are few times that people can get an extensive amount of time off from the rat race. Why is it that people between the ages of 25 and 65 are expected to buckle down, earn money, and advance their careers at the expense of exploration? Why is it that travellers are seen as unconventional and uncommitted when extensive travel allows for greater self-reflection and cultural awareness?
July 17th marked a very important day on our journey, Katie turned 22! Upon our arrival to Lander, WY we celebrated with a night out to pizza, hot showers, and the final chapter of the Harry Potter films. It was certainly a night to remember. Also, Lander happens to be the home base of instructors for NOLS (The National Outdoor Leadership School), so we fit right in with our sunburns and mosquito-bitten legs. From here, we are looking forward to what has been described as one of the most scenic rides in the U.S., between Dubois and Yellowstone National Park.
Peanut butter jar count: only 20 (because Katie insisted on 4 peanut butter free days).