Well, it’s time to update you all on the status of the Honk-O-Meter. In case you missed the previous blog post, the Honk-O-Meter is our count of the number of friendly car/truck/motorcycle honks people have given us on our adventure. Well, as we were approaching Rawlins, WY, a couple of days ago, we received our 100th honk! So, how will we celebrate? We’ve used much of the sentiment of your suggestions and have come up with two different things. First, we plan to donate $100 to ECHO. Each honk is an audible expression of kindness and support for our journey. Since we are partnering with ECHO on this journey, it seems fitting to channel that support to encourage their work to help stop worldwide hunger. (If you feel so inclined, please join us- and others who have already donated- to show your support, too.) The other thing that we plan to do is each eat a 100 Grand candy bar. (Someone had suggested eating 100 m&ms, but we already do that every day since they are such a great sweet treat that pack well in our things.)
In Saratoga we stayed in a house that belongs to the Episcopal church there. The only 11-member Church not only hosts through-cyclists (via WarmShowers), but also has a ministry that refurbishes old donated bikes and gives them to kids in need. They also have a ministry that teaches kids how to cook and then the kids take their cooked meals home.
We were so thankful to have gotten to the Episcopal host church when we did! Only a couple of minutes after getting ourselves and and our things settled inside, a hailstorm passed through, dropping marble-sized hailstones and raining hard. We were so glad to have more protection and shelter this time (compared to the last hailstorm we weathered with only the protection of our tarp)!
Upon reaching Rawlins, WY, we soon discovered that there was no hotel with vacancies in which to take a comfortable day off. So instead we stayed at a campground.
At this campground we met two separate guys who are biking the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail. This trail runs from the Canadian to Mexican border. Boy, that’s an admirable undertaking!
In Sweetwater Station we camped at a Visitors Center run by the Mormon/LDS church. It was a beautiful property, with the Sweetwater River flowing through it. It was also very close to the Mormon Trail where Mormon pioneers traveled west using hand carts to transport their belongings. This Visitor Center was like a museum. A couple working there was gracious to give us a tour and explain some things to us.
We arrived in Lander, WY, on Friday after a 93-degree day with steady climbs of rolling hills and no shade. But how happy we were to make it there because we knew we would be staying with my high school friend, Clair, who would take us on many fun outdoor adventures!
My friend, Clair, who lives with her husband in Lander, loves the outdoors and even works for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) directing special projects and leading week to month-long outdoor courses in the wilderness. She is an avid rock climber, mountaineer, mountain biker, and hiker. So how appropriate that she would offer to guide us on a hike up to a natural water slide and take us rock climbing! What amazing experiences! We so appreciate Clair’s generosity with her time and energy, as well as the patience and enthusiasm she has shown us while taking us on these fun adventures.
On our second day with our wonderful outdoor guide, Clair, she took us rock climbing. And her sweet friend, Margo, came along to be another belayer for us as we did the climbs.
Clair and Margo took the boys through 4 climbs each. The first was an “easier” one, and the others were a bit more challenging. We were so proud of the hard work and courage that the boys mustered to do these climbs!
Jerry and I did the “easier” one and through it gained greater respect for what the boys were doing. Hard, but lots of fun!
Clair and Margo both gave so much of their time, energy, encouragement, and expertise. We are so thankful for such a memorable, fun, and unique experience!
Interested in how we plan to wrap up our trip? We have decided that our journey’s final destination will be in Jackson Hole, WY, among the Grand Tetons. That is where our biking will end, but our adventure will continue as we make a detour home (via plane) by stopping by the ECHO farm in Fort Myers, FL. We are looking forward to having a tour of the farm and becoming acquainted with some of the folks who make ECHO a reality! Then, we arrive back in Richmond on Aug. 26.