Wyoming and Reaching 100!

 Yippee!! We made it to Wyoming! See the vastness of the plains and the sagebrush in the background! Those are the most characteristic aspects of our Wyoming experience so far. The smell of sage filling our nostrils is so pleasant and I’m sure will be quite memorable.

Yippee!! We made it to Wyoming! See the vastness of the plains and the sagebrush in the background! Those are the most characteristic aspects of our Wyoming experience so far. The smell of sage filling our nostrils is so pleasant and I’m sure will be quite memorable.

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.)

 Here’s the campsite where we stayed in Kremmling, CO. There was smoke in the air from a relatively nearby forest fire. 

Here’s the campsite where we stayed in Kremmling, CO. There was smoke in the air from a relatively nearby forest fire. 

 Breakfast around the campfire on a frigid morning. 

Breakfast around the campfire on a frigid morning. 

 Here’s another campground- a beautiful, yet primitive one that’s part of the the National Park Service. Truly a wilderness experience at this one. 

Here’s another campground- a beautiful, yet primitive one that’s part of the the National Park Service. Truly a wilderness experience at this one. 

 This was a nice creek just behind our campsite (the one you see in the picture above). The water was very cold, but that didn’t stop the boys from playing/swimming in it!

This was a nice creek just behind our campsite (the one you see in the picture above). The water was very cold, but that didn’t stop the boys from playing/swimming in it!

 There’s nothing like warming yourself by the campfire after an early morning rain. Jerry and the boys were even able to get the wet wood lit!

There’s nothing like warming yourself by the campfire after an early morning rain. Jerry and the boys were even able to get the wet wood lit!

 Can anyone shed some light on this type of rock formation? It’s like a big, narrow, and long wall of rock that goes up the side of the mountain. Note several of us at the bottom for scale. 

Can anyone shed some light on this type of rock formation? It’s like a big, narrow, and long wall of rock that goes up the side of the mountain. Note several of us at the bottom for scale. 

 Yeehaw! What a climb up to this pass! This is another part of the Continental Divide that we passed through. How cool that a drop of rain makes its way to either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean at points like this one!

Yeehaw! What a climb up to this pass! This is another part of the Continental Divide that we passed through. How cool that a drop of rain makes its way to either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean at points like this one!

 Here’s what the 2-mile road looked like on our way into another National Park Service campground just inside of Wyoming border. If you’re able to zoom in and the resolution is high enough, you may be able to spot the antelope in the road.  

Here’s what the 2-mile road looked like on our way into another National Park Service campground just inside of Wyoming border. If you’re able to zoom in and the resolution is high enough, you may be able to spot the antelope in the road.  

 At the same campground (as above picture), we hiked down to the North Platte River, where the boys boldly played in and explored the freezing cold and refreshing water. Downriver there were multiple fly fishermen taking advantage of this beautiful resource (apparently quite the destination for anglers).

At the same campground (as above picture), we hiked down to the North Platte River, where the boys boldly played in and explored the freezing cold and refreshing water. Downriver there were multiple fly fishermen taking advantage of this beautiful resource (apparently quite the destination for anglers).

 Upon arriving in Saratoga, WY, we wasted no time in visiting the mineral hot springs we had heard about there. This pool was like a very warm bathtub, naturally fed by the hot springs and having a subtle smell of minerals.  What a neat experience!

Upon arriving in Saratoga, WY, we wasted no time in visiting the mineral hot springs we had heard about there. This pool was like a very warm bathtub, naturally fed by the hot springs and having a subtle smell of minerals.  What a neat experience!

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)!

 This is the house (that belongs to the church) where we stayed in Saratoga. Again- it was nice to have beds and the use of a kitchen. 

This is the house (that belongs to the church) where we stayed in Saratoga. Again- it was nice to have beds and the use of a kitchen. 

 Here are the hailstones dropped by the storm! 

Here are the hailstones dropped by the storm! 

 This is what much of our ride has looked like while biking through Wyoming: vast, rolling hills, mostly brown with sagebrush everywhere. We’ve had the frequent sightings of antelope and prairie dogs, and we spotted one coyote. We even had to make a large radius around an actively rattling rattlesnake that was ready to strike at us had we gotten any closer. Yikes!

This is what much of our ride has looked like while biking through Wyoming: vast, rolling hills, mostly brown with sagebrush everywhere. We’ve had the frequent sightings of antelope and prairie dogs, and we spotted one coyote. We even had to make a large radius around an actively rattling rattlesnake that was ready to strike at us had we gotten any closer. Yikes!

 Just a cool perspective... 

Just a cool perspective... 

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. 

 What fun! The boys were able to use these pedal-powered 4-wheelers around the campground.  

What fun! The boys were able to use these pedal-powered 4-wheelers around the 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!

 Jake, one of the Great Divide Mountain bikers we met.  Such an interesting guy who has so many interests and enjoys educating himself about everything, including philosophy, edible plants, etc. 

Jake, one of the Great Divide Mountain bikers we met.  Such an interesting guy who has so many interests and enjoys educating himself about everything, including philosophy, edible plants, etc. 

 Ed, another one of the Great Divide Mountain bikers, who is a retired college biology professor, originally from Virginia, but now a resident of New Mexico. We hope we are in this good shape in retirement!

Ed, another one of the Great Divide Mountain bikers, who is a retired college biology professor, originally from Virginia, but now a resident of New Mexico. We hope we are in this good shape in retirement!

 Getting in a little reading in on our day off- at the local library in Rawlins...

Getting in a little reading in on our day off- at the local library in Rawlins...

 When we arrived at our destination this day (Muddy Gap), a very kind family showed interest in our adventure and enthusiastically lavished us with bottled water and Gatorade, and invited us to join their picnic in the parking lot. Their family is on a trip tracing the steps of their pioneer ancestors in the area. How blessed we were to be brought into their family briefly, share a meal with them, and hear one of them (Ed) tell of some of the interesting history of the pioneers within a mile radius of where we were standing! (Pictured here are Sam, Ed, and Inga, only part of the family there.)

When we arrived at our destination this day (Muddy Gap), a very kind family showed interest in our adventure and enthusiastically lavished us with bottled water and Gatorade, and invited us to join their picnic in the parking lot. Their family is on a trip tracing the steps of their pioneer ancestors in the area. How blessed we were to be brought into their family briefly, share a meal with them, and hear one of them (Ed) tell of some of the interesting history of the pioneers within a mile radius of where we were standing! (Pictured here are Sam, Ed, and Inga, only part of the family there.)

 Check out the beautiful sunrise at our campsite in Muddy Gap. This is literally a field next to a convenience store where cyclists are allowed to camp.

Check out the beautiful sunrise at our campsite in Muddy Gap. This is literally a field next to a convenience store where cyclists are allowed to camp.

 Whew! That was quite a long, hot climb- on our way from Muddy Gap to Sweetwater Station!

Whew! That was quite a long, hot climb- on our way from Muddy Gap to Sweetwater Station!

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. 

 This is the beautiful Sweetwater River flowing through the grounds of the Sweetwater Visitor Center  

This is the beautiful Sweetwater River flowing through the grounds of the Sweetwater Visitor Center  

 Sister and Elder Moses, the gracious couple who gave us a tour and helped us understand about the Handcart Company. 

Sister and Elder Moses, the gracious couple who gave us a tour and helped us understand about the Handcart Company. 

 The boys trying their hand at the hand carts.  

The boys trying their hand at the hand carts.  

 This is a schoolhouse replica at the Sweetwater Station Visitor Center.  

This is a schoolhouse replica at the Sweetwater Station Visitor Center.  

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! 

 In Lander we enjoyed RiverFest happening at the city park, featuring local artisans who were also selling some of their work. There was also a tent where kids could do various art activities. This particular activity was one where kids could come and contribute to a large mural of the landscape. 

In Lander we enjoyed RiverFest happening at the city park, featuring local artisans who were also selling some of their work. There was also a tent where kids could do various art activities. This particular activity was one where kids could come and contribute to a large mural of the landscape. 

 Later, the boys came back and added some more to the mural that they and others had painted on. Here is the finished mural. 

Later, the boys came back and added some more to the mural that they and others had painted on. Here is the finished mural. 

 We enjoyed watching this guy, Abe (a college student), make a couple of beautiful creations out of clay on the potters wheel. 

We enjoyed watching this guy, Abe (a college student), make a couple of beautiful creations out of clay on the potters wheel. 

 Look! He made a hole in this vase. So neat to watch his method! 

Look! He made a hole in this vase. So neat to watch his method! 

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. 

 Hiking with Clair to the natural rock water slide...

Hiking with Clair to the natural rock water slide...

 One of the gorgeous views on the hike! 

One of the gorgeous views on the hike! 

 This rock water slide is no joke! And the water is freezing cold (snow melt from the mountain). There is Douglas at the top getting ready to go down it. Russell, Douglas, Jerry, and Clair all did it. Avery and I opted out. (We had fun in the water and climbing all over the rocks along the river.)

This rock water slide is no joke! And the water is freezing cold (snow melt from the mountain). There is Douglas at the top getting ready to go down it. Russell, Douglas, Jerry, and Clair all did it. Avery and I opted out. (We had fun in the water and climbing all over the rocks along the river.)

 Avery, Clair, and I (and Boots, her dog) are warming up on the warm rocks after playing in the cold water. 

Avery, Clair, and I (and Boots, her dog) are warming up on the warm rocks after playing in the cold water. 

 Posing for a family picture on our way back down from the falls and the water slide. 

Posing for a family picture on our way back down from the falls and the water slide. 

 Russell and Avery taking in the beautiful river and valley (on our hike back from the water slide).

Russell and Avery taking in the beautiful river and valley (on our hike back from the water slide).

 to the right...

to the right...

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 teaching Russell how to tie a figure-8 knot to the climbing harness. 

Clair teaching Russell how to tie a figure-8 knot to the climbing harness. 

 Russell and Avery way up there!

Russell and Avery way up there!

 Douglas working hard at the beginning of a climb. 

Douglas working hard at the beginning of a climb. 

  “That was so fun!!”

 “That was so fun!!”

 Avery and the sweet smile of satisfaction and accomplishment after completing a climb. 

Avery and the sweet smile of satisfaction and accomplishment after completing a climb. 

  “That was hard, but so fun! I want to do another climb!”

 “That was hard, but so fun! I want to do another climb!”

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!

 There’s Jerry on the left and Avery to his right. 

There’s Jerry on the left and Avery to his right. 

 And there I am trying to stay focused and trying NOT to look down. 

And there I am trying to stay focused and trying NOT to look down. 

 Here are the boys with Margo and Clair, our sweet climbing instructors/belayers. 

Here are the boys with Margo and Clair, our sweet climbing instructors/belayers. 

 Hiking to and from the rock where we climbed, we went over this cool bridge spanning the Popo Agie River.

Hiking to and from the rock where we climbed, we went over this cool bridge spanning the Popo Agie River.

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.