As with anything, you have to take the good with the bad. Not all days are sunny, cool, and fun. Sometimes, the road is long, hot, and hypnotic. And, there are stretches of any journey where all you can do is keep moving, push through the desert, and keep your mind on the mountaintop. Day #3 was like that.
We met our friends for breakfast at one of the best cafes on the tour, Baker’s Bakery and Cafe. The Biker Chef says they have the best green chili sauce. So, after filling our tummies with eggs, omelets, bacon, hash-browns, and buckets of coffee, we hit the dusty trail. And by dusty, I mean hot, dry, and dusty!
If you read my first post about our Wild West Tour, Day #1, I described my rating system of how the day was going, my condition, and overall experience. The day started out at about a 2 because I knew it was going to be riding straight through to Greeley, CO, stopping only for gas, bathrooms and beer, and not necessarily in that order. When the Bearded Biker is the Road Captain he likes to ride as far and as fast as possible, starting around 8:30 am and parking the bike by 5:00 pm. That’s when you can relax and sit down for a meal. All other nourishment comes in snacks furiously eaten while waiting for people to use the facilities or fill up their gas tanks.
I forgot to pack snacks.
We rode straight south on Highway 85 along the Eastern edge of Wyoming, which is completely the opposite of the terrain on its Western border, Yellowstone National Park. Biker Chef calls it the high desert. There was not one wisp of a cloud or tree anywhere, except for far off in the distance where you’d see one or two planted near a farmstead. There were acres and acres of arid pastureland and nothingness. I was guzzling the water at every stop, but around 3:00, I realized we didn’t have any food, and we weren’t stopping until we hit Greeley, CO. I was already at a 7, so at the next rest stop, I looked for a vending machine. Nothing. I believe it is the only rest stop that doesn’t have vending. We still had some water, so I took a few more sips and flopped back on the bike. (My mount gets less and less graceful as the day progresses, or if I’m really geared up with leathers and rain gear. Sorry, Chef!)
I was past a 9 by now. I’d hit that miserable mark and was starting to fantasize about home. We were down to our last sips of water, and I looked at the Biker Chef and asked, “Do you have any food?” No. The only other thing at this border stop was the Hemp Museum. It welcomed us in to look around and shop, advertising on their sign that they had “snacks.” Not feeling sure just what was in those snacks, I decided to tough it out. “We’re almost there,” the other riders reassured me. After we got back on the road, I saw a sign that said, “Greeley 15 miles.” That was the longest 15 miles of my life. It was through the city, lots of traffic and stop lights, and when we got to the destination, I realized it wasn’t our destination. We still needed to find a hotel room, and food!
We got off the bikes to greet the Greeley people, but I was done. I was feeling completely depleted and barely mustered a hello. I looked at the Chef and said, “We have to do something. I’m about done.” So, we rode off to the downtown area, got a great room at the Comfort Inn and Suites, and quickly found the Outback Steakhouse. Did you know that when they seat you, they carry a basket of fresh bread? It’s like, “Follow the smell of bread.” And, just like a couple of starved dogs, we did. The salad was crisp and delicious, the meal was a little salty but filling and scrumptious, and the Margarita may, or may not, have had an extra shot of tequila. Oh, that bed felt good that night. Plus, we started watching the Olympics, which turned into a nightly “How many medals is Michael Phelps up to now?”
Custer, SD – Greeley, CO = 310 miles
All’s well that ends well.
The next morning, before we met up with everyone else, we stopped at Walgreen’s and loaded up on snacks. Lesson learned.