Starting Location: Rawlins, WY
Ending Location: Saratoga, WY
Lowest Elevation: 6490
Highest Elevation: 6995
I'm getting a lot better at getting up and going early now. Today I was up with an early start though I had to get some breakfast and groceries since I was out, and that slowed me down a bit. I went to subway for breakfast and then road over to Wal Mart for some groceries and a couple other cheap items that I needed. After I got my groceries I hit the road.
The first part of the morning wasn't too bad. The wind wasn't too bad and I think it was actually in my favor for a little while. I went on a few back roads until getting into Sinclair, then I had to get onto I-80 where I would ride on for 13 miles. I had been warned by a lot of people about the dangers of riding the freeway since the truckers aren't usually too friendly to bikers. I didn't have any problems though! I did however pick a pretty bad time to enter the highway. Right before the entrance I saw a few vehicles slowly movine up the shoulder to clean the road for painting. I had to gear up and outrun them as quickly as possible so I wouldn't be in the dust behind them for too long. Once past them, the rest of the interstate wasn't bad at all! There was plenty of shoulder space for the most part, until near the end where both directions of traffic were on the same side of the highway. I saw one cyclist riding the opposite way, though it was at an area where a pretty big median seperated us and would have been dangerous to cross all the traffic to talk with each other. I later found out that rider's name was Eric.
When I made it off the interstate, I was immediately faced with unfavorable winds again. Luckily they weren't as bad as the previous day, but it was still very discouraging to have to face the wind again. A couple miles down highway 130 I ran into a pair of cyclists coming from Saratoga, where I was headed to. Jorrick is from the Netherlands and started his trip in DC where he flew into the country, and is crossing the country while in the states on a 3 month visa. Amanda started her ride in Florida, and this was her first tour just like me. Her and Jorrick met 5 days prior and had been riding together since then. In Saratoga they stayed with the same WarmShowers host that I was heading for, and said that he was incredibly nice and hospitable which made me more excited to get into town. They mentioned that they had been making really good time today because of the wind, which was slowing me down a bit.
I continued down the 130 where I had about 20 miles to Saratoga. There wasn't really anything to look at, but it was still a pretty enjoyable ride. When I got just a mile or so out from Saratoga I ran into another cyclist, Max. Amanda and Jorrick said that Max would be staying at Karim's with me and they expected him to be a day behind them. Turns out Max got into Saratoga really early and decided he would go all the way to Rawlins that day, making it a 100 mile day. He said that Karim had him come to his place and fill up on water and get a sandwich on his way through Saratoga even though he wouldn't be staying there for the night.
When I got into Saratoga, I gave Karim (WarmShowers host) a call and he directed me to his place. I got to his house and was greeted with a big welcoming smile and he offered to carry in some of my bags and also let me take my bike inside to keep safe. Karim made sure I felt comfortable right away. I got changed and he took me out to the Saratoga hot springs, which are open to the public 24/7! We spent some time hanging out and talking and switching between the hot springs and the cold river right by them. This was super relaxing after a days ride!
After the hot springs he showed me a few more things around town. We went into the the ice cream shop where I got some overpriced but delicious homemade icecream, then we noticed that there were a few touring bikes parked at the bar across the street. After finishing my ice cream we walked over to the bar to talk to the cyclists because Karim wanted to make sure they had a place to stay. They were three French men getting some beers after their day's ride. They didn't have a plan for where to stay in Saratoga and were thinking of going to the campground which was inconveniently located a bit away from town and without any coverage from the wind/sun. Karim gave them directions to his place and told them that they were more than welcome to crash at his place or set up tents in his yard if they wished. They were very happy to get this offer and said they would be over shortly after their drinks.
We returned to Karim's house where Christopher, a 23 year old French cyclist was just arriving to stay (he used WarmShowers to rech Karim as well). We all hung around for a while talking, and Christopher decided that he would want to go to the hot springs. I told him I would go with him, because I wanted to get to know him as well! Shortly after, Dylan and Kristen showed up (the other two WarmShowers cyclists that would be staying), as well as the French guys. This made 7 cyclists that Karim was hosting in one night! We all talked for a while before Christopher and I headed to the hot springs, followed shortly by Dylan and Kristen.
The four of us all hung out in the hot springs for a while getting to know each other and talking about our tours, school, work, other adventures, etc. When we all got back to Karim's place, we decided that we would all throw in some food to make a big dinner together. We had some delicious pasta with spicy pasta sauce and onion, as well as couscous mixed with zuccini, eggs, and some hummus. It was an amazing dinner! Since Dylan and Kristen made dinner I decided to do the dishes. Karim kept saying "you guys don't need to do the dishes, I can clean it up!" as if we were going to let him clean up the mess that we made - yeah right! Seriously this guy was always trying to be as helpful as possible and make sure everything was easygoing for us cyclists.
It was a lot of fun hanging around with us seven cyclists and Karim for the night. All the company sure beats a night alone! At the end of the night we all got set up for bed. Christopher and I decided to take the room with a small couch and a futon, we were excited to have a roommate for a night!