Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Farson to Pinedale, Wyoming July 25

July 25, 60 miles in 4:30------Buddy rode the entire distance, breaking his personal furthest ride (yesterday's 45 miles), by fifteen miles. He's done 105 miles with me in two days. It was a good time for him to do that distance because we once again had a flat ride. US191 has been following plateaus, or river valleys, or whatever, but it has been flat and fast. Yesterday we had a tailwind, and today we really had just the slightest of headwinds. We have been a above 7000 ft for the whole trip from Rock Springs, and the air is really thin up here, so when the wind blows, it just doesn't have any oomph. A head wind doesn't even bother me, even if its blowing 20-25 like it was the other day in Cheyenne.
 Today's scenery was rather bland, in what they call the 'cold desert'. The temp didn't even hit 80 today. We are in the desert, but there are definitely no more prickly pear cactus or lizards like we were seeing further south. We did have some interesting animal encounters however. Pronghorns are as common here as they are anywhere in the country, and we saw our share. One was right by the road, and we road within 25 ft of him, while he just stood there and looked at us. That was cool, but not the best sighting of the day. We had a big fox run across the road right in front of us, and stop to check us out, and that gave us time to get a really good look at him. It was reddish brown in color, and it was the tallest, biggest fox I have ever seen. If coyotes are reddish brown, it was as big as the coyote I saw in New Mexico. We are betting it was a fox though.
       We also saw several very historic markers. Even though there was not much to look at, the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails crossed our path today, and they are three of the busiest trails that took wagon trains east to west back in the 1800's.  There was one place where a crossing was marked, and in the distance you could see the trail, with the original wagon ruts are still very apparent after 150 years. I zoomed in and got a good picture from a distance. Not much to look at , until you think of the historical significance of what you were looking at. Personally, I never thought I would see wagon wheel tracks from the 1800's. It just doesn't rain or snow enough here to wash any of the traces away. 
During our entire trip yesterday and today, there was always a mountain range within view to our right. It was the Wind River mountain range, which I had never heard of, but they were beautiful, especially as we closed in on them. We are pretty close to them as we sit in Pinedale, and we can see the highest point in Wyoming, at 13,800 ft, which is higher than the Grand Tetons that we will be seeing in a couple of days. There are many 11-12000 ft peaks that all still have some snow on them. I didn't take pictures because of the haze and low clouds that have been on them, but tonight the sun finally lit them up, and pictures will be tomorrow, hopefully.
Our campground was pretty much in the middle of downtown Pinedale, so we walked downtown and had dinner, a few beers, and played some pool in a cowboy bar to pass the evening.

Written proof that we are in the high cold desert!

This is the wagon trail!  The fence prevents people from driving near it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rock Springs to Farson Wyoming July 23-24

45.13 in 3:36 with Buddy.  July 23 was a travel day in the RV, as we left Cheyenne, and took I-80 back to Rock Springs, in western Wyoming. We settled in the same KOA that we stayed in before we went to Cheyenne. Buddy and I spent the evening walking on some dirt bike trails in the mountains behind the campground. There were a couple of dirt bikes riding up there, and they did some impressive, steep climbs while we watched. A couple of Jeeps went up the trails also. As we were walking back down near dark, we heard some animals way out there somewhere. We think it was a pack of coyotes, but since we haven't heard a pack of coyotes in the mountains before, we are not exactly sure.

Before we left the Terry Bison Ranch, Mike had to try his hand at riding one of the Bison!!  Yee Haw!


July 24----this was our first day back on the bikes, headed north on US191 toward Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, our next destination. We headed through Rock Springs on some back roads, so we didn't have to ride on I-80. We didn't go exactly the way the map said, but we found our way onto 191, and only had to ride on unpaved roads for about four miles. 191 is a great road to ride on, smooth surface and nice shoulder, sparse traffic, and nothing, absolutely nothing, to look at for about 30 miles, except for sagebrush and fence lines. The road was mildly rolling, but after some of the climbs we have done, we flew through 45 miles and it felt effortless to me, thanks to a nice tailwind. I contemplated heading for Pinedale, another 60 miles down the road, but this was the farthest Budd has ever ridden on a bike, so he was okay with stopping at our intended campground. Pam had just pulled in to the place, so we called it a day.
It turns out Farson was a transfer for the pony express, which came through here, going from the Mississippi to Salt Lake City. That is their claim to fame. Brigham Young also came through. Brigham Young is similar to George Washington out east. If he came through a place, there is a plaque that says he slept here.  Mark Twain and Richard Burton also made the plaque in Farson. Farson is a farming community of about 330 people, so they really had to reach for something to be famous for.
We had lunch at a great little greasy spoon called Mitch's Cafe. Buddy had a pile of mashed potatoes and a huge chicken fried steak the size of the plate for 11 bucks. I love the little hole in the wall cafes that we trip across every once in a while.

Didn't think there were anymore of these left in the world!

After watching all of the bull riding and bareback bronc riding, Buddy tried his hand at breaking the wild dinosaur at the Sinclair gas station!

Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cheyenne, Wyoming July 21-22

Sunday, July 21 We had tickets to the rodeo, known as 'The Daddy of em All' , and we drove and parked near the grounds, since I now know my way around town. It was a noon start, and it was a great rodeo. After cutting our teeth on some smaller rodeos since we've been on this trip, we really appreciated the elevated quality of the cowboys and animals in this one. The rodeo we saw in Vernal, Utah was a good one, but this one is better, and it's supposed to be the best in the world. They had some different rules and some different events which made it more exciting to watch, and the crowd was huge. We had excellent seats, somehow, which made it nice too.

The next few videos are of the opening of the rodeo, the "Daddy of 'em all!"  The first is all the girls that ride the ring with the sponsor flags.
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Then they have the flags enter the track and then the rodeo queen and her lady in waiting
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Then they have the "important people" like sponsors, etc.
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Mike took some awesome rodeo pictures!  This was bronc riding

This horse did not want to be ridden!

Half way through the rodeo, they had the important people (sponsors) ride by again


Yee haw!!!

Buddy and Pam enjoying the rodeo

Team roping - one cowboy ropes the horns and the other ropes the hind hoof

Steer wrestling

Bull riding!  This bull was not happy!

This guy was a champion stunt roper, pistol juggler and bull whip stuntman
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The following three videos are from the wild horse race.  There are teams of three.  One holds the wild horse by the rope, one hugs the horse around the next, and the third guy must saddle the bronc and then ride it all around the half mile track - the correct way!  Enjoy the videos, it was the most hysterical thing I've ever seen!
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     After the rodeo was over, we kicked around the grounds for a while, ate fattening, expensive food, and saw a great Indian dance presentation in the Indian village. By that time, the concert crowd was beginning to roll in, and we noticed tickets were plentiful and cheap, so we scalped three ten dollar tickets and saw Dwight Yocum. I had seen him before at Jamboree in the Hills, and wasn't impressed, but he redeemed himself with a good show. Pam and Buddy knew very few of his songs, and I'm not sure how much they enjoyed him, but it was a nice summer night, and I was glad we decided to hang around.

This is little Norman, the littlest Indian dancing!  

He was adorable!

Entrance dance, when all the dancers enter.




Ladies fancy dance

Grass dancer

Men's fancy dancer

Video of men's dance and the drummers.

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Before the Dwight Yocum concert

Dwight Yocum

July 21- 35.18 in 2:57. -I decided to start the day off with a ride into town to pick up the mail, which I had a friend forward to us, and Buddy decided to run (like run on foot) to Colorado. That is not as daunting a task as it sounds, because our campground is right on the Wyoming/Colorado border. It took us a few days to realize this fact, but as soon as you leave the campground, if you turn left, the road turns to a dirt road in less than 1000 ft. When it turns to dirt, that is Colorado. My ride was the other direction, and once I got into Cheyenne, I had to explore the Far East side of town to find the post office. I picked up the box of mail, strapped it to the handle bars of the bike, and pretended I was the pony express delivering mail across the plains of Wyoming while I was headed home. Even though I rode mostly on the same roads I did the other day, it was a much easier, more pleasant ride. The temps and sunshine were perfect, instead of having storms all around. I actually had a decent tailwind on the way home, instead of a headwind both directions. To illustrate how much the wind affects a bike, a hill that I rode down at 30 mph the other day, I hit 41.5 mph on it today.
      After we all got cleaned up, we once again headed to the Frontier Days Stadium, for the Professional Championship Bull Riding Series. These were the top 24 bull riders in the world, well, mostly from Texas, with three from Brazil, and a few from other states like Louisiana , S. Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. They had installed their own, smaller arena, and they put on quite a show, with loud music, fireworks, entertaining announcers, but most of all, the biggest, baddest, nastiest bulls in the world. The bulls mostly won the battles, but there were two or three cowboys that had it under control. Mostly though, the bulls ruled. This fact was illustrated by one quote from the announcer. After a bull stomped and head butted one cowboy, he said: "the bad news is that he is knocked unconscious , but the good news is that we have a great medical staff! "  They carted him off, and that was the last we saw of him, but an update medical report that they gave said that he was okay, except for some vision issues, so he wasn't going to ride his second bull. We are becoming bull riding fans, but I don't think the rodeo transfers to television too well, so it would be harder to watch when it's not live.


The pro championship bull riding was too exciting to take pictures.  BUT, before the the competition, we went behind the shoots and watched them herd the feisty bulls into the chutes.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cheyenne, Wyoming July 17- 20

July 17----we decided to take a rest day and chill by the pool in Rock Springs, and, as it turns out, the National High School Rodeo Championships were being held there all week. In the evening, we went to the rodeo grounds and were surprised to see what a huge event this was. There were high school kids from 36 states, Canada and Australia competing, and it was a major production, with campers, horse and cattle corrals, sponsor tents, food vendors, and the whole deal for as far as you could see. We decided to check it out, so we had an evening of rodeo, with the kids competing against each other, not only as individuals, but state team scores were kept also. Texas was the defending champ, and they seemed to be kicking butt again. Some eastern states were represented like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina, but there was a huge difference in skill level. Texas, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota , Colorado and Florida seemed to be the cream of the crop.

At the start of the rodeo, they performed all three national anthems

Canadian flag going around the ring during the anthem.  Note the cowboys in pink shirts with their hats over their hearts.  It was wear pink night.

We had two rodeo rings to watch at the same time and each ring had a big screen for replays!

July 18-----thirty years ago, when Pam was single and carefree, she traveled the west with her dog, Buffy, in her blue 'gypsy van.' One of her stops was the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and she has talked about it fondly ever since. As we approached Wyoming, I thought I would check on the dates, and surprise, it was starting in just a couple of days, but we were 287 miles away. We decided to pack up the bikes and RV it to the Frontiers Days, and it made it even better, because Buddy is with us. It was a straight shot from west to east on I-80. Wyoming is miles and miles of grasslands and wind, so it suited me just fine that this was an RV trip, not a bike trip. I would have had to ride on I-80 anyhow, because it is the ONLY road. There were sections of US route 30, which used to be the main road, but they would appear and disappear randomly. We passed a couple of towns, but it pretty much was grasslands, with lots of cattle as we approached the towns.
      We pulled into the Terry Bison Ranch and RV park, a few miles south on I-25,  and were guided back into a field that was going to be filled with RV in a few days, but we were one of the early ones, along with a few gas industry workers who were set up. Our view from the field, with no hookups, by the way, was a bison herd, two wind farms with their huge white windmill turbines off in the distance, the Rocky Mountains to the south in Colorado, and I-25.

Dry camping on the Terry Bison Ranch.  Right after we rolled in, we had a big storm.

Our view from the motorhome!

We were all alone for the first night, but next day, the rigs rolled in!
Our rainbow!  (See the raindrops on the lens?)

Our sunset the first evening.
July 19 We had to drive about ten miles north to get to the park and ride shuttles, which we did because we had no idea where we were going, so we figured our first day we would let someone else do the driving, and after we learned the lay of the land, we would go from there. Even though Frontier Days was open, today was basically a set-up day, and the crowds weren't very big. The whole place is not as big as I expected, and Pam said she barely recognized it from thirty years ago. The high school rodeo in Rock Springs probably took up more acreage. We walked around and visited what we could, but it wouldn't start rocking until tonight, with the first concert of the week. We went to the ticket windows and got our tickets to a concert, the rodeo, which is the centerpiece of the whole deal with about a million dollars in prize money, and the pro bull riding event. We beat the crowd and the lines. There were some events going on at Warren Air Force Base, which was within walking distance, so we  went over there and saw some Revolutionary War, and WWII displays, and some Calvary horse drills. We bought our concert tickets for tonight, and we saw Styx and Journey play, on the only night that wasn't going to be country. Later in the week, after we head out, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Rascall Flatts, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean would all be playing in the evenings. Pam and I had seen Styx in Pittsburgh, and decided they were good enough to see again, and I had seen Journey and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were, so that's who we decided to see. Styx was once again great, and Journey was a disappointment for me, because they had a new lead singer, and he wasn't as good as Steven Parry, in my opinion. The rodeo arena, where the concert was, was new, and held 20-25,000 people, but because we took the shuttle, we hopped on a bus and rolled right out with no traffic, and were in bed at midnight.


At the air force base, the guys checked out a helicopter.

And got a little silly.....

and sillier....

and then I got involved!
July 20 the Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade was to start at 9:30 in downtown Cheyenne, so we drug ourselves out of bed and were on the parade route, sitting in our chairs by 9am. The parade lasted an hour and a half, and it was very entertaining for us because everything was so different than the Canonsburg Fourth of July parade. The weather was warm, but nice, and instead of politicians, dance groups, and corvettes, we saw horses, wagons, rodeo queens, horses, four high school bands, fiddle players, horses, cowboys and cowgirls, and more horses. The governor and first lady were in the parade RIDING THEIR HORSES!!  There was a large group of politicians, but they were all on horseback in their western gear - it was awesome!  Every time a special group from out of state came by, the announcer would call for everyone in the crowd to give them a big Wyoming Yee Haw, and everyone would scream, 'yee haw'. Not like Canonsburg at all. The streets were wide and no one was pushing out in the road, and no one put their chairs on the street a week in advance! We had breakfast burritos from Taco Johns, and had a great time yee hawing everyone.

Pam went a little crazy on the parade pictures, so enjoy!

Miss Frontier Days Rodeo Queen

Trick roper

Yee Haw!

Visiting Rodeo Queens!

Of course the military was represented

Purple heart recipients

Union Pacific has a huge rail yard in Cheyenne - this is their "float"

The train was so long, it almost made a complete circle.

Bagpipers

Cool horse and carriage


Cowboy

Ladies out for a drive!

To transport liquid....I'm sure it was always water!

Bicycle built for two

This was a high school string band that was JAMMING!

This group came all the way from Nebraska with their horses and trailer.

Mexican dancer

What's a parade without John Deere tractors!!!

If you look backwards, you can see all of the many John Deere tractors in the parade

Of course the parade finishes with the street cleaners following the last of the horses!!!

     We were home by noon, and I decided to take a bike ride into Cheyenne. I should have known something was up when I saw a storm chaser truck parked on a hill as I went by, and had black clouds coming out of the mountains in Colorado, which were behind me. I had a head wind going into town, cruised around Cheyenne for a while, and the black clouds had me surrounded, but I hadn't gotten wet. As I headed back toward the campground, I once again had a headwind because the storm had traveled to the east of Cheyenne as was putting on a hell of a light show.  It rained on me for about five minutes, and I had to ride on some wet roads, but I. Never really felt anything from the storm, except the wind. When I got back I found out that the area was under flash flood warnings and some places had already gotten two inches of rain. I don't know how I got so lucky, but every time the storm zigged I zagged, and I somehow made it home with a 32.33 mile ride in 2:50 and I never got wet. I rode around the town of Cheyenne, and got to know my way around pretty well. It is the state capital, and I stopped at the capital building and took some pictures, and even though there is a population of about 60,000, it has a small town feel, and was very easy to navigate on a bicycle.


Union Pacific railroad yard

Capital building in Cheyenne

Around the capital building are many statues.  


The western spirit is definitely in Cheyenne!


Did we mention that there are 5 camels on the Terry Bison Ranch?!!

They like to race the bike!

After the ride, Pam and I laid low  and had a dinner at the restaurant at the campground. There was a two guitar band playing, and they had a buffalo buffet for $28.00 including buffalo prime rib, buffalo ribs, buffalo meatballs. Even though it sounded interesting, we weren't going to drop that kind of cash on a meal. We weren't even that hungry, and we stuck with plain old beef. I got a hamburger and Pam got a Philly cheesesteak. Buddy was on the prowl with some locals and we didn't see to much of him, but we all had an early Saturday night. (Speaking of buffalo, I didn't know that there were no buffalo in North America, they are all bison. Also, there are no antelope here either, they are all pronghorn deer, or sheep, or antelope, depending on who you ask. So the guy who wrote the song about the buffalo being home on the range, and the deer and the antelope playing had it all wrong.)

After dinner, Mike tried his hand at roping the steer (note he is cheating and looping it over the horns)

Then he decided to ride the steer - note the front legs were off the ground because it was trying to buck him off!  Yee Haw!