Day Twenty-four: Wheatland, Wyoming to Torrington, Wyoming - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

July 8, 2024

Day Twenty-four: Wheatland, Wyoming to Torrington, Wyoming

I was tired from the two back to back 100 mile days. I also didn't sleep well, in part because the cough had returned in the night. I might have to buy more Nyquil. I've already used two bottles on this tour.

So I decided to do a relatively short day, 50-something miles to Torrington, which would be the last Wyoming town.

I dawdled in my room for a while. I checked out the mediocre hotel breakfast, the highlight of which were the "Chef Pierre" individually wrapped Danishes. I have never seen these anywhere except at the continental breakfasts of mid-priced hotels. They are surprisingly good, and I took several of them with me for the road.

It was almost 9:00 when I finally rode away. I looked around the sleepy Wheatland downtown for a few minutes. There wasn't much happening.

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Kelly IniguezThey didn't spend much money on aesthetics. Hopefully the sound is good.
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1 week ago
Jeff LeeTo Kelly IniguezYes, I'd never seen a movie theater in such a plain metal building.
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1 week ago

I left town on WY-316, also known as Antelope Gap Road. There was almost  no traffic.

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A pickup truck  pulling some sort of farm equipment approached, and then turned around and pulled up beside me. We both stopped.

The driver, a middle aged man, asked "Are you riding through?"

I replied that I was riding to Torrington today, and he proceeded to give me several dire warnings about the condition of the dirt road which the state highway would transition to in several miles. He described the rockiness, the roughness, and the steepness of the road.

"The Harley guys who come through here for Sturgis try it, and they always  turn back."

I told him that on my mountain bike, with its tough tires, I could ride virtually any rough dirt road.

And also: "I DON'T TURN BACK."

He looked dubious. "Well, I guess you can walk it if you have to."

I thanked him for the information, then he turned  around and I continued on.

The road was paved for several more miles, although its condition worsened slightly after the "End of State Maintenance" sign.

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Still paved, but it had obviously been a while since the yellow line had been painted.
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My map showed that pavement would end in about a mile. I fortified myself for this by eating one of the Chef Pierre Danishes from the hotel.

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The pavement ended. The gravel was rough and rocky, and the descent down to the dry creek bed required a lot of care. The guy in the pickup truck earlier had described all this very accurately.

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The "creek" at the bottom of the descent.
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The road was rougher, with some annoying washboard sections, as I climbed up from the dry creek.

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There was some sort of Christian camp out here in the middle of nowhere on this terrible road.

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After that, the washboard was terrible - as bad as any in my memory. I weaved all over the road trying to avoid it. I was most successful riding on the very edge of the road, in the soft dirt. It made for very slow progress.

I could see ahead of me that the road looked different. It was blazing white in the sun. But  I couldn't tell if it was gravel or pavement.

Finally I reached it, and was very happy to find that I'd finally reached the paved section of the road.

What a relief.
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I did a long, fun descent into the valley below. I was in an agricultural area now - hay and corn. But why no soybeans? I've seen lots of irrigated fields of corn on this trip, but no beans.

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I found the juxtaposition of these messages funny.
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I stopped in Lingle, population 468, and went into Ty's Pit Stop, a convenience store with a few tables to sit at. I bought a large fountain Diet Pepsi and a lemon lime Gatorade and sat down. As is my custom, I did some people watching, and conversed with the store employees, in this case a young woman and a woman about my age. The young woman was not old enough to sell alcohol, so when someone came in to buy beer, she shouted out "Alcohol!", and the older woman would appear to complete the purchase.

An old man driving an RV walked in. He seemed confused in general, and confused specifically about where he was. He asked the two women, "How do I get to South Dakota? What town is this?"

They told him he was in Lingle, "L-I-N-G-L-E". Spelling the name of the town for him did not seem to help. He seemed surprised to learn that he was in Wyoming.

I observed him walk back to his RV and spread out a big Rand McNally road atlas across the steering wheel. Old  school!

I asked the two employees if they had any lodging recommendations (or warnings) for when I stopped for the day in Torrington. The young woman immediately answered "The Cobblestone Hotel". The older woman named one of the cheaper, older, and poorly reviewed mom-and-pop motels. The young woman expressed surprise at this recommendation, but the older woman "I stayed there. It  ain't so bad!"

I left the friendly store and took a few photos of Lingle. It seemed pretty nice.

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I headed out of town on another empty state highway. Scenery was pleasant but unexceptional.

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I arrived at the outskirts of Torrington and turned onto a busy US highway through town for  about a mile. Nothing looked too interesting except a massive grain elevator.

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I've basically given up both on camping as well as searching for cheap lodging on this tour. I checked into the Cobblestone, another nice mid-price hotel. There was a supermarket a few blocks away, and I walked there to purchase half a gallon of chocolate milk and two liters of Diet Pepsi.

Back in my room, I ordered a pizza from Dominos.

Some will scoff, but I believe this diet is keeping me going on this tour.

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Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 1,553 miles (2,499 km)

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Kelly IniguezSalted nut rolls and V-8 juice. Don't knock it until you've tried it!
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1 week ago
Mike AylingWell done on the gravel!
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1 week ago
Jeff LeeTo Kelly IniguezI've never seen this "nut roll" you've mentioned. I used to eat Payday bars, which are available everywhere of course, but I got burned out on them.

Not a big fan of V-8 juice, but I should try it on a bike tour.
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1 week ago
Kelly IniguezTo Jeff LeeI'm not sure at what point I tried V-8 juice on tour. I'm sure it's the salt. The first year I took up the habit, I came home and bought a half gallon of V-8. It sat in the fridge forever! It just wasn't as tasty when I wasn't sweating gallons while bicycling hours every day. V-8 is definitely a touring thing. It's getting hard to find now. It's not a popular drink. I didn't find one tonight. But yesterday I had two, to make up the deficiency.
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1 week ago
Jeff LeeTo Mike AylingThanks!
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1 week ago
John EganYou da man!
I did mention the descent down Goshen Rim -
but there is no way to tell conditions from year to year.
Sorry about the washboards.
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1 week ago
George HallPaper maps are "old school?" Well then, I guess I'm guilty as charged. I prefer to have a paper map in the map holder on top of my handlebar bag and follow it all day, and/or have a cue sheet with mileages that I reference as I'm riding. I do use a GPS, but only when necessary and/or as a backup to my paper map/cue sheet. But in the interest of complete disclosure, I have used a preloaded RWGPS route on my phone RWGPS app so that it gave me verbal commands for turns once when I was leaving in the pre-dawn hours on a route that had a lot of complicated turns from county roads - I wouldn't have even been able to see a paper map while I was riding in the dark - so I guess I'm not totally old school. Oh well, you youngsters would be at a loss if you ran out of battery - paper maps don't have to be charged. :
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1 week ago
Paula MartinWe waved in your general direction as you passed north of us! Never been to Lingle. We don't spend a ton of time outside Laramie. Can't wait to read the rest!
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1 week ago
Jeff LeeTo John EganThanks!

Unlike "The Harley Guys" the guy in the pickup truck told me about, I did not turn back 😉
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1 week ago
Jeff LeeTo Paula MartinThanks, Paula!

It you do venture from Laramie, Medicine Bow might be worth checking out. The old hotel is interesting.
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1 week ago