Day 21 Cheyenne to Lusk WY
The good south wind I had hoped for turned out to be a north wind at 10 to 15 mph. It was in the lower 40s and the wind chill was 33 when I left Cheyenne heading north. I wore my wind jacket till after noon. Chilly. Leaving Cheyenne I rode I-25 for a few miles till it became a mess of construction and then switched to Hyde Rd which parallels it once it gets north of most of the city. When Hyde ended I was able to jog over to WY 219 and finally, to get on US 85 again. This all took a little over ten miles. Then it was 57 miles on 85 to the next town.
85 is a good bicycling road with good shoulders (excellent in some parts, and always rideable) and light traffic. It doesn't have much in the way of services: I discovered a 'corner store' 25 miles down the road - it just opened last October, a nice rest stop 50 miles down the road - a few miles after I had to use the grassland alongside the road, another 'corner' store at about 55 miles and a, not very good, place to eat in Hawk Springs at 65 miles. Torrington is at about 90 miles and has all services.
Wow! That is pretty (desolate) country
Despite the wind, which was a pain, I was able to average over 13 mph to Hawk springs where I stopped to eat. There were several factors in this; higher altitude winds are less powerful, the wind wasn't constant - sometimes it was windless, and there was about 2000 feet of net altitude loss between Cheyenne and Hawk Springs. Another factor was that I was enjoying the ride. I like this wide open country. From Hawk Springs to Torrington wasn't as much fun - the wind was bad and the area isn't as pretty. Where I had really nice scenery (bluffs, vast prairie) before, now I had wheat fields.
When I discovered the first corner store, I was psyched for a 65 mile stretch with no services, but I stopped because I wanted to support anybody who would put a store out in the middle of nowhere! The man who ran it was very nice and I asked about other services. I was, because of the wind, planning to stop in Torrington. He suggested that I should ride on to Lingle which he said was 17 miles further on and had motels as well as an excellent Mexican restaurant. When I got to Torrington, I stopped for a snack, then headed to Lingle. Riding conditions had improved because the north wind had died down and I enjoyed watching long coal trains on the tracks beside the road (US 85 and US 26 on this stretch).
Coal trains, one empty, one full, on adjacent tracks
In Lingle, which was only 10 miles form Torrington, the Mexican restaurant was closed and there were no motels. Oops. I stopped at a nice cafe for another meal and contemplated what to do. It was 47 miles to Lusk and four hours to sundown. The wind was calm and the forecast, in Cheyenne said it would become S-SE late in the day. There was nothing between Lingle and Lusk but a lot of 'desolate' country. I was 100 miles from Lusk to Hot Springs SD, so if I stayed in Torrington I'd be faced with a 150 mile day tomorrow or a short day to Lusk. The coming weekend was the fourth of July weekend and I wanted to be out of tourist country before it started! I decide to ride to Lusk after supper.
It was a great ride, albeit a tiring one that was chilly near the end. I stopped only briefly along the way to take pictures and to pee. I made it to Lusk at sunset so I, barely, didn't need to mount my light. The wind did come up from behind me, there was hardly any traffic, lots of wildlife, great scenery, and the right mind set made some of the ride almost magical. Nice. I'm a bit sore from it, but it was well worth it.
Lusk at sunset