This day was supposed to be about 52 miles, and would have been if we had been able to find the campsite--note that I did not say campground... but campsite. We set up our tents in a cow pasture, complete with cow patties every three feet...
We left Pinedale, John sitting on the corner with a final cup of real coffee.The first 30 miles was a cinch--on pavement. We had some ups and downs, but no serious climbs until the end of the day (and not on pavement!). It was a warm morning, and we removed our jackets and legwarmers within a few miles of Pinedale. We made the turn at Boulder, which is really just a corner store and gas station. When we got on the gravel road, we continued with rolling hills for a while. This was high desert--no trees, no shade, no relief from the heat. Amazing how quickly we went from being too cold to being overheated. I found out later that this was the hottest day so far this summer here--96 degrees!
After lunch at a historical marker for Buckskin Crossing, which we ate under a bridge to get out of the sun, Lynn came by in the van and we refilled our water bottles. We turned on to Forest road 132, and started to climb. We climbed almost 1,000 feet in altitude in little over 5 miles... and the road was not a smooth one! Loose gravel and larger stones, and no trees, no houses, little traffic. It was a very desolate ride and I was glad to not be out there by myself. Here is a photo of Eli crossing a cattle guard--we crossed a lot of them on this trip, since there are a lot of free range ranches out here.
At the crossroads where we had to decide to go to Little Sandy Creek (our intended destination) or Big Sandy Creek (a real campground) there were 5 of us--Brian from Kansas, John, Steve, Eli and me. We made the right turn, and started up toward the continental divide. We saw the creek where we were supposed to camp, but no Adventure Cycling triangle indicating which little dirt track to take... so we investigated several of these and did not find any indication that it was our place. We continued on, all the way up to the continental divide, knowing that was too far, and tracked back down looking for our cow pasture. On the way down we me up with Brian from Texas and Judy, who had gotten a 10-mile lift up the climb in the back of a red pickup truck, and Joe, who had ridden his Schwinn all the way. We all settled in at the point where Little Sandy Creek crossed the road and cooled off in the creek waiting, and waiting, and waiting... Mike rode by, riding solo, and we flagged him down. Lynn finally showed up in the van--she had been at the campground at Big Sandy Creek... Brian from Kansas got in the van with her to go get the trailer while the rest of us languished in the sun for a couple more hours. Dianne and Ray cycled in; they had gotten a late start due to troubles with Dianne's rented bike.
Finally the van came, and Ray showed us the little dirt track that ran down to the cow pasture where we set up camp. I put on my bathing suit and soaked my sore knee in the cold waters of Little Sandy Creek. The designated cooks prepared our meal, which was very tasty--bean burritos, and brownies. Most of the people in our group walked up the hill to a campfire, and sang songs and generally had a good time. I stayed back in my tent and elevated my leg... I heard later that Brian from Kansas played a mean guitar at the campfire. Sorry I missed it, but my focus is on babying my leg along to complete this ride.