Lander WY TO Muddy Gap WY - 82 miles.
By David Hardy
We finished our evening in Lander over pizza, where we met a couple from Edinburgh, Paul and Elena, who are riding the Divide-basically the off road spine of the continent from Banff to Mexico. Very intrepid couple.
A rested and cleaner group of scouts met the day, but it would prove to be a long one. Due to a math error we miscalculated the distance to our next stop, Muddy Gap.
We started out strong through the Great Basin of Wyoming, but about ten miles in we noticed the wind picking up. And up.
Our speed dropped by about a third.
By then we had realized our math error, we had gotten a late start, and we had about 75 miles to go. The decision was made to eat snacks and delay lunch. It would prove to be much delayed.
The first group, Max, David, Andrew, Brian and yours truly, led the way. The wind was blowing right down our throats at 25mph. We climbed and descended for miles through prairie and pronghorns.
Finally we spotted in the distance Jeffrey City. Basically a bunch of shacks with a bar. The Split Rock Cafe looked like it was designed by Quinten Tarantino.
I entered first to see if they could feed us. "No problem" said the bartender. A few dogs ambled over and decided not to bite me. You can also smoke at the cafe, btw.
But soon the cheeseburgers and chili plates arrived and the gorging ensued. These boys eat like it's their last meal.
Next stop, the romantically named Muddy Gap-about 75 minutes away. We hammered through the wind and in the late afternoon reached the convenience store that would be our home for the next 12 hours.
The frazzled clerk offered us a strip of grass by the highway for $10 per tent. Ed talked her down to $3.
Picture the only gas station for 25 miles and you get the picture.
Did I mention it was windy? We hunkered down in the lee of the Muddy Gap sign, jammed in tight as night fell. It was surreal.
I told the boys a few ghost stories and soon everyone hunkered down in their tents to endure the night. Ed and I went cowboy style-no tent-just wind, coyotes and all night travelers getting gas and staring in awe at our little roadside village.