Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another bucket list trip and assorted July items

It seems that the older I get the fuller my Summers are getting to be. For instance, the end of June my dentist suggested that a new growth in my mouth should get tested. So Jan and I are off to Mayo again for a biopsy, which led to two days of tests, which led to outpatient surgery at St. Mary's in Rochester on the 10th. Anyhow, 10 days later the stiches let go and my internist, Dr. Anderson said "maybe you should go back to Mayo and have THAT checked out". So here we go again, Jan and I to Rochester for a follow-up. My regular doctor there said " don't worry about it, just keep it as clean as possible". With that prognosis my Wyoming trip was back on. The next morning I was on the GS headed west to Hot Springs, South Dakota. After the time we spent there about a month ago, I am starting to get real familiar with that town. The only problem was the fact that it hit 106 in that area as I was coming down from Rapid. The next morning I was off to the south, stopping at what is a ghost town now, Ardmore. At one time it looks as if it was a thriving small town but now it is mostly deserted. One odd thing about this town is the number of old cars sitting in yards. One house looks to have 30 or 40 Ramblers etc. bunched around the yard, and that was not the only group of older vehicles there. From there it down past Ft. Robinson to Lusk, Casper, and Lander, Wyoming. It is a long desolate haul from Casper to Lander, which I have done several times. That is a problem about Wyoming, if you want to get from one end of the state to the other, there aren't many options as far as roads go. From Lander, in the morning, I headed into the Wind River range on a great road through a state park. It was paved up through the switch backs to a couple of lakes, and then was about 20 miles of dirt to get back out on the route west that I wanted. One of the routes that I wanted to hit was a pass over the Wind River Range north of Pinedale. As I started up the road was paved for the first 20 miles or so and the turned to washboard gravel, the to rocky washboard gravel and then deteriorated some more. When I came to a sign that said "Union Pass 32 miles", I said "I am not going to put this bike through that, and who knows how far it is from the pass to civilization on the other side? That meant a detour back to Pinedale, up through Jackson, past the Grand Tetons, ending up at Riverton. I have to admit that it was a scenic detour for sure, but a long one, to end up close to where I had spent the previous night. The next day was up through Wind River Canyon, always a terrific ride, to Greybull, and then up into the Big Horns. I'll throw in a few from that climb too. Near the top of the pass I took a side road that I had tried to make a couple of years ago but was blocked by snow. This gravel/dirt road turned out to 34 miles long before I got down on the east side of the big Horns. The thing that I have a little trouble with, coming down the east side on the mountains on a steep, rocky, and narrow trail, I met a pickup pulling a 5th wheel camper screaming up at the bottom. I cannot imagine being able to get enough traction on that slope to pull that trailer up hill. Plus that there were some fairly tight switch backs on the way up. It's not like if you couldn't make the grade you could just turn around and go back down. I did not wait around to see if they made it or not. I spent that night in Spearfish at the same Super 8 that we have stayed in multiple times. It was the week before Sturgis and the bikes were thick already. I think that there are a lot of riders that go out there ahead of time to avoid the crowds. The next morning I took a round about route through Spearfish Canyon, up to the Terry Peak lodge area, and down to Sturgis. Things were moving right along there, with vendors getting set up, and the bars getting cranked up. Luckily this year looks like the weather is going to cooperate. From Sturgis it was out across the plains to Gettysburg where I made contact with an Air Force buddy John Wilson from 50 years ago. I still think to myself, my God that is a half century ago. Anyhow John and his wife Kris were still in Watertown when I rolled up, so after he told me where the key was, I went in and made myself at home. I admit it did feel a little strange opening the door for them when they got home. They took me out for supper at a resort over looking the Missouri river. Around sunset it was very pretty on the east shore of Lake Oahe. After a good nights sleep and a tasty breakfast we sat around and talked for a couple of hours and I saddled up and headed for home, arriving there around 5:30 in the afternoon. So ends my Wyoming trails bucket list trip with a little more than 2300 miles added to the total. Oh yes, before I forget, the surgery that I had on the 10th, the chunk that they took out this time took 2 days to diagnose, but it was squamous cell carcinoma again, but they said that the edges are clean. I guess that if I can get another 6 years out of this one, more surgery won't be the end of the world. Although, if this keeps up I may run out of tissue in my mouth to remove, then things might get really interesting. So anyhow that is it for now. Lots of time when I am riding I have a lot of free time to think about things, and I keep coming up with all kinds of clever things to blog about, but the sitting down and pecking them out with 2 fingers is

 a little daunting. So read and comment please.