In the 50s today and with a boisterous westerly wind that had me bobbing along across a dull, desolate swathe of southern Wyoming, with its precious oil and gas reserves. First stop Bear River State Park on Mike's recommendation, and although picturesque, I didn't see any animals apart from buffalo. This is where I had my lunch, having been working in the library, and it was after 2 pm by the time I got going on the freeway, although it was only 45 miles to Lyman. Plenty of dead hare in the shoulder, exposing pretty white bellies speckled with blood. The views really were tragic, until I reached the top of a hill and it opened out into a creamily-lit spectacle of buttes and the silver peaks of the Uinta Range 50 miles to the south, rising to 13,000 feet. Today I recorded a new highest daily average speed of 16 mph and a new top speed of 49.5 mph, shattering my previous record by nearly 5 miles! I'm still gutted that I didn't make myself more aerodynamic to break the 50 barrier.
The one horse town of Lyman lies a couple of miles south of the Interstate thankfully and it was there that I spent an uneventful Scrabble-free night in another miserable motel. I couldn't believe it cost $55 in such a remote place and I was even more non-plussed when once again working the remote control was beyond me. I also have a problem with trying to lock doors here, can't fathom why switches on lamps require two turns before they go on or off and isn't it about time the Yanks got with the programme in the bedding stakes, and replaced their sheets and blankets with duvets – or do they sound too French? There was one saving grace to the room however, in the form of a dazzling picture, which was one of those paintings that's so bad it takes your breath away. It was an over-egged, lurid green landscape and half the surface was flecked highlights, and the paint seemed to have been applied in haste with the the end of a decorator's roller. The lady at reception said “Just you?” And at the Branding Iron Inn the young waitress used exactly the same words, emphasizing my loneliness so far from home, so that the words “Just you?” ricocheted around my head and echoed out across the wilderness. The teenagers in here stood out like a sore thumb, with their 'ghetto wear' of low-slung jeans and askew baseball caps, compared to the older generation's 'ranch look'. I asked if there were any local beers. The gormless girl understood the words, but not the question and said “We've got Budweiser, Bud Light...” which taste like carbonated water to me, so I stuck with tap water, although I don't know why they always fill the glass with ice when it's practically freezing outside. Snow is forecast this weekend... So, another buffalo burger and then back to my prison cell, replete with its 'wood effect' walls and chartreuse carpet.
Felt refreshed this morning, with no headache or stiffness in my back. Then I looked out the window... It was snowing. And to think it must have reached 70 degrees in NW Utah two short days ago. It's stupid to think this way, but I wish I'd headed south earlier, through New Mexico, the top of Texas, Oklahoma, etc. I bet that's what Chris did, the smart arse. The trail on him has grown colder than moose breath. I'd always wanted to go to Wyoming because it was cowboy country and so remote; now that I was here I got a bad vibe from it and the people, who haven't been as friendly as in other parts (apart from Mike's family of course). Felt strange to be having breakfast in the company of smokers, as in many states it seems to be legal. More iced water... A guy came in holding a fire extinguisher type thing, which he was attached to by a tube. Darn good coffee, especially after 48 hours without. I wonder if anyone has seriously contemplated joining the LDS and not been able to do it because of the no caffeine rule. Sorry God, but why did you have to make coffee so good? It would be a deal breaker for me anyway.