Delayed my departure until after 11, wishing I could have sat in the cosy Lyman library all day. Today I wore my warmest clothes :
2 pair socks
Thin waterproof coat
I'm so glad I picked up the gloves at Walmart in Evanston and the sunglasses were a godsend for keeping snowflakes at bay. It really wasn't that bad, except it took 20 minutes to warm up and the same after each stop. All that mattered was keeping warm and dry. The cycling took care of itself. Parts of me were toasty warm most of the day, but the usual suspects of feet and hands were pretty numb throughout. Every mile or so for 60 miles there was a billboard advertising Hotel America (60 miles away). Perfect families taunted me in luxurious hot swimming pools, jacuzzis and snuggled up in Egyptian cotton. At least they were something to lose myself in and gave rise to an emotional response. There was a herd of cows and cowboys with lassos before I left Lyman, then I saw an antelope. Often when I go on a long ride I get a yearning for a certain kind of food and although I'm hungry, only that one item will hit the spot. A couple of days ago it was coffee ice cream. Not today obviously; in fact today's craving was brought on by the brown buttes speckled with white, reminding me of chocolate cake mix when the flour and cocoa are added. I would have loved to be somewhere cosy with a slice of my Mother's chocolate cake and a coffee, listening to the Archers, or anything on Radio 4 delivered by a Home Counties plummy vocal. Yes, I was homesick today. I missed silly things like Countdown, pansies and Branston Pickle. I was also reminded of home by a large haulage firm called England, printed on the side of their trucks in a red Gothic script. I had my lunch in the dry, at an exit doubling back under the Interstate, also providing a good place to urinate. From Green River onwards impressive buttes stood erect against the grey sky, straight out of a Western. Their lower slopes were snowy, yet because the rocky tops have straight sides, the snow doesn't stick and they remain darkly threatening. I go into a bit of a daze on such roads as this and a couple of times drifted down exits when my bike blindly followed the curve of the shoulder. I also have to remember to look behind when crossing these exits, in case a vehicle is turning off at high speed.
Came off at Rock Springs, as the snow had switched to needles of pain. This is where I hooked up with Denese, another Pixie Pit player, in her house beautifully decorated in warm earth tones. From Jamaica, she worked in mental health and is also a member of the LDS church, the fastest growing denomination in the world. Denese and Steve had invited a couple of their work colleagues along for a chicken buffet and a game of you know what. A photographer showed up too, from the Mining Rocket, a local paper, the name of which bears witness to Wyoming's coal-mining, in addition to the oil and gas reserves. He doubled as a reporter and took some pictures of us starting to play. We played two four-player games and I've never known Scrabble to be such a springboard for humour, with plenty of word-based jokes, although they wouldn't seem so funny written down. Denese was the star of the show however, easily triumphing in both bouts and her tour de force was going out with ALCOVED on a triple word. I challenged, but this adjectival form was there in black in white. We watched some TV, which made a nice change for me, as either I can't get motel sets to work or I endlessly trawl the cables aghast at the endless stream of garbage that some people out there must actually enjoy. We watched two episodes of a comedy cop show called Monk, where the eponymous cop shares his Christian name with me, but that's where the similarity ends as he is plagued by OCD. Denese offered me her bed to sleep on, while she took the couch. It would have been rude to refuse.
Awoke as if from deep sedation and for once I was the first person in an American household to rise, as Denese and Steve were not up until after 9. Denese made a delicious omelette packed with sausage, onion and peppers; but once again no caffeine to be had in an LDS home. It had snowed some more overnight to produce a thick blanket, although it didn't look too inhospitable in the sunshine and I pooh-poohed Steve's offer of a lift. I was determined to continue with my mission statement of using only peddle power up every hill and through any kind of weather. There was no answer when they phoned the one motel at my next stop of Wamsutter and the internet forecast 25 mph headwinds plus more snow, and still I was hellbent on cycling.