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Series: Across The Great Divide

  • The farmer’s market in Steamboat Springs, Colorado is hopping – at least, for a pandemic.
  • My last crossing of the continental divide happens at Rabbit Ears Pass, along the way to the terminus of this trip: Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The sign marking the divide feels like an old friend who pops up to say hello every few days. But now I’m saying goodbye for awhile and it’s bittersweet – well, mostly bitter, actually.
  • I’m about three miles from the Colorado border and the sound of nearly a hundred black cattle crying and moving across this high desert valley is overwhelming. Dust kicks up from the animals’ hooves as men and women on horseback whistle and hoot, keeping them in line. Gray cattle dogs stalk the herd, rushing in and nipping the heels of any stragglers.
  • It’s evening and my hands are cold writing this. I’m in the high country again – finally! I’m a few miles north of the Colorado border at a campsite near the North Platte river. I’m surrounded by short pines, low mountains and aspen trees turning gold with the fall.
  • It’s a catchup day. I spend the morning finishing journal entries and then I set off towards Saratoga, about 40 miles away. My ride takes me to the company town of Sinclair, home to the refinery that employs many folks in Rawlins.
  • Lucas Medain, left, and his cousin Jesus "Eddie" Archuleta in front of a 1930s-era Chevrolet Archuleta just purchased.
    Day 18: Oil, Guns And Money
    Rawlins, Wyoming on a Sunday is pretty quiet. Most of the businesses on the main drag are closed. Pickup trucks cruise slowly towards Interstate 80, which connects this town to cities like Laramie and Salt Lake.
  • In the early morning light, this part of Wyoming is beautiful. The dry, desert mountains look orange and sharp. The foothills splay out like shadowed fingers digging into the flat, brown mud. A chorus of coyotes announce the sun’s arrival and I watch as the light creeps closer and closer to my tent.
  • ‘Jesus Is Lord.’ That’s what a weather-beaten and faded sign says along Jeffrey City’s main drag. It’s outside of a small, abandoned-looking church owned by a crazy person – at least that’s according to Byron Seeley, a potter who has lived in this ghost town on central Wyoming’s high desert for almost 15 years.
  • Lander, Wyoming feels like a college town. There are young people everywhere, hanging out at hip coffee shops, bars and breweries. My colleague, Wyoming Public Media correspondent Savannah Maher, tells me in a text that the twenty-somethings here are attracted to the area’s climbing and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • The day starts early. I need to make up time due to the snowstorm, so I have a 74-mile ride ahead of me, the longest of this journey so far. I grab a muffin and a cup of coffee at a local cafe and pedal off, wearing a puffy jacket, long johns and a knit cap underneath my helmet.