Friday, July 4, 2008

"Do you want to sleep in the sheep wagon?" - Day 11

We woke up this morning according to plan at 6 am. Travis made breakfast while I attempted to repair my rear flat tire. I succeeded in breaking the stem off of the first tube, and pinch flatted a second when I tried to insert it. This cost a few CO2 cartridges, which we were running low on. Travis was finally able to successfully patch it, but the delay meant we didn't leave Ranchester until 9:30.

A local recommended taking the frontage road to Sheridan, where we restocked on energy bars and flat tire repairing materials. The pump that I bought at REI in Spokane mysteriously started leaking around the head. I bought a schrader valve adapter, hoping that I could use the other half of the head. I also left my Vaseline in Ranchester, and so picked up some Bag Balm to cut down on chafing. From Sheridan we took Helen's advice and headed east on Highway 14. It was a pleasantly flat highway with a smooth shoulder.
Helen had also recommended that we head to Leiter for some of the best food around. We were headed that way until we saw an ominous sign in Clearmont indicating that we may want to stop there for at least water.
When we stopped in Clearmont for water, we caught word that the restaurant in Leiter wasn't cooking anything because their air conditioning was broken and it was too hot to fire up the stove. So we had lunch and some ice cream there. It was also pretty hot to ride, and while lounging in the shade enjoying our cool water and ice cream, we were invited to go to Arvada to a pig roast. Initially we were reluctant because we had wanted to reach Gillette today, but after being invited by the clerk and another patron, we realized that occasions such as this wouldn't come around very often and it was worth postponing the 40 miles. Plus, we were only 23 miles away from Arvada and could take it easy in the afternoon heat.

As we pulled into the restaurant in Leiter, I ran into some problems with my pedals again. This time my cleat had loosened so much that my shoe rotated around the cleat, making it impossible to unclip. So once again, I became a victim of the so called "clipless" pedals.
Our intention in stopping at the restaurant was to pick up some beer, because we figured that would add some value to the pig roast and we didn't want to have to mooch off of the kind people of Wyoming. We bought the beer and were offered ribs. This was an offer we couldn't refuse, so we wolfed down some of the best ribs we've ever had. The proprietor of the restaurant was an older lady named Martha. Her world paradigm was slightly different than Travis' and mine. When I told her I'd be spending the next year teaching English in China, she opined that if it were up to her then I'd be chained to the floor and she'd "let 'em rot." Hmmm.

On our way out of the restaurant with the beer, four fine ladies in pink drove up in a minivan. They informed us that they were also on the way to the pig roast to serve as bartenders and that we were cheating by bringing our own beer. Oops. As they left the parking lot, however, they headed west. Laughing, we pointed them in the right direction and said we'd see them in a little bit.
We expected to arrive as the party got started but our slow day became even slower as my patched tube lost pressure. Travis, it would seem, was right about the patched tubes having their integrity compromised. And my plan to use the schrader side of the pump failed as it is leaking on that side too. Once I repaired the tire, the bead didn't set right and I had a lump as I rode. So I went through another CO2 cartridge fixing that. An hour after the party started, we finally rendevouzed with Buzz's girls, as they were called.
The ladies formed a bowling team that was sponsored by Buzz, who owned the bar. He throws the pig roast annually on the 3rd of July so as not to compete with the bigger towns on the 4th. It's basically a huge potluck with live band and a bunch of people getting drunk, dancing, shooting off fireworks, and generally having fun. We offered our Clif Bars as a contribution to the potluck, but Buzz's girls said we should just dig in. And so we did.
Buzz doing what he does best

When asked where we planned to spend the night, we said we'd find a field nearby in which to pitch our tent. But our ever hospitable bartending friends offered us luxury instead, a 19th century sheep wagon complete with mattress and iron stove. We didn't dare turn down the opportunity to sleep in a sheep wagon in Arvada, Wyoming and promptly threw our stuff in before they could rescind the offer.
While a few people were shooting off fireworks of their own, everybody anxiously awaited the big show put on by Buzz himself. Now Travis and I didn't have high expectations for a fireworks display in this seemingly backwater community, but boy were we surprised. The show lasted at least an hour with enormously colorful displays. We later asked Buzz how he was able to afford the show. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that he saves all of the aluminum cans throughout the year from his bar and pays for the show with the proceeds from recycling them. That's right, a $910 fireworks show paid for by recycled aluminum.
Travis and I were very glad to have changed our destination to Arvada for the evening and express our gratitutde to the wonderful people of Arvada, Wyoming, especially to Buzz and his girls.

*Today I caught the cycle computer reading 65 mph outside the store in Sheridan. I think it's something in the anti-theft devices that throws it off, so I got another day without an accurate maximum speed reading.

No comments: