Saturday, June 26, 2004
Dubois to Lander, Wyoming
We departed Dubois around 9:30 am. It was my turn to lead and I was happy that our route required few turns. We climbed steeply into the Wind River Mountains. It didn’t take us long to start encountering patches of snow. We came upon a sign warning us that we were in a Grizzly bear area and special rules applied. We weren’t sure what the rules were but decided the best thing to do was to be a moving target. We stopped several times to take photos of the magnificent scenery and were amazed at how many mosquitoes there were. Eventually we passed Mosquito Lake which explained why there were so many in our area. Several times the road conditions became so difficult because they were wet we had to slow to a crawl to maintain control of our bikes. Jonathan’s KLR with its knobby tires didn’t have as much trouble as I had with my more street oriented tires.
We had lunch in Boulder, Wyoming and then continued on our journey. We encountered many cattle along the road. We surprised three Pronghorn Antelope and they ran from us at around 60 miles per hour over uneven ground. We also rode through a very large herd of sheep along the road that was guarded by a yellow lab that didn’t want to get up from his reclined position. Later on we followed four extremely large bulls down a dirt road. They didn’t feel like getting out of our way so we stayed behind them for 100 yards or so before we could slip past them.
The high point of the day was riding along the Continental Divide for around 15 miles. The view on each side of us was spectacular. Other than the road we were on and a fence next to the road we could see no other man made structures in any direction for as far as we could see.
The last leg of our journey took us into South Pass, a restored 1860’s mining town. Several miles from it we encountered moderate raining and hail. The road became extremely slippery and I was afraid I was not going to be able to keep the rubber side down. I slid down the steep hill leading into South Pass and was very happy that I was able to keep the VStrom upright. We decided to take a tour of the town and felt it was well worth the time we spent there. All the buildings were in excellent shape and were decorated and furnished as they would have been in the 1860’s. We then rode the final five miles to Atlantic City where we met BJ at 5 pm. Unfortunately there weren’t any motel rooms available so we decided to ride/drive to Lander and spend the night there. After trying unsuccessfully to find a room at four different motels, we finally found one that would take pets. We were warned that there was a Pow Wow in progress and that some of the Indians were staying above us and we could expect them to be noisy when they returned later in the evening. We never heard them at all.
Before dinner we drove the sixteen miles to Ft. Washakie to watch the Pow Wow and the Native American dancing. The Arapahoe and Shoshoni were the most prominent tribes represented but there were also other groups who were competing for cash prizes. There was a large outdoor ring surrounded by bleacher seats where the Indians, dressed in their native costumes, danced to the beat of drums and chanting. There were a few non-tribes people there and we didn’t exactly feel welcome at the event. We watched the dancing for around thirty minutes before a rain storm finally drove us back to our car and Lander.