SEA TO SHINING SEA: A day of rattlesnakes, hot springs and wind

We pedaled through the refinery-company town of Sinclair, a few miles outside Rawlins. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 26, 2013

DAY 43 - Roadcombing across America.

Cycling miles and miles and miles gives you lots of time to look at the countryside and the margin just beyond the shoulders of the road.  Today we rode through high country desert: lots of sage brush, no trees, some hills there and there, really not much of anything except rattlesnakes and wind.  I was looking to add to my feather collection when my ears picked up a completely new sound.  Not a magpie or a car or truck approaching, usual sounds.  This hit my ears quickly, like someone shaking moroccos. sshhksshhksshhk.  It fell quickly into a slot in my brain that said rattlesnake.  I hollered to Becky that I was doubling back.  I swung my rig across the highway - nothing coming - and pedaled back to beyond where I heard the sound.  Pedaling forward, confirmation came quickly.  There, beside the shoulder and parallel to the shoulder was a very much alive rattler. Its rattle warned me and I took no chances.

"It's a live rattlesnake.  You want to take a look?"

"I don't like dangerous animals," said Becky.

Another mile or so and I saw another rattler, this time dead.  Then came a signpost for a dirt road: "Rattlesnake Pass Road." It sure came by the name honestly.

Up the Broadkill River, just southeast of Milton, there's a topographical feature called Rattlesnake Hill. Don't know how it got the name. Maybe Gov. Carey, the Wyoming governor from Milton, is involved.

We ground out 60 miles today.  The first 20 miles out of Rawlins, and through the refinery company town of Sinclair, were a gift.  Strong tailwind. The next 40 came with a strong dose of infamous Wyoming winds, mostly on our beam.  PIA!

Even with the winds taunting our progress we were still able to make 10.5 miles per hour.  Our total is now 1,789 miles.  Ahead of us this week is Hoosier Pass in Colorado, the highest point of our west-to-east journey. Somewhere around 11,500 feet.  We're camped tonight in Riverside, Wyoming, up above 7,000 feet.  We're climbing.

Night all.

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