To the big town! Rawlins, WY

Monday July 6, 2009, 50 miles (80 km) – Total so far: 2,751 miles (4,427 km)

With only 42 miles to go, we slept in a bit.  It was warmer (49 today vs. 47 yesterday), and clear, with a nice south tailwind when we got rolling.  The North Platte goes right through Saratoga, so we had to climb up out of the river valley.  That nice tailwind pushed the mosquitoes along with us, until we dropped them on the first good downhill.

Looking back toward Saratoga from the top of the first hill to the north

Rolling hills most of the trip today.  There was a mule deer that we spooked a couple miles out of town, then several bunches of pronghorns (which I mistakenly referred to as antelope a couple days ago.  Well, the explorers and settlers called them antelope before the biologists came along!) along the route.  I passed one pronghorn, which then proceeded to cross the road in front of Virginia and run up the fence along with a passing car — she gets all the luck!

None of the hills were all that high, or all that steep, and the hills we passed weren’t that much taller, but they at least gave us something to look at.

Mystery walls

There isn’t much else to look at.  Grass, prairie, desert; sparse growth, whatever you call it.  There were several of these fences; I don’t know what they’re for, but somebody has spent some money building these things!  Finally made it to the “town” of Walcott.  Walcott consists of a diner (closed) and gas station with a few drinks for sale.

From there we got on the interstate (80) for 13 miles, into Sinclair.  Remember Sinclair gas, from years ago?  They still have Sinclair on the refinery there.  I’m not sure what they refine, there sure were a lot of coal cars hanging around.

Sightseeing along the interstate. Now imagine driving through this for 6-8 hours...

Sinclair refinery

On the way we passed the North Platte River again.  This was the first river since the Arkansas that showed any color.  I guess there’s not enough vegetation in Wyoming to hold all the soil when it rains.  One of the campers last night commented the Platte was the highest it’s been in 16 years, maybe the second highest ever, for this time of year!

From Sinclair it was a bit of work to go into the headwind to Rawlins.  We dined at KFC/Taco Bell, then I headed to the post office to ship home some extra clothes.  Union Pacific has a major line through here, and they have a refueling station for the engines downtown, at the top of a hill.  Pretty regular trains running through, but the only crossing is the UP yard crossing, so it’s not too noisy.  The wind makes more noise!

Rawlins isn’t really all that big; population of about 8,500.  I doubt anyone would know of the place, except that it’s the only town for 60 miles, and most of those are much smaller.  Still, there’s some friendly people here, and that makes things pleasant for us visitors.


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