One sore shoulder, two sore bums, bleeding money, running out of time, running out of towns and water, no real great place for Marty’s parents to pick us up, and my hair tie finally broke, so we decided to put our ride on hold in Rawlins, WY. But one little problem, how do we get home?
What a day…😳
Instead of having Marty’s parents come pick us up and waiting in Rawlins for 2+ days, we thought it better to rent a car and drive to their house in Bend, OR, more economical and time efficient. But naturally there are no car rental places in Rawlins. The closest places to rent a car were 100 miles to Laramie (in the wrong direction) or 105 miles to Rock Springs (in the right direction). But no problem, we’ll rent a U-haul to get to the car rental!
Haha! No we won’t! We biked down to the U-haul place from the hotel to see an empty lot (not what was shown on their website). The lady was kind and tried to help, but all vehicles that could be rented from the town of Rawlins were gone or reserved. Wow. Now what?
Well, Marty suggested hitchbiking. I’ve never hitchhiked in my life. But it was either get to Rock Springs or wait for Marty’s parents for two days in Rawlins OR just ride our bikes 100 miles. Except.. that’s 100 interstate miles, kind of dangerous. The other less scary option were some side roads, 130 miles. But without towns in between and no idea of where to stay, riding our bikes didn’t feel like a great option.
So we peddled to the end of town near the interstate turnoff. Both of us shy and embarrassed, we stuck our thumbs out at select trucks. After five minutes we gave up and went to the gas station and started asking people there. The goal was to ask at least 10 people. Most gave us a polite no, some really seemed to want to help, but didn’t have enough space for two bikes with gear and ourselves. One man told us there was a Flying J truck stop/gas station further up the interstate. So we peddled up the interstate a few miles to test out luck there.
Mind you, we have met people on the route that have been picked up, so we knew it was possible, but with there being two of us… we were growing discouraged and Flying J wasn’t proving to be any better than the other gas station. So, we decided to eat and rethink. Do we cycle to Rock Springs… do we call the parents and tough it out in Rawlins?
Marty called Mom and Dad to the rescue. They began packing up and would hit the road in less than an hour. We felt terrible. The drive is so long and not really that nice. Meanwhile, the only thing to see in town was the prison museum. Blah.
We decided to give begging one last shot. Bingo! WE FOUND A TRAIL ANGEL! A nice guy with a semi-truck was willing to take us to Rock Springs!!!! I couldn’t believe it AND I think he may actually have been the 10th person we asked… but not totally sure. Marty called his parents back who were literally just leaving the house.
We loaded our bikes in the back of the truck (which was massive!). Marty sat up front and I got to sit in the cab part on the bed. It was so interesting to see what the inside of these trucks look like and I think we lucked out with a clean guy. Marty chatted with him and found out he used to be Amish! Anyway, after about an hour and a half, he dropped us off and had about 30 minutes before the in-town car rental place closed. Marty called to let the lady know we could make it to the store in about 20 minutes (he had called this rental agency earlier at the U-haul place to make sure they had something); however, we found out that we actually COULD NOT rent a car with them since we were not going to be able to return it to Wyoming… WHAT?!! Fortunately the airport had rentals and were open until 10, but that was 17 miles away and neither one of us was interested in riding at that point. We decided to find a cab that could take us to the airport, but the challenge was trying to get our bikes in a cab… Fortunately, we called Marty’s parents who clearly could see that our thinking brains had run out of juice and Mom suggested one of us go pick up the car and while the other wait with the bikes. Phew… So we did. We broke down our bikes, unloaded all our gear and packed up and hit the road at an awesome 80 mph :). We made it to Ogdon, Utah and stayed at a really crappy and expensive Motel 8. The next morning we got up early and made the long drive back to Bend.
It was such a relief to see Marty’s parents and Joan even got me donuts!!! Better yet she showed us the list of all the gps stops she recorded, it was incredible.
After some great breakfasts, dinners, cocktails (awesome cocktails!), Marty’s parents took us the rest of the way home.
So, here we are back home… a little early, a little bittersweet. We both feel we made the right choice to end early, but find ourselves missing the trail. Marty has dreams of biking almost every night; I’m anxious to ride some of the hills around home to see if they’re any easier.
So what’s next? We will definitely continue our weekend trips around the Pacific Northwest. As for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route… we’ve got the maps, the know-how and the drive to complete it. We probably won’t be able to convince work for another 6 weeks off, so we’re thinking of doing it in two phases possibly next year. Any volunteers for support crew?!!