We left Pinedale feeling fed, rested, refreshed. Even better, the first twelve miles out of town were slightly downhill and we had a strong tailwind all day.
We pedaled with the Wind Range Mountains on our left for hours. The scenery never stopped being breath-taking, though this entire ride could be described that way.
With the tailwind helping, we covered over 80 miles and arrived in Atlantic City, WY. Unlike the one in New Jersey, this one had a population of just about 54 people.
Camping was in the front yard of the bar/restaurant/store, nearly the only business in town. The following morning we'd be heading out across the Great Basin, a geographical anomaly that is on neither side of the Great Divide. As a side effect, it is a very dry place. The map told us we'd go 55 miles between potential water sources. Carry all you need. If only that was our only problem.
13.5 miles from our start, our day's ride ended with a bang from my rear tire. The old, well-ridden, and slightly abused rear tire started to come apart, which allowed the tube to poke through, which is bad for the tube.
But the tire was a bigger, more immediate problem. The fix involved me sewing the tire back together enough to inflate a new tube just enough to be able to walk the bike. Riding would stress the broken parts too much. Options were plentiful, good options less so, as is so often the case.
Going back to Atlantic City was 13.5 miles. Going forward to Rawlins was 127 miles and no matter how you slice it, that is a long walk.
Paul started riding, hoping to borrow a truck. I started walking, hoping Paul would have good luck before I walked the full 13 miles. As it was, I walked less than 8 miles before he showed up with truck. Good times.
Back in Atlantic City and for about twice the price of a new tire I got a new tire. That included delivery from the nearest town with a bike shop, over 25 miles away, and hours later, that still seems like a good deal.
Regarding riding the Great Divide Route, the question has been raised; why do we voluntarily do something that involves so much suffering. This question bounced around my head as I walked, and the answer came easily. We do this because the North and South Pole have already been explored. Because Lewis and Clark are no longer hiring. We do this, not because it is easy, for it certainly is not. We do this because it is hard, it is challenging, and it forces us to test ourselves and push our own limits. We do this because most people can't.
As a bonus, everyday we are reminded what a great and beautiful country this is. We are spending hours riding through history. Today we crossed the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express Route. The bicycles allow us to feel the sun and smell the dust. We've seen clouds of pollen leaving pine trees and herds of pronghorn antelope running past us. In this country you are free to travel at high speeds between destinations. The real question is why anyone not travel by bicycle if they could.