Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July from Gillette, Wyoming, the nation’s largest exporter of coal!  We passed about 8 mile long trains full of coal on our ride in today.  Interesting.

I haven’t updated in a while because of lack of internet access and time, but it’s been a good couple of days, weeks, or however long it’s been.  I tend to measure time in states or rest days, so it’s been a good couple of states!  I expected most states to kind of blend together, but I’ve been amazed at how different each state is.  South Dakota was nice to bike through with pink roads, smallish hills, fields with cows grazing, and small towns.  Yesterday was one of my favorite days this summer as we rode through the Black Hills.  It was pretty challenging as the Black Hills seem almost like mountains to me, but it was beautiful.  We stopped at Mt. Rushmore which was fun to see and on our way out, my group saw some mountain goats very close to the road.  I had never seen mountain goats before and was surprised at how furry they are!  We also biked through a large area which a forest fire in 2000 had destroyed.  It was interesting to see the contrast between that barren, desolate area and the dense forest every else in the hills.  Another high point of our ride yesterday was meeting a few other bikers.  We met a guy from Switzerland who is biking by himself from Boston to San Francisco and two college students from Indiana biking from there to Seattle.  All three carried all of their gear on their bikes and made what we’re doing seem easy.  The two from Indiana ended up spending the night with us at the church we stayed at so we shared stories with them.  Their approach is very different from ours as they don’t plan their stayovers in advance at all.  They roll into a town and figure out where to spend the night once they’re there, and they haven’t spent any money on a stayover yet!    They also change their route as they please and don’t have any deadlines for when to reach any destination. 

We crossed into Wyoming at the end of yesterday and today rode through very dry land with sagebrush everywhere.  It smelled delicious.  We had a tail wind today which made the ride fast and relaxing especially after yesterday’s long day.  We’re staying at a recreation center tonight equipped with everything we need; showers, laundry, and food!  Apparently it’s dinner time now, so gotta go.

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