We ride from Durango, Colorado to Devil's Tower in Wyoming (see map), total of 1695 kilometers in 21 days. We take one day off in Boulder, Colorado, because there are too many brewpubs to visit in one night. However, we ended up riding a couple of extra days in order to get out of Wyoming.
We have had the fair share of climbing in the vicinity of Bloomington, Indiana, where we live, so we did not expect climbing to be a problem, even with all the cargo on our bikes. And it was not. The only thing we were a bit worried about was the altitude, and for a reason; it almost killed us the first day.
People told us that we should not go to Wyoming, because it is so uninteresting (i.e., easy and boring). We thought that, too. But when we hit the headwind in plains, we missed the mountains. Despite the mountains and the wind, both states seem pretty bicycle friendly to us. Colorado towns, especially Boulder, have an extensive network of bikelanes. Wyoming roads have wide shoulders and relatively low traffic. But what especially made it nice to ride in Wyoming was the fact that they cleaned the roadkills from roads as soon as possible! By the way, my favorite passtime on the plains was either to translate miles yet to ride into kilometers or to estimate distances to far-away places; in the latter I became pretty good at.
Wyoming is definitely not a place for vegetarians. And no such thing as smoking ordinance is applied there, either. What we found interesting in the Cowboy country, was the attitude towards the police. It was generally considered a friend; one to call when you need help, one to give you a ride home when you have had one too many to drive. This is certainly not the case in Indiana, I have heard ...
We planned to do a lot of camping throughout our trip, but we ended up camping only for two nights; one at Schofield pass in Colorado, the other at Devil's Tower KOA campground in Wyoming. We expected Colorado to be full of cosy campgrounds with good services, but that's not what we found. We planned our tour from city to city, but there were no campgrounds around cities. They were always from 5 to 13 miles out of town, with vault toilets, and no showers. Colorado weather did not give as too many chances to camp, either. It was more than a rule to have afternoon thunderstorms; not an optimal time to put up the tent. Finally, we were just too exhausted to rough it.
In the next pages, the actual riding time is given, rest stops excluded. Our days were usually from eight to twelve hours long, with a couple of exceptions. So here is our story, enjoy!
-- TnT (2003)
The First Day