Tour Divide – Basin and Onwards
In the Basin.
Union Pass, also 9500 feet of altitude, took 8 hours to ride over in a head wind but gave more time to enjoy the stunning views descending again to huge converging rivers where fishing is enjoyed. I needed to buy a new bike pump as I had the opportunity to in Pinedale where it again felt luxurious to sleep on a real bed rather than camp.
Off at 6 am, we rode on to Atlantic City, with it’s population of 70, was a gold mining town until 70 years ago. It now thrives on tourists visiting the old gold mines but also hunters passing through, (bears, antelope and deer mainly). After a hot day’s riding, we stayed with Wild Bill who rents his cabins out to bikers mainly and the odd hiker. He said we may be visited overnight by a bear but the bear wouldn’t bother us! We showered, then had coffee and homemade cake while we heard Bill’s tales of hunting, fishing and how he met his wife on the internet. Dinner at the local pub included fries – again! We were so tired and wanted to be up for breakfast at 4 to set off soon after. This was because tomorrow’s riding involved crossing the Basin, 90 miles without water.
We left at 5, perfect timing as was just light enough to leave without lights. A beautiful morning, no wind and many deer. Beautiful sunrise. Great to stop and hear – nothing.
We passed the infamous Diagnous Well after 20 miles, Although we didn’t need water yet. It took over 11 hours to cross half of the hot and dusty basin and it will be 33 degrees tomorrow again with a strong headwind.
It was a slow day though with the heat and headwind. I’m having to use my arm warmers to protect my arms from burning in the sun. I will have to pick up some total sunblock at the next opportunity, possibly in a couple of days.
Halfway through the Basin, with it’s spread of oil wells, was the town of Wamsutter where we stayed for the night after another Subway meal, preparing for the next half of the hot and dusty ride.
The Basin’s oil pumps.
Breakfast at 5am, back at the Subway, ( a litre of chocolate milkshake, a processed cheese sandwich and a banana) and we set us off. I can only imagine that all passing traffic, covering us and filling our lungs with dust from the “road”, was associated with these oil pumps. There were still herds of beef cattle along the way seemingly without any obvious associated farm premises. Maybe it was the dust combined with the unusually high temperatures and rolling hills without any obvious pass made the Silver Snake museum in a tiny village called Savery seemed a long while in coming. Crossing the Basin ended with a killer of a climb of washboarded gravel but we then thankfully dropped on to an ample food spread laid on for any passing TDR riders. We stuffed our faces with chocolate milk, yoghurt, burritos, crisps and oat biscuits then continued on in to Colorado.
We headed off up a lush valley where horses grazed and deer, unafraid of our presence, continued to drink from a wide river. A jeep passed and we were offered a cool root beer. “Hi, my name is Kirsten. I’ve been spot watching so I knew you were coming. You’ve just 12 miles to go up the valley.” Kirsten is the infamous owner of a very mellow Brush Mountain Lodge where all TDR riders, north bound riders and riders pedalling up the valley for an overnight stay visit. We were immediately told to drink 2 glasses of iced water before we were allowed a beer whilst the pizza oven did it’s job. We sat outside on a beautiful balcony looking down the lush valley while humming birds flew around us while feeding. Fellow TDR riders were there. One who was biking with 2 guitars and his friend hoping to make a film of any regular TDR personalities along the way. I think we all declined the offer of weed! Our laundry was done, a huge luxury) and 3 of us enjoyed pizza wearing identical Brush Mountain shirts!
Philippa carrying extra water on her back. That’s 7 litres there!
Written on June 30th, 2018 by Staff Minion