I’m on the road again for field research. This time I came prepared and brought my bike.
Last time I travelled to this area, I wrote about how this state inspires me as I drove through it.
Today, as I pulled off the road en route to my destination and put the skinny rubber to the single track, I realized that this state inspires me on the bike as well.
I first began exploring the state of Wyoming while assisting a geology grad student 8 years ago. It was my first summer in the west and I was still completing my undergraduate degree.
A journal entry from that time: I drove the 10 hours from Fort Collins to Cody. My joints were achy from sitting in the car as I dialed my Dad’s number and got out to stretch. He asked where I was and I looked around at the desolate landscape; a two lane interstate breaking up the monotony of rolling hills and brown grass waving in the howling wind. I laughed, replying “The end of the earth.” My eyes landed on the sign above the gas station and I interrupted my Dad’s laughter at my exaggeration, “No, really Dad, the sign has a big green Dinosaur on it.” I told him I was at a gas station somewhere between Colorado and Cody, Wyoming. As I fumbled with getting the 1970‘s style gas pump to work, I told him, “Even the pumps are archaic, they don’t even take credit cards.”
The roadside geology of Wyoming historically engages us to appreciate how this earth formed to what we know it today. The stratified layers create a rainbow of stories from oceans, to dinosaurs, to humans. I appreciate this landscape for the story that it tells us.
I try to conjure up my geological knowledge as I ride along on the red rim trail. From the cretaceous period to the Jurassic period, the layers change as I role along from red sandstone to white crumbly limestone. The flora changes as well from green bushes sparsely populated along the trail back down to sage brush.
It is unique, incredible, and most awe-inspiring. In the end, I managed an 1.5 hour ride over about 12 miles before heading into town and checking into my hotel room for the week. I am hoping for one more evening ride while I am here-fingers crossed, of course.
Where is your favorite place to ride or hike?
Any fun vacations this summer?