We all make mistakes, but this one is inexcusable.
I let you, the loyal reader, down, and in turn, I let myself down, too. I hold this blog to a high standard and like a parent of a misbehaved child, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
There are no dogs in this post.
That’s hard for me to say, harder to put those words to text, but I know you’re smart. You notice these things and there’s no point hiding the truth from someone who has supported me this far into my journey.
I hope you will consider this as my formal apology. I will, nay, have to be better in the future. But for now, please accept these stories of lost credit cards, golfing sessions, and 19th-century mountain men.
Day 26 - Union Pass
With my credit card en route to Pinedale, I knew I had two days to get there before it would arrive. I also knew I was about 75 miles from the town so I could break up the riding into two, 40-ish-mile rides.
Following the same routine as always, I pedaled up a big hill, this one called Union Pass — the same trail that fur trappers and mountain men traveled to meet other traders living out West.
To my surprise, the uphill was the easy part. It was the 8-mile “flat” stretch following it that turned out to be the challenge. What started as a smooth gravel road quickly turned into a mess of washed-out rocks and a scatter plot of boulders blocking the trail.
But, the fun doesn’t end there. The road somehow got even worse as I went downhill. Where I thought I would make up some time, I found myself going slower than when I was pedaling uphill. No matter what route I took, Apollo had to bounce and roll its way over jagged rocks that I was sure would punch a hole through my tires. And, to put a cherry on top, I got caught in one of Wyoming’s infamous headwinds where it felt like the breeze was pushing my bike back up the hill, defying the law of gravity (what gives Isaac Newton?).
Thinking the ride was over, I arrived at a campsite? I added the question mark because I’m not sure if a dirt patch in a wide open field constitutes a campsite, but that was the place that my trusty guidebook encouraged me to camp. With no water available and the afternoon sun beating down on me, I considered my options.
Ultimately, the best decision was to push on for another 35 miles and make the journey to Pinedale in one day, rather than two. Summoning my strength, I put on my headphones, fired up some Beastie Boys, and got comfy for another 3 hours of riding.
After 8 hours on the bike, I couldn’t feel my butt, but I could see Pinedale. I checked into my hotel (sadly no package had arrived yet) and ordered my favorite comfort food: pizza. That and a good night’s sleep made the 75-mile day well worth it.
Day 27 - Zero Day?
Gaining another day on the book was awesome, but also unexpected. And so, I had another choice to make: rest up or push on. Since my credit card was still lost in the trusty U.S. postal service system, I figured I had earned a “zero day.”
If you’re having a Charlie from Always Sunny moment, (please see the video below) a zero day is a day where I bike for — you guessed it — zero miles. Effectively an off day for me to explore everything that Pinedale had to offer.
And, if you know me, you know I headed straight for the golf course. I played 9 holes, and while my score definitely wasn’t important (or impressive) what was important was that I felt mentally refreshed from biking all day.
Following my round, I also visited a must-see, Pinedale attraction: The Museum of the Mountain Man.
I know what you’re thinking: You’re incredibly jealous… and I can’t say you shouldn’t be. This place was a lot of fun. They explained the history of the fur trade in the American West, showcased Pinedale’s role in the Rendezvous Trade Festival held each year in the 1800s, and had a very detailed exhibit outlining the story of Hugh Glass — a famous mountain man portrayed by Leo DiCaprio in the movie, “The Revenant.” They even had the rifle that Hugh Glass wanted back so badly, it drove him to seek revenge from his deserters.
To cap off a relaxing day, I watched football at the Wind River Brewery and talked fantasy football with the locals for half the night. I got to be a Pinedalean for a day, and I dare say I fit in pretty well.
Day 28 - Back to Business
Feeling refreshed, I was eager to get back on the trail. But, there was still one problem: my credit hadn’t arrived, yet.
Fortunately, the clerk at post office took pity on me and bent the rules to intercept my package, which was originally slated to be delivered at 9pm that evening. And, while I would love to give her a shoutout for the kind deed, there’s an old proverb that I must avid by: snitches get stitches. So, with those wise words in mind, let’s just say thank you to “she who will not be named” and move on from there.
Today’s trail consisted of rolling hills of nothingness. But, this time I found it to be a bit more inspirational. I was trekking across a section of the Oregon Trail where countless pioneers made their epic journey west in search of a new life. I imagined horse-drawn carriages slowly moving across the landscape — and these folks didn’t have a fancy GPS tracker to guide them on their way.
Embracing my inner 19th-century mountain man, I set up a cowboy campsite just off the trail.
Hopefully, I can do right by the pioneers and complete my journey into the (relatively) unknown — or at the very least, beat my record on the Oregon Trail video game and not get dysentery and die.