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Full Report: Day 10, Sept 29: Laramie, WY – Rock Springs, WY

Day total: 273 miles
Trip total: 3215 miles

I’m up early today. I first thought today would become a true getting from A-to-B day. Turned out to be that I was very wrong…

I head on west from Laramie. West? Shouldn’t I be driving east? Yes, I should, that would make sense. But I decided to head back to Salt Lake City. I wanted to see Antelope Island there and from there on it is up north to Yellowstone National Park. But to get there, I had to make a whole loop, adding approximately 1.600 miles to my original plan! Well, I don’t see why I shouldn’t do it!

So I head west indeed. The road leads me into the Snowy Mountains. I wonder how they came up with that name… Anyhow, what’s that, running along the road? A deer? No… An elk? No… It is different. Its head is colorful. It’s an antelope! Ha! And the GoPro camera captured it.

All excited as I am about the antelope, I ride into the Snowy Mountains. It is a relatively small mountain range. I guess that’s why there’s nobody there. No one. No nothing. Nada. On the mountain pass there’s nothing but absolute quietness. No sounds of cars. No airplanes. No people. No animals. No wind. Surreal. It is so peaceful.

I continue my way, the road winds its way down. The Trophy has no problem in finding its path. I ride. I have fun. I go pretty fast. Suddenly, a sign that says ‘Mirror Lake’. I turn my head quickly and see this pristine lake, reflecting the image of the mountains. But I’m too late. I’m already passed it. But my curiosity takes over. I have to see that lake. Full-on brakes. Mirror Lake, here I come!

So glad I turned around. It is just a lake, I know. But I love reflections in the water! Plus it is simply a freakin’ awesome little lake. I find myself spending an hour here or so. Some amazing pictures are the result.

I said it before, but I am amazed by the diversity that you can see in one day here when it comes to the nature. I rode in the mountains with snow this morning. Next thing I know, I ride in the desert. It is hot. Super hot. I am happy when I come across a gas station in a little place, the type of ‘god-knows-where’-town. Soon, I will be riding a dirt road, so I decide to lube the chain of the Trophy a bit extra, to protect it from what to come. I try to put the Trophy on the center-stand, but I can’t. It is too heavy. Have to unload the thing… Well that’s not going to kill me, although it gets close; I’m seriously overheating here!

Anyhow, I lube the chain, rotate the tire and the chain, and am about to put all my luggage back on. But what the hell is that shiny thing there, sticking out of my tire? Well be damned, there’s a freaking nail in my tire! Tire pressure is still good though, so it must have happened just now. I can feel air leaking though, and knowing I am going onto a dirtroad in the desert, that is not a very comforting thought.

Lucky as I am though, there’s a auto repair center right next to the gas station! Ha! Can you believe that! For those 2 cars they have here… The guy working there is very helpful though and within 5 minutes he has the nail out, sealed the leak, and the tire is ready to go again. I ask him how much I owe him. “eeeh let’s say $5”, he says. I give him $10. Keep the change. Thanks for your help amigo!

The tire-repair-guy asks me where I am going. Rock Springs, I tell him. “well that’s good”, he says, “that’s just down the I-80 here”. He’s shocked when I tell him about the dirt road that I want to take. “are you sure you don’t want to take the I-80? At least, if something happens, there’s people around and you won’t be stuck in the desert”. I tell him it is only 6 miles, the dirt part. “more like 26”, he replies. Yeah right like what does he know? Of course, the local turned out to be right.

It is 26 miles of dirt. Well more like solid gravel. The road is in pretty good condition actually, but still requires me to stand on my foot pegs for the entire length. And a Trophy is not made for that. Standing up makes for a very unnatural pose. It is freakin’ hard and my legs start to hurt after a while. Good thing I stop every now and then for a picture. It is beautiful scenery. Every now and then I have to really steer the Trophy to make sure I don’t ride into those huge holes in the road, but most of the time I let the Trophy ‘free-steer’. I had to get used to that in the beginning. I was holding on so tight to the handlebars, that every little movement of your front wheel feels like the bike is going to lose its grip. Like it’s sliding underneath you. And I had a tendency of over-correcting that. It is much easier to hold a looser grip, so the bike will correct itself. It takes a little practice, but once used to it, it rides quite easily.

However, after 26 miles of dirt road, I am happy to see the tarmac again. And it is black with bright yellow lines. Whoohoo! It is funny how relieved you feel once you get back to the real road again. Although I liked the dirt road a lot, the Trophy is simply not made for it. The road that I am on now, is 2 days old. The asphalt was put down 2 days ago, the striping was done yesterday and now there was just some shoulder work to complete, the road workers tell me. Crazy road workers by the way. But so would I be in their position. Can you imagine? Being stuck in the desert, stopping traffic, meaning 2 cars per hour or so? They started giving names to all the animals they saw,  threw rocks at the tons of empty water bottles that they just drank before, and used the stop-signs for swordfights…

That night, I am happy when I reach the hotel. I arrive, get some of my luggage off, go to check in… They can’t find my reservation. Then the girl behind the counter knows why: “aaah, you’re booked into the Homewood Suites, that’s just across the streets”. I was at the Hampton Inn… Oops. Sorry. How embarrassing. I never understood how that could happen to people, and now it happened to me… Maybe I am just tired for today. What was supposed to be a simple from A-to-B day, became a day with an awesome time in the Snowy Mountains, a flat tire, and 26 miles of dirt… that probably also explains why I am washing my hair with body lotion instead of shampoo… Time to get some rest!

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