Hello from Rock Springs station 1! The past few days have gone really well. I left Salt Lake City on July 25, and the crew there was very nice to me on my last night. It was another firefighter’s birthday on shift, so we got to have cake. Otherwise everyone was very interested in and supportive of the bike trip.
I’ve gotta say though, I had one heck of a time getting out of Utah. The first forty miles were not terrible. There were two major climbs, but the wind was with me and the weather was cool. The second forty was kind of wild. I think I biked on gravel and dirt more than the road!
Google maps has been pretty good to me on the trip thus far, but for yesterday’s ride it had routed me onto some gravel paths. The route didn’t look too good, and it went straight into the mountain side. I had been following a highway frontage road thus far, so I opted to keep following the frontage road and then eventually merge onto the interstate, I-80. Though I wanted to spend the least amount of time possible on the interstate. To make a long story short, the frontage road started out paved, then turned into gravel, and finally into a barely recognizable path of rocks, sand and dirt. The bike was fishtailing every 10 seconds or so, and I was constantly veering left and right to avoid holes and puddles. I eventually had to commit to walking the bike along a railroad track. After a mile or so the gravel frontage road started up again, and I met up with a railroad worker.
He set me up with water (thanks!) and gave me some great advice about the upcoming path. The good thing was that I was almost to the interstate, the bad part was that the path went through private property, and the lady living on the property did not like visitors. I told the worker there was no way I was going back on the “road” that I had just travelled around. So he gave me some advice. “Ok,” he said. “You’re gonna have to go forward, and open the gate and go through. You’ll head straight for about a mile or so, and then you’ll reach a fork. When you hit the fork, GO LEFT. The right branch goes right by the woman’s house. When you go left you’ll pass by a bunch of cars and other items. Don’t look. Don’t stop. Just keep pedaling!” Sure enough, the guy was exactly right. When I got close enough to see the house I darted left, and sure enough I was surrounded by hundreds of cars in the lot. I travelled as fast as I could. Finally, I made it to the final fence, threw my bags and lifted my bike over, and then I was back on the interstate! I was so glad to be travelling on pavement again. Sometimes the littlest things can seem like big adventures.
I rode the last 15 miles into Evanston on the interstate, and once in town I stopped to visit the local fire station. There were four or five volunteers firefighters there, as they had responded to the station for a reported car accident. Everyone was extremely helpful to me, and of course when I told them what I was doing they asked if I was alright in the head. The firefighters helped me fill air into my tires, and then showed me their rigs. On the back of every fire truck is an image dedicated in memory of two Evanston firefighters that died in the line-of-duty in 2005. The firefighters told me that there was a structure fire with a report of children inside, and that initially the crew thought it was an attic fire because of a minimal amount of smoke on the first floors. A smoke explosion occurred, and both firefighters lost their lives. Following the incident the Evanston Fire Department created an honor guard for firefighter ceremonies, funerals and other events, and they constructed a monument honoring their department’s fallen firefighters outside of their station. I was very impressed to see how the Evanston Fire Department took positive action to honor those lost in a tragedy.
I am currently writing this post from the Rock Springs Fire Department station 1, and I sure do have a bunch to write about that happened today. The captain and I just finished up some much needed bike maintenance and cleaning. But, it is pretty late, so I will save that information for another post. Have a good night, and once again thank you to everyone who is supporting me throughout this trip. It means so much.