Cowboys 'n Jackalopes
Despite being Satan's birthplace, Casper seems like a great little city, with a few nice coffee shops, a few nice breweries, a jazz club (!?!?!) and Taubert's Western Store, which boasts 9 floors of the finest cowboy boots $400 can buy. Just take a look at these babies:
The rides over the last 2 days have been easy, fun, and rewarding: 56 and 54 miles, with a slight tailwind, over amazing terrain, with amazing views. The sandhills of Nebraska have given way to buttes and the slightly imposing Laramie Range in Eastern Wyoming. The plains are uniformly khaki and seem to stretch out to the hazy horizon, and in places the sky seems imbued with bands of faded reds and greens.
The train conductors lead mile-long coal trains and wave/sound their horns liberally. I realized a few weeks ago that all of the trains sound a major 6 chord-- I think it's a C chord, second inversion. For those of you who care (at all), that's also an A-minor 7, third inversion. Sometimes it's encouraging, other times mournful.
We've seen jackrabbits and buffalo and antelope ("Where seldom is heard a discouragin' word...) and even a few living and dead rattlesnakes. We rode through Glenrock, WY, which boasted (naturally) Glen Rock, a great sandy outcropping featuring hundreds of carved names and dates from Oregon-bound settlers throughout the ages.
I distinctly remember seeing a scene like this in Oregon Trail, the computer game we played incessantly during indoor recess in 3rd grade. It seems everyone on the trip has fond memories of fording rivers and hunting for bears and buffalo until the game grew disgusted with their excess and cut them off.
Oh, speaking of excessive, here's a few of our state sign pics in Wyoming and looking back into Nebraska. This is but a taste of the ridiculousness that takes place at every Bike & Build state sign photo-shoot.We're spending the next day-point-five here in Casper, and working on a Habitat site tomorrow.
I'm looking forward to it-- it's been a while for some of us (half the group was rained out in Ames) and my knee's bothering me, so it'll be good to let it rest a bit. Most of us are freaking out about being in Wyoming-- it feels a little too close for comfort to Seattle.
After being embedded in this routine, anything else (AKA the real world) seems downright terrifying.
Aight, enough from Casper. I'm glad so many people are reading and enjoying this blog (and Terra's) because I'm having fun writing it and sharing this crazy experience with all of you sane folks back home. I'll leave you with a few more pics, because sometimes those work better at conveying this place, and its space.-Sam