Posted by: bikedave | July 16, 2010

July 15, 6 miles west of Sweetwater Station, WY to Lamont, WY

This morning I left before Vicki.  I had only gone about 2 miles when I met an eastbound cyclist.  He was also doing a transcontinental ride, but from east to west.  He was part of a group ride with support provided by the Adventure Cycling Association.  I passed about ten more west-bounders from this group over the next 15 miles.

I soon crossed over the Sweetwater River. It is said to have been given it’s name after a mishap which occurred when a pioneer wagon loaded with sugar overturned while attempting to cross the river.

The Sweetwater River

The next 30 miles of my ride ran along the route of the Oregon Trail, and the Pony Express route.

East of Sweetwater Junction, WY

About ten miles east of Sweetwater Junction, I crossed over Ice Slough.  In pioneer times ice could be found about a foot below the surface until June or early July.

Ice Slough

Arriving at Jeffery City, WY, the first thing I noticed was what appeared to be a high school.  I saw that their athletic fields were not kept up very well, and wondered why.  A little further along, there was a sign that explained what I had seen.  Jeffery City had over 4000 residents in the early eighties, when the uranium boom was on.  When the boom went bust, everyone left.  There are now only about 30 people living there.  Much of the housing was mobile homes which have long since been moved elsewhere.

East of Jeffery City, I saw this herd of horses next to the road.  They were quite spirited, bumping, and biting and jumping around.

Wild horses?

Soon I passed these three antelope.

Up ahead you could see Split Rock.  Split Rock is a landmark that was familiar to the emigrants on the Oregon Trail.

Split Rock

Vicki soon passed me and continued on until she found a parking spot at a historical marker for the Split Rock Pony Express Station site.

Parked neat Split Rock

The historic marker said that the station had been nearby on the south bank of the Sweetwater River.  We could see some old wood construction on the river bank behind the marker.  We looked it over with the binoculars, and it did not appear to be an old fence or corral.  Could this be the remains of a 150 year old building?

Ruins of the Pony Express Station??

After lunch and some rest I continued on.  Vicki would wait about 90 minutes before continuing.

The road had been slightly downhill, but at Muddy Gap I began an easy climb up to the Continental Divide.  Vicki caught up to me about halfway up and stopped for a short visit.  After a bit, she continued on to Lamont, WY, where we will spend the night, and I continued riding .

Looking down into the Great Divide Basin from the Continental Divide, near Lamont, WY

Today when I crossed the Continental Divide, I crossed into the eastern end of the Great Divide Basin, an area roughly 75 miles in diameter.  Rainfall in this basin flows neither towards the Gulf or Pacific, but stays within the basin.  On the state highway map I see only one small lake in the basin. I’m guessing there is not a lot of rainfall here or there would be a big lake in the middle.

Miles today: 60 Total miles: 1,480


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