day 18

whew. the heat is, well, hot. over the past week i haven’t had a day below 90 degrees. it’s dangerous for a few reasons: heat exhaustion, dehydration, and it’s mentally challenging. when you ride in comfortable weather everything is fine but when it’s hot out the heat will suck the energy right out of you.

after a night in the parking lot at walmart, i made coffee and got moving early. i was to beat the heat as much as i could. i left around 6:45 or 7am and rode swift. the first 30 miles were a breeze. slight downgrade with the wind behind me.

the last 35 were rough. after passing moorcroft, everything changed. high hills, high heat, short shoulders, etc. i pedaled hard. i knew i had to get to my warmshower, but was also excited about seeing devil’s tower for the first time. i made it about ten miles from the tower and my two favorite aussies pulled up. rosie & roelf were in there rv and asked if i needed a lift. sure, why not. about another mile later, we stopped and helped someone with their flat tire which seemed like a big help because the gentleman may have had some health issues and it probably would have taken him a long time.

the tower was great. you can see it when you’re on top of a hill about five miles away and then it seems small. it’s incredibliy huge. and it just seems to get larger as you approach it. we walked up and on the trail near it, took some photos and then it was time to goto my warmshower. frank sanders has a property that borders the park. you can’t find any other places that are this close. i stepped inside to find a mudroom, then through another door the room opened up. four couches a piano and a fireplace. a wall of books, not 100, but closer to 1000. i was greeted by
who was working as a hostess for franks lodge. they run a climbing gym and do daily climbs up the tower, sometimes multiple times. frank was at the tower climbing with a group and i was instructed to setup my tent in the field, then was shown where the showers and restroom was.

a few hours later, frank and a group of about ten returned from their climb. it was great to see all of them so exhausted but full of excitement from working their way up the side of the tower. i had seen one of them through binoculars that were inside. frank’s team had cooked an amazing dinner for the climbers and myself and we discussed just about everything. afterwards a few of us stayed out on the deck and waited for nightfall. although the milky way wasn’t as bright as it was last week when i was in montana, it was still interesting. i saw close to 20 meteors through the few hours that i was out and continued to try and get a photo of one using long exposures.

around ten i went back to the tent and fell asleep instantly. day 18 done.

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