Thursday, September 6, 2012

Motocaching the Cowboy State - Part 1

The long awaited day of Wednesday, August 22nd, finally arrived.  This was my departure date for the motorcycle trip to Wyoming with the intention of logging at least one Geocache in each of the state’s 23 counties.  Actually I had already logged caches in 4 or 5 of the southern counties on previous trips to Denver.

This trip was going to be extra special because instead of going solo as with all my other trips, my son, Yancey, who lives in Denver would be joining me.  When I first mentioned the trip to him he sort of wistfully expressed that he wished he could be going along.  Yancey is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and lived and worked in Jackson Hole for several years so he has some special ties there. As soon as I determined that he was serious I got really excited and began helping him make a choice on a motorcycle.  I was a bit apprehensive because several years ago on one of my trips to Denver he had ridden out to meet me on his new Harley and didn’t quite make the second curve of an S curve wrecking his Harley and sustaining a separated shoulder that required surgery.  However, my enthusiasm overcame my apprehension and with my consultation he eventually found a 2007 Suzuki SV650S than he liked and would be much superior to the Harley for the type of riding we like. 

Day 1
The plan was to meet on the 23rd in Rock Springs.  I left about 6:00 am on the 22nd and proceeded toward Boise.  I picked up a few caches on the way down but had DNF’s (did not find) on four which was more than I found.  This was a little disheartening as DNF’s are normally less than 10%.  It was a little after 2:00 pm before I arrived at son Milo’s place in Boise and had a late lunch snack there.  It was a cool morning ride but got very hot before I reached Boise.

After a short visit with Milo I proceeded east to Gooding to spend the evening with son Clint and his family.  It was about a two hour ride on the Interstate but I had a great tailwind which was some payback for the terrific headwind I had endured going the opposite direction last May on my Nevada trip. I admired the “headache rack” that Clint had built for his recently purchased truck and he demonstrated his fancy new barbeque grill by cooking some delicious hamburgers.  This is quite the grill.  It has one side for charcoal, one side for gas and an additional burner designed to light the charcoal in a Weber charcoal cylinder.

My mileage for this day was 409.

Day 2
I left Clint’s Thursday morning at 5:30 when it was still dark.  Mt first leg was about 100 miles of Interstate and it was cold.  Just before leaving the Interstate I stopped at a Rest Area to warm up.  I took my helmet inside with me to clean the bugs off the shield.  After warming my hands I returned to my bike and hung my helmet on the end of my bars as usual.  Something must not have been as usual however, because it fell to the pavement and a piece of the mechanism that holds one side of the shield broke.  If I could not use that shield I would be in big trouble.  Fortunately I was able to get the shield to stay in place if I didn’t open it more than about an inch and a half.  The whole rest of my journey I was plagued by the shield coming loose whenever I would open it a little too much.  Fortunately it never came loose while I was riding.

From the Interstate at American Falls I turned south on Highway 37 toward Rockland.  I discovered this route three years ago on my Idaho Motocaching trip and it is one of my favorite in the state.  Highway 37 takes you down to Holbrook where you turn east on Highway 38 over to Malad City, then take Highway 36 over to Preston and on up to Montpelier.  After passing through Rockland the road begins diminishing and getting narrower until there is no shoulder and no lines.  The road is twisty and hilly with no traffic and beautiful ranching countryside.  Maybe not ideal in your can car but a real kick on the bike.  From Preston up to Montpelier the road is more modern with more mountains and curves – a most enjoyable route. 

I entered Wyoming a little east of Montpelier and turned south and then east to Kemmerer.  At Kemmerer I again turned south through Lincoln and Uinta Counties.  I had arranged to call Yancey at 3:00 just to touch bases.  I had just logged a cache in Lincoln County at 3:00 when I tried to call him.  I got no answer which worried me just a bit and I left a message.  I continued south into Uinta County before hitting the Interstate east toward Rock Springs.  I tried to call Yancey again with the same results.  I accidentally ran past a couple of caches in Uinta County because I misread the small numbers on my GPSr as exit 28 when it was really exit 23.  I had to double back to pick these up.  Oh, to have young eyes again.  I arrived in Rock Springs some time after 5:00 to find Yancey already there safe and sound to my relief.  It turns out that I had his old cell phone number in my phone.

After draining some oil out of Yancey’s bike which he had inadvertently overfilled and lubing the chains we got cleaned up and went for some of Yancey’s favorite Mexican food. After dinner we picked up a couple of caches in Sweetwater County which turned out to be quite a project.  They were in some really hard to find places and it was after dark before we got back to the motel.  It was then that Yancey reminded me about his snoring problem (not a problem to him, just anyone else within 50 feet).  Oh well, I was so keyed up I don’t think I would have slept any that night anyway.  My totals for this day was 13 caches and 503 miles. (Pictures 1-Yancey's new bike, 2-Clint's fancy grill, 3-Holbrook Summit west of Preston, 4-logging a cache in Lincoln County, 5-lunch at the park in Montpelier)

To be continued.  M/W


Kathy said...

First I worried about unleashing my kids on the world. Now it's Mike.

Hallie said...

Why does Clinton call it a "headache" rack?

Chris said...

How fun for the two of you to have this adventure! (Safety in numbers?)

Leah said...

I'm tired just reading about your long days. I'm sure when you were tired, it was a "good tired," right?

What kind of critters did you see when you actually trekked to your geocache sites? Lizards, rattlesnakes, porcupines, field mice, cows or what?

Mike said...

Leah, the critter at a cache site that I remember was a lizard. Inasmuch as we were in WY we would see antelope from the road.

Leah said...

Mike, I was thinking that you take close up shots of the cache sites (the reason for your trip) and you show long shots of distant views. It would be nice to see the critters (not including rattlesnakes) in the mid distance.

We see three views around us every day. The things in front of our nose. The distant horizon. The middle area, often full of interesting things. Remember how Hallie looks closely at photos and often finds Nellie someplace.

Yancey Warnock said...

I just want to add to the record that my first day was not so much fun. Of my 325 miles, 250 were on the interstate, including 200+ miles of I80 between Laramie and Rock Springs which is often considered some of the worst interstate in the US. I was more tired than I let on, though, I guess the snoring gave me away.