Daily mileage 46miles Average Speed 10.01mph Ride Time 4hr34min
Total Mileage 2278
We were on the road at 7am but the wind had already started and we kicked ourselves for having not got up at 5am instead. With another direct headwind we plodded at about 6mph and even had to cycle downhill into the wind. It was only 18miles into Sundance but we climbed about 1,500ft and fought for every bit of it. We are now reaching approx 5,000ft in elevation and we can feel the air getting thinner.
At Sundance we were drained, simply exhausted. We had a pit stop and hid from the sun for longer than normal and deliberated with the thought of splitting up where I would head straight down the interstate to Moorcroft and check into a motel while Kris would take the longer hillier route to Devils Tower to see the National Monument and he would meet me in Moorcroft the next day. After a while I decided I could not miss out on the highlight so despite adding nearly 30 miles to the trip and lots more hills we set off on highway 14 into the hills.
At least by heading West it was a prettier ride and we were protected from the wind by the hills. We climbed two major hills that seemed to go on forever but they were a gradual climb for the most part and we got there eventually. I was struggling with the thought of the diversion but Kris is right its not about getting from coast to coast as soon as possible its all about seeing the highlights along the way.
We could see Devils Tower poking its head above the hills from the distance and as we arrived at its base we realised just how massive it is and how it is so odd sticking out from the landscape. It had been formed by magma from the earths crust forcing its way up as the surrounding softer earth had eroded. Or the Native Americans believe that there were 7 sisters and 1 brother long ago that were playing out when the brother turned into a bear and chased the sisters. The girls climbed a tree and the earth under the tree began to rise pushing the sisters to safety in the sky and they now form the 7 stars of the big dipper. I like this tale better.
At the base of the tower we set up tent and I relaxed while Kris still full of energy continued to ride up to the tower and hike the base trail. He saw little prairie dogs which look really cute. I’m quite happy to sit in the air conditioning and see it towering above me instead! The Devils Tower was a Devil of a Tower to cycle to!