Out of Pinedale, I meet fellow Divider Maarten from Belgium and we wound our way deeper and deeper out into the Great Divide Basin together. The Basin is an area in southern Wyoming that is an endorheic basin in which none of the water falling within is roughly rectangular profile drains to any ocean. The basin typically presents a love/hate response for most Dividers with little in between. Both Maarten and I couldn't get over the spectacular remoteness as we chatted the morning and afternoon away about all things bikes and touring.
Apart from gas and oil development further south, there is little indication of development since the days when the pioneers first made their way west. With the Wind River Range slowly receding into the background as we headed further south,
multiple stops were in order to stare in awe at the expanding remoteness.
A little stretch of pavement outside of South Pass had long since passed-over markings cheering on the man himself, Jay Petervary.
Rolling into Atlantic City after a long day under the sun, we ran into north bounders Michal and Zuzan from the Czech Republic who have been on the road for the better part of two years making their way north from Argentina. With the hopes of a burger dashed after the scrawny cook at the local watering hole ran out in a small town rage, we settled for a well deserved beer, topped off every water container and enjoyed the evening trading tales. Too bad Michal and Zuzan were heading in the opposite direction. They were good fun and full of what could only be briefly gleaned as an endless supply of great stories from their journey thus far. I'll have to work on my Czech but www.svjetkolem.com is full of great imagery.
Just a little speck in the expanse...
Good thing Maarten's a bike mechanic because the sound of a spoke snapping in the middle of nowhere is never comforting. A Kevlar "spoke" turned out to be a few euros well spent and stashed in the bob.
Those 3l Platypus bags that have been at the bottom of my panniers finally came out to play. Fully watered up,
we took a hard right out at Bison Basin Road along the race route following Todd and Charlotte's tracks whom we meet at "lunch" while the darkness of an afternoon storm slowly closed-in on us. A few streaks of lightening and nothing taller than sage at the top of a plateau had us lying in the ditch along the side of the road in full rain gear while the storm passed overhead.
Rain + clay = no go until the sun does its drying thing...
Beautiful afternoon of contrasts as storms did their thing near and far.
Catching up to Todd and Charlotte at the next BLM solar well, we settled in for dinner and caught up on each other's travels since Banff. Todd and Charlotte are a really nice couple from Colorado heading down to the Mexican border. Nice to be able to team up with them as well for a few days and with a new shifting cable, Charlotte was all smiles not to being riding a Rohloff fixie any longer.
A beautiful stormy sunset filled the sky from edge to edge before crawling into our tents and listening to a night of rain and wind rip across the Basin.
Morning skies brought welcome clouds but little need for rain gear
as we enjoyed a relatively windless morning spin
with a few of these wild kids keeping an eye on us.
Into the outskirts of Wamsutter, the lack of human intervention changed suddenly with boom and bust oil wells dotting the landscape and a few dust churning rigs forcing us to pay attention after many miles without having to look in the rears.
An ethanol tank and oil well provided a perfectly sized patch of shade and a place to call home for the night.
Oil exploits aside, our last Wyoming sunset was spectacular.
Maarten busted out his CO jersey to make the final run to the border and got everyone up and laughing with a few verses of Rocky Mountain High on his speaker...
The Basin was not going to let us out easy. With a weather forecast that called for wind in the face, in the ear, and through the back of the head, we inched closer and closer to the border.
This wall of a hill had me looking at my shifter multiple times hoping I was misreading the 1 it was already stuck on...
With one final push, we set our sights on Brush Mountain Lodge just across the border in Colorado. Kirsten greeted us with hugs, lemonade, beers, burgers, showers, laundry, and a continuous supply of excellent vibe. That porch and the surrounding ranch land is a pretty special place and one to which I will most definitely return.
The Basin is without question one of my favorite spots on the Divide. There is something absolutely awe inspiring in its vastness, wind hardened terrain and miles and miles of scalar insignificance. Feeling grateful to have experienced it from the saddle.