Friday, August 6 the map said we had a 68ish mile day on a long stretch of road with only one rest area between Gillette and Buffalo. We had two to six mile pulls, that's trucker lingo for climbing a hill. Those of you familiar with Route 20 between Skaneateles and Cazenovia, NY, add several more hills and we did several times that each day for the last couple days.
En route Rosie had our first flat. I heard an emergency tone 50 yards to the rear. She normally doesn't use the word "leak", but I thought she was yelling I got to take a leak. Rosie is much more lady like so I was confused. Well the leak was in the general area, but it was her rear tire. Repairing the tire, I found several shards of glass embedded in the tread. We have hard case tires which are resistant to punctures. The one that got her was not glass. It was scoria. Scoria is slag or lava. They crush and use it instead of sand on the roads. Such debris is found all over the shoulders. We've been lucky. I replaced the tube and fixed the damaged tube later that day. We were back on the road in less than 30 minutes.
We finally made it to our halfway point, a rest area. We parked our bikes against a tree. Three older guys, about my age, were sitting on a bench. They had handicap bikes. Our chat revealed the guys were from Little Falls, NY. One of many small world coincidences. Then Rosie was accosted by Ray Perez, another handicapped biker. He was spreading the gospel as he rode about the country. Said he was a badman in his youth and finding Jesus turned him around. God bless you Ray, where ever you are now.
From the rest area, I attempted to contact our friend Tony who works for Hilton Hotels to arrange a cheaper stay in Buffalo. During a six mile pull he returned my call. Rosie was behind me somewhere. I pulled up and was talking to Tony for about 15 seconds and Rosie rode into my rear wheel. She had had her head down and didn't realize I had stopped. By the time I realized she was horizontal to the ground she had picked herself up, giving me the you know what look. Guess I should have put the phone down. Tony had no favors and Rosie didn't talk to me for five miles. I did finally find another place called the Blue Gables and her urge to kill me subsided.
Our stay at Blue Gables was a delight. We had a log cabin. The owner, Jim had left the corporate world for a simpler life. He worked around the country, including Norwich, NY. We had our first spaghetti dinner at Dino's Diner, drank enough beer and enjoyed a camp fire with other travelers at the motel. Zack and Darla and three kids, from Belle Fourshe, WY, were escaping from the Surtgis Rally crowd. The rally officially started on August 9, but really begins several weeks before and continues for as many afterwards. Hundreds of bikers pass through their little town at all hours with no regard for the locals. It's a catch 22.
Old Route 16 runs through Buffalo to Yellowstone. Jim told me when they developed Yellowstone they had to build roads. Route 16 was built, not only to help develop the area, but was built from Chicago, Ill to encourage people to visit Yellowstone.
Saturday, August 7 we had a 50ish day to Ranchester. Took I-90 the entire route. Had a long lunch in Sheridan 33 miles out. They don't have a mall. Main street is nearly a mile long bordered with all kinds of stores. Felt like we went back in time. We stopped at a bike shop hoping to replace a few tires, but like Rapid City they didn't stock our size.
We climbed back onto I-90 leaving Sheridan. We had 17 miles to ride. A storm was brewing in front of us. We pulled under a bridge about 10 miles out. The gusts were at least 40ish mph. We waited for 30 minutes while the sky returned to a friendly blue. I said giddy up even though we still had stiff head winds. Rosie was reluctant, but acquiesced when I mounted the steed. Just ahead of us was a downhill for at least two miles. The grade was at least 6%. The winds were such that we were held to a speed of 9 mph coasting downhill. Pedaling we did 12 mph. The descent calmed Rosie's nerves. She was concerned about control. Of course, I told her never to fear because Bikebill was here. Add your own expletives. She had a few. It was four miles before we saw rain water from the passing storm. The winds calmed and we made it to Ranchester, our motel and a hot meal without skipping a beat.