This afternoon, we played a dangerous game of “beat the thunderstorm” as darkening clouds gathered behind us and to the south. I would peer above my sunglasses and see clear blue skies. As the day wore on, I would peer above my sunglasses and see a deepening gloom. Then I would take my sunglasses off, and it wouldn’t be nearly as gloomy and I’d say “oh hey, we’ve got nothing to worry about! This is awesome!” Then I’d turn around to say this to Quinn & Andy and I’d see black clouds behind us, thunder rumbling in the skies. My stomach would drop and I’d push a bit harder.

Every single random person we’d talked to in Wyoming would tell us that the weather could change at the drop of a dime out here. So far, we’ve been lucky enough not to experience that dreadful change. (I knock on wood as I type this) Today, it seemed as if our luck might run out. We took off from Bar Nunn in some of our best weather since the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. It was sunny, warm, and I was wearing one less layer than usual (two: a base layer and a jersey). The first 40 miles to Midwest, WY were spent in this weather. Even the person in the park in Midwest where we had lunch under sunny skies pointed out the clouds around us when we expressed our optimism about our ability to avoid the weather. We grabbed some coffee & beef jerky at the gas station, wrote out some postcards, and rode on.

It was 50 miles until the next town, unless Pine Tree Junction had anything in it besides the intersection of routes 50 & 387. Pine Tree Junction was 30 miles away. Within 10 miles of leaving Midwest, we knew we were playing beat the clock with the system behind us. We suffered up hills and through valleys as the rumbling thunder and darkening, cooling skies got closer and closer. It was inevitable that we would get caught up in the unpredictable Wyoming weather. We fought headwinds for some of the first times on our trip.

With 15 miles to Pine Tree Junction, I started to hope that there’d be some kind of refuge from the rain, because by the time we finished up 15 miles, we’d almost definitely be getting rained on, hard. We pressed on, knowing nothing was between us & our destination in Wright or the storm behind us. The threatening weather seemed wrought by the evil machinations of the waitress in Jeffrey City, who was convinced there’d be no way for us to avoid a debilitating meteorological disaster. We pressed on, prepared for a drenching, donning our rain gear. Pine Tree Junction approached, and it became apparent that there wasn’t anything there. It was nothing but an intersection of two paved roads in Wyoming.

Somewhere behind us, along the path we had already crossed, the storm was drenching the roads. But we remained ahead of it as it passed north of us. The witch of Jeffrey City messed up entirely. (It was newt’s tail, bumblebee wings, AND CROW’S FEATHER! You forgot the Crow’s feather!!! Hahahah you’re a horrible witch!) Furthermore, you forgot to cook Andy’s breakfast. You’re a horrible waitress, too! (Again, I knock on wood as I type this, in case this is a two-day spell or something).

The wood I’m knocking on is in Hank’s Saloon in Wright, Wyoming. We knocked out 85 miles by 4pm, with only a 5 minute break between Midwest and here. When we rolled into Wright, it was threatening rain again. (We had not only beat the storm behind us, but we had run into the tail end of the storm in front of us. Epic fail, crappy witch). Wright is a town of 500, and we needed to find a place to stay and a place to get a beer. The girl at the grocery store knew nothing, but the local newspaper told us that The Rusty Nail was open until 10. At The Rusty Nail, the bartender called up Hank’s Bar & Grill to see if we could camp camp next to the Horseshoe pit in their backyard. “Yeah, sure, no problem,” said Hank. Score. Hank’s, a mile up the road, has beers just about as cheap as the Rusty Nail’s. We met the Rusty Nail’s bartender there, and she introduced us around. We’ve been here for a few hours now, our tents are set up, and as soon as we finish these beers, we’re done for the night.

Oh but wait. It’s cold tonight. Not all that much colder than other days we’ve spent out at night, but cold enough for Hank and Danny (Hank obviously the owner of Hank’s) to convince us not to sleep in a tent. To be honest, it didn’t take much convincing at all. Danny had been chatting us up all night long at the bar and eventually pretty much forced us to pack up the tent & drag everything into his & Hank’s house across the street. Danny, an interior decorator, has made a gorgeous home and is a spectacular host. It’s absolutely more than enough just to let us sleep on a floor. But Danny & Hank had spare rooms for all of us. And in the morning, we woke up to percolating coffee and simmering steak, eggs, and hash browns. Wright was one of our “we have no idea where we’re going to sleep” nights – and it sure worked out for us.

Danny, the best interior decorator west of the Mississippi, and one hell of a host. Thanks, Danny!

Danny, the best interior decorator west of the Mississippi, and one hell of a host. Thanks, Danny!