Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Curt Gowdy State Park

Well, we (the Queen City Ramblers) just got back from our quasi-semi-annual Fall bike trip. We normally have a Spring bike trip to the desert of Utah and Western Colorado, but the Fall trip is not necessarily a guarantee. So, let me give you a bit of back story.

One of the founding members of the Ramblers, Bobki, moved again and left for the madness of the Front Range of Colorado. When I looked for a location of a fall trip, I wanted to find someplace that Bobki could hook up with us. When I was a Front Ranger, I had heard about Curt Gowdy, but had never been there. Located half-way between Cheyenne, WY and Laramie, WY, it was a no-brainer to go there. After a couple of weeks of negotiating and planning, we (9 of us from the Northern climes) set out for Southern WY last Friday.

We got to CG after dark, so no idea where camp spots are or what the park looks like, but we set up camp and proceed to get a bit inebriated, which is customary for a Rambler trip. So, sitting around the campfire until midnight, telling bullshit stories and razzing the hell out of each other, we had a good first night.

The next morning,we wake up with a the sun and what appears to be a beautiful day. We can see the entrance of the park and notice cars rolling in with bikes in tow. Sweet. We came to the right place. A little bit later, after we see a LOT more cars coming into the park, we wonder what the heck is going on. A bit of recon later, we find out there is an 8 hour race in the park. Shit. Hopefully this doesn't put a damper on our ability to ride. We proceed to cook breakfast and prep for the day. While doing this, the wind comes up. This is significant as it will be a bigger part of the story later.

We search around and find out that the race is confined to the Northwest side of the park, so we can ride all the stuff down around the reservoirs, which is what we did. As we ride the back from the out-and-back nature of the ride, we are riding into a fairly severe head wind. As we get back to camp, we find our tents folding in on themselves with the wind. Crap. Could be a rough night ahead. JT asks if we should move camp, to which I reply, "Nah, the wind should die down after dark." No more prophetic and less WRONG words could have ever been spoken.

Lunch and another ride later, we're back at camp getting ready to head to Laramie for drinks and dinner. We get to Laramie and head to Mulligan's bar, which is owned by an aunt and uncle of mine. After getting fairly tuned up (again) we go to dinner, where everyone is feeling fine and a few of the more "free-spirits" of our group are getting a bit wild, with some indecent proposals to my aunt, the waitress and each other, but it was all in good fun and no one was offended.

Back to camp at about 10:30 or so, we find our stuff strewn about like a hurricane came through. Holy SHIT, the wind is blowing. Gusts up to 60+ m.p.h. fling things like campstoves and full totes off of picnic tables. We tighten down guylines on the tent and head to bed. As the night progresses, we continually have to straighten the tent out as the wind blows it in on us. Sleep isn't going so well. Finally around 2 am, the tent craps out on us and the poles, which had been flexed in a fashion they weren't intended for about 2000 times, break. FUCK. An almost brand new tent, fairly demolished. So, down comes the tent and we "sleep" in the truck. Around 3 or so, the wind dies and it is dead calm. Finally! But, maybe I spoke too soon, as around 4:30, the wind starts back up like nothing changed. WHAT THE HELL? Was it the eye of the hurricane? Sure as hell feels like it.

As the sun comes up, we all get out of the tents and/or cars and assess the day. We pack up camp and decide to give riding another whirl which was a great decision. We had a great time and the riding in CG is phenomenal. This could well be our permanent Fall trip, but I don't know if I could bring enough guylines for my tent.

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