A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Fifty-eight: Saturday 25 August 1990

Virginian Motel, Casper, WY to Shoshoni, WY

I truly enter the desert. I leave Casper, Wyoming and the Virginian Motel, heading west and a little north. I intend to ride 100 miles of road today. As I clear the out skirts of Casper, I pick up a goat’s head and flat. At this point I’ve had so many flats that patching them has become a task I can complete in under a minute. Back on the road, I pass the turn-off that marks the way to the Casper-Natrona County International Airport. As I approach and pass, I keep thinking to myself that there is probably enough room on my credit card to roll in there and buy a ticket to San Francisco. I keep rolling; though, truth be told, I am tired of riding and there is still so much land between me and San Francisco.

Surviving the airport temptation, I eventually reach a small sign marking Natrona, an unincorporated town, that was three trailers and one permanent structure. The sign read Natrona, elevation 5610 ft, and population 5. None of the building looks promising for a rest break and water refill.

Somewhere about midway to Shoshoni, Wyoming, around Waltman, I spot a combination convenience store and gas station. I stop and use the restrooms, buy some Gatorade, have a rest, and refill my depleted water. As I’m resting, a guy comes up to me and starts chatting. He’s driving an SUV. As I’m looking at it, I notice two stickers low on the windshield. I know those stickers. I look at the license plate, Virginia. Turns out that he is salesman for Exxon from Virginia Beach, Virginia. We have a good laugh about the synchronicity.

Late in the afternoon, I pass what looks like a large house with people out on the porch. A young boy takes off running after me reminding me of the more than a few times that dogs have done that while I’m riding. I laugh to myself that he’s doing a dog’s job.