76 miles (122 km) – Total so far: 2,722 miles (4,381 km)

The town of Lander had been good to us. The Pronghorn lodge had big rooms, a hot tub, coin laundry, a hearty breakfast, and internet. The town itself sported a few great restaurants, including a local brewery that served one of the best dinners we’ve had yet. Mostly I lazed about, but I also spent some of my rest day getting in touch with other cyclists, both in front of me and behind.Well rested, Paul, Terry and I left our hotel after our satisfying rest day (though Paul pointed out that perhaps I should skip the brussel sprouts when sharing a motel room… ahem…. yes… well….). Just outside of Lander we began our journey by cycling through the Wind River Indian Reservation. The landscape varied from lush and flat along the river valleys to arid and … well… not quite hilly. The geography had lots of truncated hills that formed tiny plateaus. I presume from the fact that they were named things like “Crowheart Butte” and “Red Butte” and “Painted Butte” that they are called “Butts”. Hehe.

Arid landscapes and solitary buttes. --Northwest of Lander,WY

Arid landscapes and solitary buttes. –Northwest of Lander,WY

Crowheart Butte, WY

Crowheart Butte, WY

The ride itself was easy as could be. Jess has said that there is no such thing as a tailwind, only headwinds and “I’m getting to be a strong cyclist” days. I had one of the latter, but actually, I don’t think it was just the tailwind. I am, in fact, getting stronger still. The rest day helped as well. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m now lighter than I was in high school. I feel like I could take out some ads online “Lose 20 lbs with this one weird trick”. The trick itself is to ride a bike 4,000 miles. It doesn’t really have anything to do with diet. This is what I told myself as the three of us devoured 6 cinnamon rolls for lunch.

Terry dives into our "lunch" a freshly baked box of six cinnamon rolls. --Crowheart, WY

Terry dives into our “lunch” a freshly baked box of six cinnamon rolls. –Crowheart, WY

After lunch…

Majestic mountains thrust into the distance still proudly wearing their snowy crowns. Closer in, rolling hills are dotted by trees and ribboned with waterfalls. Or alternately, a red, ochre, and pink cliff wall dramatically stands off to one side. These cliffs are hostile to even the hardiest of plants, but invite me to climb and clamber over them nonetheless. The pull is a palpable desire to dwell in the beauty that my eyes are drinking in. Sadly, this trip is not the time to linger here.

Immediately in front of me, the rushing Wind River crashes against striking red rock structures. The rocks are thin at the base, getting wider as they thrust several hundred feet into the sky. Atop all of this grandeur and beauty, anvil shape thunder clouds alternate with striking blue skies. The sun will sometimes pierce the edge of a cloud and shine down in brilliant stabs of light illuminating one feature for a few seconds and then another just a minute later. The light draws the eyes to new features every few seconds and some new beauty emerges.

The scene is timeless in the rocks, buttes, and mountains.

The scene is ever changing in the shifting, dappling light and the rushing tumbling crash of the river.

This valley is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced. I thank God for the chance to enjoy such an amazing creation. Here are a few photos, but they don’t really capture the stunning and grand beauty of this place.

Red rock cliffs near the Wind River. --Southeast of Dubois, WY

Red rock cliffs near the Wind River. –Southeast of Dubois, WY

Red rock cliffs near the Wind River. --Southeast of Dubois, WY

Red rock cliffs near the Wind River. –Southeast of Dubois, WY

The Wind River. --Southeast of Dubois, WY

The Wind River. –Southeast of Dubois, WY

These thrusting boulders are a sharp contrast to the green rolling hills immediately around them.--Southeast of Dubois, WY

These thrusting boulders are a sharp contrast to the green rolling hills immediately around them.–Southeast of Dubois, WY

The sun momentarily illuminates an ochre cliff in the painted hills. --Southeast of Dubois, WY

The sun momentarily illuminates an ochre cliff in the painted hills. –Southeast of Dubois, WY

We ended the day in Dubois, WY. Home of the Cowboy Cafe, which serves a mean piece of pie.

Pie! --Dubois, WY

Pie! –Dubois, WY