Since our trip has started, our concept of time has begun to change. Our routine does not usually involve a clock – we eat when we’re hungry and we go to bed when we’re tired. So when we got a call from Amtrak letting us know the train we were scheduled to take the next day was cancelled due to a derailment in Nebraska (this was a train that normally runs once a day, so there wouldn’t be another one for at least four days) we took it in stride. Luckily, we were also being notified because the train previous to ours was running 22 hours late – so late that it was set to arrive two hours before our original train was supposed to depart! Leave it to Amtrak to be so late that they are actually on time.
Our budget ended up being our main determining factor. Traveling by bike is quite inexpensive – it is one of the reasons we’re cycling around the country in the first place. Faced with having to travel by another method, we were shocked at how expensive everything is! We crunched the numbers and realized traveling by train was the most cost-effective alternative. The train also jived with our objective of traveling slowly – in fact some would say there is nothing slower than Amtrak and all the associated delays (expect traveling by bike, I suppose).
If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter you already know we’re on the move again on another form of transport – the train! But first, lets go back and cover our escape from Rawlins, Wyoming.
Rawlins is a dry, treeless, and horribly windy town along Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming. We discovered quickly that it was not a place we wanted to be for very long. However, we were stuck there until we heard back from our travel insurance – and believe me – we were quite literally stranded! The closest town with a rental car available was 120 miles away, we had no option to bike there and there was no public transit. Our only choice was to hitch a ride to rent a vehicle in order to relocate to a more hospitable area.
So, we hung out in Rawlins for five days waiting for our travel insurance to review the doctor’s paper work regarding Heidi’s hernia. Hoping for the green light to get a quick surgery in Wyoming, we were disappointed to eventually hear that Heidi would need to return to Ontario for the procedure, as it was not deemed an emergency. We would be thrown back into the provincial health care system, where the typical wait for an operation of this kind is six months! Recognizing that waiting that long would effectively terminate our travel by bicycle, we called up the Shouldice Hospital in Toronto who specialize in hernia repairs. Thankfully they were able to schedule Heidi in for an operation in mid-September. That date was still a month down the road, and accounting for a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, we had to come to terms with being off the bikes until at least early October.
Seeing as we are off the bikes for a few weeks due to health issues, I thought I would post this video here for those who have yet to see it. It was put together by a family we met at Dumont Lake campground near Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado who have bicycle touring plans of their own. We think it turned out pretty good and are grateful to have something like this that shows all of us on our bikes at once!
More to come in a few days regarding our interim adventures while we wait for Heidi’s surgery (scheduled for mid-September in Ontario): camping and riding the rails via Amtrak between Colorado and Portland, Oregon.
The ride down the west side of Gore Pass was glorious. It was downhill almost all day through Yampa, Phillipsburg and Oak Creek – for about 80km to Steamboat Springs. We realized a little too late in Yampa (and at the bottom of the first major downhill) that we had left one of my rear panniers open and our toiletry kit had fallen out – probably right at our campsite near the top of the pass, containing our toothbrushes, deodorant, soap and other miscellaneous items. Boo! We were not about to turn around and climb back to find it, so we were stuck with restocking all of these small, expensive and necessary little tidbits in Steamboat.
We arrived in Yampa, a quaint little town with a dirt road main street, with hungry bellies – so we stopped at a diner and shared some hot breakfast food before continuing on. We could honestly eat breakfast for any meal of the day, but this time at least it was still morning (11:30am is still good for breakfast, right?). Pushing on towards Steamboat, we got into town around 4pm. After navigating some traffic-filled downtown streets, we checked into the Alpiner Lodge. This little hotel is a great spot for cyclists because of its central location and reasonable rates. We could ride the (free!) bus, or walk wherever we needed to go over the following days. When I asked Bea, the manager, where the nearest pharmacy was and explained about our lost items, she handed me 4 toothbrushes, toothpaste, a razor and deodorant! The service over the next 3 days was splendid and we all slept at least 10 hours each night in cozy, clean beds.