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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 54: Rawlins to Lander - Ma's Boarding House

Wednesday July 9, 1986, 135 miles (217 km) - Total so far: 2,796 miles (4,500 km)

Muddy Gap 6,250'

Continental Divide (#3)

Continental Divide (#4)

Gene and I got up early and headed out to breakfast under gloomy weather, cold, windy and rainy. We ate a quick breakfast and hit the road to get some miles in ahead of the stronger anticipated winds. It route was mostly an uphill grade and against the wind.

Shortly into the ride the rain started, then the hail, then the gusty winds. Big chunks of hail dropped on us for about 30 or so minutes. I finally wore my hat, I used it to keep the hail from stinging me in the face. We rode over Muddy Gap at 6,250 before the storm passed. The road was full of dime sized hail balls and slush after dumping on us. The wind was blowing me all over the road, good thing traffic was pretty light on the route. I also crossed the continental divide two more times today.

Gene and I arrived in Jeffery City and found out a tornado just touched down in town just before we pulled in. We didn't actually see said tornado, so maybe the people were a little mixed up with the high winds. The city is a mine city that is pretty much closed up, and I wasn't too hip on spending the night. I was supposed to stay in a church with the BC gang but nothing looked very inviting. I decided to head to Lander, about 60 more miles and take a day off there. Gene tried to dissuade me from going but the thought of another boring, closed up town was enough to make me push on.

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Near Lander Wyoming

The terrain to Lander was pretty much the same, uphill and against the wind. The ride up to Lander was pretty tough with the wind but worth the extra effort. Upon arriving in Lander I headed right for the laundry place and started getting stuff cleaned. While at the laundry place I found a flyer for "Ma's Boarding House", biker hostel for $6.50 with Breakfast. Once Laundry was done I headed to Ma's to check it out.

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Upon my arrival at Ma's a couple other cyclists came out and greeted me, Steve and Stewart from Houston Texas. They asked me how many miles I rode and where I came from today. I told them Rawlins, 135 miles away. The Texas guys were impressed I rode that far in this wind and started calling me "animal", then animal got turned into "Manimal".

Ma's Boarding House is a working ranch in here in Lander and sleeping is done in ranch bunkhouse with many of the ranch hands. Ma asked me if I had anything to eat after my big day, she then told me to go eat with the ranch hands. I sat at a very large table with about 15 ranch hands, most didn't speak English. Ma told me to dig in and eat as much as I wanted. Ma made sure I felt comfortable with all the cowboys.

This has to be the neatest place I've stayed at so far. I'm glad I made the extra effort to make Lander today. Tomorrow I'm planning on taking the day off and seeing the sinks with the Texas guys.

[Author's Note:] - I'd like to hear if anyone else has stayed at Ma's Boarding House in Lander. Is it still open? This was my favorite hostel on the whole Trans America Trail, and I got to experience a real working ranch. ~


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