Day 7 was actually a little sad, we had to leave Wall, our nice cabin, and the great people we’d met. We road out to the ranch again in the morning and Gerald had fired up the Unimog that I had looked at the night before so that he could move some gravel. He offered that if I wanted I could take it for a spin. That’s the kind of offer you don’t turn down! The Unimog 1200 has 24 gears in both forward and reverse: 8 gears on the normal transmission shifter with two more range shifting levers. The truck/tractor is definitely unique but handled comfortably although shifting gears takes a little while to actually get used to. All in all I walked away with a grin.
We traded their car back for my bike and after saying our farewells and thanks to our new found friends we headed back toward town to gas up and head out toward Riverton, WY. We cut back through the Badlands to catch hwy 44 on the south side of the badlands. Thanks to Gerald we saved a good 15 minutes and 10-15 miles by taking Conata Rd down to 44. It meant about 3 miles of dirt/gravel road but I was getting used to it by then.
In Rapid City we picked up hwy 16 and followed that through the edge of Custer State Park and through the Southern Black Hills. We hit Wyoming after laboring up a few mountain sides. The run through Wyoming was typical of eastern Wyoming. The sky is huge and the landscape nothing short of expansive. Riding across eastern Wyoming feels like you’re running in place. You look down at your odometer and notice that you’ve gone 10 miles and it looks like you’re just as far away from that mountain line you notice 25 minutes before.We took 16 as far as Newcastle and then turned onto WY450 and road across Thunder Basin National Grassland. We picked up I-25 just north of Casper and road it into town.
Casper seems to be a disorganized and unwelcoming town (no disrespect to anyone who live there…I’ve just never had a great experience there)…it’s sort of just a passing through town for me. We grabbed a bite to eat, gassed up (which is very important for the next leg), and headed out 20/26 toward Shoshoni. It is a 98 mile run from Casper to Shoshoni with no gas except for one out of the way general store (or serial killer haven…take you pick) that advertizes gas and looks like they either sell it by the 5 gallon jug or from a rusty tank on the hillside behind the place.
We caught a gorgeous sunset just before Shoshoni:
Just after Shoshoni we crossed the bridge over Boysen Reservoir and I did an immediate u-turn so we could go down to the boat ramp and take some more pictures of the last fading colors of the sunset.
We arrived in Riverton shortly after dark and spent the night at the Rodeway Inn. The room was clean although there were rowdy people hanging around we had no real complaints.