Having arrived in Shoshoni extremely early in the morning, and with no refueling necessary, we rolled out of town as soon as we'd snapped a photo of the "Welcome to Shoshoni" sign on the edge of town. As we did, a couple dual-sport riders passed us in the opposite direction, and we wondered aloud if they were riding the BDR from north-to-south.
Making our way along Badwater Road, toward the little town of Lost Cabin, a familiar theme appeared along the side of the route. There was no gas plant lining the public road, but there were plenty of wells visible into the distance.
The early morning light - even if we were driving into it, added a warm tone to the landscape.
For those who live in Wyoming - have you ever encountered flashing lights?
A little further on, as we neared Lost Cabin, we discovered these thermal vents. They seemed to be lined and capped (loosely), and we weren't quite sure why.
Through the town of Lost Cabin - a mostly abandoned town that's got a single famous house (the Big Teepee) and an oil-and-gas yard - we turned north as we transitioned from the Wind River Plain toward the Bighorn Mountains - the playground of the final two stages of the BDR.
Initially, this transition appeared similar to the other's we'd experienced along the way - sage slowly giving way to juniper and pine, old cabins slowly being reclaimed by nature, and of course, increased elevation.
Into the foothills.
This old cabin once boasted a fantastic view back down into the valley. Today, cows inhabit the immediate vicinity.
We didn't see many riders on the trail, but my guess is that it's going to be a busy summer!
(Know who this is? Contact me.)
Unbeknownst to us, the granite and red rock of this hillside foreshadowed much of what was to come.
Following the Nowood River, we didn't end up gaining all that much elevation as we worked our way north, the well-graded road gently winding its way to the 6,700' Cottonwood Pass before dropping into - and through - Nowood Canyon.
Fluttering around in the sunlight, this little guy was having a blast in and amongst the spring flowers. (Fritillary)
Last one, I promise. Large rectangular bales of Wyoming hay.
It was here - in Nowood Canyon - that we got our real surprise for this leg of the journey. Initially, we thought the first red hillside we passed was just a random occurrence. But then - another. Rising so bright above the green grass, and so striking against the blue sky, it was almost as though we'd driven into Utah. On a short stage with a smooth road - ample opportunity to finish the stage quickly - we did our best to do the opposite, slowing down to admire what the landscape had to offer.
I only promised no more stacks of hay.
As we wound our way down Nowood Canyon, each turn brought more color.
The canyon chokes down - but only momentarily - at Mahogany Butte.
Just as we squeezed through the narrow passage at Mahogany Butte, we spotted the work of a local artisan along the side of the road. Similarly themed to a faux-bronze statue we'd seen on a similarly early morning between Ruidoso and Truth or Consequences on the New Mexico BDR, we were most definitely going to stop to admire it. I have to admit to making several 360° turns in the road in order to shoot this shot out the driver side window.
Anyone need a ring gear? Leaf spring or two? Perhaps a railroad spike?
Ready to charge.
A few minutes later we were back on track and immersed in the colors we associate places much further south, albeit with some much brighter greens than we tend to see there. And then, in a finale of color, the road dove into Red Gulch on Otter Creek, and we found ourselves smack in the middle of it all.
Fingers and buttes reaching into the canyon.
Irrigated farmland, a brilliant contrast of saturation.
Into Red Gulch.
It was only 11:00am when we reached the bottom of the canyon. From there, pavement would take us to Ten Sleep, and the end of the stage. We'd covered 100 miles in record time and now we were looking for a good place to eat lunch. Ultimately, we'd find a nice little park with a little bit of shade, and we'd enjoy tuna sandwiches and potato chips as we watched a group of van-lifers practice yoga and post their stories to the gram.
After six stages of some of the most remote roads in the country, it seemed we'd found the hippest place around.
How Ten Sleep Got its Name
There was a large Indian camp on the Platte River near the present site of Casper, WY, that was known to the early trappers as the old Sioux camp. To the north, near the present site of Bridger, MT, on Clarks Fork River, was another large and well-known Indian camp. They were cross-roads of the nation and trails led in all directions.
The Indians measured distance by the number of sleeps. It was ten sleeps from here to each of their main camps.
Native American Indian for "Ten Sleep."
The Whole Story
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