Day 5 Douglas to Casper Wyoming
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Today was a long day of hard work. We awoke at 4:45 and were on the road by 6:00. The day started with an uphill climb and got worse from there. The wind started blowing about 6:30. We gained elevation steady for about 7 miles when we came to the freeway. We started on the freeway which continued climbing and the wind picked up. As we climbed over the pass between Douglas and Glenrock the wind must have been about 30 miles per hour and was coming from the front-left side. As the semi trucks went by they would hit us with their wind and then block the front wind. The combined effect made us glad there was an eight foot shoulder to recover in. As we left the freeway for Glenrock we were passed by a whole bunch of (Rhielle counted 9) fire trucks. We figured that there must have been a forrest fire that they were returning from as we had seen smoke below Laramie peak the day before. As we arrived in town we heard lots of sirens and discovered that the main road through town was closed for the Deer Creek Days parade. We rode past the cars stopped by the roadblock to where the parade started. The parade manager asked us if we wanted to join the parade. We said sure and started riding the parade route waving at people. When we got to the Subway shop we abandoned the parade for lunch. We had struggled against the wind and hills for 6 hours to cover that first 25 miles.
South of Glenrock was the Deer Creek campground on the emigrant trail. The handcart companies were never intended to cross the plains to Salt Lake City without being resupplied. The Deer Creek campground was the first place where they were to find their resupply wagons. No one in Salt Lake City knew that the Willie and Martin handcart companies were coming so there were no supplies to meet them. Faced with the reality that they were running out of food with no additional supplies comming the Martin company had few options. About the only thing they could do was to lighten their loads so they could travel faster. In handcarts they were not carrying much so there was little they could shed. It was at this campground that the Martin company decided to burn most of their bedding and clothes to reduce the weight in the handcarts. It was only about a week later at Bessemer's Bend just south of Casper that they were caught in the blizzard.
After we ate lunch in Glenrock we rode into the wind and heat for another 28 killer uphill miles to Casper where we arrived at 4:30. As we came to town we looked for a convenience store where we bought a big COLD drink. Then we pedaled through town to the area where most of the motels are. We stopped at JB's for dinner with an all you can eat salad bar and lots of water. After dinner we went to a near by Dairy Queen for a large Blizzard. We needed a cool and good rest day so we checked into a motel for a nice air conditioned night of sleep on beds.
Copyright © Clarence Whetten 2001