We broke camp a little before 9:00AM and rode down the dirt path to find the local post office. Much to Callum's disappointment, the package had not arrived. I left them to figure out what to do and headed back to last night's diner for breakfast. I scarfed down some french toast and eggs and went to pay for my breakfast, hoping to get an early start before the guys. However, my card had apparently been blocked and was not working. Thinking it to be a simple glitch, I paid in cash and rode down to the next gas station to try out my card there. After attempting to buy some water and a Payday, my card was still getting rejected. Next, I tried the ATM... rejected! I then spent a good half hour on the gas station lady's phone with Bank of America, trying to figure out the problem. They said it should work and I hung up to promptly find my card still rejected. Realizing this was too much of a headache to deal with before a day's ride, I called Sands (aka "The Best Damn Dad on the Planet!") and informed him of my situation. He said he would call them back and try to fix the problem... a big problem, considering I only had about 20 dollars in cash and I couldn't access any money from my account. I didn't have cellphone reception anywhere in the mountains, so I decided I would try my card at the next store I could find...
Setting off, I began my long ascent up to Willow Creek Pass. As I was huffing and puffing up the mountain, I bumped into Rob, a weekend rider from Denver. Rob shared with me information about sites to see in Wyoming and Montana and let me draft off him as well. With well wishes, he then pressed on ahead of me towards the summit and I lost sight of him within moments.
The climb up to the pass felt great. I could definitely feel my muscles have gotten stronger and my stamina has increased dramatically. Thinking I would wait on top of the pass for the lads, I started to hear some panting/grunting coming from behind me. I looked back to find Callum pressing upward with great ferocity, then followed by Chris. We met Dowds at the top and posed for a few pictures. There wasn't a great view from the top, but the promise of a thrilling 14 mile downhill ride into Rand was pleasant enough for us.
After eating some snacks, we grabbed our cameras and began videotaping our descent. It's thrilling to ride down a mountain at 38mph, let alone with a camera in your hand. We stopped temporarily to meet a nice Dutch couple and they warned us with stories of Grizzlies in the Yellow Stone / Grand Teton area. This scared Callum a bit, considering he's mortified of crickets, let alone bears. Mountains temporarily defeated and footage taken, we were then greeted by an incredible crosswind that nearly blew me off my bike. There were signs saying "Warning: Powerful Wind Gusts Next 20 Miles".. and they weren't kidding. As we rode on past the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, we saw a large herd of buffalo grazing in a field. It was my first time seeing these large, impressive creatures.
We eventually called it a day in Walden, a non-descript "last stop" town before entering into Wyoming. After finding my card still not working, I finally got cell phone service and talked with another Bank of America lady for a good half hour. It turned out some "glitch" had removed my checking account from my card access and with a few clicks of a keyboard computer, it was fixed. With a slide of plastic and the printing of a receipt, I was no longer broke. I met the guys in the local park, but I was warned that it was going to be another cold night and that the park sprinklers go off at 3:00AM. Deciding it would be better to share a motel, we set off and found the cheapest of the lot. We ended the night with a big meal and journaling in the room. We've got another 50 mile stretch of nothing tomorrow morning, so I think we're going to catch breakfast again in town. Well, it's getting late and Chris wants to upload some funny video. G'night.