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LA or Bust - 2009 Trip - Day 19

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Start Location: York, NE
Ending Location: Rawlins, WY
Miles Today: 559
Trip Miles: 5657
States Visited: 20
National Parks Visited: 2
Low Temp: 47.0° F
High Temp: 62.5° F
Min Elevation: 1663'
Max Elevation: 8677'

Route Map:

no graph today

I don't know where to start today.  I guess with the ride.  We started out to clear skies and cool temperatures.  Unfortunately that didn't last very long.  It started raining around 11:00 and rained most of the next 4 hours.  Also unfortunately, this was not a warm rain like in Louisiana - it was a cold rain.  Besides wearing all of our rain gear, we also finally plugged in our vests - by far one of our best investments.  We ate lunch in a deserted rest area along I-80 where Linda spent part of the time in the rest room making extended use of the forced air hand drier.  About the time we crossed into Wyoming, the rain let up and the wind started.  It was very windy and they put up signs warning of "Extreme winds possible the next 5 miles".  And they put one of these signs every 5 miles.

Along the way we saw corn fields, ranches, and windmills - lots of windmills.  There were significant windmill farms in both Nebraska and Wyoming.  It's good to see that apparently progress is being made, albeit slowly, in alternative energy generation.

The biggest problem occurred as we pulled into Rawlins.  The motorcycle began operating very poorly.  It lacked power and I had to rev very high just to get enough power to keep moving.  It seemed to be discharging at a high rate at the same time, so I started by removing fuses for high current items like the heated vests, heated grips, and even headlights to see if that helped.  It helped - but only to the point that I could at least start, but the bike still was running very poorly.  I had also noticed some erratic behavior on the road over the last 125 miles since the last gas stop.  The bike was having trouble maintaining the cruise control setting and I thought the problem might have been the climbing, or the altitude or even the wind speed.  Because of these symptoms, and since the last gas stop had been a somewhat questionable establishment, we theorized possibly bad gas.  So we stopped at a gas station and topped off the tank with the highest octane we could get.  We then took the bike out on the highway and within 4 or 5 miles the newest gas had started getting into the system and the bike operation cleared up almost immeriately.  This was quite a relief but still upsetting relative to where we had purchased the gas.  We suggest staying away from Buford, Wyoming.  I guess it could have been worse. By the time we had to work on the bike, it was not raining and probably the warmest it had been all day.

Another problem was that the power problem caused some sort of a glitch in my data logger and the SD card was somehow reformatted so that all of my files were gone.  Files for previous days had already been saved but all of the files for today, except for 4 or 5 minutes after the power problem was fixed, were gone.  I was able to manually create a tracklog file for the map but was not able to re-create the temperature and elevation data.  Because of all of this, the pictures all show up either at the beginning or end of the trip.  The best way to view the pictures is with the quicklink drop-down box.  I guess I'll have to think about some design changes before the next trip.

Surprisingly, we are already half way home.  We never expected to get this far after only two days and may actually get home in 4 days if the weather holds up for us.  We even gained an hour today and will gain another hour Saturday.  Although we have already passed through the highest point on I-80, we will cross the Continental Divide shortly after we leave Rawlins tomorrow, and then we will cross it again in another 60 miles or so.  As you know, the Continental Divide is the point where all of the surface water to the east flows to the Atlantic and all of the surface water to the west flows to the Pacific.  However two ridges of the Rockies split in  Wyoming forming the Great Divide Basin from which no surface water escapes.  

All in all a frustrating day.  We're really hoping for clear skies and no rain tomorrow.