South Pass City is such an amazing little museum/town that I unintentionally spent all morning there. The area opens at 9am, which is when the staff unlock all those buildings (in the picture yesterday) and you can actually walk inside. All the buildings are fully furnished to look exactly how it did over 100 years ago, and 80% of the items are originals and not replicas. That is so frickin cool. Buildings included: people’s personal cabins, schoolhouse, livery stables, blacksmith shop, jail, butcher, multiple saloons, hotel/restarant, warehouse (where they stored stuff to last the town through the winter, such as food and booze), and a general store that still functions as a store (geared towards tourists) and post office.
South Pass City was first founded in 1868 when gold was discovered nearby. Then, it had a population of about 3,000 people. Wow!! Two years later the gold rush kind of ended, and the city pretty much went into a bust, as many mining towns do. Throughout the next 70 years the town went through many booms and busts, but it was on a gradual decline. In 1948 when a major highway was built 4 miles away, people didn’t go through the city anymore. In the 1960s, Knotts Berry Farm tried to buy the entire town (the remaining buildings, that is) and relocate it to its amusement park in Southern California. A group of Wyoming citizens outbid them, and bought the town instead, and has since been handed over to the State of Wyoming. Since then restoration has been done to the remaining buildings, and it is absolutely awesome. I think it is so cool to see how people lived almost 150 years ago during the gold rush, and it was just fascinating to learn how the community evolved and survived throughout the crests and troughs of the local economy.
Anyhow, despite my lollygagging, I still got 62 miles in. Yay! All day I rode through the Great Basin. It’s kind of a huge deal in the Divide world, because it is almost a 150 mile stretch of nothing, with very very very few water sources. And it’s flat (not really, actually), completely exposed, and if you get caught in bad weather you are so screwed.
I was so blessed with amazing weather all day. On and off it was windy as hell with ridiculous gusts blowing from every single direction, but I didn’t get rained on! Yay!!! And, it was overcast pretty much all day which REALLY helped, because otherwise id be melting, and would need a lot more water. Up until now I’ve never carried more than 1.5 liters plus a 20oz bottle of water at a time. For this section i have 3 liters of water plus a 20oz bottle. The next water source is about 76 miles in.
Most Divide riders dread this particular section. I can totally understand why. If conditions are bad, you are so incredibly screwed. Honestly though, I absolutely loved today. It was pretty easy to do many miles, and even though it was flat, there was still enough ups and downs to keep things interesting. Plus, I thought it was absolutely beautiful. It was a sea of small sage, as far as the eye could see.
I was thinking all day, trying to figure out why it is that I find this particular scenescape so lovely. I have come to the conclusion that, it is because the entire area is devoid of any houses, ranches, fences, or power lines. That made me really happy.
Gosh today was quite pleasant. I really hope I have such good weather again tomorrow! I’m about 76 miles from the city of Rawlins. That’s what I’ll be aiming for tomorrow. I should get there before dinner time. Yay, it’s Glenn’s birthday tomorrow!! Hopefully the weather is favorable.
I’m camped out on this cool plateau with an awesome 360* view of my surroundings. It’s so awesome. Except it’s raining and windy as hell so my tent is flapping around like crazy and it’s reeeeeally loud. Lol. But that’s ok, better to be at night, than in the day when I’m riding! 🙂