Return to the Desert (& Head Winds)


On Thursday August 28th we left Yellowstone (and the comfort of great home cooking) and returned to the road traveling to Emblem, WY (population: 10).  Just outside of Yellowstone we traveled through a forest fire, the smoke was so thick it blocked the sun and cast a strangely beautiful orange hue over the mountainous desert landscape.



Pearson rides into forest fire (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Pearson rides into forest fire (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)


On Friday August 29th P&P rode through swift head winds to Thermopolis, WY.  Somehow the head wind followed them even after Route 20 turned from Eastbound to Southbound.  Poor Pearson suffered two more flat tires (the total is up to eight) but on the bright side he’s getting better at changing the tubes.


Pearson's Plagued Tires (Photo by Julia Wrona)

Pearson's Plagued Tires (Photo by Julia Wrona)


Saturday we relaxed in Thermopolis, home of the world’s largest Hot Springs.  Pearson and I are celebrated our 1st anniversary a few days early by popping a very nice bottle of red wine that Patti & Jeff Evans gave us while we were in Bend, OR. 


Julia & Pearson's 1st Wedding Anniversary Toast (photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Julia & Pearson's 1st Wedding Anniversary Toast (photo by Meghan Sheridan)


Pearson tried out a unicycle at the hotel but decided to stick with two wheels for the rest of this trip.

Pearson learns he needs two wheels (photo by Julia Wrona)

Pearson learns he needs two wheels (photo by Julia Wrona)



Sunday August 31st P&P completed the longest ride of the trip: 137 miles to Casper, WY. Their saddle sores worsened, but otherwise it was a successful ride.


Pearson & Pete in the Desert (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Pearson & Pete in the Desert (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)


On a more personal note—now that we’ve returned to the sparsely populated desert, with 50+ miles between gas stations, stores and rest stops, it’s again become a challenge to find restroom “facilities”.  I’ve never been picky, but shallow ditches and low shrubs don’t work easily on the trafficked Wyoming roads like they did in Oregon: where we didn’t pass another car for half an hour or more.


Today we’re off to Lusk, WY—a small town that I’ve heard a lot about and am excited to check out.

14 Responses to “Return to the Desert (& Head Winds)”

  1. Papa & Nana says:

    Julie & Pearson:

    Happy 1st Anniversary! Of course we missed you at our Labor Day Picnic (Sunday) but everyone was talking about your trip & reading your blog. We’re all following closely & pulling for you along the way. Our thoughts (& prayers) are always with you.


    Papa & Nana

  2. Janet Fagal says:

    Hi Pearson and Julia, Pete, too,

    What an adventure for you. I want you to know that every year 3rd grades “travel the world” and we ask friends to send postcards from their travels. The postcard you sent from Oregon is the first one I hung up on the bulletin board yesterday, so we are off to a great start. I worked 11 hours on Thurs.-too long for an old teacher like me- and then more hours Fri. Sat. and less Sun. Today is another gorgeous day, but I am working from home and heading in for a quick look.This year is particularly challenging as they are completely renovating State Street School, so we are in a “shell” of a room until our real classroom is ready maybe in Jan.

    Tomorrow the teachers go back and Wed. is our first day with the class. I will have your BLOG on the kids’ computers. I am sure they will love it. I wish more people did things like this; postcards are nice, but this is really wonderful. Plus Julia and Meghan are great photographers!!! The beauty of the land here is something to remember. Sorry about the road conditions. Reminds me of the difference between Penn. and NY. Penn. is not as good as cleaning up as NY, at least that is what I have found. (Andrew was born in Penn. so I lived there for a couple of years.)

    I hope to know more about the schedule in Skaneateles after tomorrow. I will see Pete and Liz then and try to get a schedule underway.
    Hope you are having fun even though you are working hard. Good luck with the facilities, Julia, you have my sympathies. We camped across the country as kids every Aug. I know exactly what you are talking about and I was NOT a very flexible person on that score back then either. Years hence you will look back on this with such fondness…I just hope the rest of your ride is wonderful, especially when you get to more congested roadways ie Chicago…..I thought it was totally insane when we had to travel the Interstate section known as the Dan Ryan Expressway in a car……but the city had lots of bikers and bike lanes in the neighborhoods we visited just this past Aug.

    Be safe and happy!
    PE We should have a float in the Labor Day Parade about your ride!!!!! Good advertising. Really lots more people should get to see this!!!!

  3. Erin says:

    Happy Anniversary!! Hard to believe its been one year since we celebrated your wedding in Ellicotville…I’m glad you got to celebrate together, even if it was a few days early!
    Thinking about you guys always,

  4. Erin says:

    By the way, Pearson, if you get good at that unicycle, I think there’s a spot for you at the GREAT NY STATE FAIR next year!!

  5. South and Family says:

    Happy Anniversary Julia and Pearson, congratulations on the first of many. We are really proud of you guys, keep it up. We have enjoyed the pictures and can’t wait to see the rest. We look forward to seeing you guys in a fews weeks. Enjoy every moment of this trip and Jimmy slow down a little, remember how old Peter is. Coz, you could be good to go with Guiness, I’ll check into it for you, just kidding man, I wish I could be with you guys. Take Care and Be Safe

  6. Jen Brett says:

    Congratulations! Yellowstone is amazing, isn’t it? Hope there’s no more flat tires!

  7. Elyse says:

    Hey Julie and Pearson,

    Happy Anniversary! I hope you two had a little time today/tonight to celebrate, although it looks like you had a nice toast on Saturday. I hope all is going well. The updates are great, and I love seeing the pictures (great job Julie and Meghan). I was informed that someone, Meghan maybe, took an amazing picture of Julie at Yellowstone in front of a picturesque waterfall and I can’t wait to see it. Good luck with the bathroom situation, hopefully you reach more populated areas soon! Good luck to everyone!!!

  8. Joy says:

    What a fantastic way to celebrate your first anniversary! On the road doing what you both love so much. You will be hard pressed to create better memories than these 🙂

  9. Duryea says:

    Happy Anniversary! Lusk was one of the more notorious stops during the wayward journey Coz and I took cross country years ago. I’m sure he will show you a great time and you will enjoy your special day. Miss ya… The Duryea’s

  10. Yoma says:

    J & P:

    Congrats and Love on one year down and 49+ to go…

  11. Agent Orange and Family says:

    Hello everyone. Happy Anniversary. I wish we were in Ellicotville. What a blast. I have been thinking about you quite a bit. Your journey has caused an old forgotten itch to fester back beneath my skin. Nebraska. Nebraska. I can’t believe how far you’ve gotten. If you’re anything like me, you might start to get desensitived to the beauty that surrounds you. Remember that. I’m proud. I am working on a speaking engagement the 25th if you guys will be up to it.

  12. Geoffrey Carlson says:

    Hi Julia & Pearson,

    Happy belated anniversary! I’m glad to see you made it to Casper – the 100 miles between Shoshoni and Casper is probably the most desolate stretch of Route 20. I hope you made it to Nebraska all right, and I hope you’re doing all right with the flat tires and lack of sanitary facilities. When you get to Stuart, Nebraska, you’ll be halfway across the country, so be sure to celebrate! There’s a nice convenience store in Stuart, if you want to get a bottle of wine or something. Take care and enjoy the rest of Nebraska, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!


  13. christine and chuck says:

    Hey Guys, happy belated anniversary and wanted to wish Julie a happy birthday. I am thinking this will be a summer to remember!! can’t wait to see the next post and see you in NY!!! We did miss you for Labor Day. but you are doing a great thing!
    Love ya
    Christine and Chuck
    PS So jealous you get to see all the great scenery across America! Not at all jealous of your aches and pains from the bikes. God bless you for your energy and commitment.

  14. Jen Brett says:

    A thought: try Aquaphor ointment for the saddle sores. I use it on my eczema and it really, really helps.