Day 19: Boulder to Atlantic City (76.9 miles, 4,248ft)
Staying in a reasonably priced RV park (Highline Trail RV Park) with wifi, we got off to a late start as we caught up on emails and other work. Knowing we had around 75 miles to ride and unsure of the road quality ahead of us, we figured a 10:00 start might make for a late arrival at the end of the day—how wrong we were.
Sometimes on a bike tour you just get lucky; and, today, we got lucky. We started the day on 18 miles of pavement with a marginal tailwind. As the rain clouds built behind us the wind steadily picked up until it was practically gusting. After we had climbed to the first of the day’s (very mild) three divide crossings—passing a stunning mountain range to our left—we angled southeast and the wind was now directly at our back.
The intense tailwind, combined with some of the smoothest dirt road we’d had of the trip, made for easy riding, in some stretches cruising between 30-40 miles an hour on heavy bikes with little effort. We barreled along in eerie calm, riding at the speed of the wind, only noticing it when we’d glance at the bent over prairie grass on the shoulders of the road or when we were nearly knocked over on rare turns. (One of the only downsides of a frame bag is that a strong crosswind can catch you awkwardly.) Four hours into our ride, we’d covered 60 miles, despite climbing 3000+ feet.
At South Pass—our day’s final divide crossing—we reached Wyoming Highway 28 and turned northeast into a fierce crosswind, before stopping at a rest stop a half mile down the road for a water refill.
After around 5 miles on the highway, we turned right onto a dirt road that took us to the historic town of South Pass City—on old mining town and pit stop along the Oregon trail—a site well worth a visit.
Another four miles of dirt road riding found us in Atlantic City, where riders can camp at Wild Bill’s Guns and Custom Knives and dine in the local pub. We continued another two miles out of town to a wonderful BLM campground (Atlantic City Campground) tucked in a rare-for-the-area wooded grove.