Day Three – Scottsbluff NE to Pinedale WY
Miles: 491
Elapsed Time: 14:31

We started with a nice breakfast at Perkins next door, and we were riding by 7:00 local time. Not much to see as we blasted up US26 stopping for gas in Guernsey. We considered seeing the Trail Ruts monument or Register Cliff but I felt the Ayres Natural Bridge was going to be a good stop and I didn’t want to spend too much time stopping before we got there. We jumped on I-25 north and hit it pretty hard up to Douglas. Just west of Douglas we exited and headed down to Ayers Natural Bridge. It was funny, the road there was narrow and only in marginal condition but we found ourselves going more than 60mph which felt like 35mph after running so hard for so long, and in 11 short miles we were there. Ayres Bridge is one of only three natural bridges in the US with water underneath it. The park there looked rather dated but it was in excellent condition. We arrived at 9:30 and had the place to ourselves. We really couldn’t get over how nice the park was and hiked around a bit and ended up staying 40 minutes; twice our normal length. Back on the bikes we continued toward Casper and in just a little over an hour we were there. It was a little too early for lunch so we continued on. Our destination was Alcova where we would gas up and grab a sandwich and head to Alcova reservoir for a little water break. I really like this area, the wide open feel and the long views are perfect for riding. Unfortunately there was also some road construction and we were stopped for about 5 minutes, but after some aggressive passing we were back in business. We hit Alcova around 11:30 gassed up and took off toward the reservoir. We turned on Cottonwood Beach Road and rode back to the water’s edge. It was a hot day and there were already many camper folks enjoying the water so we decided to continue. We had been in this very area on our 2008 dual-sport trip so we knew there was another good spot just around the bend. Back out on Fremont Canyon Road we continued south and in little more than 5 miles we were at our destination. The spot was along the North Platte River between the Pathfinder and Alcova Reservoirs. The bridge that crosses the canyon provides a very nice view of the canyon’s steep walls.

This place draws many rock climbers and during our stop there were several people taking advantage of perfect Thursday afternoon. It was now straight up noon and we were already halfway through the day. We stayed about a half an hour before moving on. Fremont Canyon Rd dead ends into Pathfinder Reservoir and it is Pathfinder Road that runs straight as arrow north up to WY 220. Back out on WY220 we had to decide which of the three historical spots we wanted to atop at. The choices were
Independence Rock, Devil’s Gate, and Split Rock. We had stopped back in 2003 at Split Rock so we decided on Devil’s Gate.

All three points were basically markers along the South Pass of the Oregon trail. Devil’s Gate was on Mormon land and they had quite a set-up there. Although they were as nice as could be there wasn’t much to see there unless you were willing to do a fair amount of walking and as always that really isn’t in the cards for us. As continued west on WY220 is a very straight shot over to US287 where we turned right and took a more northwestern tack towards Jeffery City and Lander. Jeffrey City is an old Uranium boom town that went bust in 1982 and by 1986 95% of the residents had packed it in and left town. In 2010 there were only 58 inhabitants, and when we went through I would have guessed fewer than that. The town dates back to 1931 when an elderly couple located there from Nebraska to help the husband’s illness caused b y a gas attack in WWI. After passing through Jeffrey City we were quickly upon our next scheduled stop which was an overlook of Beaver Rim. Just before pulling into the overlook as we were listening to the Reds game they pulled off a huge come from behind win. This was a big win for the Reds who had learned two days earlier that Joey Votto was going to have surgery on his knee and would be out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks. It was also the beginning of a stretch of games that would produce 10 straight wins for the Reds and they would not lose until we returned to work on Monday the 30th. Continuing on we reached a decision point at 3:00; should we go to Lander for a quick side trip or continue on. We decided to continue on and get to our destination. WY28 from south of Lander to Farson is one of my favorite rides. US287 & WY789 take a sharp turn to the North and into Lander while WY28 turns south and runs up the Red Cliffs turning southwest through the famous South Pass area. The climb from the start of the run to our first overlook was stop was just shy of 1500 feet in 10 miles. We stopped for some pictures at the spot we have been tow previously at least two different times, and I never grow tired of the view. We by-passed Atlantic City and South Pass City. We’ve been there before as well and decided to get onto Pinedale and grab some food. After stopping in Farson for gas we arrived in Pinedale at 5:30 and checked into the Half Moon Hotel. We stayed here in 2004 so we knew would be pretty good. The owners at Half Moon are really nice and after talking for a little while we decided to wash the bikes and head to dinner. We knew where we were going to eat well in advance of dinner. We had decided on
Wind River Brewing Company. I can’t remember what we ate, but I vividly remember having the Wyoming Pale Ale. This dry-hopped ale did not disappoint. Since we only had two we decided for a quick ride up to Fremont Lake. It was getting dark so we didn’t go up far, but found a nice overlook, took some pictures and headed back. A pretty nice day.