Thursday, September 17, 2015

Center of the Nation Series day 4: Wyoming

Day 4: Sundance, Wyoming. 

Slept reasonably well in our Kabin... But Wil had to get up and close the window because it had gotten very cold. So cold that I didn't think it really was all that cold outside, since it had been that cold inside. Still, I swapped the planned shorts for tights and was happy I did. 

We left the campground in the dark, nosing slowly through a gauntlet of fearless deer before getting on the highway. Even on the highway, however, we were worried about deer, so moved along slowly. 

We arrived in Sundance with only 10 minutes to spare, parking waaaaaaay at the end of the field and hurrying to the starting area just in time to hear the race talk. 

The course was another double-out-and-back, and we had 10 laps to do. This really did my head in a bit -- made the day seem longer. But I am getting ahead of myself. 

The course was laid out around some fairgrounds: back and forth between barns and a lake and a camping area. The lake was especially gorgeous as the sun was coming up!

My legs were feeling really tired, and a lot of the course was on rough gravel, which meant I had to be very careful with my steps. So though I had hoped to be a bit faster and run more today, I had to go slowly. 

We had a lot of new faces today, including a woman running her first half marathon. 

Another highlight: today Norm made breakfast pasta with mushrooms and veggies and some egg. Really nice and hot -- especially since we hadn't had breakfast!

Lots of cheering today; apparently Nads earned his Titanium level in Marathon Maniacs. Very nice!

At the end of the race I had sore feet and a fistful of rubber bands. 

We knew that we wouldn't go back to the campground to shower after the race, so we figured we would just be stinky all day. BUT it turns out that the fairgrounds had showers -- HOT showers  -- so after our run we had a chance to get cleaned up before heading on our way. 

We drove southeast and when I saw this, of course, I burst into tears...

It is still so grand, so magnificent, it absolutely silences all cynicism. Well, until I saw this sign anyway: 

(Who knew Jefferson was an ice cream man?)

Of course, had to capture today's plank. My how the people stare....

Mount Plankmore

We then headed in, stopping in Custer for a great lunch at the Black Hills Burger and Bun Co., where I had SALAD (mixed greens!!!) as the side for my delicious "Lousy Hunter" black bean burger. 

We went through Wind Cave -- well, to the visitor's center -- but a combination of timing (wait 45 min for the next 75 min tour) and energy (300 steps down?) meant we gave it a miss. 

Then down to Hot Springs, SD, where our timing was better and we jumped on to a guided tour of the dig site as we walked in. Very cool to see so many mammoth bones! 

Then on to Chadron, where we checked into our palatial room (oh, that's right, I booked the room with the jetted tub!)  before going in search of a drink and some dinner. 

Downtown Chadron is ADORABLE, from is brick storefronts to its 70's-clad Eagle cinema WITH THREE SCREENS. I managed to talk Wil out of seeing Straight Outta Compton... 

Stopped in at the 76 Longbranch Saloon inside the Old Main Street Inn, which was gorgeous -- a perfect time capsule of a bar. We chatted with the lovely owner and nosed around the place. The owner was sad because she didn't think her kids wanted to take the place over, and Wil and I both had that fleeting "what if we sold up and moved out here and took the place over?" moment, before realizing that all seemed way too hard.  

Picked up takeout at the local Chinese restaurant, which was strangely mild, then ate it on our fancy couch in the living room of our suite, while watching the Broncos game. I also had a long soak in the giant jetted tub. Bliss, and a perfect night! 

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