Wyoming adventures

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My time is once again limited. My friend Milo has offered to lend me an internet tablet for the next leg of the ride. That should address some of the access problems I’ve been having.

I continue to have great opportunities to see, listen, learn, and think about Latinos in the U.S. I have many more excellent pictures to share but given my trouble with finding hi speed access, I’m not sure I’ll get to post a lot more before arriving back in Minneapolis. Once there, rest assured I will have a lot to say when I’m not facing a clock ticking down my minutes.

From July-December 2007 I’ll be biking across the U.S. This experience will be the basis for book that follows José Martí’s 1891 call in “Our America” for a distinctively American culture, one that embraces rather than denies, the dynamic and organic relationship between place, language, and experience that shapes the American continent. In the blog I’ll document the exchanges I have with people about the Latinoization of the U.S. as well as my own life experiences and thoughts.

I was strongly advised not to cycle alone thru Yellowstone by the Park Rangers because 1) the buffalo might attack me 2) the roads were not made with bikes in mind and many of the most dangerous places have no shoulders, and 3) people are distracted when driving because they are looking for the animals. Good advice–as I was to learn. I did see many Bison, Elk, deer, 2 bald eagles, and other small critters. The park is mystical in numerous ways with the thermal regions constantly spewing steam.

I dropped off the car in Cody and went to Greybull last Saturday. From there I went to Wurland and then to Ten Sleeps later that night. Ran into a strange storm–rain, hail, gusts of extreme hot and cold wind so strong they blew an RV trailer over (I arrived right after it happened–so glad I wasn’t right there!), followed by intense humidity and newly awakened droves of flies and crickets. Completely bizarre and uncomfortable. I stayed in a camping cabin in Ten Sleeps–a tiny town at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. I knew the next day would be an intense ride and was worried about my bike because the gears had began slipping. Two people in town told me the first 27 miles would be the hardest as the road was a constant incline–particularly the middle 12 miles. I prepared myself mentally and started off early and slowly the next morning as about 5 miles out of town the highway begin winding thru the Mountains. I took a parallel road that followed a river because a sign indicated that it would intersect with the HWY 8 miles down the road. This road turned into gravel–but it wasn’t too bad. However, the gears started slipping really bad and this made riding uphill impossible. About half way I decided I had to abandon the bike and get to a town and get a car so I could get the bike fixed. The parallel road and the highway were separated by a gully and the Ten Sleep Creek–a fairly rapid moving body of water. I decided to go up and down to save time–but this was not easy. When I reached the HWY, I was unable to get a ride. After a couple of hours in the heat–I decided that though I had brought my kamelbak full of water, that there was no way I could risk trying to walk–12 miles back to a town that was so small it had no transportation services at all–or forward close to 50 miles. I called my office and asked them to help identify a cab in Buffalo, the next town up. Thankfully they were persistent and when they found out Buffalo did not have a cab company they contacted the hwy patrol–who eventually came to get me. The trooper offered to take me to the top of the mountain where he assured me I could coast 40 miles into Buffalo. It made sense to me to go forward rather than backward, so that’s what I did. It wasn’t all downhill–so it still took me several hours to arrive–but I was happy to see Buffalo and happy to have friends at the U who I could count on.

I rode the next day to Gillette because I needed to get to a town with a good bike shop to get the derailer fixed. I am now on the way to S. Dakota and should be there by tomorrow. Motorcycles are all over the place headed towards Sturgis.

Meanwhile, I just heard about the tragedy back in Minneapolis–a bridge on I-35 right by the university collapsed last night. So far, all in our offices and building appear to be ok. But I understand many people were killed.

Keep your thoughts and prayers with them.
My time is once again limited. My friend Milo has offered to lend me an internet tablet for the next leg of the ride. That should address some of the access problems I’ve been having.

I continue to have great opportunities to see, listen, learn, and think about Latinos in the U.S. I have many more excellent pictures to share but given my trouble with finding hi speed access, I’m not sure I’ll get to post a lot more before arriving back in Minneapolis. Once there, rest assured I will have a lot to say when I’m not facing a clock ticking down my minutes.

I was strongly advised not to cycle alone thru Yellowstone by the Park Rangers because 1) the buffalo might attack me 2) the roads were not made with bikes in mind and many of the most dangerous places have no shoulders, and 3) people are distracted when driving because they are looking for the animals. Good advice–as I was to learn. I did see many Bison, Elk, deer, 2 bald eagles, and other small critters. The park is mystical in numerous ways with the thermal regions constantly spewing steam.

I dropped off the car in Cody and went to Greybull last Saturday. From there I went to Wurland and then to Ten Sleeps later that night. Ran into a strange storm–rain, hail, gusts of extreme hot and cold wind so strong they blew an RV trailer over (I arrived right after it happened–so glad I wasn’t right there!), followed by intense humidity and newly awakened droves of flies and crickets. Completely bizarre and uncomfortable. I stayed in a camping cabin in Ten Sleeps–a tiny town at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. I knew the next day would be an intense ride and was worried about my bike because the gears had began slipping. Two people in town told me the first 27 miles would be the hardest as the road was a constant incline–particularly the middle 12 miles. I prepared myself mentally and started off early and slowly the next morning as about 5 miles out of town the highway begin winding thru the Mountains. I took a parallel road that followed a river because a sign indicated that it would intersect with the HWY 8 miles down the road. This road turned into gravel–but it wasn’t too bad. However, the gears started slipping really bad and this made riding uphill impossible. About half way I decided I had to abandon the bike and get to a town and get a car so I could get the bike fixed. The parallel road and the highway were separated by a gully and the Ten Sleep Creek–a fairly rapid moving body of water. I decided to go up and down to save time–but this was not easy. When I reached the HWY, I was unable to get a ride. After a couple of hours in the heat–I decided that though I had brought my kamelbak full of water, that there was no way I could risk trying to walk–12 miles back to a town that was so small it had no transportation services at all–or forward close to 50 miles. I called my office and asked them to help identify a cab in Buffalo, the next town up. Thankfully they were persistent and when they found out Buffalo did not have a cab company they contacted the hwy patrol–who eventually came to get me. The trooper offered to take me to the top of the mountain where he assured me I could coast 40 miles into Buffalo. It made sense to me to go forward rather than backward, so that’s what I did. It wasn’t all downhill–so it still took me several hours to arrive–but I was happy to see Buffalo and happy to have friends at the U who I could count on.

I rode the next day to Gillette because I needed to get to a town with a good bike shop to get the derailer fixed. I am now on the way to S. Dakota and should be there by tomorrow. Motorcycles are all over the place headed towards Sturgis.

Meanwhile, I just heard about the tragedy back in Minneapolis–a bridge on I-35 right by the university collapsed last night. So far, all in our offices and building appear to be ok. But I understand many people were killed.

Keep your thoughts and prayers with them.

I’m a 46 year old Tejano transplant living in Minnesota since the summer of 2004 when I decided to jump off the proverbial cliff and see what life would hold for me if I accepted a position as chair of The Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota. Surrounded by a great group of people, the work has been super hard, but fun & rewarding. I think we’re making progress all the time. What’s progress? Well, that’s always debateable because it’s relative. From where we were, we’ve come far. From where we want to be, we’ve a long way to go. In the meanwhile, this blog is about another journey, one which I hope will keep me sane as I try to figure out this crazy world and my place in it.