Vedauwoo Recreational Area
Another double-length drive through Nebraska got me to the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming, at sunset. To boondock there, you go past the entrance for the Vedauwoo Recreational Area, which is a very nice paved campground and picnic area, with walking paths right up to some of the finest climbing cliffs I’ve ever seen. The day use area costs $5/day, and camping (without any hookups) is $10/night. I’m not dead sure any of the spaces will fit the Defiant, but there is some accommodation for larger rigs.
After a tour down several miles of the worst washboard gravel road I’ve seen to date, I managed to find a spot to turn around, and wound up pulling into the same area I stayed at last year, but in a position that would limit exposure to mud if the weather turned bad, as had been forecast. It was dark by that time, and quite late, so the evening celebrations were curtailed a bit.
Breaking out the solar panels the next morning on a whim, I hoped to stay 3 nights before moving on – a choice that requires solar power unless I want to live Spartan. I popped the Evelo Aurora off its rack after that, enabling me to take a first look at the Vedauwoo campground and facilities. The paved road felt pretty posh after the washboard to get back to the entrance, and some of the many long, steep hills inside would have forced a walk if I were still on the Raleigh. The Evelo’s motor made it easy, and I kept an eye on the watt meter during ascents to get an idea of the power penalty from trying to muscle it for speed versus simply churning uphill in a lower gear at a slower pace. The Aurora handled it all well, even when having to get rolling from a dead stop halfway up a steep hill. The throttle control makes it easy to start it rolling, when the first half-turn of dead pedaling would be an ordeal. I had cheated a bit and had a slightly smaller front sprocket installed, but I’ll get into that in my Aurora Mods post later.
When I first pulled into the area at sunset, the small rabbits and chipmunks were plentiful. Maybe the road keeps the predators away. The morning after I set camp, I noticed mouse (or chipmunk) droppings in one little place, but thought it was sesame seeds from some bread I’d had. I’ve always been able to stay in one infested spot for at least three days before the visits started. The next night proved those assumptions incorrect. The hull had been breached on day one, and it was too late to deploy defensive measures on day two. In addition, my campsite was tucked close behind a hill and Internet connectivity was a serious issue, even with a booster. Rather than stand and fight a losing battle, I checked weather forecasts and decided to break camp after the second night to head for Green River, Wyoming and the Wild Horse Canyon Road. I would stay there two nights and then cut for the Bonneville Salt Flats after seeing how the weather was doing there.