Sunday, July 19, 1981

28. Encampment, Wyoming

Day 28:  Sunday, July 19, 1981
Rawlins to Encampment:  65 miles

Fortunately, the wind dies down at night out here.  It was pretty peaceful for the first few hours of riding.  On the way out of town, Rick and I looked at a fenced-in Union Pacific 2-8-0 locomotive.  UP has a large yard in Rawlins.

The town of Sinclair is about ten miles east.  It looks like a ghost town - but then, today is Sunday.  Sinclair Oil has a refinery in Sinclair.  Duh.

The Sinclair oil refinery
The Sinclair oil refinery

We rode on Interstate 80 for 15 miles - it's okay in Wyoming.  Then we headed south on state routes 130 and 230 through the Overland Flats (the Overland Trail passed here) to Saratoga and Encampment.

These are resort towns now.  At the turn of the century, they were copper mining towns.  Saratoga has the world-famous (?) Hobo Hot Springs.  Guy and I soaked in them for an hour or so.  They're hotter than bath water.  It really felt good.  They're entirely uncommercialized - no charge - provided by the town.  It was great.

I took time out to go through the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Society museum.  They had moved the Saratoga & Encampment Railway depot up the hill and had refurbished it.  The passenger waiting room had been left it its original state, but the freight portion had been remodeled.  They had an excellent display of photographs illustrating the region's history.

Saratoga & Encampment Railway depot
The Saratoga & Encampment Railway depot

Eighty years ago, the Great Encampment had copper mines, a 16-mile gravity-run aerial ore tramway, 2000 people, 27 saloons, and just about the same number of brothels.  Today there are less than 400 people here.  But they're nice.  We're camping in the city park free - and it is at least ten times better than the park in Jeffrey City.  The volunteer fire department was having a potluck supper in the park, and they invited us over.  So we were well-fed tonight.

aerial ore tramway
The Great Encampment aerial ore tramway

In spite of our stop at the hot springs, we still covered 65 miles today.  And my four broken spokes on I-80 took only (!) 1½ hours to replace.

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