Kurt Williams
Great Divide
South Pass City, WY To fast forward a bit, after Boulder Wyoming we got off route and went to Lander. Reason being is that I had never been there and wanted to check it out. Lander has a history in climbing, and has produced some talent that has paved the way for climbers of today. If you know the greats of Yosemite Valley, then you probably know some of them hung out in Lander. After a quick stop and finding out that there's a good chance I'm coming back to Wind River Range, we started hitching back to the route which landed us late in a town called Jeffrey City. Now I don't hold it against you if you never heard of the place, it was described to us as "a place where a bomb went off". Not literally of course, it was an old uranium mining town, and when it all dried up, ghost town.  Well there was something in Jeffrey City.......

His name is Byron. And let me preface this by saying I could write an essay on my short stay with Byron so bare with me, I'm going try my best to paint this picture here in a journal entry.

Byron is the kind of guy that when you first meet him, you are certain he is a crazy and there's no way you are gonna stick around to see what kinda weird shit he's going to do or say, best to keep your distance or in our case hitch outta this hell hole asap! As the sun was starting to set, Byron was across the street at his home (old decrepit gas station he bought from a buddy for 5 grand) playing 60s rock classics and burning wood(and trash). "Come over" he kept saying, well what the heck, the hitching was useless and the fire looked so warm.  

So we went over to warm up.

What followed that night was drinking a lot of plastic bottle whiskey, and usually what follows that is debauchery. And Byron didn't disappoint, before you knew it he was picking a shirt out of a 5 gallon bucket that he has shit on (drugs, don't ask) and was artistically burning holes in it, then of course, putting it on and modeling it, claiming he would sell that shi(r)t for 10 dollars to some tourist because it now looked hip. Oh my god!

So up until now, he still sounds insane, and he did have some screws loose but he was also the kind of guy that would take his shirt off his back for you, even if you really didn't want to wear shirt. He was so generous, let us stay in his trailer for the night, gave me all kinds of booze, and spread only positive thoughts and ideas. Byron was also an incredible potter, and had a studio filled with paintings and mugs that he made. He told us that come winter, he always gets sober for three months, hunkers down in his studio, and just produces nonstop for that period of time. And you could tell because there was art everywhere!  

I loved Byron, and I know that when I go back to Wyoming, I'm gonna go out of my way to see him again. Cheers you old drunk, you were a good friend after all and a reminder to never judge a book by the cover.

After Jeffrey City came Rawlings, and after that came beautiful rolling hills, gradually getting more dramatic, a hint that the Colorado Rockies were soon to come.  Our stay in Wyoming was so great, and the people we met were both surprising and delightful.  With that said though it was really nice knowing we had made more progress and that the next state was right in front of us.


- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Kurt Williams

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- My Bike Specs -

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Kurt Williams
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? A few years ago I was touring through Central America and through the internet heard about the Great Divide Route. Since then I always wanted to do it, but it wasn’t until I ran across the Blackburn Ranger Program that I started to take it serious. I figured why not apply and see if it was meant to be.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have, done a few shorter bike tours in Oregon. Then, one trip from Denver back to Portland, OR. My most ambitious trip was a few years ago when I biked from California through Central America to Panama, that was a pretty eye opening trip to see where a bike can take you.
  • What is your goal for the route? To have fun with my buddy Sam!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to successfully bike tour with climbing gear and to use the bicycle as a means to get to climbing locations. A climbing trip completely fueled by bike touring!
  • What’s in my bag 1. Cat food alcohol stove - Always works, fuel is super easy to find in any location.
    2. Giro long sleeve button up shirt - Super excited to have this, I’ve always bike with a casual shirt. Versatile and also makes you not look like a cyclist, which helps you connect with people along the route.
    3. Blackburn Oversized Bottle Cages - Really happy to be using these prototypes! Forget the racks, use these!
    4. Tobacco Pipe - For lookin’ cool.

- Great Divide Milestones -