Long story short, I’m stuck in Thermopolis until Tuesday waiting for a new tire to be delivered. Did you know that if you order something with one-day delivery on Saturday night or Sunday, it’ll get there Tuesday?
There were, technically, other options. One would be to wait until Monday when some bike shop in the immediate area opened, and try to hitchhike there, and then hope they had a suitable tire in stock, and then try to hitchhike back (assuming I hadn’t brought the bike with me, since that would make it much harder to get picked up in the first place…). Note that “immediate area” means something on the order of 50-100 miles.
Another would have been to rent a car and drive a longer distance to a place with stores open on Sunday. Bozeman has an REI and is merely 160 miles away, for example. This plan was disqualified by the fact that there are no car rental places in Thermopolis or anywhere nearby.
The most reasonable, and the one that will continue bugging me because it could well have worked, would have been to ride out on the tire given to me by the guy who gave me a ride from where the tire exploded last night. Then I could have had the tire delivered to a post office a couple days’ ride ahead and not lost so much time sitting around. I very nearly did this, but I kept having visions of the tire – which is really skinny, to the point where I’m not sure it can be relied on to work well with my wider rim, especially under a lot of weight, and looks like it has been sitting around for many years perhaps not in the ideal conditions for preserving its structural integrity – doing another blow-up on me, this time 30 miles from anywhere. Such an event would be far more complicated to deal with than my current predicament. So, still wondering if I was being irrationally risk-averse, I ordered the tire to be shipped here.
I also decided to stay the two more nights in this same motel, despite the expense. At least the weekday rate is cheaper.
The main attraction in town is Hot Springs State Park. The mineral springs create habitat for colorful algae and the pools overflow into the Bighorn River, creating the kinds of mineral deposits and weird, molten shapes you’d usually see in a cavern. There is also a buffalo pasture and a bathhouse with allegedly therapeutic water, both on my list for tomorrow. Today I napped, and loaded and read by the river. It is nice to have some time off the bike and to not have to figure out where to sleep for a couple nights.