We left Periodic Springs Campground, unburdened, and pedaled up a scenic river valley to the spring of the same name.
It is only one of three known rhythmic springs in the world, so a side trip was a necessity. We hiked up the ravine to the source of the spring. Being a periodic spring, I did manage to spy multiple examples of the elements hydrogen and oxygen. Disappointingly, I was unable to observe any unobtainium or adamantium. As we were in the prime of spring snowmelt, the spring did not slow or stop. However, I was able to find a video of the phenomena.
Returning from the spring, we made a hot breakfast and packed up the gear. The two mile trip, downhill, into town was so taxing we decided to eat lunch before leaving Afton. This is when the bad decisions started. Always hungry, bicycle tourists often suffer from “eyes bigger than their stomaches” syndrome.
We were in the bakery and deli part of the grocery store when we spotted the clearance section which contained a large box of fourteen, day-old, donuts. It contained a mix of eclairs, fritters, glazed, filled and cake donuts. We had to have them.
In addition we picked up a box of ten (small) roast beef and cheese sandwiches. The rationale was that we needed a balanced meal. Beef + flour + lard + sugar + processed cheese-food = a well balanced cyclo-tourist’s meal. Almost. A beer would round out this lunch of champions.
We tucked into the sandwiches and then moved on to the donuts. My first bite was of a maple glazed, blueberry cake donut, covered in mini M&Ms. WORST…COMBINATION…EVER.
This is summer time, so my only thought is that the regular donut making school was out of session and the remedial class was making donuts. The bus that dropped off these aspiring bakers must have been shorter than usual.
The remaining, and deservedly so, box of discount donuts contained the following assortment of failures: eclairs with no filling, chocolate glazed donuts with lemon-lime filling, maple glazed donuts with lemon-lime filling, a few glazed donuts where sawdust must have been substituted for flour, and a raspberry fritter with one side glazed in maple and the other glazed in chocolate. The later I awarded a special ribbon of merit for effort and creativity.
It is not surprising that we were unable to finish the sheer quantity of roast beef sandwiches and donuts. As Wander Wheels hates to waste food, we diligently wrapped each of the remaining donuts in wax paper so that the flavors of each would remain unsullied by their neighbors in the bag, staying true to the donut chef’s intentions to tickle the discriminating palate of gourmands.
As a peace offering to our gastrointestinal systems, we later stopped at a fruit stand in the Star Valley and purchased a cantaloupe. An impressively knowledgable young teenager gave us an informative lesson on choosing a perfect cantaloupe. Another life skill, well worth learning. It’s easy. Scratch the stem scar and sniff. If you smell cantaloupe, it’s ripe.
The late afternoon found us donning our rain gear for a brief drizzle, the first time since our initial week on the bikes.
Finally, we rolled into Alpine, Wyoming where we set up camp for the night. After spending a delightful afternoon in the locals’ bar attached to the campground (note: smoking is still legal in bars in Wyoming) we discovered that beer makes day old (now closer to two day old) donuts taste spectacular. The second lesson of the day was that two wrongs sometimes make a right.