June 4, 2014: Muddy Gap to Rawlins, WY – 44 miles
*Author’s note: I just wanted to warn you readers ahead of time to mentally prepare for a VERY long blog. It’s worth the read though! It’s filled with history, ghost stories, and cats/dogs.
After several days of hard riding, we decided Rawlins was the place we wanted to take our rest day. According to our research, the town was supposed to be very historical with a lot of museums and a haunted prison! With Rawlins only 44 miles away from Muddy Gap, today would be an easy day of riding and only a little bit of climbing. So we say goodbye to the little Muddy Gap motel and head South to Rawlins.
We ended up running into a lot of trouble on the road. Literally. Running into trouble. Trouble called RUMBLE STRIPS. Not only were there rumble strips but the side of the roads were cracked as well. It made for a very uncomfortable, butt-numbing (and hand-numbing) ride, which slowed us down on our supposed “easy” ride. When the roads were clear, we would ride in the street and look out for cars coming from behind with our rear-view mirrors or we would try to ride in the grass. When there were cars present, we just had to rough it.
We had the pleasure of meeting one cyclist today and he was biking across the country in the opposite direction and on a recumbent bike no-less! I can’t remember now but he was from some Eastern European country and he was loving his trip across America. Since we were having such a rough day on our butts on the broken road, the thought of riding a recumbent bike and being able to recline back into the seat sounded really nice. Our backs and shoulders were usually sore from having to hunch over on our bikes; today mostly because we had to grip our bikes extra hard riding on such a technical road. Most of everybody we seem to meet were going in the opposite direction. Since we started earlier than the average cross-country cyclists, we hadn’t run into many cyclists yet because they were probably still on the other side of the country trying to make their way over here. We were more likely to run into them once we reach the middle of the country.
We continued back on the road…riding, riding, riding…
And there’s the sign! We’ve made it! Even on this last stretch into the town, I had a deer run along side me by that fence. He was actually trying to find an opening to get back into the fields, and, luckily, he made it. When we did get into the town, we were actually confused on where to go. The map was a little confusing here. We either had neighborhoods to our left or some government building to our right. So we had pulled over to that government building and found someone coming back from their lunch and waved them down to help us find our way to the middle of town, which was a little more downhill. We had arrived around 4 PM and Healthnut parents were already there driving around checking out the town.
We found benches to sit on while we called the motels in town to check their availability. While we were sitting there, we met a group of backpackers walking through. They were backpacking/hiking the Continental Divide Trail. These guys were truly amazing. They actually only met each other on their own previous backpacking/hiking trips. They each were all hiking on their own when they befriended each other on the road and stuck together ever since. They live in different parts of the country, but whenever they have an itch to go hiking, they would just call each other up and plan their trip. They said they would hike an average of 40 miles a day and just set up camp wherever they ended up being. Truly incredible! *Side note: one guy is missing from the photo because he ran off to go buy snacks.
After they left, we began calling the motels. EVERY motel in this town was booked, besides having single person, smoking bedrooms on the 4th floor. We weren’t sure what to do since those were all the motels listed in our maps. We started going online looking to see if we could find some place else in this town. Then we were met with two more incredibly nice towns people walking back from their lunch. The older woman worked in writing grants for the city on renovating it, restoring historical buildings, or bringing events to the town. The younger woman worked as the secretary. They saw us and our bikes and wanted to know our story. We caught them up and told them how we ended up here with no place to stay. They immediately got on the phones to call people they knew. Turns out, all the motels were taken up due to hired contractors from out of town here to work for a month. The woman had a friend who owned a bed and breakfast that was just a couple streets down, so she called her to see if she had any availability. The bed and breakfast had four bedrooms: two were just taken and we got the last two! We were ecstatic! Not only did we have a place to stay, we found out that this bed and breakfast was…HAUNTED. The woman that we met in the street assured us that it was a friendly ghost and that no one had ever been harmed there or had bad experiences there. The ghost fanatics (Anthony & Aileen) instantly lit up! We thanked the two helpful ladies and went on our way to…the Ferris Mansion.
We gave the address to the Healthnuts parents to have them meet us there. We all arrived at the same time and we were all in awe of how cool the house looked. I, then, decided to tell my parents that the house is supposedly haunted. Immediately, Healthnut Papa said, “Nope! Nope! Nope! I’m not sleeping here!” and proceeded to walk backwards to the car. Healthnut Mama, on the other had, was intrigued! We explained to them that we called every place in town and this is the only place with vacancy, and he had no choice! Reluctantly, he went in. The house reminded me of the one featured on the T.V. show, Charmed. Does anyone remember that?
The Victorian-style bed and breakfast mansion was old fashioned and charming. You instantly feel warm and cozy when you are inside of this house. We also felt very at home with all the pets running around. Kaye-Marie Wilder was the owner of this bed and breakfast, and her and her family lives up on the 3rd floor of this bed and breakfast. Their pets include Satch and Zoom (the two dogs), Callie and Flapjack (the two cats) and a runaway albino iguana that they were looking for and still hadn’t found when we left. Zoom was said to be their guard dog, and upon first impressions, we thought so too from his barking. In under 2 minutes of barking and trying to scare us off, Zoom immediately ran for a frisbee and came running to us to play with him. Some guard dog! All these pets were so friendly and so ready to be around people, and we loved that!
This mansion has a lot of history from being built from the ground up in 1903. You can read more on the history of this mansion on their website: Ferris Mansion History. You can also browse through the other pages to see photos of the different rooms. We were charged about $100 per room and we were happy with that. Healthnut parents got the Blue Room, which came with a fire place and a bathroom with a claw foot tub. Actually, all the bathrooms had claw foot tubs! How can you not love this place?!
The three of us got the Rose Room, which comes with the Maid’s Room because the two are connected. Anthony and I shared the Rose Room while Aileen slept alone in the Maid’s Room. In the living room of the mansion, Kaye-Marie keeps a pretty neat library of cool, old books. She also has binders set on the table filled with stories of the hauntings of this mansion written by guests who have stayed here or by paranormal investigators who have visited here. One of the main hauntings recorded were of a little boy. Story goes that there used to live two little brothers in this house. The older one had gotten his hands on his father’s gun and accidentally killed his little brother. It’s said that the ghost of that little boy haunts this house today. So there was another story that a little girl had lived in the guest house in the back of this mansion, which is now converted into a 4 apartment complex. A little boy would come by to her house and offer her his toys to play with. One day, he showed up and said that he can’t be friends with her anymore. When she told her parents that she had a made a friend with the neighbor’s kid but he won’t be her friend anymore, her parents said that the neighbors didn’t have children…DUM DUM DUM!
There was a letter written by a guest that read something like, “Dear Kaye-Marie, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here in your beautiful home, but I feel like we should explain why we had to leave in the middle of the night. I had woken up with a feeling of a presence in the room. I saw a woman with a white night gown standing at the foot of the bed. I actually wasn’t scared. Her presence was very warm and calming. I nudged my husband to wake him up and he had seen her too. My husband could no longer sleep and did not wish to stay, so we had to pack up and go. We wanted to thank you for your hospitality and to let you know not to be startled when you could not find us in the morning. -Signed, Guest“. It was funny and scary at the same time. There were several letters that spoke up about other guests who also saw a woman in a white nightgown, and every account stated that she was very welcoming. Anyways, there were so many fascinating accounts of hauntings in this house that you’d have to spend an entire evening sitting there reading through them all. I did, however, take a picture of one of the letters and it was similar to the one I mentioned above:
The paranormal investigators that had come through did not catch anything majorly significant. The one thing I do remember reading in the files was that a noise had come up on their EVP (electronic voice phenomenon – used to help the spirits communicate with us) or on one of their sensors right by the stairs that led up to the 3rd floor. The stairs that were right next to the Rose Room and the Maid’s room (OUR ROOMS!). The only thing separating Aileen from the stairs were room dividers. So every time Aileen had to go to our room, she’d have to walk past the dark aisle that looks over to the stairs that the spirits were supposedly found by the paranormal investigators…Scary for Aileen. Not only that, Aileen’s room was filled with creepy portraits of children. Knowing that a little boy haunts the house, these portraits were definitely unsettling.
Here is a video tour of our rooms:
As you can see, the rooms were very cozy and cute (besides the Maid’s room, haha!). Our room also had the claw foot tub and fireplace. Kaye-Marie was really sweet and offered to do laundry for us for free! We were happy about that because our clothes really stunk. Now that we settled down, we finally went to dinner at Buck’s Sports Grill. Get ready for food pictures:
When we got back to the house, Healthnut Papa was happy to just have a TV so he went to shower and watch some sports. Healthnut Mama went straight for the bookshelf and got herself cozy to read a book. That’s when the three of us started reading through those binders of ghost stories, while also playing with the cats. Kaye-Marie also sat down and talked with us for awhile. She talked about how she came to own and care for this house, and how she’s actually thinking about selling it soon because it had been stressful and tiring after working so many years. She talked about how she acquired this ugly lamp with ugly spots (featured picture is below) as a gift and wants to get rid of it once and for all. She was also the one who taught us what smurgling was! You cat owners and cat lovers should know! It’s when your cat paws/kneads/massages/purrs at soft blankets or pillows. They are mimicking milking their mother when they were kittens, so it’s their way of feeling comforted and showing affection.
Here we are playing with Flapjack and Callie:
This had definitely been an interesting day. Thank you, Readers, for reading through this very long post about our very interesting first day in Rawlins. Rawlins in the deep…you had our hearts inside of your hand. Adele reference, I’m sorry, I had to!