Friday, July 9, 2010

Wyoming, through Grand Teton National Park.

Camping (rest day) in the Lander, Wyoming city park...Nick, Robin, and I are sporting the starry-eyed glasses left behind after a kid's birthday party.

This is Dennis, Marga, and Ellen, my new friends from The Netherlands that I met camping in the Lander city park as well. They are husband, wife, and daughter and are also traveling the TransAm trail from east to west. We rode together and cut a line through the stiff Wyoming wind for a couple of days.

Random Wyomingness:

And then, all of a sudden, it looks like Arizona or Utah?!

And then starting the climb to the 9,600' Togwatee Pass:

This is Wind River Lake, the reward for climbing to the top of Togwatee Pass.

Me with the beautiful Ellen on the dock at Wind River Lake (yes, it WAS really cold there).

Lunch break on the descent from the pass. It was a great group of folks: Phyllis from Seattle; Jerry from Baltimore; Fred and Barbara (the 77-yr olds from Australia on the tandem bike); Dennis, Marga, and Ellen from Holland; Dirk and Marcus from Florida; and me.

It was the 4th of July on the day we climbed/descended the pass. The first convenience store on the descent was closed but there was a coke machine. Marcus bought a coke and said it was a bargain at just 50 cents. I went over and put in my 50 cents, pushed the Coke button, and out came a Dasani water. I was pissed because I really wanted a Coke. So, I put in 50 more cents and decided to go for a Barq's Root Beer...and out came a DIET Coke!! The group was laughing hysterically at this misfortune when Dirk jokingly said he bet that he could get a Coke. I challenged him, knowing he'd waste his 50 cents, but when he did it, he DID get a Coke. So, this pic shows me frustrated with my water and Diet Coke, and Marcus and Dirk gloating with their actual Cokes.

The first view of the Grand Tetons on the descent:

Tried to take a picture over my shoulder of the riders behind me as we were descending at about 25 mph. This was the result of my poor aim, but I think the picture is pretty cool:

The next morning everyone else took off for Jackson but I went to the Tetons to camp. And there it is, the wall of Tetons, in all their 'Grandness':

A pretty cool place to hit 3000 miles on the odometer, somehow more rewarding than it would have been if I were in the middle of some barren Wyoming nothingness:

Sweet place to have a picnic lunch, yeah??!!

My next door neighbors (next campsite over)...John and Jenna, a father/daughter touring combo from Maryland. Jenna had a gorgeous voice and sang us some sweet songs in the chilly evening Teton air! (Note the sweet, welded aluminum guitar carrier on the back of Jenna's bike.)

July 6 was Dennis' birthday, my friend from The Netherlands. Even though I was riding alone in the Tetons toward Yellowstone, I made a sign for the back of my bike in hopes he'd see it as the Yellowstone tour bus their family had signed up for passed me in the early morning light. I have no idea if he saw it, but I rode with it all day. The funny thing is that everyone was wishing ME a happy birthday, either shouting it out their car windows, or telling me when I pulled over for a rest or picture break!

Nearing Yellowstone:

I made it!

This is Joel, a biker and metalworker that I talked to at a Yellowstone pullout for about 45 mins. He's a cool dude from Spokane, WA, who was on a 5-day journey during the free time he had when his daughter was with her mother (he has full custody). We had a great conversation about all kinds of things - economy, parenting (like I could contribute anything to that!), traveling, work, women, food, etc. I wish he were on a bicycle so we'd have had more time to hang.

Yellowstone's Lewis River valley:

I took a nap and ate a snack on this log at Lewis Lake:

This is called the "Black Hole", one of Yellowstone's geothermal features. Yes, I know it's not black. There's some geologic explanation for that. I don't know it. Deal with it. :)

Another geothermal feature empties into the GIGANTIC Yellowstone Lake:

I actually got into a picture. That's not too common when riding solo, for some reason. And here we go again, yet another crossing of the Continental Divide. Crossing the Divide is getting kind of passe now!!

This was the best place to stop and pee, EVER!

Am I the only one that thinks Old Faithful is lame? I've been twice and have been super-disappointed both times at the build-up to fairly unimpressive geyser action. Have I just been when it didn't 'go off' like it sometimes does?

The Firehole River is warm, because of the 180-degree water flowing into it from the geothermal pools above. Awesome!

Finally an animal sighting! You'd think that going through Yellowstone on a bike would allow one to see much MORE wildlife than by car...think again. I saw exactly two bison (these), two elk, and one bald eagle in two full days and about 70 miles in the park! Three years ago when I visited in a car, I saw many bears, bison, and elk.

There's the eagle:

Saying goodbye to Yellowstone:

And hello Montana!!

In the town of West Yellowstone, I met up again with the Dutch folks (Ellen, Dennis, Marga) and stayed in a hostel that is on the National Register of Historic Places. More to come, next time I have more library time...

Love to all.