Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dubois to Colter Bay, WY 76 miles

We started out from Dubois a little later than we have been getting going, around 6:30.

I ate a lot of food from my panniers and the first time we stopped, it was patently obvious I should not stop for breakfast; my knee started hurting as soon as I stopped cycling.

About 4 miles up the 8 miles to the top of Togogatee Pass,

there was serious construction; they are rebuilding the road. This time, unlike in Colorado, they stuffed me in the bed of their pilot vehicle.

Riding the bike up would have been exceedingly difficult.

They dumped me out just short of the top. I can't say I was really upset about the aborted ride up.

At the top lay Wind Lake. Still and underutilized, the picnic area was stocked with a fresh banana and Kellogg's strawberry granola bar. I left them for someone more needy. It was quite odd and funny.

I took the ride down slowly, taking loads of photos and generally enjoying the fabulous views of the Tetons. There was more construction on the way down, buy it was navigable, and well... downhill.
Bill passed me, but thought I was seeking solitude, so he didn't stop.

Very first glimpses of the Tetons. I have seen them several times, but they still take my breath away. The best photos were taken with a regular camera, so they can't be seen here yet.

At the bottom, I thought I might stay alone in the National Forest CG Hatchet; I have a phone interview tomorrow morning and thought I would sleep in somewhere I would get good phone service, but when I texted Janelle to ask what their plans were, she said they were going on to Colter Bay, 18 more miles, so I decided to join them. I thought the phone service would be even better there. Wrong. In my short time at Hatchet, a hummingbird took great interest in my rear blinky light.

We would have had to pay $12 per cyclist if two of our party had not been elligible for senior passes ($10 for life). A car with unlimited people inside would have been $25.
There was a moose jam not far from the entrance gate, but the moose had camoflaged itself by the time we got there.
The miles to Colter Bay were quite pretty, though heavy traffic and a narrow shoulder made it difficult to look around. Even if you could cross to the observation pulloffs on the opposite side of the road, it was difficult to cross back over. At Colter Bay we met up with Sara, Mike Mizer and shortly, Mac and Nick.

For dinner we went to the restaurant and had a pretty pricy meal. The consessioner has a program to entice foreigners and out of staters to take jobs in Yellowstone for the summer. I had forgotten how diverse that made it.
Heidi and Jamie showed up around 9 pm from doing the Jackson spur. They were not loaded. We met up at an intersection in the campground and compared blinkies. Rich showed up soon after, but Mike showed up long after dark; he was fully loaded.
In camp we also met a couple going east and a gentleman doing the Great Divide. I would have likes to speak to him, bit did not realize what he was doing until later.
At the store we were looking for wi-fi or phone service, for that interview tomorrow. We finally ended out search at the cabin rental office.
Later at night we have several mtgs at the bathrooms. What can I say, it's where great great minds think. It's also where great phones go to charge.
There are sites specific to bikers and each one has a Bear bin.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lander to Lander, 0 miles

Wow. That must have been some headwind. We made no forward progress today.
Sara, Rich, Jamie, Heidi and I assume Mac and Nick left today for Dubois. We hung back to give Ted a much deserved break. An amazing ability to handle pain.
We saw Heidi leaving town at 1:00 pm and assume Mac and Nick left shortly afterwards. It was already hot and that is a 74 mile trek and uphill.
This morning was occupied with the task of journaling, breakfast and laundry. The afternoon was consumed by lunch for everyone else and unsucessfully getting a haircut for me. Barber flat out refused to cut a woman's hair and the "beauty parlor" wanted $20. I'll let one of my tour mates cut it if I really get desperate.
They all had ice cream in Gambles. I think I remember Gambles from my childhood, though it might not have been the one in Lander. It has changed radically. Mostly filled with tourist items now, I remember saddles, jacknives and western wear.
Such a sucker for bookstores, I stopped in one to pick up a brand new fantasy paperbook and another to buy Bananagrams. At the end of the trip it will be given to Bill or Janelle.
We returned to charge our phones in the laundry room and play the game, then played some more down by the tents.
I should be swimming in the river.

At around 6:00 Bill and I went back to the BrewPub for ... Veggie burgers! A more gentrified town than I first thought. Then a visit to the grocery restocked me with bear claw pastries, wheat thins and grapes, then staples of every well balanced diet.

The guys strategize.

Jeffrey City to Lander, 57 miles

Such a beautiful campsite. Watched the sun come up from one side and the full moon go down on the other. The moon was so bright that through the tent it looked like a security light.
Left around 6:30 am; the mosquitos were absolutely intense, so we didn't even have breakfast. I kept my pants and fleece on until we returned to the roadway. No breakfast.
We rode all the way to Sweetwater for breakfast and there Bill set up his stove to heat water for coffee and oatmeal. He heated additional water for me and I tried out my instant herbed couscous for the first time. Too much salt for use at home, but WOW, great for a road breakfast. Wonderful alternative to oatmeal. There were nice shelters and restrooms, but I resisted the temptation to take a sponge bath; we will be in Lander in 39 miles, with access to showers and a laundry. There is nothing to make you appreciative of potable water like an absence of it.
The crazy woman from the Jeffrey City restaurant (wouldn't sell a baked potato without the meat dish) had told us yesterday that we should push on to Lander because it was mostly downhill. I think she is suffering from uranium radiation poisoning; she seems to have forgotten the uphills. This happens a lot with car drivers, but there were some nice downhills. Have I mentioned how much better east to west is?

9 miles out of Lander there is a cross roads and an RV park. Stopping there we found they had cold drinks and ice cream bars. Oasis.
A really beautiful ride to Lander awaited us. Red stone bluffs and views of the snowy range.

I think I was in Lander about 6 years ago and liked it. There is even more to like now. Its population is greater than its elevation, it doesn't have a huge big box strip and still has a vibrant business district.
I picked up a package from the PO my husband sent me (big shout out to him: Sara loves him), so the test of the postal service was successful. The second package had not arrived, so I asked for it to be forwarded to Yellowstone. That will be a different kind of test.
A great bike shop called Gannet Peak Sports tightened my head set, again. They opened it up degreased it a little and then carefully tightened it again. When I get to Eugene, I will ask Bike Friday to look into this problem. We bought some other items, such as a side opening water bottle cage for me and a headlight that mounts on the fork for Bill, but they had no fun socks. Sigh.
We overbought at the grocery store and went to eat lunch outside the library. Sara called and said she was at the city park and then we discovered the entire boatload of Amigas and remaining desperados were all in Lander! So exciting. EVERYONE is back together! Janelle and Ted arrived. Ted had the bike shop look at his hub and they found a simple no parts needed solution! We had long conversations with Jamie and then set up camp at Holiday Hotel. Funky, but quiet and only $8.50 per person for the river campsite we sought out before, a shower and coin laundry. Nice

We hit a Micro brew pub! Do you see all these exclamation points? This is a great town! Bicycles of all sorts are ridden by all sorts of people for all sorts of reason.

Even Bill loosened up, but not too much!

Ted did not.

Janelle and I enjoyed the jukebox.

Jamie knows her limitations. They are leaving really early tomorrow for Dubois. Heidi and her don't hold still long enough for clear pictures. I think that is so later they can say, "that wasn't me!".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rawlins to Jeffery, WY 70 miles

We left really early to again avoid the head winds. In Lamont we hoped to eat breakfast, but being Sunday it was closed. We crossed the Great Divide trail, but we were doing a beautiful downhill and refused to stop to look. We also crossed the Continental Divide twice today.

Moving on to Muddy Gap, we found the gas station to have outrageously expensive food. I got two bottles of iced tea for $5. There we met a couple who told us dire things about Jeffery City, including that we should not devulge to the restaurant people that we were vegetarians.
Later we met Ross from Astoria. He is moving to Laramie and gave us a message from Sara that she had caught up with one of the desperados and would move on with him. Ross' brother and a friend work the 10th st used bike store in Portland, the shop I think helped my daughter Rachel fix her bike.
Out on the road someone in a Liberty Jeep Wanna Be tried to stop me by pulling over on the shoulder (forcing me out into the roadway to avoid him), sticking his arm out the window and saying "whoa". I am not a horse, so of course I didn't stop. He stopped Bill instead. He yelled at him for being too far out in the road and when Bill tried to discuss it with him, the guy said "don't lie to me or I'll take you in right now". Bill implied it was a good thing I didn't stop or we probably would have ended up in the pokey. As it was, we later decided the pokey might have been better than where we did end up.
In Jeffrey City, we found the same guy at the restaurant, but he pretented not to notice us. I sang Haleluia (by Jeff Buckley) as he got into his vehicle to leave.
At the restaurant, the only choice for us was a grilled cheese with fries. We tried for a salad, but were informed that they no longer have the ingredients for salad. No ice cream either.
The "campsite" is an old abandoned Elks picnic shelter without water. The bathroom consists of flush toilets that have no water and a box on the floor as a pit toilet. Maybe it is so dry here it never leaks out the bottom onto the concrete. We have almost hit bottom, but there really is no other place for 19 miles, and that would only be another campsite, no other services. Mike Mizer showed up, poor soul, and was making the best of thingss. He pitched his bivvy on a picnic table and hid from the mosquitos. At around 7pm Bill and I decided to try to camp next to the river. Janelle and Ted had gone off to the bar to have a beer and play rummy unmolested by mosquitos, and we thought we should at least have a pretty place to camp if we were going to have a primitive site.
We never could find a road to the river, but settled for opening a ranch fence gate and going a short distance on a dirt track. Someone in a pickup beeped and waved; this may have been the land owner, but I felt it was permission. Generally, if something isn't posted and you close the gates, ranchers (so I think I have heard) don't really care. On the road we saw a horny toad, the first either of us had seen in years.
We had assumed there would be no or few mosquitos, because there was no water: wrong. There were loads. We both quickly made camp for the protection of that wonderful invention called mosquito netting. Every time you got back in your tent you had to kill the 20 mosquitos that you carried in. Still, all in all, it was a superior spot to the ex-elk shelter.
Incredible sunset and moon rise with a panaramic view of the country, including antelope.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Riverside to Rawlins, WY 69 miles

Got up and left at 6am to avoid the wind. We ate breakfast in Saratoga and thought we might see Sara, but she had moved on.
There were coyotes on the range today, one 25 feet away from the roadway was trying to find a way through a tightly woven fence. The other was alone just before interstate 80.
Bill had just commented that there were no herds of antelope around and presto a herd of about 25 appeared.
The Trans Am routed us onto Interstate 80, a very interesting experience. With a wide smooth shoulder, there was a rumble strip to ward away the cars and trucks. Loud, but not so bad.
In Sinclair, we experienced the Sinclair refinery in all its glory. We both thought the town looked like a company town. Amazingly enough, I had one of the best meals there at Su Casa.

There we met Mark from California who is cycling the Trans Am from w to e, raising awareness of finning, a term which refers to the practice of catching sharks, cutting off their fins and dumping them back in the ocean to bleed to death. This reminds me of the practice of killing bison for their hides or rhinos for their horns. His webite is

Ted disassembled his rear hub, cleaned and tightened it in an attempt to correct a freewheeling issue.
We ended up staying at RV World. Both campgrounds were private but this particular one had a pavillion, whereas the other had no shade at all. Whatever. Showers and running water. Things could always be worse.
I went back towards town, in part out of boredom and in part to get something cold to drink that wasn't soda pop, and Bill called me to tell me he found an ice cream shop.

There we met Mike Mizer from near St. Louis. He began from there and does about 30 miles per day, with no real deadlines. He and Bill compared their Trek 520 models.
We left the ice cream shop at around 6:30. By then the temp had cooled and we could eat a little something for dinner and shower. Beautiful sunset and a full Halloween moon, complete with streaky clouds.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Walden, CO to Riverside, WY 49 miles

Started out at 8 am. We stopped at the grocery store just outside of town to stock up. There will be basically no services for the next 50 miles.
Not much to say today. We crossed into Wyoming and a crosswind turned into a 5-10 mile an hour headwind.

Major long gradual climbs turned into forevers and downhills did not afford much of a break. We saw antelope for the first time today.
I made it into Riverside at around 1pm and was pleasantly surprised to find a campers or gas station mini- mart with Lipton iced tea.
A text message from Jamie encouraged us to do 18 more miles to Saratoga for cheap camping and free hot springs. Sara decided this sounded appealing and waited until the wind let up to go there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kremmling to Walden, CO 74 miles

Tell AC no restaurant in Rand
We headed out this morning a little later than we have been, since it is cooler now, around 6:30.

It was 15 miles to second breakfast in Hot Sulpher Springs. Things have gotten much more expensive since we got into the mountains. A visit to the hot springs would have cost at least $18 and left us too relaxed to go any further, so we decided to forgo it.
My legs were exceedingly tired right from the get go, which made it difficult to envision doing 74 miles.

The route traversed creek dominated valleys and I kept expecting to see moose or bear, but though I was on the lookout, I saw only prairie dogs and an occasional cow. The climb up to Willow Creek Pass was more difficult than Hoosier, possibly because we had put in 40 miles before getting there.

It looked like it was about to pour at the pass, so we came right down, however this pass offered some ups along with the downs. Clear cutting of lodgepole pines afforded nice views; it appears the lumber companies may be given access to the millions of lodgepoles affected by bark beetle.

Rand had a dinky gift shop masquerading as a general store. We bought drinks and ate the cheese sandwiches prepared by the restaurant.
Whereas the small towns of the plains had gas stations with mini-marts, the mountains have nothing of the sort. In Silverthorn, Janelle suggested that at Burger King we get extra veggie burgers to go. This was such a good idea. Pre-made sandwiches hold up fine if you just avoid the mayo.
We met someone doing the National Parks Route and he promised us a tailwind and downhills all the way to Walden.
Heading out of Rand storms were developing all around us and the wind was picking up. About 5 miles out of Rand the headwind picked up and I could only do about 5 mph. Bill suggested we seek shelter behind a stone gate pillar, which might also afford us some protection from rain. I was highly skeptical. We stayed there about 30 minutes and the wind did indeed die down quite a bit. Someone drove through the gateway. He didn't look too friendly. He was probably thinking he should move "complete the gate" up on his list of priorities. By the time we headed out the headwind was shifting and shortly thereafter turned tail and pushed us all the way to Walden.
Walden offered us ice cream, Sara and a $70 hotel. Janelle and Ted came in about an hour behind us. Ted is my hero today. Still not 100 percent healed, he still managed to do all the miles.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fairplay to Kremmling, CO 100 miles

I rode my bike back out to the main highway, even though the road was rough. My bike is ill equiped to hang on a bike rack. It is quite harrowing to look out the window and watch it. The lack of a top tube is awkward and apparently the front tire had been striking the ground; bad juju.
Our great group before heading out.

Left to right: Ted, Sara, Janelle, Dawn, Bill and me!
An amazing house: thanks to Sara's sister and brother-in-law for the use of it.
Fabulous views!

At the top of Hoosier Pass

From Fairplay to the top of Hoosier pass we climbed 1,739 over 4 miles.
There were 2 miles of repaving going on. I waited patiently for them to let the traffic going my direction go, then began to climb again. But if you can believe it, they did not wait for us to get through before releasing the oncoming traffic! And they knew this! What a bunch of total idiots. Half the roadway was hot tar. They sent a flippin SEMI down at me. He took up every inch of pavement, so after refusing to get over so he had to stop, I had to stop, get into the deep gravel off the pavement and then get back on and try to start riding again. At that point I was so angry I refused to get off for anyone. Very choice words for the flagman at the top. He didn't give a hoot.
A little passive aggressive streak in me: I kicked over the "Pavtech thanks you for your patience" sign after the construction. A pretty big metal sign, it made quite a racket when it crashed. I HOPE THEY STRUGGLE TO RIGHT IT! Did I mention I think they are idiots? Rant over.
None of that could diminish my pride in our group for going over Hoosier. It was (group consensus) a little anticlimactic (pun intended). Don't get me wrong; it was a challenge. We just expected it to be more difficult. Bill asked me if I knew how much further and I said I thought 2 more more miles, then .2 later we were at the top. I thought it was a rest area and almost rode by it.

Bill's wore his fabulous socks just to go over the pass. They have sharks on them. Don't covet thy neighbor's socks.
Go Bill!

Sara: nice job!

Here is UPS delivering a package to me at Hoosier Pass.

Go Janelle! She pulled that trailer through that construction! My hero.

Dawn, bringing us supplies. Today is her last day with us and we will miss her. Who will bring us cool drinks and be waiting ahead of us to cheer as we go by? Seriously.

Carbondale to... Carbondale
Group consensus; Hoosier pass was a little anticlimactic. Don't get me wrong, it was a challenge. It just wasn't as difficult as we envisioned. Part way up Bill asked me how much further the top was. I stated about 2 miles. .2 miles later we were there. We actually thought it was a rest area and I almost kept going.
In Breckenridge, Dawn cheered our arrival, the Alpine Sports (SHOUT OUT!) bike shop tightened my head set and we ate second breakfast. When Dawn leaves us tomorrow, who will bring us cold drinks and cheer us on? I'm accepting applications. Someone needs to step up to the plate.
We missed Ted in Silverthorne. He waited so long that he figured we must be ahead of him. Oh, yea of little faith; how quickly you forget our propensity to get lost. In Frisco, Bill, Sara and I decided to forgo the route and instead opted to further check out the beautiful bike path to Vail. In the rain. In fact it rained on us from Breckenridge to Dillon, while we haplessly wandered Frisco's labyrinth of bike trails looking for the one towards Dillon.
Regrouping in Silverthorn, we rode on to Heeley. Beautiful route, but we would have happily taken the shortcut propose by Ted in a voicemail had we had phone service. He had discovered there were no services there and moved on to Kremmling. Janelle said she was done for the day, but we know she lies!
Kremmling was one of those towns they move as you get closer. Dawn found us on the road and watered us up, while the mosquitoes sucked us dry.
In Kremmling I discovered, to my horror, that I was a mere 7 miles short of a century, so I rode 3.5 miles more up the road. Bill says this doesn't count and he is going to deface my blog if I claim a century. Please reminde to eke my revenge later.
Dawn drove some of us back to town, where we ate dinner and drank margueritas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Route 50 and 9 to Fairplay 72 miles

Left Dawn before dawn. It was about 65 degrees, so I started for the second day in a row with arm warmers on and added the rain coat. Dawn had purchased subs for us last night, so I ate half for breakfast and the rest of the spaghetti from last night.

Bob Kippley brought Sara back to our fold. She had remained in Canon City last night. Remember the tour title: The Affirmation of Human Goodness.
Met Jim and Sharon out of Denver going East. ( They have no set schedule, but told us to go into Guffey; very out of the box.

We mossied into Guffey for breakfast. That would be third breakfast for those counting: spaghetti, 1/2 sub and Guffey. The elevation there is 8600. Interesting town. It's probably what Steamboat Springs was before it became yuppized. Or Breckenridge.
We did a lot of climbing. Most were long gradual climbs, which wore me down a surprising amount. From Guffey to Fairplay was very moderate in gains and losses: the section leading up to Guffey from 9 and 50 was the most strenuous and ranked the greatest elevation gains.
Here is the first glimpse of the Preaidential Range. We had milkshakes in Hartsel, where we met up with Dawn again.
Ted was waiting for us by the side of the road with cold drinks; a very nice reunion!

A supremely long gradual downhill led to Fairplay and Janelle and I felt that it was somehow undeserved.

Fairplay's elevation is 9000. We think we gained about 4,500 feet.

Dawn met us at the grocery store there and guess what? She had cold drinks for us? She and Ted cheered when we came in. She had some doubts about us making it. Eat crow, Dawn!
The bikeshop in Fairplay was useless for anything. The guy didn't even know what a head set was.
We moved the bikes to Sara's sister's house via car and bike carrier. The road is fine for cars, but a little rough for bikes. A
beautiful house, remember the name of the tour: Affirmation of Human Goodness.
Bill and I went to Alma by car with his brother-in-law Larry, while everyone else cooked at the house. It was a really nice evening at the house later, where the nice mix included Dawn and the return of Ted.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone