Saturday July 4 Happy Independence day!
It was another chillly night as everyone in our tent got cold feet except for Lewis. I wasn’t surprised that Peter did as he was using a minimalist sleeping bag. It was a blanket that was sewn into a sock shape which he crawled into wearing most all of the clothing he had with him. It didn’t rain anymore over night but the tent was wet from condensation. We took our usual sweet time packing up then enjoyed a couple of cinamon rolls that the camp hosts wife made fresh every day. These delicious rolls were washed down with bad coffee. But I did get to use the wifi and post another blog entry. Lewis had a chance to eat half of one that I saved for him but he wasn’t interested so I devoured it. I warned him that this was likely his breakfast and that we wouldn’t eat again until lunch but he was indifferent. Then he took off.
Peter was ready to go within minutes of crawling out of his cocoon as everything he has is in one bag. So he spent some time getting to know Aaron and Lolo while Donna and I finished getting everything together. At aboutd 10:00 we were ready to roll but where the heck was Lewis? We rolled our packed up bikes over to the likely spot where he had spent quite a bit of time the night before. When I called his name he came out of one of the travel trailers holding a plate with pancakes on it. So that was his backup plan. We introduced ourselves to the adults who were in charge of the 8 or 9 children that resided in these 2 travel trailers. The Moons and theChristensons and the Teasdales were so excited for Lewis. We don’t know what he told them but they were just tickled to have been able to feed him (see group photo). We appreciated it too! In fact Peter decided to hang with Lewis in the next RV park to see if he could get a pancake breakfast too!
We pulled away from West Fork RV park under partly cloudy skies but the forecast was very similar to yesterdays. Scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon followed by clearing. Before leaving we said our final farewell to Aaron and Lolo as they were going to spend the day right where they were. They were hoping to get invited to someones barbecue. Knowing Aaron, I’m guessing that he managed to pull this off. I don’t expect them to catch up to us as they are usually riding fewer miles than us and taking more time off.
We took a couple breaks to read about the history of Quake Lake and learn just a bit about the Hebgen dam which flooded quite a few places. The earliest part of the day involved some climbing so progress was slow. But we had decided that today was to be a relaxing ride of just over 30 miles to take us to West Yellowstone. We stopped for lunch at a quaint restaurant along the Madison River. For the first time this trip I wasn’t able to eat what was on my plate (photo). I had just been commenting to Peter how frugal we had been and were eating hard dry old bagels, and even eating food after Lewis had sampled it. I’m sure I’ll regret not finishing off those pancakes later in the trip.
We left the restaurant with barely 15 miles remaining before reaching our destination of the day. And right on schedule, this is when the clouds got really dark. This is also when Sheryl, the cyclist we had met in Ennis, caught up to us on the side of the road. She was desperate for some companionship as she has been riding solo for 3 weeks except for one 10 mile stretch she rode with another couple. So she joined our ragtag group and we all dodged the rain (more or less) all the way to West Yellowstone. It sprinkled a few times and there was some lightning again on some of the nearby mountains but we never got seriously hammered. Mostly just got sweaty from wearing the stupid rain jackets which trap body heat and make you sweat like a pig.
Peter had suggested we get a motel and was willing to split the cost so I took him up on his offer. As we pedaled through town we came across the local microbrewery and decided to get a place close to that. So we did. There are loads of motels in West Yellowstone so getting a room was no problem. Sheryl the solo cyclist had a campground reservation elsewhere in town but we promised to hook up with her later for dinner. We happened to be in West Yellowstone on a very good day. There was a parade down main street, then the local fire department was having a barbecue in the park and later there would be music in the park and finally at 10:00 a fireworks display.
After securing our room and locking the bikes, we set off on foot to explore a bit and see if we could make some vital purchases. The first one being a couple pairs of warm socks for us. We are getting tired of interrupted sleep due to cold feet. The secondary purchases involved some liquid refreshments and some chips to go with the beverages. It turned out the microbrewery in town had closed up at 4:00 just minutes after we cycled by so we chose the local grocery store to buy some beer to be consumed in our room. Peter and I did some male bonding (drank beer) while Donna and Lewis watched the parade. Once the parade was over we all went down to the park to partake in the barbecue. We were just a bit late so didn’t manage to get any of the roast pig but there were plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs to go around. Sheryl joined us for the barbecue and stuck around for the music in the park which lasted right up until the fireworks display began. While we had a relatively easy day cycling, it was a very busy day.