Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hail, Hail, the Gangs all Here!

Monday July 6

I apologize in advance. I’m writing this from memory as we’ve been without a means to charge the computer. Here goes. We left off with the Jacksons camping at Old Faithful without the benefit of an official campground. This was both an uneventful and almost adventure ending experience. Uneventful meant that no Grizzly bears or any other kinds of wildlife accosted us or our food which was hanging from a tree. The Ranger actually expected us to take our food and put it into the vault above the pit toilet. I told Donna that if she did that she might as well throw it away cuz I wasn’t going to eat anything that had spent the night above a pit toilet. After inspecting the vault she had to agree with me. Now for the adventure ending detail. The last bit of journal writing that I did while at Old Faithful was while sitting in one of the lodges. I was hoping to get wifi but there is none within the park. But I was able to charge the computer a bit while I was journaling. Donna had returned to the tent after having dinner with Lewis and me because she didn’t want to be part of my stealing electricity (or wifi if they had it which they didn’t). So Lewis and I were enjoying our freedom for a bit in a great big fancy lodge. I journaled for a bit and then Lewis showed me how to make videos with this computer (we’ll try making one and adding it to the blog soon). After a half hour we decided it was time to go join Donna in our private campground. So we walked the half mile from the lodge to the picnic area to find Donna already for bed. It was just getting dark so I was preparing to do so too. As I was putting stuff away I realized that my wallet was no longer in my posession. I assumed that it had gone back to the tent with Donna in her bag. But it hadn’t. I searched through every pocket and every bag that it might have been in and it was nowhere to be found. Now panic is setting in. we’ve got a couple hundred dollars stashed away in a handlebar bag but that wouldn’t get us across the country and home again. I was thinking of the Visa and drivers licence too. When the wallet was nowhere to be found, I decided that maybe it fell out of my pocket while I was in the comfortable chair in the lodge. So I got a flashlight and raced back to the lodge following my exact path incase it had fallen out on the way. I didn’t find it anywhere along my route. When I got to the lodge and looked in the chair I had been sitting in, I found it! Fortunately the lodge was fairly dark in the corner we were sitting and the fact that the wallet was the same color as the chair (dark blue) made it nearly invisible. It also helped that it was unattended for only about 25 minutes, but I’ve seen bicycles stolen in less time than that!

Now for the actual riding part of Monday. We packed up and were out of our spot by just after 8:00. Rather than battle mosquitos and try making coffee, we decided to go to the café for coffee (hot cocoa for Lewis) and some rolls. This killed some time. When we had just about finished Donna realized that we were just minutes away from Old Faithful erupting again so we went out to the viewing area and actually found a place to sit and watch. Yesterday afternoon when we pulled in it was a madhouse. There were easily hundreds of tourists jam packed around the geyser at least 5 or 6 deep. At just a little after 9:00 in the morning, there were probably less that a hundred people there. Got some photos of the geyser with Lewis and then we got our butts out of there. Before 10:00 (just barely).

Our plan for the day was to get as far away from Yellowstone as possible. That was actually my plan as I was really sick of all the mobs everywhere we went, including on the roads. The shoulders haven’t gotten any wider in the 13 years it’s been since I cycled through before. There are probably just as many if not more motorists (July 4th weekend). And the fact that we’ve had 3 consecutive days of just over 30 miles really eats at me. Donna and Lewis didn’t have a plan so they just came along with me. Before leaving Yellowstone (about 40 miles) we had to cross the continental divide 3 times. There are pictures of at least two of these passes. We didn’t see a whole lot more wildlife while in the Park. Kind of disappointing to Donna. The weather on this particular day started out as so many others. Not a cloud in the sky with wispy clouds developing through the morning followed by dark clouds developing this day by noon or so. The showers arrived and disappeared a couple times while we were climbing the third pass of the day.

We officially left Yellowstone National Park early in the afternoon and were in the territory just before entering the Grand Teton National Park when we got to see the BEAR. This was such a circus. The vehicles were backed up about 20 deep in both directions and there were at least a half dozen park rangers directing traffic and not allowing people to stop on the road for pictures. The bear was about 40 yards off the road and seemed to be content eating some vegetation. When it was our turn to run the gauntlet, the ranger warned us to be ready to “pedal your asses off”. The stupid bear didn’t even look at us!

Shortly thereafter we entered the Grand Tetons area. We had another hill to climb before we got to our final destination. This was when the weather that had been partly cloudy and partly grey threatening with patches of blue here and there, finally opened up on us. It rained a little then it rained a lot and then it HAILED! Lewis loved this as the noise of the ice pellets hitting his helmet overcame any physical discomfort. I felt similarly as I realized this was not going to last long with all the blue skies surrounding this very dark ominous HAIL cloud. Within 20 minutes we were riding in the sunshine again.

Road construction played a role in this days ride as well. In the Tetons section of the ride we were forced to load our bikes into a pilot truck and take a ride (3 or 4 miles). We count these miles in our daily total as we don’t have a choice except to oblige. This day we rode in separate vehicles as the tandem was too big to fit in the regular pilot truck. So Donna and Lewis pulled away and left me behind to wait for the big guy who was driving the bosses big truck. When this guy showed up he was like major big. He was able to pick up the tandem with all the gear on it and hand it to me while I was standing in the bed of the truck. Before we pulled away from the unloading place, we were warned about the construction that we would be encountering during tomorrows ride. That’s just great.

The final part of our day had us pedaling past Lewis Lake, Lewis River, Lewis Falls, and we ultimately stopped and camped at Colter Bay Village that is situated next to Lake Jackson in the Grand Teton area. We took quite a few pictures as you can imagine. The campground was pleasant if just a bit overpriced. The showers were outrageous at $3.75 a pop. So Donna the bonified bike tourist made do with a sponge bath in the bathroom. What a gal! I did the same. Lewis never breaks a sweat so he doesn’t have the need to bathe as often as us. We ended up camping next to a guy (Grant) we met earlier in Yellowstone who is going the same direction we are and also on bike. A 10 pack of hotdogs was more than the three of us could eat so we invited him to join us for a couple of dogs. It turned out we had more extras that we thought as lewis turned on his boyish charm and withing minutes of us pulling in, he’d located a family with children and finagled a cheese quesedilla dinner from them. The next morning he also joined them for a pancake breakfast. Lewis is nothing if not greagarious. I don’t know where he got it from!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't been on for a few days! I have to catch up. I should have marked this blog as funny instead of interesting. I laughed at the pit toilet part, the bear, the hail on top of your helmet, Lewis!, the big guy who just picked up the tandem bike, and Lewis finding food! I need to get reading and get caught up.