Wyoming and the National Parks

Day 56- July 26

We ate breakfast at the hotel, which served hotel eggs and biscuits and gravy! And waited for the Cleveland man. He came to our room not prepared to ride 60ish miles. He told us that his vacation was suppose to end with meeting his wife in Yellowstone. However, things fell through and so he wanted to spend the rest of the time with his wife so he was going to fly home.

We said our good byes then we headed off around 9.10ish. We had a long day and we were supposed to drop elevation. We did drop elevation, but it didn’t feel like it as we had many hills. It was also a long day because there wasn’t much places to stop and we were in the shinning sun. It was also windy. Pretty much from entering Wyoming we have had head wind. Some days worse than others.

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After 30 some miles we were expecting a restaurant as indicated on the map. When we got to that spot, the restaurant had actually been closed for 5 years and it was really run down. We had lunch in the shade then continued on another 11 miles. We came across an office building and tried to get water, but no one was there. We ended up getting water from their sprinkler system. There was supposed to be a convenience store a little up the road, but we didn’t want to chance it.

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But, there was one! We got a large lemonade and sat inside for a bit. The store was quite busy. There was a small trailer next door that said Motel. I wonder if anyone has stayed there. We continued. We finally made it to Jeffrey City after about 66 miles. It was a very small town. Maybe three buildings in use. We stayed at the church there. Interesting story is that Jeffrey City is the birthplace of “the home on the range.” It use to be a big uranium town, but when it was shut down, a town of couple thousand went to less than 100. The waitress of the cafe said it used to hold a big percentage of Wyoming’s population at one point!

There was another man staying with us at the church. He was coming down from Canada and was going to Denver. He has down other bike touring before. He was from the Netherlands. He had an interesting job- psychologist for criminals. So he interviews them and gives the police informstion about them. There were showers in the church which was nice. They also wanted bikers to write on the walls so it was cool seeing familiar names.

Day 57- July 27

We had breakfast at the cafe with Dr. Netherlands. We had a good conversation with him during our stay. We then departed, him going South and us going North. We had another 60ish mile day to Lander. Again, it was supposed to drop elevation, which it did, but it was not downhill. We stopped at a rest stop at Sweetwater Station and relaxed there for a bit then tried finding this campground with a store for lunch. It wasn’t in the spot indicated on the map, but we found it.

20160727_094536.jpg20160727_112100.jpg20160727_123903.jpg20160727_123914.jpgWe bought some cold drinks and when we were paying this man walks in and asked the lady where the bathroom was- very rudely. She told him none for the public and he gave her attitude then left. She let us sit under a tree at a picnic table for lunch. Since it was getting hot and later in the afternoon we quickly ate and rode the last 11 miles to Lander. We got a motel- Holiday Lodge. Then went to the bike shop.

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I got a new chain and a helmet mirror and as a bonus the bike shop gives out free ice cream bars to cyclists! Upon returning back to the room, we fixed my air mattress pad. We then got dinner at the restaurant next door. This motel also offered camping.

Day 58- July 28

We woke up around 6 and we were very slow getting ready. We decided to take a rest day due to fatigue, but also there was a fire where we were going.

We moved to the RV/campground up the road and talked to several people about the fire such as the forest service. They all said it wouldn’t hinder us and that the fire isn’t close to the highway. It did, however, close part of The Continental Divide Trail (hiking) and The Great Divide Trail (biking). We bummed about then saw Star Trek Beyond- great movie, highly recommend it.

After the movie, at 6pm, the city was hosting one of its summer concerts so we went there and listened for an hour or so and enjoyed how many of the townspeople came out.

Day 59- July 29

We tried to get an early start, but we got caught talking to a few people. One was an East bound biker who passed through Dubois (pronounced Du-boys, our destination for the day). He said the smoke wasn’t bad and he couldn’t see the fire.

The majority of the day was fine. Some climbs as we were expecting to gain elevation. It was 75 miles to Dubois, a bit longer than we liked, but there was nothing else in between. Our route took us through the Wind River Indian Reservation. We ended up stopping at one of the convenience stores for a drink and to have lunch. Right before this store, there was a decent hill. Nothing to strenuous; however, when I reached the base, a bee (I think) hit me in the nose and then landed on my thigh. Like any self-respecting bee, it wanted to protect itself, because of course I attacked IT, and it proceeded to sting me.

I stopped and wiped it off and saw the stinger. It stung me through my shorts. I removed the stinger and was left with a red dot on my thigh, which after my climb up the hill proceeded to grow bigger- swollen and itchy.

The last 10 miles into Dubois was rough only because the wind picked up, we were noticeably gaining elevation, and we had a light haze of smoke. It didn’t impede the beauty of the mountains though.

We finally made it to Dubois and there was many firefighters stationed at several spots. We later learned that they came from all over the country and at one point this was the country’s top priority fire.

Dr. Netherlands told us of the Episcopal church he stayed in and he made it sound like it was about a mile from town. So for at least 3 miles I’m looking for this church. It’s actually right in town. The town is quite small- only one road and it’s at one of the ends of that road. We came just in time as two other cyclists had stopped and called the number to be let it. The man was walking up right when we arrived. He showed us around and said we can get showers at the laundry mat (coin showers). It does offer WiFi.

We were later joined by two more cyclists. All going East. The first two were on recumbent bikes. Dad and I aren’t sure of that as later on in the trail for them there are barely any shoulders and people aren’t as nice at moving over.

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We set up our sleeping things then went to take showers. The church has you sign release forms. Next door was a store that also had an exhibit on Jackalopes. We went in and there was a huge stuffed one that we could get on for pictures. Well, we did.

We then bought some turtle fudge that was delicious! We had to follow our dessert with dinner so we went over to the Cowboy Cafe.

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We were in bed at 8pm.

Day 60- July 30

We said our good byes to the other cyclists and went back to the cafe for breakfast then headed for the big climb to get to the pass and a Continental divide. It was uphill the whole way. We saw some East bound bikers going down as we were going up. Finally we reached the top.

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Before, we stopped at a lodge/store for an orange break and saw some fire smoke a few miles from the highway. The man working said of it was a tail wind for us, the fire would be more threatening. We grumbling agreed a head wind for us was better for the greater good.

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It was a long day of 66 miles. Going down the other side of the hill was hard because of strong head wind. We stopped at a restaurant/lodge for lunch then continued down till we reached Grand Teton National Park.

So, as cyclists or common sense in general, bikers ride to the farthest right as possible or in the shoulder as they see fit that it’s safe. Right? Well, upon entering the park there were lines of cars to pay. Well, after biking about 3,000 miles we didn’t think to go into the path of cars since it’s dangerous. We rode up to the booth and parked our bikes. A ranger came out and was rude with us right off the bat- “did you just by pass us?!?” We looked around. Um, yes…but we are here to pay…..hint how are bikes are leaning up against the pole….But all we said was that we did want to pay.

She continues- “you need to get in line with the cars!! You are not special!! Don’t worry about being hit!!” Then she walked back inside leaving Dad and I stunned. We understand rules are rules, but her tone was way out of line.

So we went back in line and when we got to the front we talked to our person who was about to give us more attitude then realized his tone and calmed down. The first ranger walked out and we told her she was ride and she didn’t believe us yelling at us to have a good day….she was unbelievable.

We made it to Colter Bay and went to the campground. The lady worker there was super nice and so pleasant it made up for the ranger girl. We decided to get a regular campsite as it was more or less the same as two hiker biker payments. The majority of these campgrounds have hiker biker sites that are shared sites and they don’t turn anyone away (since we can’t exactly go to the next campground easily).

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We got showers and bought some food for dinner then went to bed.

Day 61- July 31

We decided to do several short days as we rode through the parks so we didn’t have to get up and move early. We left our campground around 9 and made it to a store for orange juice. At the store we met this woman who was doing the Great Divide trail, but she was looking at maps to decide how to get around the fires. We let her borrow our map and we talked about our trips. She didn’t give us her name, but she seemed hard core as she said she took a fall that put her in the hospital for 4 days and she was still on mediation for infections.

We left there at 10 and had a decent ride. It was the most beautiful rides we have had in a while. Trees, rivers, lakes, etc. The only thing is there are a lot of cars and people.

We reached Grant Village after 40ish miles and stayed at a hiker biker site. We took showers and then got dinner at one of the restaurants.

Full 2 months, one more to go!

Day 62- August 1

Again we left a bit late due to a short day- about 38 miles. We had some climbs. We have crossed the Continental divide so many times in this past week!!

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We had some instant oatmeal then packed up and went to the store to buy some spread for our bagels- a second breakfast if you will. It has been pretty cold at night here.

When we ate our bagels we sat next to a couple from Colorado and talked to them for a while. They were sweet.

We rode to Old Faithful for lunch and then headed to Madison. We dropped in elevation, which led us to valleys and less trees meaning the wind was stronger.

Apparently there were bison by the road, but I was so focused on the cars and people that I didn’t even see them.

There were no showers at Madison, but it was a relatively easy day so it wasn’t really necessary.  Another biker showed up at the biker hiker site. He has been biking around the country pretty much for the past several years. He had a lot of stuff on his bike. He was nice, but a bit strange. He liked to talk and would jump from topic to topic effortlessly without any help from us.

Side note: We have taken pictures of about 99% of people we have met/long conversations with, but those I don’t post is because it is on Dad’s camera.

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