Began this week with a terrible cup of coffee in the smalltown of Jackson, MT. Population of “more dogs than cats”. After drying out thedamp tent, I began my ride up to the top of the first of two passes for theday. Big Hole Pass was a gradual uphill then a gradual downhill and onto BadgerPass. Got a flat from an 18-wheeler tire wire right in the middle of the mostmosquito infested area I have ever been in. Finished the day in Dillon, MT andwas in search of some new tubes.
Camped at the KOA and called around for some bike tubes. Theonly person I kept getting referred to was Joe with a small in-home shop. Icalled him up and of course he helped me out. Left Dillon and cruised about 38miles into Twin Bridges, MT to an epic place the city built called “Bike Camp”.This camp was so insane! It was donation based and consisted of a hot shower, bathroom, and a hangout room away from mosquitos with a couple of couches.Managed to fall asleep only to be woken up by another cyclist, Martin fromScotland getting ready to go the next morning.
I wiped off my eyes and walked outside to see a bivy on theground with someone asleep inside. It ended up being another cyclist named Johnwho is my age and is also the first person I have met my age on this tour. Wewere anxious to get on the road and take off up the pass until the rainstorm wehave been warned about came through the valley. Massive winds and lightning aswell as rain. Met a few other travelers and another man named Dave. Playedguitar and laughed all night until the rain put us to bed.
Woke up the next morning after the most memorable night yetwith many new friends and headed 20 miles over a pass to Alder, MT where we metup again with Dave. He headed up the cloudy pass while John and I decided tosearch for these little local gems known as Garnets on some National Forestland. After an hour of searching and many garnets later, we kept moving intothe historic town of Virginia City, MT. Found a campsite and slept in the crazythunderstorm in the valley.
Was pushed up the pass the next morning by a massivetailwind then into Ennis, MT for lunch. We then only had 11 miles into Cameron,MT to our next stop. John and I were faced with 30 mph winds for 11 miles andit took 3 hours total. It was very miserable and tiring. We made it to the onebuilding in this small town...a pub. We got a brew and waited for the sun to godown to do some night riding. 30 miles and some night photography, it wassuccessful into a primitive spot to camp along national forest.
Was woken up by a stampede of cows and cowboys telling us tomove because we could get trampled. We quickly grabbed our stuff and headedimmediately into West Yellowstone about 45 miles away. Met up with anothergroup of bikers and did some small chores around town. Rode 14 miles at nightinto Yellowstone National Park during a full moon and it was mind blowing.Crossed into Wyoming which is the first time I have crossed into a state atnight then, made it to a cheap campsite and layed up for the night.
The weekend in Yellowstone is said to be the most dangeroustime to ride for cyclist so, with a group of about 25 strong, the cyclistsfilled the space between all the trees. The entire bear box was full and thepicnic tables were used. It was a fun day cleaning gear and making adjustments.Hitch hiked into town to grab some tires due to a massive puncture from awooden block while heading to a swimming hole.
Slept well and woke up refreshed and ready for the threeContinental Divide crossings into Grant Village, WY. The ride was very busywith traffic and people at every turn. Got to see the Prismatic Springs whichwas absolutely beautiful then moved onto Old Faithful to see the historicrupture of boiling water. Moved onto Grant Village and had a great dinner andcamped in a beautiful spot. Colter Bay tomorrow and into the Tetons!
Met many people this week and most of them were othercyclists. Started out meeting John who is the first cyclist I have met who ismy age. He is 23 and from Long Island, NY and is riding a freelance routeacross the United States. Not long after I met John, I met a couple trailangels Kevin and another John. Not only did they cook us lunch and dinner, theybrought out their “wine-a-rita” and sweet wine to share.
I began to hit a bubble of cyclist around Dillon, MT. MetDave who is a 27 year old from Sacramento and is touring the TransAmerica Traillike I am. At the KOA campground I met brothers Greg and Tom from Michigan anda number of college students doing a trip for class credit. They were fromTexas and we're all geology students who were camping in the same KOA.
These few people were speckled throughout the week and whenJohn and I rode into Yellowstone, we met approximately 25 cyclist all campinghere. I also had the pleasure to meet Greg and his wife Danae who were trailangels in the National Park. They picked me up hitchhiking to a town to grabsome bike parts and took me back into the campsite. People like these trailangels and other cyclists are the most memorable pieces of any long distancetour.
This week has been spectacular with a large variety ofriding environments. Although we took a zero mile day due to rain, and a shortday due to wind, the terrain has ranged from rolling hills with sagebrush tothe thick, grizzly infested wilderness of Yellowstone. During the beginning ofthe week, there were a couple of gradual passes that were transitioning fromthe hot hills into the canopy-covered forest. The route passed many historicpoints such as Beaverhead Rock which helped guide Lewis and Clarke on theirjourney or Quake Lake which was formed by a massive earthquake. There has beenfarmland throughout the valleys between the ridges and deep forest as youentered into Yellowstone. The road has been generally bike friendly and most ofthe time has a shoulder except Yellowstone National Park. Riding in a group issafer and not to mention more fun.
All of my gear has been exposed to massive thunderstorms andstrong winds and has done very well. I got 4 flat tires for running overvarious things in the road and had to replace a tire due to a side wall tear.The Blackburn bags are all holding up well in the rain and wind and being usedeveryday, all day. Also, very impressed with the Big Agnes camping gear.Temperatures are reaching the high twenties and I have been plenty warm even ifthere is wind 20 mph plus and rain coming down sideways. Kitsbow clothing isalso doing incredibly well. No sign of wear although it's all I wear. Again, Iam very happy with the way everything is performing.
Until next week! Cheers!