Woke up the following morning with frost on our gear fromthe sub-freezing temperatures. Made some drip coffee to warm us up and westarted the day out of the Tetons and further south. Hit Moran, WY for apackage and continued toward a familiar pass known as Togwotee Pass, whichstands at about 10,000ft above sea level. After summiting the long and windyclimb, Jon and I cruised downhill for about 30 miles into Dubois, WY. Duboiswas a small town with a rustic look to it. After asking around for a place tosafely camp, we got pointed toward the St. Thomas Episcopal Church. They let ussleep inside with a full kitchen and a clean floor.
After a beautiful night’s sleep, I received another carepackage from a friend. With my food bags full and water weighing me down, weturned into a tailwind and had no issue biking 75 miles into Lander, WY. Allday was an intense tailwind that blew us across the plains like a sailboat withwheels. Got into Lander and went to the campsite I stayed at last year on theGreat Divide Mountain Bike Route. As Jon and I were setting up camp, I lookedover at a couple pairs of mountain bike tires that look like they have seensome miles. The sidewalls had rubber cut out of them from other people makingtire “boots” and appeared to have been chewed on by animals. As I got a closerlook, it hit me. I received new tires in the same town last tour and replacedthem here at camp and I was currently looking at my old tires. After a couplepictures, I cut out the logo for a souvenir and hit the hay.
Had a shorter day out of town the next day and fought aheadwind and a pass the entire way. From the first mile to the last, Jon and Iwere climbing a pass up to the continental divide with a 30-40 mph gust in ourface. Multiple times, we were knocked into the lane over the rumble strip andalso knocked into the soft shoulder of the road. The wind was so bad that Jonand I at times, had no choice but to walk. We only pushed 40 miles and landedin a Mormon Handcart historic camp where we camped for free. The people werevery pleasant and it was a beautiful place to stay until the wind died down. Wewere confined to our tents around 7:00pm because of the swarms of mosquitos. WhenI say swarm, that means you can hear the masses of mosquitos outside flyingaround. By far the most mosquito ridden area I have ever been in.
The next morning was a mad dash out of camp so we didn't getcarried away by the mosquitos. We had to keep a pace of 15 mph so they wouldnot follow us and continuously bite us. Made it to a bar in the abandonedJeffrey City around 2:00pm. We walked in looking for a cold soda and to getaway from the mosquitos. This place has seen its better days and consisted of twopeople who were 3 sheets to the wind drunk. They were happy to give us theirslurred directions and information to what's to come although we had a map.Said our goodbyes and kept pushing into the outskirts of the Great Basin. Allday, we had a good ride with a crosswind. We pushed through our spot we were supposedto camp and headed 90 miles into Rawlins, WY. Got a night here and took asmall-miles day on Sunday. We left town late in the day after doing some choresand a resupply. Looking forward to a three-day break in Colorado and cannotwait to see what is in store down the trail! Cheers!
This week we ran into a few other cyclists and we began tohit those touring the same trail from east to west. We started by meeting Jeffand Marsha who was a retired couple touring the TransAmerica Trail together.They are heading in the same direction as me so, I will see them again.
I stayed the night in the Church hostel with two othercyclists. One of them was traveling my direction and his name is Mike. He isfrom Ohio and has so much touring knowledge! I picked his brain all night alongwith another guy named Nigel. Nigel is a retired teacher from Winchester,England who is headed to the Oregon coast. We gave each other tips on places tostay down the trail.
In Lander, Jon and I had a conversation over breakfast witha couple from my neck of the woods in Georgia. Their names are David and Kellyand they are camping all over the west until David has to return to work...as abackpacking guide. They were so knowledgeable about gear and self-propelledtravel that we really hit it off.
The next group of people we spoke with were those runningthe Mormon handcart historic campsite. They told us the history of their peoplegetting snowed in this campsite years ago trying to travel to the west withnothing but handcarts. It was an interesting evening learning all about thehistory from here in Sweetwater Station to Rawlins.
Sunday of this week, I met another rider named Patrick fromthe Netherlands. He was touring the same direction and is moving at about thesame pace. He is a fun guy to ride with because of his positive, go-get-emattitude.
Although I only write about a few individuals I meet, thereare many trail angels who don't have much to say but, they love to help us outby giving us water and other goodies from time to time. These people are a hugemotivation to keep going and is also my favorite part of touring.
Starting out in the epic Yellowstone, the scenery wasamazing. It ranged from the thick woods to the cascading mountains in thedistance. After leaving Yellowstone, the shoulder of the road widened and thetraffic increased into Teton National Park. The Teton mountain range came intoview and the drooling ensued. There was.no place in this park where the view isnot absolutely incredible. We stopped multiple times to take pictures and baskin all its glory.
After the Tetons, the terrain began to flatten out and theshoulder was still wide. The road surface from here to Rawlins was not the bestdue to all the snow and ice. The terrain turned from deep woods into openplains with sage brush towering over the grasslands. These rolling hills andlong-distance views is what we saw all the way to Rawlins, WY. The wind isplaying a large factor because of the open space of the plains. Soon, I willcross into Colorado and the views become spectacular again but, so do theclimbs.
This week, the gear malfunctions were slim to none. Actuallythe only things that went wrong ware my fault. During one of the windy days, Ileaned my bike against a fence and walked away to take a break. I turned aroundwhen I heard a crash and my bike was tangled up in a barbed wired fence. Theonly thing that was damaged was my handlebar wrap and was a cheap fix. I alsotore a small pocket inside my tent because I was swatting those demon spawnanimals known as mosquitos. Nothing a bit of thread and a needle cannot fix.Wilderness Trail Bikes sent out a fresh pair of tires and everything else isholding up to the riggers extremely well. I cannot be more pleased.