Katie & Laura
Great Divide
Island Park, ID to Jackson, Wyoming Laura-

This week has been SO FULL of adventure and activities both on and off the bike!!! We began in Island Park (after saying bye to our FAVES Connie, Gene and Kari) and ended the week in Jackson Hole on Wednesday and then took a four day break to attend a couple weddings!!

Highlights from this week:
- beginning the week with lots of sandy straight riding on an old railroad track trail which was a TRIP because you could see sooooooo far ahead but it took forever to get there because of the sand. Was super impressed with our WTB Wolverine tires -- they're only 2.2s but they reacted surprisingly well to the loose terrain we faced rolling out of Island Park
- Getting uncomfortably full in Ashton after devouring a burger, fries and a milkshake. This is definitely a highlight.
- Riding with Thomas, Andy, Tony and Cliff
- Receiving free donuts from the kind lady at the Ranger Station in Ashton
- Seeing lots and lots of SQUARE and RECTANGULAR bails of hay and pondering the question -- how has Idaho not yet discovered ROUND BAILS?!
- Seeing lots and lots of harvesting machinery
- Farm truck traffic jams
- Riding through fields of gold
- Refilling my water at the gas station in Tetonia
- Detouring to my FAVORITE TOWN IN THE WORLD -- Victor Idaho! We weren't able to take the Flagg Ranch road due to the fires in West Yellowstone so we cut south through Tetonia, Driggs and Victor on our way to Jackson
- Camping on the lawn of the Quickwater ranch under the stars and waking up DEW FREE!!!
- Riding over Teton Pass which has SPECTACULAR views from the top! Even with some smoke...
- Descending down Teton Pass :) Thomas, Andy, Mike (a new friend we picked up while climbing the pass) and I really let it loose which made for a super quick descent and some pretty fried brakes :)
- Eating in Jackson
- Being in Jackson
- Biking in Jackson. There is a really nice network of river trails that are paved and go all around town. Super nice
-Not a highlight -- saying goodbye to Andy, Thomas, Cliff and Tony
- eating the most delicious root beer freeze I've ever had in the entire world...in Ashton
- Picking up our rental car and finding that because they had no more bike racks (we needed to get our bikes to the shop in Victor) the guy upgraded us to a MINI VAN for no extra charge!
- DRIVING A MINI VAN
- Driving up to West Yellowstone to pick up a couple patriotic animal tanks for the upcoming holidays (Labor Day and 9/11). There was LOADS of smoke all around So much so that there was a news reporter walking around with his big camera and interviewing people about it!
- Being interviewed by the news reporter guy about our opinion on the smoke in the area (my opinion...it makes the sky beautiful)
- Visiting my little sister and brother in Utah
- Seeing friends in Utah
- Splurging and seeing "Pete's Dragon" and then being given a free movie voucher :)
- Purchasing a bag of 16 fresh peaches and devouring almost all of them during my road trip
- Driving out to Craig Colorado and seeing all of my besties from college
- the rehearsal dinner...and eating all the foods!
- Camping at the Craig KOA with my friend and weathering the GNARLIEST thunder/lightning/rain storm
- ATTENDING THE (big fat Greek) WEDDING of my friends Angie and Gabe!
- Dancing all night and into the morning
- Being back in Victor and meeting up with Katie after our four days apart
- Getting a parting dinner with Katie's parents (they dropped her off back in Idaho after the wedding weekend).

This week was SO MUCH FUN! Definitely not the standard bike touring week you hear about but really fun in that we had lots of moving parts and it all worked out! It was such a rad experience taking a break to attend a good friend's wedding and I loved seeing most of my old college teammates!

The brand shoutout that I have been dying to do is PERF for this week -- KITSBOW! Specifically their women's RG Short which has quite literally saved my caboose! I had been wearing these short women's Patagonia swim trunks or whatnot but began getting a rash where my saddle was rubbing. SOLUTION: Wear the Kitsbow RG Short!!!! No more rubbing and they look stylish and are COMFY. At first I wasn't a fan of this short because it fit a bit tighter than the typical mtn bike shorts I was used to but I've come to find that they are the perfect cross country or touring short because of their quality construction.

I am OUT OF THIS WORLD STOKED to be back on the road starting tomorrow morning!! I have really really missed biking these past few days and my appetite has gone which means I need to get moving :) We should have a BEAUTIFUL week and my dad will be joining us on Tuesday night to ride through to the weekend. BRING IT ON WYOMING!! I love you already!!

Katie-

Highlights
- Staying at Quickwater Ranch, where I got to hear stories about Laura's time there from years past and where we were able to sleep under the stars
- Huckleberry shakes at the Emporium in Victor
- Getting to wear a dress and do my hair
- Seeing family and friends
- Attending a wedding
- Taking a nice break
- Serendipitously being introduced to someone who helps run a company I'd love to work with
- Getting Grandma's Sycamores bread for our ride (Utah peeps you know what I'm talking about)

Low points
- When your legs just don't want to move anymore even if you are on a slight downhill, and you still have 20 miles to go
- Running out of water a few miles before the next town
- Haze from the fires
- Saying goodbye to our fellow bike gang

This week has been the very definition of adventure: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks. At the start of the week we were very close to the fires at Yellowstone and had to detour into Jackson to avoid the fires. This detour took us over a rather busy pass with a 10% uphill grade for 3 miles and kept us on roads much more than we'd like, but we made it!

We biked from Island Park to Jackson over the course of 3 days. We biked to Ashton the first day where we rolled into town early and talked to the Rangers about the best reroute option to Jackson. After this we enjoyed a hose shower and ate some delicious burgers and shakes for dinner near the campsite we shared with our friends.

Day 2 we biked to Victor where Laura has attended a ranch as a participant and leader 7 different summers. We had the pleasure of staying at this ranch where we slept under the stars on cots.

Day 3 we made the ascent from Victor to Jackson and road the 3 miles uphill at 10% grade just to ride back downhill for 5 miles at 10% grade. We cruised down into Jackson after celebrating and taking pictures at the top. We enjoyed a scenic paved toad that led us around Jackson and eventually into the heart of the town where we were able to people watch as we ate dinner overlooking the town center.

From here Laura and I said goodbye to our fellow bike gang that we'd been riding with for over a week. It was sad to see them go, but we are grateful we had the opportunity to meet everyone one of them. We then got a rental car and took our bikes back to Victor to get a little tune-up.

Thursday we got up and headed north to west Yellowstone to buy some custom American animal tees to celebrate the upcoming holiday and 9-11 while on the trail, pictures soon to come. We then headed south to Rexburg to get to the closest Sprint store where I was able to get my phone fixed. From here we made a last-minute decision to head to Utah, so I could attend my cousin’s wedding and from there Laura headed to Colorado to attend her friend's wedding.

It was a nice rejuvenating weekend filled with visiting friends and roommates living in or visiting Utah (Kim, Jessica, Corin, Phil) staying up late visiting with my cousin (JaNae), eating with my brother (Josh) enjoying a beautiful wedding with family and friends, and just meandering my way around town and playing games with my parents. It was lovely and so nice to be around so many loved ones. Thanks for all your love and support!

We each got a nice break, but after those four days we are once again ready to hit the road!


- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Katie & Laura

Gear List

- My Ride -

- My Favorite Blackburn Gear -

- Complete Gear and Bike spec lists coming soon! -

Katie & Laura's profile picture
Katie & Laura
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? When Laura called me on the phone and said, "Hey I found this Ranger program while I was on the train today and I thought that you'd be a good PIC (partner in crime)."
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? Yes -- a couple of smaller bike packing trips
  • What is your goal for the route? Our goal is to morph all of our random outdoor skills into a successful ride of the Great Divide!
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I see this as a soul-searching adventure for 2 months. I want to be able to get away from my normal 6am-3pm job and be on an adventure that separates me from life's distractions. I want to share my experiences with various biking communities along the route and hope to learn from them as well.

- Great Divide Milestones -