WYOMING

Photos are here.

JULY 27: DESOLATION

 
We made breakfast in our room and headed out. Made it to Wyoming, the 7th state of our trip. Amazing. Wyoming, at an average elevation of 6700 feet, is the least populated state and its name is derived from the Delaware Indian word meaning, “upon the great plain.” It is so desolate out where we are. Definitely wide open country with nothing but elk, deer, whistle pigs, and various winged creatures.

I did not have a fun ride for various reasons. The main one was that there was more climbing than I wanted to do (especially from milepost 33 out of Walden to milepost 35.) I was able to spot that thing back from milepost 24 when the road sliced upwards alongside the hill. We had hoped to find a restaurant or convenience store along the way but no such luck. Maybe it was because it was Sunday. Kurt is much better, which is good news.

One thing I do like about riding in Wyoming is the fact they have nice, wide shoulders to ride on. If every state had that then our rides would have been so much nicer. So far we’ve not been hounded by winds which supposedly are VERY bad in this area at times reaching speeds where forward movement is nigh unto impossible. We rode under cloud cover all day long. All morning we were headed towards blue sky but it kept evading us until later in the evening when we saw some blue sky in Saratoga.

Came across 11 east bounders today. That’s the most seen to date. Not all are going to Virginia but all are headed in an easterly direction. With a tail wind to boot. Lucky bastards. One of them even smoked! Imagine that. First time I’ve seen a cross country cyclist who smoked.

Stopped at Encampment and had lunch at the Bear Trap Restaurant. Had great chili but so-so chicken breast sandwich. Lots of coffee, too.

We decided to move on to Saratoga 17 miles away. By then it was 115 PM. What a mistake! The winds were in our faces and it seemed all we did was climb nasty little hills at slow speeds. Amazingly our average speed was 13.5 so either I am getting spoiled with large average MPH figures and am pushing myself too hard causing this fatigue or I am getting stronger and what was OK at 10 MPH is now only OK at 14 MPH.

Got to Saratoga and jumped into the hot springs. Sure was nice. My body got all relaxed and my muscles mushy. Showered and went to do laundry at a laundro-mat on the road leading to the springs. I tried calling Danny but no one was home so I called my folks to leave a message with him to verify that our visit was still on.

Stopped at a restaurant on the way out of town to have dinner. For those of you reading this and contemplating making the trip, make sure to stop at the grocery store just as you pull into town (before turning off for the hot springs) or you will be faced with a nasty climb back to the store. Additionally, the turnoff for the campground is ¾ miles west out of town and then you’ll have to ride about a mile on an ugly dirt road to get to the C-G at Saratoga Lake.

JULY 28: WHERE THE DEER AND THE ANTELOPE PLAY IN THE WILD, WILD, WEST

 
Had the pleasure of waking up in the middle of the night to answer nature’s call and be presented with a visual extravaganza of stars. Billions and billions of them. Saw the Milky Way Galaxy, too. What a sight!

Got a relatively early start out of the park. What a pain in the ass that gravel road was! One thing we could not figure out was the presence of pelicans. Pelicans?!?! In Wyoming? Just like those goofy seagulls in Colorado. What the hell are they doing here? Immediately started to climb a hill. Bummer! It was not a bad ride to Walcott where I had breakfast.

Although I missed them yesterday, I saw them today—antelope. The first thought that came through my mind was, “home on the range.” Seemed very appropriate.

Ten miles out of Saratoga I stopped to read a plaque commemorating the Overland Trail. Sometimes I wonder how similar our adventures are. They took this trail to avoid getting killed by Indians and we take this route to avoid getting killed by cars and trucks. HMM!

After stuffing our faces we got on Interstate 80. It’s pretty cool to ride on the interstate. Cars rocketing past, trucks blasting by creating a vacuum that sucks you along. This facilitated our forward movement and it was not unusual to pick up an extra 2-4 MPH for several hundred yards. Ideally we wished for a truck every 500 yards so that we could get some really good speed!! The only drawback was the noise.

We cruised about 20-22 MPH into Rawlins. Checked into a motel where we chilled for two days. What a life!

Well, we did it again. No sooner did we get our stuff into the room and it started to rain. I just do not know what it is about our luck in this matter. Not complaining, mind you!

Lounged around the rest of the day, and also confirmed Danny is meeting me in Jeffrey City. Then I went shopping and met a couple of Eastbound cyclists looking for this free campsite in town. I’d heard of it from other East-bounders I’d met along the route who said camping was available in this guy’s yard nearby a pharmacy. I turned around knowing it was near and there it was not 100 feet away (the corner of Spruce and 11th). Steered the cyclists that way and went about my business. They were really scruffy looking as if they’d not showered in weeks. The girl would have cleaned up pretty good. I know, I’m a PIG! Oink oink

Back to the room to catch up on news while it continued to rain outside. Turns out Denver and Ft. Collins got nailed with really bad rain causing severe flooding in Ft Collins and the loss of life. Supposedly a very ugly situation.

JULY 29: REST DAY

 
Lounged around all day, did bike maintenance and laundry. Went to the S&S Café with Dennis and then went to a hardware store to buy a poncho (just in case.) Little did I know it was a very smart move on my part. Went to the library but they did not have Value Line, Wall St. Journal, Baron’s or the internet. That sucked!

In the afternoon we visited the Wyoming Territorial prison. First tour we’ve done on the trip. It was interesting to see how the prisoners were treated/mistreated. Saw a working model of hanging device that was triggered by the convict and kept anyone from actually having to pull a lever. It worked on a pulley system connected to running water. Problem was the convict did not know when the thing would go off so oftentimes he stood there for a couple of minutes just waiting. They deemed in inhumane. I saw nothing wrong with it. What was humane about that convict taking someone else’s life? Ah, well, that’s for another time and date. So the state went to a gas chamber. The prison also was not heated well and convicts froze to death in their cells.

Turned out to be a nice day and we just putted around.

JULY 30: FAMILY REUNION

 
Said goodbye to Rawlins at 630 and a mile out of town I felt as if I’d been transported to a lunar landscape. How barren! How cold looking! How desolate! It would not be inconceivable to have NASA use this area as astronaut training grounds.

For almost a mile, about 150 yards away to my left, I was accompanied by a small herd of antelope running along on the opposite side of the fence. It was quite a sight. They wanted to turn left and head into the hills but found themselves trapped between the roadside fence and a long blizzard barricade they couldn’t jump over.

Crossed the Continental Divide again. This was the third time and at 7174 feet.

At milepost 12 I saw beautiful red cliffs unfold before me while 2.5 miles later a whole valley displayed itself as I crested a hill. Within it was a small ridge of mountains about 1000 feet high looking like the spiny ridge on the back of many lizards. Rode alongside them and then cut in front of them headed to Grandma’s Café in Lamont (population 3, elevation 6632) for a little chow. Had great biscuits and gravy.

The fourth crossing of the divide was at 6720 feet. Getting lower and lower.

Pulled into Jeffrey City and knew I was approaching the end of the journey—I saw a truck with the Pacific Power and Light logo on it.

Jeffrey City is a lonely and desolate place. Lots of huge trucks ferrying clay from a pit to uranium mines eight miles away. The clay is used to cover up tailings and prevent radioactive leakage. This place used to be big into uranium mining but the past several years have not been good to it. In a sense, Jeffrey City was a thriving town, complete with a high school. Now even the school is shut down as are most of the other businesses. People leaving in droves. Saw lots of empty houses (in great shape) and even the school looked new.

Had lunch at the local restaurant and waited for Danny. Just as I was getting a little concerned due to the lateness of the hour, he shows up. He looks good. Also brought along a friend, Wayne, who is Joe’s brother, a good friend of Danny’s.

Didn’t get a chance to talk much with him about issues I wanted to discuss due to the proximity of all the people in our group. I was able to find out he’s not going back to school. He wants to “take a break” from academics. He also wants to get an apartment yet has no idea of the costs involved. There’s a lot we will talk about tomorrow, I am sure.

We stayed at the restaurant until 6 PM because of all the mosquitoes in the park. There must be millions of them. Putting on repellent works only for a while but they still buzz real close to your eyes and ears and nose. A nuisance!! We can actually see clouds of them hovering around us looking for some open patch of skin to stick their little needles into.

Danny brought us a bunch of groceries I’d asked him to because there were no facilities where we were and it kept us from lugging the food from Rawlins. We slept in Dennis’ tent because it was larger.

JULY 31: THE MERCY KILLING

 
I can think of no better way to begin my day than by crawling out of my tent, going to relieve myself, and being joined by hundreds of mosquitoes wishing to dine on my tender areas. These things are persistent and a real pain in the balls. (pun intended) I’d hoped they’d be gone in the morning but such was not the case.

Stowed our gear in Danny’s car to allow us the luxury of traveling lightly. Then the one thing I’d dreaded happening, happened. I lost my lock key. I knew where I put it last night—which was not where I regularly put it, but even after looking high and low I could not find it. So I had to take the lock apart. Granted, it is not a complicated task as I had my tools handy, but to do it with hundreds of mosquitoes wanting a piece of your ass, that’s another story altogether. Mission accomplished, Dennis, Kurt, and I left. Danny and Wayne hung around to have breakfast.

The weather looked promising and we were very glad to get out of that hellhole.

Most of the day was downhill which was a treat.

Just past Sweetwater I came upon a pronghorn antelope standing on a hill, silhouetted against the blue sky. Magnificent! I tried to get a photo of it but it spooked and ran.

Then I came across a jackrabbit in the middle of the road. From a distance it looked to be standing up and because it hadn’t moved in quite a while I thought to myself, “if this thing is dead, this would make a great photo.” I got within 10 yards and it bolted! But did so in a circle, its paws and claws scrabbling on the asphalt. Unusual behavior, I thought. Still in the middle of the road I inched over to it and it did the circle routine once more. Now I heard a car coming from the opposite direction and wanted the rabbit off the road so it would not get nailed. Got close again and it did its circular routine. OK, I thought, this thing is brain damaged. It must have been knocked loopy by another car and was going to die anyway. No normal jackrabbit would behave this way. So I flagged down the truck (whose driver already saw what was going on and pulled over anyway.) He opens his door and I ask him if he had a pistol to dispatch the wascally wabbit. Much to my surprise, without a word he reaches into his truck, pulls out a 9mm, loads it and promptly shoots the rabbit. It launches itself into the air soon as it is hit!! But it didn’t die with the first shot (or maybe it did and its nervous system was causing all the shaking and jerking) so he plugs it again. I thank him for putting the poor beast out of its misery and as I am moving off, he picks it up and sets it down on the side of the road away from traffic.

Got up a little speed today in a 5 mile 6% descent. Finally broke through 42 MPH. It was exciting. Not at the same time but during the day I noticed the State Police drive around in Corvettes. Now there’s a rough job!

Got to town at 11, went to the visitor center, called around to several motels and then waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. First Dennis, then Danny then Kurt. Danny found my lock key. Hooray! We went to eat at the China Garden and then went to the Maverick Motel. Paid $36 for three people—me, Danny, and his friend Wayne. We unloaded our gear and then went to look at Sinks Canyon Park. It was really beautiful, as is Lander for that matter. In the park we saw where the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River flows into a cave and reappears ¼ mile downstream. The water, however, takes two hours to make this journey. Scientists are not too sure why this occurs. The water appears in greater quantities and warmer than when it entered. Weird.

Did some laundry and had a chance to speak with Danny. I talked to him about joining the AF and also looking for a job with the City, County, State. Told him he should use the Internet to look for possible jobs and to also not limit himself to South Dakota.

AUGUST 1: REDROCK FESTIVAL FIASCO

 
24 riding days to go. Hard to believe it is already August. Time is flying by so rapidly.

Bid goodbye to Danny about 7 AM and hit the road. I’m really worried about him and what he wants to do with himself. Kurt left his sleeping bag in Danny’s trunk and if Danny hadn’t spotted it, Kurt would have been in a world of shit.

Dennis and I rode along for quite a while talking about all sorts of stuff. It was fun and good companionship. Stopped at Fort Washakie and had coffee. No charge for it! Hooray! Kept going and climbing most of the day and the scenery got greener and greener as we got closer and closer to Yellowstone. Sure makes the ride better. It’s also a bit more populated which is good for when we need things. At least it was for 30 miles or so out of Lander. Then it went back to moonscape.

Saw two Golden Eagles on the way.

My knees are really acting up and it makes me concerned about being able to finish what with the nasty hills supposedly coming up.

Occasionally I think about whether or not we’ve been a good influence on those we come across on this trip, the kids, the parents, and other folks. And I mean a good influence in the sense that they see what we are doing and as such, may one day decide to do so themselves. Maybe we’ve planted a seed in their minds and with time it will grow. I am certain what we need in the US is more transportation by bicycle. If only more bike lanes were created, then lots more people would ride their bikes to work. It is too dangerous to do so today considering the road conditions.

Got to the Red Rocks and they were just plain gorgeous. It’s comprised of vistas like those at the Grand Canyon but made especially more beautiful by the constantly changing lighting caused by clouds and wind. The Red Rocks are aptly named with the hills layered in multiple colors.

Met Anita and Marcell, a Dutch couple traveling the country but doing so several weeks at a time each year. They love it and think America is grand with its wide open spaces and friendly people.

Got to the Red Rock campground and I wanted to call it a day but there was a music festival in the area for the weekend so a space would cost us $35. If I wanted to make Red Rock my layover day then it would have been worth considering but I didn’t. On top of that, there were no stores in the area. So we ate at the restaurant and left for Dubois. This year the groups include Mitch Rider, Humble Pie, and other 70’s bands. Happens every year along the Wind River. I DO know this is one area I’d like to return to in the future. And spend more time. But in a motorhome.

Got caught in a five minute shower just as we left Red Rock so I put on my rain gear only to have the rain stop almost immediately. I will not complain about that! The luck continues to hold.

Biked on to Dubois. It turns out to have been a good decision. Throughout the trip, whenever our plans have been foiled, the results always pleasantly surprise us. This was one of them. I kept saying during the trip that things have a way or working out and it was true again today…

Went to the Circle Up Campground and got a teepee. Way cool! Very nice facilities at the campground with the teepee being huge and no mosquitoes anywhere in sight. All we needed was a peace pipe to complete the scene. Went to town and waited to see if Kurt would fly by. No luck. Grabbed a beer in a local bar and then went back to grab some chow. Saw a stagecoach cut through the park and took a couple of photos. Needless to say, today was a day of many photos.

Need to say we’ve been very lucky in the wind department so far. Have read and heard horror stories about how it can whip around at all speeds and directions but we’ve been blessed.

AUGUST 2: THE BEST DAY OF THE TRIP

 
The last few days have taught me that it is definitely advantageous to plus up the mileage from Lander and NOT stop at Red Rock Campground (facilities are so much better at Dubois) and to push for either Jenny Lake or Colter Bay instead of Black Rock. Black Rock has no showers NOR water. Does have a nice view of the Tetons but for that matter, Jenny Lake has an even better view. The only problem with Jenny Lake is that you need to make a reservation ahead of time. Fortunately, at the entrance to Teton Park, Dennis had the foresight to ask if there were hiker/biker sites available at Jenny Lake. The sign said it was full but we were led to believe that most of these parks almost always have hiker/biker sites available. They didn’t. If we had assumed they did we’d have been faced with a long 16 mile return trip to Colter Bay. Colter Bay, a few miles away does not have such a magnificent view (but is quiet and clean and the views are just a short distance out of the trees) yet almost always has space. There is another option, of course. That’s to free camp in the woods along the road. Just take any of the paths into the woods and set up camp. No water, no toilets. What makes this a non-viable idea is the danger of bears getting into your stuff.

In other words, avoid the recommendations in Ikenberry’s book for these two days.

Today was another long day but all in all well worth it. It began ominously. Quite cool (42 degrees) with black clouds menacing the horizon. Dennis and I went to breakfast but having left camp on bad terms with Kurt over the evening’s lay-over point. He needed to make arrangements to pick up a friend in Jackson so while we waited for him yesterday we more or less decided where we’d camp for the evening factoring in his need to double back somewhat to get to Jackson. He did not like it that we didn’t consult with him.

During breakfast Dennis and I discussed it and agreed to go back and sort this out as it was not cool to leave on angry terms. I’m glad we did. We explained that Colter Bay allowed him to bike to Jackson with fewer miles than the KOA he was planning to stay at. We got that all out and in the end Kurt had an idea that was even better than ours (Jenny Lake) and that’s where we agreed to meet. You can tell by reading the title of this chapter that Jenny Lake is not where we ended up but the reason’s already been given—no space there. Only we did not know it at 7 AM. All our discussing did not go for naught for two reasons: 1.) we sorted out our differences and made peace; 2.) it gave the storm time to blow into town and head out of our way.

The storm came fast and furious—wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. It left as fast as it came.

We were concerned about catching hell at the top of Togwotee Pass but as we rode the weather continued to clear and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. The skies were grandly blue at the top. Got to see a momma moose and her calf traipsing through the brush. I spent a few minutes checking them out through my binoculars. Also saw an ominous sign dealing with bears that made all of us cautious and careful.

At 12 o’clock I crossed Togwotee Pass, named by Capt. W.A. Jones to honor his Indian guide, the fifth crossing of the Continental Divide, this one considerably higher than the previous three at 9658 feet.

I started downhill and got to 36 MPH when a terrific headwind came along and slowed me down to 30. With me cruising down a 6% grade, this was no mean feat.

No words can describe the sight I beheld as I made a turn in the road and saw the Tetons for the first time. WOW!!!

Had lunch at the Togwotee Lodge and porked out at their salad bar. Dennis was already there and Kurt arrived a bit later. We sat around and chatted for a while then Dennis and I took off. The restaurant had some great classical tunes playing and I enjoyed sitting there soaking it in. Really a classy place, full of grand atmosphere. As it should with the Tetons so close.

Blasted downhill but still with some headwinds. Regardless, I still managed to bring my average speed up from 9.2 to 11.2. Not an easy task considering the mileage already done.

When we got to the park entrance, Dennis and I waited for Kurt to make sure he wouldn’t try going to Jenny Lake. That done, we continued our travels. At every turn in the road the Tetons exposed themselves to us a bit more. Different angles, different light, different shadows. Lovely. These are a range of mountains that, although only 40 miles long, have unparalleled beauty and provide magnificent vistas constantly changing in hue and light.

To top it all off I saw a couple of eagles screeching overhead, lazily floating on upper air currents. This is the life! Moments like these are what make this bike trip memorable and the mode of transport of choice. Whereas in a car you are blasting by the scenery and scaring the wildlife, on a bike you see a lot more and can actually sneak up on the wildlife.

The traffic took something away from my idyllic visual wanderings, especially the hundreds of Harley motorcycles headed to Sturgis for the rally.

Set up camp at Colter Bay and went to buy groceries. I spoke with the park hosts to get an idea of what life would be like as a host. I liked it and will pursue the idea further upon completion of this trip. Also called Danny to make sure he made it back OK. He did. Said he had a good trip.

Made another futile attempt to build a fire. We really should give up as we are poor excuses for Boy Scouts in this arena. What campfire would be complete without a story? Ours was that rumors were going ‘round camp that a brown bear, nicknamed Muffy by the Rangers, was seen wandering around. HMMM! We have bear boxes and put all our stuff in there. Just in case.

The highlight of the day and real reason for the title of today’s chapter was helping this little girl of about 7 or 8 who was lost to find her parents. It was pitch black out and she’d gone to the rest room. Becoming disoriented, she started to cry. I was on my way to the restroom and saw this other person with her doing much of nothing so I just butted in and did what I had to do. I calmed her down and reassured her we’d find her parents. Then I asked her to describe where they were and what else she remembered about where she came from and her name. Took her hand, went to our campsite and got a flashlight. Made it seem like an adventure and she perked up a bit. Then we went walking around the sites. It is amazing how much she trusted me (or any adult for that matter.) Made me feel good that she was not afraid especially considering my appearance (or what it may have seemed to her.) After a few minutes I found her folks and turned her over to them. I do not even believe they realized she was lost. Morons! Who, in their right mind, would allow a little child to go into the dark without a flashlight to find their way? And in bear country no less! They should have their parenting licenses taken away.

In any case, it was a great feeling to get her back to them. Made MY day!

Heard on the news that William Burroughs died. He was the author of “Naked Lunch” an absolutely bizarre story made into a movie that was hard to follow. It dealt with the escapades of a man who, as a frustrated writer forced to work as an insect exterminator, inhaled bug powder and would then have his typewriter turn into some alien creature. Weird! Weird! Weird! I liked it.

The evening was another one of clear skies, millions of stars and vistas of our Milky Way galaxy.

AUGUST 3: SUNRISE ON THE TETONS

 
Today was a rest day but Dennis and I got up early to see the sun rise on the Tetons. We were not disappointed. I would, however, prefer to come in April or May when there is still a lot of snow on them. I can just imagine how beautiful they’d be then. Along the way saw a moose bounding into the woods after I’d surprised it on the road and also saw some mule deer off in the distance. I shot off a roll without even batting an eye.

We stopped at the Signal Mountain Lodge for breakfast. Again, we were treated to classical music, a fitting backdrop for the vista we had at our window seats. Spent about an hour and a half eating Eggs Benedict Florentine, drinking coffee, and writing in journals. Too bad Kurt did not want to come along. He’d have gone nuts with the photo ops.

The morning was very relaxing and enjoyable and even the waitress said we could take our time and that we’d not be pressured to leave to make room for others even though it was Sunday morning. Very nice!

We left before we became comatose with the view. What a nice ride! It was sunny and warm although in the early morning my fingers were numbed by the cold. Met Henry Felszer going from Seattle to somewhere in Florida. He carries a laptop and plans to publish his journal titled, “Beer Cans and Bungee Cords.” Interesting fellow. Stopped off at String Lake and watched canoeists and hikers. Heard that people actually swim in this lake. BRRR!

Noticed an outcrop on the side of Mt. Moran so I stopped at an interpretive sign to figure out what it was. Turns out that Mt. Moran has a sandstone cap and the outcrop area is called the Black Dike (OK, no sexual jokes here, please!) which from a distance looks like an aerial tramway. It was causes by magma forcing itself upwards into a large crack which then solidified becoming dark igneous rock called diabase. Erosion at the top makes the dike visible. And, oh by the way, Mt. Moran supports five of the twelve glaciers in the Tetons.

Found out Jenny Lake was named after Jenny, the wife of “Beaver Dick” Leigh. Now, THERE’S an interesting name. Work with that one awhile and see how much fun it can be.

Returned, washed clothes, took a shower, and inquired about volunteer work at the park.

AUGUST 4: SHEER SURVIVAL, DESTRUCTION, AND REJUVENATION

 
Last night we met up with another cyclist going west. His name is Scott and he started in D.C. but had taken a totally different route to get to the Tetons. He’s on his way to Seattle and will ride with us the next several days. He’s trying to discover himself and the meaning of life. He’s also an agnostic. Then he told us about his adventures. He’d been shot at two times already on this trip plus he almost succumbed to heat exhaustion/heat stroke three times. Yet somehow he always managed to extricate himself from these predicaments either by being at the right place or by having something happen at the right time. So I asked him if his extrication was due to pure coincidence or due to “someone higher than all of us.” He is still thinking about that one.

The day started off cloudy and was not a good sign for us. We all stopped in at the park restaurant for breakfast. They have an all you can eat breakfast bar which is chock full of all sorts of foods but since I’d already eaten I did not feel like spending $5.95 for coffee and a dollar’s worth of grain products. So I just had coffee.

The ride was reasonable even though we did quite a bit of climbing. The most harrowing part is all the cars we have to tolerate. Kurt got clipped on the elbow by an RV and its mirror just missed his head. I keep telling folks to ride in the middle of the road if ascending and see an RV on their tails. I do so and at times will even stick out my left arm to keep them from passing if I see another car coming in the opposite lane. Many of these weekend RV warriors do not have a clue as to what they are doing and are stupid enough to try to pass and then, when finding themselves squeezed, will squeeze out the cyclist. I imagine my tactics piss them off but I’d rather be alive with them pissed then dead with them happy. “Fuck ‘em” is my attitude. It goes without saying that whenever I can, I pull over or pull off to allow traffic to go by. Especially if I see there are quite a few cars lined up behind me. But………they shouldn’t be in a hurry. I know our ride would be so much nicer if we didn’t have to worry about surviving.

Got to Yellowstone and witnessed the aftermath of the great firestorm nine years ago. It was like a fire-bombed out war zone. Sheer destruction everywhere. Desolate! Miles and miles of burned trees, their trunks the only testimony to fire’s wrath. But where there is death, there is life. Nature was rejuvenating itself everywhere. Tons of wildflowers, acres and acres of 3 foot tall pine trees, lots of brush growing and protecting the soil. In 30 years it will be lovely again.

There sure is a shitload of firewood around, though!

Can’t get away from the armchair tourists flooding the park. These are the ones that drive up to a scenic overlook, slow down, roll down the window and take a picture. Then they speed off to the next viewpoint. These morons should just stay at home and watch National Geographic for all the benefit they’re getting from their travels.

One thing I know for sure: my driving behavior will be modified by what I’ve seen so far. So many moronic drivers. Especially the testosterone laden jerks that must be suffering form penis envy and are compelled to cut us off or flip us off. Maybe they’re just jealous that their fat asses can’t do what we’re doing. Maybe I’m tired of their behavior and feel I have to get on my soap box and vent. Regardless, to sit in a 3500 pound vehicle and threaten pedestrians or cyclist proves that natural selection failed somewhere.

Enough of that. Crossed the Continental Divide for the 6th time at 7988 feet.

Got to the campground in Grant Village and it was full with the exception of the hiker/biker sights. Set up camp after buying groceries and then it began to rain. Lucky again.

It rained almost all afternoon then quit so we got some firewood, borrowed an ax and saw from neighboring campers, and stoked up a nice fire. Hooray! We finally did it! Funny thing about fire. Even in our feeble attempt to keep one going, it is a primal thing to which almost all humans are attracted. Is it hereditary? Does it come naturally in our genes and from our cave-man ancestors?

Dennis bought some beer and it started to rain again but we sat by the fire, heated our dinners (such as they were), stuffed face, and bullshitted about all sorts of stuff including religion. I hope the rain stops by the morning but this time I doubt it will. This was the first day where we had so much rain yet were in tents. Usually we’re in hotels. It also promises to be cold tonight.

Continue reading: Montana

Photos are here.

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