Day 39, Jackson, WY – Grant Village, WY (Yellowstone Lake) 84bmiles (2830 total)
July 19, 2008
Time on bike: 7:55:54
Daily Ascent: 3676 ft (44 ft/mi)
Elevation at days end: 7800 ft
Max: 41 mph
I was out from the moment my head hit the pillow until my alarm went off at 6:30. It was so nice and comfortable sleeping in a real bed in an actual home. I allow myself some extra sleep when I get an actual bed to sleep in. I awoke to a fresh cup of coffee and said goodbye to Laurie and Chelsea.
I headed out of town towards the Teton Range. I decided to take a different route than yesterday, this one running right along the base of the mountains. The cute park ranger at the gate let me pass for free on my bicycle instead of paying the $12 charge which is typical for bikers. Chicks dig the recumbent bike. The cycling was majestic as the road passed so close to the Tetons that I stopped and took pictures nearly every 5 minutes. They were just so spectacular. I stopped for a short break at Lake Jenny and also took some photos there. The lake water was frigid as I waded in to sit on a rock in the lake. The whole day was sunny and beautiful and I had a brisk tail wind that pushed me along for some easy cycling.
As it neared time for lunch I was passed by another cyclist. I couldn’t tell if he was touring or not. He had a small backpack on and a rack on the back with some things but no trailer or panniers. At 1pm I pulled into one of the only available places I had seen in some time for lunch and found my fellow cyclist had also pulled in. “Wanna share a table?” he asked me. So we ate our lunch sitting by the window overlooking another lake (maybe Jackson Lake?) and looking up a the snow covered Tetons. Incredible to say the least. His name was Rex and he was cycling to Glacier Park he told me. He began his trip in Denver but had cycled down to New Mexico before heading back north. Sixteen hundred miles in all. He said he does 1,000 a month. I’m pushing closer to 3,000 a month so I don’t think we were paired up really well. At any rate, it was good to share a meal with a fellow cycler and share some tales of the road. We cycled together for a while. Not really together, mind you, but together . He got ahead of me before my break and I didn’t see him again and I’m not sure if he’s at this camp site tonight or if he pulled up at the one before this. Doesn’t really matter I guess.
I reached another pay gate and this time the guy at the gate wouldn’t let me by on my looks alone. I had to pay the $12, but my receipt will get me through all the other gates, he said. I started to ascend as I entered Yellowstone National Park. It was a narrow road with no shoulder and I was passed by numerous campers and big pickup trucks and SUVs, always keeping my eye on my rearview mirror to know exactly how much room I had available. I road through pine tree groves and the riding was somewhat monotonous and yet gloomy as the dead trees poked through the newer trees. I guess there were wildfires here in ’88 and ’03 (or maybe ’05) which destroyed some of this area.
I found a campground area called Grant Village which has everything: gas station, grill, campsite with shower, etc. I entered the park looking for my lunch pal, Rex, but after circling for a while and not seeing any bikers I decided to get a site. Upon entering the park there was a sign that read, “Campsite Full”. I was a bit scared to say the least because I figured that if this site was full then it was 15 miles to the next site and it might also be full. It is a Saturday night after all. I approached the counter for registration and asked the lady if there was anything available. “Are you a hiker or a biker.” “I’m a biker.” “Then, yes, we have something available. We save sites for hikers and bicyclists.” So I got a site, put up my tent and headed for the Grill.
As I pulled up I saw a couple of girls sitting outside. “Cool bike!” one of them said. “Do you want to ride it?” I asked? “Sure!!” So they hesitantly came over to give it a try. Unfortunately their legs were too short to pedal it so they couldn’t really ride it. They told me that they were from Japan and that they were volunteering in the park for the summer. I asked if they wanted to join me for supper and they said ‘sure’.
Their names were Nozomi and Yoko and they were college students from Tokyo but they had each lived in the US before, Nozomi in Pittsburg and Yoko in New Jersey. Nozomi was studying International Studies and Yoko biology. They were really interested in my bike trip and I was interested in Japan and Tokyo after having taken Japanese in high school. Unfortunately the Grill closed not long after we got there so we really didn’t get much of a chance to talk, but they were really fun to hang out with. We tried hanging out outside but the mosquitoes were brutal so that had to come to an abrupt halt.
Tomorrow I’ll see Old Faithful for the first time and I’m excited to do so!