To Rawlins
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Rawlins to Southpass City
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Southpass City to Pinedale
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Pinedale to Yellowstone
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Yellowstone

Yellowstone, see Old Faithful
Yellowstone we talk to a bison expert
Yellowstone, a WILD experience

 2644km -2734km
Day 45 , 12th July 2003
90km (56miles)

"If you listen carefully, you can hear the trains..."

Two woodpecker duell as we saddle up. Reading the map, todays ride should have modest grade, but like the dane warned us about - we will cross river beds and stretched out ridges that are making the road all but flat. Well graded downhills are giving way to violent uphill runs. Open grassland, Wyoming welcomes us with a hot summer sun and after Big Sand Stone Creek very little water.

One, two and three flat tires makes a lot of unpacking and re-packing before eleven o'clock. We sit lower here around 2100m, and the dusty roads lead us up and down over hills, and hills and yet another hill. Antelope racing over the plains. Fortunately a light pattern of clouds makes it slightly less hot. Just before hitting the last downhill run, Renates backwheel goes - THONG! a spoke snaps, when removed we continue. Then, while standing still, the front tubes goes! The vent-hole in the wheel is too sharp and has basically cut the vent off. At that moment I'm already about 2km down the road, and can just stand watching as a red pick-up brings our photographer downhill. Another repair, just before meeting up with California Dan, straight from the beaches of California and 59 years old, our second meeting with one of the Southbound takes place. We also learn that the dane's name is Lukas, about a lovely Gueathouse at Union Pass, dried-fruit goodies in Rawlins and that 10th of June in Montana do have snowy roads for bicyclists. Keep up the good work!

As Rawlins (9006) gradually unfolds before us, the battle plan is formed. First a cool softdrink of choice, then find the West Hill Campground (which has cyclist rates at USD6 only), then a loooong hot shower, and before grabbing a bite - almost all the clothes we have must go into the washing machine. All said and done, we walk a last round in the thick inviting grass before going to bed. Then, by the time the stars are mirroring the hopes of us mortals, the Union Pacific and other money making freight companies start moving. Just how many trains can go on the West-East and East-West route in one night?


 Hello Wyoming!!!
    

  It is stunning here...

 

 Don from California on the trail
  



2734km
Day 46 , 13th July 2003
0km (0miles)

"Sunday, quite, Rawlins."

Leisure up, in Rawlins. The town is really quite and everything but the supermarket, a cozy European-styled cafe is open - and naturally every fast food place in town (actually just outside the town AND on the other side, say 6 clicks away).

Telegraphed Sweden and the summer has arrived there big time, along with better news there may be a little bit of sunshine in between the showers.

2734km - 2782km
Day 47 , 14th July 2003
46km (31miles)

"The wind promise solitude, space and time eternal."

After two days and 30km within the town boundaries of Rawlins, we get our gear together and eventually head off on the highway going North. A bit in doubt we ride into the headstrong winds, in 37deg. Celsius. Set for the Red Desert, or more precisely the Great Divide Basin - a feature where the water does not go West, nor East, where the wind driven by thermal heating increase as the sun reach zenit, where the shadows grow shorter by the passing of the day, and where aeons of time move at their own pace.

The modest uphill leads through ranch country. Where we crest the long, low hills and reach the basin solid eroded rock formations direct us West and onto the absolute straight, yet surprisingly paved, road running through the sagebrush covered plains. Exit civilisation, enter raptor area - according to the informative sign.


  Big horns showing their butts 
 

  Road sign

 Let's eat

2782km - 2882km
Day 48 , 15th July 2003
100km (62miles)

"No, Austin, Texas."

As the sun rise we have the porridge cooking. Out here it is clear that the elements are more cyclic than cycling. Which means that we have to get as many kilometers done before the afternoon wind sets in - normally coming from the West or South-West. The first 16km goes effortless on asphalt. Then, right at the right turn, we meet Daniel from Austin, Texas. He's doing the Great Divide solo, and is naturally following Le Tour whenever he get's a chance - after all there are one home-town boy that stands a good chance winning this year - again.

Through the sagebrush we go, and the coming few days we meet with a lot of the antelope like pronghorns. These agile animals just float over the ground as they reach maximum speed - a speed that leaves every cyclists at awe. Then, after lunch, Renate notice that a water bottle is gone! In fact our two last liters of water... Arapaho Creek is driy, the A&M Reservoir is not more than a mud hole, the Cowboy Camp is about 75km (at least) away) and other sources we don't know. It promises to be a long day.

But, when the night is the darkest, the dawn is close. First Boston-motorbiker helps us out, at 58 years old he's riding the dust with his off-road dirt bike. Then we get the tip to visit Crook Gap Creek - which indeed has the most beautiful water, plus a whole battalion of aggresive horse flies biting you bleeding.

Refreshened, with an extra roundtrip of 10km added to our meters, the afternoon wind is battled in high spirits. At camp we again get curious pronghorns visiting.


  Austin, Daniel
 

  Endless road

 Rainclouds

  

  We get two drops of rain....
 

  Sunset

   

2882km - 2983km
Day 49 , 16th July 2003
91km (56miles)

"My wife is almost Danish."

Riding out of the low dip, we ride on with the rising sun at our back. At the centre of the wide desert plain, the Green Mountain, Sheep Mountain and Crook's Mountain are running parallell with us to the North. Already before noon the wind starts to build up. Past Bison Basin oil field, past the odd ranch and cowboy station, and on towards Atlantic City, Wyoming.

Late in the afternoon we hit Sweetwater River. Once again soft, fresh, green grass that tickle your feet as we dive into the slow flowing river. What a refereshener. Like doping for an italian cyclist, like honey for a bee, like - like water whence you have been out in arid desert. We're met by two fly fishermen, of which one have an almost Danish wife. That is, her parents on both sides are 75% Danish.

As we cover the last few kilometers to Atlantic City (67) there is suddenly some unexpectedly steep uphills to be covered. As suddenly we hit the crest, and see the road bend off sharply to the right - but where is AC? A few houses, down we race, and there, the gold rush city of old unfolds.

If you ever have the chance, visit the Atlantic City Mercantile. Coolest of soft drinks, drinks, spirit and beer - just about anything for anyone - including Bombay Sapphire and Swedish Absolute. But that is not what makes it worthwhile, but the ultimate in wild west saloonering - without going kitsch! In here you can get to know the Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Elk, Moose and Bear. All staring at you from the walls - just remember, you are at the absolute bottom of a ravine, from here it is only very steep uphill to go.


  Stud piles are impressing
      

  More endless space

  Home to a sheepherder

 To Atlantic City
  

  Atlantic city pub
 

  

2983km -3063km
Day 50 , 17th July 2003
70km (43miles)

"South Pass Johnny is back!"

We take the paved road to South Pass City (3). This Results in an extra 10km of rollercoasterride, instead of doubling back to the fork at the dirt road passed yesterday - at the other end of the fantastic uphill.

South Pass City, population has varied between today's 3 and 7000. This is except for a boom and bust gold town, one of the most important points of convergence in the American History. Here the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pioneer Trail, Pony Express coincided, here about 30,000 settlers passed through - every year during the second half of the 19th century. Once home to Calamity Jane, housing Butch Cassidy as a regular it is actually a very neat outdoor museum well worth the visit. Still the gold fever keeps a few people going, but more so go here if for nothing else to pay the $1 get in and get out licking your lips with the last crumbles of the award winning choclate sweeties on sale.

Another climb out of the gulch, and today takes us through a magically rolling landscape, where the sagebrush is broken off by boulders and jagged, low running ridges here and there. One minute good of a heavy thunderstorm carrying cold drops of rain, the tent is pitched at Little Sandy Creek.


 South Pass City
    

 Hotel room in South Pass

 Bar in South Pass
     

  Riding on the continental divide

 

  To Little Sandy Creek      

 

3063km - 3151km
Day 51 , 18th July 2003
88km (56miles)

"The heat is on!"

No later had we turned off the (torch)light, we got hit by the thunderstorm again. With increasing intensity, the thunder and lightning passed over us - sometimes lightning up our tent with multiple flashes at the same time. Talked in my sleep, and wanted to evacuate the tent in the middle of the night because my brains had the impression we were drifting away due to flash flooding...

All the day to Pinedale we scout the western foothills of the Shoshone Mountains and wilderness. actually an extension of Teton-Yellowstone National Parks, and part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.The rolling, hilly country we crossed yesterday very quickly give way to a more flat sagebrush country. After the bridge over Big Sandy River trees are just found at ranches, or seen at the far horizonts.

It becomesa long hot day, 37 deg. Celsius with a strong head wind that punish you as soon as the road turns westward. Via the sudden green, humid grasslands at Boulder, the bikes arrive in Pinedale (1,012) in time for letting us do shopping, visit the new library and wash away the dust in our troats with a cool beer in the local saloon - Corral Saloon. At the long, well stocked bardesk we blend in like trees in the forest, except that we don't have the cool boots on (slippers with woolen socks), wide rimmed cowboy hat (2 months not to the hairdresser), tight fitting jeans (loose all-weather gear) and drink just one beer (margerithas, beers or bourbon). Yet Renate is mistaken for Darcie Peck? Who is this Darcie???


 To Boulder

 

 
  

  Boulder

  Ranch entrance
 

3151km
Day 52, 19th July 2003
0km (0miles)

"Indian Trading Post, Fajitas and Microbrewery"

Walking through Pinedale is a quick, yet pleasant affair. One street through town where you find the supermarket, outdoor shop, the combined nails-hair shop, the combined fishing-espresso shop, the combined restaurant-beer brewery, and a novellty - the combined car-wash and kitchen! The atmosphere is welcoming, open and fun. There are a few pubs around and a few restaurants. Where these find a living is a bit difficult to see, but Pinedale is the main town around, so I guess a lot of people take their horse down on a friday night.

The Fajitas are superior at the local beer brewery - wash it down with their chili-spiced ale and relax. We did that, for half a meal, then we had to rush off to rescue our gear before the rain really hit us!

3151km - 3207km
Day 53, 20th July 2003
56km (35miles)

"Mosquito Lake or Wisky Grove?"

Start the day with some mechanics on our bikes. New brakes, tune the wheels, oil and grease. Except that I cannot get the cassette off Renates bike to replace the two missing spokes. Mostly on paved road todday. Hauling a last ice cold coca-cola before leaving, I spot the full colour A4 advertisemnt of Darcie (Peck) - she's the local Yoga teacher... Then this guy yesterday has either a really a soft spot or a very gay side. No-one in tight jeans, cool boots and the best sunday stetson follows yoga, not even in the states, or?

Open rolling sagebrush country with mountains enclsing us to the West, North and East. At Cora we have lunch - right on the porch of the old timber building serving as post office the last 100 odd years. As we enter the national forest, signs are posted with "Beware of the Grizzly", "Special rules apply", "Don't leave wanted kids unattended" etc. One most impressive sign is the one with a grizzly bear footprint - hopefully not to scale, or we stand a chance to meet a bear the size of an elephant, the african kind of elephant.

From the map we have a choice of campgrounds, either Whisky Grove right were we're standing or continue a few hours and make camp at Mosquito Lake. Fortunately this time logic rules, and just as we have the tent ready the rains are coming.


 Cora postoffice

  Show us some bears!
       

  Quick, put up the tent!

  Wisky Grove Campsite
    
   

3207km - 3271km
Day 54, 21st July 2003
70km (46miles)

"Green River, Union Pass, history unwields"

Up here, the air is a lot more humid than what we've got used to, and last night krept down to just above freezing. Is this a pre-taste of Montana? It's supposed to be summer, also during the night! Just like yesterday, the first few kilometers are badly corrugated, Then as Green River is crossed, the road gets rougher, more narrow but less corrugated, only bumpy - suits our stiff cyclist bodies well.

It seems that after a restday the body somehow goes into standby-mode. Thus requesting kick-start to get moving, and that we manage pretty well. The open landscape changes into one where we dart in and out of aspen meadows, groves of pinetree and stretches of mixed forest. The road is lined with blue shimmering Lupines, warm yellow sun-flowers and what we in Sweden call Mjoelkoert, an upright growing green stalk with a cluster of reddish-pink flowering blades.

Passing Mosquito Lake, the landscape is beautiful, but indeed it is easy to understand where the name is coming from. Steadily climbing we reach Union Pass in the afternoon. What follows is a most welcoming steep, curving, downhill through mature pineforest. What a luxury to go to sleep with the running waters of Warm Spring Creek playing it's melody as the stars light up one by one.


  Fire weed
      


  Pumpkin and ...

  ...sausages
 

3271km - 3344km
Day 55, 22nd July 2003
73km (46miles)

"Do you know there is Grizzly around here?"

This morning a layer of frost is greeting us as we get up and out of our tent. Quickly a fire is built, and the thick cap is kept on a little bit longer than usual. Fortunately, after the first climb out of the small valley things are back to normal. The hard packed gravel road then takes us down to the mechanic/truckstop/grocery - in time for a cookie and a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Todays road is paved, but todays pass Ogwotee Pass is far away - climbing continously until late afternoon - when we hit an equally exciting downhill bringing us down to Turpin Meadows Ranch - the last few kilometers on gravel.

Here we check out the prospects for a ride tomorrow morning, a ride on horseback! We'll meet the chief wrangler tomorrow at 09.00hrs - and then he promises to have boots and proper cowboy outfit, instead of the first impression sneakers and cushy trousers. We also bump into some Colorado-camper-campers, who in turn can inform us that they've seen grizzly (live ones) around here just a few days ago. Interesting. Then the coyotes start howling and the sun fades at Buffalo Fork river.


  Movie material 
  

  Our favorite sign
     

  

  To Turpinmeadows

  Chris and Cathy from Oregon
    

3344km - 3402km
Day 56, 23rd July 2003
58km (37miles)

"She's an experienced rider..."

Dreamt of horse riding the whole night - Yiihaa Silver! Meet Clark and a what elder couple to be riding with us. I get a white stallion named Shiver, Renate a chestnut brown named Chuck. Up into the hills, with Grand Tetons at display. We ride along a crest, deep ravins on our right hand side and meadows on our left. Learn how to eat Elk Thistle (taste a bit like sellery), hoppla - a gallop through the woods. Been a while...

Still dreaming about horseback riding we continue towards Jackson Lake. Modest grades and quick roads brings us to the entrance to the Teton National Park, the lodge and past Colter Bay Village to our chosen campsite - Lizard Creek. At the lodge we have the opportunity to watch outdoor people who never leave an airconditioned environment, at our campsite we round off with swimming in the Jackson Lake with all the mountains right at our feet.


 Looking good
    

  Cowboy Clark shows the way

  Muledeer

  The Tetons
  

  Buffalo Fork

3402km - 3444km
Day 57, 24th July 2003
44km (21miles)

"Mozzies coming to get you!"

Here right at the foot of the Tetons, it would be easy to stay another night - but our iron steeds are ready, and off we go. From Flagg Ranch we head West, to camground no.6. Lunch, switch footwear and at two o'clock sharp we're setting out on our Yellowstone hiking experience - union Falls that is 12.5km away, not a cloud in sight.

In order to be back before dark, we need to cover 5km an hour... The footpath goes through unburned forest, at Falls River the shoes go out - it has to be forded. The swift river cools off our feet and soon we're back on the track, now going more uphill than before. Two more creeks are crossed, but then on fallen timber. Passing a triangular framed ranger cabin, the path soon goes through soft sand. Then, unfolding in front of us, with a chasm at our feet, the union of the creeks at the other side of the ravine forms a conical shaped water fall - Union Falls. A place for meditation, ideal to just sit down with your feet dangling free, lean back and follow the water cascades with your mind.

Soon we are hiking our way back. Down, past the horse parking spot, over and then following the first creek, cross the next on the old fallen tree almost one meter in diameter, up the next steep hill, and as dusk arrives we arrive at the ford again. This time the water feels suspiciously cold, and safe on the other side we soon walk through darkness - and feel the first shy raindrops fall. Just in this area a big black bear has been sighted two days ago, so as the twilight turns into solid darkness I sing happy melodies about indians with bananas (typical Dutch song) to make sure we don't stumble upon, an erh, bear...

Still having 10km to bike, including two violent climbs, we're very happy to catch a lift just after 22.30 - after the two ascents have been mastered, but before the rain really starts to fall. On these roads even a car have a rough time, and at 23.00 we're back in Campground no.6 - just in time to get out of wet T-shirts, into a warm fleece and gore-tex jacket. Thanking our saviours again, borrowing their bear-spray, we also find it time proper to put up the outer tent - by now a small pool has formed inside the tent (so there is a waterproof bottom after all) and sleeping bags are soaked. Cap goes down far over the ears, yet there is barely anything that can stop the mosquitos from having a feast, lights out and let's hope it won't be one of them really cold nights. Renate enters foetus position and myself plays the pharao - what a lovely jacket to have, only got wet from my bum and down.


  Big horseflower
      

  Hike to union falls

  

  Union falls

3444km - 3494km
Day 58, 25th July 2003
50km (31miles)

"Showers like in a prison!"

Wake up to a buzzing sound, no sun neither wind to dry up our soaked gear. Alas, there is only one thing to do - continue. Wet but not broken, the last night wasn't cold after all, we double back to Flagg Ranch and onwards to the South Entrance of Yellowstone. This is a very busy day, cars passing close - and a lot of them! At the entrance itself we run into two French-Canadians, whom are glad to have seen the thermal features, less impressed about the showers at Grant Village, and perhaps a little bit more happy to continue out and away from the busy roads at the Grand Loop.

As we follow the Green RIver into Yellowstone, the road goes in a rolling mode ever up and across the Great Divide. Sometimes the river canyon is deep, about 100meters, and sometimes we're at the same level as the majestic river itself. Most of the forest we get to see halong the road is still recovering from the fires of 1988, when 36% of the park went up in smoke. This is according to the 300 or 400 year cycle we're told.

Last run to Grant Village at the West Thumb of the Yellowstone Lake is downhill, here awaits campgrounds and a combined curiosa-supermarket-outdoor shop, and showers! The prices are better than we've expected, and they have quite a good assortment of gear, food, and fresh fruit. With almost dry sleeping bags, in an almost dry tent, we turn out the lights.


  Remains of the '88 fires
    

    
 

 

3494km - 3559km
Day 59, 26th July 2003
64km (41miles)

"The Grey Forest"

Waking up with our horesback riding and hiking muscles reminding us that they haven't been active for some time, we indulge ourselves in the most wonderful scrambled egg breakfast this side of Pecos. The 14 year old scout group leaves before us, and all of a sudden everything is so quite and calm! It's like being alone in the forest again, sort of. Quickly climbing up to the first Great Divide crossing, then sailinmg down and again up to the second - where we have lunch at Isa's Lake. This lake have a run-off stream to the East - where the waters run down to Columbia RIver and ends up in the Pacific Ocean, then there is the West outlet, where the water eventually is to fill up the Mexican Gulf.

All the way from Isa's Lake we can enjoy downhill riding, all the way to Madison - where tonights camp is. But before that, also we enter the heart of Old Faithful area. Yes it is touristic, but if you like to see some fascinating thermal pools, geisers and guess at what this must have been like for Mr. Colter, it is difficult to avoid. To enter the park is to put up with some serious stressed out nature experience - and to really enjoy Yellowstone longer hikes, or hikes with overnight back country camping is required. Yet, for all the wonders it still gives a feel good feeling to have been at the Morning Glory pool alone, watching the clouds build up, yet letting through beams of sunlight to be reflected in the aquamarine, turqoise and ochre yellow waters leading into the inner of earth.

Before leaving for Madison, we also can enjoy a park ranger in action to make sure no-one gets hurt photographing the bison. Also from Upper Geiser Basin and down there are a few worthwhile stops before the tent is pitched in a patch of green, unburned forest - in time to give shelter for a light rainfall that eventually falls today.


  Morning Glory pool

  Beautiful colors
    

    

   

  Old Faithful

  The audience

 

3559km - 3631km
Day 60, 27th July 2003
74km (41miles)

"I just try to look like a moose, then everybody will stop!"

Saying goodbye to the french hiker, but without a sign of life from the cyclist who was cooking until 22.00hrs yesterday, we continue our downhill run with more traffic going into the park than out. Here, the cyclist telegraph again is brought into function as we stop and chat with a Pennsylvanian man who's entering the park. He is probably right, the cars are quicker to stop for an elegant deer, elk or moose, than a colourful but sweaty cyclist!

This is soon comfirmed, as the most elegant two bull elk are showing off their crowns - effectively causing a traffiic jam! Leaving the narrow valley, the last kilometers of Yellowstone forest gives way to sagebrush. Exit National Park, enter West Yellowstone town - a 24hr economy also ensures a bicycle shop open on a Sunday. BOB is filled up again at the supermarket, and with a cookies & icecream bubling in our stommies the road soon forgets the downhill track and we climb Targhee Pass. There Montana is left for the night and we welcome the sight of Henry's Lake in Idaho. Finally, camping in the woods, alone with only a gravel road to bring you there.


 Another divide crossing

  Elk

 

Southpass city, meet Barbara Palmer
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