July 9, 2012
Today I got up with the sun this morning. It was a little chilly, 45 F. But sunny with a mist over the stream. I packed and left Yellowstone. I reached Teton National park and was a little hungry so I stopped in a gas station convenience store. Nothing looked good and the carrots I had on the bike just didn’t do it for me. There was a restaurant there so I stepped inside. I food was a little pricey for the lower 48, but not as expensive as I had been seeing up in BC. So I decided to eat there. I had 2 eggs, with a trout fillet, home style potatoes and a biscuit. Of course lots of coffee. It was very tasty. At breakfast I talk with a bicyclist who is riding the Continital Divide. He thinks it will take him 36 days to complete. He is spending about $100 a day for food. Bicycling takes a lot of calories. He said that he has had more trouble with aggressive cattle and cars than wild animals.
Early in the morning while there were still few cars I see an elk in the road, and had to dodge it. I continued down the southwest side of Yellowstone to the South exit into Teton Nation Park. There was a beautiful waterfall along the way with mist rising form it. The Teton Mountain Range is lit by the sun and the mist is burning off. Not much haze so the scenery was absolutely wonderful.
As I turn East the scenery changes slowly from mountains and forest to high plains to high desert. Some mule deer are eating the fresh cut hay in an area that got irrigated in the high plains. It seems strange to irragate for hay, but your animals need it. And this is a drought according to several of the local people I talked with. They can’t irrigate much because they didn’t get the snow pack this winter and they haven’t got the rain this summer.
As I travel through the desert, I pull off to take a picture and speak with another bicyclist. Him and his sister are traveling from Oregon to West Virginia in 88 days. His wife and his sister’s husband didn’t want to do the trip. He is 69 years old and bought his first house this year. He is a teacher at a private school in Boston, and has always lived on campus, but is now preparing to retire and needs a place to live.
I also see a herd of Pronghorn Antelope gathered around a small amount of water in what looks to have been a shallow lake at one time. It reminds me of pictures I have seen of the animals gathered around the watering hole in Africa. It is dry here. Nothing is green, the dry sage brush is the closest to green, the grass is totally brown or blond. Except around the rare stream or waterhole, which will have green plants along its edge. I also saw 2 dead cows in 2 different places, nowhere near a water hole that I could see. Apparently they didn’t find water. Both were dried up with the skin stretched tight to the bones.
As I continue to travel, it changes back from high desert to high plains again. And finally from high plains to mountains covered in forests. It is all green and has rained by the time I get to Steve’s house in Fort Collins CO.
I stopped at the “Fork in the Road” for gas and a item on their menu caught my eye. So I tried a Jalapeno cream cheese sub sandwich. It was very tasty. I might try to make them at home.
I arrive at Steve’s house and he is in the garden pulling weeds, there have been quite a few grow since he left June 15th for Alaska. I get my phone and activate it, then call Karen, the weather has cooled to the high 90s back home. Tonight I will stay at Steve’s place and tomorrow I will change rear tires. The rear tire would probably make it home, but it would be very close and if I would get rain, it would not be safe.
And I got one more day without being rained on. The temperature started at about 45 F and the high was around 90 F. It jumped up and down between the high 70s F and the 90s F as I travelled today. It was from totally clear to heavy thunderstorm overcast. It was a perfect day to ride.