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Day 12 (Thur 7/9/09)

Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

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ROUTE: West Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, WY DISTANCE:  126 miles (114 miles actual) TOTAL CLIMBING:  ~5,984 feet

Click here for Garmin ride data

(This is cool if you like lots of data! It may take a few seconds to load but you can hit play and time compress our ride. Oh, for you engineers out there; I exceeded the capacity of my 405 and had to reset it, so I ended up loosing all the data from West Yellowstone through the first continental divide which was 2:50:37, 41.61 miles, 14.6 mph ave, 28 mph max. Overall it was 7:25:34, 114.34 miles, 16.1 mph ave, 41.5 mph max.)


DAILY REPORT:  The weather was 35 deg (COLD!!) when we got up this morning. Brrrrrr. And it was foggy, really foggy!! The sun was supposed to burn off the fog in a couple of hours and the expected highs were around 75 and sunny. (As it turned out it was another great biking day!)

We started out the day w/ a continental breakfast. The boys had a million bagels w/ cream, cereal, juice, donuts, muffins etc. The hotel definitely looses $$ when feeding a bunch of ravenous bikers!!

So we are on our way through the sleepy town of West Yellowstone in the fog all bundled up. Our hotel is only a few miles from the entrance to Yellowstone. We stop to take a picture at the gate along with a number of other folks. We happen to meet Amy and Chad Houck who have been RV'ing it for the last 6 months. They and their cute small children are from Boise and are out spreading the word of God. They say a group prayer for us and our safe journey. And then we enter Yellowstone....

There were very nice shoulders for biking. The scenery was some what surreal with the fog, stands of trees, and the rolling road. It was a perfect way to enter the park. The sun began burning off the fog and what a beautiful ride. A number of folks were silently fly fishing in the river. We saw a number a deer feeding along the banks. Eagles and eaglets. Just a great experience and ride. This has been something I have always wanted to do; ride through Yellowstone seeing, feeling, hearing, & experiencing nature first hand. The only other way is by hiking through the park. But I figure this way I at least have half a chance to out bike the bears!!!

We did stop at Old Faithful. We arrived just as she was erupting. We couldn't have timed it better. Hung out at the lodge eating an ice cream cone and talking w/ lots of travelers. It wasn't till Grant Village that we finally met up w/ Skip. He entered the park a couple hours later and was caught up in a long, long traffic jam. I guess that's one of the other ways to see the park slowly and first hand :) We had already crossed the continental divide twice and would cross it once more after we left Grant Village.  

After we left we coordinated to meet Skip at the Southern entrance of the park. We had been informed by the Ranger that there was a significant amount of road repair going on just as you got inside the Grand Teton National Park. We were advised against riding our bikes so we thought it prudent to load them up in the trailer and bypass all the construction.

Although we saw the Grand Tetons as we drove by Jenny Lake it was COOL when we saw then come up over the rise as we were cycling down the Teton Scenic drive. The sun light off the snow capped peaks and the crisp air were just perfect. We still had another 30 miles to pedal to get ourselves down to Jackson Hole. The wind started picking up a bit at the end of the day and we were getting a little tired from biking. We arrived at our hotel at 2030 (8:30 pm for you non military types.) That was our longest day...just too many neat things to stop and see. That would be my only change would have been to be able to spend more time in the park exploring around. I suppose everyone says that.

Skip had contacted the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and Heather was able to arrange for us to stay at the Spring Creek Ranch. WOW you talk about a nice place! This place was unbelievable!! Now there was this little matter of climbing about 700 ft up the hill side on bikes to get here (check out the elevation change at the end of our ride) but the unobstructed view of the Tetons and the "little" cabins we stayed in were just fantastic. To top it all off the, West at the restaurant took care of our meal as well. This was just a perfect day!! 

There were so many other nice folks we met along our ride that I wish I had time to include everyone. And then how do you describe these National treasures we have as a nation. I can't do them justice. I'm no writer; just an engineer. If you have never been to either one of these parks please place it on your "bucket list" and see for yourself.

We have biked over 1,000 miles so far.......It's hard to believe we are already a quarter of the way done and we have less than a month to go for arrival to VA bch on 9 Aug.

Tomorrow is our rest day and we have lots of items to address - James and my bikes needed to be taken to a bike shop for some minor repairs/adjustments, laundry, grocery shopping, hair cut, etc. And a few courtesy calls to personally thank the owner of Spring Creek Ranch and Heather.

Thanks for joining us.....ride safely!! 

The Riding4Hope Team

(David, John, James & Skip)

Signing out 7/11/09, 0325 

 

 

 

 

 

YOU DON'T SAY:

Dad - "This just the coolest ride ever!"

John - "This has been the best part of our ride yet."

James - "Are we really going to have to cross the continental divide three times? Who makes these roads?!"

Skip - "All you guys keep your eyes peeled; I want to see a grizzly in the wild!" 

DID I REALLY DO THAT?: 

At the beginning of the construction a few miles in to the Grand Tetons, we loaded up our bike into the trailer and all jumped in the back see of the car. Skip had over heard some radio comms between the construction workers that there had been a bear sighting in the vicinity of the construction work. With in the first mile John & James are sacked out. Near the end of the construction I spot a grizzly coming down the slope into a meadow. Skip slows down and I wake up the kids. James with out even opening his eyes "Yep I see the grizzly! Pretty cool!!" I guess some folks just dream more vividly than others :)

 

PHOTOS OF THE DAY

Enjoying the morning ride!

Too many buffalo to count! Just amazing!

We crossed the divide three times while we were in the park and four times so far.

Spectacular view of Mt Teton.

We stayed at Spring Creek Ranch and this was our lodge for two days! This sure beats camping!!

This was the bear Skip saw......well to be truthful it was the bear he saw at the Grizzly and Wolf discovery center. Pretty cool none the less. And we did see one in the wild, thankfully not this close!

More photos on Facebook Album

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