July 4, 2016
The week started on July 4th but we didn’t have the chance to celebrate our nation’s birthday properly. Instead, I was driving the support van that day in Wyoming from Rawlins to Sweetwater Station. It would have been one of the most difficult rides that day as our group needed to ride 83 miles against really strong head winds. My co-leader and I had plotted to find possible stay in Jeffrey City instead. This would only cut our mileage down to 69 and also even out the mileage to get to Landers the next day.
I was able to reach out to the community church there and connected with the caretaker. The allowed us stay there for the night for free. Actually, they encourage any cyclists traveling on the Trans Am to come stay there. The church had a back gym area where I rolled out my sleeping pad and sleeping bag for the night, separate rooms, kitchen, and 1 working bathroom. Our grouped was very relieved to have their days cut short and was happy to settle indoors after enduring strong winds and wet weather the night before.
July 5, 2016
It was my turn to ride to Landers, Wyoming the next day. It was going to be a 63 mile ride from Jeffrey City. We all woke up at 5:30 and was out of the church by 7AM. There is absolutely nothing between Jeffrey City and Sweetwater Station. It was not until I reached one of the most incredible downhill from Beaver Rim. A solid 8 miles of downhill was thoroughly enjoyed by me and my riders. The scenery on highway 287 opened up to some red rock formation before we finally turn right and ride into Landers.
We stayed at the Sleeping Bear RV park which was just before the town started on top of the hill. We had a few site and the pavilion for our 4th of July make up meal of hamburgers and hotdogs. I pretty much just took a shower and spent time just relaxing the rest of the night while many of our participants rode into town to get ice cream and visit some museums.
July 6, 2016
This was the absolute toughest day of the trip. We were suppose to go from Lander to Dubois. This was a 76 mile day with lots of climbing and lots of head wind. I was driving that day and was responsible for a single water stop. One of our participants left at 3:20AM and it took her 12 hours to get into the camp. The headwinds were relentless all the way from Fort Washakie to Dubois.
Another rider wasn’t feeling well, so she sat in the van for the day and napped. I took her to pick up some medication after I dropped off the trailer. One by one, our riders trickled in. I had ice cream waiting for them and they enjoyed that very much. The campground was called The Longhorn Ranch. It was probably one of the better campgrounds with a pavilion for us and was located really close to 6 showers. If it wasn’t for the afternoon wind, that place would have been perfect.
July 7, 2016 – July 8, 2016
This was a tough day for me as I needed to ride from Dubois into the Grand Tetons National Park in Colter Bay Village. I had only about 66 miles to ride but it included a steep climb up Togwotee Pass (Wikipedia) which was over 9000 feet high and was my 3rd Continental Divide crossing. It was only a 2000 feet gain but it was brutal. I felt lethargic and tired all day. I had practically ate all my food and was running low in water.
By the time I made it into the park, it was 4:30PM and one of our rider did not show up. So Jared and I decided to go out to look for her. Luckily she made it into camp while we were gone.
Colter Bay Group Campground was where we called home for the night and next day.
July 9, 2016 – July 10, 2016
One of my most memorable day so far as I got to go to Yellowstone National Park. Before the fun stuff, I had to shuttle our riders 37 miles from Colter Bay to Yellowstone’s Grant Village. After I dropped everyone off, Jared and I had second breakfast. I finally broke away to find Old Faithful’s parking lot. I had to park very far away and walk into the Visitors Center which gave us the timing for the next eruption. I had to wait for about an hour so I decided to walk into some of the shops to check out. It was a busy weekend and people were everywhere and was speaking in so many different languages. It was great to see the world’s melting pot inside Yellowstone National Park.
Old Faithful (Wikipedia) finally erupted around 12:26 as predicted and we were treated to the spewing water for a bout 2 mintues long. Everyone finally dispersed and we all went our separate ways. I managed to find a place for ice cream before I drove towards West Yellowstone.
West Yellowstone is an interesting town. There are so many different restaurants and points of interest to check out. Luckily we had a layover there. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain from thunder storms rolling through the area. The layover day was miserable as most people walked around town while others just sat in their tent.
My tent unfortunately was submerged into a puddle. All the water seeped under the tent and cause things to be really damp. I had to move my tent out of the puddle and dried out things as best as I could with a microfiber towel.
We spent our day planning out the rest of trip starting from Missoula, MT. We also did some budgeting for the trip and finally went out to eat. It was a slow but productive Sunday.
Here is a quick 5 minute video of what I saw this past week. Enjoy!