Friday, July 31, 1981

40. Beloit, Kansas

Day 40:  Friday, July 31, 1981
Stockton to Beloit:  70 miles

The days in Kansas are beginning to resemble a movie that I've seen half a dozen times.  I guess that's what we get for leaving the Bikecentennial Trail.

Agricultural education
Agricultural education

We just can't seem to shake that south wind.  The road turned north for four miles today, but we were traveling the same speed as the wind, and we baked.

Glen Elder Reservoir is about ten miles long and several miles wide.  It provides good recreational opportunities, but a farmer said that the people are being taxed too much for the little agricultural advantage it provides.

To celebrate Friday, we ate out tonight.  No beer, but I splurged and spent $9 on a strip steak.  I shouldn't have - it had too much gristle.  Jack played it safe with fried chicken.

Thursday, July 30, 1981

39. Stockton, Kansas

Day 39:  Thursday, July 30, 1981
Hoxie to Stockton:  63 miles

As we move toward central Kansas, we're encountering more hills.  The terrain is gently rolling, and the earth is sandier.  More cattle are raised here, with crops only in flat areas such as along river valleys.

We have a mail drop in Manhattan, which is about 200 miles east.  We could do it in three days, but the post office is closed on Saturday afternoons.  So we'll take it easy and pick up the mail on Monday.  On Sunday, I can go to Wamego to visit John, an old Air Force buddy.

As I write this, we're resting in Nicodemus, a community which was settled by Negroes from Kentucky a hundred years ago.  It's a small place, but seems to be doing all right for itself.

After Nicodemus, we passed Webster Reservoir, on the South Solomon River.  The river is dry right now.  The water in the reservoir is a long distance from the spillway.  Even with all the rain Kansas has had this year, most of the creeks and rivers are as dry as the proverbial bone.

No stream
Shouldn't there be a stream here somewhere?

We're staying in another roadside rest area tonight.  Jack and I polished off a six-pack in addition to our fried fish and hash browns.  And then I had my first shower since Colorado.  The rest areas don't have facilities, so I filled our water jug, hung it up, and let the water trickle out.  The water was cold - it woke me up after that filling supper.

It seems that the kids in Stockton have nothing to do except cruise the rest area in the evening, so we moved out and pitched camp behind right field in the town's baseball park.

Wednesday, July 29, 1981

38. Hoxie, Kansas

Day 38:  Wednesday, July 29, 1981
Goodland to Hoxie:  70 miles

We awoke early.  We had camped right next to a state highway asphalt plant, and they started work at 5:30.  Jack took off at 7:15, after breakfast, but I waited for a bicycle shop to open, so I could pick up some more spokes, a spare tire, and brake and derailleur cables.  I also called the office and my house.  It was a bit of a shock to hear a strange voice answer the phone.  Kurt, who was staying at my place while I was on vacation, had gone on vacation too, and one of his friends was staying there.

The riding today was flat and would have been easy, if it were not for the persistent south wind.  Corn and wheat are in abundance here.  Most of the wheat has been harvested, but occasionally we see a dark brown field of overripe stalks.

Wheat ready for harvest
Wheat ready for harvest

At the laundromat in Hoxie this evening, I talked with the farmer who runs it about the heavy irrigation in the area.  He said a well can cost up to $30,000 to sink, and they have to go down 200' for water.  There are 400 irrigation wells in this county alone, each pumping from 600 to 2000 gallons per minute.  The water table is dropping about 5' per year because of the heavy reliance on irrigation.  He himself is a dry farmer, and claims to get almost as much yield as do those who irrigate.  Unless farmers get 180 bushels of corn per acre, it does not pay them to irrigate, so many are turning to milo, which is also a feed crop but requires much less water.  It probably won't be too long before the state or federal government imposes restrictions on agricultural irrigation in the Midwest.

Tuesday, July 28, 1981

37. Goodland, Kansas

Day 37:  Tuesday, July 28, 1981

Flagler, Colorado to Goodland, Kansas:  75 miles


Today was pretty much like yesterday.  There's not much that's interesting in eastern Colorado.  Or western Kansas, either.

A solid cloud cover had moved in, and kept us cool until after noon.  It also gave us a stiff sidewind.

Clouds down to the ground
Clouds down to the ground

The towns here are about ten miles apart - we can see the grain elevators of the next town, no matter where we are.  As we go east, the terrain becomes flatter and greener.  It appears that rain has been abundant this year.

The wheat harvest here seems to be nearing an end.  In every town, the elevators are full and there are great piles of wheat outside on the ground.

We crossed into Kansas this afternoon.  Kansas is the Sunflower State, but it's in eastern Colorado where I've seen more of the wild plants, only 3' high with 4" flowers, growing along the road.

Wild sunflowers in Colorado
I wonder if they blew here from Kansas

We're on US 24 now.  It parallels I-70.  After going through Kanorado (on the state line), we stopped in Goodland, where I found three broken spokes in my rear wheel.  After repairs, we barely had time for supper before dark.  The days are noticeably shorter now.  But we cross into the Central time zone tomorrow, and that will push the dark back to 9:00 pm.

The KOA campground wanted $7 from us to put up a tent, so we stayed in the rest area across the road.  No showers, but we managed.  In Kansas, it's okay to camp overnight in rest areas, which are located about 30 miles apart on all the US highways.

Monday, July 27, 1981

36. Flagler, Colorado

Day 36:  Monday, July 27, 1981
Agate to Flagler:  55 miles

Today was pretty much like yesterday.  There's not much that's interesting in eastern Colorado.

We rode on I-70 for a while, because there were no side roads.  Then, when the frontage road started up again, it was so poorly maintained that we decided to go back to the Interstate.  But after a few miles, a county sheriff suggested that we use the side road anyway.

Rustic rotary turbine
Rustic rotary turbine

Kansas grain elevator
One of the highlights of Kansas

While we were stopped for lunch in Genoa, a summer thundershower moved across from the west.  We stayed dry, but were left with strong southerly winds that didn't help us at all.  By the time we reached Flagler, we were ready to find a camping spot.

One of the ladies at the grocery store offered her back yard, and we took her up on it, since the town would not let us pitch a tent in the town park.  She had a nice family:  we got showers, TV, conversation, and carrot cake as well as a place to sleep.

Strange:  it wasn't until eastern Colorado that we saw cactus.

Sunday, July 26, 1981

35. Agate, Colorado

Day 35:  Sunday, July 26, 1981

Denver to Agate:  70 miles

Rick decided not to continue east with us, but to spend the rest of his money bumming around the west.  So Jack and I departed alone this morning.  I didn't quite get my screen door project done - someone else will have to finish it.

Being young and an ersatz student, Rick was on a limited budget.  His goal of Boston was probably too optimistic, even if he had pinched pennies.  But he was not a wise spender, eating a lot of junk food and playing the machines.  Of course, I abetted him on that latter point.  And we ate out more than he could really afford to.

Even though it's not on the TransAmerica Trail, we're still going to Manhattan, since we've already specified it as a mail drop.  We're paralleling I-70, and will probably follow it across Kansas.

Half an hour out, Jack remembered that he forgot the water bag, so I rode four miles back to get it.

In spite of a day-long headwind, we covered about 70 miles.  Although it seemed as if we were going uphill, we actually lost elevation.  The terrain is generally rolling, very dry, with livestock and grain agriculture.  Irrigation is not as prevalent here as it was farther west.

Dry river
Yeah, it's dry here.

We're camped behind the schoolhouse in Agate tonight.  No facilities, but it's getting late.

Saturday, July 25, 1981

34. Denver yet again

Day 34:  Saturday, July 25, 1981

Jack was pretty upset with me today.

I put in a couple hours' work on the hostel's screen door this morning, then went with Jack and Rick to do our laundry.  Jack didn't appreciate waiting on me while I worked on the door, although he didn't say anything at the time.

UP 4-8-4 Locomotive #8444
UP 4-8-4 Locomotive #8444
at Union Station
While Jack spent the day at the Museum of Natural History, Rick and I went to Union Station for its centenary celebration.  The station serves six railroads.  Union Pacific had its 4-8-2 steam locomotive #8444 [restored to its original #844 in 1989] down from Wyoming for the occasion, and several railroads had diesel locomotives and cabooses on display.  The O-gauge model railroad club has its layout in the basement of the station.  It's a fantastic setup, with great scenery work.  It has about 21 scale miles of standard-gauge track, and 18 miles of narrow-gauge.

UP 4-8-4 Locomotive #8444
Lookit them drivers!

After we got back to the hostel, I biked to a lumber yard for some materials for the screen door.  When I got back, it was 6:30.  Jack was waiting on the porch.  He had expected me back at 5:00 for supper.  I wish I had known.

Jack's an early riser, eager to get on the road.  He doesn't take as much time as I do to stop and sightsee.  I tend to go to the other extreme, spending too much time on any given activity.  Jack's a better manager of time than I am.  This leads to some conflicts.  C'est la vie.

Friday, July 24, 1981

33. Still Denver

Day 33:  Friday, July 24, 1981

I didn't sleep very well last night.  It was hot and humid, and I'm not used to sleeping inside.  The two bottles of Coke I had shortly before bedtime probably didn't help, either.

Anyway, I awoke at 6:00, out of habit.  I tried to sleep in, but it was no use.  Everyone has to wake up at 7:30 in this hostel, anyway.

The screen in the front door had been broken out, so I chose its repair as my morning duty.  Actually, it will suffice as three days' duty.  I worked on it for three hours this morning, and I'm still not done.

D&RGW 346
The famous Consolidation 346.
Built for D&RG 1881.
Wrecked in 1936 in runaway on Kenosha Pass.
Rebuilt by CB&Q RR.

 Jack stayed around the hostel today, while Rick and I took the bus to Golden, west of Denver, to tour the Colorado Railway Museum.  Although they don't have much land, it was an impressive exhibit, concentrating on Colorado's narrow-gauge railroads, such as the Denver & Rio Grande and the Colorado Southern.

RGS caboose 0404
I built a model of this caboose.

The inside of caboose 0404
The inside of caboose 0404
They had Rio Grande Southern caboose 0404 - I built a model of that caboose two years ago!  They also have one operating narrow-gauge locomotive, another under restoration, galloping goose No. 2 from D&RGW, quite a bit of rolling stock, and three trolley cars.  Very interesting.  We spent almost four hours there.

Working on the railroad
Working on the railroad

On the way back to the hostel, Rick and I stopped at an arcade and squandered $5 on pinball and electronic games.

Jack fixed supper this evening while I worked on the screen door.  We had pork chops in tomato sauce with mashed potatoes.  Just like home.

Guy's bike was stolen today.  He was visiting the Museum of Natural History when it happened.  His lock had been stolen in Missoula, and he didn't think anyone would steal the bike, because it had a 28-inch frame that was too big for most people to ride (Guy is 6'8").  We don't know yet whether he'll be able to continue the trip with us.

Thursday, July 23, 1981

32. Denver, Colorado

Day 32:  Thursday, July 23, 1981
Big Thompson Canyon to Denver:  70 miles

I stayed warm most of the night in Rick's space blanket.  Toward morning, a wind came up and cooled me off.

For a change, we had a tailwind just about all day today.  The scenery in Big Thompson Canyon improved as we got farther from Estes Park and the commercialism.  One scenic section is very narrow, with sheer rock walls.

Big Thompson Canyon
Well, I guess it looks the same as yesterday's section.

It's hotter now that we're out of the mountains.  And the humidity is increasing.  Today, it's downright muggy.

Buzzing through Loveland, Guy and I found one of Jack's bananas on the road, so we knew that he and Rick were somewhere ahead of us.  We headed straight south toward Denver, where Guy's sister lives, and rejoined each other in Lafayette for lunch.  We're back into agricultural terrain now, with rolling hills.  It resembles Michigan, except that the foothills to the Rockies are in the background.  We saw wheat, corn, cabbage, beets, and several other crops being grown.

From within 20 miles of Denver, we got into the suburbs.  It made for quite a change of pace from our desert and mountain riding.  More traffic, more stops, less scenery.  We headed straight for the hostel.

After leaving my baggage at the hostel, I went downtown with Guy, where we did a quick tour of the state capitol before Guy left for his sister's house on the west side.  Then I picked up some more money at Western Union and headed back.

Denver Thursday
If it's Thursday, this must be Denver...

We splurged this evening - spent $6 each for pizza.  They didn't serve beer - too bad.

The hostel here doesn't accept non-members of AYH.  So all of us had to join - in addition to our $11.25 for three nights, we forked over the $14 membership fee.

Wednesday, July 22, 1981

31. Big Thompson Canyon, Colorado

Day 31:  Wednesday, July 22, 1981
Grand Lake to Big Thompson Canyon:  65 miles

We slept in this morning - until 6:30.  By the time we had breakfast and did our hostel chores, it was almost 9:00.  It's always hard to get out of a hostel early.

It was a glorious day - our trip through Rocky Mountain National Park continued to prove a welcome relief from Wyoming's desert prairies. We followed Trail Ridge Road through the park; it roughly paralleled the old Ute Indian foot trail.  Grand Lake is approximately 8500' above sea level; the highest point on our ride today was 12183'.  It took us until 2:00 pm to climb up there, and only an hour or so to coast down to Estes Park, which is at 7500'.  The view was magnificent all day.  Only one problem:  I ran out of film at the top, so I didn't get to take any pictures on the descent.

The view from the top
The view from the top, or near there

Estes Park is a tourist town.  It reminds me of Gaylord, Michigan.  We bought groceries there, then headed east on route 34 through Big Thompson Canyon.  The canyon is full of tourist cabins and houses and campgrounds - quite a contrast to the National Park.  It would be beautiful, with its rugged granite walls, if man had not spoiled it.

Cycling through the canyon
Cycling through the canyon

We're camped tonight about 16 miles out of Loveland.  My sleeping bag is still full of wet milk, so I'm using Rick's space blanket.  I hope it keeps me warm.

The climate of 25% of the park is arctic tundra.   The plant life was quite interesting - I took a number of photos of the flowers.  And we saw plenty of chipmunks and marmots begging for food.

Flowers close to the rock
These flowers stick close to the rock, to stay out of the winds

Succulent-like flowers
These flowers looked like succulents, preserving water

Name all these flowers!
Name all these flowers!

Tuesday, July 21, 1981

30. Grand Lake, Colorado

Day 30:  Tuesday, July 21, 1981
Walden to Grand Lake:  74 miles

We left the Transamerica Trail today.  Guy is on his way to graduate school in Manhattan, Kansas, and we've decided to accompany him there.  Then we'll rejoin the trail after that.  Guy's sister just moved to Denver, so we'll be going there first, via Rocky Mountain National Park.

From Walden, we headed south to Granby, stopping at a quaint general store in Rand.  The route was generally uphill, but it was good to get back to the mountains and the pine forests after the deserts of Wyoming.  We traversed Willow Creek Pass, and met a Bikecentennial group which had left the trail and a Great Parks bicycle group.  The GP tour is also organized by Bikecentennial, but tours the west's most scenic national parks instead of crossing the country.

a real ranch
Wow!  A real ranch!

At the A&W in Granby, we talked to a couple of girls, one of whom was from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was moving to Seattle.  And we also bought groceries in Granby - Jack and I didn't realize that there was a town in Grand Lake, so we hauled the extra supplies the next 15 miles for nothing.

natural rock wall
A natural rock wall

The road through the park goes north from Granby to Grand Lake, then over the mountains to Estes Park.  So we headed back north.  For half an hour, due to a level road and a nice tailwind, the four of us were able to do some close-formation riding, but the first hill (a steep one) managed to split us up.  At a rest area beside a lake, we met some friendly marmots, who obligingly posed for us when we offered them food.  Rick and I also met a friendly National Forest Service employee whom we both would have liked to see more of.

Guy feeds the marmots
Guy feeds the marmots

The hostel at Grand Lake is named Shadowcliff.  It's been a-building for the past 25 years, and is very picturesque, perched on top of a cliff, commanding an excellent view of the village and the lake below.  We had a room to ourselves this evening.

After supper, Guy, Rick, and I rode a mile or so to a waterfall, where we watched the sunset through the woods and saw a weasel.

Relaxing by the waterfall
Relaxing by the waterfall

At bedtime, when I unpacked the refrigerator so I could use it as a sleeping bag, it squished.  The darn carton of milk had leaked.  It's a good thing we're inside tonight.

Monday, July 20, 1981

29. Walden, Colorado

Day 29:  Monday, July 20, 1981
Encampment, Wyoming to Walden, Colorado:  50 miles

We had a short day today.  Jack woke up at 5:30, so we were on the road by 7:00.  We continued up the Saratoga valley.  All morning, we headed east, and had an east wind.  Then, when we turned south, the wind changed to a westerly.  The ride was hilly and generally uphill, so it was quite a bit of work, even though we rode only 50 miles.  One truck tried to run us off the road today.  There's not much we can do about things like that.

Long and rolling uphill
Long and rolling uphill

We're leaving the desert behind.  There's more agriculture in the valleys, although irrigation is still heavily relied upon.  And we're approaching the mountains.  Walden is at 8000'.

Name these flowers!
Name these flowers!

We arrived in Walden at 3:00 pm - short day.  We're taking it easy this evening, doing laundry and catching up on odds and ends.  All in all, a nothing day.

Sunday, July 19, 1981

28. Encampment, Wyoming

Day 28:  Sunday, July 19, 1981
Rawlins to Encampment:  65 miles

Fortunately, the wind dies down at night out here.  It was pretty peaceful for the first few hours of riding.  On the way out of town, Rick and I looked at a fenced-in Union Pacific 2-8-0 locomotive.  UP has a large yard in Rawlins.

The town of Sinclair is about ten miles east.  It looks like a ghost town - but then, today is Sunday.  Sinclair Oil has a refinery in Sinclair.  Duh.

The Sinclair oil refinery
The Sinclair oil refinery

We rode on Interstate 80 for 15 miles - it's okay in Wyoming.  Then we headed south on state routes 130 and 230 through the Overland Flats (the Overland Trail passed here) to Saratoga and Encampment.

These are resort towns now.  At the turn of the century, they were copper mining towns.  Saratoga has the world-famous (?) Hobo Hot Springs.  Guy and I soaked in them for an hour or so.  They're hotter than bath water.  It really felt good.  They're entirely uncommercialized - no charge - provided by the town.  It was great.

I took time out to go through the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Society museum.  They had moved the Saratoga & Encampment Railway depot up the hill and had refurbished it.  The passenger waiting room had been left it its original state, but the freight portion had been remodeled.  They had an excellent display of photographs illustrating the region's history.

Saratoga & Encampment Railway depot
The Saratoga & Encampment Railway depot

Eighty years ago, the Great Encampment had copper mines, a 16-mile gravity-run aerial ore tramway, 2000 people, 27 saloons, and just about the same number of brothels.  Today there are less than 400 people here.  But they're nice.  We're camping in the city park free - and it is at least ten times better than the park in Jeffrey City.  The volunteer fire department was having a potluck supper in the park, and they invited us over.  So we were well-fed tonight.

aerial ore tramway
The Great Encampment aerial ore tramway

In spite of our stop at the hot springs, we still covered 65 miles today.  And my four broken spokes on I-80 took only (!) 1½ hours to replace.

Saturday, July 18, 1981

27. Rawlins, Wyoming

Day 27:  Saturday, July 18, 1981
Jeffrey City to Rawlins:  65 miles

We were glad to leave Jeffrey City this morning.  But it wasn't because of the scenery.  All 65 miles or so into Rawlins was monotonous Wyoming plain.  We did see a lot of antelope.

Just past Muddy Gap, we stopped for lunch, and met a biker from Rawlins who recommended a bicycle shop.  We told him we didn't think we'd make it into town in time, and he said he'd buy what we needed - then, in the evening, he even delivered the stuff to our campsite!

After Muddy Gap, we crossed the Great Divide Basin, which doesn't drain into either ocean.  It looks just like the rest of Wyoming.

We did make it to the bike shop before it closed.  The bike shop man fixed Guy's broken luggage rack free.  He's retired, and runs the shop out of his garage.  Neat guy.

We set up camp at a KOA-type place.  Soon after, dark clouds moved in from the north.  But they didn't bring rain - just wind and dust.  Winds up to 40 mph blew for an hour, carrying fine sand from the prairie and spreading it over everything.  In spite of it, Jack and I fixed supper - then we had a pizza - then I went downtown with Rick and Guy for more pizza and beer.

Wind and dust
Wind and dust

We went to a little seafood restaurant that served the best pizza in town.  (Their seafood was fresh, flown in from the coast.)  They didn't have a liquor license, but we could bring in our own for a setup charge.  So we visited the nearby carry-out liquor store while our pizza cooked.  Afterward, we had a nice chat with the owner.

Rawlins seems like a friendly town.  But the countryside is awful.  Too much desert.  No trees.  You can see for miles, but there's nothing to see.

Friday, July 17, 1981

26. Jeffrey City, Wyoming

Day 26:  Friday, July 17, 1981
Lander to Jeffrey City:  60 miles

Today was a short day.  It was warm when we woke up, and we expected a hot day.  After checking at the post office for no mail and at Western Union for no money, I left Lander at 9:45, two hours behind everyone else.

The whole 60 miles were up-and-down, but the first 32 were generally uphill.  The scenery was boring - Wyoming hills and prairie and sagebrush.  I had a headwind all day, except for the last ten miles, when a thunderstorm behind me pushed me into town.   I arrived only ten minutes after everyone else.

Far and flat
Far and flat

Jeffrey City is the site of Wyoming's first uranium mill.  The mines are not too far from town.  We're staying in the town park.  It's free, and that's what it's worth.  At least the recreation hall next door has toilets and washbasins.  And they're cleaner than the facilities at Lander.

Some other people are camping here.  They had to.  They were driving to Yellowstone, but their car's water pump went out and blew out the radiator and cracked the block.  Major repairs...

The rain hit while we were shopping for dinner.  We hung out at the grocery store for an hour or so, and finally headed down to the park to fix dinner.  So it began to pour.  Fun evening.

We journeyed along the Sweetwater River today.  It got its name when a mule carrying a load of sugar missed his step and dumped his load into the river.

The Oregon Trail passes through the Sweetwater River valley.  A girl whom Guy met who works for the Bureau of Land Management said she was looking at the trail today, and found ruts still a foot or more deep!

Soon after dark, a couple of dogs came around to raid the trash barrel.  One of them tried to crawl into bed with all of us.  Then, at midnight, a couple of people who were obviously high drove up and got a drink of water.  They managed to keep us awake for a while.  It's not such a good idea to camp in city parks, no matter how little they charge.

Thursday, July 16, 1981

25. Lander, Wyoming

Day 25:  Thursday, July 16, 1981
DuBois to Lander:  70 miles

I rode alone today.  DuBois was a mail drop for me, and the post office didn't open until 8:30.  Everyone else had left at 7:30.  As it turned out, there was no mail for me anyway.

Then I rode an extra four miles to help a trucker who had run out of gas; spent two hours in Crowheart talking with a man about the stock market; and had another flat.  That makes four inner tubes which have blown out right at the valve stem.

Name these flowers!
Name these flowers!

The route included six miles of road under construction - very bumpy and muddy.  But I got a lift from a guy in a pickup truck, and saved an hour of torture.

More red cliffs
More red cliffs

And even more red cliffs
And even more

The red and white cliffs of sandstone continued about ten miles past DuBois, then turned into a hot, dry valley.  Our tailwind of yesterday had changed to a headwind; progress was slowed, but not much.  Still, the others beat me into camp by two hours.

We're spending the night in the city park.  It's cheap:  $2 for all four of us, but the facilities are terrible.  At least the ground is level.

We covered about 70 miles today.  It looks as if that's going to be our average day.  We've had only one rest day so far - in Missoula.  If we keep up our current pace, we should arrive in Yorktown about the first of September, three weeks ahead of schedule.  Maybe I'll get home in time to do DALMAC!

Wednesday, July 15, 1981

24: DuBois, Wyoming

Day 24:  Wednesday, July 15, 1981
Jackson Lake to DuBois:  68 miles

Frost covered everything when we awoke this morning.  It was too cold to bother fixing breakfast, so we ate in the restaurant at the campground.  I guess we're just fair-weather campers.

Teton frost
Frosty morning in the Tetons

From Jackson Lake, we headed just about straight east along US 287 and US 26.  The Tetons lay behind us, and as we climbed to Blackrock Pass and Togwatee (Toh-guh-tee) Pass, Guy and I kept snapping pictures at each viewpoint.  The Teton Range is magnificent - just like the mountain stereotypes in advertisements and on the Busch beer cans.

Teton reflections
Teton reflections

Togwatee Pass is at 9600', which meant a climb of about 3000' from Jackson Lake.  It wasn't steep, but it took Jack and me until 3:00 pm to reach the top.   We could have done it two hours faster, but Jack had three or four flats.

The Tetons
So long to the Tetons

On the way up, we met Bob Russell, a national officer of the League of American Wheelmen, who was returning from the national LAW convention in Ames, Iowa.  He's a very interesting person:  69, retired, active in LAW, a former test pilot (flew the prototype BD-1, or American Yankee), active in the Experimental Aircraft Association.  He'll be flying a Cessna 180 to the big EAA meet in Oshkosh in August.  He mentioned that Steve Leiby from Lansing was elected regional LAW representative.  Steve's a good guy for the position - really gung-ho for cycling, and a mover.

From the pass, we had a downhill all the way to DuBois - about 20 miles, part of it along the Wind River.  The wind always blows here.  Fortunately, it was blowing our way, strong.  The red-and-white striated hills just west of DuBois were impressive - more photos, of course.

Red-striped cliffs
Aren't those stripes cool?

Name these flowers!
Name these flowers!
Name these flowers!
Name these flowers!
Much of the forest land along the Wind River is lodge pole pine.  Until World War II, much of it was hand-harvested to make railroad ties, which were then flumed to the river and floated to Riverton, the railhead which lies some 90 miles east.

We're at 7200' here in DuBois.  It's much more open country, and seems quite a bit warmer.  Although huge horseflies pestered us on our ascent today, the campground tonight is bug-free.  And we took showers tonight, the first in three days!

Jack and I had cube steaks for supper tonight - two apiece.  With potatoes and salad, the meal cost $5 or so - expensive, but it still beat a restaurant.

There's a riding stable next to the campground. They had just brought the horses down from winter pasture, and were getting them used to carrying packs again.  When I wheeled into the campground, I must have spooked one, because he started bucking, and the packs went flying all over.  It must have taken them five minutes to quiet him down.

The man and wife (she is from Grand Rapids, Michigan) who owned the stable had just sold it, and were in the process of training the new owner in the handling of horses.  They said there was just too much red tape involved in the business.

Tuesday, July 14, 1981

23: Jackson Lake, Wyoming

Day 23:  Tuesday, July 14, 1981
Yellowstone Park to Jackson Lake:  70 miles

It was a chilly morning.  Some of the other campers had arisen at 5:00 and were already gone.  We awoke at 6:00 as usual, and by the time we finished breakfast, it was almost 7:30.

Jack, Guy, and Rick went on ahead while I put in a call to Dad.  I said I'd meet them at Old Faithful.  Before stopping there, however, I toured the middle geyser basin.  Fantastic, of course. Everything in Yellowstone is.  When I arrived at OF, Guy and Jack were just leaving.  I managed to watch OF while repairing another flat, then saw some of the other geysers and pools in that area.  The road Dad and I took in 1967 that runs through that area and past the Morning Glory pool has been turned into a walkway, and a whole new road and interchange have been built to the west to handle the increased traffic.  By the time I left OF, I was two hours behind the others.

Another cool geyser
Another cool geyser

Morning Glory Pool
Morning Glory Pool

After a snack at West Thumb, I headed toward the South Entrance, with stops at Kepler Cascades (a friendly crow and a Mennonite family were there), and along the Lewis River Gorge.  That was a nice downhill, but from there on it was an up-and-down grind to Jackson Lake and the start of the Tetons.

As luck would have it, I had some more flats - went through all my inner tubes.  I had the dubious benefit of seeing sunset over the Tetons:  no clouds, but the mountains were pretty.  It was a few minutes after nine (and before dark) when I reached the Colter Bay campground on Jackson Lake, where I found the others and sat down to a late supper.  Even with the tire trouble, it had seemed like a 50-mile day, but we had put in 70 miles.  Not bad.

Colter Bay
Our campground at Colter Bay

Monday, July 13, 1981

22. Yellowstone Park, Wyoming

Day 22:  Monday, July 13, 1981
Ennis-or-thereabouts to Yellowstone Park:  50 miles

I had slept well as usual, but Jack awoke complaining of the lumps in the ground.  Apparently it had been a pasture - not too smooth.

The Madison River
We followed the Madison River into Yellowstone Park.

It threatened rain, but all we got was sprinkles as we followed US 287 and the Madison River through a gap in the Madison Range and toward Yellowstone Park.  The headwinds of the previous day had abated, so it was pretty smooth traveling.

Earthquake Lake
Earthquake Lake; the slide area is in the far background.

In 1959, an earthquake in this area caused a landslide which blocked the Madison River, forming Earthquake Lake and burying 28 campers.  Some eight million tons of earth slid into the valley in under a minute.  The effects are still highly visible.

We stopped for breakfast at a lodge near Hebgen Lake.  Hebgen Dam, built in 1915, was dropped about nine feet in the earthquake, but it held.

About five miles before we reached Yellowstone Park, Guy sneaked up on us.  In yesterday's strong headwinds, he and Rick had not gone as far as they had expected, and they had camped ten miles behind us.

West Yellowstone is a typical tourist town.  We stocked up on provisions before entering the park, then biked on in to Madison Junction.  The campground was full, but we found a spot that another biker had reserved, and asked him if we could share it.  He said yes - and by evening, there were seven or eight of us in that one campsite.
Little geyser
It's a little geyser, but it looked cool.
And don't ya love that hexagonal sun?

Pond flora
Interesting flora in a pond

Yellowstone Elk
Yellowstone Elk
We had traveled only about 50 miles today.  Jack decided to take it easy, but Guy and I went out for a few hours before supper to see some of the sights:  Firehole Canyon, with its cascades (and swimmers enjoying them); the lower geyser basin, with its geysers, fumaroles, clear steaming pools, and paint pots (all incredible, even though I'd seen them before, in 1954 and 1967); another side trip for other wonders.  On the way back to camp, we saw three bull elk with huge antlers.  Of course, everyone was stopping to take pictures.  Even though "wild", they were so tame that we could approach within 25' of them!

Yellowstone River
I look contemplative, but, to tell the truth,
I had just dropped my camera lens down the bank...