Day 17 (7/9): Grant Village, WY --> Dubois, WY (112 miles)
Days mileage: 104 miles - biking, 8 miles - hitch hiking
Ok. We rolled out of camp early, early, early and it was pretty damn cold, cold, cold. Stocked up on some calories before plowing straight into the day. I was super excited already seeing we were dunna see the Grand Tetons. I've been so excited to get a chance to see these mtns that I could not contain myself and biked a bit harder than I prob should have just to get here sooner...it was still a solid 50miles until we'd get there, but I wasn't lettin distance get in the way.
My legs weren't as willing as my spirit.
Lactic acid from the past few days had flooded my system beyond a comfort level which is tolerable enough for comfort. So Stephen and I just rolled on through at a moderate pace and yelled at RV's that came too close to comfort pour us. There were a few small climbs that put us up and over the 8,200 feet elevation mark again...and we crossed the Contintental Divide for the 4th time on this trip so far. But honestly, who's keeping track anyways...as long as the rain drops get to the ocean that's all that really matters...
One thing I didn't realize about the park is that there was a huge forest fire that seems to have wiped out pretty much all of the area we biked through. There were just black stubs everywehre and a few survivors trying not to be suffocated by the new generation of growth that appeared so anxious to take the place of the old.
There were some amazing waterfalls along the way with deep, wide gorges that inspired me only to take a picture.
And finally, a long straight section of road served itself as the red carpte that would lead Stephen and I towards the Grand Tetons. Seeing them live (and in person) absolutely blew my mind. Snow capped, jagged, breathtaking. They just seemed to be racing to touch the sky; coming out of, what seemed like, no where.
We rolled to a small cafe that overlooked the Tetons and Jackson lake and had ourself a good helping of Air Conditioning for a few hours while absorbing as many peaks and crevices our minds could contain.
We then biked more and more...we were trying to get to the town of Dubois and still had to climb 3,000 feet up and over Togwetto Pass (and we'd end up crossing the Contintental Divide, once again).
Our slow progress up the steep ( and by steep I mean 6-7% grade, and at some times it felt like biking up a wall) climb was interuptted a few times by random patches of construction taht seemed to be organized in a rather unorgainzed manner. There was no control as to which lane traffic shoudl be in, travel, or end up after all the dust settled. It was basically like riding a bike in dirt tossed over a dry riverbed. No fun pour moi velo et moi.
The coolest part of the climb was biking into a runner from Sweden who was...(drum roll)...running..that's right...running across the U.S. He was pushing a baby stroller whcih held his gear. So...when folks call me crazy.....think again. He said he was running about 26 miles/day. Wow.
Check out his progress: www.suneson.se
We climbed the last part of Togwettoo Pass (elevation 9,628 feet...around there at least)..took pictures...and decended down to the point where more construction was going on. It was a nice long 8mile stretch of the same business as earlier...no road. We stopped. Stuck out our thumbs and in two seconds flat two cars pulled over. One: a jeep. The other: a truck. We didn't have to think twice before opting to take the truck option.
(almost out of time in library....)
We finally got a tail wind worht braggin about and cruised quite effortlessly into the cool town of Dubois. It was surrounded by canyon walls of the purest red color one could ever imagine and with every detail of the rocks visible (even from a speed of 30mph).
We opted to not use a tent and just sleep beneath the Wyoming night sky. Furthermore, a caddis fly hatch was in progress and I didn't want to miss out on watching 7 different trout rise to the occasion. I let them eat in peace (mainly b/c it was gettin dark and I was tired)....