Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Day 67: Dubois, WY to Colter Bay, WY (Grand Teton National Park) (69 miles, 2983 total)

Holy COW!!!! Did I miss something? Does Wyoming have a wind-share program with Kansas? The wind we had for the last 25 miles of yesterday is what Wyoming has served us up all day today...times 4. By the time we stopped for lunch at almost 3:00, we had battled 40 miles in around 5 hours of riding time (plus frequent and much needed breaks). It was pathetic and demoralizing. The scenery is breathtaking but we both remarked that we just couldn't appreciate it given what we were going through physically and mentally.

We slept through the alarm this morning and didn't wake up until 6:30. We hurried to break camp and get breakfast, but delay after delay
pushed our departure time back until almost 9:00. It didn't matter as far as the wind was concerned. It had been blowing hard since before we were moving around.

We knew the first 30 miles of today would be tough. What we didn't know is that we would be going 4 to 6 mph on flats and uphills and around 9 mph (working very hard) on downhills. Today we climbed over Togwotee Pass (pronounced TOE-go-tee), our second highest pass on the trail. When combined with the constant wind and the general fatigue of fighting for every 10th of a mile, this pass deflated me. I didn't even really care that I'd gotten to the top of it. That is one seriously exhausted reaction!

As we started our descent, we passed a sign warning truckers of a 6% grade for the next 17 miles. I'm not sure who from WYDOT put that sign up, but we certainly had a fair share of flats and ups in those 17 miles of 6% downs. Liars!

We stopped at the Togwotee Lodge for lunch just after the restaurant had closed. Thankfully, the bar had the same menu and was open (I'm not sure what I would have done if we hadn't been able to get food). We sat around for a while trying to muster energy for the remaining 30 miles of the day.

Luckily, the "6% downhill" continued to roll for several more miles and some energy did come back into my exhausted parts. I realized this when I got excited at my first glimpse of the Tetons. I picked up my pace quite a bit and even passed Jeffrey for a while. That rarely happens for me!

A few miles after this we entered the Grand Teton National Park. We took issue with the fact that bikers have to pay $10 EACH to enter while a car loaded with people only pays $20. We do much less to impact the serenity of the park than giant SUVs or RVs do. We take offense to the steep price. (Note from Jeff: I can rant and rave about this for hours! This is not the first time I've been exposed to this at a National Park and it makes me so very angry. Don't you all think our government should be encouraging people to visit the parks on bikes rather than add another car to the unbelivable amount of congestion? I sure do; what a crock.)

A few miles into the park we saw a large gathering of cars and people on the side of the road. Being good little looky-loos, we stopped too and were rewarded with a distant view of a female moose and her calf. A kind couple let us borrow their binoculars so we could see a little better. It was so neat! They were just hanging out in the river having a little moose swim time, but this was officially my first first moose sighting in my life so I was excited.

Moving on, we stopped a few more times to take in the awesome mountain views. Though a little too packed with people, the park is beautiful. We arrived at Colter Bay Village around 7:00 and got dinner at the cafe there. We got a slight discount on camping since we were on bikes ($10 instead of $15) but showers are not included and are about a mile away from our tent site. We decided to take a baby wipe
shower and then stuffed everything we could into the bear box. Thankfully, all campsites here have giant metal boxes for putting all of your "scented" stuff in. This makes it easier than trying to hoist our BOB bags up a tree.

Tomorrow we really will try to get up on time. We will enter Yellowstone in about 20 miles or so and I really want to see Old Faithful go off. Keep your fingers crossed that the wind takes an off day.


Note from Jeff: Hey Charles, our lunch stop had Moose Drool Ale on tap! I was a little too exhausted to have a pint (especially with 30 miles left on a brutal day), but I did ask for the bartender for a taste. You are right, that stuff is really good. If we didn't have to be done by August 7th, I would have insisted we stay the night, plus I was so over the wind.--JAB


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