2014 Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 6 Lander to Dubois

Day 6, August 22, was my and Bugman’s 16th wedding anniversary, and a challenging day for a ride. I gave Bugman an anniversary card with an illustration of a tandem bike on it, and it would wind up rain-soaked in our non-waterproof bike trunk.

There was rain overnight, and the dawn was chilly that morning in Lander, but at least we had a dry start. Check out this timelapse video of the bike corral emptying out that morning.

The warmth of the sun was most welcome, but it wouldn't last long.

The warmth of the sun was most welcome, but it wouldn’t last long.

I'm not sure what the story was behind this shredded-looking tipi. A sculpture, maybe? It made me feel sad.

I’m not sure what the story was behind this shredded-looking tipi. A sculpture, maybe? It made me feel sad.

Welcome to the Wind River Indian Reservation. The photo was slightly out of focus, so I enhanced it by tweaking the color saturation.

Welcome to the Wind River Indian Reservation. The photo was slightly out of focus, so I made it prettier by tweaking the color saturation.

Reflections on Ray Lake

Gray reflections on Ray Lake.

As we were heading into Fort Washakie, it started to rain. We pulled over, put on our rain gear, and cycled up what was probably the steepest climb of the day in a gentle rain. My Gore Tex jacket was cozy, and I got to feeling a bit cheeky. As the photograhper / videographer car pulled up alongside us, I called, "Come on out - the weather's fine." "Do you like riding in the rain?" the guy asked. I grinned and replied something to the effect of "as long as it's in liquid form."

As we were heading into Fort Washakie, it started to rain. We pulled over, put on our gear, and cycled up what was probably the steepest climb of the day in a gentle rain. My Gore Tex jacket was cozy, and I got to feeling a bit cheeky. As the CGY photograhper / videographer car pulled up alongside us, I called, “Come on out – the weather’s fine.” “Do you like riding in the rain?” the guy asked. I grinned and replied something to the effect of “as long as it’s in liquid form.” No hail rider am I.

The rain began to let up, and I pulled my camera out from under my jacket to photograph the scenery.

The rain began to let up, and I pulled my camera out from under my jacket to photograph the scenery.

There were some strange landforms in the area. Those regular hills made me think of the Sidney Army Depot.

There were some strange landforms in the area. Those regular hills in the distance made me think of the Sioux Army Depot near Sidney, Nebraska.

There's the photograhper / videographer car. Ckick! Right back at ya!

There’s the photograhper / videographer car. Click! Right back at ya!

With the sun out and the day warming, cyclists stopped en masse to strip off rain gear.

With the sun out and the day warming, cyclists stopped en masse to strip off rain gear.

And away they go!

And away they go!

Here's a lovely bit of downhill.

Here’s a lovely bit of downhill.

Aaaand - another construction zone. We were given instructions on how to handle this intersection at evening announcements the night before. We were to pull up and wait until traffic was told to proceed, let all the cars got first, and then travel through the construction in a bike mob. We were also told there would be a surprise waiting for us there. Bugman and I were at the back of the pack and didn't have to wait long, so our surprise was, there was no surprise. Other riders further ahead of us got candy bars and trinkets.

Aaaand – another construction zone. We were given instructions on how to handle this intersection at evening announcements the night before. We were to pull up and wait until traffic was motioned to proceed, let all the cars go first, and then travel through the construction in a bike mob. We were also told there would be a surprise waiting for us there. Bugman and I were at the back of the pack and didn’t have to wait long, so our surprise was, there was no surprise. Other riders further ahead of us got candy bars and trinkets.

In the construction zone: cyclists pass a giant dump truck.

In the construction zone: cyclists face a giant dump truck.

A view forward of the pack of cyclists on a packed-dirt section of the road. (Dumb camera decided to focus on the edge of Bugman's helmet instead of the riders ahead. Thank GOODNESS it was not raining when we went through here!

A view forward of the pack of cyclists on a packed-dirt section of the road. (Dumb camera decided to focus on the edge of Bugman’s helmet instead of the riders ahead. Thank GOODNESS it was not raining when we went through here!

A random snap behind reveals a friendly fellow biker.

A random snap behind reveals a friendly fellow biker.

I see rain in our future. *sigh* We pulled over, put on the rain gear, and rode through pretty heavy rain to our lunch stop.

I see rain in our future. *sigh* We pulled over, put on our gear, and rode through pretty heavy rain to our lunch stop.

It was still raining when we got to the lunch stop at the fire station at Crowheart. But people were still smiling!

It was still raining when we got to the lunch stop at the fire station at Crowheart. But people were still smiling!

Any port in a storm! Many cyclists took refuge under the lunch truck. Hey! I recognize those cyclists! It's Kurt and Rhonda from Georgia!

Any port in a storm! Many cyclists took refuge under the lunch truck. Hey! I recognize those cyclists! It’s Kurt and Rhonda from Georgia!

When these cyclists vacated their spot, Bugman and I took their place. A fellow cyclist commented, "Did you ever think you'd be eating lunch under a truck?" Nope, can't say that I have.

When these cyclists vacated their spot, Bugman and I took their place. A fellow cyclist commented, “Did you ever think you’d be eating lunch under a truck?” Nope. New life experience for me.

We had a brief period of wonderful sunshine at lunch, but the clouds returned, as did the rain, intermittently. I liked how the clouds and road curved in this photo.

We had a brief period of wonderful sunshine at lunch, but the clouds returned. I liked how the clouds and road curved in this photo.

It was another busy day for the sag wagon.

It was a busy day for the sag wagon.

Some blue sky! Come over here, blue sky! Over here!!

Some blue sky! Come over here, blue sky! Over here!!

The road descended into a valley with beautifully colored rock.

The road descended into a valley with beautifully colored rock.

Here's our rain jacket selfie, with our bike trunk wrapped in a plastic grocery bag. The bag kept it from getting soaked from above, but the tires kicked up water from the road, which seeped into the bag from below.

Here’s our rain jacket selfie, with our bike trunk wrapped in a plastic grocery bag. The bag kept it from getting soaked from above, but the tires kicked up water from the road, which seeped into the bag from below.

Here's a better view of that beautiful rock behind us in the previous photo. Reminds me of Quebrada de Humahuaca in northern Argentina.

Here’s a better view of that beautiful rock behind us in the previous photo. Reminds me a bit of Quebrada de Humahuaca in northern Argentina.

Our last rest stop of the day was at Antlers on the Wind. If you are ever in need of a hunting knife with a fancy antler grip, this is the place to go.

Our last rest stop of the day was at Antlers on the Wind. (If you are ever in need of a hunting knife with a fancy antler grip, this is the place to go.) The snack was ice-cold popsicles. We riders, nearly becoming popsicles ourselves, mostly declined the offered treat.

Pretty place for a tire change, no?

Pretty place for a tire change, no?

We went inside to warm up a bit - and found some antlers!

We went inside to warm up a bit – and found some antlers!

After we left the rest stop, we were walloped with wind and rain. I packed the camera away in a plastic bag, and we slogged uphill, into the wind, in the rain, for about 10 miles. That was pretty miserable. And cold. Good thing we had our mittens with us.

The rain finally quit, and we made an unscheduled stop at River Park Drive so Bugman could eat something. He was bonking. Good thing we'd hoarded our lunch cookies.

The rain finally quit, and we made an unscheduled stop at River Park Drive so Bugman could eat something. He was bonking. Good thing we’d hoarded some cookies!

Our phone batteries were dead, so we weren't sure how much further we had to go. We asked a fellow cyclist with a bike computer, and they replied "5 miles." A few miles down the road, we saw this awesome family cheering and ringing cowbells alongside the road. That was so wonderful! I'm quite sure it's what got me those last couple of miles into town.

Our phone batteries were dead, so we weren’t sure how much further we had to go. We asked a fellow cyclist with a bike computer, and they replied “5 miles.” A few miles down the road, we saw this awesome family cheering and ringing cowbells alongside the road. That was so wonderful! I’m quite sure it’s what got me those last couple of miles into town.

The Dubois laundromat. Oh my.

The Dubois laundromat. Oh my. That’s got to be the most interesting laundromat entrance I’ve ever seen. Dubois had a cute-looking downtown, but we didn’t stop. Bugman and I were cold and hungry, and we wanted to get to camp.

Our camp that evening was in the city park in Dubois (another pronunciation learned – it’s doo-BOYZ). There wasn’t much grass to speak of where the Sherpa tents were pitched, which meant we had mud right outside the tent. I’d heard a fellow camper mention having used cardboard from the recycling stations as a doormat for their tent, so I went in search of some. All of the recycle bins were empty. I asked a volunteer where I might find some, who asked another volunteer, who knew that the manager of the Family Dollar across the road was volunteering. A text message later, and we were told we could pick up some empty boxes at the Family Dollar. Yay!

Taking a warm showed and getting into dry clothes helped my mental state tremendously, but the continued rain was making me cranky, and I was beginning to be glad the ride was almost over.

I was ever so glad there was a building available to serve as a mess hall at this site.

There were rumors of snow at elevation along our route the next day.

Ride summary

Distance and elevation gain (per the official route stats – I’m giving up on the inaccurate elevation on my mapping software) were 76 miles, 2,815 feet

Min temp: 44, Max temp: 55, Winds 8-20, gusting to 24 mph, Precipitation: “none”?? Well, maybe it was dry at the airport . . .  [data from Dubois]

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

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2014 Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 5 Lander rest day

Day 5 of Cycle Greater Yellowstone offered an optional 33-mile out-and-back ride (with 3,297 feet of elevation gain) up Sinks Canyon. The “never quit” side of my personality urged an attempt at the canyon ride, but my butt (and my riding partner) said “no way!”

It was probably good we didn’t ride, as the wind picked up a bit, and I heard the switchbacks at the top of the canyon were a bit unpleasant with the headwind/tailwind flips.

It was a real relief to have a day off the bike. We didn’t exactly rest, though. Thanks to some Chamber of Commerce volunteers, we were able to hitch a ride up to a trailhead in Sinks Canyon and go for a 3-plus-mile hike.

Off the bike for the first time in 5 days, and grinning. #popoagieselfie

Off the bike for the first time in 5 days, and grinning. #popoagieselfie

We made way for a couple of equine hikers on the trail.

We made way for a couple of equine hikers on the trail.

Of course, Bugman had to stop to turn over rocks in a search for aquatic insects. We are not fast hikers. We are stop-and-lookers.

Of course, Bugman had to stop to turn over rocks to search for aquatic insects. We are not fast hikers. We are stop-and-lookers.

Quite beautiful in the canyon. A couple of times, we came upon our CGY colleagues sitting solo on a rock rim above the rushing water. It is a lovely, meditative place.

Quite beautiful in the canyon. A couple of times, we came upon our CGY colleagues sitting solo on a rock rim above the rushing water. It is a lovely, meditative place.

There were still flowers blooming in abundance in late August, on the cusp of autumn in the high country.

There were still flowers blooming in abundance in late August, on the cusp of autumn in the high country.

flowers

But many of the flowers had turned to fruit. I began to get that deep-seated urge to gather and store. We were warned by the gent who dropped us off at the trailhead that the grizzly bears in the area were feeling the same. I can identify the wild currant and rose hips for certain, probably chokecherry, and possibly serviceberry / huckleberry, too. The white berries are known to some as corpse berries are are not edible by humans.

But many of the flowers had turned to fruit already. I began to get that deep-seated urge to gather and store. We were warned by the gent who dropped us off at the trailhead that the grizzly bears in the area were feeling the same. I can identify the wild currant and rose hips for certain, probably chokecherry, and possibly serviceberry and huckleberry, too. The white berries are known to some as corpse berries and are not edible by humans.

Yet again, the mountainous West had something to teach me about pronunciation. Last year, it was Absaroka (pronounced ab-SOR-ka). The river we were hiking along on this day was the Popo Agie. Would you believe me if I told you that name rhymes with "ambrosia"?

Yet again, the mountainous West had something to teach me about pronunciation. Last year, it was Absaroka (pronounced ab-SOR-ka). The river we were hiking along on this day was the Popo Agie. Would you believe me if I told you that name rhymes with “ambrosia”?

A rabbit bush we passed was full of life, with buzzing pollinating insects endangered by the healthy population of cryptically-colored crab spiders.

A rabbit bush we passed was full of life, with buzzing pollinating insects endangered by the healthy population of cryptically-colored crab spiders.

Another cryptically-colored little dude. This little brown snake happened to cross our path, and we herded him into camera range.

Another cryptically-colored little dude. This little brown snake happened to cross our path, and we herded him into camera range inside a low-growing shrub.

At our turnaround point at Popo Agie Falls.

At our turnaround point at Popo Agie Falls.

As the day warmed, insects became more numerous. An aged fritillary, its wings tattered from a hard-knock life, supped on late-blooming flowers.

As the day warmed, insects became more numerous. An aged fritillary, its wings a bit tattered from a hard-knock life, supped on late-blooming flowers.

Bugman attempted to catch a  couple of grasshoppers that seemed to be harassing us on the trail, repeatedly flying around our heads with a loud clacking sound.

Bugman attempted to catch a couple of grasshoppers that seemed to be harassing us on the trail, repeatedly flying around our heads with a loud clacking sound.

This bright-red ladybeetle really contrasted with its perch in the foliage.

This bright-red ladybeetle really contrasted with its silvery perch in the foliage.

It was nearly noon, and we were hungry, so Bugman and I hitched a ride back to camp with another Lander Chamber of Commerce volunteer, skipping The Sinks and The Rise – a curious geological phenomenon in which the Popo Agie River disappears into an underground cavern with a roar and meekly burbles to the surface in a pool a quarter-mile downstream. We’ll go back someday to see it.

Next up – downtown Lander, and ice cream!

We stopped in at Ken & Betty's, an ice cream shop run as an add-on to a screen printing business. The ice cream was good, and the interior decor was cool, but don't expect the cute little old couple on the business sign to be behind the counter. The place was named after the owner's parents, and the scooper might just be an ennui-inflicted young man. There's another ice cream place down the street - the Scream Shack - but it appeared to be closed when we were there.

We stopped in at Ken & Betty’s, an ice cream shop run as an add-on to a screen printing business. The ice cream was good, and the interior decor was neat, but don’t expect the cute little old couple on the business sign to be behind the counter. The place was named after the owner’s parents, and the scooper might just be an ennui-affected young man. There’s another ice cream place down the street – the Scream Shack – but it appeared to be closed when we were there.

Lovely mural on a concrete block wall abutting a parking lot. Reminds me of a cattle drive mural in my town of Scottsbluff.

Lovely mural on a concrete block wall abutting a parking lot.

Continuing on the bison art theme - a heavy metal bison.

Heavy metal bison!

We didn't eat here because we had already spent plenty of money downtown and there was a fajita meal awaiting us back in camp, but I liked the logo enough to buy a hat for my sister. I want one for myself, too.

We didn’t eat here because we had already spent plenty of money downtown (we cycling shoppers were a boon for downtown business) and there was a fajita meal awaiting us back in camp, but I liked the logo enough to buy a hat for my sister. I want one for myself, too.

We added a piece of art to our collection at Global Arts - a painting of aspen trees on corrugated metal by Cristin Zimmer. Loved her work! Loved the inappropriately named Global Arts shop, too (they sell local art, not imported stuff).

Our shopping spree included a new piece of art for our collection – a painting of aspen trees on corrugated metal by Cristin Zimmer. Loved her work! Loved the inappropriately named Global Arts shop, too (they have a nice selection of local art, not imported stuff).

 

When we rode into town the day before, I did not notice the bike perched high atop the former-feed-mill-turned-bike-shop. It took a photo on a greeting card to bring it to my attention.

When we rode into town the day before, I did not notice the bike perched high atop the former-feed-mill-turned-bike-shop. It took a photo on a greeting card to bring it to my attention.

Back in camp, a quick pic of the bike corral on the tennis court. I heard more than one person comment on the total value of all of those bikes.

Back in camp, a quick pic of the bike corral on the tennis court. I heard more than one person comment on the total value of all of those bikes. Here’s another photo of the bike corral.

The Lander police had appropriate rides for patrolling our camp. Check out the fat tires!

The Lander police had appropriate rides for patrolling our camp. Check out the fat tires!

I took advantage of the downtime to write some letters. I LOVED these notecards I bought at Fitzgerald's Cycles in Victor, ID.

I took advantage of the downtime to write some letters. I LOVED these Mimi Matsuda notecards I bought at Fitzgerald’s Cycles in Victor, ID.

Had a little local beer and pizza, too. A pre-dinner snack.

Had a little local beer and pizza, too. A pre-dinner snack.

I can't say enough about our lovely campsite in Lander City Park.

I can’t say enough about our lovely campsite in Lander City Park. I slept really well there.

Our evening entertainment was a local reggae band. They were pretty good, but by the time 9 p.m. rolled around, I was ready to take a hatchet to the speaker cords. There's only so much reggae I can take at full volume when I am unable to escape, and when I am trying to get to sleep before another big day of riding.

Our evening entertainment was a local reggae band. They were pretty good, but by the time 9 p.m. rolled around, I was ready to take a hatchet to the speaker cords. There’s only so much amplified reggae I can take when I am trying to get to sleep before another big day of riding.

Ride summary

Distance and elevation gain N/A

Min temp: 54, Max temp: 79, Winds 8-25, gusting to 32 mph, Precipitation: 0.02 inches  [data from Lander]

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw

2014 Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 4 Farson to Lander

If you’re reading these blog posts closely, you may wonder how it is that we ended our Day 3 ride in Pinedale, yet started Day 4 in Farson, 60 miles away. No magic, just school buses.

The entire camp was scheduled to vacate in two shifts – prior to 6 a.m., and around 8-ish – for the hourlong leapfrog over “relatively uninteresting” terrain to a park in Farson, where we would meet our bikes (they had been shipped out the night before).

Not wanting to get started too late in the day, Bugman and I opted for the pre-6 a.m. bus shift, which meant we got up ridiculously early. It was interesting walking around our tent village in the pitch dark and seeing tents here and there illuminate as bikers woke up and switched on their headlamps. Most were white light, but some were red, and one was blue.

We scurried to get everything packed up and to trick-or-treat our way through the sack breakfast line. Freshly made breakfast burritos – yummy!! I added some dried cranberries, an orange, and milk to my bag. Since we were running a bit late, I skipped the coffee.

It was nice and warm on the bus, and some people snoozed in their seats. It was hard to see out my window because of condensation on the glass, but I did catch a glimpse of some pronghorn antelope off in the distance on a ridge.

Our arrival in Farson was a bit chaotic. We were getting trained to look for those Zero Hero trash tents, but there were none to be found in which to deposit our breakfast trash.

Even worse, there was not the expected bank of portapotties! Instead, there were four portapotties in the park, and I think a couple of flush toilets in a park shelter. There were several busloads of people who’d rushed to get ready in the morning, many of whom had consumed coffee on the school bus. It was not a pretty picture. (We later learned that there was a mixup and the portapotties had been delivered to the Farson Mercantile instead of the park.)

While Bugman waited in the portapotty line, I found our tandem in the mass of bikes parked in the bike corral and got the tires pumped up. I had an easy time, as a red tandem is not hard to spot, but some people wound up looking through the bike herd two or three times before they found their bikes.

We planned to backtrack on the route a little to go to the Farson Mercantile for coffee, but when I looked for my wallet in my bike bag, it was nowhere to be found. Great! No money, possibly missing wallet, no caffeine, delayed start – plenty to make me grumpy that morning. Best to ride it off!

First random photo of the day: a geodesic dome home. Had to take a picture, since Bugman has been interested in these since our days at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where R. Buckminster Fuller built the first dome home in 1960.

First random photo of the day: a geodesic dome home. Had to take a picture, since Bugman has been interested in these since our days at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where R. Buckminster Fuller built the world’s first dome home in 1960.

O, beautiful sight! Portapotties on the prairie!

O, beautiful sight! Portapotties on the prairie!

Uh-oh. Here it comes. We were warned at the briefing last night that we would be riding through a dozen or so miles of fresh chip seal. As someone commented that evening, "Now everyone knows what chip seal is." "Yeah. Up close and personal. Miles and miles of it."

Uh-oh. Here it comes. We were warned at the briefing last night that we would be riding through a dozen or so miles of fresh chip seal. As someone commented that evening, “Now everyone knows what chip seal is.” “Yeah. Up close and personal. Miles and miles of it.” But first, some brand-new asphalt – some of the smoothest road on the entire ride.

Some of our bikers mixed in with a tour bus group at a historical marker.

Some of our bikers mixed in with a tour bus group at a historical marker. Lotta interesting history around here.

Aaaand - there's the chip seal! It's basically a layer of tar with a layer of small gravel on top. The idea is, vehicles will work the gravel into the tar and provide a protective surface for the road in extreme weather conditions. What it means for cyclists: there are scary areas of loose gravel, there are icky spots where tar flies up onto your bike and legs (I was still finding specks of tar on my legs a week later), there are sharp rocks that stick in your tires, and - by far worst of all - vehicles fling those small bits of gravel at you at high velocity as they pass. And this road had a lot of semi-truck traffic. And they were traveling at 65 mph. It. Was. Awful. Every time a truck went by, I would turn my face away from the road as the inevitable pelting commenced. Some of those flying rocks really hurt! I was annoyed that the programmable electronic speed signs were not reset to slow traffic a bit. But the Wyoming DOT did help us out - they went out and swept the road shoulder the morning of our ride (we saw a pile of spent sweeper brushes on the side of the road). I am ever so grateful for that. Otherwise, the shoulder of the road would have been very gravelly and hazardous.

Aaaand – there’s the chip seal! It’s basically a layer of tar with a layer of small gravel on top. What it means for cyclists: there are scary areas of loose gravel, there are icky spots where tar flies up onto your bike and legs (I was still finding specks of tar on my legs a week later), there are sharp rocks that stick in your tires, and – by far worst of all – vehicles fling those small bits of gravel at you at high velocity as they pass. And this road had a lot of semi-truck traffic. And the speed limit was 65 mph. It. Was. Awful. Every time a truck went by, I would turn my face away from the road as the inevitable pelting commenced. Some of those flying rocks really hurt! (It’s enough to crack windshields, to give an idea of the force behind this stuff.) I was annoyed that the programmable electronic speed signs were not reset down from 65 to slow traffic a bit. But the Wyoming DOT did help us out – they went out and swept the road shoulder the morning of our ride (we saw a pile of spent sweeper brushes on the side of the road). I am ever so grateful for that. Otherwise, the shoulder of the road would have been very gravelly and hazardous.

Some cyclists stop to read the signage at South Pass, without which "the entire history of the United States’ expansion west of the Mississippi would have been different."

Some cyclists stop to read the signage at South Pass, without which “the entire history of the United States’ expansion west of the Mississippi would have been different.” (The pass, not the signage. Obviously.)

South Pass selfie

“uth Pass” selfie. Oops. Didn’t frame that quite right when I set the camera down.

Continental Divide - the first crossing. A fellow cyclist took our picture, saying "you've earned it!" A lot of cyclists gave us extra points for doing this ride on a tandem.

Continental Divide – the first crossing. A fellow cyclist took our picture, saying “you’ve earned it!” A lot of cyclists gave us extra points for doing this ride on a tandem.

By Day 3, we were all getting conditioned to the Zero Hero trash tents. To be as environmentally friendly as possible, we separated our trash on this ride, into recyclables, trash, and compost. For some reason, the visual of yellow banana peels and the Dixie cups with yellow ducks in the compost bin appealed to me. (Pun not intended, but acknowledged.)

Scene from a rest stop. By Day 4, we were all getting conditioned to the Zero Hero trash tents. To be as environmentally friendly as possible, we separated our trash on this ride, into recyclables, trash, and compost. For some reason, the visual of yellow banana peels and the Dixie cups with yellow ducks in the compost bin a-peeled to me. (Ha!) The Dixie cups had contained shots of trail mix, if I remember correctly.

Still riding chip seal . . . 37 miles to Lander . . .

Still riding fresh chip seal . . . 37 miles to Lander . . .

Taking a break at the historical sign at South Pass City, where we stopped because we noticed a piece of rock had become embedded in our tire. When we stopped to pull out the rock, we realized that our tire was starting to shred. Bummer!! But we were in luck - just one more mile to the lunch stop, where a bike mechanic could hook us up with a new tire. We rode a bit gingerly that last mile.

Taking a break at the historical sign at South Pass City, where we stopped because we noticed a piece of rock had become embedded in our tire. When we pulled out the rock, we realized that our tire was starting to shred. Bummer!! At least we didn’t get a flat. And we were in luck – just one more mile to the lunch stop, where a bike mechanic could hook us up with a new tire. We rode a bit gingerly that last mile.

My attempt at being arty and photographing a roadside flower as cyclists rode by. Didn't quite get the timing right.

My attempt at being arty and photographing a roadside flower as cyclists rode by. Didn’t quite get the timing right.

More construction! This construction zone was a bit dicey, as we were relying on the construction crew to get us through safely, and I don't think they were all communicating, as the little group we were with had to dodge a street sweeper.

More construction! This construction zone was a bit dicey, as we were relying on the construction crew to get us through safely, and I don’t think they were all communicating with each other. The little group we were with had to dodge a street sweeper.

Now is a good time to fix a tire. That sign warns of 4 miles of 7 percent grade. All told, my ride profile shows about 14 miles of significant, nearly uninterrupted downhill. Just before a rest stop (that had ice cream! So we had to stop), our GPS clocked us at 39.5 mph. Yowza!

Now is a good time to fix a tire! That sign warns of 4 miles of 7 percent grade. All told, my ride profile shows about 14 miles of significant, nearly uninterrupted downhill. Just before a rest stop (that had ice cream! So we had to stop), our GPS clocked us at 39.5 mph. Yowza! I’m really glad we noticed that embedded rock and got a new tire before attempting this descent!

The bummer about the swift descent was the fact that it was through Red Canyon, which is absolutely beautiful. The scenery whizzed by all too fast, and there was no way I was going to release my death grip on the handlebars to take a photo. I'll have to look up whether there are any hiking trails in those parts. Some of the rocks were really cool - they looked like artwork.

The bummer about the swift descent was the fact that it was through Red Canyon, which is absolutely beautiful. The scenery whizzed by all too fast, and there was no way I was going to release my death grip on the handlebars to take a photo. I’ll have to look up whether there are any hiking trails in those parts. Some of the rocks were really cool – they looked like artwork.

Looking back from the rest stop. The rain chased us into Lander. It never more than sprinkled, though. Might have rained overnight, too.

Looking back from the rest stop. The rain chased us into Lander. It never more than sprinkled, though. Might have rained overnight, too. I can’t quite remember.

What is this - horse enrichment in the form of a giant, pink soccer ball? It looks like an enlarged version of one of my cats' toys.

What is this – horse enrichment in the form of a giant, pink soccer ball? It looks like an enlarged version of one of my cats’ toys.

Made it to Lander! This campsite was just wonderful! Also, on the way in, we passed an Indian taco stand. As soon as we were cleaned up, I beelined back to get some. It was yummy!! (For those who don't know, an Indian taco is taco fixings like meat, tomatoes, cheese, etc., piled atop a piece of frybread.)

Made it to Lander! This campsite was just wonderful! Also, on the way in, we passed an Indian taco stand. As soon as we were cleaned up, I beelined back to get one! It was yummy, and went well with beer. (For those who don’t know, an Indian taco is taco fixings like meat, tomatoes, cheese, etc., piled atop a piece of frybread.)

A crowd gathered under the trees for the evening entertainment - a performance by the Eagle Spirit Dancers from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, who dance during tourist season at the Museum of the American West in Lander. The dancers demonstrated various types of powwow dance. I am always impressed by the athleticism of powwow dancers. It is not easy!

A crowd gathered under the trees for the evening entertainment – a performance by the Eagle Spirit Dancers, who  demonstrated various types of powwow dance. I am always impressed by the athleticism of powwow dancers. It is not easy!

To cap off the evening, a convivial campfire.

To cap off the evening, a convivial bonfire.

PS – I did find my wallet. I had packed it into my suitcase instead of my bike bag in the early morning confusion.

Ride summary

Distance and elevation gain (per my wonky mapping software):  77.4 miles,  4,515 feet (the official route stats were 78 miles, 2,545 feet)

Min temp: 41, Max temp: 82, Winds 7-30, gusting to 37 mph, Precipitation: trace  [data from Pinedale and Lander]

Copyright 2014 by Katie Bradshaw