2016 Cycle Greater Yellowstone Day 3: Bozeman to Whitehall

As we headed north out of Bozeman on Day 3 of Cycle Greater Yellowstone, I couldn’t help but notice the multiple new housing developments and lot-for-sale signs. I wondered how all this out-of-town development was affecting things like traffic, water quality, existing agricultural practices, and wildlife migration.

1 housing development

Speaking of migration, we heard a number of sandhill crane serenades as we pedaled along fields adjacent to the East Gallatin River and its tributaries. (Those dark specks in the field in the photo below are cranes.)

2 cranes

Oh, look – a ranch! The sign on the barn says so! House-moving operation, too. I wonder if the house was coming or going.

3 ranch

This was a speedy morning for Wyobraska Tandem, as the route was primarily downhill for the first 35 miles or so. We made good time to the water stop at the Dry Creek Church. I coughed a bit on the ride – wildfire smoke in the air. Luckily, we soon moved out of the smoky area.

4 dry creek church stop

Just past the water stop, we spotted two does and two fawns out standing in a field.

5 deer

A quick spin through Manhattan, population ~1,568 – home of the seed potato.

6 manhattan

Next rest stop: Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks.

7 sacajawea hotel

The bison sculpture on the lawn was a popular photo backdrop and bike stand.

8 bison sculpture

We’d been by the Sacajawea Hotel in 2013, but I hadn’t taken the time to peek inside. This time, I did, being careful to take off my cycling shoes so as not to scratch the lovely wooden floor. What a gorgeous ceiling!!

9 interior of hotel

I’d had a pretty relaxing morning thus far, aside from a honker on a residential street in Manhattan. But the 7 miles on Highway 287? Not my favorite.

10 ride single file

Maybe I’ve become a wimp by choosing to avoid traffic-y routes on my training rides back home, but on that section of 287 after the gravelley shoulder disappeared, my spirit animal could’ve been a fanned-out porcupine, I felt so prickly. There was a lot of traffic passing us, heavy on the trucks, mostly at a high rate of speed, sometimes on blind hills and curves, sometimes way too close. I found myself muttering prayers of protection for us and for other cyclists.

Double-trailer, flammable material, coming through! (This was one of the more comfortable passes, as the driver had slowed down – THANK YOU, DRIVER!! – and I was actually able to take a picture instead of bracing for airwash.)

14 truck pass

When we found ourselves being trailed by an RV, we opted to pull out at a viewpoint for a pleasingly decrepit log house, to let built-up traffic pass.

13 pull off with old cabin

I looked back and saw a string of cyclists laboring among a train of semi trucks. Yikes! When the lead trucker in this photo went by, I waved and smiled as a thank-you for being courteous around the cyclists, but I got a frown and a shake of the head in response.

12 intimidating traffic

I was soooo glad to turn off Highway 287 onto Highway 2 towards Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park! My nerves were about shot.

16 turnoff to cavern

Also, it was getting pretty hot out. Cattle sought shade next to and inside of an old cabin.

15 cattle in shade of cabin

Rats! Uphill climb. We couldn’t manage more than 9 miles an hour, even with the temptation to mash the pedals to get a higher reading on the radar sign.

17 speed radar

On Highway 2, we passed a vast, dusty parking area that looked like it was meant for a crowd of thousands. Thousands of potentially unruly people, apparently. The signs plastered at every entrance read “NO PETS NO WEAPONS NO VIOLENCE.” There was a prominent, random “bridge over nothing.” I later learned this remote location is the site of a huge music festival: Rockin’ The Rivers. SO glad we didn’t intersect that event. I’m sure the traffic would’ve been a nightmare. (As it was, there was a pickup that unwisely passed us when there was a motorcycle oncoming. The motorcycle driver made a rude hand gesture.)

18 bridge near three forks

My favorite part of the day was the ice cream at lunch. YAY, ICE CREAM!!! Bugman was posing for a cheesy photo with the ice cream when Roger from Missouri jumped into the action, too.

19 ice cream

On the way out of our lunch stops, signs for the ride sponsors were scattered about. I thought I’d post a picture here and give them a shout out. Thanks, sponsors, for helping to make this First Best Ride in the Last Great Place happen!

20 sponsors

Before departing lunch, we slathered on more sunscreen and wetted down our arm coolers. Aaaaah! So refreshing!

The next couple of miles between the Caverns and LaHood were one of my favorite segments of the whole trip, I think: scenic, fairly flat, relaxed traffic, coolness emanating from the rock on the shaded side of the canyon.

21 jefferson river ride

22 jefferson river ride

My view from the back of the tandem. Not bad!

23 my view

At LaHood there was a historic point that actually had some shade, so Bugman and I stopped to drink and rest along with several other cyclists.

24 shade stop

As we rode along an I-90 frontage road, the driver of a passing semi on the interstate waved exuberantly at us. Wow. That was one friendly truck driver! (I later learned that some of Jennifer Drinkwalter’s family is in the trucking industry, and that the driver may have known exactly where all the cyclists came from that day.)

A funny sign from a gas station next to the interstate: “TOMORROW WE WILL EAT KALE BUT TODAY IS FOR ICE CREAM.” Yes!!!!

25 fun sign

More cattle taking shelter in whatever shade they could find. Hard to see them in this photo, as their dark color blends them into the shadow pretty effectively. It was uncomfortably hot out in the sun.

26 cattle in shade

H’lo, mules.

27 mules

As we approached Whitehall, we could see some colorful streaks on one mountain peak, with a barren slope below.

28 mining

I later learned it was the Golden Sunlight gold mine. Here’s a Google maps view, with the yellowish scar of the bared rock of the open-pit mine clearly visible to the northeast of Whitehall.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 9.48.07 AM

I’ll admit to a bit of a BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) reaction to the mine’s alteration of the landscape. But I felt like a hypocrite. I have a gold wedding band on my finger. My bike is made of metal. My car is made of metal. My cellphone and computer have bits made of rare mined elements. And mining provides critical livelihood and tax revenue for many people and communities (though it’s a tenuous source of income, given market fluctuations).

But open-pit gold mines are not benign. I had a recent conversation with a materials engineer who was overseeing part of the American Solar Challenge, and he noted that when you are mining for a particular element, lots of other potentially toxic stuff comes up with the desired material. People who live near mines or farm or ranch near mines or work in tourism businesses near mines would be wise to keep an eye on those mines. According to an abstract in the PubMed database from the journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, there can be serious impacts to water supplies from open pit gold mining:

To prevent flooding in mine open pits, and to enable earth moving on a large scale, it is often necessary to withdraw groundwater and use it for irrigation, discharge it to rapid infiltration basins, or, in some cases, discharge it to surface waters. Surface waters are diverted around surface mining operations. Adverse effects of groundwater drawdown include formation of sinkholes within 5 km of groundwater drawdown; reduced stream flows with reduced quantities of wate available for irrigation, stock watering, and domestic, mining and milling, and municipal uses; reduction or loss of vegetation cover for wildlife, with reduced carrying capacity for terrestrial wildlife; loss of aquatic habitat for native fishes and their prey; and disruption of Native American cultural traditions. Surface discharge of excess mine dewatering water and other waters to main waterways may contain excess quantities of arsenic, total dissolved solids, boron, copper, fluoride, and zinc. When mining operations cease, and the water pumps are dismantled, these large open pits may slowly fill with water, forming lakes. The water quality of pit lakes may present a variety of pressing environmental problems.

The mining industry is aware of these problems and is working on solutions. For further reading, see Mission 2016 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But this brings me to a point the Greater Yellowstone Coalition staff made during presentations and side conversations on the group’s ride: while larger mining companies are working on solutions and taking care to select only the best sites, and there is an acknowledged need for metal mining IN THE RIGHT PLACES, some smaller companies with fewer resources appear to be going after some tenuous opportunities. Case in point, a proposal to explore a gold mine bordering Yellowstone National Park, on a site that looms over the Yellowstone River. Here’s a photo from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition‘s website:

static1.squarespace.com

This just seems the epitome of stupidity to me, since gold mining damage cannot be undone, and especially because the Yellowstone River, which supports a huge chunk of the Montana economy through tourism-related businesses, is already stressed by climate change and other human impacts. (ICYMI: 183 miles of the Yellowstone River, plus tributaries, was closed to all recreations activities on August 19 to try to prevent the spread of a deadly fish parasite outbreak thought to be enabled by warm water temperatures and low water flows.) There needs to be a place for mining – our modern world depends on it at the moment. But there are some places mines just should not go, and it seems to me the upstream borderland of Yellowstone National Park is one such place.

Back to the bike ride!

I was so glad when a course volunteer told me we only had a few more miles to go, that I could use a blue water tower on the horizon as a landmark for the finish line. I was hot, and I was tired.

Not so tired not to be delighted by the Pac Man fire hydrant I saw at the roadside in town, though. I wish I’d had the energy to get a photo of it and to go seeking more decorative fire hydrants. A community volunteer told me there’d been a contest, and I’m sure I could’ve created a fun photo compilation of them.

The Whitehall residents I spoke with were lovely, welcoming people. I got the sense not everyone was thrilled we were there, though. A pickup truck coal rolled the finish line just after I arrived. Not nice.

Shade was at a premium at our Whitehall High School campsite on this hot, dry day. A couple of cyclists took advantage of the shady area under the school’s renewable energy station. Solar panels: good for producing energy, and shade!

30 high school energy

The CGY organizers were cognizant of the need for shade as well and purchased a number of tarps to rig up into an impromptu sun shelter along the tennis court fence.

31 improvised shade

Many cyclists headed next door to cool off in the community pool.

I slept quite well in Whitehall. The well-watered grass was nice and cushy under the tents, and the sound of vehicle tires thrumming on I-90 about 1,000 feet away drowned out other sounds and soothed me to sleep. 😀

Day 3 stats
76.5 miles
1,466 feet of climb
14.2 mph avg speed
low temp 43
hi temp 88
precip 0
wind 5-17 g 20 E

Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw

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Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 4 bus tour of Yellowstone National Park

Day 3

The tour organizers planned in a rest day. As long as we were resting, we might as well be sightseeing!

Everyone on the tour had to choose one of three routes through the park (short, medium, or long) and a departure time. Bugman and I chose the 6:30 am “grand tour” departure.

All of the tours were in school buses (there were not enough charter buses in the area to accommodate our entire group), so I was glad there were plentiful restrooms in Yellowstone.

I’ve decided the best way to see Yellowstone is early in the morning. The light does amazing things to the scenery, and you avoid a lot of the crowds. Pictures ensue:

Sunrise at Mammoth Hot Springs. Aw. There’s a heart in the steam. That’s for you, dear Bugman.

Mammoth Hot Springs is such a bizarre place. Much of Yellowstone is bizarre, actually. I can see how the first reports of the place were disbelieved and compared to Xanadu in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan poem.

The travertine limestone accretions, tinted by various colonies of microorganisms, are fascinating. I could have studied them for hours.

Closeup of “live” hot springs travertine limestone.

Next stop: Porcelain Basin. I included the boardwalk with people on it in this photo for scale. This is an intensely weird place. Everywhere you could hear the hiss and bubble of fumaroles.

The Norris Geyser Basin is another good place to be early in the morning.

Finally! The “bison on road” signs are justified!

At the Old Faithful visitor center was a map I had searched for in vain some years ago for a blog post pointing out that Nebraska is doomed if the Yellowstone caldera blows again.

Waiting for Old Faithful. (Gee, we look tired.) Rather than deal with the crowds down below, we decided to view the phenomenon from the overlook trail. (Saw a marmot beside the trail on the way up.)

Thar she blows!

And a thousand camera shutters clicked . . .

The spectacle of all those humans gathered to witness this famous geological phenomenon was interesting to me, as was the fact that the crowd applauded after the eruption. When we heard the applause, Bugman and I began to run. We had about 15 minutes to cover the 1.5 miles or so back to the bus.

Next stop: Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Hot tip: walk a few dozen meters off the paved trail into the “backcountry” and you’ll get great views without the crowds.

North American safari: OMG!! There’s some big critter to the side of the road! We must stop, clog traffic, and take pictures! (T’was a bull elk in this instance.)

Outside some visitors center whose name I cannot recall, information about area wildfires was posted. The postings also mentioned that Beartooth Pass was closed due to a fire . . . we were supposed to ride Beartooth in three days . . .

A final image of bison from the park tour, taken just before torrential rain and small hail. (Helped the fires, right?) It began to rain in our camp on Forest Service land several miles east of Cooke City just as we arrived. (Hooray for the tent sherpas! Our tent was already set up, our bags dry inside.)

When we got back to camp, we wandered in the rain to consult with tour officials, bike mechanics, and shipping truck staff to figure out how we were going to get ourselves and our bike to Cody the next day, since we would not be riding. A volunteer from Bozeman had room in her car and offered to give us a ride. (Thanks, Shannon!) The jovial-yet-no-nonsense guy from High Country Shipping gladly offered to hang our bike from the rafters of the baggage truck right then so it would arrive in Cody the next morning. All we’d have to do the next day would be to pick up our rim and get our bike repaired.

Announcements were interesting that night, as we were told that the wildland firefighters had co-opted our campsite in Red Lodge and that we would not be riding Beartooth Pass on Saturday.

A clip on the subject from the August 22, 2013, Carbon County News:

The All American Beartooth HIghway 212 that goes through Beartooth Pass is closed south of Red Lodge as the Rock Creek Fire grows to 700 acres. The Board of the Red Lodge Area Chamber invited speakers and the Carbon County Commissioners to discuss the event at their meeting at The Pollard on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

“Can the pass open for the bicyclers on Saturday?” asked Angela Beaumont, board member referring to the upcoming Cycle Greater Yellowstone event.

“Not happening,” said USFS Fire Information Office Jeff Gildehaus. “If there is fire near the road or firefighters working on the road – it’s not safe.” He said he had just spoken with Montana DNRC Director Matt Wolcott and they felt 700 cyclers in the pass was an unacceptable risk.

Sherri Moore, CGY Coordinator agreed. “It will have to be rerouted.”

The ride planners were working all day to coordinate information under changing conditions and with no cell phone signal – relying instead on radio relay. I don’t remember what was said that night – perhaps that we could still stay at the rodeo grounds in Red Lodge Friday night – but ultimately we learned that we would be staying in Cody two nights and riding and out-and-back route from Cody on Day 6 instead of riding to Red Lodge, and that we would ride to Red Lodge on Saturday instead of biking the Beartooth Pass. The cyclists were disappointed, but probably not as disappointed as the officials in Red Lodge, who had been working so long and so closely with the Cycle Greater Yellowstone staff to bring the event to their community. (Don’t worry, Red Lodge – Bugman and I will be coming back! We’ve got to have a go at the Beartooth!)

Since we knew we would not be riding the next day, and because of the disappointing news, we decided to take the signs to heart. We “hydrated and imbibed” under Pilot Peak.

Since we hadn’t ridden that day and wouldn’t be riding the next day, and because that night’s entertainment – Gary Small and the Coyote Bros (think blues/60s-70s rock/reggae/world beat) – was awesome, we stomped the ground there in the woods. Danced our hearts out, and probably scared away the bears, too. (We had to put all of our foodstuffs and scented toiletries in the gear truck that night as a precaution against bears raiding our camp.)

Day 5

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 3 ride to Gardiner

Day 2

Distance and elevation gain (per my mapping software): 58.49 miles, 1,946 feet

Min temp: 64, Max temp: 89, Winds 8-26, gusting to 32, Precipitation: none

We started the morning with a visit to the mechanic tent to get those obviously loose spokes tightened up. Spokes should not wiggle easily back and forth – especially less than a week after having been retensioned!

The mechanic didn’t have a spoke tensiometer on him, so he gave it his best guess, taking care not to overtension the spokes, and at least got the spokes to the point where they didn’t rattle and the wheel to the point where it was nice and true again. I plucked the spokes like harp strings, and they all sounded pretty much the same – plink, plink, plink, plink – except for one spoke on that pesky back wheel that the mechanic could not get to tighten – plunk! We had discovered loose spokes on a 94-mile ride back home just before we got the wheel trued and didn’t seem to have any problems, so we figured the job would be good enough to get us through, and we’d stop back by the mechanic’s tent that evening to have the spokes checked again.

This is the bridge over the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley – a very beautiful place where we almost clocked a fellow cyclist who, along with many other cyclists, had dismounted on the bridge to take pictures but, unlike the other cyclists, had failed to look for traffic before she walked out into the road. Another advantage of the tandem: I don’t have to watch the road or steer, so I can take all these pictures from the back of the bike without risking getting clocked by traffic.

Paradise Valley was pretty smoky that day from the Emigrant wildfire. The night before at announcements, the ride organizers had checked the forecasts and said that smoke would likely be “moderate” and would not bother most people, but if anyone was concerned, there would be a physician available in the morning to see patients and prescribe inhalers if needed. Have I mentioned that this ride was well organized?? These folks thought of everything!

Bikes on the road in Paradise Valley. I’m sure a lot of locals knew about the ride and were expecting to see cyclists, but I wonder what the uninformed thought when encountering miles of cyclists along the road. Side note: some of the fanciful ranch names in Paradise Valley: Jumping Rainbow, Dancing Wind, Paradise Found, Imagine Ranch.

Another cute little Montana schoolhouse

Lunch stop at River’s Edge Bar & Grill in Emigrant.

After lunch we were far enough south to be upwind of the Emigrant fire – no more breathing smoke.

Rest stop on Montana DOT land.

We crossed onto Gallatin National Forest land (Paradise Valley is a narrow private-property “V” into the national forest) and were met with a “bison on road” caution sign. Didn’t see any bison, but the scenery was beautiful.

We rolled into Gardiner around 3 pm. While everyone else was lining up their bikes to be loaded up for shipment to our next campsite after our rest day and bus tour of Yellowstone the following day, we and headed for the mechanic tent to have our loose spoke checked on.

As a mechanic approached and I bent down to show her the problem, I noticed – OH NO!! – a crack in our rear wheel rim at the loose spoke!

And we’ve got that fancy-schmancy Rohloff hub. No at-hand replacements for us!

Cracked rim! Dun dun duuuuuun….

We talked through our options with the head mechanic. The next day was a rest day, so we had a day to get things done without cutting into the ride. If our future rides were like today’s ride – 56 miles and no serious hills – we could probably ride the cracked rim a bit longer. But the scheduled ride in two days was through from Pilot Creek to Cody via Chief Joseph Pass (6 miles of 5 percent grade followed by a helluva descent that could really get a tandem rolling fast). That would not be safe to ride on a cracked rim. We’d have to get things fixed.

We got our bike in March, so it was less than 6 months old and had less than 700 miles on it by this point, so the bike would still be under warranty.

We tried calling the bike shop in Denver where we purchased the bike. It was Tuesday. They were closed.

Next, we spent several frustrating minutes trying to look up the bike manufacturer’s phone number via a barely-there cellphone Internet connection. We found the number and got through to a live person right away. I explained our dilemma and directed my attention back and forth between the bike mechanic’s suggestions as he thought things through and the bike company guy.

Could we have a rim overnighted to a bike shop in the Silver Gate / Cooke City area, our next stop?

Probably not a good idea. It’s rural Montana, the delivery might not make it even if overnighted, and the mechanics had not been able to contact a bike shop in that area.

How about 2-day shipping to the bike shop in Cody? It would mean we would miss a day’s riding – purportedly the most beautiful day to ride. But 2-day shipping was a more reasonable cost, and we would be responsible for covering the difference in cost between regular and expedited shipping for the warrantied rim replacement. There had been solid contact with the shop in Cody. We could pick up the rim and have the mechanics rebuild the rear wheel in the evening at camp.

Was there still time to make the UPS pickup at the bike manufacturer in Oregon? Yes. We still had 30 minutes.

I gave the bike manufacturer guy my credit card number to cover the cost of the shipping, and that was all we could do for the time being.

We added our bike to the line to be packed up and transported to the next camp and went about our business.

View of wildfire smoke from our tent in Gardiner. It was interesting to note how the smoke “pulsed” over 24 hours – dying back at night and flaring up again with the heat of day.

After we got cleaned up, we left our campsite on the Gardiner school football field, at the corner of Main Street and Main Street (??), to run some errands.

The Gardiner laundromat is probably the cleanest one I have ever been in. Just please don’t wash your horse blankets there.

While we were waiting for the laundry to be done, we decided to go find a beer. We walked into the Two Bit Saloon only to walk out again a few minutes later after the bartender got into a loud argument with a patron. Oookaaaayyyyy…Walked to the Blue Goose Saloon, but there was heavy metal music blasting inside. Not our scene.

We settled for ice cream cones instead. While we were sitting outside the shop eating the ice cream and looking out over the Yellowstone National Park fence, we spotted our first megafauna.

A slightly lost elk on the wrong side of the fence.

I guess I hadn’t realized that the community we were in was literally at the gate of Yellowstone.

Our evening announcements in Gardiner featured the Roosevelt Arch in the background.

Sunset concert in Gardiner – with Little Jane & the Pistol Whips.

A few minutes later, Bugman pointed out the ride’s professional photographer focusing his lens towards the gate. Full moon perfectly framed!

Full moon framed by the Roosevelt Arch, as interpreted by my point-and-shoot camera.

Soon there was a photography scrum at the stage.

The wine tent in Gardiner sure was pretty. I loved how different local wines and beers were featured at our campsite concerts.

Our campsite runway. Every night there were solar-powered yard lights set up to help guide us around camp. (See? The organizers thought of everything!)

Day 4

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

Cycle Greater Yellowstone

How do I even begin to describe the experience that was the “first great ride in the last best place”?

Wowza!

This was my and Bugman’s first-ever cycle tour, which we completed on our tandem to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary on August 22. We’ve got the date for the 2014 Cycle Greater Yellowstone blocked out on our calendar already. How’s that for an endorsement?

The gist: some 700 cyclists and about 100 support crew and volunteers in a week’s time circumnavigated the north borderlands of Yellowstone National Park in this inaugural bike ride (route to change in subsequent years). The point of the ride was not just to provide an unmatched cycling experience but also to introduce a new crowd of people to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the issues the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (not to be confused with the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee) is bringing to light, and to make connections with the communities surrounding the park.

The towns we stayed in or near are marked on this map: West Yellowstone, Ennis, Livingston, Gardiner, Cooke City, Cody, Red Lodge.

The towns we stayed in or near are marked on this map: West Yellowstone, Ennis, Livingston, Gardiner, Cooke City, Cody, Red Lodge.

I’ve gone deep into an Internet wormhole looking up information about the park and the ecosystem to include in this epic series of blog posts. I won’t come close to scratching the surface on the complexity of this region. I’ll try to touch on a few points here and there, but how’s this for a summary:

Yellowstone was established as the world’s first national park in 1872. The U.S. Army protected the park from poachers and other opportunists until 1917, when the park was transferred to the newly-created National Park Service.

From what I understand, the park boundaries were drawn up a bit arbitrarily, mostly with geologic considerations in mind. That creates some challenges when you start thinking in terms of functioning ecosystems, which, in the case of Yellowstone, has been estimated to encompass 20 million acres – not just the ~2 million acres in the park itself. The park’s iconic megafauna – the bison, elk, bears, and wolves that are the symbols of Yellowstone – rely on ecosystem webs that extend well outside the park boundaries. (And, in the case of climate change, which is affecting the whitebark pine and causing ripple effects throughout the system, the ecosystem webs extend well outside our nation’s boundaries.)

Arbitrary human boundaries create another complexity: jurisdiction. Within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the following governmental entities, at minimum, have authority: Department of the Interior National Park Service, Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture Forest Service; administrations at two national parks, six national forests, and two national wildlife refuges; the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho; and a large number of local jurisdictions (counties, towns, conservation districts, irrigation districts, etc.).

Which points to another issue facing the region: what is the highest and best use of this land in the Yellowstone region? You’ll get a different answer depending on which person or governmental agency you ask. Wildlife protection. Tourism development. Economic development. Vacation homes. Mining, Agriculture. Ranching. Energy extraction. Camping, Fishing. Hiking. Boating. Hunting. Snowmobiling. Horseback riding. Bike riding … the list goes on and on.

Thus, the need for a coalition of interested parties to come together, work together, and work through the tangle of competing interests.

Which brings me back to the bike ride designed to bring some more interested parties to the table . . .

I must say – this was a VERY well-organized ride.

Some people booked hotel rooms in communities along the way, but most people camped. Bugman and I used the “tent sherpa” service. It was very nice having our tent put up and taken down for us every day – especially on the days when it rained. This tour provided ALL meals through a catering service that is accustomed to feeding wildland firefighters. Between those hearty meals and the well-stocked rest stops, I think I probably GAINED weight while pedaling 380-plus miles including 10,000-feet-plus of climbing. Another definite plus: the shower trucks! Two semi trucks outfitted with individual shower stalls and on-demand hot water! True luxury!!! Other amenities included SAG vehicle support, on-course bike mechanics, gear transport service, and nightly live entertainment.

I’ll give a truncated day-by-day recounting of each day, with photos. Check it out under the following links:

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 0 West Yellowstone

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 1 ride to Ennis

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 2 ride to Livingston

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 3 ride to Gardiner

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 4 bus tour of Yellowstone National Park

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 5 hitching to Cody

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 6 out-and-back from Cody

Cycle Greater Yellowstone: Day 7 ride to Red Lodge
Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw