Day 7 - West Yellowstone, Montana to Cody, Wyoming
I was still
pretty tired when I got up, and unfortunately this was the day
we were going through Yellowstone Park. There were two options,
the north or south loop. The south loop included Old Faithful,
and an extra 20 miles. Only two people opted for the longer ride.
I didn't want to do an extra inch, and anyway I knew I'd miss
Old Faithful by 5 minutes if I went! Everyone else joined me on
the northern route. We reached the Wyoming border and my first
frustration of the day. I had gotten in so late the night before
that I didn't have time to do my usual nightly things, like checking
to see if I needed a new roll of film. Well I took my last picture.
All my film was in my gear bag. I looked at the cue sheet and
noticed a West Side Visitor Center. But we never passed a visitor
center, and in fact I didn't see a place to buy film until we
were on the other side of the park! It was so frustrating. I was
really wiped out from the day before and just didn't have much
fun. This is my one real regret of the trip. I'd really like to
go back someday and enjoy the park. (I did get copies of pictures
I did get to
see a lot. I just didn't stop. I also wasn't the only one
in the park in a bad mood. The park is a destination, not a through
road to somewhere else, so presumably people are there on purpose.
So it amazed me that the drivers were in such a hurry and
were so cranky. They didn't seem to even want to slow down
to see anything. Although they had no choice on the east side
where there were hundreds of bison crossing the road. My other
observation as a cyclist is that the roads are really rough. A
suspension bike would have been nice!
The last climb of the day was over Sylvan Pass.
Most of the climbs out west are graded nicely and not terribly
steep by New England standards. Or maybe it just seemed that way
because of the direction we were going. We rode downhill for about
60 miles after cresting Sylvan Pass. On top we saw a little snow
on the ground in some of the shady spots. Last year's video showed
a rider sledding in quite a bit more snow. Fortunately, we had
much more pleasant weather this year.
The 60 miles
of downhill that followed were well deserved after the day before.
It was only steep for the first 10 miles, but the gradual descent,
combined with a tailwind made for a fast, pleasant afternoon.
It was along this section that we started to notice a trend that
all the pickups seemed to have big dogs in the back. We tried
to decide if you had to show proof of dog ownership to buy a pickup
in Wyoming, or if new trucks just came complete with a dog.
We also began noticing a pattern about hotel selection and Lon's
sense of humor. We always seemed to be on top of a big
hill, and today was no exception. Despite there being 10's of
hotels along the route, we took a right off of the main road and
up a steep hill to find our lodging! I got in to the hotel in
time to do laundry, buy a new camera and write some postcards.
I also had a lot of time to think about the next day over the
Big Horn Mountains, a climb that Susan has called the toughest
in America. We took a shuttle into town to have dinner, and while
going in the driver started talking about the Big Horn. He knew
we wouldn't be taking Route 14A, since no one in their right mind
would ride a bike that way. A quick look at the cue sheet showed
we were not in our right minds.