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Day 7 - West Yellowstone, Montana to Cody, Wyoming
139 miles
4100' climbing

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 from others).

 

 

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.