Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-07-31Wyoming page 17 of 54

Day 17, Wyoming

From West Yellowstone to stealth camp.

I pedaled out of West Yellowstone in the dark, and was surprised to find the entrance station less than a mile out of town. It didn't appear to be manned, but the road wasn't blocked so I went on through.

The route follows the Madison River, very beautiful and quiet this time of morning with almost no traffic. Mt first wildlife sighting was a swan floating on the river nearby. Secondly, I passed a big cow elk standing thirty feet from the road. Awhile later I saw a bison wallowing in the dirt. He was on his back, legs thrashing in the air, and the dust was flying.

The first billows of steam let me know I've reached Yellowstone.

The early morning sky was black in the east, with the occasional bolt of lightning. I saw my first billows of steam out in an immense meadow, and with the dramatic light, it was magical. My first trip to Yellowstone Park was as a young boy with my family. I was enthralled by everything. Then as a high school graduate I spent a summer working here, and that was magical too: mainly because I spent my off hours hiking and getting to know the landscape and becoming familiar with the animals.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone Lake

Shoshone Lake, Yellowstone. The storm has subsided (until the advent of the next one, a few hours later)

I'm certain a child-like wonder is still here for the taking, but after the rush of tourists began to flood the roads, I had to be extra careful. In as few words as possible, I don't recommend riding a bike on these Yellowstone thoroughfares. The congestion makes frustrated drivers, and frustrated drivers make bad company.

On the other hand, I met a lot of nice people today. And I have the feeling that if a person were to take the time, and show a bit of interest in the average tourist, and show a bit of friendliness, most everyone would reciprocate, to at least some degree.

And a few people will take interest in me, with my bicycle mode of travel, and all. There was one guy who will go home with a photo of his wife standing buddy-buddy with a cyclist, and he will tell everybody that this guy was actually riding across the country, can you believe it?

Using the stone platform underneath the sign as a bench to fix my first flat tire.

Here I was mobbed with about 50 tourists. I was not the main attraction, but rather a sign welcoming visitors to the Grand Teton National Park. I was using the large, stone platform underneath the sign as a bench to fix my first flat tire. No, mobbed, I say. A few swore at me under their breath, because I was in their way for taking photos; and a few expressed condolences. And when the melee was over one fine gentleman stepped up and presented me with a can of ale, and said, "This is from all of us, drink it while it is still cold."

Another highlight of my day was my nap in an overstuffed chair. I had just finished lunch in the Flaggstaff Resort, when the sky cut loose. Man did it rain. So I sat down in the lobby to wait it out, and the next thing I knew, the sun had reappeared. I must have been out for a good half an hour.

The grandeur that is the Grand Teton National Park. Looking at the N. Face of the Grand Teton. This was my first grade five climb, with two bivouacs - one on the top of the lower glacier (seen here), and one near the top on the descent. This was back in the mid-60s.

Mt. Moran

I passed out of Grand Teton Park and headed east, then with the next mini-storm threatening, at mile 100 I pulled off the road and carried my bike into the forest a ways and made a comfortable camp, with a hawk reading me the riot act. I fell to sleep to the patter of rain on my tarp.

Beautiful stealth camp

Miles pedaled today: 100

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