Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have provided the guard, and respite of a few days without internet. It turns out the parks can still be a place “away from it all”; not that there are any lack of tourists, all of whom seem to come from places with accents (like Mississippi, Missouri, and the Midwest) and can’t believe that I actually biked here. I have begun to fabricate truths and spin lies. Sometimes I am from Alaska or Canada; sometimes I’m going to Bolivia, or Guinea, or another country that most people can’t “place”. It’s fun, and the reaction is usually the same as if I were going to the next obvious place, Jackson. “Wow!”, “No shit.”, and “Really?” are often heard while cycling through the parks. Accordingly, I respond “Yup”, “Shit.”, and “Really.”. Over, and over, and over. I should probably have more patience with people. That’s one of several reasons I’m not a politician. Yes, I realize that’s funny to you.
Yellowstone is a beautiful corner of Wyoming– mostly (also bits of MT and ID)– encompassing a vast caldera, high plateau, mountains; and steaming, boiling, and bubbling coming out of the ground. Despite the crowds demanding to know when the next miracle of hydrogeology will occur, if you happen to wander into the woods– not in the direction of anything boiling or spewing– you won’t see anybody at all.
I spent two hours warming my fingers and eating oats at the Old Faithful Visitor’s Center. I didn’t bother to see the the geyser. It was a nice day to be elsewhere. You don’t take 75 deg days for granted in northern Wyoming a few days short of the autumnal equinox, at 8000 ft.
Five days from sea level and Lael (proudly, pompously) crossed the Continental Divide three times in Yellowstone–all in a day, at or above 8000 ft.
Our first night in Yellowstone, we bathed in the union of the Boiling River and the Gardner River. Scalding hot plus freezing cold equals tolerably scalding, mixed with lukewarm and cool. Perfect on a near freezing evening.
I’ve been fighting a cold for a few days. Almost eighty during the day, almost twenty at night; the weather is brilliant, but my body is confused.
Jackson is a great bike town, and a great place to hide away and relax for a few days. There are a couple of framebuilders in town. I spotted a 26″ wheeled touring mountain
bike with more braze-ons than I could count (six on the topside of the downtube) and vintage Suntour Alpine Gearing (36 or 38t freewheel cog); a 1997 700c “touring bike” that fits 2.1 inch MTB tires, which makes it a pioneering 29er by accident, also with a softride stem and drop bars (Salsa Fargo?); and an impressively crafted swingbike (like the old Schwinns), with real-world parts including Schwalbe tires and vintage MTB equipment.