Aug 21 32 miles to dispersed campsite in a sagebrush field.
Gentle ups and downs on gravel road all day, as we rode around Lima reservoir. A cattle drive was coming down the road towards us. We had no place to get off the road, so we squeezed against the rock wall with our bikes. We know from experience that cows will stop and stare at us and not pass by. Finally, they pushed each other past, on the far edge of the road from us. They were being driven by a young girl, maybe 12, on a horse-very experienced. We pulled off the side of the road in the middle of a sagebrush field to camp. No way to hang a bear bag there. Went to sleep smelling the pungent sagebrush, which smells kind of like sweetfern in Michigan.
Aug 22 23.9 miles to Upper Red Rock Lake USFS campground.
We are within the Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, created in the 1930s to save the Trumpeter Swan, which at that time number less than 100 in the Continental US. Now it is over 2000. The lake we are on had hundreds of waterfowl, and Swans, I understand. Did not see them, but I think we heard them in the morning. Sounded kind of like three notes on a trumpet. Are seeing Pronghorn Antelope, but from a far distance, as they are quite leery creatures. The campground has a nice running spring for water, we will filled up everything and even took a "shower" in it. Brrr, but refreshing.
After we went to bed, a big windstorm came up. Thought the tent was going to fall down, as it was actually flattened against us a few times. In Michigan, I would have thought a terrible storm was coming, but no rain and as clear as can be here.
Aug 23 33.7 miles to Big Springs USFS campground.
We had run out of oatmeal for breakfast. Found out I could make decent toast by frying it on my tin plate on top my stove.
Started the day with 2 flats on my bike--along with one late yesterday--all in the same spot. Jon decided my tire was bad, so replaced the tire. Fixed the problem, but wasted an hour or more. Crested Red Rock pass- our 6th continental Divide crossing and also the border of Montana/Idaho. Stopped at the Hell Roaring Creek, which is the beginning of the Missouri River. There was a sign noting that the water from this creek flows all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Afton rolled in a fresh file of cow dung. Needless to say, she got a bath in the Hell Roaring Creek.
Side note: I know there are a number of young people following our journey. Do you know what the Continental Divide (CD) is? Is the (imaginary) line through the Rocky Mountains at which all rivers to the west of it flow into other rivers which flow into other rivers which eventually flow to the Pacific Ocean. And all rivers to the east of it flow into other rivers, etc, which eventually flow to the Atlantic Ocean (even the Gulf of Mexico is connected to the Atlantic Ocean). So theoretically, if I put a toy boat in the Hell Roaring Creek, it would eventually come out at the Atlantic Ocean. Theoretically. So here's a quiz: 1. Which side of the CD is Michigan on? Where do all the rivers in MI flow to? 2. If we started on the west side of the CD in Rooseville, and we've crossed it 6 times, which side are we on now?
Came out of the forest onto a road that was just being constructed and it was wet and muddy with clay. The dogs and trailers were a mess and needed another bath.
Aug 24 48 miles to Warm Springs USFS campground
Our longest day yet. Took the alternate route on the map, which was 17 miles longer, but remember our motto--when they give you an alternate, there must be a reason. It was 24 miles up a gravel hill, that got steep at times, but was mostly long. Finally, we hit the top, and pavement, at 3:30. Luckily it was mostly downhill, and that's what saved us. We still didn't get to the campground until 7PM. The whole day was 10 1/2 hours of being the road. The dogs ran most of the way uphill. They are tired, but hanging in there.
Aug 25 24 miles to South Boone Creek Dispersed campsite.
Slept in till 7 and took an easy day due to the long one yesterday. Passed a number of farm fields early on-wheat and potatoes (this is Idaho). Saw the Tetons from the back side off in the distance. Crossed into Wyoming (we were only in Idaho 2 days). Met a man who was riding the trail on a motorcycle. Most of the trail can be ridden by dirt bike, with a few sections closed to motor vehicles, that he had to bypass. Made me slightly jealous because he is making such good time. The dispersed site we camped at had no facilities (table, outhouse, etc), but to our surprise, it had a bear box. Must have had some bear problems. We are close to Yellowstone, so back into grizzly country. There was some older bear scat back in the woods, but we had to problems that night. When we first went in to the tent, we were journaling and looking at maps, and hear a low hum. We looked outside and saw nothing. There it is again. Nothing outside. Finally we realized it was coming from UNDER the tent. We had captured a fly underneath. We quickly found it and squished it. Your imagination can lead to lots of fears.
Aug 26 39 miles to Colter Bay Village.
First rainy day we had. Storm kicked up about noon. Ducked into an outhouse at a campground to have lunch under the overhang. Through the dogs into the outhouse and they promptly fell asleep. Then we used it to put our warm clothes on. Road through the Teton National Park with the wind and rain and motorhomes. We hit pavement, which again coincided with the TransAm Trail that we did 8 years ago. Decided we needed a cabin to warm up and dry off. Also had our first shower in 6 days (yuck). Went out for a nice dinner to treat ourselves. The dogs enjoyed being warm and dry.
Aug 27 Day off.
Haven't had a day off yet, so we deserved it. Did laundry, grocery shopping, visitor center at the Tetons NP. Moved to the campground at the National Park.
Aug 28 58 miles (less 16 out of the way) to Jackson
As we rode out of the Teton NP, people were stopping on the side of the road to take our picture as we rode by. I started asking them if I looked like a moose (moose watching is big in the NP) . Stopped at Moran Junction, which is only a PO, to pick up a care package sent to us via general delivery (thanks, Kim). More dried food and warm clothes. Headed east towards Togwotee Pass, a paved CD crossing that we also did 8 years ago. Stopped a USFS office at the base of the hill to ask about camping, etc. They informed us that the road we were going on after Togwotee was closed due to a big fire. We had 2 options-backtrack 8 miles to Moran Junction and go down to Jackson, then east to Pinedale, where we could pick up the route, or go east to Dubois and Lander, and pick up the trail much later. We decided to backtrack. So, although it was a very long day, our longest yet, we actually only advanced 42 miles. Luckily, it was all paved, and just gentle ups and downs. In fact, the last 15 miles or so were gently downhill. The ride to Jackson with quick scenic. We followed the Tetons all the way and watched them change with each angle. We have never been to Jackson, and it’s quite a destination for all kinds of outdoor adventures, so I don't mind too much, except the 16 miles we wasted.