Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 23 - Tuesday, July 10, 2001
(mileage estimated from the map, since the speedometer got washed out by the rain)
It was a little slow going in the morning, attending to the business of packing up a wet tent (the worst part about camping in the rain), but I was on the road by 8:30, not too bad. Leaving the campground with the flimsy tarp hanging over the picnic table made me feel like I got voted off from a Survivor TV show episode!
It took me all morning to cover the 16 miles to Old Faithful, since there was a lot to see along the way. Lots of geysers, the Fountain Paintpots, etc. I took lots of pictures - thank goodness for the digital camera (which, by the way, is running on the same set of lithium AA batteries since Seattle, having taken at least 200 pictures in three weeks). [Those batteries ended up lasting the whole tour.]
The turnoff to Old Faithful was a freeway-like exit ramp off the main road to get to the Old Faithful access road. After lunch, I went over to the famous Old Faithful geyser, and I bumped into John and Nancy again. They had started from West Yellowstone today - so their rest day in Wisdom and my short day yesterday had canceled each other out, so to speak.
All of the hotels in Old Faithful were booked, and there is no campground there, so the three of us rode together towards Grant Village. The extremely narrow lanes of the cloverleaf freeway-like interchange (from Old Faithful back to the main highway) required occupation of the whole lane [instead of hugging the white fog line on the right], lest a motor vehicle be tempted to squeeze through a space it would not be able to fit in - with more dire consequences for me than the vehicle.
Then came the two crossings of the Continental Divide - the first one at 8262 feet, the second one at 8391 feet, with about six miles between them. I'd get to the top of each summit first, take some pictures, stretch, etc., while waiting for John and Nancy. I couldn't believe that John carried a video camera with him - at least the newer ones are pretty light - I guess they need to bore the relatives at Christmas time! :-)
After picture taking at the second summit, there was a non-stop line of cars on the road. We found a break after a slow moving bus and got in. The bus thought he could pass me around a blind curve as I was picking up speed on the descent. He thought better of it and dropped back, and soon I was going fast enough on the downhill that I left it in the dust anyway.
Clouds had formed but it didn't rain. Still, the three of us had considered splitting a hotel room, but the cheapest one was $90, and there probably weren't any available. So it was off to the campground again - the $4.20 per person "hiker/biker" rate is a good deal, and you don't need a reservation - since all you need is a space for a tent, not a car also.
The tent was a little wet when I unpacked it, but it had enough time to dry out. Then the rain started coming down, I was able to get the dirty but dry rain fly on just in time.
(still a day behind on the updates, at least I'm not losing ground...)