Day 51 – Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but…

(65 miles)

Last night we didn’t bother setting up tents. We were camping in the city park – where I don’t think you’re supposed to camp so we wanted to keep it as subtle as possible. We actually slept pretty well just in our sleeping bags in the open pavilion.

The ride started with a 30 mile climb up to Togwotee Pass at 9658 feet. Unlike yesterday, the wind was already blowing strong at 6am. Against us. We slowly wound our way further up Wind River valley, battling the wind with every pedal stroke. Soon we were cycling past snow drifts and near the top, pretty much all the ground was still covered in snow but it was melting fast. Every river around here is full to bursting.

Climbing slowly

At the top

A winter wonderland

After reaching the pass, we should have had a glorious long cruise down the other side. The wind, however, had other ideas. It seemed to be trying to blow us back over the pass from where we’d come. I’ve never worked so hard going downhill for 20 miles!

There was also a 6 mile stretch of roadworks where we had to get a ride with the ‘pilot vehicle’ as the roadworks company are too cheap to insure themselves against driving into cyclists so their solution is to make sure no cyclists are allowed to ride on the same road they’re working on. So backwards, but given the wind, we were more than happy to put our feet up for a bit.

At about 55 miles we turned off the TransAm *gasp* and headed south *double gasp* towards Jackson which we’d heard was a cool place to spend a day (or a month if you could afford it).

We were now in Grand Teton National Park. For those of you who haven’t seen the Grand Tetons, they are simply breathtaking. Very rarely do you ever see the bottom and top of a mountain range at the same time. But the Tetons just shoot straight out of a flat valley in front of a large lake and stand in a line like a colossal serrated knife blade of rock and snow. It was hard to concentrate on the road because I was so distracted by the beauty of the view!

Entering the Grand Teton National Park

 But the wind was relentless and slowing us to a crawl. On top of this my gut was playing up again so it was painful to ride. After a long slow 8 miles we called a little group meeting and decided that as we were not on the route but on s detour, the sensible thing to do would be to hitch a lift. Not being exactly experienced in these things, we were a bit hesitant with our thumbing but despite this, I would say we only thumbed at about 3 pickup trucks before one stopped for us. They were a real friendly family from Virginia (hurray for the East!). We rode in the back with our bikes all the way to Jackson with big silly grins on our faces, laughing at how easy riding in a car is.

Hitching our first lift - NOT on the TransAm

Three loaded bikes and three people all in the back of the pickup.

Our big dilemma now was where to stay. I won’t bore you with all the options we tried but suffice it to say, Jackson is not a cyclist-friendly town! I was determined that our detour to Jackson would be a fun relaxing time so I ended up treating the three of us to a couple nights in a motel in the town centre. This in itself was as important learning experience. We’ve spent 50 days pretty much scrimping and saving and always opting for the cheapest food/accommodation etc. It’s easy to become a slave to this penny-pinching way of life. It’s not exactly being a Scrooge – and being prudent with spending is commendable in itself – but I think it’s also important to be happy to splash out every now and again, to say ‘I will not be ruled by my desire to save money’. In a way, making Saving Money your life-goal is just as corrosive to your soul as making Making Money your life-goal. Possibly. Anyway, it felt good to splurge for once. Matt and Pat are both going to be full-time students next year so they’re in a very different situation.

We ate out at Merry Piglets Mexican restaurant, on recommendation. The 25 minute wait to be seated was worth it – I just love Mexican food! Matt is looking positively radiant these days – that food baby must be expected any day now… Afterwards we met up with Parry and Hannah (ooh – that reminds me I need an explanatory blog post about Parry’s absense lately!) at the Millon Dollar Cowboy Bar, a very classy joint with live country music, multiple hen parties and even two wedding day couples.

Out on the town in Jackson. Note the saddle seats.


Not my scene.

Pat wasn't allowed in the bar as he isn't 21 yet. Note our sympathetic faces...

One Response to “Day 51 – Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but…”

  1. Rodney says:

    Love the bear strangler story… I wouldn’t recomment trying it, though…

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