Rest Days, Tribulations, onward Journeys

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous. leading to the most amazing views. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

Edward Abbey

Interesting days. When last entry was made we were sitting beside the road under a tree providing great shade, realizing  the highway was nasty with farm equipment, semi trucks carrying barley, and increased traffic from tourists and winnebagos with no shoulder. We just gave up and decided to wait for James and Jeanne to rescue us. 

The two vehicles arrived much quicker than expected and we loaded all six of us into the vehicles with bikes attached.  It was decided the showers at Tracy and Ian’s  would be quicker and more efficient than over Teton pass and into Wilson.   Thus a great lunch at the Brskeman Cafe in Victor, a trip to bike shop where I got new bike shoes then on to Tracy and Ian’s for showers. 

My shoes were losing the fight for survival. They were ripped, the soles glued on and wearing out. But they were with me for the first great divide, South America, Germany, this trip and numerous trips in between. Maybe 10000 miles in the past 4 years. Hopefully these new shoes will be as good. 

Constance, Dave, James, and Nancy moved on over the pass to friends in Wilson.   Jeanne and I stayed and waited the arrival of the homeowners. It was great to see them and the kids. Rylan 3 years old and Harper who celebrated her first birthday while we were there. 

On arrival home Ian began gathering  empty plastic milk jugs and filling with water and consolidating the freezer foods into the one big freezer. Turns out a forest fire had begun about 4 miles away and they were worried about the power connections knocking out power. Evacuations were being discussed for a subdivision closer to the fire and a mile away.  And the air was thick with smoke. A small bit of ash fell fell as we were setting up the table outside for dinner. 

Tracy very kindly took the next day off and we got to spend the day with her and the kids. Very pleasant!  

We drove to Jackson where Jeanne and I were searching for a new tent. The old Walrus 2 person tents zipper, we had been jury rigging for a couple of years, was finally not reacting to our attempts to save it.  Time for a new one. 

Settled on a 3 person (or as Jeanne would say 2 people and J. R.’s technology.  We set up 3 different tents in the store, climbing in and out, debating, discussing various attributes. Years ago we had a tent with two separate entries and separate vestibules which was great. Have been unable to find since, but now again we have one. Yahoo excited and room inside. 

Met nancy, Constance, and Dave for lunch and discussion of potential future days. Roads still closed and seems best to just drive to Pinedale, skipping ahead basically 5 days of riding. Going back to warm springs camp and continuing from where we left the trail was proving not an option due to the fire at Jackson lake which blew up and closed the roads. Alas!

Tracy drove us up through the Teton park where the mountains occasionally showed themselves through the smoke. James was up climbing there somewhere. We

Returned over the pass to Victor, to find Ian and the neighbors up on the roof watching the planes circle around the fire 4 miles away dropping retardant. Always a fascinating site. I cleaned and worked on bikes and slept soundly.

This am we returned to Wilson, via Tracy who was going to work, and met out group again. Breakfast then to grocery store for supplies for the long trip from pinedale to Rawlins, a remote section of the great divide. While waiting for the shoppers Dave, James, and I called the pinedale forest office for fire update as the web was not updating very fast. Turns out the road over union pass was just opened today.  We could go north instead of south, although not to where we departed trail. We would skip 2 days of riding instead of 5. Whoopee. 

Off to the Turpin meadows camp where Joe and I camped four years ago. An ok camp. But when we drove up signs saying absolutely no tent camping, due to beat activity. We all agreed we have seen no signs of bear activity except forest service signs. Officialdom. We just moved up the road about 2 miles to a bush camp which is probably nicer than the campground with Winnebagos. 

And Warren and Colleen return from Boulder today. We will have another driver. 

Ok writing a few days later (like 3 days). Having internet again which is always a novel idea, especially internet that works at a resonable speed.  Always an issue on the divide.  

But the story continues: we left Turpin meadows on our first riding days in 3 layover transport days.  Within a mile Jeanne’s front tire was spewing whit liquid stan’s fluid all over.  The fluid makes the tires tubeless so small leaks and punctures get fixed before you know it.  A very nice requirement on the divide ride, especially as we enter cactus areas.  But there were puddles and we could not stop it.  Finally I think it lost enough pressure and spinning the tire stopped the leak.  She had not replaced her spare tube from giving it to a rider several days ago heading north.  But nancy had hers, mine are 26″ and would not fit.  But no need.  Onward and upward toward togwotee pass at 9600feet (about 2900 meters), but then Dave noted a protruding inner tube from his back tire sidewall.  This he had a spare tire for and 45 minutes later we were off again.  This was our ninth tire change on the trip.  

Made the top and a bit of a debate as to route.  When Joe and I went 4 years ago we read the map as go one mile from  summit then left .  We did and climbed back a mile and half up the 6% grade to the left about a hundred yards below pass.  My gps said go left, and Jeanne proceeded but the others were not so sure.  I speeded off to catch Jeanne which I did in a mile and as we discussed the return the others came along realizing this was the correct way.  And it was gorgeous, going the ten miles by brooks lake and where Joe and I had stayed.  Again though this time there were no tents allowed due to grizzly activity, of which we saw none except forest service signs all over saying it was so.  Proceeding on down the valley I found the route changed and it turned on a forest road up the other side of valley before the union pass road which Joe and I took.  We were some of the first bike riders to go through the fire area and it was black.

looking back over valley towards brooks lake and togwotee pass
climging through the old lava mountain fire area

This new route was very ice except for the climb through warm springs creek area.  Some very steep climbs at end of day.  We did over 4500 feet (1306 meters) of climbing but the three vehicles found a wonderful camp on warm springs creek.  I was way too tired to even go the 30 yards to clean up.  Gut was off a bit hence limited the alcohol  to one beer to let the carbon dioxide smooth things out which it did.  

The next day was a total misinterpretation.  The book and map said we had a climb out of camp then it was downhill to union pass.  Ugh argh and ugh! You could see the 13% slope rising out of camp which we assumed was the climb.  We chugged up it for a mile then road for a mile or so on some nice forest road reaching the union pass road which then roast at a 7-9% grade for 4 more miles.   We reached the top all disheartened and tired and cold.  We proceeded on down a gentle wash boarded road where the vehicles were waiting.  Apparently this was union pass on the side of the mountain, usually they put passes at high points between mountains but this was different.  Oh well on we went toward whiskey gulch campground some 35 miles away.dropping a few hundred meters in the process but nothing significant and on a washboard rocky road.  We all agreed the descent was as tiring as the ascent.  

But whiskey gulch campground was great, on the banks of the Green river.  

riding by mosquito lake
union pass road with wind rivers beyond
the new cockpit view
And Colleen returned to Boulder to work leaving Warren to help us drive.  7 of us and 2 cars.  Always interesting but it makes for a luxury trip.  

2 thoughts on “Rest Days, Tribulations, onward Journeys

    • Shirley I and Jeanne ride one day at a time. The entire trail Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride GDMBR) goes from banff to Mexican border in southwest New Mexico. It is the ride I did four years ago. Folks predict to end about the first of October, but Jeanne and I have to be back in anchorage by the 14 September. Other commitments. Jeanne has a class confe nice to prepare and give and I have another bike ride yahoo. I get to ride my bicycle. More on that later busy year


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