Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 37 Togwotee Pass – 17 Miles of Road Construction

Our new friend Devon borrows our computer to book a host family with in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Mike scores some free samples from the Schwann's rep

Michael from NY gives us a spoke

Trembling Aspen (populus tremuloides) "This relative of the cottonwood often dominates recently burned areas and provides cover for new conifer growth." (Adventure Cycling Map)

Loving the Grand Tetons!

Date: Aug. 25, 2009

From: Colter Bay Village in Grand Teton Natl. Park

To: Dubois, WY

Route: Hwy. 287/26

Passes: Togwotee (9,658’)

Miles: 60 miles (+17 miles transported through road construction)

Top Speed on this trip: 47.7 mph

Weather: Fair and sunny

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana plates

It was 30 degrees this morning and brisk! Wiping down the tent fly in gloves my fingers were still freezing. We packed as quickly as possible and headed back to the restaurant in Colter Bay Village for a repeat of the delicious breakfast buffet with organic oatmeal, fresh fruit and yogurt. Devon joined us for breakfast and we loaned her the use of our computer so she could arrange a warm showers host for herself in Jackson. We had about 5 miles of riding together and then we said our goodbyes on the side of the road. It felt like we’d know her a lot longer than the brief 18 hours.

We really kicked it on Togwotee Pass and did our longest day ever at 60 miles! Most of the climbing was about 6% grade and we road the whole thing. Mike even did it without knee braces! We all knew that we would have to be transported through 17 miles of road construction but we didn’t know where that transportation would begin. All day as we slowly climbed the pass Gregory kept looking for our ride. This is one reason we like to avoid telling Gregory what is coming up because he gets fixated on it and it is especially bad if it doesn’t happen. Well, the ride was at the top of the grade not at the bottom but we felt really great about completing this climb. We are definitely getting stronger!

As we neared the top we saw a large group of vehicles and workers off to the left and I suggested stopping to talk to them and see how they wanted to transport our 14-foot rig. Mike insisted we go on until the construction started and we could figure it out then. (Ladies, does this sound familiar? You want to ask for directions but your spouse wants to figure it out on his own…) Anyhow, it worked out because about a mile up the road we pulled into an Exxon gas station to get a cold drink and one of the Oftedal Construction workers was sitting there in his truck. This time I didn’t ask Mike I just approached the guy and said, “It looks like you guys are having a meeting down there so we didn’t want to stop but we wanted to find our how you guys would be able to transport our bike. We’d heard from other cyclists that you were moving us through on trucks.” John replied, “Oh, that isn’t a meeting it is our annual barbeque. Why don’t you come have something to eat and we’ll figure out how to get your bike through.” We asked if he needed to check with someone about inviting us to dinner but he assured us it would be O.K. So, we rode back down to their staging area and had a feast of barbequed chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, coleslaw, grilled onions, chips, cookies and soda. It all tasted amazing and we were ever so grateful. Gregory made friends with one of the supervisor’s kids and they climbed up and down a large stack of hay bales finding holes and tunnels. After dinner Sue put our bike on a flat bed and hauled us the 17 miles through rough road construction with over 100 pieces of heavy equipment.

It was 6 P.M. when Sue dropped us off and we still had 28 miles to ride to Dubois, WY. Fortunately, it was downhill except for a couple of rollers. We rode into Dubois as the sun was setting on the magnificent painted hills. (See picture.) The Dubois KOA brought back memories of our 1994 crossing with its grand elk at the entrance. The owner had changed and the bakery (fresh homemade brownies) was no longer on site but the heated indoor pool with kwanza hut covering was. It was 7:30 by the time we arrived and they were having their end of the year party. (We learned in Yellowstone that Aug. 25 was the Christmas celebration for them and here it was, Aug. 25 and the KOA was partying too.) The owner checked us in at only $22 for a site by the river, use of the pool until 9 P.M. and hot showers. We thought that was exceptionally good for a KOA and she didn’t charge us extra for Gregory.

We threw up our tent in record time and hit the pool. After blissfully hot showers we snuggled down in our bags and went to sleep to the gurgling of the river.

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