I’m super psyched to add a new voice to the blog. Greg S. has wrote up his first few days on the road. He has some photos he’d love to add as well, but we just don’t have the bandwidth to do it at the moment. I don’t want to delay the text version while we wait, so here’s the first cut.
Day 1 (31 miles)
Traveled from San Antonio to Jackson Hole airport with bike in a box. Met Paul at the airport and assembled my bike and bags. Was also greeted by Greg McFarland, Dean, Chris and Dean’s son.
After bike assembly, Paul and I road to Colter Bay Village. On the way we entered the Grand Teton National Park. I stopped at the entrance and received a free admission card because of my VA disability rating. Then the attendant charged Paul $20 to ride his bike through the park. Point of fact, Paul had been riding through the park without being charged previously. Then when they noticed he was with me, they decided to charge him. Sorry about that bro.
The ride to Colter Bay Village was on smooth bike trails and road surfaces. It was mostly flat and we had great weather. Great way to start the trip. The cabin at Colter Bay Village was actually a tent with a wood stove and bunks. There were showers for charge and a toilet facility about half a mile away. No problems. Everything worked out well.
Day 2. (53 miles)
We left Colter Bay Village about 8AM after stopping for coffee at their grocery store.
We met some other tour dividers at the grocery store and as each of us looked at what the others were using for gear, we also discussed how to cross the Great Basin between Pinedale and Rawlins Wyoming. Water resupply options are limited so we asked about the other people’s plans then, instead of taking notes, we just listened and then forgot all their wisdom almost instantly. Our current plan is to call the ACA once we get to Pinedale so we have all water resupply options clarified so that we can plan how much water to bring from point to point.
The ride for the day started out nicely on pavement and we made it. About 25 miles in with little effort. That all changed as we entered a 14/15 mile climb in the dirt. I’m not much of a climber and usually only experience rolling hills at most in Texas. The prolonged and consistent climb took a lot out of me, but was very achievable at slow speeds. We finished the day going downhill to the Lava Mountain Lodge where we were greeted with a room, dinner, and laundry facilities.
Day 3. (58 miles)
We left Lava Mountain Lodge at about 730 after stopping for breakfast food and a little standard bike maintenance in the morning. We rode down hill about 6 miles the started an 8 mile climb. Not as bad as the day prior, but these days are having a cumulative effect on my performance condition so it was a little harder of a climb for me.
Jerry, one of the tour dividers, was on the route at the same time so we talked a bit and it was nice to see another person working through the same stuff in slightly different way. Some of the things he did differently included exclusive use of paper maps to navigate and he also used some type of ultraviolet pen to purify his water.
After the climb was over we were pleased to see mostly downhill for the rest of the way. The reality turned out to be that the roads made going downhill challenging as well. There was lots of loose gravel so going slow was essential because of loss of traction while descending. Then came the big rocks and washboards. Initially going through these obstacles was fun; in a fun downhill mountain bike kind of way. We paid a price though. It took a lot of energy to descend and each descent was slower than it would have been if we had better roads. We made it through, but not as fast or in as good of a physical condition as I initially hoped for. No problem. Our plan was and is adjustable. We stopped earlier than originally planned and wound up at Kendall Valley Lodge, which is about 30 miles north west of Pinedale Wyoming.