Saturday, August 20, 2011

Half-Done Entry: the Pictures are Good

Pedaling along the Gallatin River.
There's nothing like a long bicycle ride (3385 miles so far) to clear the head and clean out the arteries and remind you what's really important and how rich with experiences every day of life actually is.

I'm closing in on my goal, to raise $10,000, and that's important to me.  I know how hard it used to be to deal with diabetes and I'm thankful for all the progress made, through research, because that means our Emily and every other type-1 juvenile diabetic has a much improved chance of leading a long, healthy, happy life.

I'm also constantly reminded how many nice people there are in this world.  I haven't met a jerk yet on this trip and it makes me wonder.  Are there more nice people out there than I sometimes realize?  Maybe the jerks are a very tiny minority; but they stand out because...well...they're just jerks.  I was talking to another bicycler a couple of nights ago and we both agreed:  we were being treated with kindness all along the way.  We posit this theory:


It's the only way we can figure it.  I know I'm meeting all good folks.

If I'm not updating my story much lately, blame population density, not me.  Wyoming is 2 1/2 times the size of Ohio but has a population of only about 550,000.  So I'm not hitting a lot of big towns with libraries...or towns, period in some cases.  The first day in this state, for example, I rode along Interstate 90, perfectly legal in many parts of the West, and had one stretch of 67 miles with NO services.  The second day, I went up and over the beautiful Bighorn Mountains,  33 miles up and over and then coasted 30 miles down, into a tiny town called Tensleep.  At the campground there (only $12 for a tent and very nice) I met a group preparing for a music festival the next day.  Ken Gerow was an affable professor of physics; and his son Eugene, 13, is a prodigy on the banjo, having played already with many adults.  Ken, himself, is trying to be daring and has taken up the guitar; and his friend, Shawn Kelly, is daring, too--trying to make a living as a musician, which is his one true passion.  He was accompanied by his son, Joe, a funny young man, and when we weren't talking about music, I watched Eugene and Joe wrestling like young cubs.

Our discussions started when Ken brought me over a beer and sat down at my campsite picnic table to talk; and soon after we were joined by Mike Smith, fresh home from a tour in Afghanistan, and a veteran of two tours in Iraq.  Yes, America.  We're still at war.  Mike hasn't had it bad, hasn't been hurt, and actually volunteered for his last tour overseas because the pay was better (and I think because maybe his marriage is hitting a rocky spot).  Now he's out of the regular army and only in the reserves and riding a motorcycle around the country for a vacation.

I'd have liked to hear Eugene play; but I had miles to go and took off for Cody, arriving late the next evening after a 100-mile day.  Then it was up early again and over a beautiful mountain pass and into Yellowstone by the eastern entrance.  The scenery in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, the park just to the south, has been spectacular, including the river valleys I traversed to make a "little" side trip up to Bozeman, Montana, to see the Staebler family.

Sam and Sydney.
I've mentioned them before; but this was my first chance to really get to know them, after meeting them last February, down in Florida.  At the time Dan and Rebecca and their two children, Sydney, 7, a type-1 diabetic, and Sam, 4, were just wrapping up a two-year odyssey on the road.  Dan works on computer programs, and could do his job from inside a van, and Rebecca home-schooled (van-schooled?) Sydney along the way.  Now they were home and invited me to visit--and riding 78 miles down the Yellowstone River valley and then up and over the Bozeman Pass was well-worth the time invested.

Dan and Rebecca own a little farm, I guess you'd call it, where they raise five pigs, sheep, goats, a llama (to scare off any coyotes), twenty-five chicken and their two great kids.  Sydney and Sam are polite and responsible, helping with many chores, and both are creative thinkers.  Sam, for example, has a pig named Sydney starts second grade in a real school this fall and she's a little nervous; but I predict she's going to be a star.  She's an avid reader and you can tell she has an active mind, as does her little brother.

Sam is into Monster Trucks and has a wooden train set in an upstairs room that looks like it takes up at least an acre.

Curses...I'm on a limited time at the library in Jackson, Wyoming.  So I may have to pick this story up later.  I was also lucky to meet Tim Bradshaw and Mary Lynne Wilmore at the Staeblers.  Like Dan, they work on computers, and they took a separate but similar two-year journey around the USA.  I found it refreshing to talk to these four because they don't want to live a boring life.

Rafting on the Gallatin River (which runs outside Yellowstone Park boundaries and down a beautiful valley to the west.

Blue hot spring.
I liked this scene beside the road in Yellowstone.
Firehole Lake.
Thermophiles:  bacteria that love heat grow in Yellowstone waters.
Grand Prismatic:  the largest hot spring in the world.
Grand Prismatic:  Take II.
If you've never seen Old Faithful Inn, it's an amazing piece of work and all wood.
Old Faithful Inn.

Not everyone likes Old Faithful.  This teen was sullen.
Flowers along the road in the park.
Robert Van Derkroon:  a Dutch cyclist going coast-to-coast.  He says Americans have been very friendly.  
I love this picture of Sam and Sydney; I have no idea why it came out sideways.  The library guy is giving me the stank eye.  So I'm going to fix it later.
Flowers in Yellowstone.
German tourist balances on railing.  She looked like a gymnast.
Old Faithful erupts.  The teen in green seemed better.
David Rothschild, 23, riding across the USA from Santa Cruz, California to Maine (or someplace in the east.)  Yep, ladies, he's a cute young man.  He's also very bright and well-spoken.
This is cool:  you can see the Grand Tetons (center) from 40 miles away.
Taking a break at the Cascades in Yellowstone.

If you would like to donate to help find a cure for type-1 diabetes please click HERE!

(This single click takes you to my fund-raising page. There, click again on "donate to this event." Then click "Biking and Painting for Diabetes."


  1. It's great to read your blogs, especially now that you're in territory that Rich & I covered. Interesting that you met a Dutch cyclist in YNP. Rich & I met a Dutch couple in the Tetons, and saw them a couple of more times the next day on the way to Yellowstone.

  2. John: Great commentary, wonderful photos, superior country. I rode 18 miles this morning, then it was off to Jack's first birthday party at Jenny's place for a big pool party. I'll hopefully do about 50 miles tomorrow, then some lighter biking next week. We head for Maui on the 27th, returning on Sept. 3; hoping to see you on the return (and, planning to rent a bike and ride a couple times in Maui, too). Ride safe, ride strong! Tim.

  3. Fantastic picture of Sidney and Sam! I'd love a copy of it when you are back home. Great visiting - ride safe - Rebecca

  4. WOW! That's all I can say! Sullivan

  5. John: One correction, from a three summer vet of Yellowstone Park: the pictures of the inside of the old timber lodge, while stunning, are pics of Old Faithful Inn (not Yellowstone Lodge, of which there is no such named building in the park). Great post, otherwise. Tim V.