Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wyoming and Yellowstone

To see the buffalo you must pedal.
I hit the Wyoming border seven days ago and I've had almost nothing but good weather and a good time since. As always, people are great when they find I'm riding for a good cause. In Moorcroft, Wyoming, for example, I ate a late lunch at Early's Cafe, owned by Early Thiry. It's a small town and everyone knows everyone, and my waitress was actually babysitting three kids for a friend while she worked, with Early doing her part to help.

It started raining hard while I was finishing my sandwich and I stared out the window and thought, "Crap, maybe I need to quit for the day." But with the big motorcycle rally in Sturgis, only fifty miles away, there was no room at the inn anywhere in town and I didn't want to go looking for a manger. Early saw my JDRF shirt and said, "Well, if you need a place to stay tonight, I have an empty building next door; but it has a shower and a TV that's still hooked up."

"I'll take it," I said immediately and so spent the afternoon and evening in comfort and ease, not pedaling any farther than most of you do at home.

The next four days, however, I kicked into high gear. I did 98 miles from Moorcroft to Buffalo the next day. Then I rode over the Bighorn Mountains, a daunting ride of 66 miles, requiring a gain of 5,020 feet in one day.

As I mentioned in another post that meant pedaling uphill for 33 miles, almost without respite. Then you get the payoff and coast downhill into Ten Sleep, Wyoming, about 30 miles away.

The following day I did 100, exactly, to reach Cody. Then I rode into Yellowstone, through the east entrance, a spectacular ride, again over a high pass. Since then, I've been in gorgeous country, including today when I took a "side trip" 78 miles north to Bozeman, Montana, to spend an evening with the Staebler family. Their daughter, Sidney, is a type-1 diabetic and headed for second grade in a few days. I'll say more about their family and all the other people I've been meeting later.

For now a few pictures of Yellowstone should say what needs to be said. This part of the country is beautiful.

You owe it to yourself at some point in life to drive through the West. This is a fantastic country.

The beautiful Yellowstone River.
The buffalo bulls were rutting and roaring when I was there.
Hundreds of buffalo now dot the Hayden Valley area in Yellowstone.

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone:  308 feet drop, note tourists on overlook to right.
The Shealy family helped me with this. Then they donated $60 to JDRF.
Upper Falls, Yellowstone River.
Yellowstone River, looking toward Upper Falls.
The brink of the Lower Falls.
Riding through Dunraven Pass:  8859 feet.
Coming down from Dunraven:  notice the cars on the road ahead.
Yellowstone River near Tower Falls.
Tower Falls, where Tower Creek empties into the Yellowstone.
Fly fishing in the Yellowstone.  Cutthroat Trout are abundant.
Tower Creek:  notice people on overlook, upper center.

Even though they drove off the road, they were somewhat happy because no one was hurt.  And they were lucky:  going down an embankment without flipping and taking bark right off two big pine trees they just missed. The driver (left) fell asleep.
Cone of a dormant hot spring; Mammoth Hot Springs.
Mammoth Hot Springs.
Mammoth Hot Springs is aptly named, stretching for almost half a mile.
Odd formations abound.
Dry springs for now; Mammoth Hot Springs resort in background.
I have had great weather in Wyoming.
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. John: Great blog update, absolutely spectacular photos. And, a "side trip to Bozeman" (frm Mammoth north to Livingston, the west, I am guessing, also mostly beautiful country. I envy those views. Your pictures are marvelous. I am strongly assuming you're "Tioga Pass" arrival will be early Sept., am I right. We get back from Maui late on the 3rd, so, probably able to join you for most of the final few days, if that is your timetable. You so motivate me, brother! Call some eve when you in cell phone range! Love, Tim.

  2. Way to go, John! One advantage of doing the ride from east to west is that you get to the western mountains when you're in great shape. Riding through Yellowstone is certainly one of the highlights of my life, even though we did get rain, hail, and snow. Glad you're enjoying the beauty.

  3. Dad, These pictures are BEAUTIFUL. I especially like the "O-H-I-O" picture and the car on the side of the road. We miss you! Have a good rest of your trip out West. Love, Emily

  4. John - All of your photos bring back wonderful memories of a "circle trip" we did when Kristin and Mark were probably 10 and 9. We went through the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, the unbelievably gorgeous and diverse Yellowstone, then into Colorado and sights there and into Denver to see my mom and the rest of my family. Fabulous trip! It just keeps boggling my mind that you are doing all that on a bike! Continued good and safe journey!

  5. John - Thank you so much for the wonderful photos and comments. We are very thankful that you are continuing your journey in good health and safety. Your pictures inspire us to see Yellowstone! We keep you in our prayers for continued safe travels.

  6. John, I am very sorry that I did not take more time to talk to you. I was just thinking that you would want to get your messages and pictures loaded so you could get back on the road. I am so sorry that I did not contribute to helping you with your trip, i don't know what was the matter with me because i am always giving and loving every min of it. I hope you'll forgive me. Sharon at the library in Willard.
    shartalbot@hotmail.com Is there a way i can help even though your gone?? so sorry!!!