Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Great Divide Ride Part Next.

I forgot to mention the cabin we stayed in was the Lava Mountain Lodge near Dubois, Wyoming, and highly recommended if you're in the area.  

Leaving there we turned off the pavement and headed uphill.  Locals told us Union Pass wasn't passable but we'd heard that before and always managed to get through.  Not passable by car is a long ways from not passable on a bike or on foot dragging a bike.  

And dragging a bike is what we did.  The pass was 9,672 feet above sea level and there was 3-4 miles of walking in snow dragging our bikes.  We celebrated when we crested the summit and could drag our bikes downhill for a while. 

It was a long and slow moving day and after almost five and a half hours of movement, we'd covered just over 36 miles.  

Worse news, we weren't descending much. The mountain has a bit of a flat top so when we looking for a place to stop around 6:30 pm, we were still over 9000 feet.  

Dark clouds were moving in as we passed on the first campground.  There was nothing there, no outhouse, and no bearboxes.  Bearboxes are small metal lockers where you store all your stuff.  Try to avoid feeding the bears.

Anyway, the first place didn't have them.  A few miles farther along, the second campground had its own issues.  But it had a shelter.  Small, unfurnished, just four walls and a roof.  Room for one, but there were two of them.  And each one had its own toilet.   Okay, they were outhouses.  Sound gross?  It was!  But the ground was soaked and trees were scarce and when lightning started hitting near by, being in a concrete building seemed okay.  At that altitude, the lightning and thunder is pretty close and personal.  

We had two separate thunderstorms pass over that night.  Sleeping in an outhouse to avoid getting struck by lightning or eaten by a bear: living the dream.  

The next day, things got worse.  

We had some breakfast and headed out early.  It was about 57 miles to Pinedale, WY, should have been an easy day.  Alas, there are no easy days.   

27 miles got us to pavement, 4 more got us to the first restaurant we'd seen in two days.  We fought for every mile.  The more we moved forward, the harder the wind blew in our faces.  Just before the restaurant, Paul was nearly blown off the road.  Winds were reported at 32 mph gusting to 46. 

Of course the restaurant was closed.  We sat on their porch and discussed our options.  I was out of gas, could barely pedal anymore, and almost out of food.  Paul said he was nearly spent.  I looked in the window of the place, it looked like it should be open.  And the door was unlocked.  Sticking my head inside, I saw a guy in the kitchen.
  "What time do you open?"
  "Wednesday."   Hmmm, two days from now.  After briefly explaining our situation, he offered to cook a frozen pizza for us.  Done!

Slightly fed, we considered our options for getting to Pinedale.  Google said twenty seven miles, the weather app said 32 mph headwind.  I figured four hours or more, with afternoon rain in the forecast.  But we had one more card to play: we'd visited an ATM at Lava Mountain Lodge.  At the time I wasn't sure why, there wouldn't be any places to spend money along the way.

But it turned out a nice lady at the restaurant was willing to give us a ride, bikes in the back of a pickup truck, in exchange for some of that ATM booty.  I was fine with that, especially after riding over 30 minutes in a truck, felling it get pushed around by the wind.  And then looking out the window of a hotel room as the rain that turned to snow.  We could have gutted it out, but days like that are why people quit the Divide.  

We're still in it.  But taking tomorrow off to go fishing.  

1 comment:

  1. Living the dream! Or nightmare. Either way sounds great. Since you're both retired and have no more days off, keep on pedaling! ����