Exhausted after yesterday’s monster ride we awoke to a kind tailwind. After taking care of breakfast and on-road snacks we headed northwest to tackle Togwotee Pass at 9,600+ feet, a 30-mile climb of about 3,000 feet.
We made decent progress for the first hour or so. The last 7 1/2 miles were serious work, especially considering how tired our legs were.
The scenery kept us diverted. Wyoming is just crazy amazing. The geologic wonders on one side of the road, differ markedly from those on the left. For a long way we saw millions of trees that had been turned gray by blight. It would have been all the more beautiful if the trees were green.
We made the pass after hours of grinding away. Oddly the continental divide was about 30 feet higher in elevation a couple of hundred yards later.
To our chagrin our tailwind disappeared and a rather unwelcome headwind replaced it. Instead of screaming down the mountain at 40 mph, we were held to the high 20s. At least my rims didn’t overheat from braking.
After only six miles the descent ended. Nooo! No worries. After some annoying climbing we began a nine mile, 6% descent. And our headwind was gone!
And we had spectacular views of the Grand Tetons. Wow! Just Wow!
Signs on the road warned drivers not to stop for bears hanging out in the road. Being a bicyclist not similarly constrained, I stopped to pet a grizzly cub.
We had intended to ride 70 miles to a hiker/biker campground in Colter Bay. We settled for a Forest Service campground 20 miles to the east. The price was a whopping $6.
We knew today would be hard and it lived up to expectations. We left the motel and rolled next door to McDonalds. After a quick breakfast, we left at 7:10. We had a brief chat with another westbound TransAmer, then we rolled across town and stopped at a grocery for supplies.
After that the real festivities began. Let’s cut to the chase, 82 miles, uphill, into an increasingly strong headwind.
The winds were light initially. We knew this was temporary, after all we would spent most of the day riding through the Wind River Reservation.
We stopped at Fort Washakie at 15 miles for a break. Afterward Mark and I went seven miles off route to check out the burial site of Sacajawea. The cemetery is still in use by the resident Eastern Shoshone tribe.
On our way back to the route we rode through a residential area. Shoshones like dogs. Every house had at least one. Only one gave chase. He was just going for a run with his new buddies. For about a mile.
Back on the route the winds were obviously stronger. There were a few climbs but mostly we rode up false flats.
We stopped at Crowheart, a crossroads near the amazing Crowheart butte. Mark wisely decided to buy a gallon of water. We needed it later.
The last 30 miles felt like 60. Mark zoomed ahead and ultimately secured us space in a church hostel in the town of Dubois, pronounced Dew Boys with the emphasis on Dew.
We are exhausted. There will be food, medicine, and sleep.