July 30, 2006
What a day!
First I went to McDonald’s for breakfast, and then headed on over to the bike shop for my new wheel.
Well… guess what – the guy said that when he called to order the part, that they didn’t have it in stock, so he just ordered a 32-hole wheel. That’s not strong enough for touring, so no wheel for me.
It’s a good thing that I’m not on any kind of tight schedule, or else I’d be really annoyed at having gone to all that trouble to wait for the part for nothing. I guess I can be positive, and consider that now I’ll just squeeze more life out of the present back wheel. It has some more cracks now along the sidewall, but I think it’s strong enough to hold up a little while longer… I hope.
So I rode out of Jackson, past the National Elk Refuge (Eerily elk-less), and into Grand Teton National Park. Wow! What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was cloudy, and this morning looked overcast like rain. In a few hours the sun shined through, and it suddenly turned into a crystal clear, pristine, beautiful day! You really need a clear day to properly enjoy The Tetons.
Riding today was perfect, and the scenery was top notch. I rode all along the base of the mountains, and past numerous lakes. There isn’t much to say here… I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The radio station out of Jackson was playing one great song after another, and it felt as though I was in an all day sequence from Easy Rider. Songs included El Paso – Grateful Dead, Willin’ – Little Feat, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere -Byrds, And it Stoned Me – Van Morrison, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Dylan, Doobie Brothers – Without Love, Amy – Pure Prairie League, Run Through the Jungle – CCR, and Goin’ to California – Led Zeppelin (Fitting!).
The picturesque landscape wasn’t very agreeable as far as covering miles was concerned, so I called the day short here at Colter Bay. This is like a tiny town within the park, with a store, an inn, restaurant, camping, etc. They have a full size laundromat with showers in the same building… pretty much the key motivating factor on my staying here. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a real shower or laundry. “Real” is defined as a shower with soap and shampoo, and laundry in a machine with detergent.
The people working the laundromat all have foreign accents, and are younger than me. There must be some kind of international work program or something. People from all over the US and across the seas are in these parks – I’ve seen so many different license plates. One guy that asking me about my trip was from Bethlehem, PA, right next door to my hometown!
Since I’m in grizzly country, I thought it would be a good idea to cook dinner outside the store before going to the campground. I had some mac&cheese and a can of ham again.
I entered the camping area after dark, and had a tough time finding the designated hiker/biker spot I’d registered for earlier in the evening. The campground was huge and dark.
Finally after looking around a while, I was tired, just thought “screw it,” and took a vacant spot with a nice prominent bear box. The bear box was made out of heavy iron and tough as nails. I bet some small banks don’t even have safes that are as strong.
I started putting all the necessary items into it – food, toothbrush, toothpaste, stove, spoon, water bottles… but then I had a better idea. The box was so big that I just took all the panniers off my bike and threw them in. So the only things outside the box are my bare bike and overnight sleeping junk. I want to see a grizzly though… I think. Life is good.
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Google Map Route may not be 100% accurate.