Distance: 66.35 mi
Average Speed: 11.2 mph; Max Speed: 40.3 mph
Elevation Gain: 3,637 ft
Average Temp: 53.4 F; Temp Range: 41.0 F
It was a pretty good night. Not too cold, so when my alarm went off it wasn’t that big of a deal to crawl out of the sleeping bag and start the day. I chatted a bit with a few of the other cycle tourers in the campground and hit the road a bit before 8. My maps told me it would be a 75.5 mile day with one big climb of nearly 3,000 feet, so I wanted to get a good start.
As often happens, I stopped several times in the first few hours of riding. First because my front wheel was wobbling worse than it had since day 1 and I wanted to redistribute the weight between the front panniers. I took that opportunity to check to make sure all the bolts were tight and to remove my rain pants which I had worn for the warmth but no longer needed. It was also a good opportunity to take some pictures. All morning long there were some spectacular view of the Teton behind me. Riders approaching from the east will be in for a treat. Riders going the other way, take a few opportunities to turn around and appreciate the view. It’s worth it.
Also while I was stopped, a raven decided to walk up and inspect me. It left after getting a good look, and possibly realizing there was no food being offered.
Then I stopped again this time to completely unpack and repack the two front panniers because the earlier weight redistribution didn’t stop the wobble. The repackaging did, though, thank goodness. And finally, I passed a group of people standing near a spotting scope and stopped to see what had been spotted: a heron in a nest. It was lovely, but a bit too far off for my camera to capture clearly.
And soon it was time to begin the climb. Halfway up it began to get chilly and I stopped when I passed a lodge to ask for coffee. There was some available for the patrons of the hotel, and the desk clerk directed me that way. Free coffee and a comfy chair to warm up in! Heaven.
Back on the road, the grade wasn’t bad, but the climb was long and the elevation was high. In fact, today is the first day I really felt the elevation having a significant impact on my ride. I had to stop once or twice to catch my breath, and after the second time resolved to limit myself to a lower effort, which made a huge difference. A few hundred feet from the top I had to stop to pull out my down jacket because it was snowing. Not hard, but enough. Brr. And then the top was in view
After that it was downhill the rest of the day. And I mean that almost entirely literally. Except for a few mini hills, it was downhill all the way to Dubois. But downhill plus cold weather equals very cold rider. Even with two pairs of gloves on, my fingers were getting chilled. When I spotted a gift store/restaurant, I pulled in for yet another cup of coffee. (It has been a highly caffeinated kind of day.) I ended up with coffee, a muffin, and a package of skittles and took a seat on the heart in front of an unlit fireplace to eat.
**Politics warning, if you don’t want to read about politics, skip to the next set of asterisks**
Then I spotted this.
Christmas ornaments you can hang, noose and all, from your tree. It would be wrong no matter what political figure they depicted, but it is in particularly bad form to sell something where you can effectively lynch a black man given the US’s history of racial enmity. My only consolation is that they’re old, so they must not have sold very well. Still, it was enough to make me wish I hadn’t spent money in that store.
The people were friendly and helpful, even telling me how to find the church where I planned to spend the night. It’s strange to think about that sort of kindness coexisting with that sort of hatred. The human brain is a strange place.
**Politics over. You may safely resume reading**
The cashier also told me that a few minutes earlier a French couple on bikes had stopped in for much the same reason as me, to warm up. I never did catch up with them, and if they stopped in Dubois they’re not staying in the same place I am. I wonder if I’ll see them on the road tomorrow.
Shortly after stopping to warm up, the temperature outside followed suit and I had to stop to strip off a few layers. From there, though, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way to Dubois (pronounced do-Boys, in case you were wondering), accompanied by some lovely striped cliffs that probably would have been even more striking if the sun had been out.
The St Thomas Episcopal Church is on the eastern end of town, and allows cyclists and hikers to stay in what I would call the fellowship room, although I don’t know if that’s what they call it. There is a fridge, a microwave, a coffee maker, internet, and a toilet. The town has a well-stocked market and there’s a laundromat that also offers showers for anyone who desires. There’s also a place by the laundromat that has a jackalope exhibit. You’ll forgive me if I skipped that one.
Bikes are kept in the “bike jail,” a tiny building next to the church that used to be the town jail. It was built in the depression by the WPA. It amuses me that Erebus is in jail for the night.
After a visit to the store, I’m stocked up on food and back inside with both internet and electricity at the same time for the first time in days. Huzzah. And I’ll be sleeping indoors. Today has been a good day.
Roadkill count: none
Map Day 25