Michael is starting the morning at the Cowboy Cafe with coffee (first), and a hearty breakfast: Apple Caramel Brioche French Toast, eggs, maple links, and hashbrowns. (Nate ate here last night and recommended the pie, but they might not serve that for breakfast!)
Our KOA was nice; We didn’t have to cut and run to a motel!
Nate is well underway climbing up over the mountains to our destination in Buffalo Valley–a bit east of Moran Junction, WY.
Update (Day’s end): Nate and Michael arrived safely at the Fireside RV Park/Campground in Buffalo Valley/Moran Jct. after a good day of riding, overall, for both.
Nate setup his tent and then stayed in the camp store much of the afternoon to avoid mosquitos!
Our campsite, along with another one a mile or so up the road, comprise Moran Junction; Nothing else is here. We’re sharing Fireside with no more than a few dozen RVs, fifth-wheels/trailers, and other tent campers. Mosquitos outnumber people 10,000 to 1, and they eat Deet like candy.
Nonetheless, having the Grand Tetons as the camp’s backdrop make it absolutely perfect. The mountains are just magnificent.
All the views of the mountain peaks, lakes, rivers, meadows, and jagged cliffs across the Teton/Shoshohi National Forests on today’s ride were stunning. Fair warning: None of our pictures can capture enough of it, well enough, to do it justice–except to possibly whet your appetite to visit the area yourself!
Nate and Michael agreed that the climb from the east to Togwotee Pass (9,584 ft. elevation) was not as bad as described to us, and also far better than the climb would be from the west–which we got to zoom down, instead! The final 17-mile, 6% grade downhill (yee haw!) into Moran Jct. would have been miserable to climb. That said, we met several cyclists who did it today, or will be taking on that challenge tomorrow!
One cross-country cyclist we met was at Fireside talking to Nate when Michael arrived. Mitchell is riding from Astoria, Oregon (our endpoint on the west coast) to Boston. It was fun chatting with him about our experiences thus far. Incredibly, we discovered that Mitchell, who is from Canandaigua, NY, knows one of Nate’s friends at Clarkson, Abby (who’s also a cyclist)! That’s just one degree of separation; Impossible odds! We look forward to seeing updates from Mitchell as his journey unfolds eastward.
Michael also met these super awesome guys, Keith and Shane (and their videographer/SAG driver, Austin), who are cycling along the Continental Divide from Banff, Canada to the U.S.-Mexican border! Their “Ride the Divide Challenge” is raising money to build an orphanage in the Philippines.
Michael also saw a grizzly munching on something off the road at a good distance, and stopped to watch. A group of Wyomans pulled over and jumped out of their car to take pictures, beating Michael to the viewpoint. When Michael approached, one of the guys asked, “Do you need something?” Um, just to see the bear, too, Michael told him. Grrr.
In related news, Nate bought bear spray, which is like Axe for grizzlies.
On the uphill side of the ride, Michael rode into a dime-sized-hail storm that lasted about 10 minutes. (Hail stings!) The air was refreshingly cooler after the storm, and filled with scents from the mountain flowers, grasses, and trees.
Dinner consisted of snacks from the camp store, because the kitchen closed two minutes prior to us trying to place an order! Michael opted for protein with a side of spicy: Jalapeno beef jerky, cayenne peanuts, and habanero almonds. Nate had something like Chex mix, except with some cheese flavoring. Anyway, it all paired well with beers.
A final note about our campsite: At this elevation, and as far removed from populated areas as it is, it’s much colder outside at night. And the dark is filled with sounds of unknown critters!
And a tech note: Michael got another flat tire today, around mile 6, and nursed it along for some 15 miles before the ride-pump-ride routine seemed to seal the leak. If it holds until morning, he’ll start tomorrow’s ride without replacing the tube. We both need to stop at a bike shop in Jackson, tomorrow!
See the Relive video.