Friday, July 31, 2009


       Wyoming; the least populated state in the nation, I think? Next to Alaska? I overheard someone say in Dayton, (population 600) that the state has about 300,000 people total. Towns are spread out and very small, besides Cody, Sheridan, Gillette, and a few others. The "large" towns are not the best places to be here. They don't posses any character; only serving as a hub for Walmarts,  fast food joints, hospitals, car lots, etc. The small traditional towns here have a uniqueness to each of them that I can appreciate. Besides towns there's a lot of farmlands, pronghorn, hills, ford trucks, rodeos, cowboy hats, and roadkill. 
     After we came out of the East entrance from Yellowstone we made it to Cody pretty quickly. The ride along hwy. 14 was fairly easy and downhill for miles. Wyoming is not as flat as it looks to be on a map between the Rockies and the Bighorns. It's still hilly in between. Near Cody we ran across the Buffalo Bill Dam and stopped by to take a look. From there we made our way to Lovelle, WY. We spent three days resting there. This was the nicest small town on our route with a free campers park that had showers. It was a classic main street town with one grocery store, movie theater, (only open Friday and Saturday) Drug store, library, and a few more businesses. It was a scenic town too, in that unreal American storybook sense. Perfect grass in every yard, gardens, kids on bicycles cruising the streets.........
        Once we began on our Eastward bound route again, we understood from the locals how bad hwy. 14 was going over the Bighorn Mountains. It has steeper grades than the Rockies. Knowing this we caught a ride in the back of a pick-up with a couple on they're way to go camping past the top of the pass. If we had attempted the ride up we would have spent at least two days, easily, trying to get to the top. The roads were also rough from continuous work since winter. The ride down was fast and the highway put us right into the town of Dayton, which was having a three day festival, Dayton Days, intended to be a great excuse for excessive drinking and bar-b-que rib consumption. We saw that the whole town was out partying, so we hopped off our bikes and joined in for the evening. There were two bars in the town, each with live music and dancing. Townspeople wandered between the two all night, as did we. The last day was 24 hours of partying. The bars were allowed to stay open 24 hours for the event and many people stayed up all night until they finally couldn't take it anymore. I think we passed out at 1:00am. One of the bar owners let us camp in his yard. 
         The people in Wyoming are incredibly thoughtful and trusting. We have met nothing but people more then willing to help us without a second thought. Ryan and I decided to continue on hwy. 14 off of a short ride on hwy.90 to get to Gillette thinking that we would be coming across small towns with services, instead of 100 miles without them along 90 to get there. Yeah right! The whole time we came across one gas station. There, we met a BLM worker named Allen who spent most days going through the government land out that way to check on gas meters. The next day, he drove by us on another section of the highway, stopped, and surprised us with a supply of sodas and water. He knew he would run into us again he said, and decided he would bring us a care package to get us through the day. It was one of the kindest things that we have encountered so far. Thank you Allen!
      We also owe a big thank you to Brandon and his room mates from Gillette who let us stay with them for a night. The dinner you made was a feast! It was amazing and nice to not be eating instant pasta in the rain for another night.
     Thus far we have spent a night at Devil's Tower. Its one of those many attractions that we decided to bike out of the way for. It is more impressive then I imagined it to be. Down a mile from our campsite at the KOA, the movie Encounters of The Third Kind was showing as a tribute to Devil's Tower, so we road down for the free showing last night. It was fun to sit right next to the monument and watch scenes of the alien space ship hovering over the tower. 
     Today is cold, windy, and dark; it looks like it will rain any minute; probably the moment that we get on our bikes. The weather here has been unusually cool with rain almost every day for the last three days. The high here is not even 70 degrees currently. Where did the summer go? We know Portland is hotter than it has been in years. But I shouldn't complain, for the most part biking in the rain is easier then 100 degree weather. 
      More to come next time we finally find Internet.

Ryan and Allegra


                      Devil's Tower from the campground we stayed at last night.
                                             Canyon by Devil's Tower.
                        Weird space bug we saw on the side of the road.
                  Pronghorn. They are all over Wyoming.
      Making breakfast with four dogs in the yard of a local bar owner in Dayton, WY.
                   Live music during Dayton Days.
                         View from the Bighorn Mountains.
                            Pile of antlers in Wapiti, WY.
      Another photo from the Bighorns. A lot of roads are paved with this incredibly red rock from the area. They looks like veins across the landscape out here. 
                                      Photo of a moose in the Bighorns.
                        Power generator house at the Buffalo Bill Dam. 
                              Buffalo Bill Dam outside of Cody, WY.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick facts

Total miles= 1280

# of days= 45

# of rest days= 10

# of states visited= 5

# of flat tires= 22

# of times across the Continental Divide= 3

# of days in the Rockies= 20

# of Buffalo seen= hundreds

# of feet Legs was from a wild Buffalo= 3

# of Buffalo burgers eaten by Ryan= 2

# of bottles of bug spray used= 5

cost of a bottle of bug spray in Yellowstone= $8.50

# of Elk who surrounded us while we were biking in Yellowstone=3

# of days in Yellowstone= 5

# of libraries visited= 7

Bison. They are pretty cool, and some other neat stuff.

       Yellowstone was quite the park of parks, that everyone wants to see. We both expected the park to be crowded, but it was packed with way more people then I thought there would ever be there at one time. Although the massive crowds make things sort of hectic, it is still worth the trip.
       It took us about four days from Butte to get to Yellowstone. All we did was climb massive hills and passes with a few flat stretches all the way to the park. The winds through the last two days were brutal going south down Hwy. 287. They constantly blow against you in strong gusts, and make the climbing slow and painful. Along Hebgen lake, which we passed just before reaching the town of West Yellowstone, they died off and gave us a break. Not to mention the rains that hit us off and on too. Oh well, that part of the trip is over. We were really excited to get to the entrance after buying some supplies for the park. After we flashed our parks pass to the ranger and got a map of  Yellowstone we took off down the road to get to the closest camp site, 14 miles into the park, so we could finally relax after the trek in. 
       I'm sure that there is something on the Yellowstone website that explains if you are biking or hiking through the park that you are always guaranteed a campsite no matter how full the park gets. We did not know this coming into Yellowstone. Once we stated down the road we saw a huge billboard announcing that every campsite was full. So in short we lucked out being on bikes. Until we reached the first campground we were sweating bullets wondering if we would really be turned away after all the biking we did just to get into the park.
       There is so much to see in Yellowstone that there was no way for us to make all the sites this trip, but we saw a majority of the geyser pools and Old Faithful. I posted LOTS of pictures of thermal pools. They're amazing flukes of nature, and are so beautiful.  I couldn't help but put many different pictures of them on the blog page. They don't do them justice entirely, but give you a nice glimpse at some of them. We also saw Upper and Lower Falls on our third day of exploration via hitch-hiking and hiking trails around the park. It's fairly easy to catch rides in Yellowstone because everyone is there for the same reason. Most of the rides we got were from employees of the park who were on their days off.
      The one trouble with biking Yellowstone is the elevation. It was hard for both of us to breath as we biked around the park, with trailers in tow at elevations between 7000-8000+ feet.......when going over the Continental Divide, twice....... in one day! It was rough and slow-going. I vow not to bike through Yellowstone again. We both did fine when we were just walking around, but the biking hurt. I'm glad that I was able to see it on a bike, but will only return in a car!
      The last two nights we stayed in the same campground and spent the evenings with a couple of Polish guys and a guy from Baltimore who were all hitch-hiking /taking Greyhound across the country. All three of them were tons of fun to get to know and spend time with. The polish guys, ( I can't remember their names, sorry guys,) loved the park and all the cities and places that they were visiting in America. Rob and us had a great time explaining weird American customs and recommending places to them that they should see before they go back to Poland. 
     Rob decided to take his trip last minute and was also in the park for the first time and had started his journey solo. We hope that you like Portland as much as we think you will. We'll see you in the black hills in a couple of days.
     Oh yeah! And Audie too. Note to Audie: Our cell phones work in the larger cities and are charged as of today. Give us a call when you can because we want to hang out with you and your family in the hills.
      Otherwise, we have one more mountain range to climb before we are out of the Rockies. I can't wait for flat nothingness so we can lay down some serious 50-70 mile days and start getting further East. The Rockies; beautiful, yet hell after almost a month of biking through them.

Ryan and Allegra

      This bison walked right by us. We didn't see it coming up because we were waiting for traffic to move forward and were stuck between two big RVs. It was scary to be so close to one.
                                                Beautiful scolding hot Pools.

                        Our Polish friends, Rob from Baltimore, and Ryan.
                 Yellowstone's Grand Canyon and Lower Falls.
                                        Another view of the canyon.
                               This crossing made us want to die!!!
                              This crossing was horrible.
                         Old Faithful going off.
     We took tons of pictures of the many thermal pools. I can't remember all of their names, but this is a pretty good selection of some of our photos.

                                       A sleepy bison sunbathing.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Ryan's Rants

(Don't forget Andy Rooney's voice)

Did you ever notice that Colorado has a Professional Baseball team? I have a question for Colorado. Why would you name your Professional Baseball team The Colorado Rockies?
Why would you name it after something so sinister, so evil? This decision blows my mind. Don't you know that the Rockies are nothing but giant hills that cause a humble bicyclist like myself nothing but pain and frustration? 
If you wanted to name your team after something evil I have come up with a list of names that are not quite as evil as the Rockies. Take your pick.

Colorado Mosquito Bites

Colorado Metal Splinters

Colorado Perverts

Colorado Spanish Inquisitions

Colorado Kameir Rouge

Colorado Junkies

Colorado $5 beers

Colorado Notre Dame Lovers (on second thought this is more evil than the Rockies)

My main point is that the Rockies are evil. Its true that they are beautiful, but these are the times of change. Lets cut a nice path through them that is perfectly level. Who's with me. I know I'm alone in this. Maybe I'm biased. Maybe this has nothing to do with the Rockies and more to do with the fact that the Colorado Rockies are based in Denver. And Denver is the city that has the Denver Broncos. And the Denver Broncos are the team that John Elway played for. That is enough reason to question anything that comes out of Colorado.
In summary... Rockies bad, Broncos bad, John Elway Bad. For shame Colorado. For shame.

Go Pirates!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More picks of Montana

                       Cave in the canyon down Hwy. 2 in Montana.
                                              Canyon down Hwy. 2 in Montana.
                                                  Old bank in Butte, MT.
      Dumas Brothel in Butte. It operated from 1890 until 1982, it's now a museum.
         Pasty and cole slaw. Pasty's are a traditional food of Butte that miners use to as an easy lunch fair when they were down under ground mining all day. 
           Butterfly garden at the top of Butte near the Nation Folk Festival.
                                                          Old hotel in Butte, MT.
                             Butte from the park we slept in last night.
                                   The town of Butte from the historic district.

       Sideways shot of an old mining head frame used to bring rocks up from the mines in Butte.
                          Ryan working on patching a sleeping matt.
          Shot of the horizon from an RV campground in Rocker, MT.
                            Mountain entering Butte, MT.
                              Scenic Montana from Hwy. 90.
                    The looming rain storm over the Rockies.
     First rain storm so far on the trip, it was actually kinda fun.
                           Sopping wet, but mostly dry with our rain gear.
                            Very cool sign just before Deer Lodge, MT.