Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wyoming is a Very Big State

Entering Wyoming! ... Wow.

Oh man--it has already been 3 weeks since we left the rez and now we are in Montana! Since we left DC five long months ago, we've gone 2,890 miles, and we're now less than 800 miles away from Seattle!! How the hell did this happen? One day at a time.

Well, we left the rez and saw our amazing friends, Jodi, Judy, Ruby and Rachel, in the Black Hills. They were heading to volunteer at Re-Member for a week, so we rendevouzed in the middle. The Black Hills were a beautiful ride and it's understandable why the Lakota revere those mountains as their most holy land.

Once we got to Wyoming, it began to hit us that we hadn't been on our bikes for five weeks. Exhaustion kicked in. We tooks days off, hitched hiked, met beautiful strangers and climbed mountains.

On our way into Wyoming we were having both a physical and mental break down (aka--sobbing on the side of the road, wondering if we still want to do this) when Wilbert, from Fargo, MD came to our rescue with his pickup truck. Rach saw a car from Maryland at the rest stop and talked him up. He was great! He was driving across the country to Yellowstone and the Tetons then to Las Vegas and back. He was such a great spirit with a huge heart and drove us about 70 miles to Gillete, WY. When he dropped us off, he said, "I feel like I should just take you guys with me!"

In Gillete, you can find the largest open air mine in the country, thus practically all the jobs in Wyoming. People would come up to work in the mines for a couple weeks, staying in hotels, then rotate home while a new crew comes in for a few weeks.

Wilbert... From Largo, MD... Met at the WY visitor's center & he was our pick up truck miracle (gave us a 60 mile ride on an emotionally draining day!!!)

The next day we biked for the first time on the interstate. Yes, you are allowed to bike on the interstate in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho...basically the states with no people. Anyway we ended up biking halfway to Buffalo, WY and slept under the stars with no tent on the side of I-90 (for all you east and west coasters, the interstate is not a 5 lane highway our here, so no worries).

Buffalo, WY was at the base of the Big Horn Mountains, part of the Big Horn National Forest. This is where we confronted our first mountain climb of the trip. We climbed from 4500 feet above sea level to 9666 feet in 36 miles. It was draining, exhausting, hard to breathe at times and took us 2 days. But we made it and it definitely felt like our biggest accomplishment of the trip. After the climb we had a 30 miles down hill which was magnificent and worth it all.

Holy fuck!!! We made it up the mountain!!!

After a handfull of small towns and hot, shade-less sun, we arrived to Cody, WY, about 50 miles from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. At the end of a 55 mile day into Cody we ran into Ramona on her bike as she was going for a ride. After some talking, she and her husband Jeff invited us to come stay the night at their beautiful house just outside of town. It was so nice because we haven't been able to stay with people becasue recently we didn't know anybody. It was refreshing and we had a great night of conversation, food, beers and more. They made us feel right at home! Better yet, Jeff offered to drive us into the park the next day, which he and Ramona did for 80 miles, taking us to our first campsite in Yellowstone! We were so greatful for them and now we know where to go next time we come to Yellowstone.

Jeff & Ramona!

So Yellowstone, lived up to all the hype. It was beautiful with a quiet lake and a row boat, a bike ride through the steam of hot strings and geyers and Buffalo walking right next to us on the road. Yellowstone cannot be captured in words, its a crazy place that can both make you relax and freak you out at the same time. So if you can, GO THERE!!

Say cheese!

Now we are in West Yellowstone, MT and gearing up for a 5 day trek to Missoula, MT and then onward to Seattle by September 19th!!! Hope you enjoyed the long overdue update from the road. We're having fun out here... and excited to be getting back into a groove!

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