Continental Divide Trail - Page 6
|8.07.2010 - Evening phone message
I've got some weird sounds coming
from the bearing of my pedal crank. I
can still keep moving, though. I'll keep
going until I find a bike shop with the
correct wrench to check it out.
Despite my nice hotel room, I got a lousy night's sleep. I think it's required by law that when
I get a room, there needs to be some noisy idiot in the room either right next to or above
mine. In this case it was the room above me. Everything was fine until midnight when the
guy upstairs came back from the bar and started singing loudly in German. He kept this up
until 1:30 in spite of my repeated poundings on the ceiling. Finally there was a tremendous
crash which I presume was him passing out on the floor, and all was quiet.
I left this morning thinking I was at the top of the mountain. This wasn't the case. I was
merely half way up the mountain. To make matters worse, there was lots of traffic and a
stiff headwind. Once I'd pushed the bike to the top, I came into a pretty meadow where the
wind was fierce. The beauty was somewhat spoiled by all the cars and four wheelers
I dropped down out of the meadow and onto the fairly busy pavement. It was early
afternoon, but the headwind had me ready to quit for the day. Unfortunately, it was wide
open with houses all around and I was forced to push on another 25 miles to the town of
Pinedale. By the time I hit town I was beat. Even though I hate to pay for a campsite, I
pulled into the KOA campgrounds. It was a dismal place. Just a big gravel lot with a few
motorhomes. There wasn't even a shade tree. I asked the receptionist how much a tent
site cost. I thought I'd heard wrong when she said twenty bucks. I said I'd by five. She said
no deal, so I moved on.
I stopped at the surprisingly nice outdoor store to inquire about free camping. I was told
there was plenty of forest service land up the mountain behind town, so up I went. It really
sucked pedaling up hill and off route, but there's no way I was going to spend twenty bucks
to camp in a crappy parking lot.
I found a nice spot atop a little hill overlooking a pretty lake. There's no trees or water, but
the view is great and it's free!
Today is Sunday, and I have mail to pick up 11 miles down the road, so I took a zero day. I
wanted to sleep in, but the sun made my tent unbearably hot by 9:00 AM, so I packed up
and headed down the hill. I spent my day hanging out in the cemetery. It seemed like a
strange place to spend the day, but it was quiet. There were shade trees, a place to plug in
my phone, and a really nice and clean flush toilet.
I took a nap and talked to Kelly for about an hour on the phone. Then I coasted back into
town to get dinner. I'd just started the long climb back to camp when I spied a picnic table
in the bushes beside the road. I went through the ditch, pushed through the bushes, and
found a great little park in a clearing. There's a picnic table and two benches as well as a
big rock with a plaque that says Buzz Buzzander donated this place in 2005. The city hasn't
bothered to maintain it or even put in an access from the road, so it looks like nobody's
been here for a long time. That makes it perfect for camping. I'm sure old Buzz wouldn't
mind. I just wish I'd found it last night. There's plenty of shade and a stream. Oh well.
Beggars can't be choosers.
I made it out of the Tetons last night and set up a stealth camp behind some bushes below
a pullout along the highway. I awoke at 10:30 to the sound of an engine idling and when I
opened my eyes, saw that the tent was fully illuminated by the high beams of a truck! I had
no idea how he possibly saw me and I was pretty sure I was on forest service land, so he
had no right to complain. I sat in the tent and waited for my ass chewing. Nothing
happened. The truck would pull forward or back up a little every five minutes or so. This
went on for twenty minutes. I finally decided to walk up and see what this idiot wanted.
The first thing I noticed was that the truck had a light bar. Never a good sign, but as I
approached I saw that it was a highway work truck. I scared the ever living shit out of the
driver when I walked up to the window. He had stopped to make some phone calls, but the
reception was spotty, so he was moving his truck a little when the call dropped. He had no
idea I was down there and apologized before shutting his headlights off. I apologized for
scaring him and went to bed.
I woke up after a crappy night's sleep and found the road had way too much traffic, both
because it did, and because I was tired and grumpy. I pedaled a short stretch of horse shit
covered gravel before reaching the restaurant where I'd intended to stop for lunch. They
were closed for lunch. Makes sense. Why would a restaurant be open for lunch? I turned
onto a busy paved road that was undergoing some major construction. This proved to be
an advantage, since I had orange barrels between me and traffic.
I climbed over a high pass and started down the other side. I missed my turn by half a mile
because the sign had equipment parked in front of it and had to turn around and climb back
up to it.
At 4:00 I started an endless steep climb up a never ending series of switchbacks on gravel.
The grade was such that I didn't even have to think about pedaling; I was pushing.
Somewhere near the 12,000th switchback, a guy in a Jeep Cherokee full of dogs stopped.
He was the owner of the Crooked Creek Resort. Apparently, this mountain did have a top
and when I reached it, I'd see the sign for his resort. He told me he had the best damn
steakhouse in all of Wyoming and there were already other bikers there. I told him I'd stop.
He offered a ride to the top, but I kept pushing.
I rolled into the resort at 5:30. He walked out of the office and handed me a beer. He said
he had a room for $80. I said I'd think about it. He said $70. I said I'd see. He said $70
and a six pack of beer. I was sold. The room was nice and I got my first shower since
The bar there was great. It was very much like the one in Siad Valley, CA, where the door
was open and his dogs came and went as they pleased. There was even a mechanical
moose to ride, although I didn't partake in that. I had a wonderful burger, but should have
sprung for the steak. The biker I was sitting next to got a steak and it probably was the best
After my meal, I retired to my room to watch TV and remind myself why Kelly and I don't own
one. I watched shark week on the Discovery Channel for an hour, felt a little dumber,
switched the TV off and read my book