9/8/2012 to 9/16/2012 – It was a melancholy morning waking up at Antelope Reservoir, knowing that our good buddy Jonny was leaving the tour. We said our goodbyes, had a morning beer and hit the dirt road headed further into the Great Divide Basin. From here on out, the ride was just Dave and I.
Although we did see a herd of wild horses, proving that even in such an isolated and desolate place, beauty will always thrive.
Pedaling along through oblivion on the slow dusty dirt road was grueling and yet allowed an incredible inner-concentration that focused my thoughts and helped clarify my life. I really appreciated this portion of the ride and would recommend it to anyone craving some genuine soul cleansing.
We camped in the middle of nowhere alongside the road and woke up optimistic that we might reach some bit of civilization that night.
We had assumed (would highly recommend against on such rides) that Atlantic City, WY was a booming metropolis. Unfortunately, it lacked the hotel our resources had claimed existed and the “grocery” store was not open for another couple days (only open a couple days a week it turns out). Thankfully, we did stumble upon the community center and the wonderfully generous lady running the community center, Ivan.
Dave and I rolled up to the small building dusty, sweaty, wind-burned, sun-burned, and flat-out exhausted. She offered us the internet, some water, and the opportunity to stay the night at the community center. We couldn’t have been more grateful for her and her glorious stories about local stray dogs! The next day we headed out of Atlantic City and booked it for South Pass City.
The biking was great! Why? Because there were trees, roads, cars, people, and mountains within sight!
We put in a solid effort on the way to Pinedale, WY and ended up experiencing another absolutely stunning sunset looking out over the Wind Rivers.
We arrived in Pinedale, WY the next day and headed straight for a hotel. We checked in, they looked confused about our bikes, we hauled them up the stairs to the second floor, and then we each showered. Over the next 16 hours, while at the hotel, Dave and I each showered at least 2 times, and utilized the hot-tub twice as well (living it up!). It was so nice to be clean! The next morning we woke up, raided the breakfast buffet, and hit the road towards Union Pass.
The roadside flora was beautiful and the biking went quickly. Especially noticeable around Union Pass were the aspens, which offered brilliant shades of green, yellow, orange, and red!
Throughout the day we began to notice a decrease in air quality and started to see smoke from the fires ravaging Wyoming and Montana at that time (you can see a small plume in the above photo). We camped a second night on the backside of Union Pass and enjoyed some most delicious bacon the next morning.
After bacon, we biked towards Togwotee Pass and our recognition of the wild-fires became absolute. The billowing smoke provided a dramatic backdrop for the day and really stood out as we neared our campsite for the night, just below the Pinnacle Buttes on Brooks Lake.
We met a motorcycle tourist, Danny Powers, who was en-route to visiting his grandchildren in California, having started in Virginia a few days before. The campfire scene was an excellent one that evening as we passed a bottle of whiskey around and listened to his stories of being a flower-child during the 60s… what a character! The next morning I awoke just as the sun was hitting the saddle of Sublette Peak, enjoyed a cup of coffee with Danny and began taking photos. While sipping on our coffee, a curious artistic couple from Kentucky arrived and filled the morning with hilarious spontaneity and colorful language as they gawked at the sunrise over the lake.
After the world warmed up a bit, and our guests had all left, Dave and I hit the road under the heavy smoke-filled air. We biked to Grand Teton National Park, paid the outrageous entry fees (individually for cyclists of course) and headed into the park. We ended up camping in the Colter Bay campground because many of the smaller campgrounds had closed for the season, but enjoyed friendly neighbors, a swim in Jackson Lake, and a big full dinner!