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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

May 23, 2007      Miles 50      Total miles 1360


From a cycling standpoint, today was a much better day than yesterday. I peeked out the front of my tent and the sun was shining. It was cold but the water in my bottle wasn't frozen as it had been on a couple of other occassions. It was hard getting out of a warm sleeping bag and breaking camp. My bike still had ice on the components but at the bathroom there was hot water and I poured it over the brake cable and derailler and everything started working again. As I was packing everything, I noticed a bin beside my tent which I didn't notice in the dark last night. It was a "bear box." A bear proof place to store your food in case a bear comes into your camp. I thought this is a fine time to discover that box. On the other hand, I thought ... what if the bear couldn't get food out of that box and the next best hot lunch was lying asleep in that tent?

I could tell my eyes were swollen badly but it wasn't until I looked in the mirror that they looked like I had been hit with a fist. I guess having the snow pelting my eyeballs must have caused that. A couple hours later they were normal.

When I checked in last night the people at the front desk were amazed to see me riding up on Ol' Blue and were going on and on about me riding through the storm on Craigs Pass. I told them, I really had no choice. In the meantime the snow and ice, from my pancho and helmet, was dripping all over the place on their floor and counter. I kept apologizing and they weren't concerned at all. A very pleasant gentleman wanted to know about my trip on the bike.

I went back to the lodge for breakfast and a lady at a nearby table said, "Good morning." She was the wife of the gentleman I met last night. I ordered my breakfast and visited with them for a while. They are traveling north in a motor home and we had a very nice visit. I am SO sorry I am missing the name of one man in the group. One couple, Helish and Ezra Jhudith are from Israel and are visiting with Ruth and Gerald Siegel from Arizona. They were such pleasant people.
I had such a nice visit with my waitress, Liz Traylor, who is quite an adventuress, and has backpacked through Europe and is now planning to go to Canada with her friend Stephanie Walker. She is a senior at Auburn and a total joy to be around.
I am now entering the Grand Teton National Park. The park is scenic in a different way. There aren't a lot of animals like in Yellowstone. The centerpiece of the park is unquestionably the spiked peaks and sheer escarpment of the Teton Range. Oh, how I wish my pictures could show you what my eyes see.
Can you imagine the powerful geological forces it took to shove these mountains skyward?

Off the side of the road is a chapel for those who want to worship.
As I was winding my way through the park I saw this beauty in a swampy area. At first, I thought to pedal hard and get away but I just couldn't do it. I had to get a picture. She had no cubs, that I could see, so she didn't seemed threatened. I am using the zoom lens on my camera and she was never closer than 75' to me. She also has a tag in her ear which I imagine most park animals have.

There is one disadvantage to visiting our national parks on a bicycle. That is, you see only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Because of the ruggedness of the area it is very hard going up the hills and you just can't cover the distances that you can in a car. The unique nature of these two parks is breathtaking and we should all be thankful it was set aside for us to enjoy.

When you are in touristy areas, you will have to pay touristy prices. Here is my cabin for tonight. There is no bathroom, no tv, or any ammenities. I talked them down to $60 for the night from $80. They wanted $5 more if I used their bed covers, so I just used my sleeping bag.