For all our friends who follow the Tour de France, you know what I’m talking about and probably have a smile on your face. For those of you who don’t know who Phil Liggett is you’re probably starting to wonder about Chris and Matt being together so much. Today was one of those magical days for bike riding. We had about 7,000 feet to climb, but it was at a nice 4-6% grade where you could get in a great rhythm and “dance on the pedals” all the way to the top. Before today my #1 day of riding had been when Matt, Ken Mozek, Bryan Hoadley and myself had ridden in France from Bourg d’Oisans to the Col de Lauteret to the Col de Galibier. Today challenges that day for best day riding ever! Certainly Wyoming doesn’t have the romance of riding in the French Alps, but the ride up Ten Sleep Canyon to the Powder River Pass at 9,666 feet was breathtaking. When you add in the fact that it occurred during our bike ride across America, it will be a day Matt and I never forget.
We started our morning at the 2nd street cafe with a great cup of coffee (rivals Peet’s), a fresh-baked coconut cream scone with lemon frosting and breakfast burrito’s. We enjoyed lingering at the outdoor dining as we watched all the farmers and ranchers head out to work for the day. We also wanted to transport this cafe back to Danville. Who knew Ten Sleep would provide us with our best breakfast of the trip so far.
We then went back and told Bob and Marilyn where they needed to go for breakfast and then hit the road at 8:10a. I can tell you it took us about 20 minutes to get the legs loose and ready to get into the rhythm of the climb. Of course it was so beautiful that we kept stopping about every 5 minutes for pictures. Matt and I are both being pretty good about fighting the urge NOT to stop and just keep riding. We want to make sure we don’t just ride with our heads down and miss all there is to see on our trip. At one of our picture stops we met a teacher from Alaska who was driving to Pennsylvania to take a cat to her daughter. As Matt told her she must be setting a record for the longest cat delivery service.
About 15 miles into our 30 mile climb we came across road construction that you couldn’t possibly ride through. Being Wyoming the just had Matt and I jump in the back of the pilot truck with our bikes and then they drove us the 2 miles over the road. It was pretty funny having us in our bike clothes in the back of this pilot truck driving past all this heavy construction equipment leading the other cars up the road.
After our shuttle we rode the remaining 13 miles to the summit past a couple of alpine lakes and emerged from the canyon to the rolling hills of the summit. Luckily for us as we reached the summit we could see a thunderstorm rolling in to where we had just been (our weather bubble continues to protect us). In fact about an hour after we arrived in Buffalo it rained so hard Bob and Marilyn had to quit their golf game early (tough life being a support driver). We then enjoyed a wonderful 5 mile downhill followed by 15 miles of rolling hills and then ending with a 10 mile downhill where we could go 35-45 mph without touching our brakes…it was so fun! We rolled into Buffalo went and showered and then walked next door to a wonderful ice cream store and had great milkshakes. We then decided to get a little culture and toured the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum http://www.jimgatchell.com/Jim_Gatchell_Memorial_Museum/Welcome.html and enjoyed the history of the conflict between the settlers, indians and cattle barons. We finished the day by doing our laundry and then going to the BEST steak dinner any of us had ever had at the Winchester Steakhouse.
Today was also the 20th day of our trip which meant we’re a third done. One of the nice things is that we’ve climbed 54,747 feet which means we have completed 46.2% of our planned climbing for the trip! It was hard to choose the photos for today as there were so many to choose from.
In case you wondered what happened to the hippies who lived in the Haight-Ashbury back in the 60’s (where he told us he had been when we told him we left from San Francisco). He’s spent the last 11 years living on his bike and riding around America.