Our journey’s end!

September 18 – We arose early, after a fitful night of sleep. Excitement for the day ahead overwhelmed us (at least me)! Our journey would be coming to end today. We would arrive at Antelope Wells, New Mexico at the Mexican border, and our shuttle driver would be there to pick us up.

 

The sunrise was beautiful. It was a perfect start to the day.

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The road, and views, stretched out ahead of us for miles.

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Sometimes, we would see mirages in the distance. We actually took a picture of this mountain because we couldn’t believe how it looked. It must be light refraction.

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As we neared the border, our excitement peaked!

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Today was a bittersweet ride. We were anxious to be home, but sad that our adventure was coming to an end.   When we arrived at the border though, we were all smiles!

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As we rode toward our journey’s end, we talked about the places we had been and the people we had met. When I think back on the last 4 months, I do remember the towns we rode through, but I don’t recall them with the vividness that I remember the people. Kimberly and her family at Kluane Lake, Jamie from Carcross, Skipper and Nils in Skagway, Ryan, Bene and Don on Vancouver Island, Ann, Jeff and Jessica from Vancouver, our riding partner on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail Yogi Peter, Lisa and her family in Kimberly, Tony and Kristen (fellow Divide cyclist from Salida), Clay Frick (fellow Divide cyclist from Haines), Jos and Magda (Divide cyclists from the Netherlands), Michael Hill (Divide cyclist from Calgary), Kirsten from Brush Mountain Lodge, Barbara Nye and her wonderful cabin for cyclists, Nita in Pietown, Jeff from Hachita, and many, many other wonderful souls who made this adventures so special. The camaraderie and kindness of these friends and strangers did much to enhance my faith in the wonderful human spirit. I am forever grateful for all the random acts of kindness that were bestowed upon us. Life is extraordinary!

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Almost finished – Silver City to Hachita!

September 17 – Today’s ride took us from Silver City to the near ghost town of Hachita.  To get to Hachita, we rode over 78 miles through the Chihuahuan Desert.  Oddly, just out of Silver City, someone has lined their driveway with old toilets.
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The road stretched out before us.  We had many miles to travel today.
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The Chihuahuan Desert boasted plenty of yucca, a few mesquite trees, a rare prickly pear and grass.  There was not much variety of plant life.  We saw one pronghorn antelope.  Most interesting were the insects.  They were huge!  We weren’t sure what these bugs were, but they were big!  When they jumped and spread their wings, it looked like a rainbow with iridescent red and green.
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The mountains in the distance were gorgeous with their layers of peaks.  We would, eventually, ride to the base of those mountains.
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Up on a ridge, we made our 32nd Continental Divide crossing.  We rode atop the ridge tracing the Continental Divide for several miles.
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When we turned on the road and saw the sign showing the distance to our destination at the Mexican border, Antelope Wells, excitement set in for us.
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Our final Continental Divide (33rd) Crossing!

Just after our 33rd, and final, crossing of the Continental Divide since we left Banff, we pulled into Hachita.
I took a walk through the Hachita.  It was interesting.  The town used to boast 1500 residents.  The steam railroad came through town, and there were foundries and other support industries for mining.  Now, the town is nearly empty with under 50 residents.
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This old Catholic Church is starting to show wear.  The stonework is amazing.

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The community center opens its doors to cyclists and hikers.  It is a great place to cook a hot meal and camp where there is no motel or formal campground.  

It will be hard to sleep tonight.  Our extraordinary journey is almost complete.  Life is great!

Southern New Mexico

September 13 – At dawn, we left Grants toward Pietown. The riding was great, although our day was long. We rode nearly 72 miles. We passed over our 20th, 21st and 22nd Continental Divide crossings.

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Because we were riding early in the days, we were treated to a lot of wildlife activity. We saw several elk and were finally able to snag a picture as it ran away.

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El Malpais Wilderness is beautiful. There are some great geologic formations including arches, huge sand stone cliffs and freestanding sand stone sculptures.

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We checked into PIetown in mid-afternoon. Lunch at the Gathering Place, including a huge dose of pie was excellent! We were treated to a tour of the old town by a local, Nita, who runs a hiker/biker hostel. There is a windmill museum, and Pietown is home to one of the 27 radio telescopes that make of the Very Large Array.

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September 14 – Again at dawn, we loaded up and headed out of Pietown. We are riding big days, 72.44 today, as we are anxious to be home.

We rode past several small extinct volcanos. Some of these have been eroded so that all that stands is the stone center cone.

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We saw a huge herd of pronghorn antelope today. We thought it might be elk, so we stopped for photos, but they appear to be antelope.

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From time to time, we come across old buildings. This one seemed unique. It is make with stacked stones, and the stones are packed with mud.

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We followed afternoon monsoon rains which stretched out ahead, just like every afternoon. The clouds cause the wind to start at about noon and linger into the late afternoon.

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We crossed Continental Divide crossings numbers 23 – 27 today. This means there were many climbs!

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September 15 – We have many more miles to ride, and the itch for our own bed grows stronger. Thus, we made our first Continental Divide crossing of the day (#28) before dawn. It was too dark for me to be visible in the photo!

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A few miles later, after the sun came up, we rode with 4 horses that came out to greet us on the trail. After saying hello, they returned to their pasture and we rode on for miles!

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High on a hillside, we saw elk or pronghorn running from the noise of an approaching vehicle.

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The trail snaked through grasslands once roamed by the likes of Billy the Kid. I could imagine the historic travelers though this valley.

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Finally, after 84 miles and our 29th and 30th divide crossings, we stopped for the night in Lake Roberts. The evening was capped with the view of feeding hummingbirds.

September 26 – Today was a beautiful ride … It was also comparatively short at 30.21 miles. We rode through the Gila National Forest. It has to be on of the most beautiful forest I have ever been. The sun shining through the pines is incredible.

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There was some climbing, but it gave us beautiful views ….

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….. And our 31st Continental Divide crossing.

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We have arrived in Silver City, the old haunt of Billy the Kid!

We have almost completed our journey. Life is great!

Into New Mexico!

This post is a littler longer than most as it covers more days. A couple of things contributed to this. First, the lack of reliable wifi or cell service and food poisoning. Being under the weather and on the road like this was tough! It is great to feel human again 🙂
September 6 – Just a few minutes after departing Del Norte, we began climbing the biggest pass of our journey. The map says it was 11910, but Bill’s GPS says it was 11995. I’ll take BIll’s reading as it was a tough, tough climb.

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At the top, trail Angels Carson and Donna from Illinois fed us lunch! They were driving by as we summit red and though we might be hungry!

After the summit, we descended 800 feet to Summittville. It is the site of an old mine (gold and copper) and is now an EPA superfund site. It looks like they took down half the mountain in search for metal.   Marmots were all over the tops of the old buildings. They would peer at us as we were riding, but when we stopped to take pictures, they disappeared.

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Our climbing wasn’t finished. We climbed about 300 feet and descended, climbed another 500 and descended 1600, finally, we climbed 600 feet and descended into Platoro.

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The ride was beautiful. We saw red mountains which were made so by the iron rich ore they contain.

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None of the water we came across on today’s ride was drinkable. The combination of naturally acidic water from leached minerals and pollution from the mining in the area have made all the streams tainted with heavy metals. We carried an extra dromedary filled with water to sustain us.

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Platoro is a tiny town. Founded by the search for plato (silver) and oro (gold). It sits at 9700 feet elevation. We stayed at the Skyline Lodge which is an historic lodge log. The rock fireplaces were enormous. You could stand up in them. It was filled with comfy log furniture. It was a restful place to spend the night. We stayed in a renovated airstream which was pretty awesome.

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September 7 – We rode from Platoro Lower Lagunita Lake Campground just beyond Brazos Ridge.  We rode through beautiful forests and open sage land with beautiful vistas.  There were big climbs and descents today. We had 3 summits over 10,000 feet. The first, LaMange Pass, was 10230 feet, the second was 10,625 feet, and Brazos Ridge we 10,901 feet!

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Somewhere between these summits, we crossed into New Mexico!

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There were a ton of hunters in the area. I am sure they would have relished seeing the two huge bucks we saw halfway through the day. After we made camp and dusk was settling in, an even bigger buck showed up at the lake. It was amazing to watch him drink from the lake and nibble on the grass at the edge of the lake. I was so thankful there were no hunters around.

Early in the morning, I was awakened by a god-awful noise. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I asked Bill what he thought. He said it was coyotes. Again, I said, if those are coyotes, they can’t be successful hunters. There is no stealth in noise like they were making. Later in the morning, I was talking to some other campers, and they asked me if I heard the elk bugling. So that is what the noise was!

September 8 – There were several summits over 9000 feet today. Our top summit was Burned Mountain at 10,457 feet.

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These forests are amazing. We were not expecting forests with huge pines here in New Mexico. Some areas are thickly treed, and lower elevations have more distance between trees. As you lose elevation, trees are more sparse.

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After over 50 miles of up and down big hills, we made camp at a primitive site just off the edge of the forest service road.

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September 9 – From the last night’s camp site, we road to Abiquiu, New Mexico.  We climbed through beautiful forests.

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Although the roads were beat up by monsoon rains, it was an enjoyable ride.

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I saw the biggest rattlesnake I have ever seen. We also saw 2 cow elk and a bull running through the forest. When we created the hill we were climbing, we were just in time to see the two cows run across the road in front of use. What beautiful animals they are. The bull was nowhere to be seen.

Just after seeing the elk, we began a long descent. First into El Rito, then into Abiquiu. Somewhere during the day, I picked up a stomach bug. Ugh!
September 10 – Late yesterday, we decided to take a pavement detour to our next town because of my illness. It was a gorgeous ride. First, we saw Abiquiu Lake. It was a beautiful red-rock lined lake with many coves.

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For most of the day, we rode into the wind. At 4476 feet gained, it was an easier ride than the 7-9000 we would have climbed over gravel roads.

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September 10 – Leaving last night’s destination of Cuba, New Mexico, we again faced the wind. We rode our longest day yet of 90.22 miles. There were beautiful rock formations and wonderful people along the way.

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All day long, we chased thunderstorms and were rewarded with a rainbow.

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There was lots of up and down climbing through the desert. Finally, at sundown, we made camp.

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September 11 – Today we took an easy day and rode just under 34 miles into Grants< New Mexico.  We again rode through beautiful geologic formations that lined the road.

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Our journey has now taken us over 4500 bicycle miles! It continues to be an amazing journey. Life is great!

Colorado continues!

September 2 – The miles continue to rack up. Here in Colorado, those miles are hard earned. We rode from Salida to Sargents. It was a shorter day’s ride at 43.99 miles, but it was packed with climbing.

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From Salida we descended to 7000 feet, then we climbed to our 18th Continental Divide crossing since Banff. The Marshall Pass summit of 10842 feet was reached after riding up 24 miles of an old railroad which has been made into a road.

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It was just under a 4000 foot climb.  The descent was awesome. It was also on the grade of an old railroad. The grade allowed us to enjoy the gorgeous views. Aspen groves covered the hillsides that flanked our path. I called this descent a 17 mile smile!

September 3 – Another day and another 10000 foot pass to cross – 10067 feet Cochetopa Pass to be exact. After leaving Sargents, we descended for several miles through sage brush prairie.

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At about mile 15, we began to climb. We climbed about 1000 feet, and then rode for several miles though a high valley. It was here that we met the edge of the day’s thunderstorm. After 15 miles of up and down hills through the valley, we began climbing again.

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Finally, after nearly 50 miles of riding, we made it to Luders Creek Campground where we stopped for the day. Bill got the tent set up, and I got our meal cooked. The sky darkened, lightning danced, thunder cracked, and rain began to pour. We spent the rest of the evening taking refuge in our tent haven!

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September 4 – Water is more scarce here. As a result, we have to plan the distance we ride each day based on the water source. The water sources we knew about were either 30 miles away at another campground or 64 miles away in Del Norte. We chose to make the push to Del Norte.

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The 10166 feet Carnero Pass stood between us and our destination. The climb up the pass took us past beautiful rim rock vistas and other rock formations.  Carnero Pass was our 19th Continental Divide crossing.

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Once we crossed the pass, we were met with a 40 MPH headwind. The descent was slowed by the wind. We rode down canyons with multiple colored rocks.

When we passed through the final rock outcrops of the canyon, we entered the La Garita River Valley.

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The daunting wind continued to pummel us. We had two small pass to climb (500 feet gain) before we made our final breathtaking descent into Del Norte on a very primitive forest service road.

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Here in Del Norte, we will take a day of rest and take care of some errands.


Over the next week, we will make some of the biggest climbs of our trip. It is with a little trepidation that I look forward to the next week. Tomorrow, we will ascent the 11,910 feet high Indiana Pass. We will not descend below 9000 feet for 150 miles. That lower elevation will be short-lived, however, as we will climb again and spend the next 50 miles above 9000 feet. It will be a challenge, but we are up for it.
We continue to be impressed by the aspen groves and the geologic formations. I am hopeful that the beautiful scenery will continue. Life is great!

Colorado!

August 28 – On this day, we rode from Steamboat Springs to Lynx Pass campground. It was only 38 miles, but we climbed to 9030 feet in elevation. We rode along a golf course, through farms, ranches, country home subdivisions, then up a stream to Stage Coach Reservoir. It was there we turned up a less traveled gravel road towards the mountains.. It was a long climb that got steeper as we neared Lynx Pass.  As we neared the pass, hunting traffic increased. Bow hunting has opened for elk and deer.

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Our GPS says that we topped out at 9030 at the campground. We climbed a bit from the route, where the top elevation was 8937. It was chilly at camp, and we were happy to find firewood. Late into the night, a rogue coyote began making the funniest tipping howl ever. It sounded like a young coyote learning to howl. I can tell you this, it had no success in hunting because it was making so much noise.

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August 29 – The morning began with roller coaster hills. Up and down we rode for 15 miles before we began our big descent to 7000 feet. This section of the route was once a stage coach route, and the old stage stations still stand.

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We descended from Lynx Pass through open sage covered hills. At about mile 5, there was Rock Creek to ford. I decided my shoes needed washing and rode through it. I figured by the end of the day, my shoes and socks would be dry, and I was right! Actually, it was kind of refreshing.

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At French Creek, and 8500 feet elevation, we began our 1500 foot descent to the Colorado River at Radium.  There were several groups rafting in the area. We also saw fishermen in drift boats and single man catarafts.

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From there, we rode up an 800 foot pass, then descended 600 feet.

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We climbed again to reach Inspiration Point and a watershed divide as we rode up the Colorado Headwaters Scenic Byway.

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While it would have been awesome to ride to the headwaters, we left the road at Kremmling.

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We had planned to stop in Kremmling for the evening, but the good weather held and it was early afternoon. We decided to ride onto the Williams’ Fork Reservoir. Here we made camp.

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We climbed and descended several times on this day. Over 52 miles, our total gain was over 8500 feet in elevation and a 7500 foot loss. Our final elevation was 8000 feet.

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August 30 – No matter what we do, we cannot seem to get out of camp before or a hotel room before 9:00 a.m. Today, because we hadn’t planned to camp, I didn’t even cook, I just heated water for coffee. Still, it was 9:08 when we pulled out of camp.

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At the start of our ride, we began climb into ever upwards to go from 8000 to 9600 feet at Ute Pass. Our ascent took place over 20 miles. As we approached the summit, we came across a huge molybdenum mine. It is always astonishing to see such a scar when you are out in the wild.


After a final push to the summit, nature returned.  Gorgeous views of mountains were ahead.

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Our descent of 1400 feet took place over 4 miles. From there, we climbed to Silverthorne on a paved road.  Bill’s front tire had started to bubble and bulge with the tread delaminating, so we had to make a stop for new front tires! I guess it has been 2200 miles since the last new front tires.  We ended our day’s ride in Frisco. What an awesome little ski town.

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August 31 – Under beautiful sunny skies, we rode out of Frisco to Breckenridge along a bicycle path. The trail system here is awesome. There are bicycle trails between Vail, Frisco, Silverthorne and Breckenridge. Signs indicate the open space and trail system have been built with funding from the Colorado Lottery! What an awesome use of public dollars.

At Breckenridge, we stopped to fuel up for our coming climb. For the next few hours, we rode up an old railroad that has been turned into a road.

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Through rock outcrops and aspen groves, we climbed.

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Finally, at nearly 11500 feet, we reached the summit.

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We had a 1500 foot descent to the almost ghost town of Como where we spent the night!

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September 1 – Our ride from Como to Salida was a long 78 miles. We starterd our day’s ride above the clouds and then spent the next 30 miles riding through them. Finally, at Hartsell, we descended below the fog, stopped for breakfast, and began climbing again.

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We saw a herd of buffalo on a ranch. It would have been astounding to see these beasts in great numbers on the plains of the United States 100 years ago.

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This day’s ride had as much down as up. Our highest elevation was about 10000 feet. It occurred not only 65 miles into our ride, but at the beginning in Como.

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The final 12 miles of the day’s ride was a hair raising descent to Salida.
If there is a single word I could use to describe riding through Colorado, it would be “climbing.” Every pass has been bigger than any we have encountered in any other state or province. Roads to nearly 12000 feet are a feature that is foreign to me. In Alaska, at this elevation, the earth is snow and ice covered year round.

Our journey has taken us over 4000 miles by bicycle. We are nearing 5000 total miles when the ferry miles are added in to our total. Along the way, we have seen so many things that have been new to us. The geologic formations, the wildlife and the people have all been awesome. Life is great!

Wyoming to Colorado

August 24 – We rode away from Rawlins, Wyoming and back into the mountains.

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First, we rode uphill and toward the Atlantic Rim. Upon the top of this rim runs the Continental Divide. These geologic formations continue to amaze us. Water and wind erosion can create some extraordinary landforms.

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We rode down (and up) some extreme hills.

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Many were 8.5% grade or more. At some point, with no hoopla or signage, we passed our 15th Continental Divide crossing.

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Finally, after 55 miles, we made camp at Little Sandwood Creek.

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After dinner, we climbed in the tent, but sleep didn’t come for me as coyotes or wolves (some type of canine) howled all night long. I could hear their bays move closer and then further away, Finally, late in the night, exhaustion overcame my fear, and I fell asleep.

August 25 – Morning brought another crisp, clear day. As I poured water to make coffee, ice chips splashed into the pot. Frost covered the grass in the nearby meadow. I could tell we were at 8500 feet. As the sun rose higher, it quickly warmed the air. By the time we were ready to leave camp, it was tank top and shorts weather!

Our morning ride took us down “aspen alley.”

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After a time, we caught glimpses of the beautiful mountains that awaited us.

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A quick 4 mile hill climb was followed by a 12 mile, 1500 foot coasting descent!

After that easy morning, we spent the rest of the day’s ride rolling up and down hills on a gravel road, slowly gaining back the elevation we had lost.

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33 miles into our ride, we came upon Brush Mountain Lodge. 3 cyclists were there already. They asked us if we were the riders from Alaska (another rider had told them we were right behind him), and encouraged us to stay for the evening. Kirsten, the lodge owner, offered us breakfast (at 2 in the afternoon). How could we turn down hot food?! Afternoon breakfast was followed by a beer, and we were home for the night!

Gos, Magda, Michael, Bill and I were spoiled for the night!

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Kirsten stoked up the fire in the wood-fired pizza oven and baked us some delicious pizza pies for dinner. What a wonderful place this is. The lodge property is 10,000 hilly acres. There is even a people-size chess board!

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They host elk and deer hunts in the fall and cyclists all summer. This was an oasis on the trail!

August 26 – We had to pry ourselves out of our cozy cabin in the morning. Once we got inside the main lodge for Kirsten’s pancakes and coffee, we were ready to start riding!

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As every day has so far, this day brought beautiful views.

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A 17 mile climb awaited us. The map had called the last 1.5 miles “a pusher,” and it was.

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We were riding with Gos, Magda and Michael. At one point, I looked up from my pushing to see everyone but Bill was pushing as well. Where does he get those climbing legs? He can ride up hills no one else can!

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Finally, at mile 19, we reached our summit, the Watershed Divide of Hahn’s Mountain (9953 feet). It was our highest summit yet, but not a Continental Divide crossing!

A rocky 6-mile descent was on the other side. On the way down this gnarly hill, a rock flew up and ruptured my rear brake line causing all the hydraulic fluid to leak out. I had to ride the last 30+ miles to Steamboat Springs with only a front brake. Fortunately, the steep part was almost over, and the rest of the ride was up and down with no big descents.

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Looking back at the pass we came down

It was time, once again, to get the bikes repaired. Repair time allowed us some extra time in Steamboat Springs!

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This is a hummingbird moth – saw it on a restaurant patio.

Life is great!

Wild Horses in the Great Basin!

August 20 – Starting out, I thought today would be short – just 16 miles to Boulder. It was only 11.5 miles. So, we stopped for breakfast in Boulder and continued on our day’s ride, first to a place to camp then on a ride to Atlantic City, Wyoming 87.65 miles from our starting point.

When we arrived at the potential camp spot, it we still very warm outside and 2 p.m. We decided to ride on as the sun wouldn’t be going down for 6 hours.

The day’s ride offered unusual beauty with the sage brush prairie contrasting with the sand hills and the mountains in the distance.

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Some rounds of rock appear to be lava flows that protrude from the prairie floor.

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Colors fade from green to yellow and back to green.

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We rode roller coaster hills through mid-day. We watched the prairie fade in the distance and the mountains grow large ahead.

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The sky was painted with cloud puffs.

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Sometimes, the sun was blocked by clouds which provided shadowed views of the mountains and the long prairie views.

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At one point in the day’s ride, we rode right up onto the Continental Divide and rode the crest for a mile or more. It was awesome to look down on either side of the crest and see the valleys below.

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After an early evening push, riding into the wind, we arrived in Atlantic City in time for dinner. We found another great cabin to spend the night!

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August 21 – Thinking we were going to ride about 30 miles, it was mid-morning before we left Atlantic City behind. Ahead of us was a great valley.

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Views of the distant geologic formations were awesome.

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Over the last few days, we have seen dozens of prong horn antelope.

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The road ahead continued until it faded in the distance, and on we road toward the mountains.

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After 20 or so miles of riding, we saw picket lake ahead. This meant that Diagnus Springs was just ahead.

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Headed down a hill toward the springs, I hit a sharp rock with my rear tire, and quickly I was riding on rim. We put in a new tube and used Gorilla Tape to shore up the tire. Hoping it would hold up, we decided to push on with the day’s ride after filling up with water. I had put a gash in the tire, and we needed to get somewhere for a new tire.

So, on we rode into the Great Basin. Ahead of us were painted hills and a long winding road.

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After many miles, we came upon 4 wild horses. They were amazing to watch.

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A few miles later, we came upon a large heard of wild horses at a watering hole. We spooked them and watched as they galloped away.

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The most awesome sighting of this trip came a few miles later when we saw this magnificent wild stallion. We saw him in the distance and stopped a photo.

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Then, we continued ahead. When we rode to within 15 feet of him, he decided to cross the road to join a mare and colt grazing on the other side. His sounds and seeing him up close was extraordinary. He whinnied and neighed at us, then he galloped across the road right in front of me. It was an unbelievable once in a lifetime moment!

The evening, and our ride, ended with a falcon sighting.

We made camp at a spot off a side trail just in time for the remnant of a beautiful sunset.

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August 22 – This day’s ride began with a long road ahead of us and the vast prairie on either side.

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We rode until we reached A&M Reservoir where we stopped for a coffee break. Thank goodness for instant Starbucks mochas! They sustain me 🙂

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A long winding road awaited us as we continued our ride.

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The geologic forms in the mountains continue to be interesting. These white bands ran through several leads in this crop of mountains.

Sand hills pop up out of the valley floor.

As we rode out of the Great Basin, we saw a stunning red rock cliff.

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A 5-mile climb later and we were out of the basin and at the summit of our 14th Continental Divide Crossing.

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After 3600 miles of riding, we have found ourselves in Rawlins, Wyoming! It was time to get my tire repaired.  Although the Gorilla Tape had served us well, we needed a more permanent solution.

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At dinner, we asked a young man, Matt, about bicycle shops. He said the closest was in Laramie 100 miles away. We asked him if there was a spot to rent a car, and he offered to drive us. So, this morning, he gave us a ride to Laramie.

On our return trip to Laramie, Matt took us on a drive through the Snowy Range. It was a beautiful drive.

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What a godsend he was. For all the good that has been sent our way on this journey, we are very grateful. Paying it forward has taken on new meaning and has become our motto. LIfe is great.

Montana to Idaho then on to Wyoming!

The last few days have been a blur. Montana ….. Idaho ….Wyoming …. Red Rock Wildlife Refuge ….. Yellowstone …. Grand Tetons …. Shoshone National Forest .. Bridger Park … Mountains …. Lakes ….. Rivers …. Grizzly bears …. Elk … Pronghorn …. Cranes …. Swans …. Lots of cattle … And great people!
Since August 13, we have traveled from Lima to Red Rock Wildlife Refuge and camped at the upper lake. From Lima, we climbed to the Lima Dam and the lake formed by it.

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Then, we rode for 42 miles up a huge valley. By day’s end, we were tired of riding because of the washboard and loose gravel road.

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We made camp at Upper Red Rock Lake.

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There were 5 other cyclists there including a father/daughter duo. This ride is what she picked to do for her grand adventure after graduating high school in June. Cudos to her! The lake was beautiful and offered a great sunrise view.

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On the 14th, we left Montana behind as we rode over the Red Rock Divide (the Montana/Idaho state line).

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For several miles, we rode along Henry Lake, and, finally, descended into the Island Park area where we stayed for the night.  This is a huge motor bike, 4 wheeler and water adventure area.

August 15 brought with it new territory. We rode along a rail trail for over 30 miles. It was a little sandy in spots. Interestingly, it is black volcanic sand. The geology in the area is volcanic. One of the locals told us on of the world’s largest caldera’s stretches from Red Rock Pass to the edge of the Warm River, which we followed on this day.

We didn’t have much traffic,   just lots and lots of cows. The last 7 miles were phenomenal. We rode along the Warm River. The scenery was stunning.

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At day’s end, we rode through barley and potato fields for 10 miles. We stayed at an awesome cabin at Squirrel Creek Elk Ranch!

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On August 16, we left Squirrel Creek to ride to Colter Bay Village. We also left Idaho behind and entered Wyoming.

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For several miles, we rode with Yellowstone on our left side and the John D. Rockefeller Parkway on our right.

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A fire burned on the southern edge of the John D Rockefeller Parkway.

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Then we entered Grand Teton National Park.

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The Tetons are gorgeous.

imageimageimageimageimageWe finally got pictures of an elk herd … In the wild!

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Over the next two days, the 17th and 18th, we climbed our two biggest passes to date.

As we climbed Togwotee Pass, we had beautiful views.

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The summit was our biggest yet at 9684 feet elevation!

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We had planned to camp this day, but every campground had signs saying tent camping was prohibited. This made me a little nervous. Several miles into the day’s ride, entered a high alpine meadow. As we rode along, I was the rear of an animal escape into the brush. I thought it was a grizzly, because of the width and color, but I couldn’t be sure. A half mile later, a motorist stopped to point out a grizzly sow and cub meandering through the meadow below the road …. 100 yards away. Bill stopped and made the bear spray more accessible. I surely wasn’t camping now!  Perhaps some day we will get a bear picture, but it didn’t happen today.  We only got shots of swans.

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We rode on through rugged mountain scenery until we reached Lava Mountain Lodge where we spent the night.

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These rocks just jut out of the ground.

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I was delighted to see this patio visitor!

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The 18th brought more climbing  and great scenery to scale Union Pass.

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We saw many more pronghorn today.

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Bill was finally able to get a photograph of an elusive badger as well.

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A Thunderstorm followed us for most of the day.

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By late afternoon, we had found our way to the Fandek’s house. They offer a cabin to cyclist on the Divide Tour. It was here we found refuge just before the thunderstorm unleashed its full fury. We weren’t there 15 minutes before it started to pour! Timing is everything! How lucky we were!

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Bill even made a new friend at the cabin!

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The morning of the 19th brought a us a quick ride to Pinedale.

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After 3380 miles, it is time to resupply and rest a bit.  So far, this journey has taken us from Alaska to the Yukon and back to Alaska. From there, we traveled to British Colombia and on to Alberta. We crossed back into the US in Montana, spent a day and a half in Idaho, and we are now riding through Wyoming. What a journey it has been. Life is great!

Medicine Lodge – Big Sheep Creek Divide

August 12 – My bike is repaired. Time to hit the trail. The guy who owns the Dillon bicycle repair shop is awesome. He gave us a ride back to Bannack Bench Road. It was saved us from having to make a 19 mile climb. It cut 27 miles off our little detour to Dillon and saved us a day! Yay!!!

The first 4 miles of today’s ride were a repeat from a few days ago, then it was all new territory. For 12 miles we rode along the Bannack Bench. The scenery is sagebrush covered hills which is broken by the ranch fields of hay.

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We rode a few miles of pavement before turning on the Medicine Lodge Creek/Big Sheep Back Country Byway. It was on this road that we spent the majority of the day, riding it for over 60 miles. Sandhill cranes and prong horns are abundant in this area, and they could be spotted in many of the open prairies.

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The first half of the day was spent climbing – 46 miles total. The climb ended in a steep 2 mile push over the top, and I rode it all the way to 7922 feet elevation.

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After the summit, we rode up and down smaller hills until we reached another large valley. With the wind pushing us, we coasted for 6 miles!

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The trail took a turn into Sheep Creek Canyon, and we followed the creek down the canyon o within 8 miles of Lima. Huge granite cliffs lined our path.

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60 miles into our ride, one of my tires went flat. We were back on the road within 30 minutes for the final push into Lima.

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We have now traveled 3035 miles on our bicycles! It continues to be an amazing journey. The country is beautiful and the people we meet are wonderful. Life is great!