Starting with a positive spin: we’re getting stronger. And with strength, the riding is even more fun. Staying completely in the moment, not planning for the future or mulling over the past, as is my habit. The scenery is amazing, especially as we near the Tetons. The wild camping is so convenient and I love our evening ritual of setting up camp, cooking dinner, talking about our day, and snuggling in our cozy tent.
We’ve met other cyclists along the route. I appreciate getting to talk with other people that share our interests in cycle touring and traveling. We’ve been leap-frogging with four other cyclists, Steff and Quent from France, and Dink and Jack from the Netherlands. Fun group of people with different attitudes about the ride. I love Steff and Quent’s manner of touring. Quent describes themselves as “tourists,” off to experience the people, activities, and towns along the way.
We also met two Appalachian State students riding the GDMBR. Sam is a big fan of the university library where we work and it was actually at the library that Bryson talked Sam into riding the GDMBR. But not surprising as cool people and libraries go together. They are very strong riders and have the minimal race bike setups. Will probably complete the route in under 40 days.
And now... the story arch goes to the two main characters and how they resolved conflict along the way. Remember how, in the last blog posting, John’s derailleur blew up due to mud? And how we learned a lesson about NOT riding in the mud? Well, Beth blew up her derailleur the second morning out of Steamboat. Same exact situation. While wise cyclists were staying dry inside hotel rooms, we went for it. Luckily the incident happened near the Ladder Ranch and they were so very helpful. We stayed in one of their small cabins for a couple of nights, borrowed a Jeep BACK to Steamboat and Orange Peel. And here I’m gonna go all fan girl—at the Orange Peel I saw fricking Lael Wilcox! And she smiled at me! (She smiles at everyone).
As always, the disaster turned out to be a high-point of the trip, with the stay at Ladder Ranch, hanging out with the other cyclists that arrived after the sun came out, and eating breakfast with the O’Toole family.
Another evening we were wild camping and began to slowly notice our scalps were becoming itchy. It got more intense, soon it felt like my scalp was on fire. Couldn’t concentrate. Could it be lice, chemicals? Would we need to go to an emergency room? But we are in the middle of nowhere. When I couldn’t take it much longer, I heated up water and washed my hair. Temporary relief but itch returned after my hair dried. John looked at my scalp and my hair was full of gnats/horsefly critters! Super ick, ugh, yuck. I shook out my hair best I could and dove into the tent. Relief. Feels so good when the irritation stops.
We hope to make it to Tetons National Park today. Yesterday the bolt that attaches my saddle broke in half so I finished the last nine miles standing up on my bike. Again, a kind person is offering us a ride to Jackson (66 miles) to get my bike fixed. I do get frustrated when my bike breaks. A mix of sad and disheartened. But always aware that this is the most memorable part of the trip, overcoming obstacles and difficulties to reach the goal.
Hoping to take a rest day on the Fourth in a small town along the way. Nothing beats celebrating Independence Day in a small western town. Xxoo