An Interstatial (not a word) Trifecta
Madison, WY to Island Park, ID
Last night felt like the longest night on this trip. The rain that started in the early evening essentially trapped me in my tent around 7:00 PM. Sure, I could’ve gotten out but it’s not like there was anywhere to go. Sadly, it’s not like there was really anything to do in my tent either. I know some people would say I should have a book with me for just such an occasion and that’s probably true. However, I’d probably just end up falling asleep while reading and, well … that’s what happened anyway. And it’s not like I have spare room for a book.
Falling asleep around 7:30 PM was destined for trouble. Sure enough, I woke pretty much every two hours all night. And the two-hour sleep intervals weren’t particular restful. I was actually pretty happy when daylight finally started to appear – except for the fact that getting out of a sleeping bag when it’s 11°C isn’t my idea of fun. Sigh.I finally coaxed myself into action and started packing up my gear around 6:30 AM. My tent was still pretty wet from the rain that fell pretty steadily through the night – I would know because I woke up so frequently. On the upside, whatever clouds that hung around all night were gone in the morning. As such, I decided to relocate my tent from the tree-sheltered site I called home for the night to an area that was getting some direct sunlight with the hope that it would at least be somewhat dry by the time I was ready to roll.
I didn’t REALLY expect that plan to work as well as it did but by about 9:15 AM my tent was mostly dry. Certainly dry enough to pack up. The day was off to a good (albeit chilly) start.The plan today was pretty simple – get to West Yellowstone and follow up with a Warm Showers host I had managed to contact when I was still at Mammoth Hot Springs. The details couldn’t be worked out at that time though as cell service is pretty bleak in much of Yellowstone National Park. I suspected the same wouldn’t be said for West Yellowstone.
As for today’s ride, if all went well, three notable things would happen. And they’d happen simultaneously. But more on that in a bit. First I had to get to West Yellowstone.
As I pedalled my way from Madison Campground, it became very obvious that significantly more cars were coming into Yellowstone than leaving. Not really surprising but there were a LOT of cars coming towards me. One MIGHT say it was almost 20:1. Ok, yes, I MAY have counted. What can I say, I didn’t have much on my mind this morning. And clearly I can count cars and look at scenery at the same time. Anyway, I was up to 526 oncoming cars when my counting ended. At that point, I had to stop to get a photo of my re-entrance to Montana. Much like when I zigzagged my way in and out and in and out of Wisconsin and Minnesota, I had now done the same thing with Wyoming and Montana.
Once back in Montana, it was a very short ride to reach the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Despite having at least four gates open, the lineup of cars waiting to gain entry was long – no, I didn’t count this time. But I have to say, while Yellowstone is beautiful I really can’t imagine trying to visit it by car. I don’t think I’d have the patience for all the cars and RVs – even if the hills would be easier to climb than my current method of travel.I arrived in West Yellowstone shortly before 11:30 AM and made my way to the Visitor Center where I was more than a little confident I’d find WiFi access. I did. I also once again had cell service and was able to text Travis, my Warm Showers host for the night. I say, “host” but it would be more accurate to say “absent host” as it turns out my home for the night would be his Man Cave about 30 km southwest of West Yellowstone. And he wouldn’t be there. As he said, my stay at his place would be a “self-guided” tour. Considering the journey I’ve been on, I figured I could handle that.
As there was no urgent need to finish my ride early, I took some time to stock up on a few overpriced groceries and have some lunch before continuing on. By 12:30 PM, both of those tasks were completed and I was pedalling once again.
As teased earlier, in the process of making it to my day’s destination three notable things would happen concurrently. Around 2:15 PM, they happened. One, I left Montana and entered Idaho (i.e, state number 12 on this trip). Two, I crossed the Continental Divide. And three, I officially pedalled in three states in one day. I was pleased with that trifecta.
Perhaps the best aspect to crossing the Continental Divide was that the remaining 15 km to my destination was mostly downhill. Yes, there was a bit of a headwind but nothing drastic and the final 15 km passed relatively effortlessly.
I have to say my Man Cave destination for the day is pretty fantastic. Essentially it’s a big garage with a few snowmobiles, a very cool-looking four-wheeled, off-roading dune buggy vehicle – I’m sure it has an actual name but that’s what I’m going with. It also has a couple of couches, full kitchen, washroom and shower. On his Warm Showers profile, it reads he has a “no frills” place … well, I’m not sure that’s how I would describe it. To me, it’s fantastic and has all the amenities I need. And some I didn’t but made use of anyway – for example, in one drawer there was a bag of microwave pork rinds – I only mention that because I’d never had pork rinds before and I couldn’t resist trying them. I have to say, pretty tasty. And yes, I probably should’ve taken a photo.
Despite another short riding day, it’s been another good day overall. I’m currently wrapping up this entry which means I’ll be completely caught up on my blog again … well, caught up with writing anyway. I don’t have WiFi access so I’m not sure when I’ll actually get to post this – or the previous four entries that are waiting for publication. But at least they’re ready to post. Some day.
Distance: 53.50 km
Ride time: 2:25:05
Average speed: 22.12 km/h
Maximum speed: 37.15 km/h