I was riding along yesterday, with my head down in to the wind, pedalling hard (even on the downhills) just to keep some momentum, the thought occurred to me that I’d much rather be at home watching the cricket!
It’s been a tough few days for me. After the highlight of completing our first 100 mile day on the way to Lima, came the disastrous Day 13. We should have known it was going to be a bad day, but still Ollie and I both ordered Breakfast Number 13 from the menu at the local cafe.
The day started out well and we were making good progress until Ollie stopped for a call of nature by the trailside and then never caught us up. He had a massive puncture caused by a tear to the rim of his rear tyre.
I unhooked the trailer and headed back to find him and then we all helped to change the patched tyre onto the front wheel, where it would bear less weight.
Things didn’t improve much after that. We were getting slower and slower and eventually we loaded Ollie into the back of a pickup truck to get to the nearest bike shop (wherever that may be), to get his bike fixed and also to pick up some supplies for Marco and I.
That was the last we saw of him. He got a ride part of the way and then rode on some more, eventually arriving at the end of the next day in Jackson. From there he chose to cut a corner and rode along the road to Pinedale where he picked up the trail once more.
Meanwhile, Marco and I hit some horrible sandy roads and I was getting slower and slower. I also began to feel quite sick and before long, I was throwing up at the roadside. Still, we carried on, up over a pass and into Idaho - maybe our luck would change with a new state?
On the other side of the pass, I wasn’t feeling much better and we stopped off at a local barbeque, where all the folk from the surrounding area were starting to gather for a big party. They gave us some water and I started to feel a bit better. It would have been an interesting place to spend a few hours I’m sure, but we still had ten miles to go.
That evening, I tried to eat some dinner, but couldn’t and so retired to bed in a local motel feeling terrible and not knowing whether I would be able to carry on.
Next day, I felt a little better, but still couldn’t manage much breakfast. The trail that day was horrible - an old railway line, with all the sleeper bumps in it and a sandy surface that sucked at the tyres. I lost count of the number of times I fell off and so decided to cut my losses and hit the road.
I met back up with Marco in the town of Ashton, where I heard all about the great views I’d missed, but also about the state of the trail.
After a late lunch / early dinner we rode the fifteen or so miles to Squirrel Creek where we were given a wonderful welcome from our hosts. They prepared an amazing dinner for us - breaded chicken with salad and potatoes and pasta salad, with rhubarb crumble and custard for desert. Thank goodness I was feeling better - I would have hated to miss out on that feast!
Next morning, we hit the trail early after a great breakfast and made good progress, although the dreaded mosquitoes were never far away. We heard news from Ollie, that he was not going to meet up with us again, and so we decided to take a detour off the route to Jackson.\
The road there was amazing - with awesome views of the Teton mountains and the view from Jenny Lake was worth the ride alone.
We stopped off in the settlement of Moose for a cold drink (and we even saw a Moose from the side of the road!), and then pedalled our hardest to try to avoid the storm that was headed our way. We got into Jackson and found a motel to stay in before Marco crashed out. He was getting the same sickness that I had had a couple of days before.
We spent the next day (4th July) in Jackson and managed to avoid the grand parade, spending our time in the bike and camping shops, stocking up on supplies.
Back on the bikes, we had a long ride and rode through some amazing surroundings before having a barbeque dinner (with live music) and then riding through the sunset and riding / pushing up a big hill to camp just before Union Pass.
Marco was troubled in the night by some inquisitive cows who got a bit too close for comfort to his tent, but otherwise we had a good night’s sleep. I ahd even managed to put mine up correctly in the dark. I was glad that I had practised in the motel room in Jackson!!
Next morning we rode up over Union Pass and made it to the only cafe on the route that day, just before a huge storm came over. The local cowboys’ horses and our bikes were parked outside and got a huge soaking, but we were safe inside with our cheeseburgers and lemonade.
The weather cleared up and we rode into Pinedale, where we had a huge stroke of luck. On the lookout for some pasta, we were directed to the local micro-brewery where we found no pasta, but couchsurfing host, Amy. We had requested a place to stay when we were in Banff, but because of the limited internet access we’ve had along the way we hadn’t seen that she’d accepted our request.
After finding some pasta in the local pizza place, we rode in the dark to Boulder where we had a great night’s sleep on the couch.