June 26, 2001

6/26/01 Madison Junction Camp

46.2 miles

Sat around the campfire, having a beer with the guys camped across from me till late. They said to call them in Denver when I was biking though Colorado, and they could at least offer a place to sleep.

Actually got a later start than my normal. The ride was pretty quiet as I had to cross the Continental Divide twice. After that, it was generally downhill. One thing I can't figure out is all the complaints about the lack of a shoulder through the park. Compared to "no" shoulder in Virginia and Kentucky, I have a ton of room on the side of the road.

Coming down the road, I could see buildings and thought it might be the Old Faithful Lodge. What I didn't realize was how commercialized it would be. All surrounding this one geyser - lodge, inn, visitor center, store, grill, ranger station, gift shop, etc. You get the picture. And just like the hundreds of people around me, I sat on the benches waiting for the famous eruption. And it didn't disappoint. Kind of cool, actually.

My whole day was spent wandering this geothermal amusement park. Words like geyser, hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots are now part of my vocabulary. I saw so many "new" things that it's difficult to remember all the names like Castle Geyser, Grotto Geyser, Morning Glory Pool, Sunset Lake, Emerald Pool, Mustard Spring, Sapphire Pool, and Fountain Paint Pot. Even with all the people, the sights--and even sounds--couldn't be diminished. Simply amazing!

Nature's canvas

And if all that wasn't enough, today the bike and trailer got a lot of attention. I met a family from Eugene, Oregon, who told me to call them when I'm in town. Sat next to a family from France while waiting for Old Faithful to erupt. Another family heard me talking and gave a donation. Met a group cycling a supported loop through Yellowstone and the Tetons. Really had a good time talking with people.

Old Faithful

And, that's not all! I'm here at Madison Junction Campground with a few other cross-country cyclists. Christina is from Germany and has been cycling east from New Zealand, Los Angeles, and coming through all the national parks in the southwest. I have spent most of the evening talking with Maggie and Allen Pendleton, who have cycled all over the world on their tandem. I might even see them more between here and Missoula.

A funny thing happened when I registered for my hiker/biker campsite. Betty asked, "Are you the guy giving the talk at the library tomorrow?" When I said yes, she requested a quick preview of what I was going to say, because she couldn't be there because of work. How about that - I'm a celebrity!