September 1, 2001

9/1/01 Grant Village

49.3 / 7019 miles

Tried to get an early start so I could view the falls at sunrise (or close to it). Still a bite in the air here at close to 8000'. The one viewpoint I didn't stop at yesterday was Red Rock Point. But someone highly recommended it, so that's where I went this chilly morning.

After a long climb down the trail, I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the Lower Falls. I was almost even with the top and close enough to hear the deafening roar. The valley was just beginning to see the light of the morning sun. Awesome!

Sunrise hits the canyon

By the time I had crossed to the other side of the canyon, the whole valley was bathed in golden sunlight. I'm glad I cam back to Artist Point because the view was very different than yesterdays overcast sky.

A strange thing happened on the road today. As I was riding past, an older couple from Florida (I saw their car license plates) trained both their camera's on me as if I was some exotic, rare Yellowstone animal. Since there was barely a shoulder, I went up a ways till I found a turn-out. A few minutes passed and here they came driving down the road. I saw them wave but they never stopped. You would have thought they might my name or my story. Now I know what the poor bison feels with all the tourists paparazzi.

Today just seemed special. The grasses were green and golden while the water looked blue and silver. It's as if the colors were intensified. Maybe it's just a burst of life as we near winter. Already some services are being 'closed for the season'. And last night, one industrious squirrel kept chucking green, rock-hard pine cones down on me every twenty seconds as I was trying to eat. Seems the signs are there saying "Head south young man!"

Even a stiff headwind couldn't dampen my spirits. I laughed out loud at the wind gods. What else could I do? I mean, here I am finally heading south, and still I'm getting pushed back. I should be feeling a cold north wind at my back, shouldn't I? Ah, but the sun was shinning, so who cares!

A lone buffalo in the Yellowstone River

I was in for a pleasant surprise when I registered at Grant Village campground. Sylvia greeted me at the window. She remembered be from when I was here in June. What a surprise, and she even remembered my name (she called me 'John' but that's close enough). It's nice to see a familiar face.

Sylvia remembered me

Looks like I still might see some cyclists out on the road as I head south, at least the die-hard round-the-world types. Met another Dutch couple today, Wiebe and Ina Havinga, who started in Calgary, going through the US to Mexico. After cycling there for the winter, they'll head back to see more of America.

Ina & Wiebe

And to top the day off, I'm in my exact same tent site as back in June. Headed off to the Grand Tetons tomorrow. Maybe I'll see Mike, Todd and Whitney. That would be cool. And I almost forgot - passed the 7000-mile mark today. Yippie! Texas, here I come.