September 4, 2001

9/4/01 Dubois, WY

75 / 7155 miles

With a fire ban in effect because of the dry forests, it's kind of hard gathering with strangers. A campfire on the other hand seems to invite people because of it's light and warmth, and usually new friends. I wandered over to talk to Gail and Tom, the campground hosts. They're from Mississippi but Gail's not looking forward to going back when the campground closes in two weeks. "The humidity is so high." she says. Tom was able to fill my fuel bottle up with white gas other campers had left (you can't take it on an airplane).

As darkness fell, I was again, the lone camper in the biker area. Solitude is a strange thing. When you don't have it, it's something you long for. But when you have too much of it, it let's your mind wander too long, in places it shouldn't go.

A little spattering of rain sometime before sunrise. That should have been a warning, I later decided. I had wanted to capture the mountains bathed in that golden light of dawn but it was elusive. Sometimes I'm amazed that artists can capture such a moment on canvas that takes hours, sometimes days to complete.

Just magnificent

I'm not sure why it surprised me, but I had a bit of headwind. I put it down as an effect of the coming storm clouds. For the most part the temperature stayed cool as I climbed all morning. Basically, the day was all uphill as soon as I left the Grand Teton Park boundary. But, that also put me back on good roads with a shoulder, something the park was in much need of.

It seemed to take forever to do those first fifteen miles up. At Cowboy Village, I still had nine miles to go before Togwotee Pass, but decided on a late lunch anyway. Probably one of the biggest burgers I've had this trip, all in the saloon watching Wesley Snipes in "Murder at 1600". Wish I could have stayed to watch the end.

Once outside, I realized those drops of rain this morning were a signal of what's coming. At an overlook viewing the Tetons, you couldn't eve see one of the mountains because of the storm clouds. All around me, dark, brooding clouds were congregating. I know their mood because I could hear the thunder. A few times, I felt rain, stopped to put on a jacket, only to have the sun come out again.

But as I neared the top of the pass (9658'), the headwinds intensified and the temperature dropped. Time for my Gortex jacket! I was hoping that the mountains would divert any storm, but later I realized that this storm system was huge.

After clearing the pass, the map showed a downhill all the way to Dubois, thirty miles away. And it wasn't far off the mark. It didn't take long for the temperature to rise as I began th descent. But I kept the rain gear on because I could still see isolated storms all around me, even though I rode mostly in sun-light.

Parts of this ride I remember, but it's still different coming into town from a different direction. Once I made it into town, I headed to Bob's Bike Corral but it was closed. Nothing to do but set up camp back at the Circle-Up Camper Court. Jan even remembered me from my previous stay. Talked with a few couples from Illinois before heading over to the pool for a quick dip. Really looking forward to Lander, WY, tomorrow.