Oh Great Basin!

So when I left off we were trying to get out of the Jackson Hole area and this we did manage to do. We climbed up and over Togwotee Pass and the Continental Divide without too much a problem, stopping at the lake on the top for a snack. Later we found out that once again we missed seeing some grizzly bears at that spot. Makes me wonder are my feet that bad that those bears stay away till we leave? (Umm…yes Marty they are 🤪) No matter we missed them all while most everyone we talked to got to see brown bears somewhere on their trip down. I guess that is good and bad.

After we did that pass on paved road we went down the hill some then turned off onto another gravel road to do yet more climbing with more great views of woods that had been in a fire and now the forest floor was covered with wild flowers. Looking back and down we could see the paved road we had been on, the Wind River we had crossed then the gravel road we were now climbing up, which we climbed for over four miles. We then had some downhill followed by more uphill, followed by more uphill, followed by more downhill and you guessed it, more uphill. This lasted for some miles till we got to informal campground #3 to set up our camp for the night. Our total ascent for the day was 4,578 feet.

It was a nice campground where we had a big site to ourselves close to the creek. There were other bicycle riders in the camp that Michelle later found out were Northbound riders that did a leg of the divide one week at a time every year. The next day was up and over Union Pass going down one of the roughest roads we had been on this trip.

Union Pass! Our highest elevation yet at 9,666!! Hope the numbers don’t reflect anything to come!!!

The map said possible washboard, what it should have said was that it could possibly beat the living sh!% out of you! After we got onto paved road again the rain/hail got us. Wet, tired and hungry we stopped into a redneck bar for a couple of burgers and were charged for water, then off we peddled into the town of Pinedale to credit card camp for the night before making our way to the Great Basin.

First time being charged for water that I can remember 🤨

After doing our laundry in the morning, and some food shopping we were off on a late start (per the usual). Out of Pinedale it was paved and we made some good time with me drafting off of Michelle. We stopped in the small town of Boulder for some other snacks and met another Southbound rider who was pushing much more mileage than us, like 150 to 200 miles in a day, kind of crazy. Though at this point for the first time he was dealing with saddle soreness and to make it to Denver in time was going to try and hitchbike.

Out of Boulder the route was still paved for some miles till it turned to hard pack road and we were still making good time until we hit a small climb and my chain jumped off the cassette into my spokes. After fixing that problem as best I could we were on our way again. We stopped at Little Sandy creek to eat salad, empty our warm water and filter in cold creek water. The road then became rough washboard and the going was slow. Most drivers are so great, but there are a few that are not, like one that made us both use profanity as he drove by us fast almost out of control with passenger looking scared hanging onto the hand rail.

The going was slow with the washboard and sun getting close to setting when we got back onto the paved road and to a rest stop (Wyoming has the best rest stops) for a short break. When we left the sun had set and our lights were on as we rode off looking for the turn off road and camp spot not too far from there. When we found the spot several campers were there with lights on and a party going on, so off we kept peddling down the dark gravel road.

Upon Michelle’s suggestion we made it to the small historical town of South Pass to set up tent in the corner of their parking area. The next morning we peddled into the town of Alantic City to have a great breakfast where the gruff cook almost pissed off the sleep deprived Michelle. The night before as we had rode into the night was the first time she was awake to see the stars when they came out and they were a sight to see with no light pollution in the area at all. The cook did turn out to be a nice guy and wished us the best of luck and maybe even had a little worry on his face as we were about to head out into the basin. We did this not long after meeting a nice couple who at that time were support car for their son and his friend doing the ride and told us they would be at the A&B resevoir that night.

That day as we rode into the dry Great Basin the time seemed to fly by, but the miles seemed not to add up, it felt like we were making good time, though we seemed to not be. We were able to fill our water at the Sweet River then all other water sources were dried up.

We stopped at an operating oil camp on the suggestion of a northbound rider we had just met on the trail. He had just left there and told us that a guy there told him cyclists could fill up with water from a big jug. We arrived amongst the oil derricks and some large buildings and some no trespassing signs. We knocked on doors, but saw no one. We looked in some windows and could see the orange water cooler our new biker friend described, but there was no one to be seen and seeing the no trespassing sign, I was reluctant to go in as our water supply was not totally dire yet. Our moods at this point I will say were not that great, Michelle as stated before was sleep deprived as well as hot. Myself, I was hot, maybe a little tired and being some what of an ass, did not help at this point.

Another Southbound rider stopped at the oil camp where we were sitting in the shade for a break, he also had meet the Northbound rider and had heard of the water went in past the no trespassing sign and filled up his water. He talked to us for a bit then was on his way.

Michelle then tried to take a nap while I paced around as it was now after five. I decided then to ignore the sign, went to fill one of our bottles. Not long after this Michelle was up, we hugged and then started down the road, we still had over thirty miles to the resevoir and it was getting late. The evening pushed on as no other water sources turned up or good camping sights. Soon it was getting dark again and we kept peddling as our water was getting lower. Sixteen miles to the reservoir we kept on to the next corner, only ten or eleven miles to go, both of us watching the time on our lights going so slowly, we tried not to watch the time.

We saw rabbits running in front of us and sage brush that our light illuminated. We saw car lights far ahead just staying in place close to where we thought the camping area to be, as we got closer the car left and we were then trying to find the unmarked camp area happy to get as far as we did. Riding around and shinning my light we found the camp area and the camper of the couple we met that morning. We tried to be quiet as we looked for a place to set up our tent, happy it was not that car, but other bike riders the lady came out and gave us a half gallon of water, so sweet, we were happy.

It was now getting closer to midnight when we were able to go to sleep. In the morning we we were given coffee and biscottis, met the couples son and his friend, another rider as well as Josh a rider we had met some days before. We were able to leave that morning with full water. The ride this day was easy and only 55 miles to the town of Rawlins were we once again did credit card camping. At this point we knew we would definitely not be able to finish the entire ride without extending our vacation time or pushing crazy uncomfortable miles everyday. Looking at the map, we discussed the multitude of options, how far to continue, where to have my parents pick us up, should we fly home now, get a little further into Colorado…