Week 7 brought us from Jackson, WY to Sweetwater River Campground, just south of Atlantic City, WY. We were fresh off of 5 consecutive rest days in Jackson/Grand Targhee Resort, catching up and hiking with friends and attending the wedding of our friends, Shannon and Pat. Afterwards, we planned to spend a few days relaxing at Rachel’s family’s cabin, west of Big Piney in the Wyoming Range. We realized it wouldn’t make sense to ride our bikes to the cabin with the limited amount of time we had before we needed to be in Rawlins to meet up with our friends, Andy and Silvia. Rachel’s Aunt Alli and Uncle Jim were very excited about us visiting the cabin (especially since I had never been), and they came up with the idea to get us a rental car. They graciously booked us one from Pinedale, WY for the 4th day after we left Jackson. Thank you SO much, Aunt Alli and Jim!
This meant we needed to hustle for the first three days of the week in order to relax for the following three before returning to the route. In Jackson, we sat at just under 1,500 total miles into the trip, so this week marked the beginning of the second half of our GDMBR journey!
Not all days on this trip are as glamorous as the pictures might make them seem. Today was a particularly difficult day for me.
We woke up in a small stand of trees amidst cow dung, a location that we had chosen the previous night, because it was somewhat sheltered from the cold rain that had been pouring down. We had eaten dinner in the tent, ill-advised if you are bear aware, but we had been soaked and shivering and eager to get out of the rain.
This morning, the rain had stopped, but heavy clouds still hung in the sky. We packed up and set off, on pavement to begin. For a short time, the sun made an appearance, and we were able to shed some of our layers.
Week 6 of our GDMBR trip only featured one day of cycling, from Colter Bay to Jackson, WY. It began with a rest day at Colter Bay Campground with our friends Gillian and Grant. We enjoyed lounging and swimming at the Jackson Lake beach in the morning, but the solitude was soon disturbed by crowds of people, giant floaties and kids splashing around. At that point, we decided to retreat to our campsite, where we spent the remainder of the day relaxing, tuning our bikes, and hanging out with G&G.
Week five of our GDMBR adventure started somewhat lazily in Bozeman. We had grand plans of getting back to the route and making tracks early, but we were overly ambitious with our to-do list. That being said, we knew we could cover miles late in the day as the temperature dropped and shade grew, so we joined Jim & Jeanette at church then got some amazing donuts from Granny’s Gourmet Donuts . Back at the house, we took our time eating lunch, packing, and using the computer, then left Bozeman at 3PM. J&J took us back to the top of the hill in Butte, and we said goodbye for our 3rd (and final) time of the trip. The rest of the week took us from Butte through southern Montana, over the corner of Idaho, into Northwest Wyoming. We had a daily mileage to maintain in order to arrive in Wyoming in time for our friend Shannon’s wedding at Grand Targhee Resort. Once we had a few good days of riding under our belts, though, we decided we would continue to push a little further every day in order to have extra rest days in Jackson and the Tetons. We also reached a new high of 7,900′ in this section.
Our 4th week on the GDMBR began at Holland Lake and brought us to Butte. As was the case with week 3, we had rest days on both ends of the week. We have been fortunate to take so many rest days in Montana with Rachel’s family. Although our riding began and ended in Holland Lake and Butte respectively, we technically began and ended the week in Lakeside and Bozeman, thanks to Sydney, Jack, Jim, and Jeanette once again for extracting us from the route to their rather posh accommodations.