View Sea2Jax in a larger map

Monday 30 May 2011

Day 21 - Wet Welcome to Wyoming

Todays mileage: 26
Total mileage: 985
End point: Alpine, WY

Last night I set about doing some laundry and got talking to Janice the lady who runs the campground and cabins. The theme of the conversation was litigation. She told me two things, firstly her daughter had got bitten by a dog when out running down by the road close by and literally had to kick 7 bells out of the dog to get it off (see I told you this happens) and secondly not to use H&R Block as she had had a number of issues running a franchise for them. In the end it turned out the daughter didn't sue the dog owner, but she had years of litigation with H&R. For my european readers - H&R Block is a company which prepares tax returns. On the otherside of this conversation were clean clothes :)

I awoke to find a pile of messy slushy ice at the door of my cabin - appealing riding weather no doubt. With this in mind and the fact the forecast showed no improvement I planned to ride for only a few hours to make it into Wyoming; this would be a psychological boost although I haven't hit the the 1,000 mile mark which everyone has been getting excited about.  - patience please.

I left the cabin and followed the snake river up towards the palisades dam and rersevoir. The dam acts a hydroelectric powerstation to the valley and to my suprise I found it was combined with a campsite. I have never seen such a combination before, although if I remember correctly (and my ex e.on colleagues will confirm) ratcliffe poewrstation did have a 9 hole golf course in front of it.

A little climb took me to the top of the dam were there were quite a few people who had stopped to take photos. After chatting to a family, I was approached by an older gentleman who it turned out was from the Netherlands on tour. He asked me what I knew about the dam. I told him the original plans for the dam started in the 1930s, but construction was delayed until the 1950s, it was completed in 1957 and is a 175MW unit - I joke - that's the start of the wikipedia article.. but I did tell him one thing I did know which was they had emptied it as much as possible in preperation for the mega melt which would occur over the next couple of months, and hence the reservoir was 10 metres down from the top. I also got to bust my two lines of dutch:

1. how are you?
2. Its raining cats and dogs

He was very impressed. He also told me they had to change their route significantly because yellowstone had been closed - this confirmed I had made the right decision taking a southern route.

I thought the road around the palasades reservoir would be relatively flat, I mean water after all is flat. Absolutely not! I'd like to say the road was 10 'rolling' hills but they weren't, they were each a minimum 5% gradient. Everytime I went up it seemed I got physically abuse by large hailstones the size of big peas and then going down I got massive brainfreeze, like I was being force fed milkshake.

The road had loads of gorgeous chalets built next to it which leads my to my latest day dreaming proposition which is buying some random chunk of land. Looking in the local paper I've seen it advertized for $1,500 per acre - bargain, I could just whack that on the credit card easy. The problem is what do you actually get in your 4 acres, when you find out connecting this 4 acres to the grid is going to cost $37,000 you are going to be quite so happy, maybe some micro-hydro is the solution? Maybe not...

I've seen my worst road kill of the trip to date. I pregnant deer (/antelope/elk.. I have no idea) which was dead by the road with its insides completely ripped out and the two dead babies scattered in the ditch. I almost felt like vomiting but the brain freeze was distracting me.

At the end of the reservoir I reached Wyoming and said a wet hello to my fourth state and cruised into the town of Alpine. To be fair to Alpine it actually does have some alp looking buildings. I had an intresting chat with the motel owner where I am staying. He told me the 31 route which was my alternative way to Jackson currently requires snow chains. Secondly he told me about what must be the most crazy bike race ever were they race round the Tetons in a 75 mile loop. Apparently a couple of years ago they tried reversing the loop so the Teton pass happens at the end of the race. The problem was after this epic climb after several hours of racing, someone zoomed off a cliff and died and another 5 people wre hospitalized - the gradient is 10% and amateurs doing 50mph + whilst extremely tired is a terrible combination.. I won't be entering.

I'm now feasting in an Italian restaurant, and looking forrward to sunshine tomorrow and putting some miles back on the bike. Can't wait for this hail / snow / rain / snail to stop!


  1. Always knew that Dutch course would come in useful! Well done on reaching state number four

  2. So on through Cheney Country, then? (that's where our esteemed oil-baron VP hails from, if you didn't know). You're doing well to head to Jackson, though -- a true oasis of civility and beauty in that stark State. Glad that you're on the lookout for those vicious dogs, but you *do* know that you're in, um, BEAR country, right?

  3. A few weeks ago I started reading your blog at the insistence of Christie. I guess I felt I better try to be polite and see what was up with this British boy that plans to marry my Cross Country star. After a few days I found myself voluntarily searching for the darn blog site thingy to see where in the West was Brian. Now I rush home from my exciting life as a man in a cubicle to read the comments of a dude living the dream. Don't mind me whilst I live through you. I'm having a blast. - The Director.