I can’t not believe how far we’ve come. It seems like the days are just whizzing by now. We have just a little over 2 weeks left…crazy! So today we had an awesome build day in Idaho Falls, ID. Just one more state line left and that’s Oregon! Before I tell you about today, I need to fill you in on how we got here from my last post. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten a chance to post in a while, but we’ve been camping a lot and the rides have been getting a little longer. So this will be a bit long, hope you’re ready. For our actual day off in Steamboat, I spent most of my day at this awesome coffee shop reading a book called The Hour I First Believed. Although I didn’t get to finish it, I definitely think that I’ll be picking it up once I get home. It was nice to just relax and have some down time since it’s so hard to come by on this trip. As per usual, Mark and I got hungry so we shared a 18” pizza at Brooklyn’s Brick Oven. Delicious! To end the day we went to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs and it was a perfect way to close out our rest day.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Steamboat, CO -> Maybell, CO
From Steamboat, we rode into Maybell, Colorado. The ride started out amazing. I kept up with Mark and Andy riding averaging 21 mph for the first 31 miles, then the sidewall of Andy’s tire blew. We Mcgeyver patched with a tube patch and eventually made it to lunch around mile 40 with a great 20 mph pace. Towards the end of the ride, we found an awesome spot to go swimming in a river we crossed over. So we got to go into the Yampa River a few miles out of the campsite we we’re staying in. Life on Bike & Build is so hard sometimes haha.
Our final stop in the beautiful state of Colorado, Maybell is small town of about 370 people. Naturally in a place so tiny, there wasn’t much to do. The town consisted of a general store, gas station, diner and a library. We went to it all. The diner was good and it reminded me a little of New Jersey.
Our campsite at Maybell, CO
Maybell, CO -> Vernal, UT
Another state line! After Maybell our next stop was Vernal, Utah. The scenery seemed to change quickly as we were riding into desert and the colors turned from green to red. Before I start talking about Utah, there is still one last thing Colorado had to offer…Dinosaurs! As a boy, Dinosaurs still hold a place near and dear to my heart. So going through Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado was just plain sweet. Unfortunately the actual museum has been closed for a few years, but they’ll be opening it back up after renovations so maybe I’ll just have to come back.
The rest of the ride into Vernal was pretty tough for me and the last stretch through the town was really windy. Nothing like some delicious dirt being thrown in your face. I think Vernal did have the best value for an after ride meal. Mark and I went to a Chinese buffet for 5.99! I love a good deal and the best part was that they had some good ice cream. At the host site dinner wasn’t provided and since this week I’m on dinner crew we were responsible of cooking. We ended up doing a burrito night and I think all in all it was a pretty good meal. The best part of Vernal for me personally was that one of the grocery stores had Bundaberg Ginger Beer! When one of the riders came with Bundaberg Root Beer, I asked about ginger beer. To my delight she said they had some and I quickly hopped on my bike to buy them out! I couldn’t believe it, the drink I had grown to love while in Australia was here in Vernal, Utah. What a great day.
My encounter with an actual dinosaur!
More dinosaurs in Utah
Vernal, UT -> Flaming Gorge, UT
With my belly full from a night of ginger beer (it isn’t an alcoholic drink btw) and burritos we had a great climb into Flaming Gorge, Utah. Even though the climb was pretty tough, 8% grades with switchbacks, the day was short. Oh that descent was just good old fashion fun! It was so much fun, I almost missed the the turn to the campsite which was halfway down the mountain haha. I tried as hard as I could to get 50 mph, but sadly I only hit 45. Maybe next time I’ll have to put some rocks in my Camleback!
Sign for Flaming Gorge!
We love climbs, the road grade sign for the Flaming Gorge climb
A view from a lookout about halfway up the climb
Flaming Gorge, UT -> Rock Springs, WY
Just like that, we were done with Utah. From Flaming Gorge, we were off to our first stop in Wyoming, Rock Springs. It was a tough ride into the town with some hard climbing and tough headwinds. There were some change of directions at the last minute, but eventually we all got there. I actually had a pretty scary moment right at the last stretch. While cornering a turn at over 20 mph my tires slipped and I almost wiped out, but luckily I manage to recover. I’m not sure how I didn’t crash, but I am very grateful that I came out without a scratch!
Rock Springs ended up being an awesome place to stay. The pastor loaned us Harry Potter to watch on a projector, which was a lot of fun. Some of the congregation even took us into their homes to take showers. It was a real pleasure to stay with their church and we all definitely enjoyed it.
Mark popping a wheelie on the road to Wyoming
A group shot of some us just into Wyoming
Rock Springs, WY -> Pinedale, WY
The day out of Rock Springs was our 2nd official century (my 3rd) and also my last sweep. This time I swept with my friend Joe. Sweeping a longer day is usually pretty painful, but the day overall wasn’t too bad. It was long, but that was to be expected. Along the way I got probably the world’s biggest single scoop of ice cream at Farson Mercantile, The Home of the Big Cone. We did get caught in a bit of a hailstorm with lightening, but it was only for a little while. Out of the storm I actually found 5 unopened bottles of soda on the side of the road! It was like mana fell from the heavens and it definitely gave me a boost of morale, just when I needed it.
To make some of these longer rides go by faster, the trip leaders decided to do a photo scavenger hunt. I was part of team Laser Cats (byong byong rawr). Since I was sweep we didn’t get to take too many photos, but its alright because it was a 2 day challenge. The team consisted of Jen Hunt, Jen Hock, Sarah Graham, Zach and I. Let me tell you we were out to win it!
The biggest single scoop ever!
My loot from the side of the road
Pinedale, WY -> Jackson, WY
The ride into Jackson was all about the photo challenge. Team Laser Cats rode together for most of the day and we got some sweet photos. The actually cycling part was pretty difficult, but riding with the team and taking photos along the way definitely helped to break it up.
At the ski resort town of Jackson, Wyoming we stayed with an awesome family, the Amblers. We had a day off there also, so the Amblers graciously hosted us for 2 nights. On our off day, they even drove us out to see Grand Teton National Park. We had a blast going through the beautiful scenery and we even got to see some great wildlife including a moose, some bison and what might have been a bald eagle! I topped off the ride through the Park by getting some huckleberry soda. Apparently huckleberries are big deal around this area. The team ended the day off by judging the photo contest. We looked through all the teams’ photos on our projector and let me tell you, they were all so amazing. Still there could be only one winner and of course the winner was…..TEAM LASER CATS!!! I think we get a prize, but I don’t know yet haha.
An example of what we see pretty much on a daily basis…just plain beautiful.
The stars were beautiful in Jackson, this picture doesn’t even do it justice
A view from Grand Teton National Park
My Huckleberry Soda
The cows behind the Ambler’s house
I would love to live in their house! This is another shot of their backyard.
Its actually getting a bit late, so I’ll have to write about Idaho at another time. So I’ll just leave you with another affordable housing fact since its been a while. The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as spending 30% or less of your income on rent and essential utilities, but currently over 12 million Americans are spending more than 50%!