West Yellowstone

Hank – We had a very cold night in Island Park. The rain on the outside of the rain fly and the condensation on the inside froze. Kathy, snuggled up in her sleeping bag wearing a cap, two pair of pants, four tops (one wool), and two pair of socks with hand warmers inside, gives me her big-eyes look and says, “I’m ready for tea whenever you are.”

Who can disappoint those eyes, right? So I get up and boiling water for tea. The stove warmed the tent. And melted the frozen condensation. After my tea I went for a walk in the campground. The Buffalo River runs next to the camp. The ground was frost covered and the rising sun was just beginning to liquify the frost. Mist rose from the river. Ducks and geese flew in and out. I stood in the warm sun and enjoyed the peaceful ambiance.

A funny note about my down sleeping bag. Small bits of down work their way through the material and spread all over me. When I get up in the morning and down goes flying all inside the tent one might think I’ve been plucking chickens during the night.

We got a late start since I wanted to dry our gear out. The sun was out and a cool wind blew on our backs for most of the ride until we hit the Continental Divide. The climb wasn’t bad at all. It was a gentle slope compared to others we’ve done. Stickers are all over the Divide marker sign. I found a blank spot for a GASUP (Get Around Spokane Using Pedals Facebook group) sticker.

We coasted down for 3-4 miles and soon arrived in West Yellowstone. Surprisingly, not one of the RV campgrounds offer tent sites. We’d have to ride 4 miles out of town to tent it. Kathy was pretty tired and we were starving and we needed showers and to do laundry. We got dinner and decided to spring for a room at one of the Best Western hotels. (Kathy is a rewards member.) While signing in the subject of our adventure came up. The manager, David, overheard and after we left for our room he told the clerk to reduce our bill by $100. The clerk later told me about. I thanked David very much and told him of other experiences of generosity we’ve had. His is added to the list.

Kathy – YES, last night was cold! Good thing I packed a few of those chemical hand warmers.  My feet were so cold even with my wool socks on that I was unable to sleep. So i pulled out a pair of the hand warmers and put them in between my two pair of socks.  It did the trick. I got right to sleep once the heat was on my feet.  I was awake for about an hour before Hank woke up.  I didn’t want to wake him or get out of my sleeping bag because it was so cold.  Once he awoke, yes I was ready for my tea.  Hank is such a great water boiler!  🙂

Today we rode 34 miles with 1,000 feet of elevation – according to Google Maps for bicycles.  I must say, I don’t think the Google Maps elevations are correct.  You can only see the elevation gains/losses when you say you are traveling by bicycle rather than car.  Often Google Maps will say a specific elevation but it doesn’t seem to account for the rolling hills.  We have searched the same locations multiple times and found it has given us significant differences in elevation depending on when you search.  And lastly, many times Google Maps will say it is flat when by-golly I know it wasn’t!  I have been pretty frustrated with Google Maps elevation so last night I wrote them a long letter explaining the issues I noted with their maps.  Then I kindly asked them to fix the elevation on the Google Maps for bicycle.  I reminded them that we are only one month into our trip and I would it fixed soon so we can have accurate information.   No doubt they will be all over that and get it fixed ASAP.  🙂  In the mean time, if anyone knows of a great mapping app that shows accurate elevation gain/loss (before you travel) please let me know.  Thank you!

Anyway, good news for today…we hit our fourth state: Montana!  And, best of all…we conquered the Continental Divide!!  Yep, we made it to the top of the mountainside and I wasn’t even in my lowest gear, nor did I stop on the way up!  I’m definitely feeling stronger by the day.  We really never ate a good meal today so by the time we made it to West Yellowstone I was tired and we were both hungry.  We rode around the town for a bit trying to find a tent site with no luck.  We decided to grab a bite to eat and after that I made the executive decision to get a hotel and call it a night.  We still had laundry to do and pick up some fresh produce for our ride tomorrow.  I think we were both happy with this choice and getting the discount was the icing on the cake!  There are so many good people in this world!

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  1. Howdy!
    You two are doing awesome! Happy riding!


    1. Thank you, Kathy. It’s been quite the adventure already.


    2. Thank you Kathy!! 💗


  2. Trula Millspaugh June 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I went to Yellowstone couple of years ago.
    Mother Nature is amazing
    I read your blogs everyday and enjoying your adventure


    1. Happy you are enjoying the blog Trula. And, Happy Retirement! 🎉🍾🎊 👀 mg forward to seeing you more in Spokane. 💗💗💗


  3. I don’t know of any iOS apps, but BRouter probably has what you want. The main issue is that it’s not easy to use. You can play around with the web interface here:

    Click once to set your starting point. Click again to set destination. The optimization criteria are described at


    1. Thanks for the suggestion Geoff. I can’t seem to get BRouter to show anything but Germany. Next time we talk maybe we can work though it. Love you! ❤️❤️❤️


  4. Barb and I eagerly read your blog as posted. Thank you for taking the time to write and share. 👏🙏


    1. Gary and Barb, happy you are enjoying the blog. Looking forward to the bike couples gathering again once we are back in Spokane to share everyone’s cycling adventures. 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️


  5. Regarding elevation, are you tracking miles with Garmin devices? I find the elevation to be accurate with the added benefit of being able to upload to Strava.

    Also with Garmin connect you can see the accumulation. For example on my Trans-AM trip (a small segment of what you are doing) I logged 195,000 feet of climbing.



    1. We’re keeping the devices to a minimum so we’re relying on Google maps for elevation and Kathy’s bike odometer for mileage. Not precise but close enough.


      1. I see the wisdom in your choice. Adding charging equipment etc. can be a hassle and it detracts from the in the moment experience. 👍

  6. Ginny marshall June 5, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Easy riders,
    Your blog is so exciting. I keep reading along definitely with enjoyment.


    1. Happy you are enjoying the blog post Ginny. I love you and will talk to you soon. ❤️❤️❤️


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