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Tuesday In Yellowstone – More New Friends

Hank – Kathy and I got up early. Last night we decided to take showers, do laundry, eat and then ride to the Norris Campground and spend the night there. Morten was up early, too. He was headed to a KOA campground west of West Yellowstone. We took a photo and saw him off. He may pass through Twin Falls on his way to Oregon.  He’s a WarmShowers member so we told him to contact the Effin’ Legend Kathy Peterson. John wasn’t stirring when we left for showers and laundry. His camp was gone when we returned so I assume he pressed on. We wish him well.

Moving to the Norris campground reduces Wednesday’s trip by 12 miles giving us more time to sight see and get past the construction. We stopped by the registration office and asked if Norris had reserved hiker/biker spots. “That’s a good question. Let me find out.” He comes back a minute later. “I don’t know.” We decided to chance it and left Canyon Village with gusty winds in our faces.

Google maps called for about 700 feet of climbing. (By the way, John told us Google Maps is not our friend. We have learned that the hard way.) If we didn’t climb 700 feet leaving Canyon Village then we at least did 690. Fortunately, the trees shielded us from the wind for most of the climbing.

After we got over the hump it was smooth sailing even with the headwind, especially down the 8% grade we went up two days ago. Norris Campground is a first come-first serve campground. We were happy to find it has two reserved hiker/biker spots. The camp hosts said Kathy and I were their first bikers of the season. Yay! We had a primitive site on the edge of a beautiful meadow with a meandering stream S-curving all over the place.

The camp hosts warned us a grizzly had walked through that area in the morning. News like that will keep Kathy on edge so the bear spray was within easy reach at all times. We found lots of bison tracks all over the campground and bison fur stuck to nearby trees and lying on the ground. I’m guessing there will be a greater chance of bison than bear.

We washed today’s riding clothes and set them in the sun to dry.We checked out the Park Ranger Museum. I was not aware that the US Army was first tasked with protecting the park. Harry Yount was hired as the first gamekeeper of the park. He quit after a year because the job was just too big for one person. He recommended having a larger force. Eventually, the National Park Service was created, in 1916, and now we have park rangers.

Other people returned to their sites later in the afternoon and we got to meet our next door neighbors. Eric (from Belgium) and Shan (from Latvia) who are a wonderful couple. They invited us over for ice-old beers and drinks. We accepted and went over after dinner. Eric is an IT specialist working for the European Union embassies. He’s currently stationed in Washington, D.C. He’s been posted in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Serbia. He hopes to go the Bangkok next. It was interesting how laid back they were, except that Shan, not being the outdoorsy type, was always on the alert for bears.

(Shan looking at something moving in the bushes) “What’s that?”

“Oh, it’s a girl.”

The story of the grizzly passing through camp had her on high alert too. Eric playfully told her that the bear would go through the other part of the campsite first so it wouldn’t be hungry by the time it got to our site. When we told Eric that we were on bikes and that’s how we got the hiker/biker. Eric thought we had bikes on our car and used them to get the site. He and Shan were very surprised to learn that we had no car and were actually riding bicycles. The combined look of incredulity was precious. They were fun to hang out with and they invited us to look them up and stay with them when we pass by their home near D.C. We exchanged contact info. Now we have Norm in Fort Meyers and Eric and Shan in Washington, D.C. to visit again. How cool is that?

Kathy – Yes Hank is right. Google Maps does not calculate elevation correctly for cyclist.  When we left Canyon Village for Norris Campsite Google Maps said it was 700 feet of climbing and then all downhill – Totally False!  We had a constant climb for the first six miles and then we did have a nice little downhill before rolling hills into Norris Campsite.  I am still waiting the hear back from Google after I wrote them last week on their cyclist elevations.  No doubt they are working on it and will let me know soon that it is all fixed.  😉

The Norris campground was stunning…but upon checking in the Park Ranger did not need to tell me a grizzly bear walked directly though our campsite area this morning.  That definitely spooked me!   We kept all of our food, personal hygiene products, and anything with a possible odor in the bear box next to our tent site.  We did not want to chance it.  Lucky for us no bear sightings today!

We really enjoyed meeting our campsite neighbors, Eric and Shan.  They are truly a lovely couple.  We sat and chatted for hours by the campfire.  I love meeting so many wonderful people from all around the U.S. and many different countries overseas as well.  It was too funny when Eric and Shan realized we did not have a car and were only on our bikes.  The look on their faces as Shan spoke in a bit of broken English, “You have no car?”  Then her and Eric both looked at each other and said, “Ohhhh, Ahhh, Ohhhh” then they shook their heads in disbelief.  Too funny to see!  They are great people and I hope when we get to the D.C. area we can visit with them again.  Another great day seeing more of the beautiful park and meeting more great people!

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