CGY 2015: Day 4

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 / Cooke City, MT  to Cody, WY via Chief Joseph Scenic Byway / 77 miles 

We woke to clear skies! No bears, but we spent a COLD night in the tent. We have good sleeping bags, but they were not enough. I ended up wrapping my feet in my down jacket, sleeping in all of my warm clothes including my beautiful orange neck gaiter/ear cover! The tent was coated in ice; the door-flap operated like a solid door. It would have been funny if we hadn’t been so darn cold.

Frozen tent!
Frozen tent! Ours is the beige and yellow one.

On the way to breakfast...This picture is worth a thousand words.
On the way to breakfast…frozen bicycle.
Steve's bike, notice the ice!
Steve’s bike, notice the ice! He had already cleared his seat.
Packing up
Packing up in the sunshine!

Today’s ride followed the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway across Dead Indian Pass. This was by far the prettiest day for scenery with beautiful forests, streams beside the roadway, and great views of the valleys. The power of nature was visible at every turn.

Magnificent landscapes
Magnificent landscapes
Here comes speedy!
Here comes speedy!

The great thing (on a clear day) with uphill climbs are the down-hills! Today’s ride had some nice descents with great views and lots of sunshine.

One hazard for cyclists in the West are the cattle guards and there were lots of them today. Cattle guards are made from metal tubing placed across an open culvert and are intended to keep livestock from crossing. Usually they extend the full width of the road and are about eight feet wide. Like railroad tracks, they are treacherous if not crossed at right angles. Seams between sections of the cattle guards can be a problem, too, because  the cracks can catch a wheel.

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Open range, loose stock. How would you ever find your cows?
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Cattle guard. Serious business!
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Watch for cattle on road; but isn’t this the prettiest place?
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Before the ascent
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From the base of Dead Indian Pass looking back at the roadway we had just ridden.

Dead Indian Pass required an eight mile trek uphill with a series of switchbacks. At the base of the hill, Steve went ahead, but waited for me at the lunch-stop at the top. I tackled it by deciding that I could make it to the next switchback, then the next, then the next, until I was finally there!

Amazing geology
Amazing geology, viewed from ascent of Dead Indian Pass.
Almost there!
Almost there!
Made it to the top!
Made it to the top!
Looking back, serious series of switchbacks.
Looking back, serious series of switchbacks

There was construction work on the road, but they let cyclists go ahead then took vehicles through with the Follow-Me vehicle. It was nice to ride without also having to watch for cars while climbing. At the top, I heard a Stop/Slow sign-guy say that thanks to the weather the previous day, the construction crew was behind schedule. If we hadn’t had the bad weather the day before, we would have had to contend with fresh chip-seal. Chip-seal is what Southerner’s call tar and gravel (aka “shake and bake”) and Northerner’s call fresh oil and stone. I did not appreciate the previous day’s weather, but I am thankful not to have had to brave the Chief Joseph Highway with loose gravel!

Nice long descent with gorgeous views
Nice long descent with gorgeous views
Heading toward Cody; long and winding road.
Heading toward Cody; long and winding road.
Sunset in Cody campground
Sunset in Cody campground

 

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