Day 25, Cooke City, MT (approx. elevation 7200’) to Cody, WY – August 26 – 77 miles
I woke this morning buried under the warm blankets of a Cooke City motel. After 25 days on the road, I was still having trouble with figuring out where I was when I woke up in the morning. I got in last evening around 6 PM, riding the last 15 miles in a cold driving rain that tested my rain gear. Under those conditions, it’s never good enough, unfortunately. Strangely, I could feel the eyes of the people driving by. The thought of rain camping again and my wet tent from the night before helped me decide on a motel in Cooke City. That is why I brought a credit card, after all. I soon found that the motel owner wasn’t in a haggling mood. The law of supply and demand governs in the Yellowstone area during the summer. I got into my room, set the heat on high and opened my gear up to dry as I dined at the Beartooth Café. Dinner was especially earned that night – the prime rib was memorable. Oh, what luxury! After returning to my room, I found the TV. It was a novelty at this point of the trip, well at least for a while. As it continued to rain and the temperatures fell, I was drawn to the Weather Channel. The forecast called for snow tonight and rain tomorrow. That’s what I knew when I went to bed last night and that’s what I woke up to. Not very promising.
Even though it was still dark when I woke up, I could see that there was no snow on the ground and it wasn’t raining. The Weather Channel still said rain today, though. It was decision time. Should I just hang out in Cooke City today and let the weather pass or take my chances? The thought of 80 miles of cold rain was not appealing, but sitting in a motel room and watching TV wasn’t very attractive either. Well, I decided to take my chances – at least my tent was dry now. It was sure cold when I started but at least it wasn’t raining, yet. As I left Cooke City, I found out that Beartooth Pass had 1.5′ of snow and it was closed. Luckily, I was going over the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway that split off of the Beartooth Pass road and it remained open. There was a lot less traffic because of the closure, which I initially thought was good. Then, I started seeing the Grizzly bear warning signs along the road which made me think that a few more cars would be a good thing after all. It was kinda spooky for a while which kept me pedaling. I was feeling the eyes on me again but this time not human (Hmmm, how fast can a Grizzly bear run and would it have any interest in a skinny cyclist?). Any how, Chief Joseph Highway turned out really great. The Wyoming Bicycle Coordinator recommended this road to me. The views were fantastic and there was a challenging climb up Dead Indian Pass (not very PC I’d say). Anyhow, I made it over the pass but was very cognizant of rain clouds forming around me. I sailed down the other side and set a new land speed record of 47 mph. It was pretty scary going that fast for so long. I even had to apply the brakes a couple times. There was just too much time to think about that little patch of rubber between me and the pavement. Even so, the winding downhill was exhilarating. As I pedaled the last 16 miles into Cody I could see the big jet-black rain clouds behind me in my rear view mirror. I made it into Cody with out rain and “celebrated” with my 1st Whopper of the trip. Fast food actually tasted pretty good tonight – shame on me. It began raining right after I set up my tent. The biking gods smiled on me today as I dodged rain all day and even got a little sun. 2 thumbs up for Chief Joseph Highway!
Read more about my trip on the trip log page.