Day 25 Cooke City, MT
by Alan Haag

Day 25 Cooke City, MT ( approx. elevation 7200') to Cody, MT   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 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. 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 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. 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 Grizzly bear run and do they 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 scared 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 pedalled 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 my 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 at www.xcountrybike.com

Top of Dead Indian Pass          

 

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