Bearanoia in Yellowstone

Au pays des piscines turquoises et des marmites de sorcières, la véritable attraction (outre le show programmé à heure fixe du Old Faithful Geyzer) ce sont les créatures sauvages. Le long des routes sinueuses du Yellowstone, loups, castors, élans et bisons suscitent des embouteillages sans fin. Non qu’ils aient un petit faible pour le bitume, mais à leur vue, ce sont les automobilistes qui deviennent sauvages en s’immobilisant brusquement en plein milieu de la chaussée, armés de leur meilleur zoom, créant ainsi les célèbres “bear jams” (et non, ce n’est pas de la confiture).

Car le roi des bois, adoré et redouté, celui qui peut vous croquer le cou et vous subtiliser tous vos biscuits, mais qui en même temps ressemble curieusement à votre toute première peluche, n’est peut-être jamais loin. Tout le monde rêve de l’apercevoir, mais suit toutes les recommandations pour ne pas tomber nez-à-nez avec l’être dont la machoire peut mettre en bouillie une boule de bowling. Alors, voici pour vous comment Jonathan et moi avons tenté d’apprivoiser notre peur … tout en en récoltant les bénéfices secondaires :

Comment se faire inviter au resto en 7 leçons :
1. Emmenez votre amoureux dans le tout premier parc national du pays.
2. Escaladez quelques côtés enneigées, et franchissez ensemble le seuil des 13 000 km.
3. A la tombée du jour, arrangez-vous pour être à plus de 50 km du premier camping ouvert.
4. Ayez contacté à l’avance tous les établissements hôteliers pour qu’ils assurent à votre cher et tendre qu’ils sont complets pour la nuit.
5. Il ne vous reste alors plus qu’une solution : plantez la tente au sein du camping fermé en raison de la population d’ours qui s’y est établie.
6. Pour ne pas trop appâter les voisins, pas question de commencer à cuisiner dans les parages …
7. …plus le choix, à vous le resto !

Categories: Rockies, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Frying Pans and Hiking Boots

For the Tetons, we’ll let our friend Bill do the introduction:

“I drove on to Grand Teton National Park. And there’s another arresting name for you. Tetons means tits in French. … The first French explorers who passed through northwestern Wyoming took one look at the mountains and said, “Zut alors! Hey, Jacques, clock those mountains. They look just like my wife’s tetons.” Isn’t it typical of the French to reduce everything to a level of sexual vulgarity? Thank goodness, they didn’t discover the Grand Canyon, that’s all I can say. And the remarkable thing is that the Tetons look about as much like tits as … well, as a frying pan or a pair of hiking boots. In a word, they don’t look like tits at all, except perhaps to desperately lonely men who have been away from home for a very long time. They looked a little bit like tits to me.” – Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent

Well, the name sure doesn’t fit, but the Tetons mountain range is simply stunning. Back in the summer of 2012, when we decided we would go on this expedition, I changed my desktop wallpaper on my work computer to a picture of the Tetons. Every day at work, I could take a few moments to daydream about our journey to come. 

Now, we’re finally there. The Tetons. And it’s almost like a day back in the office! Yay!

Categories: Rockies, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forever Wind

– “Well, you’ll see, Wyoming is a really nice place to live… If you can tolerate the isolation. And the long winters. And the hot summers… And the wind”

– “Oh it gets windy around here?”

– “Hahaha! Did you hear that, dear? He asked if it gets windy around here!! You’ll see…”

As if the words of our first host in the state weren’t warning enough, in the “Climate” section of our Wyoming cycling map, you could read the following: “Winds in Wyoming basin easily blow 40 to 60 mph. What’s worse, conditions can change randomly, so expect it to blow in your face at all time. Expect to whimper and struggle all the way through your ride. It’s gonna hurt”.

OK, it maybe didn’t exactly say that. But that was pretty much the point.

The state motto of Wyoming – forever West – should be corrected.

We had to face it. We needed help. So we joined forces with another group of cross-country cyclists! As a pack of 6 (a.k.a. The 6-pack), we found strength and supported each other through a couple of gruesome days.

Our tracks took us along the paths followed by persecution-fleeing-Mormons, Gold-Rushing-49ers, and Trail-Blazing-Explorers. After all, it’s the only way to go West avoiding the high Rocky mountain passes and finding reliable sources of water & grass for the cattle. But I guess explorers mostly saw the state as somewhere to go through, not to stay. In a state the size of the UK, there are more antelopes than people. With a mere 572,000 people, Wyoming is the least populated state of the country.

Although the journey must have been desolate and rough for the early explorers, we must admit times have made things more enjoyable for us bike travelers. For us, crossing the state was a ride punctuated by strawberry-peach pie & ice cream, otter pops with firemen around a bonfire, and a night in a tipi! And guess what reward awaits when you’re done crossing the Wyoming basin…


Categories: Rockies, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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