Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

It was -19 degrees celsius when I left Jackson hole. (-3 F)Jackson HoleGood thing I ran into Brian & Hannah the day before and they had invited me to stay,

they’re no strangers to bicycle touring and it was lovely to spend an evening with like-minded folk.Brian & HannahThat morning was the first time since Northern Canada that I stepped out the door, breathed in deeply, and felt my nose hairs freeze instantly.SwanHurray! It’s winter again!

And I happily headed north.A little further North

“North? “You might say… “shouldn’t you be heading South?”

Yes I should. But I just got this pull that keeps directing me north.

So off I went, towards the big tits. No really! That is the name of these mountains.big tits Well ‘Grand Tetons’  But that’s the same, just in another language.

It was beautiful and a little chilly, I was real happy Arlen in Missoula had given me his studded tires,Happy studs I would’ve slipped a few times otherwise.

Two girls pulled over, jumped out the car and asked where I was planning to camp that night,

both rangers in Yellowstone they were very familiar with the area and big into anything outdoors.Elizabeth Elizabeth lives on the lake and invited me to stay at her place.

Worried I might get cold they made sure I had enough food, a brand new balaclava and a pair of warm socks!

My feet sure are suffering the most when it gets colder, but then my friend Charlie the Bikemonger came up with a wonderful plan!

He made sure I received a gorgeous pair of biking boots that have been keeping my feet toasty ever since.

There was a nice hill to ride over from Elizabeth’s place, Starting up the hill

A car stopped and it turned out Paul had a drone, he shot this footage of me riding along;

[vimeo 146721897]

His friend Sava took some pictures,

Photo: Sava Malachowski

Photo: Sava Malachowski

I had a break at the Togwotee lodge,Togwotee it was closed but that didn’t stop me enjoy the sunshine for a while.The Top

After reaching the top it was a lovely ride down the other side.the other side

The scenery changed dramatically, the snow all disappeared and instead there were big rocks and climbing cows.Climbing cows

My goal had been Dubois, as a friendly fella (Hi Kevin!) in Jackson hole had put me in touch with a friend of his there.

I cruised into town just after sunset and figured I might as well ask somebody if they knew Leon, the first person I ran into happened to be Leon. He showed me his ‘man shack’. At Leon'sHe runs a fishing outfit in town and this is where his guides would usually stay, but now I had the whole place to myself.

When I set off the next day my wheel felt a little weird. My Road, WyomingAnd not just because I was still riding my studded tires on this dry road.Dry Road

I noticed I had a cracked rim. Darn.

When I found out I was right next to Ben’s place, he carves stuff out of antlers and gave me this little one to stick on my bag.new decoration

nobody would ever guess I’m not from ’round here now!

I managed to wobble my way out to Lander.

Where  I had it real tough at Chuck & Lora’s place 😉It's a hard life.Coffee, fire, bath, wifi… I know, it’s a hard life! (but someone’s got to do it…)

The hospitality out here is just unbelievable!

(For example, right now I am in a coffee shop and the girl behind the counter will not let me pay for my coffee)

 

At this moment I had no good back wheel and no brakes either, so I hung out at Lander’s great Bike Store for a while and came up with a plan.

I would order the parts I need, have a little vacation, build my wheel, and keep on riding.

And this is exactly what I did.

My vacation was lovely. Can you guess where I went…?

hint: I had to cross a bridge and there was no snow.

 

Bob and Fiona live with their family just south of Denver.

Both Bob and his daughter Bronwyn work for the Adventure cycling organisation. I had met him in Missoula before. Bon & HarleyMy timing was perfect as I had never had a real American Thanksgiving before.Thanksgiving with the Westgate's

So we fixed that.Yum!I also happened to be at their house on my Birthday, I even got a cake! My Birthday CakeBut once I finished putting all the pieces of my bicycle back together (I built my own wheel!)

it was time to find some hills.

I changed my tires too, I took off the studs and got a pair of Continental Winter tires. continental top contactI was a little sceptical about using them as I didn’t feel as secure on ice as with studded tires, but they have pleasantly surprised me!

Continental winter tireI felt a little scared at first but quickly realised they’re really great!

Especially if the road condition changes a lot.Just out of Denver

Which they did.

snow

Heading out of town along the aptly named Deer Creek Canyon,deer I ran into this adorable family,Family

I think their little girl might set out on her own bike one day, she already seems to like maps as much as I do! 

I only realised after I left I never got any contact details! So guys, if you happen to read this, please send me a message!

Annika, who also happens to be a hairdresser, cut my hair, that hasn’t happened in years! I feel very lady-like now.

Then came the headwinds. This road looks peaceful in the picture,

headwind day

But it was brutal alright!

Specially with hardly any shoulder. There was an amazingly large volume of traffic wanting to go in my direction. Every time a vehicle passed me I was all over the road. Not funny.

Later I heard it’s about the deadliest road in Colorado, I could see why. I will not recommend anyone to ride the 285.

In fact, I skipped a bit and got a ride a little further down the way where I pitched my tent on a perfectly clear evening and woke up to this;Snow

I had pushed my bike a bit of the way, lucky it wasn’t too deep to make my way back to the road.SnowyThere was a winter storm warning in place, it wasn’t terribly ‘stormy’.

But it was winter alright.Winter

Good thing I have good tires and good shoes!

In Buena Vista I saw no “Vista” at all. I did see a nice little coffee shop where it was warm and cozy and I spent a little time warming up.

Jen happened to walk in the door, she and her husband live on a ranch just down the road. They have done a bicycle tour through Europe before. The had a whole barn full of bicycles!

Jen & the girls

And two gorgeous girls. They let me say with them on the ranch for a night.Pat in the tracktorAnd showed me the first calve born this season.the first calveOnly 5 miles from their house is a hot spring resort. Just what you need in this kind of weather! Hotspring

So we all headed down there. A great place to soak for a while and get completely warmed up.

The storm cleared up in the morning and I had a beautiful ride towards Monarch pass.A beautiful day!Nice dayIt’s lucky somebody planted a flag,America otherwise I might forget where I am…

As beautiful as the day started, it became a little uncomfortable, there’s a ski-resort on Monarch pass, and EVERYBODY wanted to go there today.

I really love cycling in winter (in case you hadn’t yet noticed) but the downside in this part of the world is that a lot of roads are totally impassable (trust me, I tried) So you’re kinda stuck on the main thoroughfares that aren’t always the most pleasant.Yup Pretty.

Still pretty.

Just before the top of the pass is a resort where I decided to have a cup of coffee.

As I was about to get on my bike and get over that pass the girl from reception came over to tell me that I was staying there.

What?

Apparently a couple I’d been chatting to earlier decided to pay for a room for me!A comfy room!

I was so shocked I actually cried! (only a little bit, and not for very long…)

If they read this: “THANK YOU!”

I was very well rested to shoot over that pass the next day.Monarch PassAnd down the other side,Down where the wind finally decided to be slightly more favorable and push me into Gunnison.along the way

It was much more quiet now too.Nice road!And in Gunnison, Kim looked after me, she’s seen me on the road earlier and gave me a really handy pair of goggles,

now my eyes are warm and I can actually see! Me GoggleIt came in super useful as more snow was about to come down. Snow coming down.I had ridden up a road that, again, was lovely and quiet. Only after a day of climbing did I realise why it was so lovely and quiet.My road.

It stopped. Well, it didn’t stop but it seemed real difficult to continue, or maybe I’m just getting a little soft in my old age 😉

I didn’t feel like pushing through deep snow so I turned around and took the long way ’round. It was already getting pretty dark and the temperature was going down fast, so I found myself a log cabin that happened to be unlocked and camped there for the night.My CabinI hoped nobody would mind. All the water was shut off, but the power was still on, so I used the microwave to melt snow.

Talk about fancy camping! 🙂road

Now I’ve got a great little ride ahead of me. I’ll tell you all about it the next time.

For now I’ll wish you all a wonderful Christmas.Merry Christmas!

And a happy new year!

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40 thoughts on “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

  1. Je bent een bikkel Mirjam! Wat een avonturen weer, fijn om te lezen (en te zien). Ik wens je heel fijne Kerstdagen toe, en een heel mooi en gezond 2016! Hartelijke groeten. ´k Kijk uit naar je volgende verslag.

  2. Hoi Mirjam,

    Ankie en ik wensen je prettige kerst en vooral een heel mooi, gelukkig en gezond 2016. Wij genieten elke keer weer van je verhalen.

    Jans en Ankie Koops.

  3. Ahhh Girl, you do get into some very interesting places. We look forward to seeing you soon – all possible – before you leave this host country and move into Mexico. Keep in touch via e mail. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR.. David and Margaret

  4. Hoi Mirjam, weer een fantastisch mooi verhaal om te lezen en bij te bibberen want hier is geen winter te bekennen. Voorjaar is een beter woord!
    Wij wensen je hele mooie feestdagen en een gelukkig en fietsbaar 2016. Liefs, Wendy en Marten uit Oosterbeek

  5. Ontzettend mooi daar, en wat wonen er blijkbaar toch ook een heleboel aardige mensen in Amerika… en dan kom je ze nog steeds tegen ook! Hele goeie kerstdagen gewenst, een geweldige jaarwisseling en een gezond 2016 :-).
    Liefs van ons!

  6. Lovely writing, great photography, interesting places. 🙂 Thanks, great blog. Merry Christmas, Safe Travels and happy New Year.

  7. Fantastic report, Mirjam! Did you go to North Carolina? What? Curious..it’s my “home” state, although I live in Oregon now. You were actually on the Great Divide Route on some of this trip! Awesome. I love winter biking…jealous that you are in a beautiful part of the USA this time of year. I eagerly await your next report!

  8. We love reading your travel stories Mirjam, it has been for a long time now and every time you let us both Yoni and me with big smiles 😀
    Hope one day we’ll meet you on the road!
    We wish you a Merry Christmas a Happy New Year enjoying the peaceful silence of the winter in nature!
    Kind regards from Spain. Monique & Yonatham

  9. Genoten weer van je verhaal en respect hoor dat je zo in winterse omstandigheden reist, uiteraard zal goed materiaal je helpen maar toch knap hoor! Ga je nu nog zuidelijker? Mexico? Ik wens jou ook een fijne Kerst en dat je die ergens mag doorbrengen waar het warm en menselijk is! Gr Gert

  10. A Happy Christmas and a good New Year wherever you are on Christmas day Mirjam. I hope you will be warm and comfortable that day, love and best wishes Michael T.

  11. Hello Mirjam, We are the couple you met on the 470 bike path when you were looking for clarification on the route to Deer Creek Canyon! We’ve thought of you every day, and are really enjoying your blog. What a grand adventure, and you are one tough girl 🙂 We will keep following your posts. Safe travels and Merry Christmas! Leo & Sue

  12. Merry Christmas to you.
    You are a wonderful writer. The photography unique and thoughtful. I vicariously travel with you. I have 3 bikes., you live my dream. Thanks! Happy New Year!!

  13. Wat een prachtige verhalen en wat een bikkel!!!. Werd geattendeerd op je blog door Terry Morse uit Moab<Utah, die je kennelijk hebt ontmoet tijdens deze trip..Begreep van hem dat je uit de buurt van mijn woonplaats Apeldoorn komt. Met hem en nog 2 vrienden afgelopen jaar van Canada (Sumas) naar Tecate gefietst. En een aantal jaren geleden de coast to coast trip van Virginia naar Oregon, georganiseerd door de ACA.
    Maar wat jij doet is "something else". Petje af.

  14. Wonderful pictures and an amazing adventure. Like Sjef I cycled with Terry Morse and Michael this year from Canada to Mexico. Not as brave as you, we liked to cycle in the summer! Good luck for the rest of your trip.

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