It was -19 degrees celsius when I left Jackson hole. (-3 F)Good 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.That morning was the first time since Northern Canada that I stepped out the door, breathed in deeply, and felt my nose hairs freeze instantly.Hurray! It’s winter again!
And I happily headed 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. 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, 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 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,
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,
I had a break at the Togwotee lodge, it was closed but that didn’t stop me enjoy the sunshine for a while.
After reaching the top it was a lovely ride down the other side.
The scenery changed dramatically, the snow all disappeared and instead there were big rocks and 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’. He 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. And not just because I was still riding my studded tires on this 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.
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 😉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. My timing was perfect as I had never had a real American Thanksgiving before.
So we fixed that.I also happened to be at their house on my Birthday, I even got a cake! But 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. I 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!
I felt a little scared at first but quickly realised they’re really great!
Especially if the road condition changes a lot.
Which they did.
Heading out of town along the aptly named Deer Creek Canyon, I ran into this adorable 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,
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;
I had pushed my bike a bit of the way, lucky it wasn’t too deep to make my way back to the road.There was a winter storm warning in place, it wasn’t terribly ‘stormy’.
But it was winter alright.
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!
And two gorgeous girls. They let me say with them on the ranch for a night.And showed me the first calve born this season.Only 5 miles from their house is a hot spring resort. Just what you need in this kind of weather!
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.It’s lucky somebody planted a flag, 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.
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.
Apparently a couple I’d been chatting to earlier decided to pay for a room for me!
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.And down the other side, where the wind finally decided to be slightly more favorable and push me into Gunnison.
It was much more quiet now too.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! It came in super useful as more snow was about to come 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.
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.I 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! 🙂
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.
And a happy new year!
40 thoughts on “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”
Great Story! Love your Blog!
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.
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.
Good luck on youre trip and Merry Christmas from youre Uncle in Holland
Mijn vrouw was een dochter van Hendrik Rensen in Silvolde – familie misschien?
Sjonge… Ken geen mensen meer bikkelen dan jij. Mooie plaatjes weer. Fijne feestdagen en een 2016 met veel mooie fietskilometers gewenst!
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
Groene Kerst hier bij lentetemperaturen. In 1987 dwars door de US gefietst bij broeikastemperaturen. Stuur wat winter deze kant op. En verder: CHAPEAU, CHAPEAU !
Awwww!!! We’re jealous! 😉 Enjoy Mirjam!
mooi, die drone beelden!
Jij ook fijne kerstdagen gewenst, zo ver bij je lieve familie vandaan… 😉
Bedankt voor het delen van je ervaringen.
Geniet elke keer weer van je mooie foto’s en commentaren.
Prettige feestdagen en al het beste voor het nieuwe jaar
Stay warm and safe with a candle in your tent 🙂
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
Geweldige dagen geweest en die wensen je heel veel toe in 2016!
Wendy en Marten
have a wonderful christmas and lots of amazing travel stories to tell in 2016
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!
Looks great and wonderful people!
Wish you merry christmas or fijne kerstdagen and more than one candle in your tent 🙂
You amaze me. I love your blog! Merry Xmas. I look forward to your adventures in 2016.
Lovely writing, great photography, interesting places. 🙂 Thanks, great blog. Merry Christmas, Safe Travels and happy New Year.
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!
Shoot! I can’t believe you were here on your vacation! I would have loved to have met you!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Your blog always lightens my day, and i am sure everyone else’s, so a massive thank you.
You are one of a kind Mirjam! Down to the core. Great lifestyle if not… life ( 😉 ).
Merry Christmas and all the best in 2016 !
Schitterend! Fijne kerstdagen en een heel goed 2016!
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
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
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.
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
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!!
Have a Merry Christmas Mirjam from both Sarah and myself. Hope all is good with you. XX
You’re an amazing person and very inspirational!
Amazingly brave, good luck and Happy 2016 !
Glad to see you are still doing well! Happy new year from Inuvik!
Seasons Greetings! Have a safe, happy, adventure filled 2016
Happy new year.
Do you ever go into shops with those goggles on and ask for stuff in a robotic voice?
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.
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.
Wish I had the nerve to do something like this!