We ended up meeting a couple of schoolteachers that let us stay with them in Jackson, so once we hit the Tetons we detoured south from the TransAm route and grabbed a tasty meal and warm shower with them. We ended up leaving our bikes with them for a long weekend (3-4 days) and rented a car so we could explore Yellowstone a little more thoroughly (and more safely) than by bike.
Old Faithful was pretty faithful during our time in Yellowstone, but the crowds were enormous and we decided to spend more time exploring other areas of the park.
We ended up really happy that we rented a car when we had close encounters with bison. There were times when we could have reached out of our windows to touch the animals (we didn't) and it made us really happy that we had the protection of a steel frame and some aluminum panels between us and these giants, as opposed to being on bicycle.
Yellowstone Falls was really different than any waterfall I have seen back east.
If you look closely, you can find a wolf in this picture. I snapped three images of this wolf, tiny and gray and off in the distance, but it was probably one of the coolest wildlife sightings of our trip.
This sign near the hot springs was worth a picture. Yellowstone has so many international tourists that pictoral signs such as this one are quite common (and usually somewhat hilarious).
We were driving down this dirt path and spotted this huge bull moose. He looked both ways (no kidding) crossed the road, and then a younger bull followed. The two stayed in a forested patch next to the road for a bit, rubbing their antlers on trees to shed the velvet. We were able to observe them for about 40 minutes and it was awesome.
Once we completed the Yellowstone portion of our trip, we returned to our bikes and set off to tackle our remaining states. We detoured a bit from the TransAm route here, crossing into Idaho to the south and heading through the desert instead of the forests.
We stayed at a campground at Craters of the Moon National Monument, which probably had some of the coolest campsites ever. Because the place is covered in volcanic rock, the campsites were small cleared areas that were like mini craters in the ground and the surrounding basalt walls gave you a ton of privacy, even when the campsite next to you wasn't far away.
The Three Sisters in the Cascades of Oregon. Crossing over from the dry east to the coastal west was very interesting. You could literally feel the humidity hit you as you rode down the mountain and the landscape around you turned lush and green. It was a welcome change from the arid, dry, brown inland terrain we had been traveling through for so long.
Our trip ended at sand beach in Florence Oregon. It was a bit of a disappointment, because I grew up in New Jersey where all the beaches are sandy, barrier island beaches, and I really wanted to see the big jagged cliffs dropping into the ocean that are so typical of the Pacific Northwest. Had we taken the scenic extension to Astoria we probably would have been treated to better views, but after 109 days crossing the country by bicycle, we just wanted to finish. By that time we were low on funds and energy, and when I dipped my tires into the ocean they literally split and the rubber started to peel back from the rim, so my bike had zero miles left in it at that point.
Still finally reaching the end of our long journey was incredible. After taking a day to celebrate, I got my bike boxed up and set off on a bus to catch another bus to catch the four day Amtrak train home, and Dave headed north to meet up with family in the area.