Journal: Bike Trip Across America - June-September 2009

Moose, Teton Mountains, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, mountain, wildlife, photo

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. 

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
North America, Old Faithful, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, geothermal feature, geyser, thermal feature, photo

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.

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
bull, elk, Madison River, mist, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, photo

Bull Elk on the Madison

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

A mature bull elk (Cervus elaphus americanus) stands within the Madison River as early morning mist rolls off the water.

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
American Bison, American Buffalo, Bison, Bison bison, Buffalo, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlif, photo
American Bison, American Buffalo, Bison, Bison bison, Buffalo, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlif, photo

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.

American Bison, American Buffalo, Bison, Bison bison, Buffalo, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, geothermal feature, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mam, photo

Bison in Thermal Valley

An adult male bison in the thermal valley of Yellowstone's caldera.

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
Dave Heerema, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo

Yellowstone Falls was really different than any waterfall I have seen back east. 

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
Dave Heerema, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo

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.

North America, USA, Undine Falls, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, falls, waterfall, photo

Yellowstone Waterfall

Wyoming

A river in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming tumbles over a cliff and creates a beautiful waterfall among the yellow rocks and evergreen trees in this canyon.

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo

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). 

North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, photo
Mule Deer, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlife, photo

Grazing Doe and Fawn

Mule deer graze outside a lodge in Yellowstone National Park.

Moose, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlife, photo

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.

Moose, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlife, photo
Moose, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlife, photo
Moose, North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, herbivore, hoofed mammal, hooved mammal, mammal, wildlife, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, geothermal feature, thermal feature, photo
North America, USA, United States, WY, West, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, geothermal feature, thermal feature, photo
ID, Idaho, North America, Pacific Northwest, USA, United States, sign, state sign, photo

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.

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID, Idaho, North America, Outdoor Recreation, Pacific Northwest, USA, United States, adventure sports, camping, campsite, outdoor adventure, outdoor sports, photo

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.

Cascade Mountains, Dave Heerema, North America, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Sisters Wilderness, USA, United States, mountain, photo

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.

Bike Trip Across America, TransAmerica Bike Tour, USA, United States, photo
Florence, North America, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Ocean, USA, United States, beach, ocean, photo

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. 

Florence, North America, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Ocean, USA, United States, beach, ocean, photo

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.