With a shorter day ahead of us, we decided to sleep in a bit. In the middle of the night my phone decided to revert to the Pacific Time Zone so we ended up getting an extra unplanned hour of sleep. Waking up and feeling rested, we grabbed breakfast and coffee before continuing our trip north. Once again we were amazed by the views of the Teton Range afforded by our route. Each landscape seemed as though it could easily grace a calendar or postcard.
Eventually our slow and steady climb graduated to a steeper ascent as we headed away from Lake Jackson, and to the border of Grand Teton National Park. Cruising downhill on the John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Highway, Jonathan caught the first glimpse of a lightly colored black bear in the woods. Unfortunately I have now missed seeing the first elk and bear of this trip, hopefully I'm more attentive/lucky going forward.
Nearing the bottom of a long descent we note that the clouds over Yellowstone have grown quite dark and have even given off a few bolts of lightning. Not looking to test the conductive properties of our steel bikes, we pulled into Flagg Range. Luckily this was only a couple miles up the road, as it is the only lodge between GTNP and YNP. Checking the radar with some help from the hotel registration desk, we realize that we will need to stay off the road until the storm passes. We eat lunch, browse the gift shop, and incessantly stare at the unyielding dark clouds outside. Finally after over a 2 hour break, we think it's safe to head back on the road. Our timing was perfect and we completely avoided the rain for the rest of the day.
Soon we reached Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately this meant that we still had about 22 miles to make it to Grant Village Campground. Our plan was to make it to Bridge Bay Campground (an extra 20 miles), but our extended break made this goal seem unreasonable. Also complicating our plans was that the first 18 miles of Yellowstone is essentially a long climb along the Lewis River. Slowly we climbed up this narrow-shouldered road until mercifully we reached the Continental Divide. (For those who do not know, the Continental Divide runs north-south across the continent. It separates water that drains to the Pacific Ocean from water draining to the Atlantic Ocean).
Excited by our accomplishment, we quickly cruised down to Grant Village Campground, now quite positive that getting to Bridge Bay was not the best plan.
Settled in to our hiker/biker campsite between two massive out of state Boy Scout troops, we headed off to find dinner. The Lodge at Grant Village has two dining options: formal dining with required reservations, and casual cafeteria dining. Of course we first walked into the formal dining room before realizing we had made the wrong choice. The cafeteria filled us with a very satisfying pasta and meatballs.
Because we plan to get to Bridge Bay tomorrow (only 20 miles), Jonathan was very excited to be able to have the first campfire of the trip (because we did not need to wake up especially early). With our fire roaring, another bicyclist, Justin arrived at our site. He is from Kansas City but is currently mountain biking down the Great Divide from Edmonton, Canada to the Texas/Mexico border. His trip is way more intense than ours and it's incredible he's able to do it at all, let alone by himself.