Ok . . .well as you all know this isn't just a bicycle journey across America, it is much more! For me it is such an opportunity to think and learn and maybe be a better person at the end of it! Let me start at the beginning of the day again, it makes it so much easier to follow!
It poured . . .all . . Night . . . Long!! So we didn't rush getting up, thinking we would wait it out again! We did check the radar and could see once the huge mass of rain passed, there was nothing else serious in range. So we made our own breakfast in the cabin and left.
The rain had stopped just as we had anticipated if the radar could be relied upon. The other important thing . . no wind! It was chilly, but I wouldn't call it freezing and we were ready for it! We picked up the climb where we left off yesterday.
It didn't take long for me to realize all the positive things that came out of stopping the climb yesterday. It was important for Mike to make the call to make sure he was taking care of himself, but of course I had a little difficulty letting go of the plans we made to get over the pass that day. I don't like giving in to the elements! But I totally understood and agreed with Mike's need for rest, we had a long way to go and he had to stay healthy! I am glad he listened to his needs.
So the first good thing that came out of it was the amazing beautiful cozy Togwotee Lodge and the friendly employees that made it so welcoming! It poured heavy rain outside all afternoon yesterday and we were warm and dry! AND I had a great WiFi connection to catch up on my lagging photo additions to my blog! We had a very delicious meal and glass of wine at the Red Fox Saloon and learned about the lodge and winter activities from Charles the bar keep! According to the informative Charles, the Togwotee Lodge is the number one snowmobiling destination in the country with 500-600 inches of snow each winter!
As we climbed this morning in the peaceful, cool and windless morning I realized how well it all worked out! We were actually enjoying the climb today! Had we battled the wind yesterday and pushed ourselves up and over the pass and even further, we would have been whining and bitching the whole way! Our heads would be low and faces pointed down with our only view being the road underneath our tires as we struggled to fight the wind, control our bikes and keep pedaling! The amazing scenery around us this morning would have been wasted on the effort to make it over the pass! The pass was exactly what we thought it was going to be, long and fairly gradual, the wind had made it so difficult!
So while i was pedaling this morning and thinking deeply about all I had learned, I made up a little lesson-story, Since this is my blog, you will have to endure it! Its short!
I don't know if The Rolling Stones meant to be biblical when they wrote the famous line "you can't always get what you want, but if you try real hard you get what you nee-eed"! But my version is " so the Lord said yes I gave you wind and difficulties today! But I also gave you a cabin on the road, the means to pay for it and the power of choice to make your own decisions". That's my lesson-story! I guess the meaning to me and what I am trying to say is sometimes we just make wrong choices or maybe just don't see any choices other than what we think we want and then feel sorry for ourselves because it wasn't working out the way we thought it should work out! I think I claimed to have learned this lesson before, but maybe not as I still feel surprised when i re-learn it!
There were just so many good things that came out of postponing the climb! Mike feels much better, we enjoyed the climb and its beauty and we saw a bear!! Not close enough to be in danger, there were other cars pulling off as well. They certainly would be an effective barrier and they had horns to honk if the bear decided to get too close to the onlookers! I had to zoom in my lens, but I did get a photo clear enough to prove we saw a bear! Yay! Now I want to see a moose!
We finally reached the Continental Divide at 9,584 ft! Hard to imagine in the winter this area gets 500-600 inches of snow each year! Iit must be extraordinarily beautiful in the winter! We crossed the Divide and had a few more feet to go to cross the Togwotee Pass at 9,658 ft! Finally we made it!! We paused at the top long enough to of course take a photo, zip up jackets, cover ears and neck with my gaiter and make sure we were as warm as possible! It was a 25 mile downhill descent, well technically it was downhill as we would be losing elevation. It was cold descending and It actually was a perfect downhill, the kind we like! Not too much of a grade so we could pedal and keep our legs moving! We traveled at a great but safe rate and when we reached the Lava Mountain Lodge, felt it was time for a warm drink and a treat! Another great place to stop and rest! Friendly place, excellent homemade muffins and interesting conversation about the bears in the area!! After a nice break we came outside and said oh look! Blue sky! What we didn't see right away was the BLACK heavy cloud coming over the mountain! Just then there was a huge clap of thunder and instead of "making the right choice" and going back inside, we got on our bicycles and pedaled like our life depended on it! We seemed to be just on the edge of the cloud and it was sort of moving in the opposite direction of the way the road would take us ahead. We pedaled and pedaled and pedaled! We succeeded at missing the drenching rain we thought was inevitable, only had just a few sprinkles! How lucky was that? We relaxed a little and slowed down but then the threat of more rain continued to flow over the mountain with more clouds and the next thing you knew hail was flying and pelting us as we rode! It was pretty cool actually! So cool, i had to stop and take a photo! At least it didn't soak us . . . Yet. I am not sure exactly where we were, maybe about 10 miles west of Dubois and the rain finally started. Honestly, I felt so lucky that we had managed to get this far without rain and knew we would be in Dubois sooner or later, it was tolerable!
But then it kept raining and we still weren't in Dubois. One good thing about pedaling so hard is it keeps you warm! Eventually the wind managed to change directions just enough to come from the direction we have been waiting for, behind us! At least for a little while! And when it wasn't exactly behind us it came from the south just enought to blow the splash back from the cars away from us! More good things for the day!
Finally! Dubois! Now we had to find a place for the night and we were so cold just didn't care where it was! Once you stop pedaling and stand for even a few minutes then cold sets in and it is so important to get warm! A cute little motel with all sorts of cabins and a huge sign Bicycles Welcome were beautiful words and inviting warmth! But we were greeted by a sign on the door and a number to call and a voice mail! By then we were shivering and moved on! Found another cozy cabins and got warm!!! Hot water rushing out of a shower head, is there anything more wonderful than that when you are freezing?? Not to us!!!
All warmed up and on the recommendation of friends in Fredericksburg we wandered off into town to search out The Cowboy Cafe and test the Cowgirl Burger to see if was as good as its reputation! Of course it was!!! And the home made pie that followed the meal was perfect! Warm, homemade blueberry pie a la mode! It brought the day to the perfect ending!
We had a quick look thru town, more rain coming over the moutains!
Thank you for indulging me and my stories as I think out loud and hopefully learn some great life lessons. this is a great journey and we are loving it!
Thanks for hanging in there with us and for continued emails of support and encouragement!