Since the last blog post, we were so kindly transported over Togwotee Pass by my sweet friend Clair. She has some very generous friends who let us borrow a pick-up truck to transport the bikes from Lander to a point where we could bike from (Jerry did this 4-hour round-trip bike drop-off the day before) and then another friend let Clair borrow a minivan so that she could transport us to that point. We knew that with our timeframe and the considerations regarding distance, climbing, and camping available- that it would not be feasible to bike the 70-mile climb from Lander to the next possible camping area. We’re glad we made that decision because it allowed us to spend more time biking to the Yellowstone Park area and exploring so much of what Yellowstone has to offer.
As we paused this past week to take pictures of sites all around Yellowstone, such as the elk near our campsite and the geysers and hot springs, other tourists were doing the same. But there were multiple times that tourists from many different cultures visiting Yellowstone stopped to take pictures of US- as if WE were part of the wildlife. Perhaps there are some who think that we are just that: wild, crazy, unusual, etc. I’ll admit that we are a sight on our double and triple bikes loaded down with all of our gear!
As we were preparing to leave the restaurant where we ate breakfast, some folks struck up a conversation with us about our bikes, the trip, etc. And all of a sudden, POP! A flat tire- as the bike was just sitting propped against the fence. It was almost comical that we would have a flat tire on our final day- only 12 miles from the end. But we were thankful it didn’t happen while we were pedaling, and it served as a good reminder that God has been caring for us in many ways- both seen and unseen- during our whole bike adventure!
And... we made it!! With my loving Mom welcoming us into Jackson, capturing it on video. We have had a mixture of emotion as we end our biking journey. On the one hand, we are looking forward to getting back, reconnecting with friends and family, and resuming some normalcy. But on the other hand, we will miss being on our bikes each day exploring the sights, smells, terrain, geography, history, and nature of our country. And we will miss the unique and formative experiences we have had meeting so many great people, setting and meeting goals as a family, doing hard, challenging, and meaningful things together, overcoming small adversities along the journey, and learning to trust God in new ways.
But only our biking journey ends in Jackson Hole. From here we will fly to Florida to spend a few days at the ECHO farm in Fort Myers to tour the farm, do a bit of volunteer work there (to “get our hands dirty”), and meet some the folks that work at ECHO who make their mission a reality. Then, it’s back to reality in Richmond on August 26.
We finally saw some wild bison today. And a few days ago on our way to the Grand Tetons, we also saw a mama bear and two cubs on the other side of a ravine. That was exciting, but we weren’t able to stop and take a picture... safety considerations (park rangers were making sure traffic- including us cyclists especially- was passing through quickly). Unfortunately, we have not seen any moose, which is disappointing. We learned today that moose can get as tall as 5-6 feet, not including antlers, and that they can swim quite well. In fact, they can dive down 20 feet and swim at 6 miles per hour for up to 2 hours. I had no idea that these huge, heavy animals could even swim!!
We anticipate sharing at least one more blog post during or after our visit to the ECHO farm. So, stay tuned! Thank you all for your incredible support of our family along the way- to those of you who have prayed for us, shown kindness to us in many ways and been a part of our story!