45 miles (72 km) – Total so far: 2,840 miles (4,571 km)
My day “off” in the Tetons was relaxing, but predestined to become a moderate cycling day. As such, I suppose I should write a short bit about it instead of skipping it as a “rest day” as I’ve been doing. As dawn broke, I awoke to my favorite Grand Teton tradition, going for a swim in Jenny Lake. I didn’t really get much of a swim in. It was way too cold. In fact, I think I lasted about 0.07 seconds before jumping right back out of the water, spluttering frosty expletives.
By the time I shivered my way back to camp the Brits had awoken. It has been rainy for about 48 hours, so we were all craving some bad coffee from the general store. While imbibing our wonderfully hot coffee-like-beverage we formulated a plan to take the park shuttle down to Jackson and see the sights. A bit of futzing about at the campsite and we were off… and then we weren’t. 25 minutes after the scheduled time for the shuttle we all gave it up as a bad job and went back to get our bikes.
Paul and I swapped horses for the 20 mile ride down. Paul’s steed, Burly Chassis is a fine beast with a mean saddle. You see, Paul has a Brooks saddle. Avid tourers everywhere have bought these torture devices and convinced themselves that it should hurt for about 3,000 miles before they are “broken in.” What *actually* happens is that after paying $90 for one of these monstrosities and then painfully rearranging one’s anatomy to adapt to their unyielding evil, a tourer loses all objectivity in terms of being able to say they are, in fact, horrible weapons of soft tissue destruction. I can say with certainty that the 20 miles on Der Kaiser, as I’ve dubbed this work of Beelzebub, were more painful than the other 2980 miles on my own bike. And will I be praised for my honest and forthright review? No, the touring community will condemn me like a pitchfork wielding medieval mob condemns the gentle giant in the castle up on the estate.
A storm threatened as we arrived in Jackson, and we just barely made it into the Snake River Brewery when the skies opened. We enjoyed a wonderful meal and wonderfuller beers. The rain forced us to forego much more exploration of Jackson so I picked up a couple of six packs for the group back at the campsite as we left.
The evening was a fantastic blend of cyclists, backpackers, and hitchhikers all cooking their ramen noodles and enjoying some fantastic beers. Suzy, the camp host, sauntered over to enjoy some time with us and also gave us some firewood and chairs. I enjoyed the company of friends who were once strangers well into the night beside a warm fire in the shadow of the Tetons.