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Antique Hunting; Tetons Biking; “Gluestick?” No Urban Sprawl Here; Diner Gluttony

This first photo is of our first antique hunting trip. Actually, we were walking the puppies around the back side of the campground and came upon these parts of very old wagons or buggies. They must have been at least 75-100 years old, judging by the wheels and other iron pieces, but they are just sitting along the fenceline rusting for now, until some homeowners or ranchers need them to decorate the entrance to their kingdom. We thought about getting one for our front yard in The Villages, but storage space in The Coach is a bit limited for booty like this.

My Lovely Bride, as I may have mentioned in a previous post, likes to stress me physically. The latest occasion came the other day when she said, “Sweetheart, let’s take a mellow bike ride along the Jenny Lake Scenic Loop. It’s only seven miles, flat and very scenic.” It was also a bit chilly, if 45 degrees doesn’t really qualify as Brutally Cold. After The Ordeal was over, I deduced that she was correct on one of the three adjectives… it was indeed very scenic. (The tallest peak here, Grand Teton, stands 13,770 feet. The peaks around it are 12,800 ft or so.)

As for the other two adjectives, regarding distance and relative flatness… well, the seven miles she quoted was one way, and of course we were starting 3-4 miles early, and going out and back, making it somewhere near 20 miles long, not too bad on a road bike, but our mountain bikes are heavier and less aerodynamic than road bikes. The first half was actually pretty easy, being downhill and downwind. But guess what? When you turn around, you’re going uphill and upwind. But it was even more scenic looking that direction, if that’s possible, which almost made up for the uphill/upwind feature.

Here is the Dynamic Duo when I was still smiling, before hunger pangs made me want to scream… that’s beautiful Jenny Lake in the background.

Did I mention hunger??? I thought I was doomed when MLB went into the Jenny Lake Store to get lunch. I expected her to get something healthy like gluten-free tofu or a salad made of green and yellow stuff (I think they’re called “vegetables” and “weeds”), but was shocked and pleased when she returned with two enormous spicy hot dogs, a delicacy in which she only indulges about once every two years! I might actually complete this ride, I thought, with a half pound of sausage, bread and mustard to keep me going. (I didn’t mention that she could have also gotten a couple of beers, but you know, that would have been risking a hot dog thrust up my nose.)

This photo taken near Moose, Wyoming, and shows how the terrain can vary in just a few miles. We were bushed by the end of our three hour ride, and the rest of the day was spent in relative ease, mostly horizontal.

Our next day’s travel took us east from the Tetons, but this last view up into the Teton National Wilderness Area near Togwatee Pass (9,658 ft.) made me wish for a few more days here. I would love to backpack into that area – it’s southeast of Yellowstone and north of the Wind River Range. The “snaggletooth” peaks you see are 12,000 footers, and you can be sure that there aren’t a lot of folks in the backcountry there.

The mountains were beautiful, but the cold, dry air had left me with chapped lips, and I asked My Lovely Bride to grab the chapstick. She replied, somewhat saucily to my mind, “I can’t find the chapstick… but try this gluestick.” (Perhaps she was tired of my complaining about salads? In any case, I was not amused.)

We continued on south for a couple of hundred miles, the terrain changing from mountains to high plains, but with occasional Badlands-like features…

Most of southern Wyoming is ranchland, with lots of sagebrush and tumble weeds. There weren’t a lot of cars or trucks on this road, and urban sprawl isn’t too serious an issue here. There was one section where we saw only one farmhouse in an entire hour’s drive.But there were lots of antelope!

We arrived in Rawlins, Wyoming, for a one night layover before dropping down into Colorado. We had passed a diner on the way into town, and knowing how much MLB loves waffles, I decided to surprise her with a meal out. We arrived at Penny’s Diner, the only place in Rawlins that serves waffles, and were happy to find the quintessential highway diner… silver outside, greasy and friendly inside. Here is our brekkie: Suzanne’s (small, boring) waffle and my tiny mountain of hash browns with bacon, tomatoes, jalapeno chiles, onions, green peppers, eggs, cheddar and salsa, with diner toast, with plenty of salty butter applied with a paintbrush… YES! (and I really don’t want to hear any snide remarks about Ty’s Diner Gluttony – I planned on burning those 8,000 calories!)

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