Day 29. Wednesday, September 14. 42 miles. 1108 miles to date. Today we rode from crooked Creek cabin to whiskey campground on the Green River. We wore dog poop bags on our hands and feet and as Lois says “bin liners” (aka trash bags) over some rain jackets. (Tara and Jon) It had been nice to sleep in a bed two nights in a row and we’ve had fantastic weather so now the forecast is for a bit of wet. We bundled up and headed out of the cabin and shortly the drizzle began. Shortly we stopped to put on all the rain gear: helmet covers, shoe covers, rain pants, rain jackets, hand and foot warmers. It was a challenge to climb Union Pass and be hot and cold at the same time. It was windy and wet and gritty with gravel on everything. The climb was about 10 miles with a few cars, trucks, and campers and four wheelers going by. For the most part everyone is courteous. We came across two or three white canvas tents with stove pipes used by hunters and guides for hunting and we would have loved to stop but we knew there was a snowmobile safety cabin a few miles further. I think union pass was 9210 feet with that climb on a dirt road. As Brad said before I left, “embrace the suck “. We all embraced it and stopped when anyone needed to , for more food or to adjust clothing or to add or remove rain gear. The “suck” was not too bad for me thanks to the handwarmers and toe warmers. It’s great to travel with a group of four especially where everyone is so courteous and concerned about each other. At about 17 1/2 miles we arrived at the strawberry safety cabin. John and Tara got a fire going and we dried all our gear. Tara was completely wet through. We made lunch and actually melted our cheese sandwiches on the woodstove. The warm food and warmth of the cabin was so appreciated! We stayed at the cabin debating whether we should spend the night or push on. It was intermittently cloudy with very dark overcast, alternating with small blue sucker holes in the sky. Lois saw a bald eagle in a tree across the meadow and we were so warm, dry, full, and sleepy.
We decided that if it was not raining at 3 PM, having arrived at 12:30, we would head out for 24 more miles. As we packed up and bicycled away at 3 PM John said “fortune favors the brave” and I said that my brother Nick days, “if you are going to be dumb (ride in the rain) you have to be tough.” We wondered what the next four hours of riding would bring, fortune or would it require toughness? Shortly down the road as we maneuver through the slick mud, a man in a truck told us there was a large bore grizzly ahead. Most of our group sang loudly but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Most of the afternoon was supposed to be down but it was actually quite rolling. Apparently this side of the pass had had a lot of rain and they were big puddles and lots of mud. As we near the campground another man stopped in a truck and gave Jon a sprite. Remember, he can’t keep his pants up and so accepts all food offered. He and Lois have both had to take in their pants to keep them up!!! We arrived at the campsite fairly late around 7 PM. There was a camper van across from us when we arrived but they quickly left and the entire campsite was vacated. We were quite worried about bears! We did feel that Fortune favors the brave, as we braved venturing out and did not get rained on! We are that much closer to town for tomorrow’s trip to the bike shop, the grocery store, and the sporting goods store.