The dentist said, "Open wide and a bicyclist will pop out!" On an adventure, you never know what different kinds of "moments" will spontaneously burst upon you in foreign countries. You may walk on the Wall of China from the Ming Dynasty. When traveling in Nepal, you may pedal behind a water buffalo known as the John Deere tractor of Asia. You may walk with and meet people from centuries ago like Caesar's cremation spot in Rome or stand where Alexander the Great stood at the Oracle of Delphi. You walk where Thomas Jefferson lived in Monticello and you turn the same doorknob he used to open his front room. You may march down the same street as Susan B. Anthony or Joan of Arc. You may run into Muhammad Ali and shake hands with Clint Eastwood like I did. On an adventure, every day fills you with expectation for the extraordinary. Travel becomes the great educator and humbler. The subtleties of travel acquaint you with great characters of history and inspire you to your own greatness. Travel renders ideas for your own life process.
(Frosty pedaling off a Norwegian ferry boat on his Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece bicycle ride.)
Quickly, after the grizzly bear breakfast “moment”, I returned to the peace and quiet of the Gibbon River on my way to Norris Geyser Junction. I stopped at the paint pots where bubbling mud and multiple colors along with steaming vents opened into the early morning air.
At one point, a single bull elk munched grass along the river. Three dozen cars stopped with folks bounding out of their cars to take pictures. I almost find it comical that humans drive other creatures out of their own habitat via housing projects, roads, cities and other development, thus creating over 250 extinctions of species in the lower 48 states annually—but when they see such creatures, they become excited and overjoyed with the wildlife.
Even in Yellowstone, where the speed limit stands at 45 miles per hour as the maximum, most drivers travel at 55 to 65, which kills thousands of creatures annually in their own back yard. Drivers run over buffalo, deer, elk, bear, coyotes, foxes, pronghorns, sheep, moose, hawks and other birds every day.
(The view of the road ahead from the from the vantage point of a touring cyclist.)
At one ranger station, I filled out a request to have more speeding law enforcement to save the animals in their own backyard. I suggested no more plastic containers be sold at concessions in the park because I saw dozens of cups and junk tossed onto the roadway. I suggested only paper containers colored in “forest green” colors so all the trash visitors throw out of their cars would blend in with the brush while degrading.
I asked for 36 inch bicycle lanes on the roadways to encourage more cycling. Problem is: I suggested the same ideas five years ago with no action or results. Once again, I bet the ranger threw my request into the circular file below his desk. You would think that such common sense suggestion would be implemented immediately. Good luck with my idealism.
( A picture cannot “describe” the enormity of Yellowstone Falls, but look at the little human beings standing on the deck beside the lip to give you an idea of its size.)
At the Norris Geyser, I pedaled over to Canyon Village for a look at Yellowstone Falls. Utterly and totally stupendous! With spring runoff, the Yellowstone River poured over the first falls with raging white water and energy. The second falls, which drops over 150 feet to the canyon below, offers visitors stunning beauty. I walked down to the lip of the falls to watch about two feet thick water cascade over the edge. Pretty amazing! Dazzling mist, power, energy and sheer beauty!
(Steam vents along the highway with tourists viewing them on boardwalks.)
Not wanting to climb over Dunraven Pass, which would take the rest of the day (I’ve cycled it two times in the past), I opted to ride 12 miles back to Norris and head north. Once back on the northbound road, I stopped at Roaring Mountain where a dozen steam vents blew their fury into the afternoon sky. From there, I pedaled past Obsidian Cliff at 7,383 feet. Another 21 miles, I passed Sheepeater Cliff. In the late afternoon, I reached Mammoth Hot Springs.
(Every kind of natural phenomenon and beauty greet Yellowstone visitors throughout the park.)
A huge “white” and multicolored mountain greets visitors. A colossal spring created a near perfect “pumpkin” that dazzled the likes of Jim Bridger and John Muir over 100 years ago. Some of the tall tales that returned to the Eastern seaboard in the early years stemmed from mountain men not knowing how to “name” natural phenomenon. They called geysers “upside down waterfalls” and they thought steaming pools boiled from fires built below ground by mysterious characters. They couldn’t figure out steam vents.
(Roaring Mountain offers visitors an entire side of a mountain a glimpse of geysers and steam vents blowing off their pressure 24/7.)
I reached the north end of the park with ranger barracks, visitor center, hotels and trinket merchants selling T-shirts. I pedaled around for the sheer delight of seeing all the visitors from all over the world. I saw lots of Chinese, which now travel the planet in greater numbers because they make a lot of money. I’m glad to see more foreign visitors because international travel allows all of us to get better acquainted on a personal level. In the end, all people love peace and civility. I find the megalomaniac politicians of most governments, including our own leaders, love confrontation more than peace. The Internet and international travel give all of humanity the best chance for a peaceful future.
(Mammoth Hot Springs with its multi-colored pools and water runoff.)
“Happy World Peace Day! Here is how you can get involved: A. Engage in dialogue with someone from a different country or nationality other than your own. B. Let go of the past and renounce vendettas, denounce revenge, and live for the future. C. Contemplate your life and find the areas that you are in conflict. Work towards solving the conflicts by defusing them through communication or dis-engaging so that the conflicts wither away. Understand the conflict from the viewpoint of your opponent and do not think of winning. Think of co-existing. D. Close your eyes and breathe deeply while clearing your mind of all your troubles. Repeat as needed. E. Volunteer for a peace organization. F. Read a book on conflict resolution.” ― Kambiz Mostofizadeh
As the evening approached, I pedaled past a dozen cow elk with “just-born-babies” lying in the grass just off the highway. I mean, “Those little spotted guys offer new beauty in the world.”
(Fresh, spotted baby elk calves resting in the warm sunshine alongside the road. Such beauty gives me hope for the world.)
Suddenly, a thundercloud squall gave me a taste of the first rain on the trip. I pedaled over to a porch to wait out the downpour. As I sat writing notes, I noticed another fully loaded cyclist heading northbound out of the park. I whistled, but he couldn’t hear me. “Maybe I’ll catch up to him,” I muttered to myself.
After an hour, the rain stopped. I decided to stop at the campground just before heading out of the park. I would enjoy a picnic table, bathroom and campsite for the small “Hiker-Biker” fee. I could coast into Gardiner in the morning.
After setting up my tent and preparing dinner, the fellow I saw earlier pedaled right into the “Hiker-Biker” camp area. He stacked his bike up against a picnic table. He walked over, “Hi, my name’s Robert.”
“Glad to meet you,” I said. “I’m Frosty.”
At 33 years old, a Personal Trainer, and wanting to experience more in life, he cycled from Montgomery, Alabama and headed to the Canadian border. After dinner and conversation, we felt comfortable enough to ride together. I think he wouldn’t mind some company after 2,500 miles cycling solo. I enjoyed his unique brand of enthusiasm and style.
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2010, he cycled 3,400 miles coast to coast across America. In 2012, he bicycled the northern tier coast to coast across America. In 2013, he bicycled 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide, 150,000 vertical feet of climbing and 19 crossing of passes, 10 of the Continental Divide. He presents “The Coming Population Crisis facing America: what to do about it.” www.frostywooldridge.com . His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com
Live well, laugh often, celebrate daily and enjoy the ride,
6 Continent world bicycle traveler
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