Highway 296 to Cody

Cody Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 14 › view all entries
Disappointment has no place on this trip.  Although we woke up to cold temperatures and steady rainfall, we had no choice.  We were riding over the mountain to Cody and we were going to do it with a smile on our face.  Of course, we could have just sat around the hotel all day, eating and shopping, but that's not the way we travel.  How will we ever get anywhere if we let a little cold rain stop us from riding?  There are no pictures today.  We were too busy trying to stay warm to be bothered with a camera.   The first thing we had to remember was, "This is open range" so we had to keep our eyes open for cows in the middle of the road.  Steel grates are placed across the pavement every few miles.  These were used to keep the cows within a certain perimeter but it caused us a lot of grief.  Steel is very, very slippery when wet and every time we would cross over a grate, our back tire would slide sideways.  This wasn't exactly what I had in mind for today.  Highway 296 runs right through the middle of the Shoshone National Forest, which contains 2.4 million-acres of pristine forests with elevations of over 12,000 feet and 156 glaciers.  And we could barely see twenty feet in front of us because of the rain and fog.  Sigh.  I guess days like this are to be expected from time to time but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.   On a clear day we would have been able to spot glaciers from the road and we might have even seen a big-horn sheep or grizzly bear.   But it wasn't meant to be.

By the time we maneuvered the twists, switchbacks, inclines, and declines of Highway 296, we arrived in Cody cold but not wet.  Thank goodness.   We pulled into a gas station to fill up and warm up.  The next leg of our journey was also a beautiful stretch of road and the rain had gone, but the temperatures were dropping.  Every piece of wool and leather we owned was now being worn.  This would keep our body temperature warm, even though the wind was frigid.  I must admit, the 50-mile ride from Cody to the eastern gate of Yellowstone was beautiful.  Steep yellow cliffs were on our right side and the Yellowstone River rushed alongside us on our left.   This is an area known as Sylvan Pass and it is incredibly dangerous in the winter due to the high risk of avalanche.   There is even talk of closing the road completely to all cross-country skiers, snowmobile riders, or anyone else wishing to take this road in the winter.    Today felt like winter where I come from, but we had miles to go before we could rest. 

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photo by: marg_eric