Timeline 2

Here’s a second look at my thoughts.



Day 9 {Wednesday}

Boise, Idaho to Fairfield Idaho

101 Miles

The state of Idaho is breathtaking! As route 20 merged with interstate 80, I elected to not ride it and follow our gps through 40 miles of circuitous dirt road. 

Today was so beautiful.  We had wind in our favor!  I held an average of 31 mph (Thanks to the wind, by the way the peloton at the tour de france this summer averaged 33 mph, with wind in their faces too! So it’s nothing for the pros but for me it was a very sweet taste).  It was awesome!  I have never felt as free.  The roads were excellent and the sky behind the mountains, surreal.

There were hundreds of crickets dancing onto my legs, some sticking and breaking my skin others committing suicide by slamming their bodies into tire walls of the van that was rolling next to me. 

There is so much to sing about how amazing today was!


At the corner of town we saw a sign for DollarHide Bike shop – of course we had to stop in and hang with owner/pro rider Dave Harrison.  He hooked us up with ReddRox recovery drink and a couple of ReddRox bottles. 

For a town populated with 396 people this is one progressive shop.



Day 10 {Thursday}

Fairfield, Idaho to Butte City

92 miles

For the second day the wind in our backs helping us race through Picabo and on to Craters of the Moon National Park.  What an otherworldly place – I can’t wait to return.

After lunch the winds crossed us, making the climbing treacherous.  Then I got another flat.

After spending an hour at Craters, I decided to forego fixing the flat and hopped on my 29er* for the rest of the day.  About 28 miles. 

We reached Arco, the first city to be powered by atomic energy – Arco is more or less 20 miles west of the INL (Idaho National Laboratory, the nucleolus of Nuclear energy) mid way through town I noticed another flat brewing in the rear tire of my 29er.

I rode the remaining four miles to Butte city on the rim.  Two flats, two bikes, one day.

*29er – my beloved mountain bike that has 29 inch wheels (A birthday present on my 29th from Julia) traditional mt. bikes roll 26” wheels and a road bike is roughly 27.5” or for those who this matters to 700c.  My road bike is 700X25 & Peter’s is 700X32.



Day 11 {Friday}

Butte City Idaho to Sugar City, Idaho

95 miles

Our hotel – the Holiday Inn Express (Courtesy of Lodgian) is in Idaho Falls, 33 miles west, so we had to drive back to Butte City to resume the cycling.  During the return trip we saw the remnants of the previous nights brush fire, amazing.

The riding was rough.  The wind shifted to our faces, as much as it helped the past two days, today it was hurting.  I started off far too strong, the pain scaring me, I rode 17 miles to our first stop and stretched out on the asphalt until Pete, Julia and Meghan arrived.  Pete didn’t want to stop for long as Erin was flying this afternoon.  I stuck around the INL rest area to learn about the three volcanic buttes surrounding the 900 square mile facility that is currently working to harness Geothermal Energy.

Pete broke away from the ride/filming to spend the afternoon catching up with Erin (Erin Mattson his girlfriend).  A rather happy accident for Pete because I ended up getting lost and riding at least 20 miles off course, during that meandering hour I did find the inspiration to test the PAT.

As I rode the last few miles of the day on the interstate I hopped back on my 29er, and watched the setting sun baste the peaks of the Grand Tetons off in the distance in a brilliant Red – an another personal spiritual moment that I will never forget.



Day 12 {Saturday}

Sugar City, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana

77 Miles

After yesterday’s long ride I wasn’t feeling that well, along with the endless teams of obnoxiously loud motorcycles passing us, I was wearing down fast.

Despite my weakness the vast mountain range and starch white clouds were the appropriate crescendo to the West Yellowstone gateway, lifting my spirits.

I was so proud to cross the continental divide and as I did, Julia saw a grizzly bear cross the road behind me. 

This morning Pete, Julia and I gave a television interview which was excellent except for the spelling of my name: Pierson Constantine?  At least the message was there.  This makes me curious because when she started the interview as all reporters do, I have to say and spell my name.



Day 13 {Sunday}

Jackson Hole, Yellowstone National Park &

0 miles – off day!

We left Idaho Falls and had a nice drive to Jackson Hole – met with Julia’s father Len, his wife Lisa and her father John – who had rented a house in Gardiner, Montana, to spend a few days with us and see the park.

Driving through Yellowstone was incredible, the thermal features, the wildlife, plus knowing Yellowstone Lake is the epicenter of the Caldera that formed this part of the country really fascinates me.

I want to come back on a motorcycle – maybe a snow cat during its closed winter months to avoid the rows of RV’s and tourists.



Day 14 {Monday}

West Yellowstone, Wyoming to Yellowstone Lake

60 miles

The biking today wasn’t so smooth for me – in the middle of my back I had a muscle spasm, which radiated down my right side, so I slowly got off the bike and stretched out in the van for a while.

After having lunch and taking in a walk around a massive thermal feature, I felt better and was back on the bike for some climbs and of course, I got lost again.  The search party was out as I was all by myself, rolling in the complete wrong direction, (I was having an incredible time by the way) south towards the Grand Tetons.  With no cell phone service, I think the panic of the crew was thick.  Eventually Julia found me about 8 miles off course – which I had to make up and catch Pete.  I did and we rode for another 12 miles or so.  Then I fell asleep in the van back to Gardiner.



Day 15 {Tuesday}


0miles – Off day

The pain kept me off the bike today, except for a short spin around Gardiner this morning with Julia, which was just enough time for me to get another flat on my 29er.

We took advantage of having our own tour guide in Yellowstone today (Meghan worked there for a few summers during her college days) and saw this remarkable park from an insider’s perspective.



Day 16 {Wednesday}

Yellowstone to East Yellowstone, Wyoming

56 miles

Meandering around Yellowstone Lake, with favorable winds, me and Pete sailed above the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake until we reached a pack of Bison.  Bison’s apparently charge cyclists, so we were told to gingerly engage these beasts standing along the tarmac. Being brothers, Jackass’ and lovers of all things dangerous, we steered into the pack at full steam, both of us running the big ring at about 34 mph.  I was eating an apple, which I planned to use, as a peace offering with any massive herbivore should they feel an inclination to wrestle with me.  No problems with the Bison just a passing car, the driver not paying enough attention running us into to even greater danger – but we survived and giggled until the van caught up with us.

The water breaking along the shore of was black with volcanic sediment as we began our ascent on Sylvan Pass.  I felt the need to attack the pass, I felt weak for being in pain the day before so I broke away from Pete and went as hard as I could.  I don’t think I could have rode as hard if it wasn’t for the cool crisp day, our thermometer was 49 when we reached the top of the pass. 

Our way down was eight miles of beautiful curved descending! I kept it under 40 mph, the wind was too strong and curves too unforgiving for any faster.  I wore the helmet camera and the footage is wild.



Day 17 {Thursday}

Yellowstone East Entrance to Emblem, Wyoming

85 miles

We got to run Sylvan Pass one more time – so we actually started back in Yellowstone for another run of those eight miles.

Pete was so nervous that I was going to do something crazy, like not brake to see if I could beat my speed record.  I didn’t but I did feel like just running off the edge and seeing how far I could sail over the ravine.

Shoshone forest is beautiful.  Huge red rock cliffs cut just wide enough for the road to have a shoulder so a cyclist could roll past and feel the earth.

A few miles down the pass out of Yellowstone we began to see smoke from a series of wildfires, the closer we got to Cody, the fires grew.  This particular fire is called the Gunbarrel fire, at the time we passed, it was 13% contained and had been started by lighting.  It had injured three fire jumpers and gobbled up hundreds of acres of forest.  The projected extinguish date wasn’t until mid to late October. 

There were two positive outcomes of this fire, one; it had burned off old fire logs and waste from previous burns, thus protecting it from future fires.  Two; allowed us the incredible experience of riding through the most amazing canopy of smoke for nearly, 70 miles.

Our hotel was in Cody but our stop point for the day was 30 miles east, in Emblem.  So we stopped, checked into the hotel and had lunch before finishing the day.  While eating pbj’s and drinking a shiner bock in the parking lot the winds shifted from southeast, to northwest, which meant the next 30 miles were going to be a battle.

As we left town, the winds were gaining strength.  Feeling anxious and overwhelmed again, I attacked and broke away from Pete.  I got way out in front and left him, not a good thing to do to your cycling partner, ever.  Feeling guilty but was overzealous I wanted to get out into the nothingness as soon as possible – once I was there I was struck by the emptiness of the pure wild void.

Aside from the van maybe a dozen cars went by me in the 26 miles I was alone out there, I saw groups of wild horses and prawnhorns and miles of rocky useless earth.

We reached Emblem, Wyoming, population 10 around 6pm.  An awesome day of riding!



Day 18 {Friday}

Emblem, Wyoming to Thermopolis Wyoming

90 miles

With wind in our faces all day, plus 110-degree heat, this was not a fair day.  I got a flat tire before lunch and rode on it until we could find a tree to pull over and repair it under.  Of course the tube I put in the tire had a ruptured valve that went unnoticed until after it was seated on the rim and I was trying to pump air into it.

Two flats and massive frustration, I decided to ride my 29er for a while.  Later on we did manage to fix the flat and make it to Thermopolis, before sunset.

The temperatures changed erratically.  On one decent alone it went from 101 degrees to 89 degrees in the matter of a few hundred feet, it was wild and disturbing.

Julia had to put on a sweatshirt, not only to avoid the mosquito’s but because she was shivering, in golden sunlight.


Dinner was at a bowling alley, the only thing open, but to order we had to use a telephone at the table, which went directly to the kitchen.  Our hotel had an open gun and knife display, dozens of game heads and a natural spring fed pool.

We stopped at a drive through bar/liquor store to fix the second flat.  Folks would drive up and a glass of beer would be brought out to the driver while sitting in the driver’s seat, engine on, to wait while a six-pack or a case of whatever was put in the bed of the truck. 

We passed an airplane graveyard.

We saw a few dozen Haliburton trucks and Oil rigs.

I ate four blow pops in a row on the bike, one after another and did not drop any trash along the roadway.



Day 19 {Saturday}

Thermopolis, Wyoming

0 miles

Off Day! Julia and I slept in a little before taking a walk into town.  Well, the town was basically closed for labor-day weekend with only a few shops open.  We also celebrated our First year wedding anniversary with one of the bottles of wine Jeff and Patti Evans had given us.

Pete took a dip in the natural hot springs with a gaggle of strangers, who should have been more covered. 

I got schooled on a unicycle by a 13 year old.

One of the waiters at the restaurant was 8 years old and I put him on my 29er for a spin around the block, he was a sweet kid.  His mom who is younger than me owns the restaurant and an Oil Rig and four other children.



Day 20 {Sunday}

Thermopolis, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming

138 miles

The first 30 miles today were through Wind River canyon.  Pre Cambrian era rocks that absolutely blew our minds, we took it super slow to absorb this incredible place we’re in.

At the southeast end of the canyon is a man made reservoir, a flooded mountain range.  With depths of 2500 feet, it felt like we were on another planet.  This beautiful lake was open and natural, not disrupted by endless mansions or pathetic state parks like I’m used to seeing in the northeast.  I was amazed and psyched to be there.  We were flying too, about 25 mph, straight into Shoshoni.

After a brief stop it was 90 miles of no towns, no gas stations, complete void until we reached the outskirts of Casper.  One hell of a ride!  With a southeast wind, we were moving about 25 to 28 mph.  Awesome!  I loved today.

Despite the occasional rifle shot, I felt alone with the road.  The overcast low ceiling of clouds sheltered this beautiful landscape that is marred by the history of the Sand Creek Massacre.

The miles caught up to us towards the end of the day, right before we got lost looking for the hotel. 

I snatched the gps out of the van and lead the team myself. 


Well only one really, we say the young mother/owner of the restaurant from the night before at the gas station in Shoshoni and the little boy who ripped up my 29er back on the streets of Thermop! 


Day 21 {Monday}

Casper, Wyoming to Lusk, Wyoming

108 miles

Rain, our first day of getting wet, after a brief stop in Glenrock at the gas station we, meet the Mayor who urged us to get on the mountain bikes and ride the short cut that’ll link us back up with (non-interstate) route 20, Tank Farm Road.

It was awesome.  The road was part of an open range where cattle and steers roamed.  Pete and I loved it.  There were bullet holes on every sign, mailbox and fence.

When we got back to tarmac, we swapped the heavy 29er and Opie (The name of my other all black stump jumping mountain bike) for our roadies.  Just then the sky’s opened up a deluge and crushed us with icy cold rain.  We road about 6 miles and stopped for an early lunch to dry off and change into warmer clothes. 

It took me and Pete a good hour to heat back up, as we rode further into the afternoon the sky became black, except for a growing glow of golden setting sunlight behind us.  It was like nothing I had ever seen before on any landscape in the world.  My weak sentence structure does not do this incredible experience justice.  It really gave me a sense of doing this trip and what it means, something I had been missing, while always being concerned about speed, keeping up with the schedule, the interviews, speaking about safety – this was an awesome moment, the kind of experience I had hoped I would have.

Pete and I rode tight together, he was feeling a bonk and it was too dark for us to be separated, until he got out in front of me to race a freight train.

The darkness over took us so we had to stop a little outside of our destination. 

Our anniversary dinner was at a truck stop and featured chicken fried steak and flat root beer.


One of our detours today was a soggy road named Pearson.

Pete who vowed never to wear them, wore his tights today!

Pete who is the son of an incredible Italian chef, had a meatball sub at Subway today.

Despite my fear of dairy I had an awesome gas station Cappuccino for $1!


Day 22 {Tuesday}

Lusk, Wyoming to Chadron, Nebraska

100 miles

 We started were we left off last night – adding to today’s miles, but the sun is out and the cool crisp air is wonderful.

Our lunch stop was in the last town on Route 20 East in Wyoming called Van Tassell, population 14, well today 18.  We discussed politics for far too long, we’re all concerned about any further damage to this country we are so deeply in love with.

The wind carved silver rocks were stunning and again the train engineers were as friendly today as last night!  I think Pete hugged the welcome to Nebraska sign. 

Our groove was odd today, the wind was whirling around, sometimes helping, sometimes hurting and just completely strange, during one climb it helped me maintain 23 mph up a 3% grade.  Perhaps that has more to do with the curvature of the road but nevertheless awkward.

On the last climb to Chadron, the roads were littered with debris, jagged rocks and broken glass, being a little out in front of Pete I didn’t hear the car load of good ole boys heckling him trying to knock him off his bike.  It saddens me that that is the nature of some people.


At the onset of town there was a man in a mobilized wheel chair with the word AWOL on the back of his seat, riding directly in the shoulder and blocking Julia’s shots.  There was a car in front of him as well, terribly bizarre.  I have a personal rule never to engage crazy or go to a second location with a hippie, which is why I didn’t even bother to ask him what he was about.  I do not consider that a loss.

Our hotel was the Bunkhouse, for the first time Julie and I watched a program called redneck wedding on the country music channel and laughed hysterically, waking up the folks in the room next to us.

Dinner was the largest burrito I’ve ever had.  It was smothered with a Pork Verde sauce.  How come Nebraska has the best Tex-Mex I’ve ever had?  Even on our way out, Julia and I stopped in Lexington, Nebraska and had the best, no holds barred, Mexican food ever.

Another interesting sideline about Lexington, Nebraska; while taking a walk after dinner a nicely dressed fella on a bike who hardly spoke English, rode by and kiddingly said to us among other things, “hey, I ride my bike all the way to Boston, Massachusetts, You?”  Well yes my friend, I have and will be doing so again in a few days.  He was too drunk to ride in a straight line and shortly there after skidded and almost fell.

Nebraska.  More to come.

One Response to “Timeline 2”

  1. Joy says:

    Thank you so much Pearson for sharing your thoughts from the road! I can practically hear your voice as I read it. It’s fascinating and much more descriptive than you give yourself credit for. Though I totally understand that it still is not descriptive enough for what you saw and experienced first hand.

    Keep it coming!