DAY 51 (7/31/05): Sheridan to Ranger Creek, WY 33.7
mi.  This morning I packed up my little campsite and
rode the loaded bike into Sheridan to await the
arrival of my good friend and fellow ANT-riding,
hay-market-shopping, high-altitude-adventure
enthusiast Joel Ninesling.  He pulled up at around
1pm, having driven to Sheridan that morning from
Jackson, where he used to live, about a 7 hour drive. 
After he got his bike out of the car and loaded up, we
headed towards the Bighorn mountains, which loom
ominously over the skyline in Sheridan.  We ascended
gradually at first, on a paved road.  Soon, however,
we lost both the "paved" and the "gradual."  The line
taken by Red Grade Road was captured by Joel as "STFU"
(S for Straight, U for Up, you fill in the rest).  The
grade was 17% in some places, and with the loose
gravel I had to push Dagny for a few sections.  Let me
assure you that pushing a 75 lb bike up those grades
is anything but easy, and we were both pretty tired
when we reached the top of the first section of
climbing, which put us nearly 4000 feet above
Sheridan.  From that point, the road "flattened" out a
bit such that it was consistently rideable, and we
climbed our way slowly but surely towards the Ranger
Creek campground.  On the way, we were interrupted
briefly by a thunderstorm accompanied by rain so hard
that we had to take temporary shelter under a stand of
trees until the rain slowed enough for us to move on. 
We finally made it to Ranger Creek completely soaked
and exhausted, and once the rain stopped we basically
just set up the tent and went to sleep immediately.

DAY 52 (8/1/05): Ranger Creek to Greybull, WY 72.7 mi.
We had a slightly delayed start this morning since we
wanted to let some of our gear dry out before loading
up.  As soon as the first rays of the sun began to
penetrate the thick pine forest at the campground, we
started strategically placing our gear in patches of
sunlight, and moved our wet clothes from place to
place as the sun came up to maximize drying potential.
Once we were underway, we finished climbing up to the
top of the Bighorns, and rode a high plateau through
some really pristine wilderness, both forest and high
alpine meadows.  We saw a bunch of mule deer as well
as both a bull and cow moose.  At last we left the
unpaved road behind and came out on US-14 again, and
climed just a little bit more to get to the top of
Granite pass, at 9033 ft.  From there, we had an
outstanding 18-mi descent through Shell canyon, with
stops at various vista points along the way.  The rock
formations along the descent were both huge and
intricate, with lots of ancient layers visible in
cross section along the canyon walls.  What was
especially cool was that at the bottom of the descent,
just outside the canyon, you could look back and the
enterance to the canyon was completely obscured by the
hills at the base--you would never have known it was
there.  After a quick refueling stop at Dirty Annie's
in the little town of Shell, we rode downhill for
another 15 miles or so to Greybull, which is at the
exact same elevation as Sheridan (3700 ft).  Thus, we
effectively undid in about 2 hrs all the climbing that
took us about 8 or 9 hours of slavish climbing to
accomplish over the past two days.  The descent was
thrilling, though, and there were good pizzas,
rootbeer floats, and showers in Greybull, all of which
were much appreciated by team ANT.

DAY 53 (8/2/05): Greybull to Dead Indian Pass, WY 92.6
mi.  We began today with a gradual 1500 ft climb into
Cody, WY.  In addition to the elevation gain, we had a
huge headwind, so Joel and I took turns pulling 0.75mi
shifts.  Headwinds are certainly much easier to deal
with when you have a buddy with you to share the work,
I have found.  When we got to Cody, we visited the
Sierra Trading Post (aka "Praise the Lord Sports")
outlet store where I picked up a very nice new Limar
helmet to replace my old Giro, which was falling
apart.  With the new helmet on, we rode out of Cody,
did a nice quick 300 ft climb to remind ourselves what
we were getting into, and headed off towards yet
another mountain pass.  We rode through an amazing
basin with steep red hills rising up on either side
and came to the turn off for the Chief Joseph Highway,
which goes over Dead Indian Pass.  A guy that we had
talked to in town had told us that there was a
campground about 8 miles from the turnoff, so we
weren't worried, even though there were some 3000 ft
of climbing involved in those 8 miles.  We climbed
gradually at first, and then did a series of very
steep switchbacks up the face of a big hill.  Although
it was a big climb, it didn't feel hard at all
compared to that first day out of Sheridan.  When we
reached a false summit at the border of the National
Forest, we stopped for a map check and Joel realized
that the guy we had talked to might have been somewhat
off in terms of where the campground actually was. 
So, we climbed on up the pass, and as we approached
the actual summit, the sky darkened rather ominously
and then yet another thunderstorm began, this one
featuring hail the size of one of my favorite riding
snacks, peanut M & M's.  Rather than ride through the
hail, Joel found a nice dry spot in a tight group of
fir trees and we pitched the tent there, about 50
yards off the main road on a little spur that went out
to a research facility.  We put all of our food in a
stuff sack and Joel hung it from a tree to keep it
away from bears.  As he put it, it was high enough up
that only "Kareem Abdul-Ja-Bear" would have been able
to reach it.  Once we were in the tent and the storm
died down, we slept very, very soundly.

DAY 54 (8/3/05): Dead Indian Pass, WY to Cooke City,
MT 53.4 mi.  This morning, after a nutritious and
balanced breakfast of string cheese and triscuits, we
made our way over the summit of Dead Indian Pass and
did a fabulous descent off the other side into a deep
valley below (where we found the much anticipated
campground a mere 9 mi beyond where the guy predicted
it would be).  We stopped for a much needed meal at a
country store and restaurant beyond the valley and
then turned onto the Beartooth Highway and headed
northwest torwards the Montana border.  Unfortunately,
a large portion of that road was under construction
and we had to do another fairly significant climb on a
less than ideal surface, this time with huge
earth-moving machines doing their thing everywhere. 
We camped just up the hill from Cooke City, MT.  There
was a little afternoon rain shower that kept us in the
tent for an afternoon siesta, and then we walked into
town for dinner.  We ate an outstanding meal at the
Beartooth Cafe, beginning with a truly huge plate of
nachos that Joel and I demolished in about 7 minutes.