Ain’t no mountain high enough

Before we leave Jackson behind, a quick word. If you live here, it appears you make your living catering to rich/adventure tourists, or managing the wealth of the rich locals. That does mean the hoi polloi who are funded by their former co-workers can always find an espresso, local brew, or gelato. Lest I sound too critical of the town, they have an excellent paved bike trail system all through the valley. My one quibble (which I find with most bike trails) is that directional signs are minimal. If you are on roads there are always signs to tell you where you are and where you’re going.

They also have a Target store. I learned that the free floss from the dentist lasts < 2 weeks and the TSA-approved sizes for toiletries last about 2 weeks.

Today’s route runs through Grand Teton National Park, on a beautiful bike trail. It’s almost enough to make you forget you’re riding 100 miles. It also gives me my second chance to use my Senior Pass to the National Park System.

See the 2018 post for pictures. Also see the 2018 July 4 post for a stirring take on the 4th of July and the theory of Manifest Destiny, courtesy of the Firesign Theatre.

Oh, by the way: jersey choices are sometimes random, but the “Horribly Hilly Hundreds: Biking Like a Viking” jersey for the climb of Teton Pass was entirely intentional. I needed that.

approaching Grand Teton
Leaving Grand Teton

Today was about as close to perfect as a day can be, for the first 95 miles. We rode through Jackson and out along an elk preserve, slowly gaining elevation. We rode into Grand Teton National Park, riding parallel to the range on a beautiful bike path. I was prepared to use my Senior Pass, but the ranger just waved us through. Coming through a tunnel we came upon a fox that made no effort to get away. We later saw a sign that said “Do not feed the fox”. I guess that’s why it showed no fear of humans. That, or it was rabid.

After the Tetons was a 17 mile climb to Togwotee Pass – a good 2.5 hours of steady climbing. Some might argue that the “perfect” ended here. As we ground up the pass, there was an electronic sign informing us that “It is illegal to stop on the roadway to view bears.” Somehow, that thought had never entered my mind. The only way I would stop to view bears is if I were riding with someone slower than I.Over the pass we rode down into the Wind River Valley. The Wind River (pronounced like a breeze) is aptly named, as it seems to be always windy here. Today was mostly tailwind. It would also be apt to pronounce it like winding your watch, as it is the twistiest river I’ve ever seen.

As we crossed 9000 feet, it was hot in the sun and chilly in the shade. The descent required a jacket but was great fun – 9 miles at 25-45 mph. At 95 miles I heard a pop and a hiss and stopped to change a tube. The sidewall had a tear so I added a boot, which lasted until the turn into the campground when it blew again. The tear had grown, so I changed tires. Now I have two tubes to patch next weekend and I’m already using one of my spare tires – that one didn’t last long, being brand new for the trip.

We’re staying at a KOA campground in DuBois, WY. We were warned that the road would be closed from 1-3PM for the Independence Day parade – as though we would get here that early. We’re told they’ll have great fireworks – but fireworks are after dark, when I hope to be sleeping. Tomorrow is a “mere” 82 miles which appear to be mostly downhill.