Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

It was in the 60’s when we went to sleep last night but at some point the temps dropped even lower. As the sun started to come up it was in only the mid 40’s. We packed up and took off bright and early this morning since we needed to make up some miles.

KOA in Rawlins, Wyoming

One tent among many RVs

But first we stopped at the McDonald’s in Rawlins to have some coffee and breakfast. We ran in to three adventure riders there from Washington state, doing nothing but dirt roads. There sure is a lot of dirt roads out here.

The morning stayed cool and I kept my Gerbings heated liner on. 287 was an ever changing road. Sometimes straight, sometimes flat, sometimes hilly, sometimes mountainous, sometimes curvy. The scenery changed frequently also.

The picture above and all the 6 pictures below were taken along RT 287

There wasn’t a lot of traffic on this road and last night at the KOA a guy that works there said that not that many people were coming to Yellowstone this year, probably because of the high gas prices.

287 joins 26 and soon after the scenery starts to change as the road gains elevation. That last section of 287 and 26 just before meeting up with 191 is a really nice, unfortunately a lot of it is under construction right now. We had to stop three times at sections where only one lane was open to both directions. The construction probably managed to delay us by at least 45 minutes to an hour.

Construction on 287/26, I rode the shoulder instead of the new fresh gravel

Finally we turned south on 191 and headed to the Grand Teton National Park. We didn’t have a National Park pass and we knew we would be stopping at more parks on this trip. It was $80 to buy a yearly pass, the kicker was, we both could use it on two separate motorcycles, as long as both of our signatures were on the back. That is great, I was thinking that each of us had to our yearly passes for $80 each. That is a nice deal.

The first thing we did was get gas and eat. Just before the park entrance and the visitor center there is a gas station and food. Of course the food is expensive, so we opted for the general store deli and our sandwiches were still $7 each. They were good though, I had cheese, avocado and sprouts on a hard roll.

Lunch at the Grand Teton National Park

The Grand Teton National Park was busy, no road was empty. We stopped at the visitor center and asked about camping and now we were on a mission to secure a spot. It was already 2PM and the best campground at Jenny Lake was already all filled up, next was the campground at Signal Mountain, also filled up. We arrived at the Colter Bay campground and they did have some spots open. We were directed to the group camping sites, so I think the regular camp site was already filled. Here we found a nice spot, this camp ground had mostly bicyclists and motorcyclists.

One out of the hundred scenic pullouts in the park

Riding the Teton Park Road

Jackson Lake

I set the tent up and Mike went back to pay. The camp site was $5. By now it was already 4PM. We finished up setting our camp and rode over to the general store at the Colter Bay Village. We needed supplies, water and food. The general store was a full supermarket. We grabbed some stuff to eat, filled out water containers and headed to Signal Mountain. A narrow and at times steep road snaked up the mountain to the top. We were told we could see the best sunset in the park up here.

Our camp site at Colter Bay

We also wanted to do some hiking here but the mosquitoes as bad as the were at our campsite, they were 100 times worst up here on the mountain. A few others came up to watch the sunset but within minutes ran back to their cars because of the mosquitoes. It’s been a bad mosquito year so far, I’ve been bit more this year then any other year. We chatted with a guy who pulled up on a DR650 which he just got this weekend. It was his first bike and this was his first ride. The bike looked like new too and it was 1999. He was a young kid, a student at Wyoming State University.

Sunset on Signal Mountain

We didn’t finish watching the whole sunset, the mosquitoes chased us away too, hundreds of them swarming by us, I’ve never seen this many before. We got back to the campsite and started a fire. It wasn’t a big fire but it did provide some light and some heat. It was already cold and we figured it was going to get as cold as it did last night. Actually right now was already way colder than it was last night at this hour. We had some dinner of nacho chips and dip, locked all of the food and toiletries in the bear proof box provided by the campground and went to sleep. Just as last night, I woke up a few times through the night feeling cold trying to adjust my sleeping bag and liner. It was cold night and I already had all the clothes on that I brought with except for the rain gear and riding gear. I even had my balaclava on, which I didn't sleep in last night, which helped. The two pairs of socks helped also.

Simple route today: 287 north to 287/26 then south on 191

Teton Park Road, Colter Bay where we camped is at way point #4

We did 279 miles to get to the park and over 25 miles in the park, for the approximate total of 304 miles for the day. We actually did a bit of riding in the park but I don't keep track of the miles we rode I only add up the miles displayed on Streets & Trips.


TJed said...

Hey - that looks like my campsite ( Tetons) I was always paranoid about a grizzlie comin by.
Have you been to Yellowstone ? if ya have any interest in geology, it's amazing. One of best places for that on planet, I'd think/

from sport-touring.

Anna said...

Yes, I have been to Yellowstone before in 2002. I was there for 3 days and I didn't get to see it all, such a large place. I don't think we'll make it out there on this trip, we would need more then a weekend to see it all and Mike needs to be at the computer working Monday - Friday. Maybe if we could stay up in Wyoming, but I looked and found no cheap places near the park.