Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ride Report - Grand Tetons - Day One

After finally getting a solid ten hours of sleep after having worked a straight 24 hrs for yet another network change at work, I woke rested for the trip to the Grand Teton National Park.

I left at 0842 after doing last minute preps on Maria and some light packing for the trip. It had taken my wife's ROTC college reunion at the University of Wyoming to kickstart plans for this trip. We'd head up to Laramie, WY; she in the van with the boys and me on Maria. I'd meet her classmates, they'd go off to the football game and I'd continue onwards to Riverton, WY where I planned to overnight.

I made it to Laramie and the campus by 1100, it was a small gathering and they all piled into the shuttle van to go to the game at noon. I left shortly after and hit the I-80 Slab for a while. Followed the GPS and highway signs for Grand Teton/Yellowstone Parks, up US 287 which is also WY789.

The scenery was a bit plain at first, ok mostly all the way. There were brief periods of forested twisty terrain but for the most part it was boring slab riding.

I got to Riverton at 1600 having made pretty good time so I decided to push on to Dubois. I got to Dubois around 1730, home of the Giant Jackalope Ride (which I skipped) but did take a picture of the Giant Cow Skull that adorns the entrance to a laundromat.

Some of the scenery seen on the way to Jackson from Dubois

The sun was still pretty up on the horizon so I pressed on to Jackson which was now ony 86 miles away. I hit about 5-6 miles of bad roads that were being rebuilt, mind you this is still US 287! It was loose gravel and potholes, kind of what I imagine the Haul Road in Alaska being. This slowed me way down of course but luckily traffic was very light.

As evening approached, I became very alert and wary of deer and other wildlife that might pop out of the sides of the road. The many signs warning of such events did not help the stress level but fortunately I never saw anything.

As night fell, I arrived at Jackson, WY shortly after 2000hrs. Got mixed up in the evening traffic and finally rode my way back out of the town to the Dairy Queen where I got dinner.

I headed 5 miles back the way I came and found the Campground near Kelly for which I'd seen a sign on the way in to Jackson.

I rode about in the dark, found an empty campsite and registered for it. I was feeling pretty lucky with all the riding I'd done, finding a spot in the dark and the setup of the camp could not have been easier in spite of the darkness. I did use Maria's headlight for illumination for the setup of the tent.

I used up all my luck as I tried and back Maria into the parking area belonging to the tent site. I had her in place then my foot slipped as I went to put down the kickstand and down she went on her right side!

Damn. Well, a brief examination showed scratches on the right mirror (yep, the brand new one), the right side GS mirror had loosened in its mounting and hopefully fixable in the morning and perhaps some scratches on the right valve cover. Not too bad. A bunch of guys popped out of the darkness to help me pick her up, so no strain on my part. They were fellow riders they told me and had heard the bike fall I guess. Good guys.

After this, I just retreated to the tent and tried to sleep. I must get an air mattress if I am to continue this camping business!

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