Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 15 - Idaho Falls, ID to Jackson, WY

Today: 90 miles, 5672 feet of climb
Cumulative: 1080 miles, 46393 feet of climb

Entering Wyoming

Hello from Wyoming. Two states are finished and we have eight more (plus Ontario) to go before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. And we have gone more than one thousand miles since we left the Pacific Ocean.

Today we had a hard ride. It is supposed to be one of the more difficult days of the tour, as we climbed over Teton Pass at 8431 feet. There was a lot of climbing today.

The weather was cool at the start again. 52 degrees at 6:15AM when we loaded our luggage on the truck for departure. The route started on US26 or roads that paralleled US26. Then we headed east on Route 31 and finally Route 22 into Jackson.

We're climbing up there?

The usual gang rode together today. We had a slight uphill grade for the first 47 miles. At one point, four horses ran across the road right in front of us, causing us to brake in order to avoid hitting them. We climbed to Pine Creek Summit (6764ft.) at mile 61, descended a bit, and then climbed 2600 feet to Teton Pass at mile 80, with the last three miles at a 10% to 15% uphill grade. The Hog Pen Gap climb has nothing on Teton Pass. The climb went on forever and just when you thought you were at the top, there was another switchback to climb.

Snake River to our right

At the summit of Teton Pass we had a great view down the eastward side of the mountain into the valley and Jackson, 15 miles away. From the top we had a rip roaring five mile 10% downhill grade into the town of Wilson. I had to put the brakes on several times because I was getting high speed wheel shimmy and the road chattered a bit. But I still got up to 49.5 miles per hour at one point. Jeff, speed demon that he is, passed me on the way down at close to 50 mph. He started behind me, passed me half way down the mountain, and I couldn’t see him towards the bottom.

Summit of Teton Pass, 8431 ft.

We finished relatively early for the 90 miles with a riding time of 6:04 and a 15.0 mph moving average. I’m happy with that. We are staying at the Point Inn & Suites at the edge of downtown Jackson Hole and there are mountains all around us. We had a glimpse of the Tetons on our way into town and we’ll be seeing more of them tomorrow.

Tetons to our left, after the descent from Teton Pass summit

At breakfast several of us were comparing notes, discovering we all have brought books to read in our spare time. But no one has read a page. By the time we get done riding, have lunch, unload the luggage, check into our room, take care of our bike (cleaning, lubing the chain, etc.), write our blog, take care of laundry, and go to dinner and rap, it’s about time for bed since we get up early most every morning. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there is virtually no free time to unwind except for the one rest day we had in Boise. And that seems like a long time ago.

But tonight included a trip into town to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The town looks like a tourist trap but was a nice diversion from our riding.

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Tomorrow we cross the Continental Divide at Togwotee Pass (9658 feet) with the Tetons on our left. There are supposed to be some great photo ops tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Boys will be boys

Here is part of our ride towards Teton Pass:

This is from Jeff's handlebar cam:

Today’s route:

Several riders are raising money for charity. Here is a link to a TV piece done in Pocatello that includes both the Marks I ride with. Links to their blogs are at the left, should you wish to see what they are saying or want to contribute to either of their charities.


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