Day 28, Tour 10 Dubois, WY to Swan Valley, ID

The Snake River which I follow from Jackson to Idaho Falls

I got up at 5:30 and was on the road by 6:30.The drive from Dubois to Jackson was very pretty, but the construction on 287 coming down into The Grand Tetons National Park would have been unpleasant at best on a bicycle.There is now a very long stretch of dirt/gravel road and lots of dust.

As I drove down the flat valley above Jackson, I saw a plane land at the airport. I was not pleased since that showed me that the airport was about ten miles north of Jackson, ten miles that would be added to my riding distance which was already over 100 miles.I debated what to do. I could get a room in Jackson and ride Teton Pass unloaded today. I could hire an expensive (!) taxi to take me and my bike about 22 miles south so I could start at Hoback Junction for a 100 mile ride. I could just go for it from the airport. When I returned my rental car and got on my loaded bike, it felt so good to be back on the bike that I decided just to go for it.

Heading south from the airport, back to Jackson

Coming into Jackson
Those are ski runs on the mountain

Heading south out of Jackson
Note the bike path

The Snake River south of Jackson

When I rode south from the airport, I had a moderate to strong headwind. That did not bode well for making a 120 mile ride today. It was chilly, especially with the headwind, so I put on my wind vest (and kept it on till I reached Idaho) for the first time on this tour and put a Subway bag over my bad knee, under its knee warmer. That knee does not do well if it gets cold and the knee warmers I was wearing are pretty thin.

When I rode through Jackson, it was 11 AM - preliminary stuff while I had the car, unhelpful car rental folk at the airport, and the ride from The airport to town had wasted most of the morning. I stopped to top up my water supply and headed down a nice bike path that parallels the road south out of Jackson for a few miles. I had 12 miles to ride to get to Hoback Junction where I would turn west to follow the Snake River. When I turned, the wind turned with me and I had a headwind - varying from 5 to 15 mph - all day today ;-{.

Heading west from Hoback Junction

Looking south across the river

Looking down on the river with rafters

Heading down near Alpine Junction

After a pretty hard 22 miles of beautiful, hilly, riding into a headwind, I reached Alpine Junction. This is the place with the most services between Jackson and Idaho Falls. An Inn, a Resort and a Hotel. Three places to eat! And they all close after lunch and before supper ;-}. I got there at 2:30 and had to make do with a bowl of chili and a cup of coffee from a convenience store.

Leaving Alpine Junction

Entering Idaho

Shortly after entering Idaho - just west of Alpine Junction - I met a Norwegian couple who were riding across the US.They had started from Seattle and were headed for Boston. After discussing road conditions ahead of us, we visited for a while and then I, who still had 70 miles to ride to Idaho Falls, rode on, uphill. The Norwegians said there were seven 'rollers' to ride before the road flattened out. Each roller turned out to be several hundred feet high with 5 to 6% grades up and down ;-}. Norway is a very hilly country, but I still think there was a language issue in calling those hills rollers!

The lake, with campers

The lake goes on for a long, hilly, time

The last roller descended to Pallisades Dam and then another couple of hundred feet vertical to an open valley.

The dam

The powerhouse at the dam

The valley

Cranking down the valley

Riding in the valley was faster than riding the rollers, but, with the headwind, even riding on the drops, my cruising speed was 10 to 11 mph. Ten miles or so down the valley, the small town of Swan Valley used to have services. Now they are all closed. I stopped, at the school in Swan Valley to snack from my supplies, but I picked a bad place. The ants - non biting variety - swarmed over me and I got out of there ASAP.

A nice looking, but closed, Inn in Swan Valley

45 miles to go to Idaho Falls at 5:30 PM

My bike in my cabin for the night

A few miles later, I rode past a place that was a fishing center, rv camp, and motel. I stopped to ask if they had food. The lady there was very helpful, but told me I'd do better at a fancy convenience store 3 miles further on where the road from Teton Pass joined the road along the Snake River. I thanked her and rode on, only to realize that I didn't have time to make it to Idaho Falls before dark. I turned around, rode back, and got a cabin for the night.

The nice lady managed to find some food - two microwavable frozen cheeseburgers - for my supper and fixed me biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We spent an hour or so visiting in the morning. It was a good place to stop on my way to Idaho Falls, after riding 75 hilly miles into a moderate headwind.

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