Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 54

Tuesday, August 30

Miles today: 58
Jackson Hole WY to Rest area on US 26 (about 25 miles from Idaho Falls)

This morning we had a continental breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty filling and tasty. We got on our bikes and rode 7 miles, all downhill down route 26. It was a really beautiful ride and we were happy because we had chosen to go the longer way to Swan Valley but it was going to be mostly downhill. The other way was over Teton Pass, about 20 miles shorter overall but the pass had a 10% grade and was described by other bikers as "relentless". So we were riding along, I was in front and all of a sudden I felt Ben hit my bike and then heard a crash behind me. I looked back and Ben was down (I wobbled but stayed upright). He was so engrossed by the beautiful scenery that he wasn't paying attention and ran into me! It was a pretty hard fall at about 14 mph and a bunch of people stopped to make sure he was ok. He got some good road rash but nothing was broken and he walked it off. A guy that lived across the street came over when he heard he crash and after he made sure Ben was ok, he asked if the bike was ok- he was a bike mechanic. The front derailleur was a bit messed up and couldn't go into the smallest gear. So we went over to LeGrand's house (that is his first name. We suspect he may have named himself.) for Ben to wash up his wounds and work on the bike. After about an hour of trying all sorts of adjustments, we just couldn't get it to work so LeGrand offered to drive us back to Jackson to the bike shop. Luckily, the bike shop took the bike in right away. LeGrand was a little peeved that he couldn't fix the bike so he stuck around to see what the problem was. It turns out that the issue is actually in the shifter, and it requires a replacement. But they figured it a little trick to make it work by holding the up shifter in place while downshifting. Somehow, it all worked out and they didn't even charge Ben anything. LeGrand offered to drive us back to where Ben fell so we didn't have to bike it again, and then he offered to drive us to the top of Teton pass instead so we could ride down the shortcut way. Since it was 1:00 by now and we were still at our starting point, we took him up on the offer. The drive up the pass was awesome! There were really great views from the top too. We are so grateful that LeGrand devoted so much time of his day to helping us out. He said he has been helped by strangers in the past a lot so he was happy to help us.

We had an awesome descent from the pass and entered into Idaho!! Our 8th state

We went into the town of Victor and planned out our day, since we were taking a different and shorter route. a few miles later we climbed Pine Creek pass which was long but not too steep. We had a great 17 mile descent into Swan Valley, which was absolutely breathtaking. We both agreed that it was the most beautiful landscape we had seen on our bikes in a long time, if not the most beautiful. The grass was lush and green on the left, wheat was blowing in the breeze on our right and all around were huge mountains and we were going down into the valley. It was awesome. We got into town and saw that the gas station had famous square ice cream cones so we had to try it

 It was really just a square scooper so it tasted the same, but stil pretty cool. They sold over 18,000 cones on 4th of July weekend (in a town of 250 people) and were getting ready for another big weekend this Labor Day.

After leaving town we met up again with the Snake River, which we will be following for a while. It's a beautiful blue/green very wide and swiftly moving river. We climbed yet another mountain, Conant Pass which was 8% grade and seemed to go on forever, but probably only 3 or 4 miles.

By 7pm we were tired out and we reached what we decided would be our destination for the night, a rest area/overlook. It has an awesome view of the river and mountains in the distance

It is much better in person, I promise. We are both very impressed with how beautiful Idaho is! And look forward to seeing more for the next week or so!

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