Road Trip! 2012

22Jul12

We are not purists. Sometimes taking a break from the biking is smart and deserved. At our current rate of travel we were going to be hard pressed to make it up to the Seattle area for our friends wedding in early August. All said, we rode over 500 miles in Colorado this summer which just feels invigorating. From Denver we rented a car and began a drive up and over to Bend, OR so we could remain on track for the rest of the summer. Hot, hazy temps and thick air were  easily left behind in our little Kia Soul we nicknamed Butterscotch.

Two bikes, Two passengers, One in and out Satellite Radio

We stopped for a break in downtown Cheyenne to walk through a park and take a photo op at a large locomotive called a big boy that was one of 25 built (in Schenectady, NY). This one was built just a few months before Pearl Harbor.

Big Boy Steam Locomotive on display in a park in Cheyenne, WY

Builders plate

From Cheyenne we drove Happy Jack road which we had read was a scenic alternative to the highway. Cheyenne was quiet and we did not stay long. It is amazing how short of a time you can be in a place when you have a car. We decided to drive up and out to a place called Vedauwoo recreation area near Cheyenne, WY. Vedauwoo offered a rock climbers paradise with close camp sites to all kinds of formations. Nice looking singletrack too.

Vedauwoo Recreation area

Rock formations in Vedauwoo

Small beaver pond

Thoughts of Chiricahua in Vedauwoo

Almost invisible

Sunset at Vedauwoo

On Tuesday, July 3rd we got up super early from our campsite and hit the road before 4am so we could get to the Jackson Hole area at a reasonable time. Before going to bed that night we we made sure the car doors were locked up but we forgot to check to see if the hatch was shut. It wasn’t and we left it open all night. No bear trouble but a mouse got in and chewed on a bunch of packages.

That same day we drove all the way to the Grand Teton National Park and found a campsite in the Signal Mountain campground. This park is incredibly huge and even with it being a national holiday we found it quite roomy. Our first day in the park we went for a six mile hike around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. We also made a car trip up to the summit of Signal Mountain to have a look at a wildfire that just started that day. The fire became known as the Bear cub fire. We watched it spread to over 2,000 acres during our stay in the park.

Stunning views of the Grand Tetons

View from Signal Mountain

Bear cub fire

Close up

Trail around Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake

Hidden Falls

Hiking past Inspiration Point

Bull moose spotted

Together in the Tetons

On our second day we woke and went and got coffee at the local store and went back to the main visitor center to watch the National park movie (which we always try to see). We were the only ones in the theater. After the movie we headed into Jackson Hole and made a stop at the local visitor center which borders the National Elk Regfuge and learned about all the antlers that are shed by the elk. Boy scouts collect them in large bundles and auction them off for loads off cash. Today was the 4th so there was a parade going on full swing in town. After a nice lunch in the park we connected with our friend Justine who lives south of town and drove off to visit and stay with her and her partner Kurt and their daughter Chloe.  We took the gondola up the ski mountain for some early dinner at a slopeside restaurant where we met some new friends – Dena and Jeff. – So nice to meet you both and share some food together!  Fun to talk about Florida and Wyoming.

View from the chapel

Park entrance in Jackson, WY

Albert and Bryan

Butterscotch

View from the lift at Jackson Hole

That night we went back to the house and grilled burgers. After dinner, Kurt and Bryan went to make preparations to secure a boat for a float trip down the Snake River in the AM. We drove out to where we were to pick up the boat and the boat was there, deflated and not on a trailer. The trailer was left up river and we should just go and pick it up. So, we went and got the trailer and then went back to the boat. Loaded it and blew up the remaining sections and strapped it down to the trailer for the  morning ride. On Thursday morning, we picked up the boat and dropped off a car at the take out in Astoria. Then we drove up to the put in in Wilson. First cloudy day in weeks but our trip was awesome and lasted most of the day with the rain holding off until the very end of the trip.  Thanks Kurt for making that all happen!

The start of the float in Wilson

Me Ship Mates

Lunch on the banks of the Snake river

Looking up river toward the Tetons

On Friday, July 6th we woke up early and hit the road a little after 4am. We drove down the Snake river valley past the Pallisades Reservoir in the early morning darkness and were soon driving across southern Idaho. Our first stop of the day was at Craters of the Moon National Monument for some hiking. We walked around the Devil’s garden and summited Inferno Cone.

Early morning Idaho

Devils Garden

Two hikers on the shoulder of Inferno cone

Summit of Inferno Cone

Tree on summit of Inferno Cone

Visita at the Craters of the Moon National Monument

Later in the day we decided to deviate from our original route and head north up through Hailey and Ketchum just to see what was shaking up there. We had heard good things so we decided to have a look.  This turned out to be a great idea as the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships were taking place right in Ketchum and Sun Valley!  This whole area was super exciting with their 34 mile Wood River Trail connecting the local communities and ski lift access within walking distance to town. Art galleries and shops speckeled every street. There is an unheard amount of mountain biking going on here-over 500 miles of trails within a small radius of town. Usually, a Starbucks coffee house would not make mention in our blog but this may have been of the most interesting establishments as it shared space with a visitor center.

Sunny days in Ketchum

Bike sculpture

Wood River Trail in Ketchum

Outdoor art exhibit in Ketchum

Starbucks in Ketchum

We also made a little time to visit Ernest Hemmingway’s grave in the rain. As we left town we started to climb up over a pass where we were rewarded with our first views of the mighty Sawtooth range. A spectacular drive along the Salmon River into the town of Stanley, ID kept us spellbound.

Hem’s grave

That evening we stopped at a roadside hot tub along the river just outside Stanley. Super hot water piped into a steel tub was just what we needed. It was so nice we planned to hit again in the morning when we drove back through. That night we camped at Mormon Bend at a national forest campground.

Soaking tub near Stanley, ID

Mountains near Stanley, ID

On Saturday, July 7th we woke up early, hit the soaking tub one more time and then drove over a couple passes through the mountains on our way to Boise, ID. The day was starting to heat up and by the time we got to Boise it was 103 deg F. We parked our car in the city park and went and explored downtown and its giant farmers market.  In Boise we met Ben and Scott who were touring on bikes and struggling with the heat. They were on their tenth day of their tour. That night we camped at Dixie campground in the Boise National Forest.

103 deg at the Boise Farmer’s market

After a quiet night of sleeping in the woods we got up and drove off to John Day Fossil Bed National Monument for a quick look around. This is quite a place if you are into fossils. As the day marched on we quickly found our way to Bend, OR where we made a short grocery stop at Trader Joes’s and then with one more day of the car left we headed off to Newberry Volcanic National Monument . We were able to check out the Lava River Cave which gave us a welcomed reprieve from the heat. It was about 39 deg in the cave and we walked for over a mile underground.

Tree full of shoes on the side of the road

View near John Day

Down in the Lava tube

That evening we camped up at Little Crater Campground and hiked out around Paulina Lake to a primitive hot spring. The campsite we picked was right on the water. It seemed like most of the folks had gone home as the end of the holiday weekend approached. Our site was quiet until about ten dudes showed up next door and proceeded to unload coolers of beer. It was 9 pm and they were just about to start cooking food so we decided to move our site to a quieter area. We packed up and without disrespect we moved away to sleep soundly.

Primitive hot spring along the shore of Lake Paulina

Lake Paulina

Heading back to camp

Moss covered tree

Obsidian flow at dawn

Glass like obsidian

Paulina Falls at sunrise

The next morning we were up and packed by 5 am and headed over to a large Obsidian flow to hike around before heading back into Bend to meet up with Debi’s old roommate Denise and her husband Jimmer. On our way back to Bend we decided to drive up and check out Mt. Bachelor. In Bend, we return our rental car and get back to planning our bike trip through the Pacific Northwest.

See you there!

D+B

 

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