Swan Valley - Tetonia, ID - The cat named Chevy won't stop this tour, and neither can COVID - CycleBlaze

July 11, 2020

Swan Valley - Tetonia, ID

Heart 0 Comment 0

1,945 elevation gain

We eased back into the saddle today. The climb was gentle/moderate to the top of Pine Creek Pass. I used the granny, but had a gear left. Every time I get feeling cocky about my riding abilities, we have a tough day. In reflection, none of our character building days were routing errors, they were due to wind or very high temperatures.

Perhaps I should go back to the beginning of the day. It was 52 degrees when I woke up at 6 AM. I reset the alarm for 7 AM - what the heck - today was a short mile day. It was 55 degrees and warm when I took off shortly after 8 AM. Within a half mile I was in the granny gear. Welcome to the day! Glen from the cabins had said we had a short climb, then it levels off, with road construction where they are replacing a bridge, then a longer climb up the pass. That about described the morning. The bridge replacement was one lane with a light. I didn't make it through before the traffic started coming at me. There were concrete barriers blocking off the lanes, there was no place for me to go! Luckily I was almost to the end of the bridge and was able to go around the two cars who had started across.

The positive part to having traffic delayed by the light is that they came past me in clumps. The first part of the day the road had little to no useable shoulder because it was crumbling and 6-12" wide. I can tell we are in a tourist area. Traffic has really picked up. I'd say two of three vehicles were pick up trucks with mountain bikes hanging over the tailgate. It's Saturday - people are ready to play. Traffic gave me room, but it's not as much fun when keeping my eye on the mirror all the time.

Scenery was Colorado mountain style. I was exiting Swan Valley up to the pass. The downhill had a 2 mile/5% sign. Then it leveled off nicely. We've had good descents this trip - nothing really steep and twisty turny. Mostly the smile and enjoy it kind.

Coming off the pass I was in big Teton Valley. This was much larger than I expected. To my right were mountains, to the left, the large valley. Soon I was in Victor. Traffic was very busy. Zero shoulder. I could see a paved bike path across the highway, but I knew the bike shop was on the right. I took a left turn onto Main Street and checked the location of the bike shop. .3 miles more. Good. I didn't pass it. I pulled up out front of Fitzgerald Bicycles. Masks required. That's new. I went inside and requested 3 tubes, 26 x 1.5. I was amazed they had the 1.5's. The clerk said that a local bike shop used to sell quite a few RANS recumbents and they take odd tubes, thus the shop had been stocking them. I now have three tubes of the correct size. Let's see if that isn't insurance on no flats the rest of the trip!

I put the tubes in the 'repair/rain coat pannier', hopefully I don't need to open that pannier again this trip. I got an apple out of the food pannier. I was ready for the last flat 15 miles to town.

I saw a bicycle rider get on the paved bike path on the left, across the highway. To my memory, the path went quite a distance. It was tricky getting across with the traffic, but I made it. The path was busy and very nice. Most bicycles were coming against me. I was headed slightly downhill, I think. I seemed to be moving faster and smiling bigger than the people coming towards me.

The path lasted until Driggs. I rode on the street through town, then the path started again. At Driggs it went back and forth across the road (difficult with the traffic) and ended soon. That wasn't worth the bother. After Driggs the highway had a 24" shoulder, which was adequate for me.

A temperature sign in Driggs said 74 degrees. Wind was calm the entire day.

Both Victor and Driggs looked like upscale Glenwood Springs/Aspen type towns. I base this on the store fronts, landscaping, and the fact that most people wore masks. Even people in the street and bicycling.

I was moving right along towards Tetonia. This was a good day. Jim, you did a fine job with routing. I would say the entire second half of the trip is a keeper, with the exception of the Hanna Hilton (that was my doing). Scenery has been varied and interesting. Some roads have been more challenging, but that is to be expected as in areas there is only one road and everyone is on it!

Our lodging is on this side of Tetonia. We didn't go into town at all. I had received a text that we had contactless check in at the motel and to go to room 15. I like that. I know I can get in early. The problem is that room 15 is upstairs. Darn. I stopped and texted the number back. I saw a lady standing outside with a cleaning cart, looking at her phone. I asked if she were reading my text. No, that would be Josh. I ended up sitting at a picnic table while I waited for Josh to respond to my text. It appeared I did not ask for a downstairs room, which is not typical for me. Their notes did say arriving by bicycle. End of story is that they switched us to a downstairs room and all is good. We are definitely in tourist country. This is a slightly better than average room for double the cost. We do have a fireplace, which we haven't since the pricy Gateway Resort.

I sweet talked Jacinto into stopping at the grocery in Driggs. I told him I thought they might have upscale choices, based on what the town looked like. I asked for something tasty. Jacinto asked what my opinion of tasty might be. I asked for artichoke dip to go with chips. He laughed and said that wouldn't happen - but I have hopes.

Tomorrow we have a 59 mile day with 2,500 feet of climbing. It's approaching West Yellowstone, although we aren't going there. I expect we will encounter traffic going there.

Jacinto isn't here yet, and I've finished this. That's odd. He wasn't that far behind me. Perhaps he bought LOTS of tasty treats at the store.

Later - Jacinto bought all kinds of things at the store - a full rack of ribs, a container of pulled pork, fried rice. It was almost a complete dinner! We agreed we would go for a salad at the restaurant for greens, and then come back and eat the rest. There is one restaurant in town. It closed at 3 PM today . . . oh. It is a very good thing Jacinto carried all of this food, or we would have been eating canned chili from the gas station. We did walk down there. They have an excellent selection, as many small town convenience stores do. We bought a good chef's salad and some carrot sticks to compliment the food Jacinto carried from Driggs.

We looked at routing for tomorrow. There are quite a few choices. I read Wayne's journal from 2013 when he passed through the area. It didn't seem that he had trouble staying on the main road. I called him to check. We ended up talking for more than an hour! It was great to catch up with him. Wayne is on tour right now and has one more day to Ashland on Dead Indian Road.

I turned off the power to the TV while Jacinto was out of the room and somehow that completely messed the TV up. I swear, all I did was hit POWER and then TV when POWER didn't turn off the TV. Now Jacinto can't get the TV to work at all, despite much effort. He isn't very happy with me.

Tomorrow it sounds like Jacinto is trying a back roads route that includes dirt roads. He is following a turn by turn route, but if he doesn't like the quality of the roads, he's just going to turn off the navigation and wing it. You know that would never, ever work for me. I think I'm going to stick with the main roads. Bill highly recommended the Tetonia-Astoria Rail Trail Path. I believe his opinion was thoughtfully given. Photos on line show some interesting trestles. But the road surface looks quite a bit rougher than I'm accustomed to riding, especially for that distance.

Tomorrow is supposed to be windier, but from the south. It's Sunday, so there might be more traffic? It will also be chilly in the morning. I want to say I"m going to leave early to beat the traffic and the wind, but perhaps not because of the cold. It's a longer day with climbing. The scenery should be great.

NOTE-I dug through CG, trying to find mention of road conditions on Highway 20. Several people commented how the view of the Tetons improved as they rode south. We were going north, with hardly any view at all. This is similar to Monument Valley - the best view of an awesome scene is going south.

I saw a touring couple today - he had yellow Ortliebs and she had white Ortliebs. They were coming down the pass near the top. We all waved, but kept going.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
My old building for the day. The wild yellow roses are a bonus.
Heart 0 Comment 0
How about a ride down Memory Lane?
Heart 0 Comment 0
This soap was packaged like jam at a restaurant. I haven't seen that before.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Jacinto’s photo of the Tetons.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 38 miles (61 km)
Total: 1,694 miles (2,726 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Mike AylingWhite Ortliebs - we were on a coach tour in outback Queensland when we saw a tourist with white Ortliebs covered with red dust, not a good look!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago