Day 15: To Jackson Hole airport - Yellowstone and Grand Tetons 2004 - CycleBlaze

September 11, 2004

Day 15: To Jackson Hole airport

I got up at 6:50 AM, just a little before sunrise. Sunrise is significantly later than it was 13 days ago on my first morning here. The temperature was 39F, calm and clear. Warmer than the mornings at the beginning of the trip. I burned my remaining fuel while eating breakfast and packing up the tent.

No time to goof off this morning because I have a flight to catch. I gave my tiny bit of left over food to Masa, and wished him well on his journey to Mexico. I got on the road at 8:30 AM. Today's ride is just 13 miles gradual downhill to the airport. I'm starting in cool 48F weather so I won't get sweaty. I wore "street clothes" with a strap on my right cuff to keep the pants out of the chain. That's why I look so dressed up in the photo below.

Just outside the campground I stopped to take a photo of the mountains to the north of Cascade Canyon in the early morning sun. It was great to see totally sunny skies, in contrast to the overcast sky yesterday morning.

View of Mt. St. John and Mt. Moran from a roadside overlook south of Jenny Lake.
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I stopped briefly at a few other overlooks on the way to the airport. It was great to end the tour with perfect sunny early morning views of the Tetons. And with a little coaching I got somebody to take a good picture of me and the bike with the Tetons looming in the background. Fortunately with a digital camera I can immediately see if the photographer made an awful composition, and ask them (or somebody else) to try again.

Grand Tetons.
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Middle Teton, Grand Teton, Teewinot, and Mt. Owen. 13,770 foot Grand Teton is the highest peak in the Teton range.
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Posing in front of the Grand Tetons at the end of the tour.
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I stopped for a few minutes at the Grand Teton National Park visitor center in Moose. Now is a good time to buy things because I won't have to haul them on the bike very far. I bought a book of National Park photographs and essays by Amsel Adams. His classic Grand Tetons photo is on the cover. Just before turning into the airport I saw a bike tourist heading north on a heavily loaded long wheelbase recumbent.

I arrived at the Jackson Hole airport at 9:50 AM, two hours before my flight. First I had to wait in line a couple minutes at the check in counter to retrieve my bike box and borrow a roll of baggage tape. An hour later the bike was packed and checked in at the United Airlines counter. The airport's free newspapers were very handy to wrap around various bike parts that rub together during shipment. The United check-in agent remembered to charge me $80 for the bike (an agent in Flagstaff forgot to charge me at the end of my Arizona trip last year). Then the TSA inspector was called over to inspect the bike before we seal up the box. The inspector said "I watched him pack it and it looks okay to me". The bike didn't get the usual visual inspection and swabbing to search for explosive residue. I expected a more serious attitude on the third anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

My flight to Denver is on United Express, on a smaller plane. I was surprised to see this purple and white Dash-8 turboprop that didn't have the usual United Express livery. Maybe it was a "loaner" plane? Whatever, the plane made it safely and on time to Denver.

I flew out of Jackson Hole on this small turboprop plane.
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After a 2+ hour layover I boarded a giant Boeing 777 for the flight to Chicago. In Chicago I had to take a taxi to get home because my wife was out of town visiting her sister. That's fair considering that I abandoned her for 15 days. I was pleased that the trip logistics worked out perfectly. Everything was on time, the bike and I were on the same planes, and nothing was damaged in shipment. Murphy must be on vacation.

Distance: 13.1 miles (21km)

Climbing: 52 ft (16m)

Average speed: 14.3 mph (22.9 km/h) Highest on this tour.

Maximum speed: 35.3 mph (56.5 km/h)

Hiking: none. I don't count walking in airports.

Today's ride: 13 miles (21 km)
Total: 628 miles (1,011 km)

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