Grand Tetons and the Ride From Hell

I really kinda screwed myself over yesterday. My abysmal ride planning keeps paying dividends in the misery department. My lazy ass picks up the tab after that. 

Grand Tetons! Where Yellowstone leaves off, the Tetons begin. It’s green and there’s a giant lake and somewhere behind smog of a burning America are some pretty mountains. 

 I pulled into the Lizard Creek Campground at around 5:30 or so. Lots of time to set up camp. I got one of the last few sites available. The hostess was explaining how these site around the Tetons are almost never booked solid. This was unusual. I thought it was a quaint little campground.  

 Turns out the site is huge and gues all the way down to the lake. Drive in and walk in campsites. Pretty cool, really.  

 This was about the clearest picture I took in the area. 

Because I was so early, I went to the park’s grocery store and splurged on a steak and some corn. Real cookout sort of food.  


As usual with me and campsites, I couldn’t get a decent fucking fire started. The wood seemed a little damp. I spent an hour on my hands and knees in the dirt and ash blowing and relighting the damn kindling. It was infuriating. By 9pm I gave up. I’ll use my backpacker stove. I boiled some water, cut the corn and plopped it in the water. All around me were 3 other campers. All of them had huge roaring fires (just an aside here, I totally forgot how to spell “roar,” wtf? Too many hours dumbing myself down on the bike).

That small fire gave me fits when shortly after, it puttered out and died. 

Not to be beaten down by a fundamental skill, mastered by Neanderthals, I hunkered down and tried again. And disaster almost occurred. I took the butane stove, still lit, and tried to light some wood. One if the metal arms that folds out to hold your pot above the fire fell out. It caused the normally controlled blue flame to turn to a bright yellow wild and loud flame. I threw it away thinking it would explode. Nope. It just sat on its side shooting flames out on the pine needle covered ground. Luckily it was all moist and sanity returned. Pressured tank shoots gas out, needs air to burn, no air in tank, won’t explode. Idiot. I picked it up and turned it off. Riding long hours on a motorcycle makes you dumb. 

 Eventually I lit a big piece of kindling with the stove and got a “fire.” The worst possible cooking fire, but fuckit, I was hungry. The corn was good. A couple hours later, the fire cooperated and was all well and good.  

 It even got scary… 

 I finally went to bed and once again the temps had to have been on the upper 30s. I kept tossing and turning. Didn’t sleep great, which explains my late start. Left the site around 10:30am! I wanted breakfast, which lead to the start of one of the most painful days of the trip! 

 I went to the Colter Bay restaurant hoping for bacon and eggs. No such luck for us late starters. Closed until 11:30 to transition to lunch. Damn! 

All turned out well, catfish sammich!

Onward McDuff! One last picture of the Tetobs before I go. One that the Chinese tourists must think reminds them of home. Smoggy and hazy. 

 It’s at this point the worm started to turn for the worse. Cold and cloudy that turned into the ugly oil field towns. 

 Shoshoni was almost as nasty as Browning, MT. So depressing. Still, there were some nice sights.   

 The wind started to pick up a little as I left Shoshoni. Good god. “Pick up” isn’t strong enough a description. Gail force more like it. 


This wind wobbled my helmet and pushed my mule of a bike into the shoulder. 

 And that was evidence of the smoke problem on this trip. 

Boysen upped the wind factor even more. It actually became comical. Ridiculous. Insane.  

   And it was nonstop for the next 90 miles.o 

 Boysen State Park led to The Windy River Canyon? It was appropriately spectacular. After which I spent some time driving through some boring ass farm land. And the wind turned to hail.  

   As I write this Verizon texted me that I’ve used 75% of my data plan of 6GB. Whoops. Travel blogging is abusive to my cell usage. This trip is killing my credit card as well. You only live once, right? Right?

Anyway. I survived the hail. Got to the Bighorns just as the sun was going down…or obscured by the storm clouds. I don’t know anymore at this point. Everything feels like remembering shit from 2 weeks ago.  

 Shortly after this, it got ugly. It got dark. Temps dropped to the 4os, roads were wet and windy, foggy, and 8% grades. My phone was and navigator, was at 20% charge. My GoPro battery died. There’d be no evidence of my death if everything went tits up. My hands were wet and cold in my shitty gloves and my teeth deer chattering. I was getting tunnel vision from all the tension and darkness and foggy visor. I was tired and actual anxiety was setting in. To add insult to injury, big flashing lights and signs spelling my ultimate doom kept whipping by. Windy Roads Ahead. Watch Out For Deer. Runaway Truck Ramp. 25% Grade (lies). Luckily I’m tougher than I look. I pulled into Buffalo. Yelp told me to check out the Mountain View Motel.  

   Surprisingly enough, the place ha awesome. Cheaper than my KOA experience. The room is well appointed.  

 That night I cracked open a bottle of wine I trucked over from Reno, made some instant yakisoba, and downloaded an episode of Mythbusters. Living the life. 

I should end this post. My phone keeps crashing and I’m kinda drunk. I’ve had to upgrade my Verixon plan because this trip and I need to clean up before mye expensive ass dinner. 



About heartajack

I'm a graphic designer and occasional filmmaker that recently discovered the awesomeness that is the Can-Am Spyder Roadster. In recent years I've become obsessed with food and learning how to prepare it. I make the best damn ribs...EVER.
This entry was posted in Epic Ride 4: Chicago 2015, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Grand Tetons and the Ride From Hell

  1. John says:

    Fun stuff Jack! This may be the wine talking, but one of these years I am going to bribe Margaret, buy a bike and make this trip with you.

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