Tour Divide – Day 10: Tetons and Beyond

Adventure, Adventure by Bike, Adventure Cycling Association, Bikepacking, Bikes, Featured, GDMBR, Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, Mountain Bikes, Salsa Cycles, Tetons, Togwotee, Tour Divide, Tour Divide 2013

I woke up pretty early and was actually feeling a little bit rested.  Of course I had the usual aches and pains and general feeling of being beat down after 9 hard days of riding but I was feeling ready to take on the day.

I headed out down the paved highway leading towards the Tetons. I pulled into Coulter Bay where I had heard of a buffet breakfast that couldn’t be passed up.  I ran into several other riders piling up their plates over and over.  This was pure heaven!  I can’t even remember how many plates I ate but I know I had just about every type of breakfast food possible.

Back on the bike and onto the highway.  Traffic wasn’t too bad yet but there were tons of big campers and some of the drivers looked a little ill equipped to be driving such a big rig down the road.  Good thing there is a pretty big shoulder.  I stopped to take a picture of the Tetons in the distance.  I had driven down this road a few years ago but its much different being on a bike.

There were lots of little stores and cafe’s along the route today which made for a light food supply load and a few nice short breaks to get out of the heat.  The first was off Buffalo Valley Road at a little cafe and then later up the road at a Saloon just before the start of the Togwotee Pass (9,658′) the highest pass yet.

Checking the blue dots.
Bar Stop – We met a group of guys touring the Trans Am Route…I was jealous cause they were drinking beers and I just got a coke and chocolate milk.

The pass ended up being a pretty good climb but being that its a major highway the grade never got too bad.  The worst part was that you could see so far ahead and the miles seemed to creep by.  Once at the top Sean, Kevin and I began the nice decent down the pavement.

We were flying!  Then I looked down at my GPS and didn’t see the track.  I think we all noticed at the same time and all quickly stopped to take a closer look.  Apparently after doing the big climb we don’t get a nice downhill break.  We had missed our turn onto a small gravel road which continued to climb up a little higher.  Back up the road we climbed.  When we got to the top we saw a group of road touring cyclists that we had passed by when we were flying down the hill.  They knew we had missed the turn and gave us a nice chuckle as we huffed and puffed back up the road.

We eventually made it to Lava Mountain Lodge and got a nice big meal, tons more coke and a huge dessert!  Back on road we continued down to the turn off for Union Pass.  This climb looked to be steep with lots of switch backs at the bottom.  It was also really hot and dusty.  It took a while for my giant pork lunch to digest as I worked my way up the climb.

Once we reached the top it was nice rolling country and the views were amazing.  This ended up being one of my favorite places on the route.

We spotted and chatted with Cjell Mone who was heading North on the route.

We continued on through the open meadows and rolling terrain and eventually the sunset and we started the decent down towards Pinedale which was still a good ways away.  We planned to get to a nice camping spot down at lower elevation.  The descent got a little tricky in the dark.  There was a lot of bigger loose rocks and sharp turns but we just kept descending.  It seemed to take forever to get to the campground and I was pretty beat.  I was just about to stop and pitch my tent on the side of the road when we finally came up on the campground.  I got my tent setup, slipped into my sleeping back and at a ton of junk food and was out.