Day 1 of the fall motorcycle adventure started with the final packing, repacking and gear removal of the bike. After three or four attempts, I got it to a spot I thought we could manage and Kari would be comfortable for the long ride. After a quick test ride around the block we hopped aboard and got on our way. The mission for the day, was extra miles so we could take our time in the parks. The intended route looked something like this:
We made a quick stop in Evanston to adjust a few things and do some stretching, then headed north to Jackson via Star Valley. Most of this leg was uneventful, but beautiful, I have always enjoyed this drive and it was my first time on the bike here.
We arrived in Jackson, and looking at the building thunderstorms, decided we should make a b-line for the Jenny Lake Exum Office to meet some friends. Our first little bout of bad luck came in the form of Road Construction. As we sat waiting for our turn to go (30 mins) we watched the Grand Teton get enveloped in rain and lightning and wondered if it would make it to us before we made it somewhere with a roof.
We wouldn’t be so lucky The first thing we hit was about 3 inches of freshly laid pea gravel – no fun solo on a big bike, slight less fun two up and loaded to the gills!! So we nervously headed down the road feeling a bit vulnerable to say the least. It was 10mph tops and I bet you’re thinking about that rain right? Well the wind got us first and upped the tension level slightly and then it hit!! A few drops at first and then full blown rain, no where to stop and gear up, no where to hide!! I went as fast as I could to the visitor center in GTNP and dropped Kari at the front door. I went to find a place to park and cover things up. Just as I finished the sun came out!! Oh well, a nice few minutes checking out the new visitor center and checking out our campground options.
Back on the Bike and headed to Jenny Lake for a quick visit with a few friends at Exum and some beta on where to camp and eat, our original plan was to camp at Colter Bay but we got steered to Signal Mountain – for a better bar and quieter experience. This turned out to be an awesome tip, we found a great place to camp within walking distance of the bar, restaurant, and Jackson Lake.
There is just something about a good beer after a long day in the weather that refreshes you. We had a great meal of buffalo chili and burgers (first of many game meals) at the Dead Man’s Bar in the Signal Mountain lodge, unwound in camp and crashed hard, excited for what was about to come.