The way home from Thermopolis was all familiar ground for me. We’ve been on this stretch of Wyoming highway a few times and the Togwatee pass out of Dubois is another fun mountain pass that drops you off at the entrance to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks.
After a quick continental breakfast in the hotel, we left Thermopolis heading to Alpine where we would spend the night at the Nordic Inn. As lunch time approached, we decided to stop at our favorite little place in Dubois for an early lunch at the Cowboy Cafe before fueling up and heading on down the road.
I’m using the phrase “early lunch” liberally because what we really enjoy is the homemade pie. It’s amazing how tasty lunch can be when it’s made up of a nice warm piece of homemade peach pie ala mode.
After “lunch” we fueled up and headed toward the Togwatee Pass toward Jackson.
Dropping into Moran you get your first view of the Grand Tetons. It’s apocryphal now, but I understand the term “tetons” is French slang for a part of a woman’s anatomy a lonely French trapper might appreciate after months alone on the trail—hence the name, Grand Tetons.
True or not, the Tetons are beautiful and impressive.
We tend to spend a lot of time in this part of Wyoming. It’s only a couple hundred miles away from home, is beautiful, and has some fun riding. Although we didn’t take another side trip to the Bear Tooth Pass, the pass and the Chief Joseph Highway is at the top of my list of all-time favorite rides.
It’s one of those roads with no practical purpose, but incredibly fun to ride on a motorcycle. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s well worth the journey. And, the Chief Joseph Highway, which is the approach from Cody, is a wonderful road with sweeping turns custom made for a touring bike.
After stopping and unloading the bikes at the Nordic Inn, Kelly and I decided adding another 40 or so miles to the day before dinner would be just the ticket. Shy the luggage, we decided to take a little run along the Palisades Reservoir to the dam before it was time to eat.
This was a great way to top off a relatively short day on the road in familiar surroundings. There wasn’t anyone on the reservoir and we pretty much had the road to ourselves, with the exception of the trucker who drifted into Kelly’s lane and almost took out the both of us.
Like most trips, there were close calls a-plenty. It never ceases to amaze me how inattentive drivers can be and conversely how alert we need to be to stay ahead of disaster. I call it the “What Stupid Thing are You Going to do in Front of Me” game that I play every time I’m on the bike. I’ll admit that sometimes bikers do stupid things, but drivers and cell phones are the biggest problem I see on the road. Distracted drivers are much more horrifying than pursuing land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
After a tasty dinner and a comfortable night’s sleep, we were up early and headed southwest to Breakfast in Afton and home in the early afternoon. We’ve definitely left Alpine in colder weather, but i still enjoyed wrapping my fingers around a cup of hot chocolate as I waited for my breakfast at Hegg’s Grill.
The temperature rose as we enjoyed breakfast so we were able to shed a layer or two when we mounted up for the rest of our ride through Star Valley and home. I pulled into the garage about 1:00 pm, wishing for just a few more miles.
This was a great trip to places we’d never visited before—but will revisit in the future. The Black Hills of South Dakota were great for enjoying from the saddle of a motorcycle and well worth the trip (whether or not you choose to visit the rally in Sturgis). For me, I’m just in it for the ride, and the week after the rally worked out great for me.
The new bike performed flawlessly and over the course of the 1,800 or so miles of this trip we became fast friends. Kelly and I are looking for another excuse or two for wasting on another road trip before the weather changes and the roads are frozen. South sounds good to me.