Sue's First Tour: Alpine, Wyoming

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After spending the summer learning how to ride and spending some time on the road practicing riding in a group, Labor Day Weekend finally came and Sue was ready for her first tour.

It was a pretty good group for us with around eight bikes. Some of the group was new to Sue and I, but we knew most everyone. We fell in line behind Kelly and Jim as we headed up to Alpine. The day was beautiful, the weather was cooperating, and Sue and I chatted as we cruised up the interstate before jumping on the two-lane at Tremonton and headed into Logan before continuing north across the Idaho border and our lunch stop in Preston, Idaho.

At Soda Springs we turned north past Blackfoot Reservoir and a beautiful canyon ride into Thayne, Wyoming. We usually ride into Alpine and Jackson this way and I always enjoy this little stretch of highway. From Thayne it's just another 20-30 minutes into Alpine and the Nordic Inn, our base camp for the weekend.

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The Nordic Inn is a nice little place on a crossroads about 30 miles west of Jackson. Kelly knows the owners and they've become friends over the years because we tend to stop here at least once every year for a couple of days.

After a nice dinner and a good night's sleep, we headed for Jackson, breakfast, and our destination for the day—Dubois, Wyoming.

The road along the Snake River into Jackson is always beautiful and this particular morning was no exception. We stopped at the Harley store in Jackson to buy a new pair of sunglasses for Sue. She was having problems with her contacts and needed something that sealed a little tighter to her face.

Highway 89 from Jackson to Moran is always a little congested, but the beautiful view of the Tetons on your left are inspiring. Most of the time you pass the largest free-range herd of American Bison left in the United States. Traffic thins out once you reach Moran and pass the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and continue east on Highway 26 to Dubois.

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This is another beautiful mountain pass that was the highlight of our second day of the tour.

Although we didn't need it, the excuse for going to Dubois was to stop and have a piece of fresh pie and some ice cream. Kelly, Jim, Robert, and I had stopped here on the way home from a tour up into Southern Alberta and enjoyed a quiet night in Dubois on the way home.

We returned the way we came as the temperatures started to rise as we dropped down into Jackson and home to spend another night in Alpine.

After breakfast the next morning, we took a short ride up Hwy 26 past Palisades Reservoir through Swan Valley and into Victor before heading over Teton Pass for lunch in Moose Village. It's a fun climb, but you need to pay particular attention to the slow moving RVs making the climb over the pass. One careless driver in a motorhome wasn't paying attention and pulled onto the highway in the middle of our group almost taking out Jim and Kelly.

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After lunch we headed back down 89 into Alpine to relax, shoot the breeze, clean the bikes, and get ready for the ride home the next day. We'd purposely planned on a light day today so the riders who aren't used to several days in a row of big rides could rest up for the 200 or so miles we'd do on the way home.

I pulled both bikes into the shade and started cleaning while everyone enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, the company, and the conversation. I enjoy cleaning the bikes because it gives me a chance to inspect them to make sure there are no problems and that they are ready for the next ride.

We started the ride in 35 or 40 degrees on our way to Afton for breakfast. I wrapped my hands around a hot mug of hot chocolate to take the chill off my fingers while I enjoyed my omelet.

The temperatures rose as we headed back into the Salt Lake Valley toward home. I was wearing my mesh jacket by the time we hit the Utah border and the day that started at 35 or 40 was well into the 80s by the time we pulled into the garage.

Sue's first tour was a great success and she peeled off somewhere around 850 miles by the time we were done. She also set a benchmark for the number of miles she could comfortably ride in a day at somewhere between 200 and 250 miles. I think this will make it easier to judge future tours by comparing the average daily miles she put in on this trip. It will give her something to compare to.