Day 17 – Vernal, UT to Jackson, WY
Total Kilometres: 547 (340 Miles)
High/Low Temp: 13 celcius (Vernal, UT) and 23 celcius (Jackson, WY)
Total Riding Time: 6:30am MST – 3:30pm MST
i think there was a mispelling on the town sign, rather than ‘vernal’ it should be ‘anal’. absolutely nothing in this town but box stores and corporate america’s best food stores like mcD, taco bell, etc. nothing else, just a pass through town – stop for a while on your way to a real destination. a bit upsetting that after checking a few of the hotels the best rate was $114/night. a bit insulting when you can stay in a lodge at a beautiful lake for $55/night. everyone, and i mean everyone drives a huge 4×4 with 90 inch tires, or a harley with no muffler system, and they tour the ‘strip’ aka freeway running through town. no one, and i mean no one walks anywhere. i’m literally the only one walking – explains the epidemic of fatness i’ve seen in these small towns. but i digress…
set out at 6:30 this morning on the way to flaming gorge and points north. highway 101 north is the way to start the day – switchbacks and twisties both up and down hill. the sign on the way out says ‘ashley national forest’ but there isn’t a tree for miles, at first at least. once the pass begins it’s all uphill and the actual forest begins.
after fifty miles of uphill and twisties the quick downhill to flaming gorge. to be honest people had built this up to be a ‘must see’. honestly when i arrived and road through the entire park it was a bit underwhelming. it’s a man-made reservoir in a huge 50 mile long gorge. there are short sections of redish sandstone rock and formations that are interesting but overall i’d say central and southern utah put this to shame.
crossing over into wyoming and back into scrubby desert for miles. miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. the views from the hill tops and mountainsides are quite scenic through the bad land hills and views of the distant leucite hills. the rest of the highway to pinedale on highway 191 is flat, bald and pretty dull. stopped briefly in rock springs for lunch and a chat with a fella taking his family on his first vacation – a trip from seattle by sea to alaska – he was jazzed.
after passing eden and farson heading north on 191 you begin to see the mountain ranges from afar – the bridger-teton national forest. after pinedale you enter the forest and park proper. very similar to the area around bragg creek and kananaskis in alberta.
all afternoon i’d been dodging what looked like horrendous thunderstorms. they seemed to stay just to the left and right of the road.
highway 89/191 north leads past jackson to the jedediah smith wilderness area and the grand tetons. i entered the tetons park and began to drive through the park road. holy shit, glad i bought a pass, but at 20 bucks a pop to get into the park you think they’d fix the frickin’ road. it’s nearly impassable by car or truck, and extremely dodgy on a motorcycle. i almost turned around it was so bad, after chatting with a passerby they mentioned “one more mile until paved road…” whew! i also noticed the weather was really beginning to change, for the worse! the nastiness unleashed. here comes the downpour of rain. i was literally soaked in two minutes.
abort plan to go further north and returned to jackson to seek a place for the night. i successfully found a hotel room, grabbed some chow from the albertson’s – sushi night! yummy! tomorrow continue the trek northward and towards home.