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The impossibly Grand Tetons.

This is what 82 MPH on the open road at sunrise on a Montana Interstate looks like.  Interstate 90, near Anaconda, MT.

Big Sky Montana

I left Missoula early, on a mission to put the previous two days behind me, meet up with Bryan again, and enjoy an epic of day of riding through two national parks. The sunrise and literal “big sky” over Montana was cliche, but sweeping and huge – so huge, it’s really difficult to get one’s head around how big and blue that sky can be.

Gallatin Valley and Yellowstone

Bryan and I met at a gas station in Four Corners, Montana. As we departed heading south on U.S. Route 191, it was apparent that we – or rather, I – would be getting wet. The stretch of US-191 that we were on is known locally as “Gallatin Road”, as it passes through the Gallatin River valley, which sits at the foot of the Gallatin Range, which is for the most part located within Gallatin National Forest. I can buy the locals’ logic in naming it Gallatin Road.

Although it rained fairly hard, the road and scenery were fantastic. We ran into a bit of road construction, but otherwise made good time, eventually making our way to the town of West Yellowstone, also one of the major entry points into Yellowstone National Park.

Bryan forewarned me about watching out for drivers, and he was right. We stopped at a number of roadside locations, to view herds of bison and watch geysers and hot springs. We made our way to Old Faithful, which has its own massive Visitor Center. The lesson learned is that if you’re Old Faithful, hanging out in the oldest National Park in the world, you too, will get a pretty magnificent bachelor pad.

Grand Teton and Jackson

From there, we continued southbound via the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Grand Teton National Park was the 2nd-most anticipated destination on the trip for me, and I was awestruck – how can one not be?

Near Jenny Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, WY.We made a number of stops along the way, which you’ll see showcased in the images below. The views of the Tetons from Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake are really indescribable. Like so many places in the world, you need to experience it yourself. We stopped at Dornans in Moose, then made our way to the Jackson airport to pick up Bryan’s college buddy, Dave, who flew in from the Twin Cities. From there, we headed into the town of Jackson.

I had always confused the two, often interchangeably, but learned that the town of Jackson is located in the Jackson Hole valley. We headed through downtown, on the way to South Fork to Bryan’s good college buddy’s home (Tyler and his wife, Sloane). It was a mini-reunion for the guys, and it was a ton of fun to hang out with everyone. Sloane and Tyler cooked an amazing meal, complete with different cuts of elk. I retired for the evening, letting the crew catch up.

Another amazing day.

The Day : Weather

Partly CloudyRainMostly CloudyPartly Cloudy Location State High (F) Low (F) Precipitation (in) Max Wind (mph)
Missoula MT 65° 44° 0.03 30
Butte MT 63° 40° 0.09 28
Bozeman MT 78° 46° 0.08 31
Yellowstone National Park WY 64° 37° Trace 29
Grand Teton National Park WY 63° 32° 0.12 22

The Day : Images

The Day : GPS

Total Time 12:11:49
Moving Time 8:19:45
Distance 431.2 mi
Avg Speed 35.4 mph
Moving Speed 51.8 mph
Elevation Max 8,529 ft
Elevation Min 3,196 ft
Elevation Gain 17,191 ft
Elevation Loss 14,408 ft


© 2013, Terry D. MacVey. All rights reserved.