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Bicycle Idaho, 2004

Background

We enjoyed last year's Bicycle Idaho 2003 tour and planned to join the tour again this year. Last year's route was a loop in Southern Idaho. This year's route is a loop in Southeast Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Northeast Utah. As always, the tour was organized by Bicycle Rides Northwest, a company based in Bend, Oregon.

Itinerary

Day Start Stop Mileage Elevation Gain
July 25 Pocatello, ID Ririe, ID 79 1444
July 26 Ririe, ID Jackson, WY 75 5080
July 27 Layover in Jackson 20 ?
July 28 Jackson, WY Henry, ID 85 2696
July 29 Henry, ID Garden City, UT 78 2500
July 30 Garden City, UT Preston, ID 71 3117
July 31 Preston, ID Pocatello, ID 78 2561
Totals
486 17398+

Diary

24 July 2004 (Saturday)
We drive to Pocatello from our home in Bend. The tour group registers and camps at the Fairgrounds. The tents are packed closely together and there are lots of conversations amongst friends from home and previous rides.

25 July (Sunday)
We leave Pocatello and ride north, paralleling I-15, sometimes to the west and sometimes to the east on side roads. We eventually turn east to enter Ririe and camp at the Ririe High School.

Morning view from near Ririe, Idaho
Snake River
Snake River
Grand Teton from near Victor, Idaho
Teton Pass: It's downhill from here!

26 July (Monday)
Today is a scenic and adventurous day. We leave Ririe and ride towards the Tetons on Highway 26 crossing the Snake River soon before Swan Valley. At Swan Valley we stop for ice cream, then turn north on Highway 31, climb over Pine Creek Pass, then drop down to Victor, where we first see the Tetons from the west. From Victor we cross into Wyoming and climb steeply to Teton Pass (8422 feet). I decide not to stop for any photos while climbing - I want to see if I can make the summit without stopping. The descent to Jackson on the east side of Teton Pass is steep (10% grade for 6 miles) with some traffic. At one point it seems I am leaning too far over my handlebars due to the steepness - I feel I might fall over them. I decide to start breaking at 48 mph. Linda reaches 52 mph, a personal record, but Doug says he reached 54 mph. We camp in a field near a creek in Jackson.

Doug, Linda, Paul entering Grand Teton NP
Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park

27 July (Tuesday)
Today is a layover in Jackson. Linda, Doug, and I ride to Grand Teton National Park for a view of the Tetons, but otherwise make it a short day on the bike and spend some time visiting Jackson.

Climbing a gentle grade

28 July (Wednesday)
We leave Jackson on a cool but sunny morning along bike paths and eventually join Highway 89 and ride along the Snake River. At Hoback Junction we turn west on Highway 26 and continue following the Snake River to Alpine. We leave the Snake River here and ride south on Highway 89 for a few miles, then turn west on Highway 34 and return to Idaho. We climb a gentle grade for several miles and drop into a valley on the other side and ride along the southern shore of Grays Lake and the Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We end the day's ride at a "resort" near the shore of Blackfeet Reservoir and camp there. It was a long but scenic day.

South of Soda Springs, Idaho

29 July (Thursday)
It is a cold and clear morning as we leave Henry and ride south to Soda Springs. We get a snack at a convenience store in Soda Springs, then turn south on Highway 30 and pass the "Soda Springs International Aerodrome", a small airfield, and follow the highway to Montpelier. The country is open with rolling hills. We turn west on Highway 89 and ride through Montpelier, hoping to find a coffee shop without success. The route continues south along the western shore of Bear Lake to enter Utah and arrive at Garden City, where we camp tightly together in a field alongside a KOA.

Sunrise over Bear Lake, Utah
Dropping into Logan Canyon
Entering Idaho yet again

30 July (Friday)
Today begins with a scenic climb out of Garden City west towards Logan. The sun is rising over Bear Lake as we make the switchbacks above the town. After about 1800 feet of climbing we reach Logan Pass and drop down the other side in quite cold morning air. The air warms as we continue descending into Logan Canyon and we enjoy a fun ride to Logan, where we stop for ice cream produced by the Food Technology Department at Utah State University. The route takes us along back streets through Logan and then out into the valley heading north. We cross back into Idaho and camp at a school in Preston, Idaho.

Along Idaho highway

31 July (Saturday)
Breakfast service is very slow, so a few of us leave to try to find a cafe in Preston. Unfortunately, the only restaurant available early Saturday is McDonald's. We then try to gain some time by riding Highway 91 north rather than the indicated side roads to the first food stop, but we decide we did not save much time and experienced more traffic that way. The official route continues north on Highway 91 through several small towns, then parallels I-15 to Pocatello. Traffic in Pocatello is heavy and the afternoon is getting hot so we are very happy to finish the tour back at the Fairgrounds.

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