Aether Chasing Winter – Park City to Jackson (Day 6)

Wyoming road

We awoke in Park City to clear skies and mild-temperatures.  The roads were still slightly wet, but starting to dry. We knew if we were going to make Jackson, we would  have to hit the road now and hope the weather held up for the rest of the day.

This was going to be the coldest leg of our journey by far, with highway-speed wind chill and temperatures in the mid-high 30′s.  None of us had ridden in temperatures this low before for any length of time, never mind the 5-6 hours of travel time our route was predicted to take.

We doubled up on socks, long-underwear, and thermal baselayers. Then underneath our Canyon and Skyline motorcycle jackets we layered Space Jackets and Altos. Some of us even opted for one of each. It was going to be a long haul up to Jackson and we wanted to be prepared for however cold it got.

Out on the road, we quickly got a sense that this wasn’t going to be an entirely pleasant experience.  For the first part of the morning we were straining to scan the road for ice. The temperatures were above freezing, but some melting patches remained off to the sides. The last thing any of us wanted was to catch some coming around a shady corner.  Then, as we approached the high desert plains of Wyoming, the wind started to kick up something fierce and batted us around the road. Heavy crosswind forced us to pitch our bikes at a 45 degree angle just to keep them running in a straight line. Further along, we had to keep an sharp eye out for deer. Countless times we’d spot a group of them off on the side of the road, just waiting for their chance to leap out in front of us.

We knew we were in the homestretch when we saw the Teton mountains coming up on the horizon in front of us, with their massive snow-capped peaks rising steeply from the flat wind-swept plains. The road into Jackson was one of the most picturesque we’ve seen this trip, with the late-afternoon light outlining the ridges and casting deep shadows in the valleys.

The sun was just starting to set  and the temperature beginning to fall as we pulled into Jackson Hole.  We had made it, and just in time too. None of us knew how much longer would could have gone on.  When we got to the hotel we couldn’t be happier to find a roaring fireplace in the lobby. After such a frigid death-slog , we were in need of some major defrosting.

We will spend the next day here in Jackson and see what type of trouble we can’t get ourselves into.

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Wyoming Snow

Wyoming Road WInd

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  1. Pingback: Aether – Journal | Aether Chasing Winter – Jackson (Day 7)

  2. Glenn

    As a Minnesota cyclist (of pre-license age) in the 1960s, I thought it was a kick to “ride ‘n slide” my first 50cc dirt bike on snowy off-road trails. In the 1990s, I once (just once) rode my 1972 Honda 500Four on snow-covered Minneapolis streets, one embolding Thanksgiving Day. With white knuckles, and feet sliding like iceboat outriggers, I quickly returned home. Wiser, without a “crash ‘n rash”.

    But those experiences (and a few subsequent bicycle crashes), persuaded me that a road-motorcycle’s two wheels do not play well with ice ‘n snow (read: early-spring — mountain — skiing).

    Aether Journal’s “Chasing Winter” plunge has been fun to follow, and to imagine — (except for the ice ‘n white road lube in Park City and Teton Pass) — especially from the comfort and safety of my five wheeled Herman Miller office chair.

    Me? Maybe I’ll join up for something like . . . “LA to Carmel-by-the-Sea ride”, . . . in August.

    Nonetheless, thanks for sharing your (pre-seasonal?) adventure! Ride safe.