2 Weeks In The West – Day 7

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June 24th, 2016 – Laramie, Wyoming to Jackson, Wyoming: ~400 miles.

In which we cross the state of Wyoming and see some bison.

The day got off to a poor start, as it took me a solid 5 minutes to get the trunk on the GS. Turns out that dirt from the day before had jammed up the latch mechanism.

Vy’s Lonely Planet book suggested that we check out Coal Creek Coffee. I don’t drink coffee, so I ended up chatting with the locals. They all agreed with reader Russ A’s suggestion that Vy and I head west on the 130 towards Saratoga.

One of the locals had a Yamaha Virago with the deliciously 80s CYCOM dash:

If you want to see how the gauges function, skip ahead to 1:28 in this video:

A portion of Highway 130 follows the old Overland Trail, also known as the Overland Stage Line. This was a stagecoach and wagon trail that started getting popular in 1862 when Ben Holladay (owner of the Overland Stage Company and recent winner of the contract to carry US mail) relocated his previous route along the Oregon Trail because he was suffering attacks from Native Americans. When Holladay discovered that construction had started on the Transcontinental Railroad was being constructed, he realized that his line would become much less interesting, so he sold it to Wells Fargo in the mid 1860s. The railroad was finished in 1869 and while it took over the majority of business, some emigrants still used the Overland Trail until the turn of the century.

130 is a nice alternative to the local freeways – you’re still able to cover distance at a high rate of speed, but the view is pleasant and you can easily stop to investigate things…

…like this mechanism designed to transport goods over the river.

About halfway through Medicine Bow National Forest, we encountered the Libby Flats Obversrvation Tower, which had been built in 1961. The construction crew used rocks from the area and designed it to resembler the style of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The binoculars had a built in reference guide to help you know what you were looking at.

Medicine Bow National Forest also offers some fire roads to explore.

Wwe got back on the pavement, and Vy took the opportunity to make Baby Jack look pretty:

We got lunch at Anong’s Thai Cuisine in Rawlins, and it was delicious. After lunch, we were greeted by the majesty of this man’s hair as he went by on a Yamaha XT500.

We went through Rivertown and found a bear playing lookout:

We also saw some deer which were paying respects at a cemetery:

Right before we pulled into Dubois, we saw a traffic sign warning that there may be mountain goats in the area. The sign was right – just a minute later Vy noticed a group of them in a rock face alongside the road:

Jackalopes are odd, but there’s a gas station in Dubois that has embraced the mythical creature. Apparently, the fake animal was made popular in the 30s in another Wyoming town called Douglas.

The ‘travel stop’ claims to have the world’s largest jackalope, so Vy had to check it out while I filled up the GS with gas:

I never made it inside to check out that jackalope because I was too busy trying to ride this one. Good road presence but the riding position isn’t great:

Finally, we made it into Grand Teton National Park, and it was beautiful. A sign warned us not to approach wildlife…

…but the wildlife decided to hop a fence and approach us, instead.

They started to get real close…

…but then some of them got distracted.

We watched the wildlife for as long as possible, but eventually it got dark and we figured we should check out Jackson. We explored the local nightlife and then got ready for a day that would include more of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park!

Missed Day 6? Vy and I enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park and then don’t enjoy a hail/lightning storm. June 23rd, 2016 – Pueblo, Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming: ~375 miles.