Monday, June 9, 2008


Yesterday we went for a slow ride through the park, making it as far as the Jenny Lake lodge before turning around.

By "slow" I mean that Louise had her 49cc Metropolitan at wide open throttle the whole time, which got us up to 40 or so on the downhills, and as slow as 25 uphill into the wind. The road is posted at 45 most of the way, so we had to turn out frequently for traffic.

The park scenery is spectacular, even though low clouds obscured the mountains on and off throughout the day. We had to bundle up in all the cold-weather gear we still have from years of motorcycle touring -- it was in the low 40s for our entire ride.

One side-effect of the cold weather is that the park is decidedly uncrowded. Another is that many here are unprepared: the gift shops at all the lodges are doing a brisk business, by our observation, in sweaters, jackets, and other cold-weather clothing.

We scoped out all three lodges for dinner options: Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake, operated by the Grand Teton Lodge Company, and Signal Mountain, operated by Forever Resorts. We made reservations last night at the Mural Room at the Jackson Lake lodge, where we ended up being seated under the famous murals, but with a great view of the mountains out the enormous picture windows. The food was reasonably good and the service was attentive, although we've had much better on both counts at some of the Xanterra properties in other parks. Prices were what we like to call "National Park Nominal," reflecting the captive audience and the high cost of doing business in the parks.

Jenny Lake purports to have the other truly fine dining experience in the park, but they will not get our business. For one thing, it's really far, probably forty minutes each way on my scooter (which easily does the limit on these roads with both of us aboard). But more importantly, we interacted with the staff there briefly yesterday, and the prevailing attitude is that they look down their noses (and prefer not to serve) anyone who is not staying in one of their high-zoot rooms. Wrong attitude for any concessionaire in a National Park, in our view.

Tonight we will, instead, try out the Signal Mountain Lodge -- a bit more casual, but closer and friendlier. We stopped there on our return trip yesterday for a warming cup of tea.

The weather is a bit more cooperative today (and perhaps this would have been a better choice for our ride), as the sun has been out since we got up. Still, the forecast high will not hit the 50 mark, and things will get colder from here. The forecast for Wednesday says it will not even get above freezing. We'll leave here tomorrow morning, and head north to Yellowstone, possibly in the snow.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!, I could do with some cold weather, and snow. It's been in the high 90's here in Atlanta!



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