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   TRIP NOTES, DAY 2 continued:
(western side of the Grand Teton Mountains)



Continued from the previous page.


This morning we left Vernal, UT and traveled north through some scenic terrain to and past the Flaming Gorge Recreation Area. I split today's journey into two parts because of the number of photos I'm including and the details of the route.

This page covers the trip between Manila, UT at the UT/WY state line and our home for the next couple weeks at Reunion Flat Campground on the western side of the Grand Teton Range.

Once we reached I-80 at Green River, WY we were back on roads we've traveled previously. We knew they were fine for travel in an RV. I wanted to go this way again because I really enjoy the scenery, especially through the Salt River Valley and the rest of the way north to the Tetons.

Colorful hills along WY 89

Here are the remaining highways we used today:

  • WY 530 north to Green River, WY

  • through town to reach I-80 west at exit 89 (we just followed the I-80 west signs)

  • I-80 west from exit 89 to 66

  • US 30 north and west to its juncture with WY 89

  • US 30/WY 89 north to the ID/WY line

  • WY 89 north to Alpine, WY

  • US 26 west to Swan Valley, ID

  • ID 31 north to Victor, ID

  • ID 33 north to Driggs, ID

  • Ski Hill Road east through Alta, WY

  • Teton Canyon Rd. (FSR 9) to Reunion Flat CG


Also a state highway (i.e., "black" road on the AAA map), this road was smoother than UT 44, wider, and faster because it didn’t have as many curves or hills -- or free-range cattle! There was even less traffic here than US 191 and UT 44.

The highway lies on the west side of Flaming Gorge. We had some distant views of the gorge and reservoir but not as much as the AAA map appears.

The terrain was rolling and mostly full of sage – no trees. It wasn’t as interesting to me as the trees/mountains along 191 and 44. We saw some antelope in the wide open rangelands.

There are fewer campgrounds on this side of the lake but several marinas.

This road has a gradual net elevation loss to the city of Green River, WY, which lies at 6,100 feet.

The next picture shows our descent into town from the south:

We stopped at Subway for a sandwich that we shared while Jim continued driving. We followed signs for west I-80 that took us through a couple miles of city streets before reaching exit 89 on the west side of town.

We found the least expensive diesel of the day in Green River ($3.78-9/gallon) and should have topped off our tank there. 


Nothing remarkable here -- rather uninteresting terrain, comparatively (brown mesas and rangelands) and moderate traffic moving much faster than we did (kept it at 60-62 MPH).

We drove only a few miles on the freeway before exiting at MM 66.

US 30 NORTH TO WY 89: 

This is fast, smooth, wide two-lane road ("red" road on AAA map) through increasingly hilly and more scenic terrain along Hams Fork and the Bear River. What began as fairly brown, sage-covered rangeland became greener and more attractive the farther north we drove:

We passed near Fossil Butte National Monument but didn’t go four miles back to the visitor center. We didn't research that park and don’t know what’s there.


We shoulda gotten diesel in Green River where it was less expensive. We got some at Flying J in Cokeville, WY for $3.85/gallon in the RV lane. You can get diesel for a camper in the RV, car, or truck lanes at this station; I don’t know if the price is different one place or another. Sometimes it is. We were able to get a receipt at the pump. Jim was glad he didn't have to go inside for that.

He did go inside first, however, to get an RV discount card. Once again he was told “we ran out of them.” We have asked at every Flying J/Pilot we’ve used the past year for the new card and every station is either out or never had any. I think they’re rationing them pretty tightly.

Jim dislikes the hassles we usually encounter at Flying Js but our options were more limited today than when we’re on freeways more. We passed plenty of stations but most were too small for us to get in and out with a big rig.


This highway parallels close to the ID border through the beautiful Star Valley. The Salt River Range (Bridger-Teton National Forest) is to the east, the Salt River itself (Caribou-Targhee National Forest) to the west.

Star Valley is an idyllic agricultural area with more trees, lots of green crops, farms, and small towns:




I'm always amused when we go through Afton, WY. Along the main drag there is a large arch made of elk horns.

It's been a while since I showed it on our website so here goes:


That's a lot of antlers! Someday we've got to stop and learn the story behind the arch.

We saw another Cameo parked along the street in Afton, the first we’ve seen since we stayed at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs. We also saw an older Carri-Lite on the road somewhere today.

When we see other Carriage, Inc. coaches we always wonder if they belong to folks whose names  we know from the Carriage internet forums.


This "red" road is not marked scenic on the Utah AAA map but if you like lake views it’s the second-most scenic section we drove today.

We crossed into Utah just after the small town of Alpine, WY.

This segment of US 26 is smooth but it isn’t fast. I don't know why anyone would want to drive fast through here. It's beautiful. There are lots of curves and hills as it follows the northern shore of Palisades Reservoir and the Snake River:

The Snake Range lies to the north of this road, the Caribou Range to the south. The Caribou-Targhee National Forest is on both sides:


I was driving from Cokeville, WY to Driggs, ID and couldn’t take more than half a dozen photos of the reservoir because I was shooting into the sun -- and I had to be careful with all the curves in the road.

I didn't want to wreck and wake Jim up. <grin>

I know it's not a good idea to drive with one hand on the wheel when I'm hauling a seven-ton 5th-wheel behind me but I was determined to get some pictures of this beautiful area. I held 'er so steady that Jim didn't wake up until I slowed down to make the turn onto ID 31.


This section is mostly uphill, then down to Victor at the end. It topped out at 6,764 feet at Pine Creek Pass, which is a much easier grade than Teton Pass's 8,431 feet if we'd gone on ID 22/33 west of Jackson.

ID 31 is a good, smooth state highway (black on AAA map). It is very pretty through forested mountain terrain in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest:



We came out of the national forest a couple miles west of Victor. ID 31 ends when it intersects with ID 33 in town.


We drove the straightest miles of this trip, slightly uphill, on ID 33 to reach Driggs.

There are mountains on both sides of this broad, attractive valley. Especially prominent are the Teton foothills to the east, with some glimpses of the jagged peaks in the Teton Range:

The huge Bridger-Teton NF is to the east of this valley (photo above), another part of Caribou-Targhee NF to the west.

We noted a rails-to-trail bike path on the west side of the road between Victor and Driggs; we'll have to check that out while we’re in the area. 


We discovered the main drag through Driggs is torn up for a couple blocks north and south of the intersection with Ski Hill Rd., where we turn to the east to get to Teton Canyon and our campground. We detoured OK with the camper on wide-enough residential streets. 

We stopped along Ski Hill Rd. on the east side of town to get online. We won't have a MiFi or phone signal at our campground.  

I also tried to call Bob, the neighbor who watches our house while we're gone, but got his answering  machine. Just before noon today a 5.8-6.0 magnitude earthquake struck in VA between Washington,  DC and Richmond. Our house is a couple hours southwest of Richmond.

Our "stick" house and our rolling residence, as seen in the spring

It’s highly unusual to have an earthquake in the eastern USA. People could feel it as far north as Canada, west to OH, and south to SC. The Capitol, Pentagon, and White House were evacuated, as were tall buildings in several cities. There are no reports of deaths or injuries yet. The extent of all the   structural damage is unknown at this point but people calling into radio stations and talk shows along the East coast have reported pictures off the walls, broken objects, cracks in foundations, etc. 

We hope our house is OK. We want to ask Bob to check inside and out for any obvious damage. 

[Later -- Bob couldn't find any damage, fortunately, but we were concerned until we were able to reach him. We'll have to check walls, foundations, etc. thoroughly inside and out when we go back in October.]


Ski Hill Road goes east out of Driggs, ID for about 12 miles to the Grand Targhee Ski Resort in WY. Most of this narrow paved road is torn up for a couple miles outside of town but the dirt surface is smooth. We’ll probably have to deal with paving each time we go into Driggs.

We crossed the UT/WY state line a few miles east of Driggs just before entering the small community  of Alta, WY. Our campground is in WY but we'll be going down to Driggs, ID periodically to get online and run errands. There aren't any stores in Alta.

A little past Alta we turned right on Teton Canyon Rd. (FSR 9), a graded dirt road through Caribou-Targhee National Forest land:

You can see three of the Grand Teton peaks in the distance.

One of the aid stations used in the Grand Teton Races is located at the juncture of Ski Hill Road and Teton Canyon Road. Runners are on this road for about half a mile in the race.

Half a mile into Teton Canyon there is a large parking area at a trailhead just before this fence and cattle guard (more free-range land):

Runners come down that trail to the road and it's a place where we like to hike. The parking area is  where Jim usually takes his laptop to get online when he doesn't want to go all the way into Driggs.

Reunion Flat CG is another 1½ miles back this dirt road. We don't have an internet or phone connection there.


We arrived at the campground about 5 PM and got set up quickly in the same site we occupied the three years Jim ran the Grand Teton Race (2007, 2009, 2010):

Cody loves this campsite; it has trees, a creek, and grass to roll around in.

I'll have an entry about the campground after I have time to walk around and take more pictures of it. We plan to be here through Labor Day weekend.

We're all settled in this evening and very glad to be here! The campground hosts came over to say hi after supper and made us feel welcomed. We're their only visitors right now because it's a weekday. This is primarily a group campground that is more likely to fill up on weekends.

Next entryphotos from a gorgeous loop up in Alaska Basin -- lots of wildflowers between 9,000-10,000 feet, lots of snow above that

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil