Friday, May 07, 2021

Susie's Nipple Gravel Grinder

Fitzgerald's also talked about riding in Teton County, ID, the valley on the west side of the Tetons. In the words of the shop owner, they have a shit ton of gravel roads over there because it's all farmland. In my pre planning stage I had seen that and drawn up a few routes that looked fun.

In looking at some of the routes that the bike shop suggested the thing that stuck out in Will's mind was riding along the state line. The Tetons are completely in Wyoming and the state line runs up the east side of the Idaho Teton County valley so I incorporated those rodes with my own route that focused on Susie's Nipple, a small hill top on the western edge of the valley to come up the with Susie's Nipple Gravel Grinder.

We parked at the trailhead for the Victor to Driggs Rail trail parking lot and realizing that the route wasn't going to go through any place with a convenience store I headed over to a nearby gas station and picked up an extra bottle of water for both Will and I. We started just riding north on the rail. I forgot to turn my route on so we missed the turn and when I realized this we rode back on the dirt road that paralleled the rail trail, to where we were supposed to turn.

Once on the right road we rode east towards the mountains.

At this point the The Grand wasn't visible

Turning north again we hit dirt!

As we were following the state line the dirt changed from nice gravel to barely maintained dirt road. Still, very much a pleasure to ride.

The road went from dirt to pavement 

and stretched straight and as far as the eye could see!

Punctuated along this road were cattle and horse farms

Lots of farming

Further down the road we got our first glimpse of the The Grand and I have to say that it's even more impressive from this side of the range.

The shared use sign in the picture above I found to be unique which adds tractors to the mix

Turning west we headed to Tetonia, ID on this broad dirt road

Turning back to look at the Tetons, the view of the four peaks was spectacular. 

It reminds me of shark teeth. From here we had to ride on Highway 33, which was a two lane highway for 2 miles and then we were back on gravel.

On the other side of Tetonia, ID the gravel road we were riding was really course.
Add a 15 mph headwind which made riding this way a slow go.

We turned north, crossed over Highway 33 and took a road that was a road on the map but there was no sign indicating it was a road. It also went along the side of a farm in which there was someone firing up a tractor as we rode by. A dog came out to give chase but his owner called him back.

The road started to turn to a track

Causing us to question whether this was really a road or not

It was barely recognizable as such but there was a street sign!

It was a indeed a road and we survived it!

The Shark Teeth of the Grand Tetons

Again, heading west, the wind was brutal. We were supposed to turn north again but the road wasn't there so we continued west into the wind.

Turning onto N 11500 W, Newdale, ID our goal was in sight - Susie's Nipple. 

Little did we realize was that is track was going to turn into a 4x4 track and climb almost 1000 feet for 4.5 miles.

The road went from bad to worse and it kept climbing

The climbing was tough due to the uneven track

It worse on the last bit. Both Will and I went down due to the uneven track

It was a slog!

But success was achieved! There's the nipple! Unfortunately, there is no historical or other significance to be found about Susie's Nipple. It's just a hilltop with a funny name.

The road goes from jeep trail to nice gravel road which is kind of funny

We stopped and out our Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches while enjoying the cooling breeze 

Once again, the view of the Tetons were mesmerizing

Then began the descent off the ridge and down to the valley.  What I didn't know was that the road had been changed and we ended up taking the new road, which wasn't on the map

Eventually we were riding on the valley floor again, this time with the wind at our backs

We came across another road that was marked as such but looked nothing more than a 4x4 trail. A very straight one at that.

The route had a turning onto this road?  There was no sign this time and you could barely make out the track so we continued on and looped around till we found the route.

While one part of the track was still defined the farmer preparing this field for whatever they were growing was getting every inch out of it.

But it was indeed a road

Turing south this road was 5 miles long and totally straight

The view of the mountains to the west was inviting but the wind made the ride tough

We came to a subdivision where the roads were all dirt on purpose it seemed.

Then we turned east and had the wind at our backs

This wasn't the last dirt road but the descent was a welcomed relief

At the end of the ride we went to Grand Teton Brewing Company for beer. They had a food truck so we had a nice dinner before heading back to Jackson.

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