Grand Teton National Park is dwarfed by it’s cousin to the north, Yellowstone National Park. However, it is still astonishing in its own right, and more so than Yellowstone, it lends itself very well to being explored by car. While you can’t drive up the mountains themselves, there are some beautiful roads stretching the length of the park that are simply sublime.
I came into the park from the North, heading down the John D Rockefeller Parkway, another stunning road that connects Grand Teton to Yellowstone ten miles north.
The most spectacular road is Teton Park Road, splitting off from Highway 191 and rejoining in the south of the park. The road slithers along the shores of Jackson Hole Lake, feeding the famous Snake River. As you drive further south, the road climbs closer to the mountains, and you feel as if you are floating through them. There are some simply spectacular views that you won’t find elsewhere in the States.
Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.
– John Muir (From a National Park leaflet)
Unlike flying, crossing national borders by car is a far more real experience. Even in the European Union, where much of the border security has been removed between countries, there is something much firmer about driving across the line between France and Spain than flying from one to the other.
What is it, then, that makes this section of land France, and the one here Spain? Mutual agreement? Some borders seem to be becoming more and more futile just as geopolitical turmoil increases evermore, while others become seemingly impossible and dangerous to cross. But the road will always call, the borders will always succumb to the willingness to explore the geography restricted by politics and human error.
Passionate as I am about driving and roads, usually I’m the designated driver of the roadtrip. Especially when we take my car, which is manual in an increasingly automatic world. However, there are some perks to being a passenger like I am on this trip, especially when jet-lagged. Sleep is a much safer possibility when you’re not behind the wheel.
Please follow the road
– an amusing direction from the Porsche Navigation System
The rest areas on the side of the French highways are so well-maintained and plentiful, that I used to think as a child that France identified itself as a country to be driven through. Spaces for cars with trailers and caravans are everywhere, with picnic tables and grassy areas for packed lunches and some fresh air.
The security checks at the Dover border held us up for a while, so we actually missed our scheduled ferry. We boarded an hour later, and we’re now heading south on a French toll-road.
The skies are cloudy and the roads are smooth.
Tomorrow, at five-thirty in the morning, my parents and I shall leave our London home and begin our drive to Spain, stopping in Dijon, France for the evening.