Idaho to South Dakota
Hey! I’m still here. It’s been a while since my last post. It’s not easy to have adventures and keep up with this site at the same time. Besides, my laptop’s battery only lasts about 5 minutes. So if I am not plugged in somewhere, I can’t check out my photos. So let’s continue the journey.
I wanted to cross the Lolo Pass. I had heard about it. Apparently it is a big deal with bikers. But I have to tell you, after riding all over this country a few times I wasn’t all that impressed. It’s a nice enough ride along a river, but it’s very much like any other ride along a river except that it lands you in Montana.
On the way I met a couple guys on Gold Wings at the Lolo Lodge while stopping for gas. They were headed for Sturgis. Each of these guys bought these used Gold Wings for less than $6000. One of them came with a trailer from which we enjoyed a beer as we talked. They convinced me I had to go to Sturgis, but there were things I still wanted to see in West. I’ve also had a concern which needed to be dealt with. My rear tire was almost down to the threads. I needed a new tire. I knew the one I was riding on was not going to get me home. I got a hotel in Missoula and tracked down some motorcycle shops. No one I spoke to carried the Metzlers that I was riding. I was determined to get a new tire before leaving town, so I rode around to different shops. One motorcycle garage I had spoken to by phone the day before never opened. The Triumph dealer has a beef with Metzler and won’t carry them. He wasn’t very helpful eitiher, he told me they were fully booked (though there seemed to be nothing going on there at all). He was a grouch and he’s the only Triumph dealer in all of Montana. Then I went to the BMW dealer down the street. They didn’t have the Metzlers either but they really were booked with work. I could see the packed garage. They did howver have a Dunlop tire that would fit my rim and the guy up front Dean made about 5 or 6 calls to different places until he found someone who could install it for me back in Lolo. So I bought the tire, tied to the back of the bike and headed to Lolo. I can’t believe I didn’t take a shot of that! But here is Bonnie on the rack at Lolo Cycleworks. The guy there Steve took care of it on the spot at a reasonable price.
After getting the bike fixed it was getting kind of late to ride very far. I wanted to camp out somewhere and one of my favorite spots was less than two hundred miles away along what is called the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. It is also home of Crystal Park where I have dug up crystals the past couple years. So this place and Vegas are spots I’ve returned to on all three trips.
I even got the same camping spot I had last year. Here are a couple pieces of wood I cut last year with my awesome folding saw.
With such an abundance of fire wood you can can have lots of fun dancing by the fire all night long.
Fun with flashlights too.
I really like it here. In the morning I found a guest climbing around on my bike. I often find little foot prints. Sometimes not so little foot prints. But this time I caught the little guy with the camera.
Then I was walking to get some water when I saw this mama bird sitting on a stump. I think she thought she was camouflaged as this big hen would not move even though I got very close.
I packed up camp and went to dig up some crystals before continuing the ride. I got a few decent crystals, but I think I had a better booty last year. Below is some of the farm land near Polaris when you first turn onto the byway.
Just before getting back to the highway the weather looked bad. I stopped for a bit to assess the situation. There was a group of mares across the road. Some with newborns and some still pregnant. This mother was nudging her little one to keep her walking about.
Eventually the little gal plopped down for a rest.
There were other people pulled over at this intersection too. One guy pulled up to the corner on a mint vintage Honda CB 750. He was there to get picked up by a trailer. I heard him telling the other guy how it’s not a good day to ride. Not a matter of choice for me. One older gentleman pulled up on a bicycle from the direction I was headed. He said the weather looked bad but I wouldn’t get wet. He and his wife were alternating bicycling and driving. When I say alternating, I mean he bicycled to this spot. His wife drove. Now it was his turn to take the car as she took off on her bicycle. His name was Dave, he was a tough old codger from Scotland. As his wife road off, he told me his first road trip ever was on the back of a Bonnie from Scotland to Wales. He said it was awful, “it was pissing rain the whole time.” He recommended many roads to me as he had traveled much of the West. Many of them will have to wait for another road trip. For me, it was time to wind my way east after a slight southern bound detour.
I decided I had to see Yellowstone again. I thought it would have to be a choice between Yellowstone or Sturgis but I decided I could swing both of them into the mix. The weather was gloomy but I hadn’t been rained on for 35 days now and I began to think the clouds just got out of my way. Yellowstone would prove me wrong. Very wrong! Things started out OK as I stopped by Mammoth Springs.
As I was walking away I noticed this baby buffalo head image in one of the trees which attempted to live in this hostile environment. Bizarre!
Then it happened. The clouds obscured the sun and the sky quickly turned black. The rain came down hard. This was the first time I needed my rain gear since I left home 35 days ago. BAM! Then hail! The winds began gusting something fierce and people were slowing down to the point where my face shield was constantly fogged. I was trying these Seal Skinz gloves I got from the International Motorcycle Show. They sucked. Maybe my hands were dry. But the outermost layer of these gloves hold so much water that your hands freeze in mildly cold temperatures. Then there was a 40 minute wait for a one lane construction area. I just sat there and got soaked. The weather was so severe no one was stopping at any of the sites within the park. By the time I got to the Old Faithful Lodge I was miserable. Cold and wet. I went inside to get some hot coffee and warm up a bit. Fortunately the rain was letting up now, but I had made a reservation at an historic hotel in Greybull, WY and I was deep still within Yellowstone.
When I rode through Cody, WY the sun was sinking low. It looked like some night driving was ahead for me. This concerned me because I had ridden in this area 2 years ago and it was the ride with the strongest persistent winds I have ever experienced.
It was almost 10PM when I arrived in Greybull. I checked in and was told there was only one place to eat that might still be open. I quickly rode over to Lisa’s for a steak with pepper sauce. Steak au poivre anywhere else. It was delicious and the staff was very friendly. I was also introduced to Fat Tire beer. Good brew. Then I got a good nights sleep on a comfy old bed at the Hotel Greybull.
This is the lobby of the hotel where I went for breakfast. One guy with long hair and a cowboy hat was telling joke after joke. Many he made up as he went along. After he left the owner told us he used to be an actor in some Westerns. He was even in a John Wayne movie. He said this guy’s wife had died of cancer, he moved to Greybull and gave up acting. Actually in the framed photo on the table below is the owner on the left and the actor on the right.
From Greybull it was on to Sturgis. I booked two nights at the Buffalo Chip Campground. I had to stop for more one lane construction in a quaint little town called Ten Sleep.
Construction stops are commonplace these days. Lots of construction going on all over the States. As I waited, two guys on Harleys pulled up behind me blaring 70’s rock. They were all decked out in leather and were in good spirits having just left the bar down the street. Once we got going they passed me by. I tried keeping up with them but they were flying. I did manage to keep them in sight after passing a few cars. We were crossing the Rockies and these guys were zipping above 85MPH. I saw one of the guy’s hat blow off. I thought about stopping for it, but he didn’t seem to care so why should I. They ended up pulling over for some reason. When I stopped for gas at the first town past the Rockies they showed up. We got to talking again. They said a cop had lit up the lights as he passed them up in the mountains. I saw that cop and was concerned myself but I didn’t get flashed. The one guy, Rusty went inside to get some beers. The other guy (don’t remember his name) started asking about guns. This happens a lot. He said he is not into guns but Rusty’s probably carrying. Rusty is an ex cop. Then Rusty came out of the store complaining that they don’t sell beer. So he got a Coke instead which he mixed with some Jim Beam from his saddle bag before they continued. A girl who said she is a flagger at a nearby construction site warned us of the on-ramp to the Interstate. She said it is sandy and a biker had gone down earlier and broke his leg. She said it’s best go West one exit then turn around and go East (actually she said “I’d prefer if you’d go…” which I thought odd). We all took off together, but it seemed those two guys didn’t understand the chick. They turned down the road which said 80 East. I kept going. Later after looping around I was headed toward South Dakota when I saw the two of them exiting headed West on an off ramp. Oh well, later dudes. I was on a mission. I was going to STURGIS!