We head out onto the road and down through to Livingstone, then on to the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, crossing into Wyoming as we do so.
Straight away we hit a traffic jam as a group of mule deers stop for lunch on our side of the road.
We spend the day exploring Yellowstone Park, then head out the West exit and stay in a campground nearby. That night is a cold one with not much sleep and alot of shivering.
The following day we head back through the West entrance of the park for more exploring.
There is alot to see in a small place - bubbling thermal pools, Geysers, colourful sulphur deposits, waterfalls, herds of mule deer, herds of buffalos, coyotes and the odd bear.
Bubbling thermal pool
We stop and wait for Old Faithful to do it's thing. This is a geyser that spouts boiling water high in the air every 90 mins, give or take 5 mins.
Whilst this is happening Darren spots a lone male Buffalo chilling out in a quiet corner and gets brave for this shot.
The things we do for you guys at home!
After a fun day we exit the park at 6pmish via the North East exit which will take us out onto the Scenic Byway known as Beartooth Pass.
This road is absolutely awesome, I can't describe how good this road is! It's twisty but fast with stunning scenery which leads you ever higher. After every switchback you get a better view of the valley below, the road and the mountains around you.
Crystal clear ponds
The descent is awesome too with sneaky peaks at the road in front of you.
The sun is setting behind us and it is a really nice time to be up here.
As we near the end of the road a group of 8 sportsbikes goes screaming past us in the other direction, obviously up for some fun on the road with not much traffic around. I hear Darren sigh over the autocom 'lucky gits' he mutters under his breath.
We stop that night in Red Lodge back in the state of Montana after a packed week and decide that the next town should be a break from riding.
Heading out from Red Lodge we take Highway 296 to Cody. Straight away we hit road works with thick gravel and clouds of dust by passing motorists. Luckily as it is a Sunday the road workers aren't actually there, so we can make our own way through the mess thats left. After a few 'moments' when we skid, Darren and I discuss whether getting onto the mud on the road verge might be a better option.
Thick gravel and dust
Once the roadworks are finished it doesn't take long to get to Cody for our next task - agreeing on where we are staying. We try a couple of motels for prices, we want to stay for 3 nights (and determined to save our budget) we head back to a campground on the outskirts of town. After inspecting the restrooms we change our minds and decide to head back to the 1st motel we stopped at.
Just as we are leaving we hear a booming voice 'hey, remember me?' Darren is dumbstruck and we can't believe it - a great couple from Texas who we met on the Yukon River Crossing right up on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, which must be 5 weeks ago, are here in Cody!
I remember them instantly as they had made us laugh, taken the mickey about our cooking gear ("why do you English people bring your pots and pans here- we have food!") and generally had lots of useful tips and info about bike travel, being world travelled on two wheels themselves.
When we met in Alaska they had taken our blog details and had been following our stories. Recognising our bike on the side of the road in Cody they had doubled back and scoured the campground looking for us.
Very kindly our texan friends make a gift of a set of new tyres, a spare set they had brought with them for their 1150adv which is in the trailer behind their RV. This is perfect timing as our front tyre needs changing. We are amazed at their generosity and arrange to take them out for dinner in exchange.
I remember the first time we met the Texans that Em just mentioned, we were enjoying a coffee at the Yukon Crossing on our way up the Dalton. Curtis put all my fears to rest by saying "hell, I wouldn't ride two up on this road and I have ridden it several times" thanks for that I thought, he then added " I even have the Prudhoe stickers in the Jeep I can give you - save yourself the trouble" he was only joking of course and knew I would not accept, he and I knew that I had to earn that sticker!
To say I was suprised to see them again in the campground office is an understatement, what follows is true to the travellers spirit. Curtis quizes me on the bike and kit and asks if we need anything, I mention that we are in town to rest and get a new front tyre fitted and wihout hesitation offers me his spare set of rubber - 20mins later they drive into our motel car park with the brand new Conti TKC80s. Curtis then says that they would like to make a gift of them to us and would not accept any money - unbelievable, we eventually agree that we will take them out for a meal in return and a great night was had by all.
Curtis and Janet - take a bow, we are very grateful of your generosity.
With the new front tyre fitted (equal amounts of swearing and soap) I decide to take myself off for the day while Em stays at the Motel. I ride out of town seeking out an interesting gravel road that I clocked on our way in. The bike feels like a 250 crosser without our traveling weight as I kick up the dust, passing a secluded ranch I begin to worry that maybe this gravel track is not a public highway and that I may be tresspassing.
This makes me feel 11 years old again, as I think back to riding that illegal bike on local lanes - always trying to avoid the farmer and I can't help but to laugh out loud in my lid.
After about 15miles of twisty, hilly gravel the road came to a fork and I stopped to admire the view. It was then that the pick-up truck turned up, I resisted the desire to make a run from the farmer reminding myself that I am a grown up now. As it turns out the couple in the truck did own the ranch and the land around me, but the track behind and off to the right of the fork was public land. I explained my concern over tresspassing and the farmer replied "take the left fork up the hill, its our land but the views are much better - enjoy your trip" and with that they drove off - if only it had been that easy when I was 11..
After the off road fun I headed back into town to fuel up and decide to head out to another road that I had seen when we came down the Bear Tooth Highway, this time it's tamac and I had heard a lot about it, the road is called "The Chief Joseph Highway".
Now Em did not exagerate about the Beartooth Pass Road, it is frankly one of the most amazing rides I have experienced, but on this day without luggage and pillion (sorry Em) The Chief Joseph Highway becomes my number one road - it is quite simply awsome.
The highway runs from Cody to the Beartooth Pass and if I remember correctly is about 50 miles long and the Beemer and I cover the distance there and back in a fun filled, uninterupted timeframe that I am not going to say here... lets just say that I was reminded just how good the GS really is, this morning I was off road and this afternoon I'm trying to get the panniers scrapping.
This also is the first time that I have pushed the TKC80s and they perform superbly, tremendous grip with just a little "loose" feeling on the edge that seems to add to the excitement - as you can tell - I had a really good day. Next time I will take it at a slower pace so that I can take in the scenery, but today was about the ride.
Cody is a really friendly, fun place. It is genuine Wild West territory, with lots of history, including Buffalo Bill. The shops are great to look round with genuine cowboy outfitters, spurs, saddles and stetsons of course! We spend a day looking round the Buffalo Bill Museum at all the interesting items from Wild Bills days. There is also a Firearms museum which is the biggest collection of guns in the world, an amazing place to see.
Then we head back at 6pm into the town to see the live staged gunfight which is put on every evening outside the Ramona hotel. The road is closed as they take over the street with the fun - very pantomime!
The gunfighting cast
Once the show is over we get pictures with the cast for prosperity.
Don't mess with Calamity Jane
After a relaxing and fun time in Cody we reluctantly head off south. After stopping to say cheerio to the Texans they very kindly loan us their sheepskin seat covers.
These are courtesy of their friends in Alaska - owners of a shop called Alaska Leather, which is the largest aftermarket parts, accessory and motorcycle clothing store in Alaska. Click here to view their website:
Alaska Leather Website
The seats fit great and we can feel the difference straight away! So can our butts as after this we put in some high mileage days without realising it!
Posted by Darren Homer at November 19, 2007 10:16 PM GMT
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