April 27, 2010 GMT
On The Road Again, Montana To Utah

The last few weeks on Ďmyí ranch in Montana were spent looking at weather forecasts waiting for a warm dry spell to make a dash south to Utah. The weather would be warmish for a while then it would snow and make motorcycle travel hazardous and chilly.

199 Julian Calf 12th Apr.jpg
Just When You Think It Is Warm Enough To Leave (12th April 2010)....


201 Cow in Snow 13th Apr.jpg
..... It Snows Again! (13th April 2010)

I had been looking at the snow capped mountains behind the ranch all winter hoping for an opportunity to walk amongst them. I made an attempt on my last weekend although I could see there was a fair bit of snow higher up. It was a warm sunny morning when I set off. After a couple of miles and a 1000 feet of height gain I got to a plateau with snow drifts here and there and solid snow all the way up to the peaks. A hailstone shower started and lasted half an hour just as I wanted to sit down for a picnic lunch. The route went through a dip before climbing again and the dip was full of snow. I tried crossing in two places and was sinking into the snow almost to my waist. I bravely or foolishly (depending on whether you are my mother or not) crawled and dragged myself through the drift at the second spot reaching trees where I thought the snow wouldnít be so deep. I was right but I was still sinking into soft snow up to two foot deep with no sign of it reducing. After a couple of hundred yards I gave up and retraced my steps back down.

211 Crazy Mountains 17th Apr.jpg
Snow Capped Mountains Behind Ranch

I had wanted to put on a barbecue for all the friends I had made during my winter in Montana but it was the middle of calving and lambing and they were too busy to come up to Ďmyí ranch. Instead, they laid on a barbecue at ranch HQ which was great although I felt a bit guilty as I had wanted to play host for all the hospitality shown to me through the winter.

206 Bike By Pond 16th Apr.jpg
Bike Beside Partially Frozen Pond On Ranch

The forecast for 19th April 2010 was good in Montana and on my route to Utah so I made plans to leave then. I had hoped to travel south through Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks but the road south from Yellowstone was still closed for the winter. The north and west entrance roads had just opened on the 16th April so I was able to travel through Yellowstone from Gardiner to West Yellowstone passing through the Theodore Roosevelt arch.

001 Yellowstone Arch 19th Apr 2010.jpg
Theodore Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone N.P.

I saw my first grizzly bear in Yellowstone. It was between 200 and 250 yards away. Close enough to see clearly but too far to get a photograph with my camera. It looked pretty big and in good condition considering it must have just emerged from winter hibernation. Iíd assumed they would be thin, bedraggled and hungry for tourist blood after sleeping through the winter.

006 Snow Mammoth Yellowstone Park 19th Apr.jpg
Yellowstone National Park

There was a bison in a picnic area. The park rules are that you are not allowed off the park roads and paths to get closer to the animals and you canít get close enough to distress them. As the bison was in an area open to the public rule one didnít apply. I got within 20 feet without it showing any signs of distress although I was beginning to get a bit tense. Yellowstone animals are used to tourist snapping away with cameras and donít have the fear of humans that animals in the true wild have. Hunters have been known to take advantage of this lack of fear of humans on any animal that strays outside the park boundary. The boundary is known locally as the thin red line and hunters wait to shoot any animal that strays over it.

008 Bison Yellowstone NP 19th Apr.jpg
Bison In Yellowstone National Park

I was heading for Wendover, Utah the closest town to Bonneville Salt Flats on a 400 mile detour to get a photograph of the land speed record course before going to Moab, Utah. Wendover was 588 miles away and I planned on camping at a national forest campsite on the way but when I got there it was still closed for the winter. I had felt a bit tired on the interstate section around Idaho Falls but got my second wind when I got onto a country road with good scenery on a beautiful clear evening and kept rolling along keeping an eye out for campsites or a motel. Once it got dark I was only an hour from Wendover so kept going and did the 588 miles in a day.

010 Yellowstone Snow 19th Apr.jpg
Yellowstone Snow

The following day I travelled the short distance to Bonneville Salt Flats. The ground was a bit soft so I didnít venture off the tarmac onto the course. I was told that the salt flats can be a shallow lake at this time of year. As the winter water evaporates the course hardens ready for speed week in August.

014 Ian Bonneville Speedway 20th Apr.jpg
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah-The White Stuff Is Salt Which Makes A Change From Snow!

From Bonneville my route took me on an unavoidable interstate towards Salt Lake City then on a better sweeping road to Moab with the scenery improving all the time. The interstate around Salt Lake City was a busy ten lane highway which isnít my idea of fun. Last summer I was pretty successful at avoiding interstates and keeping to quiet interesting roads while travelling through the eastern States and Canada. This summer I am having to make some compromises to get to all the places I want to visit and leave the USA by the 9th September 2010 when my visa expires. Still, it beats working for a living!

020 Salt Lake Utah 20th Apr.jpg
Salt Lake, Utah

Posted by ianmoor@tiscali.co.uk at 06:02 AM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

 

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!