Update 2: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
Just before leaving Casper WY we stop at a mountaineering store looking for one more Thermorest sleeping pad just like the one we have. And also a tiny fuel bottle for the camp stove so we don't have to dig out the big fuel bottle every time we use the stove. The store has the exact sleeping pad and fuel bottle, super. My foam rubber bed pad is old and has no spring. When I primitive camp I like tall grass or soft sand to sleep on, in a park you have one area to put your tent, usually hard as a rock and cold. Thermorest pads are super pricey but do a heck of a job, pack up super small and weight only 13 ounces. I suck it up and pay the bill, happy knowing I will sleep better. Also this will give Heidi my old foam rubber pad on top of her Thermorest pad. Hopefully this will help prevent a mutiny. All this camping is new to Heidi and she is having a hard time at night. Like a captain of a lifeboat I must take ultimate care of my crew, the success of the journey and mission depend on it.
Casper to Shoshone:
This is a desolate part of Wyoming. We pulled over at a famous site where there is evidance of American Indians stampeding Buffalo over a cliff as a means of hunting, Hell’s Half Acre. I have to check this place out. My father and I are part Native American and he made me aware of the practices, he would be thrilled knowing I visited the place.
Cody WY: We are heading straight toward Cody WY, that’s the home of sierratradingpost.com, a website where we purchased a lot of our adventure gear. I need a new pair of mountain running shoes. Hiking is going to be a big part of this trip. We both need good foot gear. Anyway, I find the perfect shoe, I call them ‘white mans moccasins’, a type of sandal hiking shoe, not a lot of cushion but a good grip on the bottom and are super light weight. Heidi questions my call with the light weight hikers. I assure her this is the shoe made for me. We will see.
Boysen State park: Just north of Shoshone WY are a number of reservoirs with camping. We hit the first, Boysen state park. It feels a little primitive. We are use to South Dakota state parks with nice showers and vacilities. The first place we put our tent up is nice and close to the water but we soon notice ants are everywhere; on the ground, on the picnic table, on our stuff. Heidi takes a short hike up the beach and shouts back “There are no ants over here!” We both take a longer hike and find an even better spot. It is secluded on the beach and has shade. When we march back up the beach to start moving camp we find the outside of the tent covered with ants. I pick up the tent and haul it to our new spot. We theorize why all the ants at the first site. That first place is close to the boat launch and is probably one of the most popular sites. With that includes all the food and crumbs. Anyway, no ants at our new camp and we are happy.
The weather here is perfect, warm and dry. I love waking up early while camping. Making coffee, reading and watching the sun rise, mmm…
We are shooting for the Yellowstone park northeast entrance. This entrance was closed last time I rode here, it is said to be a great ride.
There are a lot of great places to pull off the main road here and explore. Heidi seems a little nervous about the roads I take her down. I ride super slow. She keeps quiet. Great chillin' spots.
We stop in Cook City to provision. It’s a nice little mountain tourist town but not much else.
We camp just a few miles from the park entrance in Montana, Gallatin National Forest. Our tent is right next to a flowing creek and isolated from other campers, just the way we like it.
The next morning is cool but it gets more comfortable as the sun comes out. We eat a primitive camp breakfast of oatmeal, caned black beans, V8 juice and coffee. I’m lovin’ it Big-Time. Heidi looks deep into my eyes as if she is saying “What the H did I get myself into?”
We suit up wearing long-johns under our leather. It feel good starting out but as soon as we enter Yellowstone Park it starts getting colder.
After entering the park we finally find a nice spot to pull over without people all over. We do a short and steep hike to a stream and look over the Yellowstone map.
This is from the 1988’ Yellowstone fire: Eerie but it was cool seeing all the new growth. We thought the pines should have been taller by now. It must be the high altitude that makes them grow slow.
Geysers and weird colored sulfur pools are all over the place, so are the people. We didn't think there would be so many people at this time of year and think about what the crowds would be like in July.
Lots of wildlife to see. ‘For sure’ that’s one reason not to miss Yellowstone Park.
You have to personally experience the people frenzy sensation when wildlife is seen by the road in Yellowstone. It reminds me of a shark feeding frenzy or something. People are nuts. Sometimes there is nothing to see, but rangers have to stop and direct traffic because of the hysteria. Cars are parking everywhere and anywhere. People are running with their cameras, binoculars and telescopes. People are pointing. Some claim they see antlers, most claim they see nothing.
The plan is to camp in the park and do a day of hiking, but with the crowds and the much cooler temperatures we decide to just enjoy the day cruising the park and camp in lower elevations where it’s warmer….. Heidi and I are sharing the same brain when it comes to making ‘on the fly’ course changes. How long can this last...?
This park is long, over a hundred miles and most of riding is 30 MPH. This makes for a long day of riding and we are getting cold. At the south entrance of the park is is late in the day. this is the north entrance of Grand Teton national park.ark:
We couldn't just blast through the Tetons, they are too beautiful. At least a day here seems necessary. Signal Mountain camp ground, one sweeet spot indeed.
People like food shots, so here ya go…Sour dough bread, cheese, fresh jalapenos on mine, a can of beans, freeze-dried fruit and of course cocktails. All this with a view of the Tetons. Life is good.
A lake is 200 yards from the tent. It’s 4 or 5 miles long with hiking along the entire shoreline. The shore is covered with large rocks and make for tough going but the vistas are unreal and well worth it.
The next morning is cold but clear and bright, it got down to 35 Deg. last night. We are struggling to stay warm with our light weight sleeping bag arrangement and that is making it challenging.
Waking up here we smell pine trees and fresh mountain air. Heidi and I are really into the mode now. We’re eating healthy, exercising every day and celebrating life, especially the life we have together right here and now.
Of course with all of this I am feeling large and boasting that I’m going for a swim. Heidi says “I gotta see this!” and grabs the camera (We’re at 7,600 feet)
When you jump into a high mountain lake like this don’t try to turn around and say something smart to the people on shore because all that will come out are short high pitch little words “…..this……..is……nice……”
I did get my breathing under controls and swim a little. I feel good, I’m getting back to my old cocky self. Being physical all day, reading, spending time with Heidi, this is the life we have dreamed about. On the road I feel like a pioneer traveling west to start a new life using just the tools we can carry. We will prevail, we will find a new way to live, a new way to love.
This morning is cold. The ride starts with full long-johns and down under our leathers.We blast through Jackson Hole Wyoming on our way to Rock Springs which is near Flaming Gorge national park in Utah, a favorite cool place.
A stop for gas and some food for lunch on the road. its hard to find a good place to stop to eat, but finally a score on an excellent chille'n place.
A small storm races across the sky in front of us prompted a stop. Ten minutes is all it takes sometimes. We do hit some wet roadway and get a little muddy but no biggie.
Roch Springs, WY: A motel room sounds good right about now. I thought Rock Springs may have some inexpensive rooms but was wrong, over $81 for a nothing room. We could have paid a little less but that places looks less then bad.
The cable TV weather channel predicted scorching temperatures in Utah the next few days, just where we were heading, so a quick change in plans, shoot for Colorado. A little elevation should take care of the heat problem.
The ride through Flaming Gorge National Park. Fabulous scenery and landscape for-sure.
Between Flaming Gorge and the Colorado Rockies there are not a lot of shady spots to pull over. We take advantage of any good shade along this road.
Grand Junction CO: Here we look for supplies for camping tonight. The temps are in the high nineties. We stop at a Wal-Mart and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We blast up into the foot hills of the Rockies and camp at Island Acers state park. Our camp spot is super close to the Colorado River. This is a popular camping spot with a lot of activity. We end up getting one of the better spots with shade, but that was all it have, a little shade.
Fire Water: I wake up before Heidi as usual and go out to make coffee. We have been using plastic vodka bottles for our water bottles. They are flat shaped and a perfect fit for our tank panniers. Well, I poured some water in my tin coup and start to boil it. Next thing I know the stove and cup are on fire. I pick up the cup with a camp handle and the water is on fire. I dump the water on the ground and the ground is on fire. Duh…! I boiled the vodka we have for cocktails. Heidi and I have a good laugh. Thank god this vodka bottle didn’t have a pour spout on it. I would have questioned my sanity….
Today we are doing a short ride up into the mountains. The map shows a large national forest and a lot of camping. Sounds good…
Grand Mesa camp grounds: It is looking at first like there arn't any camps spots available. We get to the very last two sites. They are open. Both sites require a walk up a steep hill to get to the tent. We for sure have the best spot in the place, closest to a clear blue lake with fishing and hiking trails.
Today is devoted to hiking. There are trailheads all over this area. The signs claim lakes and photo opportunities. Sounds good. We pack some trail mix and a jug of water and are off.
The first trail is well groomed and maintained and circles around several small mountain lakes. After about an hour the trail doubled back to where we started. We remember seeing some more primitive trails on the way to this trailhead. We start hiking. Woods, lakes, swamps, springs, open grass savannas. This place has it all.
Heidi keeps following. This is good.
We merge onto another more defined but difficult terrain trail. We meet several mountains bikers. It had to be a hell of a ride for them, some had full face helmets.
A great day of hiking ended with a big camp fire. This place has unlimited fire wood.
It’s been raining steady since last night. A few days ago in Rock Springs we heard on the radio Hurricane Dean is going to bring rain all day on Monday. We make plans accordingly. The plan is to hunker down in the tent, read, play games, eat and just chill out. The rain stopped just long enough to make coffee and grab our corn muffins. It’s a challenge to be comfortable hanging out in a tent all day. We got several reprieves from the rain and were able to walk around and stretch but most of the day spent was inside. It’s not as warm here as hoped. In fact it’s been surprisingly cold all day. We are looking forward to going down from the mountains tomorrow and warming up. Heidi is starting to go nutty. She wants a bath & _ _ _…..
Continued: ---> Update 3 <----