Yellowstone!

So day three began at Basin Cabin 8 miles west of Yellowstone National Park. We were feeling pretty good after finally having gotten into the cabin and enjoying a little reading by the fire and decent nights sleep, but we still had a ways to go to our next stop. We got up in decent time and had no problem getting ready but dark clouds were rolling over the line of the hills and dropping sporadic rain. When it seemed that they were passing us by we finally headed out, albeit an hour behind schedule. This in itself was no big deal, but the skies were looking dark again soon after entering Yellowstone. We made it through about two thirds of the park with no complications and even enjoyed quite a bit. The scenery was amazing and the bison meandering across the roadway and playing in the dirt were easily the highlight of the day for me.

They reminded me of Seattle pedestrians a bit

But once again we came to a large body of water, instantly dropping the air temp, and in came the dark clouds spewing rain. As if it were not already difficult enough to ride in the cold and wet conditions, we seemed to be on a perpetual downhill switchback road for almost 30 miles. With the visors blurred from rain, and the turns perilous from rain wash, it was a slow roll down as we didn’t want to end up in a ditch or worse, over a rail.

Somewhere along the way we were brought to a halt by a park ranger holding up traffic and when we were finally allowed past, our caution down the hill was proven well warranted. In the ditch on its side was a Harley Davidson and down the hill in a turn-out was a paramedic with a rider in a stretcher.

Once we safely exited Yellowstone we continued most of the day either charging into rain storms or remaining soaked from the ones we just exited. Suffice to say, though, that when the rain was gone, and especially in those few moments when the sun was shining, I think we may have ridden through some of the most beautiful land I’ve even seen.

And now here we sit, in a log cabin amid those beautiful scapes. And tomorrow we head for Deadwood. It’s funny because as much I love the riding I can easily see how the cowboys could come to town after driving herd and just want to go nuts. After all this riding I’m looking forward to a night in a hotel in Deadwood. Next stop gambling and whoring!! haha

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First days

I have not had internet since leaving Yakima and so I’m only now getting around to posting. I wrote on Word and am now pasting in what has happened. Enjoy!

Three days and each one has been a harder ride than the previous. Starting out a little late on Saturday put us in the position of needing to ride a little longer into the evening than was planned, but we found a great spot by the river and slept under a night of stars and full moon. The plan was to wake early and hit the ground running to make up some of the miles that we had fallen behind on from our first day, but the fact that we had already ridden ‘til after dark and then started first thing in the morning, not mention a lumpy ground for a bed, meant that we had not quite recuperated from the wearing down of the previous days ride. Add a second, even longer full day on top of that and it was a bit of a push.

Idaho camp on the Lochsa river

But we got going and crossed from Idaho in Montana and began heading south. Along the way we passed through two significant ghost towns in the late afternoon and took a glad break for a bit as we explored and took pictures. Nevada City was the first stop, which maintained an old train depot complete with train cars and an engine in the process of being restored. Then about two miles up the road was Virginia City, which is the more touted of the two but seemed less impressive to me.

Finally we pushed on from our extended break to try and make it to the end of the days’ route. We had a cabin 8 miles west of Yellowstone park that was ours if we could get to it, but it was getting dark and the air was getting cold. Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle can confirm that when the air starts getting cold it cuts through you and stabs at the skin like needles.  Which is precisely the way it was starting to feel.

As we motored on the sun was getting lower and the road followed along the winds of the river, which didn’t help to keep us warm.  It was at this time that the nearest severe accident I’ve ever escaped occurred in an instant. We were cruising down the road at about 60/65mph, myself in front and James following about 30 or 40 yards behind. Suddenly a dark figure sprang up from behind the guard rail, clearing it completely, and landed directly in my path with me literally mere feet away. The situation was one similar to a child darting out from a car when you don’t have time to think, the situation is just there! The dark figure was a giant moose, at least 8 feet tall if not a full 10, who seemed to be as surprised by me as I was by it. The mutual surprise may be what saved my life since the Moose jerked it’s head back causing its chin to narrowly avoid taking me off my bike by means of catching my helmet.

Just as soon as I had cleared the moose I stopped as quick as I could, concerned that it would not leave room for James to get by, or even worse, be agitated by the close encounter with me and strike at him; that is to say, the moose striking James and not the other way around. Fortunately the creature stayed put and James was able to also safely swerve by. We collected ourselves and quickly turned back to try and steal a  picture of it, but it hopped the opposite side guard rail, and with the sun  nearly gone we knew that it wouldn’t show up in a picture.

Immediately following this incident the sun disappeared and we were once again on a water-lined trek to our cabin. For approximately another hour plus we shivered our way to our one night home. The problem being that I had not heard back from anyone on the code for entering the cabin and it was looking like we would not be able to get in even if we did make it. Earlier in the day, however, I had started to become concerned when I never heard back in regards to gaining entry, and when it became clear that no one was calling I asked God “Please just let there be an open window or something”.

We finally arrived at the cabin, much later in the evening than we had hoped or planned, and in the cold and dark I checked to see if there had been a note left for us with a code. No note. I started trying the windows and nothing. But then I came around to the last window where James was standing when he spoke beautiful words “Here’s an open window.” He crawled in and we were able to open the door from the inside and finalize our evening, and two long days of riding, in the comfort of a blazing wood stove.

The next day would be Yellowstone and onward through Wyoming.

Cabin near Yellowstone

It’s go time!

Some music here for setting the mood 😀

It’s Friday night on the 12th of August. Made it to Yakima today and finally felt some summer heat; something we haven’t really had in Seattle. Riding in to warmer areas made me realize just how un-conditioned we are for the hot weather and we aren’t even near the hottest yet. From what I was told the temperature today didn’t even hit 90 and when we make Dodge City in Kansas it should be sitting around 100. I’m sure we’ll be okay but it’s definetly going to take some acclimating to be able to withstand six hours of riding in 100ish temps.

Some final tinkering before take-off

That being said, I’m still anxious to get on the road. Start time tommorow should be by 10am. James didn’t hit Yakima til 9:00 this evening since he had to work today and then head over, so our departure will be adjusted for that neccessity. Then, the most unexciting portion of the trip we expect, will be tomorrow as we head east through Tri-Cities and over to Lewiston Idaho. Once we cross the border into Idaho, however, I think we’ll both feel a bit of that sensation that comes when enough miles have been put between yourself and home.

Unfortunately, no matter how much or how early you plan, things can still go sideways. James had just bought a new visor for his helmet along with a new pair of gloves; they were both stolen this week…while the visor was attached to the helmet! So away went his new gloves and awesome helmet. Funny thing is that we had the idea to buy a couple of extra helmets, the half-helmet style. They arrived the day his other helmet was stolen. All this to say that I can’t help but wonder if God put a bug in our ears so we wouldn’t be way-laid by a lack of helmets.

Aside from the theiving gone on, everything seems to be in decent order for us to be getting on the road. Barring any calamaties, or even minor disruptions, we should be making camp near the Eastern border of Idaho tomorrow night just this side of Montana. Those that believe, say a prayer for our safety.

Gettin’ ready

“Long way ’round” by StereoPhonics

Behind the scenes at Central Command

Here’s what’s happening: James and I are going on a trip this summer throughout most of the old west. Our goal is to get away and see the good stuff. We’ll be avoiding populated areas as much as possible throughout the trip and probably the largest town we’ll be in is Dodge City, KS. We’ll be doing a combination of camping out under the stars, staying a night here or there in an old cabin at various locations, and stay at a few hotel rooms along the way just to prevent fungus from growing on our hard-traveled bodies. Though we’ll be staying in hotels at three separate stops we will be persisting in the vein of the old west and have made sure to reserve rooms in authentically decorated/restored hotels. The first hotel stop being in Deadwood SD, the second hotel in Dodge City KS, and the final hotel night being in Leadville CO, just before our last leg home.

Along the way we’ll be visiting old ghost towns, actual gunfight locations, and even a few well-hidden locations where the bullet holes still remain in the original structures. We’ll be keeping record of everything, from riding, to camping, to gambling, using random videos taken with helmet mounted cameras, handheld cameras, and phone cameras. However, the most valued captures of all will be the pics that James takes with his Canon Rebel T1-I.

So…we just have to finalize our preparations and fire up the motorcycles!

Sitting two weeks out from our departure I’m having a difficult time staying focused on school, which lasts another two weeks, and I can say that James is experiencing some anxiousness to exit work for the road. Fortunately we started planning for this fairly early and everything is falling into place rather well. James was able to find a good gunbelt today and it looks like we’ll be well armed for our trip 😀

James' new beauty of a gunbelt w/holster!