More great weather, and more awesome riding today. The goal for today was to get the heck out of the crowds at Yellowstone, and ride the famous chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth pass into Montana.
On the way out of the park, I finally got a chance to stop and take pictures of the Bison with the hand-held camera.
After 5000+ miles, the hand grip problem re-surfaced again today. The tie wire Kevin had installed way back in KY finally lost its battle with my left hand grip. We’d noticed the grip was slowly being pushed off the end of the bar, but never bothered to do anything about it. Now the plastic end cap and piece of tire wire have found a new home somewhere between Yellowstone National Park, and Cody, WY. My theory is that the adhesive used under the grip breaks down with heat, and its been cold enough that I’ve used by heated grips quite a bit. When the bike is cooled down, its about impossible to push the grip back up into place.
After a quick stop at a grocery store and Subway in Cody, WY, we continued up the road until it was time to eat. We never rode by a park or picnic table, so we eventually just stopped and at our sandwiches sitting in the grass on the side of the road. The view and brief spots of peace and quite made this picnic more memorable than expected.
Chief Joseph was a disappointment. It had all the makings of a spectacular ride, but was ruined by the worst tar snakes I’ve ever come across. I think the idea is that cracks in the road are filled with tar to prevent water from getting in and creating frost heaves. While the idea is good, it makes the road absolutely treacherous for motorcycles. Tar snakes are really slippery, and caused both Kevin and I to have several “moments”. If you were in a car, you’d never notice the tar snakes, because there is always enough contact patch between the four tires to maintain enough traction. On the bikes, its like riding on ice. Riding Chief Joseph Highway was an exercise in picking a line that had the least tar.
Beartooth pass was amazing, and also full of Harleys (everywhere is full of Harleys). The road would have been really fun, if we hadn’t been constantly stuck in a parade of either slow bikes or slow trucks. Oh well, the view from 11000 feet was still worth it. Next time we won’t be in the area on the weekend.
We thought we might stop in Red Lodge, MT, for the night, but it was only four o’clock, so we rode on. Tonight’s stop is at another BLM campground (5 springs) somewhere east of Lovell, WY.
8/4/2012 – 303 miles. I’ve got mixed feelings about this campground. Our book (.pdf) said this campground had running water and picnic tables, but it lied. There is running water over a mile away, and there are no picnic tables. Also, we’re inside a range, and there is dung everywhere, (its dried and grassy, so it doesn’t smell). The view is pretty spectacular, and its the most peaceful spot we’ve had in awhile. We’re tucked into the side of a hill somewhere near the Bighorn National Forest, so despite the downsides, its still kind of awesome.