Are we there yet?
Well after being on the road for 11 days, weÔÇÖre almost in Gillette ÔÇô just in time for Camp GEARS. IÔÇÖve been travelling with my daughter Jessica on the back of my LT, doing a scenic tour before getting to the rally.
WeÔÇÖve detoured around thunder storms in west Texas, ridden some great roads in New Mexico and Arizona ÔÇô even the hail storm on US-191 wasnÔÇÖt too bad. We played tourist and saw the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and Grand Canyon. Rode through Monument Valley in Utah, took a ferry across Lake Powell, tried to take a small back road across southern Utah, but it was too much on an LT ÔÇô a GS would have been perfect. We had to turn around after 8 miles and go back to the main roads. That was a long hot day, but I still took time to go to the Natural Bridges park.
Zion National Park was great, although by now Jessica had seen enough rocks to last her a lifetime. We met some other riders there who suggested riding through Cedar Banks National Park on our way to Salt Lake City. IÔÇÖm glad we met them as it was a great road, the views were fantastic. My daughter lost a glove at one of our stops so that gave us a reason to stop at BMW of Salt Lake. We must have looked hot and tired as we were offered a drink as soon as we were through the door. I had always wanted to see the Bonneville Salt Flats, so the next day we did a detour via Nevada on our way to Twin Falls, Idaho. There wasnÔÇÖt much to see after a hundred miles across the desert ÔÇô at least there were no rocks! Speed week in August would be different. We stopped in Wells, Nevada for an early lunch. BellaÔÇÖs caf?® was fine, but the t-shirts that they were selling for the ÔÇÿclubÔÇÖ with the same name that was outside of town, would have been another matter.
We encountered our first traffic delay just before we left Nevada - we had to wait for 15 minutes at some road works. A combination of my high-visibility jacket and sun burnt nose attracted a bee and before I knew it, it had stung me. I was glad we were stopped as that would have been a difficult situation if we were moving. I even had to pull the stinger out myself ÔÇô no help from Jessica other than to tell me it was there on the tip of my nose.
After Twin Falls we headed north, but it was cold in the morning. We had to put on our warm liners ÔÇô and this is July! Our second and last traffic delay was just before Ketchum and that was only for a couple of miles. Jessica knew nothing about this; she was asleep leaning against my back. The road following the Salmon River was great, then north on US-93 to Chief Joseph Pass and into Montana. I thought we had a mosquito problem in Houston, but the size and number of mosquitoes that buzzed us when we stopped for gas in Wisdom put the Houston ones to shame.
The next day we road east along I-90 (it was strange since we started this trip riding west on I-10!) until we could turn south and get to Red Lodge. I couldnÔÇÖt resist a call to friends back in Houston telling them we were about to ride over the Beartooth Pass. If you havenÔÇÖt ridden that road you need to. The scenery is outstanding (yes, there are more rocks) and the road twists and turns for miles.
Next was Yellowstone. We had never been there before so once again we played tourist and took photos of all the animals, rocks (again), rivers and lakes.
After almost 4,000 miles weÔÇÖre now in Cody just 250 miles west of Gillette. Jessica is bursting with excitement wanting to get there and see many of the friends she made last year at West Bend. She had such a good time at the last national rally she was almost depressed when it was over. I hope camp GEARS and the rally live up to her expectations. WeÔÇÖll be volunteering so I hope the committee chairs are ready for her.
Are we there yet?