So a few weeks ago I was at a friend's house where he and another friend were discussing their upcoming trip to Ouray, CO, to meet 150 or so of our mutual internet buds. At that point I didnÔÇÖt think I was goingÔÇöbaby on the way, limited amount of leave available, on and on went the excuses. But their ÔÇ£planningÔÇØ was tempting and since IÔÇÖd never been west of St. Louis I was eager to go. I said IÔÇÖd try to make it work. As it turned out I wasnÔÇÖt sure I was going until the day before departure time, but depart I did.
I left home at 11am and hit the slab for Indianapolis, where the three of us would meet for the trip the rest of the way west. 600 miles later I was in Indy, joining my buds in a truckersÔÇÖ bar for some refreshment. Although the day was a long one, the next one would be longer.
Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota . . . 980 miles. We lucked into a great deal on a ÔÇ£motelÔÇØ (actually a two-bedroom house), procured some suds from the cinder-block-walled bar across the street, and we settled in for the night. Tomorrow, after a few more miles of slab, the fun would start.
Back up to speed on I-90 for another 100 miles and it was into Badlands National Park. Beautiful place. And a very hot one.
We casually rolled through the park and found a fast gravel road that took us out. Speaking of ÔÇ£taking us outÔÇØ we had to be mindful of these lovelies.
There ainÔÇÖt too many gravel roads in Virginny that allow you to flirt with the ton on a big GS.
From Badlands we made our way over toward Mt. Rushmore (didnÔÇÖt stop there however) and Custer National Forest. Some good roads in there, to be sure, including the never-ending, spiraling switchbacks. Roads were quite slippy in places.
Eventually we made our way up to Buffalo, Wyoming, for the night. Damn, these states are huge! An inch on the map turns out to be about a 1,000 miles! A slight exaggeration maybe, but remember to check your mapÔÇÖs scale, boys and girls.
From Buffalo we rode west through Powder River Pass and worked our way into Montana and back south via Bear Tooth Pass. Another beautiful place. I couldnÔÇÖt decide between enjoying the road and stopping for pictures, always a dilemma for me. As usual, both my riding and picture taking suffered.
Powder River Pass, Wyoming.
Bear Tooth Pass
From Bear Tooth Pass we descended into Yellowstone Park. None of us wanted to go there but it was just in our damn way. Not wanting to ride a bunch of detour slab, we took our chances with the park. Bad move. We were all frustrated and tired. One of our number was more vocal in his frustrations and decided to split off on his own, deciding he wasnÔÇÖt doing enough mileage each day. Bye, Steve.