Day 27 – Looking for Grizzly’s
Arrived home June 14th, 2014 – these are catch up posts. Day 27 was June 12th.
After spending time in South Dakota and Wyoming I have a whole new appreciation for this region. Although much of the states can appear to be “flat” everything this time around for me, verses in 2010 when I rode x country had a beauty to it.
On day 26th riding through Yellowstone the only wild life I got to see was Bison and man did they look haggard. The thing is this. In the park you never know when one, two or a herd will show up. With this in mind the wild life, in this case the Bison can create a traffic jam from hell. I was heading out the west entrance after entering from the east and it took my over an hour to ride about 5 miles because of a very large herd with babies. I did not take a pic of this herd. By the time I passed them I was eager to get out of the park. I was on the bike for 11 hours at this point and needed to find a place to sleep.
They are interesting looking creatures for sure and HUGE compared to me and my bike.
When I finally made it out to the park I landed at the McDonald’s in West Yellowstone. There I met Paul, a guy on a BMW F650GS who’s been on the road since October 2013 I believe.
I needed a break, use the WiFi, get some pop and figure out where to stay. Paul was friendly, I was not really. I was tired, a bit grumpy, had Cruizer and returning home on the brain. We ended up going to the KOA outside of town eventually. Paul tented and I got an expensive cabin. The funny thing is….when we got to the campground, I see this post on my Face Book page made by a Paul. So happens Paul joined my FB page a year ago, he did not put 2 & 2 together that he was commenting on my page until I made a comment back online.
It was very humorous and when you think of the chances? Also, little did I know we would spend Day 27 together exploring a great dirt road. I am glad Paul did not get turned off with my “attitude” the day before because day 27 was a lot of fun.
I woke up to this. The weather on this trip has many variables to it. Frost as one can see, HOT and Humid when I got to the east coast initially. Through the Smokies, to Matthews, NC up to Washington DC were the only real hot spots this entire trip. When I got to Philly and then Long Island, CT, upstate NY and back west it was rather cool and of course all the rain and storms across the country. My initial thought for Day 27 was to ride west as far as I could go. But there was a HUGE hiccup in my plan.
I had the worst headache I have ever had I think in my entire life when I woke up. This headache was different then the ones I get when my sugars are high or low. This was from dehydration. I had a rough night. Keeping the sadness I have felt since my dog died at bay while riding hit me this night. Day 26 night. So, when I woke up my head was pounding. I tried to eat, drink everything but it was unforgiving. I did load up but only made it to Big Sky, MT. A whopping 80 km’s? I pulled over at a general store/gas station and bought more food, Gatorade, trail mix
and tried so hard to rid myself of this pain. Meanwhile I text messaged Paul who was back at the campground taking it easy to ask him what was his plans for the day.
Paul graciously responded and said he was going to take a shower and was flexible. I invited him to join me in Big Sky
to go find dirt. I figured by the time he got to me I had to feel better. Turns out when Paul arrived around 1100 my head still hurt but was good enough to explore.
I felt a little weird hanging out at the general store for so long. I arrived around 0730 and ended “loitering” until Paul. 😉 Met this really nice guy Chase,
who ended up helping us find a road near by and then when we got back from our day trip came out to chat with us about our bikes, trips and life. Very enthusiastic young man and helpful too. Thanks Chase for being you and everyone in the store assisting with Paul and I riding the Taylor Fork Rd.
The guys at the store did tell Paul and I about the grizzly bears up the dirt road we were heading but we later found out we were riding in the largest concentration of grizzlies in the lower 48. Never got the conservationists name or even take a picture of him but we were approached at the end of the gated road by the guy driving this vehicle
Who informed us the population is huge in this exact area. He went on to say someone poached a grizzly not far from where we were standing. That makes me SICK! and I was not alone feeling this way.
He gave us some advise about camping in the area, hang your food and toiletries from a tree etc…good for Paul as he later went back up the road to stealth camp. Nice that he stopped by, wish I asked his name and before he left went on to say “enjoy your ride, good thing you arrived now because 2 weeks ago there was too much snow and the road was closed.” We wished we could have gone further than we did but there was a locked gate to private property.
It was at the gate where my bike took a nap. That damn little hump in the road is how I lost my footing. Rule #1, when you are on the vertically challenged side for riding a stock height F8 get off the bike and turn it around instead of trying to do while on the bike. I know this but of course did not head my own advise. Lesson learned once again.
Looks much healthier upright. Good thing Paul was with me. We got her up without having to take the luggage off. This is drop #2 and that was it for the trip. Once back in Colorado while heading east and this one. Not that bad considering and only superficial damage. My AltRider crash bars are now bent in a bit on both sides. I think the weight of the bike has really tested these bars and I am happy they have done their job.
Before we actually got to ride the Taylor road we had to find it. Was supposed to be about 20 miles from the Big Sky junction heading back to West Yellowstone. We missed it the first time around when I was in the lead, no surprise there…but Paul took the lead and we found the entrance on the way back to Big Sky. Wasted about an hour but we got there eventually.
Right away I knew this is what the doctor ordered for my headache. Ride a very nice, not technical dirt road with beautiful views and we had to stand on the pegs. After being on pavement for about 99% of this trip this felt right. I have deviated from the asphalt before but riding with Paul made this even more special.
Weather was cool enough with some warm spots. Rained held off for the most part and I would say perfect riding conditions except for the dust Paul ate holding up my rear. It was nice Paul took one for my trip by simply saying he was all ready filthy was a little dust?
We did not see any grizzlies but felt them out there in the wilderness. Here are a few pics of our ride…
Other than a few ranchers on the road with horse tailors and “cowboys” on horses not may folks out here. No other bikes for sure but some campers in the designated recommended areas to camp. Better bear protection.
Perfect, Paul, his F650, a wooden bridge off a dirt road and a glacier fed river.
Look at this view. I believe this is Lone Mountain. You can see this from the pavement but seems closer and better back in the country away from civilization.
I personally believe one post can never have too many pics of bikes. 😉
Nice road don’t you think? We really enjoyed this side trip. Both of us did and Paul was very happy to hear my head was feeling that much better. We got out of the back country around 1530 hrs. I still had riding to do westward and was actually kind of bum to leave Paul. We kept in touch for the rest of my trip and still do as he travels around the USA, eventually coming up to Canada one day.
This is the third time this trip I actually had someone to take a pic of me. Good for my memories.
One more selfie of the two of us…Paul probably doesn’t even I took this one.
So, after riding this…
and a hug and good-bye to Paul back at the general store we met at earlier in the day, I was back to this…
Heading to Butte, MT. Didn’t know it at the time but that is how far I got this day because of my late start but for a great reason.
Road construction means long waits usually out here. Engine off and was able to just reflect on my ride with Paul and look forward to the final days of my trip. Honestly, my gut when thinking about the end of this trip was in knots. I don’t like ending trips ever at the best of times, but in this case….reality of my separation and Cruizer who died meant my house, my world would be that much more different when I arrived home.
Off to Butte which turned into a rainy short haul….great day 27 was in the end….
At this point only 2 days left of my X Country 2014 Solo Trip!