Day 18 – Jackson, WY to Bozeman, MT
Total Kilometres: 740 (460 Miles)
High/Low Temp: 12 celcius (top of Beartooth Pass) and 31 celcius (Bozeman, MT)
Total Riding Time: 8:00am MST – 7:30pm MST
well, the best laid plans…
i was going to get up early and be on the road by 6:30am this morning. still a bit damp and cool, so i climbed back into the kip until 7:15, on the road by 8:00am.
it’s a fantastic nice and sunny day. much better than the jesus storm yesterday afternoon. the goal was to try and get some better sunnier pictures of the teton range this morning, then head farther up highway 89/191 north to yellowstone park. after yellowstone as far as i can ride into montana to take off miles for the final day of riding home to calgary.
the tetons were absolutely stunning this morning. a whisp of cloud over the tops of the grand teton for a bit of flair in the photos. quick photos at the tetons and into the teton park again, and on to yellowstone.
first experience in the park – asshole. asshole on phone, driving the other direction nearly hits me head-on at 35 miles/hour. this has to become law everywhere – while you are driving, all that you should be doing is driving – not talking on a phone. pisses me off. but the surroundings at jackson lake and kepler cascades (a small falls just off the highway).
i was early, only 9:30 and yellowstone park is already a bit of a gong show. zip into the old faithful geyser area of the park. i was right in between ‘shows’ so i had time to wander around. it’s a lovely park, and currently the facilities are under renovation. fantastic pathways and interesting geysers and bubbly bits everywhere. returned back to the main lodge in time for the ‘main event’ – watch old faithful blow it’s load into the air.
in the meantime a woman has let me know that a buffalo/bison is wandering through the area “just over there”. and it was literally “just over there”. with all the warnings and signage warning about encounters with wildlife apparently bounce off white-trash american heads. people are walking just feet away from buffalo. i’m 75 feet away and i can feel their presence and understand, these are definitely wild animals – don’t mess with them. one of the tourist rocket scientists decides to get close, really close to the buffalo and pisses it off. it jumps a 3 foot fence and heads right to where i’m standing. holy crapolla! i took a picture as i was backpeddling away from the scene – don’t want to be the guy that ends up on america’s funniest videos being flung into the air by a thousand pound buffalo.
the buffalo are really amazing creatures, and enormous. makes me think of all the american and canadian western history courses. can’t imagine the commotion that thousands of these beasts stampeding across the country would have made. in the 1800s, and before, they were so numerous that one could see them everywhere. it was incredible to see them out in the wild.
from old faithful to the fountain paint pots. interesting and scenic. the paint pots themselves are outdone by the paint pots of the kootenay valley in british columbia. one high point the ‘spasm geyser’ which is one of the only active ones in the area. it literally does spasm and is constantly shooting out 10 to 20 foot tall bursts of steaming water. very cool! by this point, the throngs of people are arriving, time to get the hell out of dodge. there are literally swarms of tourists bearing down on every part of the park. hard to enjoy ‘nature’ when everyone is having loud cellphone conversations. i can’t understand why anyone would want a telephone call in a park on a day off.
a quick stop and wander at mammoth hot springs. unfortunately, due to some geological changes or seasonal changes their isn’t any water running over the hot springs, but it is scenic nonetheless. it looks like a huge layer cake.
off to highway 212, the beartooth highway and pass. what a fantastic road. scenic, fun to ride and massive gains in altitude. another highway that goes right to the top of a mountain. beautiful views down towards yellowstone, the chief joseph scenic highway and over the pass into montana. the road at the bottom is riddled with potholes, missing segments, etc but it turns out to be well worth it when arriving at the top of the beartooth pass. this is a “can’t miss” ride. it’s pretty chilly and windy at the top of the pass at 12 celcius.
upon descent into the montana side things begins to warm up. warm right up to 30 celcius. red lodge is a cool little stopping ground of restaurants and funky little boutiques. would be a great place to stop on a return visit.
highway 78 north is a little escape of sweepers without traffic and takes me north to the I-90 interstate. this is pretty much the end of the scenery and day trips, from here on for the next two days it’s slabbing on the interstate to get back home and avoid the hotel bills of a holiday long weekend.
the last stop of the day is bozeman, montana. i did about an hour from columbus, mt to bozeman on the interstate. nice easy cruising at 80-90 mph and makes up quick time and distance.
tomorrow is the return home, all interstate and approximately 500 miles. i’ll be up early and out the door of the hotel by 6:30am to make sure i get back to calgary at a reasonable time