Today I made it to Yellowstone going in the North Entrance. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of the Roosevelt Arch but unless I wanted to wait until the afternoon that wasn’t going to happen without a tripod.
This time I was a bit more prepared re road construction having determined that there were two places with 30 minute delays while they resurfaced the road. So I elected to go to east on the circular park road and see things I missed on my last ride through as well as avoid the road construction. I figured I’d exit out the South Entrance and depending on what time I left I’d figure out whether to bit the bullet and pay Jackson, WY hotel prices or head on down to Pinedale, WY where I usually ended up stopping after visiting Yellowstone.
It didn’t take long to see my first critters. A small herd of antelope were grazing and taking a water break. Followed almost immediately by my first buffalo.
I had turned my GPS off since I didn’t want to listen to it as I rode around Yellowstone and rely on signposts to get to the Southern Entrance. That turned out to be a mistake when I got to a junction that said “Jackson →”. That sent me right into the construction by Old Faithful, sigh.
Oh joy, so then I revised my plan and headed to the West Yellowstone Entrance and figured I’d head to Idaho Falls for the night. That wasn’t to be since as soon as I left West Yellowstone I was confronted with a sign that said “expect 1.5+ delays”. Wholly carp, so a U turn and back through Yellowstone. This time at least there wasn’t a hold up at the construction zone just a 25mph speed limit due to the “chip and seal” operation with a warning to motorcyclists to take care. You know I think chip and seal is worse than plain old dirt roads.
Anyway, made it back to junction and took the road to the South Entrance. I had set my GPS to take me to Breckenridge which put me on US 287. I’d never taken that road but it looked interesting and there were definitely some scenic views.
That is until I started seeing smoke. Followed by signs that said “do not stop”. When I came around a long curving section and saw a pair of Chinook helicopters filling their buckets from a pond and river next to the road.
That’s when I really wished I could stop and get out my good camera. I tried taking some photos with the little Nikon point and shoot I used for checkpoint photos on the cannonball but most of them were useless. This was the best of them and it only had one of the two Chinooks in it. None of the ones with both of them turned out.
I would have loved to have stopped and watched but with police in view I figured they could see me and with the no stopping signs all over the place it didn’t seem like a good idea.
So I continued on and the first town I had considered stopping in was full of firefighters plus smoke which I didn’t particularly want to spend the night breathing.
I rode through the Wind River Reservation part of the time along the Wind River listening to Longmire short stories some of which were set along the Wind River so that was sort of cool.
By the time I was out of the smoke filled area the nearest town large enough to have hotels was Lander. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a hotel/motel room available so I used Hotwire to get a motel in Rawlings. It was shown by my GPS as 126 miles away which meant I better take it easy since who knew if there would be a gas station open. There were supposed to be two on the route. One at Sweetwater Station (38 miles) and the other at Mud Gap (80 miles) but I didn’t want to have to count on them after dark.
The scoot started doing the same “bad fuel” type sputtering about 15 miles into the route when the crosswinds kicked up. Sweetwater was dark when I got to it, so much so I could barely make out the one pump at the trading post so nothing to do but continue at a sedate pace to maximize mpg as I was being passed by what few other vehicles on the road. Thankfully, the gas station at Mud Gap which closed at 7pm (it was now almost 9) had a 24 hour card reader. I should have had enough gas to make it but better to fill up when you can. This did mean that I no longer had to ride sedately and I was now turned into the wind instead of a crosswind. Not only more comfortable to ride in but also has less negative effect on mpg and speed. This road also had more traffic and I was able for much of the time to stay with the traffic and make use of their better headlights.
Reached Rawlins after a 529 mile day where the only place I could see that was still open to eat was McDonalds. So I elected to eat one of my Kind bars from my cannonball stock it was straight to bed.