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Adversity

June 5, 2010

Yellowstone Park was originally planned for the return trip as we made our way through Wyoming, but we found that with our accelerated jaunt through the US that… we were not allowing the weather enough time to adjust itself to the “good riding” setting on the dial. So we decided to slow down, and take a few days for some leisure riding. Thus a loop down into Yellowstone was required.

Into Yellowstone

The weather report was for a grey, partly raining type day so we left the hotel with our trusty rain gear and nothing else and headed off to the park which was about 90 miles away. We got there plenty dry with only a few sprinkles, and paid our entrance fee. The first road up to the main stop from the north end was about 5 miles and it was super twisty, although it had a speed limit of 25, it was actually quite fun. We stopped at the main visitor center to get a quick lesson on bears, and how to handle them.

Now armed with knowledge, we set out on our first leg. Immediately, there were Elk lining the road snacking on the plentiful vegetation and watching the tourists go by. We made several stops taking a look at all the natural formations and wildlife.

Snow.

And

Undine Falls

After a stop at a fairly busy geological formation, which was just on the side of the road, towering a good 1000ft above, I started to have battery issues… the bike wouldn’t start. We spent a few minutes trying to figure out what could be causing it and decided that it was just the constant stopping and starting, coupled with the low speeds and handgrip heaters. So we push started and I shut off my headlight, and kept the rpms high as we made it to the next stop.

Now, the next stop was a good 15 miles away and in that distance we probably went up about 3000ft in elevation to cross one of the Rocky Mountains! (woo hoo, I can hear you guys saying) but it was far, far from woohoo. At this point with the battery low, the rain started coming down in torrents, it was blinding. Not only that, there was still SNOW everywhere on top of this mountain and the temperature dropped significantly (started mid 50s and by the top it was probably in the low 40s, high 30s. here we were put putting along this dangerously wet, cold, cliff-oriented road (the valley down below was… quite far away) and I begin to notice my handling going to shit… oh boy. Finally we make it to the summit’s gas station to find that yup, sure enough! Flat tire… rear this time. The gas station had air, but no way to plug the holes (there were 2 pieces of metal sticking out from my tire). We inflated the tire and set out for the next closest town, some 50 miles away just outside the park.

On our long journey down the mountain we came across a bison that was just meandering across the road, he stopped to make sure we would stop, and then he kept on moseying and we sped off.

Bison

We saw what is known as the “beryl springs” a bright blue hot springs that had near-boiling water gushing and bubbling out of it.

We made it to town, and went to a Napa Auto Parts store to get a tire plug kit, these folks were very nice they even let us pull the bike into their garage in the back (it was raining buckets at this point)

We removed the metal pieces, and plugged the tire. Here they are; ladybug for scale.

LB in Yellowstone

We decided that they were needle bearings from a U joint that had fallen apart somewhere on the road, I was just fortunate to pick up 2.

The tire holds air fine so we set off for the hotel, 90 miles to Bozeman. It again continues to rain, and by now my feet are soaked and freezing cold, the miles tick by so slowly and by the time we got to the hotel I couldn’t unclench my hands from the shape of the handlebars, to the hot tub! I got all of my stuff off and got my suit on and went to the tub and sat for a half hour to bring my body temperature back to normal. Went to the Chinese buffet across the street for dinner and settled down in front of the TV, thoroughly exhausted. About an hour later the sun poked its head out just before setting and we were rewarded with this:

Horizon to horizon, double in spots

Well that’s all from MT! The lesson learned is: don’t come to Yellowstone till July, haha… Damn.

-Seb

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sky Cole permalink
    June 5, 2010 11:37 am

    And I was worried about your carburetors at that altitude.

  2. victoria permalink
    June 5, 2010 12:31 pm

    Don’t you guys have AAA?

  3. Claudia Chapman permalink
    June 5, 2010 2:52 pm

    Great story fellas. I remember a morning in May in New Mexico. It gets quite chilly when you go up a couple of thousand feet in elevation. My husband, who never wintered in New Mexico, stepped out and saw white on top of the mountains. (To this day he will not believe my story of a Saint Patrick’s Day blizzard which closed down the roads from Albuquerque to Taos.) He was willing to accept any other explanation than snow. But snow it was.
    You are inspiring us to drive west in the Miata.
    May Saint Brendan, patron saint of “Older Adventurers” keep an eye on at least one of the bikes. Okay, he’s really the patron of “Elderly Adventurers” but “older” just sounds so much nicer. Older than what? The hills?

  4. Rob permalink
    June 7, 2010 3:32 pm

    Is that a giant lady bug or a tiny Super Sport decal?
    I’m now more confused than ever about the size of needle bearings relative to other things.
    Of course, to be truthful, this is the first time I’ve really ever been concerned about the size of needle bearings in re other stuff.

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