Saturday, 1 June 2013

177 En route to Yellostone National Park

Thursday 30th May 2013 Miles Today 79 Total 6241

Some dork phoned us from the UK at 4am and I could not get back to sleep after that so when we did get up I was seriously grumpy. Even more than normal. Anyway, today we set off towards Yellowstone National park. The day started out well with the sun out and our first stop was Sturgis. This place is famous for its bike week which is traditionally the first week in August. This week is unbelievable if the photos are to be believed. Thousands of bikes descend on the small town but it is not really our scene, they appear to be all Harley riders.

Outside the Knuckle saloon, very famous around these parts.
Having left Sturgis we carried on towards the Big Horn Hills and Custers Park.  Unfortunately the weather came in and we were literally lying on our side fighting the cross winds and the rain.  We struggled on with this for about 40 miles and had to stop.  It was seriously exhausting for Ray, and it was pretty disconcerting for me.  We stopped in a town called Sundance and holed up for the rest of the day.  Although there was no lightning, it rained continuously for the next 20 hours.

The cleaner has a talent for towel folding.

Friday 31st May 2013 Miles Today 271 Total 6512

It was still raining when we got up and it continued to rain during breakfast and whilst we loaded up and then still when we set off.  The wind was still there and for the first hour or so, we were still at a funny angle. Our aim was to get to a place called Buffalo, Wyoming and eventually the rain stopped. The wind however kept going and it was quite cold.  We had lunch in Buffalo and took State Route 16 towards Yellowstone Park, as it was described as the scenic route, and it was.  

Very pretty complete with snow on the hills.
As we started going higher, it started getting colder and colder.  We had our heated clothing on and we needed it.  At about just under 9000 feet, (which is twice the height of Ben Nevis), a snow shower hit us.  The wind was blowing it about and it started to settle on the summit.  You could hardly see in front of you.  Our decision was to stop, head back down and see if it blew through.  Otherwise it was an 80 mile trip back to Buffalo and along a low level route.
Hiding out from the snow.

We waited for it to ease up hill  and started back up the hill.  Ray flagged a truck coming from uphill and asked him if he thought we'd get through.  He said he wouldn't risk it on a bike, and suggested we park up at a campsite called South Fork, which was 10 miles back down the road. We headed back down again, and both of us were a bit fed up that the weather had beaten us for another day.  Well almost, we saw a bit of blue sky and decided to give it another go.  As we got near the top, a snowplough was just ahead of us and cleared the road, how lucky was that?
Snowplough up ahead having cleared the way.

I thought we'd decided to go skiing.

Then we came out the other side and the snow and the rain stopped and we could see the scenery.

We're alive.
We stopped at a lovely little spot, near a river on the way back down, and although there were some clouds still hanging around, it was a lot better weather wise, although still cold, but the jackets took care of that.  We finally stopped in a town called Grey Bull, and booked into the Yellowstone Hotel.  We went for dinner in an Old Speakeasy which is a downstairs bar which was used during prohibition during the 1930's. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was really 30's.
Still smiling

The lower we went the more the scenery changed.                         

This train came towards us as we entered Grey Bull and it had 104 carriages.  It was massive.    


  1. Glad you survived! Weather in the Rockies can be pretty unpredictable this time of year! Beautiful country though. I was last through here in 1984 - driving a tractor-trailer (or is it a lorry?). Never have done it on bike, but that's my retirement plan.

  2. We have been dogged by bad weather since we arrived in the US. Thus far we have only had a few days where it has been hot and even then it was so hot it was unbearable. We have had snow (twice), hailstones, rain upon rain and high winds going on fer days. It has been difficult and sometimes downright depressing.