Small (wet)world

So I left Lakeside for the ride to Glacier NP.  It was a short ride away and I was looking forward to it.

As I am leaving breakfast, a guy comes up and starts talking my ear off.  That’s what happens when you are on road.  Whether you like it or not sometimes.  He says he is jealous of my trip but explains to me that he has stopped riding as it was too dangerous.  Then he proceeds to tell me he was on his way to Boise with his girlfriend to go paragliding.  I could not help but laugh and then ask him if he really thinks paragliding was that much safer than riding a motorcycle?  He left with a confused look on his face. Some people just don’t get it.

The park is amazing- I can’t describe how dramatic the views are.  I also can’t describe how bad the traffic was.  The retardation factor was very high with tourons stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures a gawk.  The road seems like it is bolted onto the side of a sheer cliff.  It’s really impressive.  But when a rock the size of a fist falls on the road and everyone stops in both directions to stare at it and contemplate where it could have possibly come from- I lose it.  I pulled around everyone and picked up the rock, placed it lovingly at the side of the road so he could be with his buddies, and traffic started moving again.  And then the construction added to the effect.  Took 3 hours to cover 45 miles but it was worth it for sure.  I am getting a bit of a complex though, because every time I go to a big national park it rains.  We’ll see if this keeps up….

From there I had to head south towards Yellowstone.  I was planning on going to Helena, a short day of like 250 miles but with my hours in Glacier, I was behind the times.

Did I mention all of the Harley’s?  They are every where… I don’t think I saw 3 BMW’s all day and no more than 10 dual sport bikes total but at least 500 Harleys.

As I am riding down the road, 20 miles from Helena, blasting onto the highway from an entrance and right in front of me is a guy on a big dual sport.  We agree to grab a beer and fuel via silent biker talk at 75MPH.

Johnathan is from outside Calgary and is on day 1 of an 8 day trip to Sedona, AZ to meet some friends who have a head start.  Over a few beers and at the suggestions of the locals, we agree to camp in Tonwsend, 30 miles down the road.

The weather is threatening but so far holding.

Dinner is at a local watering hole… we eat and exchange stories.  I meet Jeff, a local who left Point Loma (San Diego) a year ago in search of work.  He does 7 days on and 7 off working in oil rigs in North Dakota.  We know all the same places, all the same bars… it really is a small world, even in Townsend, MT.

Johnathan ensures me that his optimism will keep the rain to the north of us and that we will camp dry tonight.  I don’t share his optimism.  We agree to a bet and call it a night.

He is wrong.  It pours all night.  The next morning I have to get out all the heated gear and wet weather gear I had packed away assuming I would not need them for the rest of the trip.  It rains all day on us as we head towards Yellowstone.  Jeff from the bar last night has set us up on a great ride today- entering the park from the east and avoiding the crowds and going over a great pass called Bear Tooth.  Looks epic on the map.

There are hundreds and hundreds of Harley’s heading west from Sturgis.  The ride is pretty but really really wet.

So here we are sitting at a bar in Red Lodge, MT.  The pass is socked in and there are reports of a lot of motorcycles stranded there.  Happy hour stated 15 minutes ago and looks like Joseph and I will be here for the duration.  The bartender is taking care of us and she has called all the local hotels to get us the local discount- looks like we’ll get to dry out tonight after all.  I think in this entire trip this is the second hotel I have gotten (if you don’t count the dorms at Univ of AK and staying with friends some days) and both hotels were after very very very wet rides.  Feel sorry for all those poor souls stuck at the summit…  Forecast looks better for an assault on Yellowstone tomorrow.

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