Thursday, October 16, 2014

Travelogue #37 and #38 now available

Skippy found energy and time to make the next travelogues :) Enjoy.

Vegans biking through Colorado National Monument towards Dinosaur:

and Banana family meets Dinosaurs :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bozeman - Portland 28.9.-7.10.

From Bozeman we rode to Helena to meet Kyle and do some maintenance work on the Suzi. The oil change did not take very long and the rest was all fine so we had plenty of time to talk about riding long-distance trips. Thanks a lot Kyle for helping us! He has some side business and does tank bags. They looked pretty good and functional to us. You find more here:
Somewhere between Bozeman and Helena.
Time for maintenance at the Suzi: oil change and other small things.

Kyle and his bike. We had a good chat and thanks a lot for your help!
Kyle manufactures these great tank bags.

We continued through the mountains to Missoula. It was mostly sunny but still chilly. Skippy was freezing and put almost all clothes on what she could find. I noted on one of our breaks that my sidecar tire was already pretty much worn out. That went fast ... too fast for my wallet!
Seaman's creek - named after the dog of Lewis (Lewis and Clark Expedition).

Hertta liked the place :D
Back to the mountains.

We found one of the most enjoyable roads in the US: Highway 12 from Lolo, Montana to Kooskia, Idaho. 200km of curvy roads, low traffic and all the way through forest and along the river. Beautiful! And Skippy told me later that this was: “Better than sex! If I die now, I die happy!”. We also had good weather, dry and mostly sunny with a temperature of about +15C, which certainly contributed to it. Since there was not much to navigate Skippy went first and she enjoyed the curves with good 100km/h speed on her new tires.
Now THAT looked promising :)
On the first break she claimed that she waited 15min for me (.... mmmh ... maybe somewhat    
exaggerated) while I had to wait quite a bit at the road work. We were clearly off-season since all campgrounds were closed as well as visitor info centers. Once more we learned some of the US history as this road went along Lewis & Clark trail.

... and she waited and waited ... :D
Beautiful old dead tree besides a hot spring.

This little hoverfly came to sniff Skippy's bee :D
Old opera house at Kooskia.
Red carpet for the mice :)

The first kilometers from Kooskia to Nezperce were nice and there was even a good piece of curvy gravel road (was marked as asphalt in the map). Skippy took it very easy on this stretch. Later on this beautiful side road “she paid it all back” and waited nicely for me before we returned to Hwy 95 and continued to Dayton.

Dayton was a cute small town and even though it was small there was a cinema, a brewery and several restaurants. Skippy was in the mood for some pampering so we went out to a Mexican restaurant – big portions, so I took the left-overs with me for the next day :)

The cinema was run by a non-profit organization and we were able to watch the movie “A Most Wanted Man”. The cinema was nicely done from the inside and excellent sound, too bad the movie itself was a little lame. At least the live piano music before the movie was excellent! 

Skippy was not doing so great and we decided to stay three nights there. We found ripe bananas and organic lettuce in the shop opposite to the hotel – that was enough for decent meals :). Interesting to see that the liquor, wine and beer shelves were longer then the produce shelf :D
We saw this deer on our city walk through Dayton.
Liberty cinema in Dayton.

Excellent movie! Please watch it! (check from youtube! Official trailer) Great that they show it even in small towns!
Amazing mantis.
Water heater :-o
The next leg to Packwood would be a bit dull, mostly bigger highways. My big-scale map did not show that there would be a rather curvy piece between Naches and Packwood. That road was one of the highlights of that day! The other one was to see Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens from distance.
Mount St. Helens some 100km away.
Strict parking rules at the motel!
And the village was full of deer and elk...
everywhere ...
Geese on their way south

Mt Rainier almost there.
Also many other animals to be seen.
I mean really everywhere ... and this dog does not bother at all :D
Nice and curvy street towards Portland

St. Helens - National Volcanic Monument
Lake below St. Helens.
All old trees around St. Helens were dead (we think because of the 1980 eruption).
Cool looking trees in the valley ...
Our track ca. 1500km

~ Wolfi

Monday, October 6, 2014

Yellowstone National Park 27.-28. Sept.

Next morning all beauty was gone. It was raining, the mountains were all covered in clouds and it would stay like this for the whole day – sometimes more rain sometimes less. Once we entered Teton NP the driving felt like being in a parade. Constant slow speed and no point in passing. I already learned earlier that vehicles in front may make a sudden full-stop or turn left or right without any indication (in order to take a picture or so). Maybe the bad weather scared off a few people, but then we realized that this day was the day when the park entry was for free – so much for that!

We crept through Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Yellowstone was certainly beautiful with its meadows crossed by rivers, the waterfalls, the hot springs and mud pools with the “lovely” smell of sulfur (in plain English: rotten eggs). Memories of Rotorua, New Zealand, came back and I had no need whatsoever to stop and take a picture :D

We stopped once in a while either to put on more clothes or to take a picture when it did not rain for a second. With all the road closures it became evident that we would stay in West Yellowstone overnight. The question was whether we will ride to Old Faithful and back all the way. We were both getting too wet even though wearing rain-overalls, it was chilly and Skippy was in a no-go mode. We decided to skip Old Faithful.
Grand Tetons totally covered by clouds.

Not so great riding weather.
Lewis River
Lewis Falls
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
... with bizarre rock formations.
West Yellowstone looked pretty sad.
Interesting looking winter adventure vehicles :)
The weather was much more inviting the next day. It was still cloudy and chilly but it did not rain and occasionally the sun came out. The great aspect in our current lifestyle was (or better say is) that we could do whatever and we re-planned our re-planned plan. Instead of heading straight to Helena we rode back to Yellowstone, visited Old Faithful and then rode through the park (well there was only one choice since the road between Norris and Mammoth was also closed) all the way to Bozeman where we had already booked a motel in advance.

The ride was much more pleasant compared to the previous day. Partly because of the more comfortable weather and partly because it was emptier in the park which meant faster riding :)
Yellowstone was certainly a great experience for us. We saw all sorts of wildlife (including bison so close that one could touch them - no bears though), stunning landscapes with geysers, creeks, meadows, waterfalls and cascades. The speed limit did make sense and one land-rover in front of me almost went to the ditch on a straight piece of road ;)
Yellowstone - wildlife and steam everywhere :D
A lonely bison -  we saw many of them.
The crowd is waiting for the next eruption :)
Old Faithful in action.
Interesting looking hot spring.
Silent for now ...
Ooooooohhhh puppiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeees - so cute ... :D
Nearby Firehole lake.

Firehole River.

Gibbon Falls.
Mammoth Hot Springs.

Skippy had some motoric problem with her hand .... V is good :D
The road from Gardiner (North entrance to Yellowstone) to Bozeman was boring and since we were already late we skipped the smaller parallel road which I had planned originally.

When I was in my early studies a relative asked me to go as an exchange student to Bozeman. This did not happen due to my horrible English :D (I did not get enough points in the TOEFL-test). Now 30 years later then planned, I made it to Bozeman, Montana ;)

Our track - about 530km
~ Wolfi