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Thread: hi...riding the Continental Divide Dirt Trail up to Canada...stunning wildlife!

  1. #1

    hi...riding the Continental Divide Dirt Trail up to Canada...stunning wildlife!

    Lisa and I seem to have ridden more tar in the last 4-months than we have in the last 4-years an so after spending some great time with friends Chris and Erin in Boulder, Colorado we needed to return to the riding we love. With our USA Visa running out we needed to leave the country and the Continental Divide Trail up to Canada seemed perfect...we were right.

    For those of you that haven't explored it yet, do yourself a favour, play hooky, skip work, grab your gear and go ride it. Simply an inspireing ride with out fo this world scenery.

    Here's some of notes and photos.


    The morning ceremony of rolling up the mattresses and stuffing the sleeping bags, pulling out the dirty tent pegs from the hard ground and packing the tent felt strangely familiar and comforting. We said ‘adios’ to the two brothers on their GS’s we met last night and headed out onto the road. The frequently marked speed limit signs were a constant reminder to keep ourselves in check.

    An hour later and the fresh cold air was forcing us to do up our zips. The bikes were feeling a little underpowered. This was feeling familiar. A glance at the GPS confirmed we’d passed 12,000 feet. Sweeping bends had us concentrating on the road as the mountains dropped away to our left and right. The procession of cars blocking our way had brought us to a halt. Drivers and passengers alike were all scrambling for cameras and bailing out on to the side. Now we were curious. With camera in hand we snapped away as two large horned Elk slowly made their way through the woods below finally resting in amongst the fauna. This is so cool.

    An hour later and we were repeating the exercise as a female moose and its calf grazed in the swampy water.

    With a great days riding we finally found a hotel in the centre of Steam Boat (a thunderstorm pending made this a wise decision!). With ribs and beer for dinner, we went to bed happy and warm.


    Took the 40 out of Stream boat Springs and headed towards the mountains. 10 minutes outside of town we were already grinning with the expectations of what today would bring. The 40 turned into the 129 and we joined the small line of traffic that was already waiting for the orange ‘road-work’ ahead sign to turn and give us the all clear to continue. The light skies of this morning were already looking a little more menacing. We’d made good time and surprised to see the small plaque welcoming us into Clark. With last nights heavy rain we’d made an ‘executive decision’ to hold off joining the continental divide trail until we’d passed ‘Hahns Peak’. The thought of hours of mud was a crappy one. If we held off joining the trail at least the trail might have hardened a little.

    The long smooth tar curve we were enjoying passed Hahns but then came to an abrupt end at a dirt fork in the road. We’d missed the sign for the 129, hidden as it was back in the shrubbery. Backing up our heavy bikes we clumsily turned and headed down the single lane dirt track. Sure the muddy surface was slippery but the idea of getting off the asphalt and into the country was one we’d been looking forward to since getting into the USA. The slick surface kept us on our toes as the track dove into the thick woods and forestation. The thick woods broke once in a while providing us the occasional glimpse of the huge ranches nestled back into the hills. WOW – what a place to live…Lisa kept saying that she wanted to come back to see it with all of its snow covering!! Not on bikes though!

    The thick battleship grey mess of cloud and torrential rain to our left was catching up with us fast. “Shit, we’ve got to get a move on”, I yelled at Lisa over the Autocom. That was easier said than done. We were still finding our legs. It had been a while since we were laden and off road like this. Mind you the thought of a right royal soaking was giving us a kick up the ass. We weren't’t flying yet but we’d upped the speed.

    We’d planned to stop at Slater for a bum break and a coffee…but with a population of only 25 it didn't’t seem likely that there would be anywhere…onwards and…. Heelloooooooo Wyoming!!!

    As the dirt finished we’d made a hasty left towards Baggs. We were both buzzing. God we’ve missed this. The small Café Rio on the right looked like a good bet for quick lunch. Yeah, well it would also go someway to justifying the left we’d taken back at the junction…we should have gone right.

    Our half hour pit stop had given our seats a chance to dry out at least. Out of Baggs we picked up our speed down the 70, we needed to keep our eyes peeled for the 801, the dirt track that would take us across the mountains plains and towards Rawlins.

    The small dirty brown sign with it’s off cream text simply read…801. That’ll do. We thought we’d missed it. Things were about to get interesting! The firmish track was gone. Our speed had plummeted and we were weaving like granny smith on speed. “Lisa, they’ve bloody well graded the track”! Graders had recently been along and cleared and stripped the surface of what would have normally been firm but bouncy track. Yeah this is great for the 4X4’s and cars but bloody awful for us. 20 minutes later and we’d pulled over to the side. It was like riding on ice with our tyres still running road pressure in them. With a healthy dose of deflation we were back on track and carefully picking up speed and once again getting used to that light and squirmy feel you can only get from taking a 600-pound bike off road. The forest of the Sierra Madre was clearing as we rode higher. Cresting the summit, our view was treeless. The landscape biting wind and damp air suddenly transported us…we were back on the Ruta 40 sliding around in the deep wet gravel and mud. Well at least this time we weren't’t doing battle with 50 mph side wind and in truth the gravel was no way as bad and neither was the cold! Each bend or crest we rounded providing another seemingly endless view of our route into a blurry, bleak and wet horizon. The steeper uphill section had the back of the bikes sliding around. Just keep the throttle steady and look ahead we reminded ourselves, release the ‘death-grip’ on the bars and relax. You’d think that after all these years of riding off-road you’d take to it like a duck to water….but it still does take a few miles….we’ve been doing too much tar in the last 6 months!

    By 5:20 we’d passed the reservoir outside Rawlins were we’d planned to camp. We’re wimping out. We’re filthy from mud spatter, cold and it was raining heavily. The thought of scrambling around getting even wetter and then bringing our wet gear into a wet tent was not appealing.

    Ah hindsight, what a bitch! After scanning Rawlins for 40-minutes the cheapest motel we’ve found is $91, this is ridiculous.

    At least we can warm up, recharge the laptop battery and get some diary done!

    This actually worked out well as last night Lisa got quite ill and the thought of being in the tent with how she felt would have been a nightmare! Getting up at all hours needing to go outside whilst it poured heavily ….you could just imagine how miserable she would have been!


    With the cost of the hotel we figured we get our monies worth. Check out was at noon, so we vacated at 1 minute to…seemed fair! With a quick fill up we were away. With the main road easily found we were heading north on the the US 287. We were looking for the CR 63 A tarred track leading out into the hills. We slowed and checked what we’d thought was our track but the sign read BLN 3202. 20 minutes later and we’d seen nothing else and we’d both started to get frustrated with one another. With a swift U-turn made we back tracked and took a right up the suspiciously named BLN 3202 and sure enough not 15 minutes later we passed a road marker CR 63. This was more like it. Wide open plains with low mountains off in the heat blurred horizon.

    The tar finished and the bikes squirmed as we slid on the loose gravel surface. The small collapsed wooden building to our right marked the start of a great day. Between the GPS and some decent notes we’d found our ‘dirt riding legs’ and had picked up speed and had changed track for the wonderfully named Crooks Gap Road. We’d been skirting heavy dark storm clouds for most of the day and the curtain of water coming towards us from the East was one we didn't’t want to get caught in. The small low wooden plaque listing Atlantic city and Three Forks Ranch was our cue to get the hell out of dodge and try and out run the downpour. The rain was traveling East to West and we were traveling South to North. We needed to out run the entire length of the thing. Apart from being soaked through, the idea of riding these tracks full with thick mud just sounded bad. It would be a nightmare. The last thing we wanted was mud. After our Amazon trials I’d be happy never to see mud ever again. The country side was changing, we now had rolling hills covered in dry scrub and track was a roller coaster from one side of the plain to the other.

    Small wooden markers appeared sporadically still listing Atlantic City ahead and the CR3217. We were still glancing at the GPS occasionally as several markers had been turned to face the wrong way. We’d already been caught once and ridden 5 miles the wrong way and out to the US 287.

    We passed small oil fields and the occasional nutty cyclist and pushed on. Our luck ran out 15 minutes outside Atlantic City when the heavens opened and we had nowhere to hide. We were more preoccupied with the idea of getting struck by lightening than worried about getting wet as there had been regular strikes to either side of us…all were hitting land!

    The steepish muddy wet decent into Atlantic City kept us on our toes. Old and new wooden homes and out buildings nestled up to another. It was easy to imagine the the place had changed little in a hundred years.

    The Mercantile Saloon on our left looked like something out of a John Wayne movie, how could we not go in? Wow, Joan behind the bar was serving us hot cinnamon rum todies before we’d even found our bar stool’s. Suzanne had over heard us asking about camping. “I’ve just booked and paid for one of the cabins next door, it’ll sleep three easily” she offered, to our surprise. With the mandatory “are you sure’s “ taken care of, we readily excepted and dumped our dirty mud stained bags inside.

    We spent the rest of the evening propping up the bar.

    What a great day.


    “Oh my head”, I blurted this morning stupidly to Lisa. “I’ve got no bloody sympathy, it’s your own fault”, she stated, matter of factly. We’ve been together for 15-years, you’d think I’d have learnt by now?

    It was 11:30 am before we finally managed to get on the road. I was feeling like shit and knew my concentration was questionable.

    The well marked CR 28 would be our companion for most of the day. Wide firm dirt made the going easy. We were heading out across Prospect Mountains…what a great name, and making our way towards…Big Sandy.

    The magnitude and beauty of the country side has us both mesmerized. That’ll be why neither of us had seen the bloody great black rain cloud that had sneaked up behind us. We got on the gas just in time to avoid the soaking.

    By the time we’d reached Boulder I was hanging. All I wanted to do was close my eyes.

    We’ve called it a day at 4:00 pm and were camped at Whiskey Creek camp site in Bridger-Teton National Forest. It’s stunning. For $7 we got pit toilets and one of the most beautiful camp places we’ve had since beng in the USA. A small river (Green river) ran right by us, thick pine trees were all around with that beautiful strong smell and we were able to gather enough wood for a great fire (being national forest you can gather your own wood as long as its dead and fallen).


    By 8:00 am it was already a great day by yesterdays standard simply because I was feeling so much better. With a quick pack up and breakfast cooked and eaten we hit the trail by 8:00 am. The wide dry gravel path made for easy going and gave us the chance to enjoy the glorious country side we had to ourselves. One of the aspects of the last few days we both enjoyed so much has been the simplicity of the thing. In the last few months we’d been with people continuously and to now be on our own, with just the bikes and the journey ahead has been wonderful. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have met some really wonderful friends over the last little while, but being out here brought home how much we’d missed the ‘traveling’.

    As the elevation increased the wide track had become a little narrower and with a few rocky sections thrown in for good measure the ride saw us up on the pegs and concentrating more than we’d needed to before.

    We were aiming to ride over Union Pass that would then drop us down the other side to the main highway and our lunch stop in Dubois. The well marked trail meant that looking at the GPS was just out of habit rather than necessity. We were tempted with a detour when we spotted the sign to ‘Kinky Creek’, but instead just chuckled to ourselves and kept our course. We had silly conversations about where we’d imagined Kinky Creek had got it’s name. Here’s the short version; a lonesome saddlesore cowboy in need of nourishment and water and stumbled on the creek, bent down to cup his hand and take his fill when he looked up to see 20 to 30 German and Swedish groupies running around wearing S & M gear, shouting “c’mon vip me viz ze birch, do yuuuu vant to tak a sauna”. Stunned by the scene he was witnessing he misses the plethora of sex objects that are floating past him and going down stream. Needless to say he doesn’t quench his thirst. But leaves in a hurry and describes later his encounter at…’Kinky Creek’! Yeah, yeah we know, too long on a bike.

    We were still going higher and once again the trail had widened. To our dismay the trail had been graded and the soft freshly tilled surface was also covered in fresh gravel, great for the quads or 4X4’s but not for us! We needed to pick up the speed and get on the pegs as the bikes squirmed beneath us. We were passing through mountain gullies and vast open meadows that ‘Ingles Family’ would have been proud of. The 6 or so out of control weekend warriors on their rented quads caught us off guard as they took the long easy corner wide and almost ran straight into us. Idiots!

    We were enjoying the last of the deep wooded section as we climbed the last section to the top of Union Pass, it had been a fantastic ride. On the other side we were following the continuous switch backs down, occasionally we’d get a glimpse of the Teton Mountain range through the trees. We were snatching glances whenever we could, taking our eyes off the trail for only the briefest moments at a time.

    The US 26 halted our dirt progress and we headed East and a short 9 miles ride into the town of Dubois. We’d made great time and so finding our seats at one of the many small cafes enjoyed a burger for lunch.

    I needed to get some jobs done. Suited and booted we headed back West, we needed to find an ATM and importantly a garage that would allow me drain my new final drive and stick in some new oil. I needed to drain the first oil, the stuff that I was now sure was carrying all the new filings from the new worn in gears, teeth and bearings. I’d planned to do this after 500 miles but hadn’t found the opportunity. I was now at 700 and leaving it any longer was just asking for problems later. Rolling around on the ground under my bike like a spastic in a space suit was amusing the car drivers filing up on the forecourt and a few funny conversations ensued. With the job done I could now look at Lisa’s gear shift leaver, which had worked its way loose. Fueled, oil, lubed and with a few dollars in hand we set out for Moran Junction where we’d take a right for YellowStone.

    Pulled over on the side I’d stopped to take a few snaps of the stunning jagged toothed top of the range around us, Lisa had gone on. I’d waived to the rider of the shiny new V-strom and been surprised when he’d pulled in alongside me. With the normal intro’s made Mark asked “were you in Atlantic City a few nights ago”? I hadn’t a clue how he’d known that. A few moments later it was clear. The 3 dual sport riders we’d met in Atlantic City had mentioned that their party had started off as 6 and on the first day after only 30 miles of easy dirt one of the guys had had a hissy fit, thrown his toys out of the pram and said he couldn’t do it and wanted to go home. One of the group had had to escort him. Mark was the lucky guy. He’d dropped off his KLR picked up his V-strom and headed North in order to blow off some steam and try to recoup just some of his lost vacation time. With a few laughs exchanged over the fiasco we’d caught up with Lisa. She’d stopped by the roadside. The large female moose grazing in the algy laden waters below was for us…amazing. I’ve said it before I know but we’re English, our wildlife consists of sheep and pigeons. We had to get a few pictures as the traffic stopped. Mrs. Mose had decided that the grass really is greener on the other side and traffic or no she was crossing. Brilliant.

    It was time we cracked on and started looking for a campsite. It was early in the day still but with the area awash with ‘nature-desperate’ tourists the sites were filling up fast.

    At Moran Junction we took a right and half an hour later we’d checked in Coulter Bay, some 40 miles South of Yellowstone's South exit.

    Mike and Brian on their Harley and Vulcan just across from our pitch had said hello and we’d stood and chatted about bikes and bullshit for 20 minutes before deciding it was around ‘beer thirty’ and a trip to the small store was in order. We had to laugh at Mark…a little, he’d arrived, pitched his tent and taken half his bike trousers off. They’re the Aerostich ones that zip up the complete length of both legs. The funny part was he’d unzipped one leg, partially unzipped the other and then seemingly got stuck, because he spent the next hour and a half that way. He just couldn’t seem to bring himself to finish the job.

    We ended the day chatting around a roaring fire with new friends and cold beer. This is what bikings about.

    part 2 comming soon...
    Ride Far, Ride Safe...

  2. #2

    part 2...


    Mark had left at around 7:00 am, he’d tried to leave as quietly as possible on his V-strom….and almost succeeded. Fine wispy smoke was still being caught by the cold morning air from last nights embers as we packed the tent away, rolled up the sleeping bags and loaded the bikes. We were both excited; in 40 miles we were going to be in Yellowstone, the World’st first National park. I remember how we’d sat in bed in our home back in the UK and scoured countless magazines and books as we excitedly chose ‘must see’ items that we’d planned our route around. Grand Canyon, Taj Muhal, The Pyramids, the Amazon and…Old Faithful, one of the worlds most famous Geysers. As reliable as clock work and as impressive as only 200 feet of erupting boiling sulphur laden water can be, she didn’t disappoint. We’d waited an hour having just missed the last eruption.

    Right on cue, give or take 4 min's, she blew and the camera lens snapped.

    The team of asian TV guys had cast a few a glances our way earlier as they'd film teh geyser and as we walked away from old Faithful they took our full attention and asked for an interview. We guess the fact that we looked like NASA rejects got their attention over the few hundred others they could have picked.

    With photos bagged we toured the vast Old Faithful Inn, a feat of engineering and made of local wood.

    With tired eyes we made our way back to our green canvas home and crashed out early.


    Ah this is the life! With a slow start to the day we made a move from our tent around 11:00 am. On both bikes we skirted Yellowstone lake on the West bank and head up to the start of the Indian lake and storm point walks. We’d hoped desperately to see some wildlife, sadly we were to be disappointed. With a easy walk out to a rugged and rocky outcrop we were being rewarded with a clear view of the lake. The easy fast loop back though the thick forest of Stormy point had brought useful circle back to our bikes. Lisa was sulking. She was desperate to see buffalo. With a view opinions canvassed we had it on firm authority that a her of buffalo had brought the traffic to a halt as they crossed from the meadow side of Hayden Valley to the lake side. We were off. The long queue of traffic that would normally have found us cursing was an exciting prospect, it meant the buffalo were still around. Pulled over to the side of the road we threw down side stands and marveled as 2000 pounds of muscle and fur slowly and scarily crossed the road, each heavy step punctuated with a grunt-snore that sounded like it was a sound-bite from a Jurassic Park movie.

    All we could do was stare and snap the camera lens as we tried to capture the ‘presence’ of this incredible animals. As the rain began to plummet and the buffalo headed into the forest for cover we made our move. Back at camp we excitedly talked over the days events around our camp fire.


    Today didn’t quite go to plan. We’d planned to walk the North Rim trail around ‘The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. With Lisa’s bike parked at the trail finish we’d parked mine at the start. No sooner were we off the bikes then the heavens opened. Not a light shower, nooooo! Torrential bloody big dropped rain, we were soaked to the skin in seconds. 5 miles later we’d made it to Lisa’s bike. We were soaked and cold and now we had the prospect of riding back to my bike with no helmet and kit and then riding back another 43 miles to the camp. Back at Grant village we were shaking with cold. A unanimous decision was made we were eating in the restaurant and sod the expense. We needed to be warm and a little drier before heading back to the tent.

    ...we saw this in a shop window, shit this made us giggle!


    By 9:00 am we'd stood in line at the campsite booking office for 10 minutes and then been told that there was no way we could book another night as the site was completely sold out. Shit!

    We were going to have to get a move on now. We had 45 minutes to get everything packed up and loaded before 10:00 am and check out time. This wasn't what we'd planned for our morning. The question now was...are there any other sites available? We'd taken it for granted we'd just rebook.

    With minutes to spare we'd made it. With side stands kicked up we headed back to the main park road and were heading North to Indian Creek Camping, which we'd been told was probably also full. No one had mentioned Norris Camping, which we were now passing. With a quick decision made, we'd swung a right and had circled the various loops and found a free site. Number A44 would be our new home. At $14 a night we'd book two nights and make a new base from which to explore the park.

    We'd taken so many photos over the last few days we needed to spend the afternoon catching up on diary and photo sorting. Canyon Village would be my new office for those chores.


    What a bizarre way to end a day. I’d hoped to get back to the ‘Lower Falls’ of the North rim walk for a photo session but the dark clouds put an end to that notion. We simply donned our riding suits and went for a ride instead. The Gibbon Falls looked too good to miss and so with the bikes parked up and with patchy cloud allowing the Sun to break occasionally Lisa stayed up top whilst I clambered down the 200 foot rocky embankment to reach the bottom of the falls. With Tri-pod and camera set up I spent an hour trying to capture the photo I could see so clearly in my head. I wanted the rock to appear sharp but wanted to capture the water as a flowing mess of white, trying to capture the sense of movement. Let me know what you think.

    Our batteries were low and with full memory cards halting the photo taking we headed back to Canyon village in order to fuel up on coffee and abuse there electrical sockets. Two hours later the batteries were charged and I’d caught up on diary.

    The idea of an early evening camp fire with dinner in hand sounded good.

    My first ‘run-in’ with camp host authority was just around the corner. The small steep tar park space that came with our site was going to be impossible to climb if I wanted my bike facing outwards, allowing for an easy pack and a direct exit. The idea of loading the bikes and then reversing them down a steep cambered slope sounded bad. Loading them on the small tarred track was out of the question as it left no room for cars or RV’s to get passed. I’d ridden into the park space next door and then up the small dirty embankment covered in scrub grass, all of 11 yards (4-5 metres) of it and parked up. Bob, strode towards us angrily, introduced himself as the host and spewed us with anger and sarcasm. Lisa had to walk away she was furious. I wasn’t taking this shit. Calmly and with the snootiest British accent I could muster, I explained to Bob that his tone, approach and sarcasm were completely uncalled for, inappropriate and surprising. Bob’s face changed as did his demeanor. What ever Bob had expected, what I’d provided wasn’t it. Things calmed down with Bob stammering to explain that he’d only meant to supply a warning that we could be fined fort ‘tearing’ across the grass. I’d traveled 11-yards, in first gear up a small slope. There wasn’t even a tyre tread left. I explained to Bob that the use of the word ‘tear’ was nonsense and that he was using it simply for the dramatic. My condescending tone did the trick. Anyway it all ended with a handshake, burt seriously what a crock of shit. It had put a dampner on things.

    David and Anna, the young couple to our left had said hello yesterday and were setting about building a fire. Ours was already a blaze. They readily accepted our offer of combing the expensive firewood we’d stored and so the evening began. Nothing hectic, nothing loud, no profanity, no really they were both Mormons, er no not that type! You’re thinking of the ones that wear old cloths and dungarees, they’re Amish. So there we are, just talking normally around a campfire, actually talking about David's experience over the two years his mission lasted, trying to convert the populous of…Las Vegas.

    It was 10:04 pm, the campers behind us were eating dinner and the nearest others were 150 yards. George the ‘other’ campsite host, strolled slowly into our conversation and whispered something; “sorry George, what? We can’t hear you” Lisa mentioned. George continued to whisper, eventually we understood. “If you not going to bed then you need to whisper out of respect for the other campers using the site”. George stated with a very stern face. The look of surprise and bemusement that passed between the four of us was instant. I was flummoxed for words. OK, sure all we stammered, waiting to see if George was joking. He wasn’t.

    At 10:16 pm George came around again with same demand. We watched him and his flashlight do the rounds to all in our loop. Most were talking or laughing around a campfire or eating, it seems bizarre. No one was being loud or offensive. On Georges second approach I figured I was missing something and asked George to join us at our table, I needed to understand what was going on. I continued to explain to George that we’d chosen a campsite that had ‘quite time. We didn’t want party’s kicking off or kids running around unchecked or generator starting off for that matter, but I thought that adults being asked to whisper at 10:00 pm was a little extreme, especially as we had no neighbors and those that were closest, were either with us or eating. George proceeded to lecture us all on the respect we should have for our fellow campers. This was getting us nowhere; he simply hadn’t understood my point.

    We finally made a move to bed around 11:30 pm and by then we were certainly whispering.


    So we’re packing away, loading the bikes and Lisa’s got the stove up cooking up some bacon butties for breakfast and all is right with the world…that was about to change! I’d seen the kakie-dressed ‘Law Enforcement Officer’ as she formally and firmly introduced herself. I’d approached Erika, as her shiny gold name badge read. “Excuse me what’s your role in the park”, I’d started to ask politely. I was received by a glare and a very clear and practiced step back of exactly one pace in tandem with a left arm outstretched and a right hand resting on her sidearm. OK, sure I know exactly why officers are trained to do exactly this but…but…!

    “Do I smell bad”? I asked in surprise. No, I knew I didn’t but I wanted to say something that expressed my shock at provoking this kind of reaction. “No, you invaded my personal space”, came the taught reply. “How much space do you have” I asked, cheekily hoping to diffuse the situation, with a little humor. Erika apparently was devoid of humor. I’d approached Erika with the idea of mentioning last nights silliness re: George but after her response to me I could see her ear wasn’t going to be the sympathetic one I’d hoped for. I excused myself and began to walk away.

    “Are you Mr. Simon Thomas” she asked abruptly? I was admittedly caught a little off guard. “Yes, hi” I chipped back as casually as I could. Is there a problem? “Yes, I’m afraid there is, we had a number of complaints against you from our campground host”. “Oh, really. I was actually coming to see you this morning about our host, your timings perfect” I rebutted, trying to sound upbeat and happily surprised. The reality was I was about to spit friggin’ feathers, I was furious. “Can you show me some I.D” Erika demanded. I almost lost it then and there. For whatever reason being asked for ID just made me feel like a criminal. I’d already been judged and found guilty. Biting my tongue and playing it nice was getting harder by the second. (luckily Lisa was too busy to hear this!)

    Erika, our sober‘Law Enforcement Officer’ was explaining the serious charges. Apparently we had…’given lip’ and been extremely rude to our host George. I was still trying to hide my angered emotions. Anne and David from last night were still milling around and so I called them over, as I started down the long road of explaining our side of events. I explained as eloquently as possible to Erika that I’d not ‘given lip’ since I was about 14. If It was my intent to be rude, I’d make absolutely sure that the receiving individual knew my verbal hostile intent so as to leave them in no doubt, life’s just too short to ‘give lip’, why only do half a job!!!

    Anna and David were telling the same string of events and assured Erika that If anything I’d ben politer than they would have been, that was pretty good coming from two Mormons. Erika was relaxing her tone and posture; it was clear that our version was sounding the more likely. Lisa had come and gone twice, she was furious and having her around was going to end badly…..luckily she had the bacon to contend with!

    Forty minutes later and our earlier foe had become an ali and had offered an apology on behalf of the park and the host. “Our volunteer host can begin to feel the place is actually theirs” Erika continued. We’d made our point about the confrontation. Lisa was all for going over and giving a mouthful to George. I didn’t want that to happen. Right now we’d won the day and had come out of this ridiculous scenario looking the better. Going over and giving George a mouthful of verbal abuse would just convince him he was correct in the first instance about his judgment about the unruly bikers. Why give him the satisfaction. Mmm, I quite like this ‘higher ground’. Besides it wasn’t going to change his mind or help him se the error of his ways. Ah, screw him!

    That said we weren’t about to just it drop and so stopped at Mammoth on our way out of the park, made an official complaint in writing and had a clear and strong conversation with Yellowstone's chief ranger. His reaction suggested that this story of events wasn’t a new theme.

    With Yellowstone behind us we were making good progress North. The skies were looking omminous but the twisty roads and easy bends were more than making up for it. By mid-day we were in Montana and more than a little nervous. The grey skies of earlier were now black and the wind had picked up. Riding the US 90 West we were battling. The wind was scaring the crap out of me and were some of the strongest gust we’ve experienced on the trip, yeah, even stronger than the Ruta 40 in Argentina. Finally our nerve gave out, the bikes were over at a 45 degree angle and we were loosing. Even pulling up on the side of the road was a mission. Parked up we waited for 10 minutes for it to subside, it had proven impossible to put down the side stands on either bike, the gust’s were just to strong. Lisa was struggling to keep her bike upright even though she was stationary.

    In heavy cold rain we pulled into the town of Bozeman, found the only motel with rooms and hid in our room, besides we needed showers.


    Spent the day washing our gear in the tiny sink in the room mmm…it was a bit yuk! We also planned to catch up on diary and then later when ‘work’ was done we treated ourselves to ‘The Borne Ultimatum’ movie in the evening. On the short ride back to the motel we were caught again in the rain – absolutely soaked again!


    The US 90 would take us up to Three Forks and would be the fastest route North, it just seemed such a shame not to dive off it where we could, find a little dirt or gravel and see some of the real Montana. The excitingly named route ‘2’ would keep us company for a good part of the day, OK, still not as much dirt as we’d thought but it had to be better than the highway. We had to re-think our intended route of continuing the continental divide trail. Huge wild fires had broken out across Montana and were threatening to take home in several major towns. We’d been struggling with visibility most of the day with the smoke as it was. Getting caught out in ‘the sticks’ with no opportunity of rescue would just be dumb. Many roads had already been closed and twice Lisa had had to change the route we were going to use due to local advice beeing given.

    Besides, the ‘2’ would eventually be swapped for the…’1’. How could we not ride through a town called ‘ Anaconda’. It put a grin on our faces. We came mighty close to stopping and taking a photo by the sign for a town called ‘Wisdom’. We also passed through the old cowboy town of Philipsberg which is full of traditional saloons and hotels etc..

    Here’s just a small sample of the towns we rode through, ‘ye..ha’! Crackerville, Sunnyside, Stump Town, Lost Creek, Granite, Stone, Clinton, and Wye.

    By mid-afternoon our eyes were growing tired (smoke wasn’t helping) and we’d stopped a few times to check prices on camping or motels. The cheapest camping was $26 and the cheapest Motel was $131 (!!?), we’d carry on riding. Eventually we followed a small dirt track down off the 93 outside of ‘Arlee’ and made camp for the night at the wonderful Jacko Hollow. At $14 for the night it had everything we could have wished for. Hot showers, a small bubbling creek and some pretty cool residents.

    We topped off the day with a few cold beers courtesy of Danny a local business man and Stacey and Mike who’d made the campsite there home for the last 3-months.


    Danny had offered us a couple of cups of good coffee at his gallery come café, to get our day started right. And so with a quick back track of 1 mile we’d parked up and had found some comfy seats. I’d already pulled out the computer. I’d forgotten to pull the GPS track logs off the GPS whilst in Bozeman and had now run out of memory. Now seemed like as good a time as any to get that job done. It wasn’t long before we were going through a few of our trip photos with Danny and Donna (Co-owner) and recanting a few of our travel stories. I’d mentioned that we’d hoped to sell a few of our images to publications whilst in the USA, a few minutes later Donna and Danny had chosen a few of her favorites and had placed $250 in our hands. We were lost for words. We’d only come in for coffee. Our money situation at present is a constant worry. $250 will go along way towards food and fuel as we head North to Canada prior to re-entering the States en-route to Seattle and our Touratech presentation. With full stomach, again thanks to Danny and Donna we expressed our thanks and hit the road. We wanted to make it to Glacier National park by mid-afternoon.

    The 93 turned into highway 35 as we took the fun curves that wound there way around ‘Flathead Lakes’ on the East side.

    With the light fading and the rain clouds once again giving us a royal soaking 20 minutes to us stopping for the day, we found the park gates and pulled up at the ticket booth. Showing our Annual Park ticket the young girl had asked us enthusiastically “are you German”? Her next guess was Australian. The bizarre thing is we’ve been asked if we were German 3-times in the last 4-days. On two occasions we were nowhere near our bikes and weren’t wearing bike kit?

    The Apgar Camp was going to be the closest and easiest site to find and with the rain getting worse would be our best bet for the night.

    Tomorrow we’ll head a little deeper into the park and ‘Most Glacier’ area.

    a few of our phots from Glacier...

    hope you enjoy.

    Simon & Lisa
    Ride Far, Ride Safe...

  3. #3
    Some simply stunning images.

    Looks like you had a great time.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    St. Ives, Cambridgeshire
    Great stuff, as always.

  5. #5
    Marjorie Proops

    I shall be referring back to this many times for our trip planning.

    (It was even worth me buying Lisa's 650 for the other half just to see those pics

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Hi Both

    Great post, especially the Park Nazis bit! Can you imagine Vern's reaction? On second thoughts .

    Regards, Mick

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Somewhere on a desert highway
    Great write-up. Really enjoyed it. Also great photos. Crossed the Divide twice in the past going West on Route66 but the idea of doing the trail South to North is definitely appealing.

    Americans are a peculiar race. The noise police just confirms this for me.

    Enjoy the remainder of the trip and stay safe.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    officially THE best place to live . . . . Wokingham
    Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing these with us!



  9. #9
    Toy maker
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    A bit south of Chester
    Good stuff,out of Redditch at long last

    Park nazi's like that are available the world over,that's just what I'd have done as well

  10. #10
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Stunning photo's
    Sell my bike?
    I would rather stick wasps up my arse !

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Bühl, Germany
    I echo the other comments about an excellent write-up and stunning photos. I'm also pleased to see someone else is still using an antiquated (but tough) GPS V. I hope you don't get too many "Route Calculation Error" messages that I often get.

    Good luck with the rest of the trip!

  12. #12

    Inspiring stuff

    What a superb thread, very inspiring. Good luck with the remainder of your trip.


  13. #13
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Fantastic reading and great pictures

  14. #14

    Had the pleasure to:

    Attend Simon and Lisa's presentation here in Seattle last night at Touratech's Seattle location. Totaly enjoyed it and their journey has inspired me more than anticipated!
    Have been reading this thread tonight and have been to many of these places they have just been. We have some outstanding beauty here in the west / Northwest!
    I am new to this site as of today

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