Sunday, 22 August 2010

What A Great Day!

Many people had told me about one road that I MUST ride on during this tour. The Beartooth Pass. They were not wrong.

My day started by riding to a town at the north end of the pass called Red Lodge. Just before arriving there I passed some old mine buildings that I stopped and looked at.

















Back in 1943 there was a disaster at this mine and 74 men were killed as a result of an underground explosion and the methane gas released by the explosion. The sign on the following photograph tells the story of the disaster. I have repeated here the words written by two of the workers that died. The words are both chilling and wonderful at the same time....

“Walter and Johnny. Good bye. Wives and daughters. We died an easy death. Love from us both. Be good.”

Can you imagine having to write such a note, or even more so, having to read it if you were one of those wives or daughters. It made me shiver as I read that part....


















Red Lodge is a small town that has most things a tourist will need....


















I arrived here early, so I had a great breakfast in the Pollard Hotel....




















I saw this excellent sculpture as I left Red Lodge. Wouldn’t it be terrific to be talented enough to be able to make something like this from wood branches....
















Beartooth Pass is US Highway 212 and runs 69 miles south and then west from Red Lodge in Wyoming to Cooke City, in Montana. It is an incredible road to ride a motorcycle on and would compete with riding through the Alps for excitement. The road is essentially in two parts – the lower section that rises as you head south out of Red Lodge and the upper part at the higher elevations.

I filmed both parts. Here are the highlights of “the lower” part....



The views on the way up are terrific and it is a difficult call whether to carry on riding or stop and take pictures. I did some of both!

These are some of my pictures from part of the way up....
























































At one of the places I stopped, a woman was feeding chipmunks. One of these guys had so much food in his cheeks!....











































The upper section of the Beartooth Pass can be, and was, very windy. I had to be very careful riding along some sections as the wind was not consistent from bend to bend....



The slopes were very steep....




















But the views were fantastic....


























Looking down on where I had just ridden....




















This is where the road enters Montana....




















More views from the top at nearly 11,000 feet....




















Here I was standing on snow....




















A short video on the snow....



I met other riders along the road and they all had big smiles on their faces! This guy was born in England and has lived in the US for 20 years....




















A lake at the top....




















On the top of the mountain, you can see much further than these pictures show....







































Soon after finishing riding over the pass, I reached the 9,000 mile point of my tour, so in keeping with my now established practice, I stopped and took a picture....




















I cannot recall the name of this bridge that passes over a deep canyon....


























A sign on the bridge. I am not sure what they had in mind....


























Here is a short video of the view from the bridge....



Here is a tree clutching onto life perched on the rocks. How it is able to grow there is beyond me....





























Soon I turned onto Wyoming Highway 296 which is also called the Joseph Scenic Byway. Part of this road is the Dead Indian Pass....

















































































































Tonight I was staying at the Irma Hotel in Cody. This hotel was built and run by Buffalo Bill Cody and Irma was his daughter....







































I was staying in the Ned Frost room....


























I liked this hotel. A lot of places that claim to be historical and “world famous” are really not, but this place is. I enjoyed walking around and looking at the various rooms, the dining room, the lobby and the famous bar, which is suggested as having been given to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria of England to say thank you for him bringing his Wild West show to London. I was sceptical at first, but it does have many English furniture features....




















I like the way the guy on the right seems to be looking at the camera....




















That evening, there was a “gun fight” outside the hotel and people started to gather....




















I am not normally a fan of touristic re-enactments, but I sat through this one and thoroughly enjoyed it....





















































































































































































Overall I liked Cody. It had a good feeling to it. Sure, it had a lot of tourist shops, but they were not the normal type selling cheap and dubious junk, but these sold good quality products. Would I go back to Cody? Yes!

All in all, a great day!

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A few of my readers have asked how I took one of the photos at the Big Horn canyon. I was there on my own and I took a picture of myself standing on a rock arch about 100 feet away from the camera. This is the picture that raised the question “How did you take that?”....


















Well, I used a wireless remote control unit that plugs into the camera and is triggered by a small hand-held transmitter....




















I have enlarged the arch picture and if you click on this picture below, you can see the remote control unit in my hand....

12 comments:

iansolley said...

Fantastic shots and scenery - you are discovering the real middle america and its such a world away from the big cities - mazing stuff - makes me want to be there too!

Eve said...

There's just too much to comment on Gary! Another great post...I still have to go back and watch the videos...they are always just fantastic. You sure are making in easy to figure out where I want to travel to...if ever I get to travel! I love the shot of the cows in the road, don't ever need to see snow again...thanks for that...and yes, the shirt..."I rode mine"...not many people can say they rode theirs as far as you did!!! (someone was telling me yesterday how lots of folks trailer their bikes to Sturgis...sadly I would probably be one...unless I comfy up my bike a bit!)
I hope you're enjoying another beautiful day riding the Hills of the midwest!

Axel said...

Thanks for solving the remote mystery, you really like you toys :)) Yongnuo + D200 - no wonder your pics radiate a professional feeling
Keep up the fantastic work

SonjaM said...

What a scenery! Again getting that twitchy feeling in the throttle hand, these pics are fueling my wanderlust. Wish I had the time...

bobskoot said...

Gary:

Beartooth Pass looks like a stunning road, but dangerous. I don't know what the speed limit is but I would be holding up traffic. Doesn't appear to be very many pullouts. I will have to put CODY on my list of places to visit.

I also have radio remotes made by the same company as you. I have two units, one for Canon and one for my Nikon. I believe they make another unit which uses the receiver in the Camera so nothing to plug in, but the transmitter is more powerful.

I think all of us are wishing that we were with you, not just in spirit

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

biker baby said...

The sign on the bridge may refer to no base jumping. My other half has over 200 parachute jumps out of planes and has always wanted to do a base jump. He quit jumping before he had a chance.

Glad you enjoyed Beartooth Pass.

motoroz said...

Oh the memories! It was just under a month ago that my friends and I rode the Chief Joseph Byway and Beartooth Highway. It is great. The Irma is a great place even though the "gun fight" show is not the greatest.
Great pics. Thanks for the post.

Canajun said...

Seems every post adds another destination to my bucket list. Great photos. Thanks.

Milwaukee Dan said...

I always get a kick out of reenactments. It can be good solid fun if you sit back and enjoy the moment. The expansive horizons on these western roads is so mesmerizing. Thanks for adding the videos as well, I'm learning so much following your adventure.

Charlie6 said...

Indeed you had an awesome day of riding and sight-seeing! Beartooth Pass looks outstanding!

cpa3485 said...

You have taken some awesome pictures and videos in your last few posts. I should have commented many times, but just now getting areound to it. Looks like you are having a great time in spite of tire changes and damaged GPS devices. Guess that is part of the territory.
Take Care and ride safe
Jimbo

Gary France said...

Ian – You are 100% right. The real America is totally different from life in the cities. It is quite a shock to me to realise that despite being a city boy myself, I don’t now like cities! Sorry about you wanting to be here. I will make my next post sound dull so you stop thinking that!

Eve – Many people take their bikes to Sturgis on a trailer then ride them around, looking way too shiny. And I am talking about the big comfy cruisers too, which just seems wrong. That is why I bought the “I rode mine” shirt. Reading your comment about figuring out where to travel, I guess my blog could turn into a guide to riding through the USA. Now there’s an idea....

Axel – I am glad I solved the mystery. I want to try to get some shots of me riding my bike, taken from a distance, but I am not sure how far away the remote will work. Time for some experimenting!

Sonja – The scenery is just terrific. Sorry about the twitch....

Bob – I went slower than normal. Firstly to allow me to look at the scenery and secondly to make sure I stayed on the road. That is the beauty of riding a bike – if there are no pullouts, you can just stop anyway. It would be fun, but it may cause a bit of a traffic jam if all of my readers came and joined me. I seem to think it may have been you that suggested a remote shutter control to me – good suggestion, so thanks.

BB – Ah ha. That could be it – base jumping and perhaps bungee jumping as well. It certainly seemed high enough for either. Maybe your other half should come out of jumping retirement....

Oz – Both are great roads. I agree about the Irma – a terrific hotel and the gun fight was just about ok. I didn’t mind it really.

Canajun – I am glad that I am able to help with your future travel plans! I am still smiling about you soaking your other half....!

Dan – It is a pleasure. I am glad that you like the videos, but they do take such a long time to edit and upload, I try to keep them for the really special places.

Charlie6 / Dom / Redlegs – Outstanding, yes! If you haven’t ridden it, you must one day.

Jim – thanks for your kind words. I am pleased you are enjoying looking at my stuff....