Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'12/#34 Still Not Civilization

Like I always say, our plans are written in jello. Our trip to Red Lodge & the Beartooth Hwy was changed at the last minute. We did go but changed our mode of transportation. The night before our departure my brain kicked into gear & important questions came to mind. In the morning I checked my mapping software for info on the route we wanted to take. My motorcycle doesn't have the best range & there were no signs of gas stations along the way. Between that & the knowledge that cell phone coverage would be spotty or nonexistent I erred on the side of caution & took the truck instead.

The ride to Red Lodge was pleasant with more of the beautiful scenery that we have seen & shared with everyone. We passed through a few small towns that were no more than a couple of houses & maybe a shop or two. None had gas available. We stopped at a few scenic overlooks & historic markers along the way. We also shared the road with a group of bicyclists. They have more guts than I, because there is no way that I would be cycling out here in the middle of nowhere! Yes they were in a group & there probably was a safety chase vehicle, but still....65 miles of peddling with almost nothing along the way!! NO WAY!!!!

Anyway, we arrived in Red Lodge, MT & found a quaint little town. Downtown is about 8 blocks long & the residential area is maybe a few blocks on either side. Red Lodge makes it's tourist dollars based on it's proximity to the Beartooth Hwy & Yellowstone. There was the usual collection of gift shops, restaurants, the historical hotel, & generic motels to take in the tourist dollars that keep the town alive. After walking the downtown area & having some lunch we headed to the Beartooth.

The road started climbing towards Beartooth Pass as soon as we left Red Lodge. That meant an altitude change from just under 5800' to almost 11,000' on twisting & winding roads. I can see why motorcyclists love theis route. It is technical, challenging, & just what motorcyclists are looking for. In the truck it was a little different. With dual rear wheels it sometimes seemed that there wasn't enogh room for 2 vehicles to pass. As we climbed higher & higher we started to see more snow. Yes snow at the end of July! It also seemed like we were at the top of the world. Everywhere we looked it seemed as if we were looking down on the scenery.

Then the descent back into WY started. More mountains, valleys, & snow feed lakes filled the camera cards. Eventually we came to the Top of The World. Big name for a little place that amounted to a couple of cabins, a gift shop/general store, & a gas pump. Yes, one gas pump straight out of the '70s. You know the kind with the numbers on little wheels that spin as the gas is pumped. And with only one side working there is only one grade of gas to buy, & only one price to pay....HIGH!!! At least now I know there is gas available on this route.

We finished the Beartooth & turned on to the Chief Joseph Hwy headed back to Cody. We did the Chief Joseph westbound in the early morning once before but it is a completely different view eastbound in the late afternoon. Lots more pics before we made it back to Cody after a long tiring day of driving some challenging roads. Well I will end this now that we are back in our comfy home in Cody because.....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

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