Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bear tooth and back 2011, day 4, 5, and 6

We leave our cabin in Cooke City and enter Yellowstone via the northeast gate. We're on the road early and have a great relaxing ride through the north end of the park.
Saw lots of sign warning of animals, but we were all surprised at how few animals we saw....much less than what we've seen in the past.

Cool old car cruising the park.

Yellow bird.

A photo op for an Oriental group, they must have been having fun 'cause they were all smiles!

More bison, they were tieing up traffic by sauntering down the side of the road. They act as if they own the place!

The "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone" waterfall and river.

We exit Yellowstone out the west gate and stop in here for a great sandwich and needed rest."

We ride south on U.S. 20 for about 25 miles and take a left towards Mesa Falls. Mesa Falls might be Idaho's best kept secret. It's a beautiful place with an upper and lower falls. The upper falls are in a state park and you have to pay one whole dollar to get a motorcycle in....sweet! The lower falls are a very short ride south (probably less than a mile) and are free.

This is the upper falls. About 200 feet across and 130 foot drop. The constant moisture from the mist has created a 'micro-climate' across the river with flora that is not found anywhere else in the surrounding area.

We met a nice couple from Texas celebrating ten years of wedded bliss, the Mrs. took this pic for timer needed.

This building was originally an Inn and built between 1907 - 1912. It was closed in the '30s then restored and reopened years later as the park visitors center.

The lower Mesa Falls. It's just a short hike to see this eagles eye view of these beautiful falls! It is, however, a loooooong hike to get down next to the falls. The eagles eye view is the only one I have...

A little farther down U.S. 20 the Warm River passes underneath the road. There is a fish food dispenser and for $.25 you can feed the fishies some cat food. They are BIG fish and it was fun tossing the food and seeing them dart after it.

The Warm River is actually cold, and is so named because of the steam that rises off it in the winter.

Continuing on this is just before the town of Ashton.

After Ashton U.S. 20 changes from a scenic, calm backcountry lane to a 4 lane arrow straight highway. It's all good as we need to get to our lodging for the night.
We've spent a lot of time site-seeing and it's getting late, but I can't resist a pic of this imaginatively painted building outside the town of Rigby.

And we're there. This was a nice place to stay, probably the cleanest room we had all week.

Opportunity knocks. It's not very often you see any dirt on Kenny's good looking HD so I snapped this quick pic during a short stop in the tiny town of Ucon.

The US Farmer; feeding America.

Bald eagles in a pole nest. There are numerous of these nests for various raptors including eagle, osprey, hawks, ravens, and kingbirds. The Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) leads the electic utility industry in saving birds while delivering power to their customers. Some of these nests are built by boy scouts as an Eagle Scout Project.

Nearing the east end of Palisades Reservior

The Palisade dam and power plant.

Back onto U.S. 89 on our way to Thayne Wyoming and the Star Valley Cheese store for some squeaky cheese! They also have excellent fudge, burgers, ice cream....

There are uncountable varitations of this type of property entrance. Some are quite fancy, others are plain. It's fun seeing them along the road.

We make it to the Star Valley Cheese factory. I didn't get a pic of the store as I was distracted by these..... We did get some squeaky cheese for us and some fudge as a thank-you to our next door neighbors for picking up our mail.

Dad's bar...never been there but I hear the burgers are good.

We backtrack on 89 about 3 miles to Freedom Wyoming, home of Freedom Arms - manufacturer of custom revolvers. They don't give tours, but they did show us a video about their operation, some guns, and some of their incredble mounted trophies.

On the road again this time on Idaho SR 34 to Soda Springs

Downtown Soda Springs.

Take a right at Soda Springs onto SR 30 and on to Lava Hot Springs where we will spend our final night of this trip.

Our lodging for the night. What a great place! Yes it's old (built circa 1915), yes it smells a little but funny, but the character of the building and the wonderful staff that makes it run more than makes up for any shortcomings! This place has more timbre than any other we stayed at on this trip, maybe more than any place I've ever stayed! I had a great time just wandering through the building and looking at the interesting art, decor, and trophies.

The lobby.

The basement housed three private spas, and a pricy, but very good restuarant. We had breakfast there; buffalo steak and eggs is now my favorite breakfast!

Some fellow lodgers, two couples from Ogden area, one two up the other rode two Suzuki Intruders. All three bikes were obviously well taken care of in loving homes. :) You sure meet some great people on the road!

Our group decided to float the river.... Hooooo boy..

Brent, Julie, and Jillian here on a four man raft.

The current is swft and strong, on our first trip down Beverly hit a particularly rough rapid and was 'de-rafted'. She was tumbling down the river out of control, and mostly underwater. Kenny was the hero of the day, he was able to reach her first and somehow in the swift current, and despite losing his own tube, got her to the bank. By that time her knee was cut, one of her fingernails was bent all the way over backwards, and they both had many other bumps, scrapes and bruises.

Kenny helped her out of the river, and Bev asked him to pull the bentover nail back to the correct position, he didn't want to but it was just him and her there so true to the way Kenny is, he did what had to be done.

Not long after that the rest of the group was able to get out and get back to where Kenny and Beverly were at. We all excitedly told our own versions of what happened, and related how greatful we were that this didn't end any worse than it did, all the while Bev stood there bleeding and shivering.

It was at that point we realized we had another half hour rental time on the tubes, and if we hurried we could get in another trip down the river. I looked at Beverly's condition and knew I had to stay and take care of her. She read my look and said, "I'll be alright, you go ahead". "Ok" I said and off we went.

Bev walked (limped?) back to the hotel got our camera returned to the scene of the crime and was able to snap these pics of the second run.

The second run was good until the same rapid where I tried to break a rock with my head, lost my sunglasses, and had blurred vision for the next hour or so. All's well that ends well, and we had a great time!

Back at the hotel, here is Bev's swelling knee

Rooster pointing to the place Beverly climbed up and out after her wild ride.

We had dinner at the Wagon Wheel, always a good meal there. Again I got distracted (this time by the moped) and forgot to take a pic of the restaurant...

A last pic of Lava as we leave for home in the morning.

Heliocopter rides were availible...we didn't.

And on the freeway for a fast ride home. 1256 miles of good times, super roads, excellent food, fun bikes, and great company!


bluekat said...

Just finished your Bear Tooth and Back series. Awesome trip and photos! What a great trip. We really do have some beautiful places to ride.

Chief Joseph/Bear Tooth highways - Fantastic road, fantastic views. Every time I see a post about this road it's just stunning.

I have mixed feelings on Yellowstone. I'm not sure I want to meet all those bison with nothing but a motorcycle. Might have to take the car for that one. Probably fooling myself that it's any safer. Still, I can't imagine riding past those bison on a little ol' bike.

Lower Mesa Falls - beautiful. Looks like a good volume of water. I wonder if it's higher this year with all the snow/rain we've had?

The river rafting looks fun, but a little painful! Lots of smiles, so it must have been worth it.

Yep, awesome trip - Thanks for sharing it with us! :)

BeemerGirl said...

The trip looked wonderful. I'm glad the only bumps and bruises came from the rapids and not the bikes. But think of how much less damage if you and Bev were ATGATT? hehe

Thank you for sharing.

Ken said...

bluekat - Thanks. I've ridden through Yellowstone numerous times and have had the bison very close but haven't had any physical encounters......yet. :) When they get close I turn off the bike and hold VERY still, except for the shaking! haha. In a December 2010 I posted a video of one of those times. The bison was about 1 1/2 feet away from me and Elsa....yikes! C'mon over when Jack and Lori do and we'll go find some friendly bison to photograph. :)

Lori - Hindsight is 20/20! We're still not certain if Beverly will need surgery, we hope to find out in a week. Thanks for reading.