Day 5
June 15th, 2002
Yellowstone National Park
Canyon Village Campground

It was cold this morning, and we slept late.  I remained in my tent till the sun was high in the sky.  It felt good to sleep in.  My therm a rest and sleeping bag felt extra warm in the cool air.  I had slept like a log.  As usual, the first 2 or 3 nights on the road I don't sleep all that well, but I soon adapt and by mid trip I sleep very well in my tent.  But, a string of consecutive 500 mile days helps.

Dennis fires up his stove and makes a cup of hot coffee.  For a guy that doesn't like coffee (or any hot drink for that matter) it smelled good.

Dennis is more familiar with the park then I, so I defer to him on where we will ride.  Hard not to find good riding in Yellowstone.

I missed not having a shower last night, and needed one badly.  I had a 1 day beard that was bothering me, and I felt like my hair needed washing.  My cell phone was dying and needed recharging.  I told Dennis before going ANYWHERE, I am going to rectify ALL of that.

We decide to run a load of clothes, while we take showers and eat a little breakfast.  

The morning is partly cloudy, and warming up nicely.

I always plan a easy day after several long days in the saddle.  A day to sleep late, mill about, wash clothes, and just generally be lazy.  Easy days are especially important on a long cross country ride.  They allow me to recharge my batteries, check things on my bike, review the completed ride so far, and plan for needed adjustments for the days ahead.  I am in the groove now, and having a ball.  

Each rider can be different.  Some can ride cross country and back in 7 days.  Seeing things along the way is not why they do it.  Riding for the sake of riding is why they do it.  They love packing on miles.  I fall somewhere in the middle, I love exploring and seeing new things, just as much I do riding.  Dennis fits my philosophy, so we make good riding partners.  I am primarily a lone rider, it allows me to do things without worrying about slowing down the group, and the door swings both ways, sometimes the group slows me down, cause your gas tank is only as good as the guy with the worst gas mileage, or smallest tank.  

People are generally less threatened by solo riders.  I find strangers are much more apt to be helpful, and talkative, when I by myself.  I have pretty much restricted myself to riding only with those I know, like the brothers and sisters on the ST BBS site.  We are getting to be a close knit group, and I trust them, so with all that in mind, I was glad to hook up with Dennis for this portion of the trip.

I get on the back of Dennis' bike and we ride down to the locker/laundry room.  I talk to the attendant, and he allows me to place my phone behind his desk for recharging.  

It was the first time I have ever been pillion on a ST.

I am not very domestic, and try to wash clothes in a wad.  Dennis sorts the stuff out and knows how much soap to use.  With our clothes washing, we showered, then went across the street for something to eat.

When we finished, we picked up our clothes, and my phone, geared up, and went to explore the park.

The weather was cool, and for the first time this trip I had on the medium weight gloves and long wool socks.
Our first stop of the day was Canyon Falls.  There are hundreds of falls in the park, and new ones are still being discovered on occasion.  The Falls and Yellowstone River are beautiful.  We ride to each vantage point and soak up the scenery.
Just a little of the beauty and Grandeur of Yellowstone Park

Walking back from one of the vistas, I see a tall man coming down the walkway.  He has the biggest feet I've ever seen.  Maybe size 20s.  His shoes are some kind of Nikes, with thick soles.  The tongue on them are as big as my size 8s.

We left the Falls going to Old Faithful.  It was a spectacular ride.  We rode through the valleys and across the streams that make Yellowstone so famous.  I saw elk and buffalo grazing on bright green grass.

Getting anywhere in Yellowstone can be kind of slow.  I accept that, and stay patient.  

When you see one of those rental RVs with the cruiseamerica logo, be extra cautious.  He's probably a rookie RV driver, with a load of kids, and lost.  He will back into cars, forget to plug his dump tank, run over curbs, has no idea where his blind spots are, will cut you off, and is just generally dangerous.  You will find them by the 100s in the American West.

We stop and take a few pics at the Continental Divide.

We just miss as eruption when we arrive at Old Faithful.  So we go in the cafeteria for something to eat.
"Hey brother ya see all those folks watching the eruption?"


"well, its lunch time, and there are gonna be heading for something to eat, lets bolt for the cafeteria, and beat em in line."

My advice proved to be smart, and we beat the crush and enjoy a good lunch while we wait for the next eruption.

I start a conversation with a 30ish cafeteria worker, busing tables in the dining area.  She is a 2nd grade teacher from Roswell, New Mexico, spending the summer at Yellowstone.  A nice change of pace from New Mexico.  She smiles at Dennis when he kids her about alien landings.  And I promised Norma I was going to keep him out of trouble.  I tried, but the man has charm.

After lunch we walked right out and witnessed a nice eruption.  Dennis found the web camera, so I called my son and told him to get online.  I then directed him to the park web site.  We walked around till we found the best spot, and a few minutes later, my son saw us waving to him.  We spoke a few minutes on the phone while he had a visual on us.  It was kind of neat.

It was mid day, and Dennis suggested we ride south to Teton.  Sounded good to me.

Riding through the park, evidence of past fires could still be witnessed, but the landscape was healing up nicely.
We were riding south through the park on 89 when we come upon a line of cars, stopped.  I assumed a Bison was in the way, and was not in the mood to move.  After a few minutes, we ride to the front of the line to see what's going on.  There we see a tree, laying across the road, and a guy trying to hook a chain around it, so he can winch it out of the way with his SUV.  He is struggling to get things hooked up.  A lady driving north bound said she saw it fall.  How come no one is helping this guy?  We unsaddle and give him a hand, and now a few others guys come out to assist.  People are funny, and downright cynical around strangers.  It was obvious this guy needed help, but since everyone was strangers, they said " I don't know him, this might be a trick to rob me."  But once they see everything is ok we have more help then we need, all they needed was someone to lead.
We get the road cleared and head for Teton.

After a short ride the Teton Range comes into view.  Dennis said they were awesome, and he's right.

We ride along the shore of Jackson Lake with the Tetons in the backround. 

 A beautiful ride.
​Jackson Lake, Wyoming.  Nothing like a ride with a mountain view.
We were stopped taking a few pictures when a bus with "Jackson Tours" on the side pulls in.  At first I assumed it was a Jackon, Wyoming bus, but on closer inspection it was Jackson, Mississippi.  Home folks!!  I walk up to the bus and say-

"Hey! whats a bunch of folks from Mississippi doin way out here?"

"These ladies are on tour"

I walked up in the bus to find 20-25 middle aged black ladies.  I chatter with them and have a good time, asking them "when are y'all gonna cook up some supper"-southern style.  The ladies laughed and joked with me, and we even managed to get Dennis in on the show.  Funny, Dennis said he couldn't understand a word they were saying, but I had no trouble at all.  A nice bunch of ladies.

"you know what brother?'


"there are more black folks on that bus, then in the entire state of Wyoming.  When they rolled across the state line, the black population doubled."

We took a butt break at Colter Bay.  A scenic place with a nice campground, I plan to come back to and camp one day.

With the day waning we boogied back to Yellowstone and the campground.  One thing about a motorcycle, you don't have to stop to see anything, you can just see it as you ride by.

The ride back to the campground was a memorable one.  Yellowstone is a magical place.  The late afternoon sun cast the valleys and mountains in a gold tinted light. I felt very lucky.

The sulphur smelled thick when we rode by the caldrons.

Just a few miles from the campground, a bison stood in the southbound lane.  A like direction car was waiting for him to pass.  Even though my lane was clear, I brought the ST to a stop.  Did not want to risk startling him, and getting bull dogged into a ditch.  He just stood there looking around, and then slowly walked in front of me, and off the road.

We made it back to the campground refreshed and smiling.  We rode 225 miles today, but it didn't seem like it.
I hadn't ran a step since Kansas, and was missing it.  I am in much better shape then last years trip, and I can feel it.  I am sleeping better, and 500 mile saddle days are feeling easy.  Not having to support the extra 25-30 lbs each day in the saddle has made a big difference.  My back and legs are not near as stiff at the end of the day.  But as much as I am eating, and as little as I am running, I will gain it all back before I get home.

I was not able to work a run in on this day either.

After winding down, I walked down and took a shower.

I jumped on the back with Dennis to ride the half mile to the village for something to eat.

Tonight we ate a more formal dinner in the restaurant.  The hostess gave us one of those beeper things to let us know when our table was ready, that we managed to lose, so we had to go get another.  I blamed it on Dennis.
We found a place to plug in our phones in while we ate.  My phone was low again, and so was Dennis'.
While in the holding area I met a couple from Atlanta.  

"so y'all drove out here?"

"no we flew into Salt Lake, rented a car, and just took off"

"well y'all know y'all cheated"

Supper was a very tasty NY strip.

Back at the tent, I called home and spent some time with my wife.  She said she was looking forward to California.  She also said the cat was being a pain.

Each night I would get out my atlas and write the next days route on paper, and slip it into the map holder on my left sleeve.  Tonight was no different.  The plan for tomorrow will be to enter Southern Montana, and ride to Glacier.  I have the Glacier info number, but so far have been unable to reach anyone in the office.  We need to know the status of Sun Road, so we can decide if we need to come in from the east or west.  I guess we can do that tomorrow, we don't have to make a decision on it till the first 200 miles are over.

The temp will dipping into the 30s again tonight.  I don't mind that as my bag is rated to 30, but climbing out in the mornings is another matter.

I went to bed with a t shirt on.

I slipped my headphones and listened to classic rock till I got sleepy, which didn't long.