Bow Tie Tour

Alaska and back again, our motorcycle tales

Day 13 – Yellowstone

Of Bad Tires, Geysers, and More Bikes than Cars

As I mentioned in the last post, we slept in a bit more than we should have and then had a much needed breakfast (though Ethan’ll point out that he didn’t eat much ;-) ). After breakfast, we started loading up the bikes when I noticed something troublesome about my already problem ridden rear tire.

Threads!

That’s right, THREADS… The day before I was showing plenty of tread with no problematic signs at all (aside from the plug that we put in it, a few days before in Iowa).

I was worried… The nearest place to pick up a rear tire was 260 miles away and all the way through Yellowstone. Given the fact that my rear had gone from great tread to no tread in 600 miles or less I had no clue if it would even make it (or if it would leave me with no rear tire at 80mph+) Kind of a frightening thought!

But, we had no choice but to move forward… Praying!
As we finished packing up, Ethan saw a friend that we’d made from the previous night, one of the lodge employees. He wanted her signature, and he got it :-) :

Signing

She had a hilarious personality, and we had a blast talking to her.

Signature

A quick shot of our cabin (We had the left hand half):


30 miles later we were at the entrance of Yellowstone, parked behind dozens of vehicles that were all waiting in line for a pilot car to lead them through the 10+ miles of gravel and construction.

Once we were rolling, I had a completely new experience… I’d never really RIDDEN a street bike through gravel, and knowing what we had ahead of us on the Alaskan Highway, I knew that it’d be good practice.

I just wish I wasn’t “practicing” on a bad rear tire!

We made it through with no problems though, and stopped shortly afterwards to take another look at my rear tire. Already, the threads had turned to steel bands, but the tire felt pretty good.

Here’s the pond we stopped beside:

Yellowstone Lake

Beautiful area!
From what you can see, it seems that I am obsessed with water, this is Yellowstone Lake:

Yellowstone Lake

We didn’t take much time doddling along the way, it was already late and we had to make it to Montana!

We stopped briefly for fuel and then rode over to the Geyser basin to catch a shot of Old Faithful. As we pulled up, it was just finishing it’s on schedule show so we knew we were in for a bit of a wait. After eating a delicious greek salad we wandered over to the main lodge building where I captured this shot of the wooden rafters above.
Old Faithful Lodge

Pretty cool design eh?
After puttering around the basin a bit more (hiking isn’t terribly comfortable when you’re wearing motorcycle leathers and boots) we wandered back over to where I could catch a good angle of Old Faithful.

There were people seated on benches all the way around the semi-circle that surrounds the geyser, I figure that there had to be well over 1,000 of them.
“Waiting”

Yellowstone Waiting
And though the geyser was a few minutes late, the wait was worth it.

Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming - Eric Farewell

We left Yellowstone immediately after the geyser blew and forged our way through traffic, instantly losing track of the number of Harleys we saw since they easily out numbered the cars… I can’t even imagine what Sturgis was like.

“Leaving”

Leaving Yellowstone
From there we rapidly rode up to Montana…
The ride North went smoothly we rode through a couple of patches of rain but without wasting much time we had directions to a motorcycle dealership 25 miles away.

Those 25 miles were just insane.

As we crested a hill, I saw a massive storm covering the mountain pass that we were about to pass through. The anticipation of having to ride through heavy rain up and down a mountain on my shoddy rear tire certainly wasn’t any fun, but I made it through without having my rear tire hydroplane too much.

By the time we rolled into Bozeman, MT it was around 8:00PM. We were hungry, wet, and cold. We found a place that specialized in fish tacos, grabbed a bite to eat and then spent over an hour going to a dozen different hotels and motels, from nice to sleazy, trying to find a place to sleep for the night.

ALL the rooms seemed to be OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced and nearly all of them were full! $135+++ for a room in this tiny little Western town, just seemed nuts!

Another thing we discovered was an oddly disproportionate number of good looking people… Something must be in the water around there, because almost everyone we saw was fairly attractive… Enough so, that Ethan and I both noticed it and felt compelled to share said findings ;-)

After catching up on emails we fell off to some much needed sleep.

Ethan’s side –

After the long night of Elvis songs we slept in and left around 10:30. We retraced our way back to the Yellowstone entrance and entered the great park of Teddy’s choosing. The first 30 miles or so were “under construction” meaning, they were actually making the road as we rode on it. Gravel and pilot cars were the order of the day, it wasn’t too bad and it afforded a slow view of the scenery. Once out of the construction we kept viewing the scenery just at a slightly faster pace. I’ve been to Yellowstone twice before, but both times I was in a car, there is just something different about riding through on a motorcycle. You get a sort of communal atmosphere. You can feel the wind, smell the fresh pine and the temperature fluctuates with your elevation and nearness to water. Another community aspect to Yellowstone is the number of motorcycles on the road, with “Sturgis” being a state away every Harley and their grandmothers Harley was cruising through the park. It was one big happy motorcycle family with the few sport-bikes being the younger testosterone filled members of the family :-) We traveled the “tourist” route to Old Faithful where we watched the geyser faithfully erupt yet again. It must be under a lot of pressure to keep on doing that ;-) After Old Faithful we headed north to Montana. While riding through Montana the weather started to play. Riding down in the sunlight the road small rain drops started to fall. I could see the malicious cloud they were coming from and coming from that angle and with my velocity and light mesh jacket the drops felt like small airsoft bullets striking my arms and legs. For the next several hours I played a game of tag with the rain clouds, I would outrun the one I was in only to ride right into another, it was fun and the alternation between sunlight and storm was quite interesting. As we neared Bozeman Montana the storm got really bad and the last 30 miles was all grin and bear it. Once in Bozeman we found the motorcycle dealer then a hotel, then we found sleep :-)

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  1. Steph August 20th, 2006 8:39 pm

    Again, those pictures are amazing! I like the one of Old Faithful and the last one.

  2. Megan August 20th, 2006 9:29 pm

    Awesome pictures! I’m praying for safety, dear. I can’t wait to talk to you again, as well as read more of your adventures. :-)

  3. Jenny K. August 20th, 2006 11:30 pm

    Love that pictures of the pond and Leaving….praying for you guys! Jenny

  4. Broncomom August 21st, 2006 12:14 am

    Like your capture of the vastness of the Lodge interior…
    and what a beautiful day to photograph old faithful…the blue cloud filled sky makes a gorgeous background. Did you chose to shot from theat spot to get the nice side light?

  5. Joyce* August 21st, 2006 2:55 am

    The photos are gd ~ pretty la

  6. Lonnie "BP" August 24th, 2006 5:02 am

    Speaking of old faithful, that’s what your rear tires have become. Man do they just keep selling you lemons or what?? I am so pleased to hear that you guys have made it safely so far. Please continue to take care. You guys are in my prayers and I’m looking forward to your next installment.

    Eric, these photos are some of your best that I’ve seen. Keep up the good work!

    Lonnie

  7. Elizabeth G. August 25th, 2006 9:56 pm

    I am in VA right now relaxing, spending time with my 2 beautiful Aunts & seeking God before I start taching and life gets even more crazy & was just catching up on your adventures. I pray for you both daily. My Aunt Just saw some of your photos Eric, she said, “Wow, He’s a proffessional.” Prayers for you both. ~Elizabeth

  8. Hayley August 26th, 2006 2:01 am

    I’m praying for ya’ll, please take care and stay safe!
    By the way, I love #7! The design is amazing!!