Sept 15th Saturday. I normally don't cook at campsites so David heated some water and shared some oatmeal packets. It was fairly early when we got on the road this morning; you can see here that the light had a reddish tinge to it yet.
So we're checking out the Map, Francine is waiting for us. The road is a forest service track with fences on either side. Usually that means there is an easement of some sort and the ranchers are suppose to keep the track clear between the fences. I assume this easement is probably access for the forest service land further up the mountain. We kept going up the road and come around the bend to a bit of a hill, with rocks all over it. Big Dog has already gone ahead, so I put my head down, lean forward over the handle bars, concentrate on the track, and hit the throttle.
I stopped about here. lol. The road was getting more challanging and narrow, so I wanted to check things out on foot. When I stopped the bike, I saw Mark standing down on the road back there waving. I quickly looked down at my GPS and realized I was off the track. I was beginning to wonder if this trail was "big bike friendly" and perhaps I'd help the group out by routing around and not forcing them to drag a big bike through these rocks.
Anyway, I gave Mark the thumbs up to let him know I was okay and set about to turn The Pig around. It doesn't turn around that easy in the best of conditions and this was not the best of conditions. After a bit of grunting and a few choice words about excessive weight gain, I had The Pig pointed back down the trail. I figured it was a good time to snap these pics of the area.
Good think I had the anti-hassle tassels on the bike! ;-) With the bike turned around, it was just a matter of riding down the hill to where I took the wrong turn. Pretty soon the trail was getting better and we ended up riding down a road to Parkman, (a railroad siding) to jump onto to our next road back to the mountains.
I put the worries of the big bike behind me for the time being.
Near Parkman, we hit a county road going northwest. It was a fast sweeping road that followed the creeks and landscape as it traveled over the countryside. For those that know the area, this was now the Little Bighorn drainage. Yes, that Little Bighorn.
It was a beautiful morning for riding and along the hillsides, some signs of scoria peeked out among the grass. I had to stop and take this picture.
A couple times this morning we had met cattle in the road as it was time to take the herds down off the summer pasture. Further northwest of the area this picture was taken; we ended up waiting at a tee in the road as a pair of loaded bull racks lumbered past. Here the road had gotten decidedly narrower, and I think we were in Montana, Crow Country at this point. I wasn’t sure what kind of reception we would get if we met someone out here.
We pushed on up the road the bull racks came down, and about two miles down the road came to the point where this little two track dived off the road. We waited a bit so all five of us would make the turn. A mile or so further up the road, I saw a pickup and horse trailer coming probably the owners of the cows in the bull racks, so I suggested we should probably keep moving.
We headed out across the prairie on this two track, which had a fair amount of traffic in the past. The view from this point as we climbed up above the creek with the road was pretty spectacular.
It was here that the rocks for “Marble Quarry” road started. For me this was a pretty serious challenge as The Pig was a hand full on the loose baby head rocks. I didn’t get a picture of this area. I did go down once pretty hard and cracked my cases in a couple more places, and broke the rear blinker light lens. That seemed to be all the damage, so I counted myself lucky. With Scott and Dave’s help got The Pig up right and continued up the road.
Eventually the rocks quick and we rode along this very nice two track through the highlands of the Big Horn Mountains. As we drove along we would see cliffs, drainages, canyons and rocky knobs that were the landscape of this highland area. Very Amazing.
Big Dog stops a bit for a drink...
... and then heads off to the horizon.
The roads got bigger has we closed in on Burgess Junction. It’s pretty cool to see two curve signs in one picture, the roads were fast and graded, perhaps with a touch too much gravel.
We ended up at Burgess Junction, our fuel and resupply point. Dave was all go-go and I was all relieved I made it through this far and relaxing. Eventually we were all on the same page, as I realized the best campsites were a ways down the road. I needed water badly with the altitude and the energy expended in the climb over the rocks. Also I wanted some energy bars as I could feel myself lagging a bit. Also we met Steve and his R1200GS and incorporated him into the caravan. I hoped the roads would be better from here on, as his bike was larger than The Pig.
We geared back up, packed the mules, and headed on down the road to the south. According to the map at Burgess Junction, there were a couple of forest service campsites down the road, but there were cryptic messages about “closed for the season”, “no services” and all that jazz. We wanted a chance to check them out a bit and chose a second or third site if needed.
Here at altitude the foliage color was in full swing.
The views on the mountains along the road were spectacular.
Some of the roads were a little challanging for the the big bikes and a couple water crossings but not bad on the whole, and we carried on down the road. I think bow hunting season was going on, and there were quiet a lot of RV trailers people had brought up to camp in for the season.
We made it to the Medicine Lodge Lake and Medicine Lodge campground was right there beside it. It was after the season and no running water or services so it was free “primitive” camping. There weren’t many people there so we took one of the larger double sites. With six bikes and five tents it was plenty roomy for us.
We quickly set about making camp. The tents were out, the gear stowed, and we were working on dinner and firewood. Mark got out his camp saw and he and Steve worked on some firewood.
Scott, AKA Dingweeds, got out the camcorder in case something funny happend.
The campsite was a newer one. They had a regular picnic tables, but also these food prep tables which I assume might be for fish or other game.
Mark and Steve are done making bigger sticks into little sticks.
Dave is getting the "real camera" out in preperation for sunset over the lake next to the campsite.
Francine had some food out on the camp stove and was waiting for folks to gather up.
It was a great evening and we were glad to be able to have fire. Dave and Francine opened up their bags and pulled out cheese and sausage for an appetizer, and then some rice and food for the main course. We were able to wash up the dishes in the lake and there was a nicely lit outhouse to use just up the path. It was a very nice campground.
Pretty soon we were dropping off and heading to our tents for bed.