Day 3: Up again with the sun on my mountaintop valley, beautiful sunrise starting to happen over the town of Buffalo. Packed up and had my quick breakfast out of the saddlebags of Starbucks Double Espresso (twice the strength in half the can), protein drink and a Clif Bar. This proved to be a quick and efficient version of breakfast to get started without the time and hassle of boiling water for coffeee, ... No time to dry things out on this trip, so the bike cover and tent were stuffed away wet-after all they would be out again in about 12 hours. Then I was on my way down to the pavement and west over the Bighorn pass.
Once again, it was early-probably before 6 am (I didn't need to look at the clock on this trip-just the Sun
). I drove west and up over the pass-Powder Pass I believe. I tried to stop at all of the historical markers I came upon, and the first one down the pass was a memorial for firefighters lost fighting a large forest fire back in the 30's. This was one of two such markers I would see today. The CCC built stuff here back in the 30's also.
Kept going west downhill and the road started to switchback next to the Tensleep river. Stopped at a couple pulloffs to read markers, and at one I heard noise on the far side of the river-turned out to be a cattle drive uphill. Must've been driving their herd to pasture up high somewhere...
Next was dowhill further into Wyoming and when I got to the bottom and drove thru the town of Tensleep (named I think after John Coulter's trip which was ten sleeps from where he started on the Missouri River) and then it became barren dry moonscape with little oil and gas rigs scattered around. Kept on and then north a little to a small town and stopped to gas up, and hydrate. For some reason, the big 24 oz Green flavored tea looked really good, and it was. Turned out to be a ritual on this trip if it was hot and sunny at a gas stop. The big map outside the station said "Yellowstone 115 Miles", so I thought when will I have another chance to go there? So there I headed
. Thru the town of Cody which was full of tourists at the Buffalo Bill museum. Out of town the Shoshone River paralleled the road, so I stopped at a wayside rest to clean up a little, after all it was Day 3. Shave a little by the side mirror, down to the river, washed out all clothes, washed up-water was milky and COLD! Felt good though. As I was sitting in by Under Armour and Keens, a couple cars pulled in, so no more drying of clothes. Turns out that air drying on the bike in 90's works pretty good... Had another ham and cheese tortilla out of the side bags (ham was starting to look/feel/taste a little strange). Then into Yellowstone...
There was a recent forest fire some ways in on the East entrance
And then came Yellowstone Lake-much larger than I thought it would be, notice the thermal shaft making it's way to the surface...
Stopped at the Fishing Bridge visitors center, and it started to rain so I thought I would wait it out. Looked like it was letting up, so I headed to the bike and it started to Hail! Took shelter under a tree and watched this lemon-drop size stuff pound all the cars (and my bike) for about 10 minutes. No real damage done, at least not to my bike.
Made my way thru the Park, but not much time this trip to stop and walk around. Besides, there were people Everywhere, especially by Old Faithful...
Parked in a moto-only median area and had a nice chat with a guy from California. He was headed back out west and over to Oregon. Saw more sights on my way out, had a couple of traffic jams which I was hoping wouldn't happen, and then it start to rain and hail again. Kept driving and all of a sudden heard and felt the biggest BOOM! right over me. I never saw lightening, but that was Loud and made me jump while driving... Saw some Elk and Bison and some other sights on my way north
All campsites full, so it was out the North End and into Montana
Saw National Forest land on the map, but had a little challenge finally finding a road that headed into it. Finally found one as the rain stopped and the sun came out nicely just in time to set. Off on the first side forest road and found a nice little site right by a clear mountain stream, even had a nice campfire (ended up being the only one this trip).
Had a nice ambient temperature last of the Rolling Rock, and couldn't bring myself to eat any more of the ham I brought from home (and resided 3 days in the sidecase in the 90's). The ham went downstream for bears somewhere else and I cooked up a box of Deluxe mac and cheese-said it was 4 servings and I ate the whole thing-tasted quited good at that point! So ended Day 3 at the furthest west point of my journey-after all I would have to drive home just as far.