Folks, let me tell you what some might consider a lesser known fact about cows. During the day, they make all sorts of noises to one another. After they are all bedded in for the night? THEY NEVER STOP
. I was sleeping in the middle of a herd, and the symphony of mooing and braying never ended. For all I could tell, I must have wandered into a secret bovine nightclub. The only thing missing was some gold chains and dance music.
The early morning sunrise made up for any trouble I had falling asleep next to the cheeseburger dance party last night. Every color of pink and orange was streaming over the horizon in a beautiful show of lights and colors. A slowly spreading pink and orange glow cast over every reflective surface. Rather than rush to pack up camp and get on the road, I made a cup of coffee, sat down and spent 20 minutes watching the world wake up.
Like most other popular mountain towns, Jackson was in full swing with the 4th of July right around the earths rotation. I stopped at a small gas station/market just outside of the main town to gas up and munch on a breakfast burrito. Eggs and sausage the label said, though none of either could be found anywhere in what I was eating. “Must be mislabeled”
I told myself with a slight wince. I’d probably regret this immensely in a couple hours.
We crawled slowly up the Teton pass highway out of Jackson, on our way into Idaho. Steep grades and winding roads meant 2nd gear was the only option for efficient forward movement. More RV’s and vacationers with scowls on their face stacked up behind me, as the weird sidecar slowly chugs up over the pass.
I stopped at the top of the pass to let the Ural cool down, and the train of scowling motorists to go on by. Lola jumped out of the sidecar (doggles still on) and starting trying to inch down the rocky slope, ears and nose at defcon 2.
Thankfully, her desire not to topple down a rocky cliff was greater than that of a furry marmot snack, and she hopped back into the sidecar.
The Ural cruised happily at 45 mph through the valleys and foothills. The Tetons providing a beautiful backdrop to the scenery on the right, with the comparatively tame peaks of Squirrel, Henderson and Manning mountains balancing out the left.
I developed a bit of a “homing beacon” action after crossing into Montana, and just beelined for Bozeman. There are plenty of beautiful picture opportunities along 191 that I could have stopped for, but I’ve driven that road so many times that the images are etched into my head permanently.
I stopped by my buddy L-Train’s metal shop and caught up with him. He usually has his dog at the shop with him, but had it with a friend when I stopped by. Lola made sure to pee on all the usual places. Dish is gonna need to come into work tomorrow with a fully loaded bladder.
I finally pulled into my buddy Mac’s house (pictured next to his KLR above) around 4 pm and unloaded the Ural. Tired, smelling of a unique blend of body odor, bugs and gear oil, I had to get cleaned up. Lola laid down immediately and caught up with her nap times.
I ran into my friends Bean & Summer while unloading the Ural at Mac's. Bean (being the fine gentleman he is) immediately offered me a cold beer and some water for Lola. When he asked if I could move the rig so he could run some errands, I just told him to take it. Summer was a bit hesitant to be in the “monkey” position, but you’d never know it by the huge smile on her face when they returned.
Later that night? Ping-pong.
In the circle of friends in Bozeman, there is a not-so-secret legion of ping-pong players. Every Wednesday night, pongee’s of all ages, backgrounds and political orientations, collect at a specific venue (which is decided over pints at the Bozeman Brewing Company) and play pong.
Sometimes the games go until 9 or 10pm, while other nights go until the hour of regret (named so for the impulsive Taco Bell food you usually purchase around this time
). The attendance fluctuates from 5-25 people, depending on the season. Its serious business; as serious as anything you do while holding 16 ounces of fermented barley is. House rules vary with location, and are only available verbally from several old masters that frequent every night.
There are laughs, loud exclamations of incredible shots or returns, and general merriment as friends (old and new) get together to catch up and enjoy trading lies and kicking tires. Over the years Lola has gotten pretty good about finding the errant balls around each venue and returning them to the server (as long as you don’t mind some slobber).
I have yet to find anyone with a ping-pong table and a regular schedule of play in Colorado Springs, so riding into town on the most holy of days is pretty special.
We stumbled back to the house around 2:00am and I passed out almost immediately.
Total mileage: 233. Total pong games: 5.