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Old 09-05-2010, 06:43 AM   #1
scudrunner OP
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Location: Western Nebraska
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Thumb Weekend Ride to Medicine Bow/Snowy Range, Wyoming

This is a mini ride report of a weekend ride with my son to Medicine Bow National Park, Wyoming. The plan was to leave early afternoon and ride the 160 miles and find a spot to camp at one of the campgrounds (Brooklyn Lake, Sugarloaf, Silver Lake or Brush Lake along HWY 130 and use it as a base camp for riding and fishing on Saturday and Sunday. Well things never go as planned and that's makes it an adventure.

The route from Laramie on day one and two.

Packed up and ready to go.

Moving down the highway.

You can use this report as a bit of a reference and warning... if you plan on going to the snowy range area of Medicine Bow during a summer weekend don't plan on finding a campground with a vacancy along HWY 130. Here is what we ran into... Brooklyn Lake is perhaps the most popular campground, it's picturesque with an Alpine Lake in the face of snowcapped mountains... and it was packed with campers. We took off to the next campground (Sugarloaf) which was also packed. To make it worse was Silver Lake and Brush Creek campgrounds were closed. There were vacancies at Ryan Campground but it's not much more than a field... no fishing and no spectacular views. We decided to try Rob Roy Lake campground which, according to the park brochure has 65 campsites. The route would be all gravel roads out of the National Park and trails back in. I was a little off on my estimation of time and distance using the brochure map. When we finally got to the campground at about 10PM it too was packed or at least the part that wasn't closed. The majority of the 65 campsite campground was closed! If we had planned for primitive camping we could have camped just about anywhere in Medicine Bow but now it was completely dark. We decided to not rough it and ride out of the park and back to Laramie for a motel... which was another adventure. The first six or seven motels we checked displayed "No Vacancy" signs and we finally found one motel that had two rooms left... pushing midnight we took it. At this point we didn't care what it cost or if it was a dump. The owner told us and confirmed by two bikers (Harley rides) the next morning, the lack of rooms was because of Frontier Days in Cheyenne.

The good part of Sand Lake Road.

View of Snowy Range from Sand Lake Road.

I guess there is sand between the rocks at Sand Lake... fishing sucked there.

We packed up early and hell bent to find somewhere to make camp in Medicine Bow. I'd been fishing up this way before and figured that not a whole lot of people would venture their fancy motor homes or fifth wheels up to Deep Creek Campground or as a last resort Bow River Campground. We found plenty of campsites available at Deep Creek... and plenty of friendly mosquitoes!

Deep Creek Campground


Scene along HWY 130

Downhill twisty on HWY 130

Snow in July...WTF

Silver Lake... But the campground is closed.

Packed up and getting ready to go... trash and all.

Heading home from a great trip.

While we lost some time and a night at a motel in Laramie, we still had time to ride some great trails and fish. Didn't catch much (two rainbow and brown trout) but had a great time. This was my son's first ride camping and has only had his MC license for ten months. In fact, this was the first time he rode on the Interstate and his first trail riding... he had a great experience.

Both bikes held up well, he rode my (he adopted) 07 KLR and me on my 09 DL1000 V-Strom. He was better suited with the KLR than I was on the trails. The downfall with the V-Strom are ground clearance and not being able to see where the front wheel is. This was only when we were navigating rocky off-road areas of the park. On the gravel roads and beaten down or groomed trails it did just fine... though a little heavy. I'm close to changing tires on the V-Strom, I have 7000 on the rear stock Batwings and will go with a more aggressive tread tire for my next tires. The only issue was losing traction on rear tire going up steeper grades.

Medicine Bow is a good place to explore. There are tons of gravel roads, fishing holes and fire trails. When my son is a little more proficient riding we tackle some harder trails and do some primitive camping. While its a great place it's sad to see so many dead trees from the Spruce Budworm. With so many dead trees, it's only a matter of time until they have a major forest fire... what a loss that would be.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:35 PM   #2
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Great pics, Thanks for sharing. I need to get back up into the Snowy Range, it has been to long!
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:36 PM   #3
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Gorgeous ride!! Thanks for the pics and report
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