Day One – North Side Scramble

We left Thursday morning and drove to Kimball SD, a paltry 988 miles.  I am always amazed how we can ride further in a day on street bikes than we can behind the wheel.  We made Dayton WY the next day around noon local time.  We pulled into our motel/cabin in Dayton which we had reserved and were shocked by the conditions.  The sign out front stated "rustic" cabins but that was the overstatement of the year, and a far cry from the pictures shown on their website.  We went into the office and it got even worse.  We asked to look at the cabin and within 15 seconds we looked at each other and both knew this was no place for us.  We have stayed at many "low-rent" motels, many we would never stay at with our families but even this was below our below average expectations.  We told them "thanks, but no thanks" with the realization we lost our deposit, but we were not about to stay there.  We had passed a nice place in Ranchester 5 miles back, gave them a call and went back.  Our new base camp would be Ranchester rather than Dayton.  Not a big deal, but a cabin environment would have been nice.  We arrived back in Ranchester, unloaded and hit the trails.  We rode towards Dayton and turned right on WY 343.  This is a paved road, but after turning left on Smiths Creek Road were on dirt/gravel.  Smiths Creek road was to take us up the mountain where we would another series of trails and ride out the afternoon.  I knew from GE that we would need to climb about 3,000 feet in about 5 miles and that this would likely be difficult.  So, I had some alternatives up my sleeve.  We got about a mile from the top with little difficulty, but then it got rough.  Steve had the roughest go as he was trying to ride his KLR on trails clearly meant for ATVs or regular dirt bikes.  The Suzuki DR did fine, but I had ridden this bike in Ouray so I knew it was capable of most things thrown at it.  We reached a point where we stopped to consider our options, and an ATV was descending the mountain.  We stopped him and asked for assessment, and said we were only about a mile from the top but the going got tough just before the summit.  We contemplated and then decided to try a different route.  Back down we went.  We turned left on 343 (going away from Dayton), when the road ended we turned left on WY 345 toward Parkman WY.  After only a couple of miles we turned left on Pass Creek Road.  This road was tightly packed gravel and except for the dust flying was good riding.  We past a number of ranches and into the foothills as we were looking for a trail I identified on GE.  We used GE screen shots with GPS coordinates as our guide.  We ended up reaching the point where the trail up the mountain intersected Pass Creek Road but I'll be darned if we could find.  We were at the coordinates we could see a nearby ranch ourselves that could be seen in the screen shot, but we could not see the trail.  So, we went back a little way and went up into the Kerns Wildlife management area.  This proved to be a great find.  The trail was moderately difficult as we approached 7,000 feet in altitude and we rode along a ridge that offered great view of a canyon off to the south.  We stopped along the trail and rode over to te cliff for a fantastic view.  We rode back down toward Dayton, and with some time left, decided to take the road along the Tongue River and into Tongue River Canyon.  Again a tightly packed gravel road was not challenging but the scenery was superb.  While we were in Dayton, we stopped at the cabins to see if they had rented our cabin.  It appeared they had and Steve asked for the money back.. They said they think about it and to stop back.  Steve said "I'll be back" in his best Terminator voice.  We rode back to Ranchester and broke out the corn hole boards.