Day Nine – Stanley ID to Red Lodge MT
Miles: 481
Elapsed Time: 12:23

The Sawtooth Hotel was a nice place but breakfast didn’t start until well past when we needed it so we just got on our way without eating. We rode east on ID75 and made a brief stop at Sunbeam Hot Springs. It’s not often the Springs are so close to the road but in this case ID75 actually goes directly over the springs which can cause fog in the cold months. It was so early in the morning it might have been nice to jump into one of the pools, but we didn’t have time for this. We continued on and soaked up the curves instead of the hot water. We stopped at a gas station near Challis as we caught US93 south and grabbed some coffee and donuts. Not much but it would get us through to lunch. After our breakfast stop we came upon the Grandview Canyon, an entirely different landscape than the surrounding grassland with rock towers standing tall along the roadside. It is scenery that seems very out of place, and one can’t help but wonder why someone chose to put a road through this. It must have been a path years ago as it followed the creek that clearly carved the dolomite rock in the area. We stopped to take some pics before continuing over the high plains down to Arco where we gassed up. South of Arco we picked up ID33 after back tracking for a brief few miles on what we had covered Friday. ID33 was still high plains and not that great of riding; straight and long. When we had stopped at the Nuclear Reactor on Friday we learned about the Nuclear Jet (X-6) they were developing and we also noted that there had been a massive hanger built some 30 miles north of the site and now were looking at from only a couple of miles in the distance. We contemplated stopping for a pic but we were making good time riding at around 100mph so we decided to keep going. We blasted down to Beaver Dick Park and decided to take a rest. We were at 214 miles which was a little less than halfway but we knew we had a lot good things to see in the second half so we only stayed about 15 minutes before continuing on. I had looked for some restaurants in the St Anthony in preparation for lunch today but when we arrived we were rather disappointed. We continued on toward Yellowstone but first we stopped at Mesa Falls. This gem can be found just off ID47 north of Ashton, and too much of a hike. There are two sets of falls; upper and lower. I had looked at as many pictures as I could find and deduced the upper was the better one, so this is what we did. I won’t know for sure until I visit the lower falls but the upper did not disappoint. The falls can be heard from the parking lot and the mist can be seen for quite a distance as well. The mist carries to the far side (West) of the falls and has made almost an entire different ecosystem as the mist provides a constant almost rainforest like atmosphere. We finally caught back up with US20 which would take us into Yellowstone. When we hit West Yellowstone we were ready to eat, and we found the Wolf Pack Brewery, but to our chagrin it was closed. Instead we back tracked to the edge of town and ate at the Geyser Grill. It was well past lunch but they had some of the specials left so we had the grilled ham and cheese and we chowed down. A very nice couple ran the place and they had not been in business all that long, I hope they do well. Soon we were into the park itself and I didn’t know what to expect. We were thinking middle of the week, early afternoon maybe it won’t be too bad. We were wrong, due to the road construction we had to re-route to the west and the going was very slow. It’s always nice to go through the park but you can’t be in a hurry. We were stopped dead in traffic as we waited for about 20 minutes without moving and we were also stopped once by the Buffalo. We probably didn’t make any friends in Yellowstone as we passed a few times, but always in a very safe way. Why would anyone want two bikes on their bumper as they are trying to sightsee? We stopped at Beartooth Lake as we prepared our ascent up Beartooth Pass. Steve had been here before but it was my first time and I was excited. I guess I didn’t realize that the road was going to be so tight and the scenery so beautiful that fast riding was as important as usual. I had read the accounts that explained General Phil Sheridan was the person that blazed this trail across this pass during a march of his men back from Yellowstone during the Civil War. As I rode I could help but think about how difficult that march must have been. The road certainly met all of my expectations and we were quickly at our destination in Red Lodge. We talked with the owners of the Yodeler Hotel and they could not have been any nicer, they provided us with some cleaning rags and eating recommendations. We rode down to Red Lodge Ales to determine how far of a walk it would be and decided too far, so after we parked our bikes at the motel we set out for Foster & Logan’s to have a couple of Buffalo Burgers and some Bent Nail. Once again we were able to watch the Reds game, and they continued their winning ways. Last’s night hero Drew Stubbs was tonight’s hero again. Tonight it was a two-run double off of Cordero again in the ninth for the game winner, and their seventh in a row.

2012 Actual Day Nine Wednesday

<