Northwest Adventure 2014… Day 10

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ July 6, 2014/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, Northwest Adventure 2014, Touring/ 0 comments

Departure Location: Cody Wyoming


Weather Conditions: sunny and 78

Daily High Temperature: 102

Destination: Baker, Montana

Daily Miles Logged: 396

Our day had a later than usual departure time which I was very grateful for as I have been finding the lack of my normal sleep beginning to pile up. Breakfast at the hotel was the usual fare and quick enough to not hold us up. Belgian waffle, banana, and yogurt rounded out the start of my day.

Just prior to departure

Just prior to departure

After a quick fuel stop, we proceeded to the highlighted route (spoken in my best GPS dialect!) that led us to the scenic Beartooth Pass, or HWY 20.  We were greater by spectacular views of the mountain range that we were about to traverse from our valley approach and I must admit that I was feeling a sense of anxiety about the day.  I have piloted my bike across some of the most challenging roads in America such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Cherahola Skyway, the Tail of the Dragon just to name a few.  But this stretch of roadway, with snow piled high on the banks up to 8 feet is unique.  It combines staggeringly beautiful vistas (which are a major distraction to me… and others evidently), very sharp hairpin turns, and an assent to nearly 11,000 feet before dropping almost 5000 feet in less than two miles.  Very intimidating, at least to me.

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Photo taken as the elevation really starts to climb.

Photo taken as the elevation really starts to climb.

Our agreement this morning was that everyone would proceed at their own comfortable pace, which was just fine for me!  I followed closely with the gang until we started in on the aggressive turns.  Each rider in our group takes precautions to ride at their level of comfort, mine is simply not quite as high in the tight turns as theirs.  The pass includes numerous sharp turns that have no guardrail that could lead to a mishap similar to what we saw earlier in the week.  As there was no prize for a first place finish, and my last place finish garnered me the same reward as first; simply saying that I have now ridden the Beartooth Pass.

Unfortunately, you will have to simply take my word for how amazingly beautiful it was, at least until Elizabeth uploads her photos to dropbox for me to snag.  There was little time for photo opportunities along the way… but what I saw simply put, took my breath away.

We were briefly reunited at the midpoint of the pass called “the top of the world.”  It has a similar feel to deals gap at the tail of the dragon, but it was a lithe crustier.  We met a few local riders that live in Cody that had a few great tips about visiting Wyoming…  After a few photos, we were back on our way to finish the ride.


My RT at "The Top Of The World"

My RT at “The Top Of The World”


After our trek through the pass, we stopped in Red Lodge, Wyoming for lunch.  The joint was obviously much busier than the staff is normally accustomed to serving and our waiter’s elevator did not go to the top floor (This was Trent’s observation that was perfectly suited to his performance).  After an agonizing two hour ordeal, we were set to say good bye to Trent who rode out today to be with his daughter in San Antonio for an unexpected happy occasion, and hello to more of Montana’s highways and byways.  There was also another visit to a Harley dealership for more fan gear! (I think Matt and I will get our first shot at that on Monday in Sturgis…hahaha)


My RT by her lonesome on the streets of Baker Wyoming… The Harleys simply did not want to be seen with her!

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We hoofed our way up hwy 212 to I-90E, to Montana State hwy 12 to Baker, WY as continue our route towards the Dakotas.  Tomorrow we will ride in both North and South Dakota, ride some of the Black Hills National Forest, see Mount Rushmore, and then make our way to Rapid City South Dakota…

Lastly,  I want to go on record as stating that Louisiana bugs are no match for the airborne critters that indiscriminately fly headfirst into motorcycle windshields, face shields, and grills.  Here’s proof…

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On a more sobering note, we found out tonight that the rider that we helped rescue, Bob Gatlin, did not survive his accident.  We also found out yesterday that the owner of BMW Motorcycles of Baton Rouge, Andy, died as a result of a motorcycle accident in Nova Scotia.  We pray for both of their families at this time and hope that they knew Jesus.


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