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Tried to make it...really!

Posted: Sat May 17, 2014 9:37 pm
by SuzukiTom
Well, actually 7 years late.
Just got back a couple of weeks ago from a valiant, yet futile attempt to make the 2007 Cooke City Lj Meet. Unfortunately the Flux Capacitor I built for my bike failed to work as expected, and the 1.21 gigawatts I borrowed from my windfarm didn't send me back to the summer of 2007.
Another thing I didn't take into account was the road conditions. I knew it was a little early in the season to be making the trip, but It was so nice down here in west central Texas. I checked the Yellowstone web site, and the roads I wanted to take through Yellowstone were open. What I didn't check was the road conditions of the roads that approach Yellowstone from the east! Why would the road in the park to the northeast gate be open, if you couldn't get to it from the other side?
Anyway, after making it to Red Lodge, Mt, I attempted to go west on 212 over Beartooth Pass. You'd think they would have a sign on the outskirts of town warning you that the road was closed 25 miles in. But I'm not from around there, so off I went. Beautiful ride, road clear, so what that there's places where snow is piled up 6 feet deep on both sides of the highway? Come around a corner, and suddenly there is a big gate across the road, and a sign saying "road closed". No wonder I didn't pass much traffic coming down! Stop, get off, and pull out the maps. Is there a way around Beartooth Pass from here? Of course not. Ok, backtrack to Cody, WY, and make an assualt up the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. Should have went that way first anyway. After spending the night in Cody, I'm off again. First clue: Not a single vehicle on the road after turning off onto WY 296. No problem, the road is clear and dry, I can use both lanes if I have to. Did I mention it was dang cold at the top of Dead Indian Pass? Like 25 degrees cold (-3 for you celsius people). Funny thing, the park service has a remote controlled camera mounted on a pole in the parking lot of the scenic spot at the top of the pass. I noticed it was tracking me the whole time I was there stretching my legs. So of course I made some rude gestures to whoever was watching me before I left on down the road :P
The rest of the ride up Wy296 was very nice. It was as if they had designed the road with sport touring motorcycles in mind. I got to the T intersection where Wy296 meets Hwy 212, and it appeared to be all good. Turn right, and it goes back to Red Lodge, over Beartooth Pass. I knew that was closed. Turn left, and I was off to Cooke City! Next Clue: Across the intersection was a parked really nice snowmobile. Oddly enough, it was parked on a three foot high pillar of snow. apparently it had been parked there for a long time, and the sun had melted all the snow down except what was in the shade of the the snowmobile itself. Left turn, and off down the road I go again, thinking I was just about to my destination. Obviously, I didn't make it. Six miles down the road, just 3 miles short of Cooke City, the highway just stops. No warning, just a three foot high wall of snow across the road. And a sign a hundred feet further, saying "Road Closed". A sign that was probably 8 feet tall, that was just barely sticking out of the top of the snow bank. Rats. Couldn't they have plowed it the rest of the way? No other options left, I turned around and headed back to Cody. With sorrow in my heart I realized I just wasn't going to be able to make it to Cooke City, failed Time Machine or not. I ended up editing out the entire Yellowstone and Idaho portion of my trip out. The rest of the trip was uneventful. Back from Cody, Wy, down through Thermopolis, Riverton, Rock Springs, to Green River, Wy. Then down along the Flaming Gorge Reservior to Vernal Utah. Price, Green River, an obligatory pass through Moab, turn left at La Sal Junction, back into Colorado, Overnight in Telluride, Over Red Mountain Pass, Silverton, and finally Durango. Then the final boring push through New Mexico, into Texas (where I picked up a dust storm that lasted the rest of the trip) back to my home in Sweetwater, Texas. 3377 miles in eight days. Should have been about 4000, If I had been able to make the top portion of it. One last day off to recuperate, then back to work :|
End of the road!
My transport. '07 Buell xb12x

Re: Tried to make it...really!

Posted: Sat May 17, 2014 10:25 pm
by stevec
Sounds like a great trip, sorry the road closures detoured you.

The north road through Yellowstone to Cooke City is kept open all year because it is the easiest route to Cooke City to keep open. Beartooth Pass is spectacular - I loved that drive, even with the truck/camper/trailer combo heating up the brakes on the way down. But, while driving it, I could understand why they don't plow it (there are some pretty big dropoffs!) I am surprised that there were no signs in Red Lodge though!

Re: Tried to make it...really!

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 8:54 am
by SuzukiTom
One tip for long-distance motorcycle trips: Earplugs. Three weeks later I'm still half-deaf from the wind/road noise. Despite a full coverage helmet. Hope it's not permanent!

Re: Tried to make it...really!

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 8:57 am
by stevec
Good tip!

(And yes, I too hope it isn't permanent!)