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Author Topic: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015  (Read 17073 times)

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Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2016, 06:12:36 pm »
Day 3: Port Angeles-to-Mt Rainier/Ashford

Route: 101 East and then south 101.


Leaving 101 and joining 5 past Olympia before swinging onto 512 and then south onto 7.  At Elbe take 706 towards Ashford from where it is a short drive on Paradise Rd into Mt Rainier National Park.



Planning my trip I look at points of interest along the way.  Boeing’s Everett Factory is north of Seattle and definitely worth a visit.  I do, however, notice that China’s President Xi is in town and will also visit the factory tomorrow. …  I reckon that a guy in a helmet and full body armour may just attract a little attention from the strong security presence….. Okay then I will give that one a miss…
This morning I quickly realise the benefits of riding with an adventure helmet.  Driving east (this is what I will do for most of my trip) with the early morning sun in the eyes can be a challenge and the peak definitely provides some protection.
Swinging south on 101 and entering the lake and channel areas the road becomes quite misty and makes for slow and careful riding.



Route 101 follows Hood Canal into Hoodsport.  From Hoodsport I was tempted to take a detour on 119 to Lake Cushman but in the end decided to push on south.



By now I am completely mesmerized by the beauty and vastness of the forests.  I do not consider my sense of smell to be highly developed but even for me it is easy to pick up how it changes as I make my way through the forest.  One section can be “musty” and “earthy”, and then it changes to “sweetish-maple-and-honey-ish” smell.  And everything in-between….  Later in the trip I would also learn to recognise the district smell of “pensmis” long before I reached the actual roadkill.
Some of the properties had very traditional gates at their entrance,



Others had very innovative ways of marking their territory…





Hoodsport Coffee Company is worth a pit stop…



National Park Hwy (Hwy 7) passes Alder Lake and Elbe before passing Ashford.  From here you can see Mt Rainier as the road winds through the forested areas.  Mt Rainier plays hide-and-seek and every time I notice a good view and want to stop to take a pic it disappears behind the trees…  This just builds my excitement to see her in full glory!



I stayed over at the Gateway Inn which is right at the entrance of Mt Rainier.  Entrance fee to the Park is $10 and valid for 7 days.  



Along the way I noticed various different spellings of “Mt Rainier”, sometimes the different spellings (Ranier vs Rainier) appeared on the same sign.  It seems as if “Rainier” is the correct one…



There are several camping sites in Mt Rainier and if I ever have the chance again I will definitely stay in the Park for a prolonged period of time.  There are several hiking routes and the scenery is magnificent.



I took a late afternoon ride into the Park where 706 changes to an aptly named “Paradise Road”.



Mt Rainier is every bit as beautiful as I imagined it to be.  Stopping at the Sunrise visitor centre I sit in awe as the low hanging clouds move in and out, constantly changing the view.



The wildflower and fall colours add to the spectacular view.



Five hours 22 minutes and 235miles in the saddle…  I buy a gallon of full cream milk (small containers of milk are expensive and hard to find), cheese and salami and go to bed knowing that I have ticked off the first of the items on my “To See” list.  Mt Rainier did not disappoint and I will have another chance tomorrow morning to see her in the early morning light….


« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 07:03:19 am by Jabus »
 

Offline Sir Rat

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2016, 08:25:15 pm »
Love it so far. Keep it coming please.  :thumleft:
 

Offline Jaakmh

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2016, 09:18:56 pm »
Keep it coming.  :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline Copernicus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2016, 11:00:49 pm »
Great report, Jabus.  I like that Flintstones park  ;D  :thumleft:
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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2016, 06:05:45 am »
 :sip:
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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2016, 06:32:01 am »
 :sip:
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2016, 03:39:53 am »
Another "Must Do" this is proving to be.

 8)
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Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2016, 06:46:23 am »
"Flintstones" is nogals 'n goeie beskrywing, dankie!

Mof: ek ken nie die "motorsiekel" storie nie, dit klink interessant, het jy meer inligting?
 

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2016, 06:57:30 am »
LEKKER :ricky:

Thanks for sharing :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2016, 06:57:56 am »
Day4: Ashford to Moses Lake

Route: Paradise Road to Stevens Canyon Road past Lake Louise.  


North on 123 and then East on 410 linking up with 12 all the way to Yakima.  Canyon Rd (821) north to 90E to Moses Lake



The temperature drops to  3 degrees Celsius as I head up Paradise Road but my early morning ride was rewarded with a totally different view of the mountain.  I am alone in the parking area and for half an hour I have the mountain all to myself.  Heaven!



Passing Reflection Lakes and Lake Louise….



And looking back at another beautiful view of the mountain… (I will post a short story later about this view)



Hwy 410 (Chinnook pass)



Any hunter will recognise the characteristic smell of “pensmis” and I quickly learned that one becomes aware of a roadkill long before you actually see the evidence….



There was a dramatic change in scenery as I passed through Yakima and followed 821 (Valley Rd) North.  The North American forest turned into an arid landscape within a couple of miles.



Was I abducted by aliens and dropped in Namibia?



The I90 cross the Columbia River (Wanapum Lake) at Vantage and I stopped at the Wild Horse Monument.  Namibia, Wild Horses, Aus?  My body was in one part of the world and my mind and heart in another…..



The brass plaque at the Wild Horse Monument disappeared.  Not only in Africa do they pinch brass and copper.    ::)  The “gekke en dwase” has made their marks where the brass plate used to be.   I make a mental note to pack my black permanent marker pen on the next trip…  >:(
                                                                      




            
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 07:04:22 am by Jabus »
 

Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2016, 09:33:57 pm »
As a way of sharing my experiences with my wife I wrote her a couple of short stories while on the trip.  Some are funny, some are sad, others just describe what I saw on a particular day.  Below is one that I wrote about checking into the Motel in Aberdeen on Day 1.

“Hmmm”

Ek glo mens kan in iemand se oë sien of daar intelligente lewe in die skedel skuil.  Dit is vanaand maar net weer bevestig…
Die dalende rand (of kom ons wees positief, die sterker wordende dollar) het my angsvlakke laat begin styg en ek kies die goedkoopste hotel wat ek op Hotels.com kon kry.  $45/nag klink vir my na ‘n winskoop. “Dit kan nie so sleg wees nie” praat ek myself moed  in terwyl ek die cvv nommer van my kredietkaart intik…

Die neonteken voor die Motel toon tekens van ernstige verweer (sommige van die letters is weg, tensy die spesiale aanbod dalk net vir mense met disleksie is…… ).  Die teken kondig ook met trots aan “NEW BEDS”.  Nuwe (of nuwerige) beddens is min of meer wat mens van ‘n hotel verwag, dink ek by myself en sien dit dus nie as ‘n “unique selling point” nie.…



Met die instrapslag by die Travellodge in Aberdeen word die ontvangsdame se oosterse ogies koelrond.  Miskien is dit maar net my heldergeel reënpakkie wat haar verwar, maak ek dit af.  Aberdeen is my pittstop oppad na Neah Bay.  Die ontvangsdame is wat Cesar Milan sal beskryf as “a low energy dog”.  Sy beweeg stadig.  Sy dink stadig.  Sy praat stadig.  Sy begin elke sin met “Hmmm..”

“Good evening.  I’m checking in.  My surname is Wessels” begin ek.

“Hmmm…., Mr Veeesels” sê sy en sy kliek ‘n paar keer met haar muis terwyl sy na die rekenaarskerm kyk.

“That’s correct” sê ek.

“Hmmm… Single room.  One bed. Smoking.”

“Non-smoking” Help ek haar reg.

“Hmmm…” sê sy, druk haar bril met die tweede kneukel van haar linker wysvinger hoër op haar neus. Daar is al ‘n vetterige blindekol op haar bril wat beteken dat sy dit gereeld doen.

“Hmmm… Single room.  One bed. Non-Smoking.”

“Correct”.

”Hmmm…, would you prefer first floor or second floor?”

Ek kyk by die venster uit en sien dit is ‘n dubbelverdieping gebou.  Ek sal graag op die grondvloer wil bly, dit maak die af- en opsaal net soveel makliker.

“Do you have something available on the ground floor?” probeer ek.

“Hmmm….” sê sy en begin voor. ”Would you prefer first floor or …” ek val haar in die rede.

“1st floor would be perfect, thanks.” Sy dring egter daarop aan om haar sin klaar te maak
“Hmmm…… would you prefer first floor or second floor?”

“1st”

“Hmmm…. Single room.  One bed. Non-Smoking, First Floor”

Ten spyte van die lang dag en ‘n biologiese klok wat nog op Afrika tyd is behou ek my sin vir humor.

“That’s correct”

“Hmmm…. can I have your credit card and ID?”

“I can’t remember which credit card I used when I made the reservation. Can you perhaps see if it was a Visa or MasterCard?”

Die uitdrukking in haar oë herinner my aan my GPS wanneer hy die sein verloor… ‘n Tipe van ‘n “mental loadshedding”….
Sy beweeg haar muis vining heen en weer…

“Hmmm, I cannot see which card….”

Ek pluk my MasterCard uit en gee dit vir haar. Sy gee die kaart net ‘n vinnige kyk en gee dit terug.

Ek haal my SA lisensiekaart uit en gee dit vir haar.

Haar oosterse ogies vernou verder en hou die kaart amper teen haar neus. Sy bestudeer elke letter. “Hmmm….” Sê sy en draai die kaarttjie om.  Selfde storie.

“Hmmm….” Sê sy
.
“Hummmmmmm..” antwoord ek

“Hmmm, I cannot see your address on the card” sê sy.

“I don’t think my address is on that card”

“Hmmmm…”

“I’m from Africa, we don’t have streets….”  Toets ek haar.

[Beep-beep. Beep-beep….. Lost satellite reception… ] sê haar oë maar sy herstel na ‘n wyle..

“Hmmm…, you’re from Africa.  Okay” en kliek haar muis ‘n paar keer en sit my ID kaartjie ingedagte in haar mond.  Kliek nog ‘n paar keer met die muis…..

“Please don’t swallow my card” sê ek, maar sy ignoreer my.

“Hmmmm…. Single room.  One bed. Non-Smoking, First Floor, Room #117” sê sy deur haar stywe lippe.

Ek knik net my kop. Ek hou my ID kaartjie dop soos sy dit op-en-af, op-en-af tussen haar lippe beweeg.

“Hmmmm….. Single room.  One bed. Non-Smoking, First Floor, Room #117, $45/night” sê sy selfondaan en gee die kaartjie vir my terug. Ek vat hom versigtig en vryf hom teen my reënbaadjie skoon.  Ek wil nog vra hoe laat ontbyt is, wat die WiFi kode is, maar ek bedink myself.

Die volgende oggend ry ek “Himm, Hmmm, Huummm, Huuuuum….” daar weg….


« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 03:36:22 pm by Jabus »
 

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« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 11:10:04 am by Jabus »
 

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2016, 03:23:32 pm »
Ek ry nou ook saam!  :ricky:
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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2016, 06:06:50 am »
Day 5: Moses Lake to Walla Walla

Route: Moses Lake to Warden on 17 and 170 to Lind to Washtucna on 261 to Palouse Falls, Starbuck on 261 to Dayton on 12 and on to Walla Walla.



Tonight I will meet up with an American friend, Vaughn, in Walla Walla.  He will pick up a rental bike in Portland and take a short-cut to Walla Walla.  We will ride together and meet his wife in Minneapolis.

This is farming area and I see several potato and onion carrying trucks on the way.  There are several depots along the way where the massive trucks off-load/store their produce.  The planting and harvesting process is fully mechanised and manual labour is a rare sight.



I take a couple of dirt roads and meet a couple of the potato/onion trucks head-on; they are clearly not used to bikers…



I devise a simple way of keeping my planned route (and later in the tour, also toll fees) within sight on the handle bars by using two Neodymium magnets.  Even in the strongest crosswinds I didn’t lose my marbles… Patent pending  :)





The road passed through wheat fields and scenery resembled the Swartland and at times I almost expected a “Welkom in Malmesbury” sign.  The only real difference between these roads and the ones in SA is that you do not see pedestrians walking by the side of the road…





The small agricultural communities and towns consisted mainly of grain silos (“grain elevators”). It could just as well be Groenebloem, Viljoenskroon or Bothaville!



Het hulle die draad gesteel? :)



Harvested wheat fields….





Not only did the scenery remind me of home, this deserted (clearly stolen) Mazda RX8 was driven until it ran out of gas (I assume) and then they took the wheels as souvenirs (I’m sure)  ;D



A short stretch of gravel road to Palouse Falls



Palouse Falls reminds me of The Big Hole in Kimberley



Campsite at Palouse Falls



An impressive Railroad Bridge crossing at the confluence of the Palouse River and Snake Rivers



The surprise of the day was Starbuck, a small town on Route 261.  The population, as confirmed by the waitress at the Rawhide Bar n Grill, is a mere 123 people. The Rawhide Bar n Grill is in the center of town and has has real character.  Coffee is “Self service, pay by donations”.






The Rawhide burger…



One of the locals was terrorising the two waitresses by pretending not to know what he wants to eat and changing his order every time they finished writing it down.  He had an impressive moustache and a very naughty smile.  If memory serves me right the waitress standing to the left said she has been working in the bar for 23 years!





At the Rawhide you can get everything in the Bar… Anti-freeze, De-icer, Carb-cleaner, Diesel Fuel Supplement, Slime Tube sealant, Pepsi and Coke.  All on the same shelf!  :)
I had to smile at the poster on the notice board that read “Dayton Depression and Bi-Polar support group” every Sunday for 7:00 to 8:30pm in nearby Dayton…



And you can listen to a proper Jukebox.  I made an investment in my sanity and chose “Keep on Loving you” by REO Speedwagon, (little did I know….see Day 13’s ride report),  “Thunderstruck” AC/DC, “Hey Jude” Beatles…





Lewis and Clark route (12)



After passing through the beautiful little historic towns of Dayton and Waitsburg I arrive late in the afternoon in Walla Walla.  Tonight I will link up with my friend Vaughn.  We will ride together and meet his wife, Lea, in Minneapolis.
We meet in the lobby to plan our route for the next couple of days.  Vaughn thought he would be able to rent a GPS at EagleRider.  When they did not have a GPS he bought a Map Book.  We both like maps and start to track possible routes with our fingers on the map.  I tell him the story of my Garmin 276 GPS and how I purchased a 2Gb memory complete with the North American maps (excluding Canada and Mexico) from someone in Moscow.  I paid via PayPal and 30days later it arrived in my post box!  I therefore rename my GPS to “Putin” for this trip  :)

We make the gentleman’s agreement that I will do the route planning on the GPS while he will look for good food along the way.  Riding with Vaughn implies that we will definitely not starve!  One of the specialties in Walla Walla is Onion Rings.  Vaughn quickly locates The Green Lantern Restaurant, the Onion Rings is superb and we wash it down with an “Icicle Dirty Face Amber”.







« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 03:33:28 pm by Jabus »
 

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2016, 06:41:26 am »
 :sip:

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Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2016, 08:57:08 pm »
Day6: Walla-Walla to Missoula

Route: Route 12 (see Pat’s description below)



A message from a friend, Pat:

“Rosie gave me your itinerary because she thought that I could give you some advice. Overall, it looks great but I think that you would like it better with some changes. I rode my bike across the US from Seattle to Washington, DC in the summer of 1998, which, BTW, was one of the hottest summers on record in the history of the earth.

Your first route to Walla Walla is OK. However, I would go through Missoula, MT instead of Boise since this is a much more scenic route on Route 12, which parallels the Indian road that our famous explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, travelled back to the east from the Pacific Ocean in 1806 when no other white men lived in this area. Historical markers are present along the highway which describe what the explorer group did on a particular date. I remember the road as a gradual rise to 2185 feet at Alpowa Summit but with a spectacular downhill drop to Clarkston, WA across the Snake River from Lewiston, ID (see the Lewis and Clark names in the towns - stop in Lewiston’s downtown for a break). Route 12 then rises again after the town but you will be traveling along the Clearwater River, which is gorgeous with the mountains higher and closer to the river than further west. This area was one of the prettiest places in Idaho and travels through the Nez Perce National Historical Park and Indian Reservation. Stay on Route 12 to Missoula, Montana because you will be following the Lochsa River up through the Lolo Pass. On the day that I was on the road, a logging helicopter was carrying 12 to 18 inch diameter logs on a hook attached to a tether attached to the bottom of the copter. These are the Bitterroot Mountains which are wild and beautiful with the white water Lochsa River on your right. This is a definite selfie stop because the river in the spring is continuous white froth in many places. However, I cannot guarantee if you will see as much.  Once you are down the pass it is an easy drop to Missoula which has a vibrant downtown. You can then ride on I-90 to Bozeman in about 3 hours but remember that this is Big Sky Country. The trip from Walla Walla to Missoula is about 318 miles and will take 6 hours, 5 minutes according to the map. This is a very long day on motorcycles in the Rocky Mountains even if you don’t stop!! Also, this is the northwest US with very unpredictable weather…the people say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes because it will change. When I crossed the MacDonald Pass from Missoula to Bozeman, it was snowing so be prepared for anything from heat and humidity to ice and snow in the space of 100 miles as it is 'hard country for hard men’.

I would recommend cutting down on your day in the Rocky Mountains because you will make it up when you are in eastern South Dakota where it is very boring and speeding is what you want to do on Nazi..

Have fun!

Pat”


Pat and Rosie provided some inspiration for undertaking this trip (which I will explain later in the RR).  Pat did a trip across America  on a bicycle!  





US 12 snakes along the river and the twist and turns through the forest take some concentration.  The biggest danger would be an Elk or smaller deer cross the road in front of you.



Beautiful wooden bridges connect hiking trails on either side of the river…





Most of the rural communities have well maintained cemeteries.  I think the way that societies respect and maintain the grave sites of previous generations says something about the psyche of a nation.  I hate to think what the state of Klerksdorp’s Municipal cemetery says about us…



Vaughn introduced me to the small-town-café-culture and gave some good tips on how to spot a great location.  Without exception they provided great atmosphere and good value for money meals.  Expect to be served by an experienced waitress  that has a sort of “café-wisdom”.  They can sum up a customer with a quick glance….



The Krystal Café had a great collection of fishing trophies…



Vaughn recommends a “Chicken fried steak” which is probably the American version of a Wiener Schnitzel.  I order one and ask for it to be served without any starch.  The waitress makes sure that the entire restaurant hears when she relays the order “Two Chicken Fried Steaks. One of them without starch” to the Chef.  “No starch???!!!” replies the Chef.  The waitress looks in our direction with a naughty smile and replies “NO STARCH!!!”…
When the plates are served our waitress repeats the “no starch”…..  Vaughn looks at my plate and giggles, “You will notice that Corn is not considered a starch in this part of the world…”.   ;D (Never mind the apple pie and French toast that is served as a side dish)  :biggrin:



Route 12 follows the river for the best part of 300km non-stop.  Along the way people stop next to the road to do fly fishing .



Crossing from Idaho into Montana










Almost 7hours on the road which required lots of concentration!



Vaughn doesn’t disappoint and quickly finds a good restaurant (The Depot) with a great atmosphere in downtown Missoula.  



A 14oz prime rib at “The Depot” in Missoula



Vaughn finishes his and I take a doggy bag which I would appreciate the next day in Yellowstone National Park.



« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 09:12:00 pm by Jabus »
 

Offline RobD

Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2016, 10:50:31 am »
Awesome report, thanks for taking us along!! :thumleft:
 

Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2016, 08:55:25 pm »
Day 7: Missoula to West Yellowstone

Route:  I90 East to Cardwell, 359 to Harrison, 287 via Ennis to West Yellowstone via 191



Last night we stayed over at the Howard Johnson in Missoula. (We are staying over at cheap motels that we book on short notice…go figure).   As we strap our bags onto the bikes Vaughn asks: “So how was the Hotel….”  Without looking up I respond with: ”I think the HoJo has lost its MoJo”.   Then I continue: “You shouldn’t take this personally Vaughn, but I’m going to skip a couple of meals today…” He just laughs it off with, “No I won’t, and in fact lots of people have told me that exact thing before….”  ;D
The section of road from Missoula to Harrison was supposed to be an easy ride but it is cold and we have to stop to add another layer.  Because the interstate is slightly elevated from the surroundings we are exposed to cross-winds and of course the turbulence of the big trucks.  The scenery does however give meaning to Montana being “Big Sky Country”.  I love the mountainous yet open landscape!



In Cardwell we stopped to stretch our legs.  I notice the wooden sign on the corrugated iron shack next to the road.  It has a list of names and is from the Cardwell Community Church.  While I stand a look at the sign, Vaughn asks from behind in a deep voice, “Is your name on the list brother?”  ;D



Open skies!



Ennis is a quaint little town and one where I will definitely spend more time when I ever have the chance.  The atmosphere is, however, becoming more and more touristy as we edge closer to Yellowstone National Park.  We cross the Madison River as we leave Ennis, next stop West Yellowstone.




Checking into the Hotel in West Yellowstone I notice that the majority of the tourists are from China and Japan.  I ask the young guy at reception how long it would take to drive East to West through the Park.  He replies: “Normally it would take you about 5-6hrs but it depends….”  “Depends on what?” I ask.  His colleague replies from behind his desk: “How many animals you see, and….. sometimes you might get stuck in a Bison blockade”.  “Bison blockade, what is that….? ” I ask.  The young man replies with, “Sometimes when people see a lot of Bison they stop to take pictures and they block the road”.  Oh that shouldn’t be a big deal; we are on bikes after all, I think to myself… 

Vaughn says that he is going to take a stroll through town and I decide to maximize my time in Yellowstone and take an afternoon drive through the Park.  YR.no predicts late afternoon rain and clouds are building so I decide to head towards the Park’s major attraction, “Old Faithfull” before the rain sets in. 

The entrance to Yellowstone National Park is a couple of minutes away from the hotel and for some reason the entrance to the Park is free today.  I look at the lady at reception and ask myself why do all “National Park Ladies” look the same?  Grey(ish) hair, normally tied into a soft ponytail, soft but intelligently bright eyes…  Jane Goodall replicas…
The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful.    The first strange thing that I notice is how the tourists stop next to the road, get out of their cars and walk around.  Photographers set up their tripods and cameras with massive lenses everywhere in the veld.  The second is the sulphur smell in the air that must be from the geysers which is soon noticeable through puffs of smoke everywhere.

I see my first Elk….



And first Bison…  They are big but not as imposing as an African Buffalo, impressive to see in real life nonetheless….



Arriving at “Old Faithfull” I must stand out in my biking gear….. And the tourists from the East confuse me for a Game Ranger.  After the umpteenth one stops and asks me “Excuse-a-me-a-sir…. Where-is-da-old-a-fait-a-fool?”  I just point in a general direction and get the “Hô” reply from them…



There is a general pavilion where you can sit and wait for the next eruption of the old lady….  The (real) game ranger walks past and announces “15minutes, next eruption in 15minutes….”  He is followed by a stream of camera-carrying-facebook-profile-updating-tourists asking, “How-a-long –a-sir…”  Without missing a beat, or looking left or right, he repeats, “15minutes, next eruption in 15minutes….”  The Chinese guy next to me touches me by the arm and asks “How-a-long –a-sir…?”.  I look him straight in the eyes and repeat s-l-o-w-l-y…… P-i-p-t-e-e-n minutes.  He smiles, moves his head up and down and conveys the message to his friends.  Pipteen, they repeat one after another and give me the thumbs up.

Old faithful in a meditative state….



Almost on que Old Faithfull starts to perform…..  Sy begin keelskoonmaak, grom-en-blaas amper soos ‘n hond wat gereed maak om te kots…..

Dan gee sy so klein kotsie…. Die Amerikaanse studente agter my sê “Right, that was it, Let’s go fellas….”  En maak of hulle opstaan.   Die Chinesie langs my se hele wêreld stort in duie…. hy kyk angstig na my, trek sy skouers op en vra “Finished….? “   

Dan gee Old Faithfull ‘n laaaang burp en spoeg met geweld ‘n pluim water die lug in…  Die Chinesies begin spontaan hande klap….  Volksvreemd dink ek by myself….




Old Faithfull’s show is impressive lasts about 15minutes.  I take a stroll back to the parking area and sit flat on my bum next to the bike and eat the remaining 7 ounces of last night’s 14oz prime rib.  I stroke the seat of the bike and rename her to “Old-a- Fait-a-full”.  Before the trip I christened him “The Nazi” because I was convinced that he was going to torture me on this trip...  But now he is turning into a she……

The Continental divide runs through the Park



Photographers paradise….






The foul sulfer smell is apparent as you get close to the geysers.



The next morning I meet Vaughn at the bikes and he nonchalantly asks “So how was the hotel”….  I know what he is referring to…..  Accommodation in West Yellowstone is very expensive, and I can’t remember when last I paid so much money for a bed and a shower.   I respond with: “I now know that there is a fine line between consensual sex and rape….” Without missing a beat he responds “Yes….it all depends on the length of the pause between the words “Don’t” and “Stop”.  “You are a sick man…” is all that I can get out.



 

Offline Vintage_Mania

Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2016, 07:35:59 am »
Vaughn recommends a “Chicken fried steak” which is probably the American version of a Wiener Schnitzel.  I order one and ask for it to be served without any starch.  The waitress makes sure that the entire restaurant hears when she relays the order “Two Chicken Fried Steaks. One of them without starch” to the Chef.  “No starch???!!!” replies the Chef.  The waitress looks in our direction with a naughty smile and replies “NO STARCH!!!”…
When the plates are served our waitress repeats the “no starch”…..  Vaughn looks at my plate and giggles, “You will notice that Corn is not considered a starch in this part of the world…”.   Grin (Never mind the apple pie and French toast that is served as a side dish)  icon_biggrin

Hahahahahahaha! Classic!

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day. And doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.
 

Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2016, 09:27:23 pm »
Day 8: West Yellowstone to Cody and then Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy

Route:  West Yellowstone to the East Entrance via 191, 89, Norris Canyon Rd, Grand Loop Rd joining 14/16/20 to Cody via Wapiti.



I am still in pain about the cost of the previous night’s accommodation but accept that this is just normal economics of supply and demand.  Tourists can clearly afford to pay the exorbitant prices.  I clearly cannot afford this more than once in my entire life….

Today I have to pay the Park entrance fee.  “Jane Goodall” hands me the receipt plus a yellow pamplet warning about bears.  My plan is to exit the Park at the North East Gate because this will will take us to Route 212 and on the way to Beartooth Pass.

Early morning smoke from the many geysers… (Deep Purple’s “Dang-dang-dang…. Dang-dang-dedang….. Smoke on the water…” comes to mind  :))



Just after turning north onto 191 I see the traffic building up. I notice a couple on a touring bike ahead of us and we start to slowly make our way through the traffic.  A truck passing us from the front stops and asks about the bikes.  I ask about the traffic build-up and he explains that there is a big herd of buffalo ahead and we should make our way to the front where we will get great pics.   We get to the front and I am amazed at the absolute stupidity of the tourists.  They get out of their vehicles and walk between the Bison and try touching them.  Some of them even try to take selfies with a Bison!

We (Vaughn, I and the couple on the touring bike) make good progress.  The three bikes constantly change positions as gaps appear between the herd of Bison.  Vaughn and the other bike is in front of me when I hear the siren coming from behind.  In my mirror I can see the white Chev of the Park Ranger making his way through the traffic.  He is honking his horn and the blue and red lights are flashing.  With a well-rehearsed 3-point turn he blocks the right lane and cuts me off from Vaughn and the other biker.



As the Ranger gets out I immediately know I am in trouble.  “Getting out” is way too short a description of what would happen next…..  It is a well rehearsed process (almost a religious ritual!) of getting out of the Chev.  
He first slides his feet out of the truck.  Then he slides his backside off the seat.  Then he s-l-o-w-l-y reaches for his hat inside the truck.  S-l-o-w-l-y puts his hat on his shaved head which shines in the early morning sun.  (I’m not not sure why he puts the leather strap to the back of his head and not under his chin, but anyhow….).  He s—l—o—w—l--y reaches for the the microphone, lifts his left leg up and places his foot inside the truck…. (“Light, cameras, action……”)

Then he announces over the megaphone: “Folks we’ve got a big herd of buffalo moving through the valley……”  (He gives a short break for the important announcement to sink in).  Then he continues:  “Folks, this is going to take a l-o-n-g time…..  Folks you may consider turning around and take another route”.  Another prolonged period of silence…….  Nobody moves.  

He tries again: “Folks, this may take hours…..hours.”  Hours, you must be joking, I think to myself but start to move the bike to the side of the road.  Just in case someone wants to make a U-turn. I look back, nobody moves. Fôkkôl. Niks.

Of all the pics I took on this trip, this is the only one that revokes bad memories….



The Honorable Member gets back into the truck.  Turns on the siren.  Honks the horn several times before he starts his hot pursuit of the herd of Bison which by now has moved almost a mile up the road.  We follow.  As we get closer, he stops, three point turns and blocks the right lane.  He repeats the well rehearsed, get out of the vehicle, put on the hat (leather strap to the back of the head), reaches for the microphone act.  He repeats his story….  Then he adds, “Folks, please keep your distance…..”  

I decide to allow one vehicle between me and Honorable Member’s vehicle.   He has a gun after all…. He may just call for backup…..:)
Our progress is so slow that people get out of their vehicles and start walking next to the road.  “The long walk to freedom….”



Traffic passes freely from the front, clearly able to make their way through the herd of buffalo.  It is starting get really hot under my helmet.  I’m not sure whether it is due to the morning sun or due to the stupidity of what I see in front of me.  

Honorable Member moves left to right, honking his horn at the Bison.  Then he moves up and down the herd, poking at their backsides with the bumper of his truck…...  Almost like the spectators next to the field watching a high school rugby match…. Ek voel lus om te skree “Ref, telefoon…”

Every time the Bison wonders off into an open stretch of field next to the road he blocks them, and pushes them back onto the tar.  When he runs out of ideas he turns around.  Three-point-turns-blocks-the right-line-gets-out… and then he repeats the whole enchilada….  His parting words remain:  “Now folks, please keep your distance……
                                                                                                                                     Give us some space to work in…..”

Oh my word.  This guy reminds me of the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter final.  Remember Bryce Lawrence …..? Ek begin ook verstaan hoe Pieter van Zyl moes gevoel het toe hy die ref daar op Kings Park ge-tackle het…….  Ek verlang na ‘n groep Afrika Buffels.  Hulle sal hierdie lawaaimaker lankal soos ‘n sosatie ingeryg het… veral as hy sy Chev se bumper so teen hulle gatte stamp en sy toeter druk…

3.5hrs later.  THREE AND A HALF HOURS later Bryce makes another announcement.  “Folks, this is going to take another 2-3hours. We have quite a number of vehicles backed up behind here.  I’m just going to make may way to the back of the que and inform everyone about the situation. “  

As soon as Bryce is out of sight I make my way through the herd.  It takes 5 minutes of maneuvering through them.  The traffic, still freely flowing from the front, is courteous and allows me through.  I try to smile at them …..  Dit herinner my aan die Oom wat vir die Tannie gesê het terwyl hy aan die Ford-kar gewerk het: “Vrou, ek is nie kwatie, ek is befôk!!”  

As I exit the herd I can see Vaughn waiting in front…..  

I fully understand the meaning of a “Bison blockade”.  And Bryce wasn’t lying when he said “Folks this may take hours…..”
Just to be clear:  I fully respect and support the fact that Bison (all wild animals for that matter) have right way.  My rant above was triggered by tourists acting stupid among wild animals.  I now understand why some get mauled by lions, elephants and the like when they visit the dark continent.   And Bryce…. Oh hell don’t get me started again….  ;D

I just want to get the hell out of here and only occasionally stop to take a pic of the breathtakingly beautiful scenery.



In my haste I took a wrong turn and did not notice that we are heading for the East Entrance/Exit and not the North East Entrance/Exit.



Oh and just in case, like me, you did not know, the Yellowstone National Park is the oldest park in the US and get its name from the Yellowstone River that runs through the park.



Leaving the park at the East Entrance/Exit the rain clouds start to build.  We pull over at the Phakasha Tepee Resort.  Apparently this was Buffalo Bill’s old hunting lodge in the early 1900s.  The place has real character!  It is only when I look at Putin’s screen to plan the rest of the day that I realize that  we are at the wrong exit and not en route to Beartooth Pass.  Vaughn scans through his e-mails while I plan the shorter route to Cody.


The menu in the Pahasha Tepee is printed in newspaper format and has various newspaper clips from the early 1900s.  One article reads: “PAHASHA TEPEE- Located at foot of Sylvan Pass.  One and a half miles from Yellowstone Park entrance near Government road, reached by Automobile.  Rustic, restful and beautiful.  Warm fire places and entertainment. Rates three dollars per day$3/day!

Others highlight the no nonsense attitude of Buffalo Bill.  Even And another piece of trivia: Cody was named after Col. William “Bill” Frederick Cody which was Buffalo Bill’s real name.



I enjoy the nachos as we sit for a long time eating and chatting.  As we get ready to leave, the first cars that was in the Bison blockade que start to arrive….  They must have waited another hour to pass the blockade…  

It starts to rain and Vaughn and I put on our rain gear.  The group on the Harleys has no protective gear or helmets.  It must be great fun riding in the pelting rain without a helmet……  :)


« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 09:33:06 pm by Jabus »