Tuesday morning, we ate a light breakfast at the hotel, and set off on our journey to the entrance to Yellowstone Park at West Yellowstone. We made a coffee break stop in the old stage-stop town of Nevada City. It’s a 100-yard stretch of Highway MT-287 with old shanty-type buildings that have become a tourist attraction. They have an old gold dredge, old railway cars and, most importantly, a bakery.
When we got to the gate to the National Park at West Yellowstone, we realized that a few other people were going to visit the park too. We waited in line for about ten minutes before clearing the gate and being admitted. A few miles into the park we pulled off the road to a parking area along the Madison River and took our helmets off for a full break. We cleaned our visors and discussed what we would do in the park. Kurt suggested we make a diversion to Firehole Falls, and make a small loop through the geyser basin.
We didn’t do a full visit to all the attractions, since being on motorcycles means helmets and riding gear coming off and on for stops, although we did make time for a few photos. Yellowstone is a fascinating and unique area of our country. It’s a great benefit that our ancestors saw fit to set it aside for us.
The traffic on the main roads of the park was not impossible, but there were many instances when an animal of some sort decided to pose alongside the road for the tourists, and that usually meant the traffic would thicken and slow. We made it to the Canyon Village and had a nice lunch there. After that, we decided that none of us needed to see anything in the park badly enough to make the effort, so we wound our way over Mount Washburn and to the park’s northeast entrance at Cooke City. We made several stops along the way to look at the posing wildlife.
Once out of the park, we were ready to get some wind under our wings on roads with higher speeds and lots of curves. We entertained ourselves with the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway which winds its way through the Absaroka Mountain Range and rises to the Dead Indian Summit at 8,071 feet. The road and its surrounds are beautiful. It is turn-after-turn of beautiful scenery and expansive mountain views. It was very windy at the summit where there’s an overlook with more information on the flight of the Nez Perce people which were being hunted down by the U.S. Cavalry. As the Nez Perce fled the area with the U.S. Cavalry in pursuit, they left one wounded Indian behind who was subsequently found and killed by Army scouts, giving the Dead Indian Summit its name.
On the east side of the range, we descended to our third night’s stay in Cody, Wyoming. The temperatures in Cody were in the high 80’s and, after getting settled in to our rooms and getting our motorcycles bedded down, we walked a few blocks up the road to a Thai restaurant. The food was terrible, and the three of us were disappointed. Kurt and I stopped at the Walgreens store and bought ice cream for desert. That helped alleviate some of the disappointment from the meal. Good Thai food is wonderful; bad Thai food is terrible. That’s that!