Friday, September 29

Yellowstone...or not

The last town going west into Yellowstone is Cody, Wyoming, and when I stopped there for lunch I noticed that my headlight wasn't working, so I found one of the town's motorcycle shops and bought and new bulb. At some point along the way I lost one of my good cold-weather gloves, so now I have a pair of warm-weather riding gloves and one insulated glove. Luckily it's the right (throttle) hand, because that has to be on the handlebar (and in the wind) all the time while my left hand is easier to warm up while riding. Those were wonderful gloves, I'll miss them. At the next motorcycle shop I come across, I'll see if I can get the same pair or better.

Cody is like all the towns I've been through in Wyoming, a very western town. Lots of cowboy hats, and everyone drives a pickup. It used to be that a good cowboy rode a horse; now it's a truck. Or a Harley, they love their Harleys out here. Most of the pickups around here are American made; I haven't seen many Toyota Tundras for example. The Harley thing is similar, like a bumper sticker I saw that said, "American by birth, biker by choice, patriot forever."

From Cody I drove to Yellowstone, got there around 2 hours before dark, paid the $20 entrance fee and began the 73 mile drive through the park's windy roads to the park's biggest open campground. All along the road are signs warning of animals crossing, and indeed I passed several buffalo (or bison, I'm not sure what the difference is) passing or on the side of the road.
The hills, turns and animals make for very slow going, so it got dark long before I got to the campground. I rode at least an hour in the dark, trying to watch for animals, avoid riding off the road over a cliff, and ignore my freezing hands. The thought of the macaroni and cheese I would make for dinner kept me focused. I finally got to the campground and found a big FULL sign. So I went back a bit to the hotel/information center, where a herd of elk or deer were lounging on the yard, and considered my options: going another 50 miles through the park to a smaller campsite that might or might not be full, or go 5 miles to the northern entrance, leave the park and go to Gardiner, Montana to find a motel. I chose the latter, devoured a huge dinner of salad and pasta at an Italian restaurant and checked into a Travelodge. I'm not saving any money this way but at least I'll wake up with feeling in my toes and take a hot shower.
Until then, however, I'm going to sleep like a baby.


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