American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

South Montana and Tales of Massive Foilings

I loved the ride through Lewis and Clark National Forest this morning. It was warm and the views were dramatic. Despite the snow visible over the pass, the air was actually pretty warm. The pavement was smooth and the curves of the road flowed into one another with a no awkwardness or hesitation, like a conversation between close friends; I felt like I could ride them with my eyes closed.

Summit In Lewis and Clark

Summit In Lewis and Clark

Beyond L&C the plains return. Taller now than the infinite and expansive plains of central Montana. They are covered in a pale green sage brush that carries no strong aroma. These are the loneliest roads I’ve ridden on yet. Twenty minutes at a stretch without a car in either direction. Rugged and beautiful.

Lonely Montana Road

Lonely Montana Road

Thunder Jack Statue

Thunder Jack!

I did a stretch on I-90 between Livingston and Columbia. It reminded me of why I’m trying to avoid the interstate on this trip. It was windy, cold and mundane. I felt like I was about to be blown straight off my bike at times. The worst was pulling up behind a semi truck, the eddies and currents of the air behind them tossed me in every direction. This was not the side wind that you can just lean into, I was constantly making adjustments to keep the bike going straight. Exhausting work really. The scenery of this stretch of I-90 is nice enough, green hills and rocky eroded outcroppings. But this road has no curve, no motorcycling soul; it’s long and rigid.

At Columbia I turned south toward Red Lodge. The idea was to get into Yellowstone via 212. But alas, the road does not open for 3 more days. I know, it’s just 3 days. But those are three days that I can spend seeing the park rather than waiting for just a small part of it to open. The Beartooth Pass beyond these gates is known as one of the most beautiful roads in America. I was bummed.

Road Blocked

Foiled!

The short ride here was beautiful. However, that only made me more frustrated, filled with the knowledge that even more dramatic beauty lay beyond the barred gates!

Bike near pass

Consolation Photo

I briefly flirted with the idea of riding to Cody tonight to set myself up for an early entry into Yellowstone tomorrow. But instead I decided to enjoy a night in Red Lodge and camp next to the river. Tomorrow I’ll finally get into Wyoming and Yellowstone.

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