Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Wild West

I left Buffalo, WY with some major wind and stormy weather on top of me. But I figured I had to get across the mountains somehow and there was no time like the present. It was 50 degrees at the base of the mountain, so I knew it'd be cold at the top. I put on all my winter gear and headed out. The ride up was beautiful. At one point I passed a sign that said something down the next road was 3 billion years old, so I took the road. Turns out I made a wrong turn and ended up on a muddy trail, but it was beautiful anyway. I kinda felt like a bear might get me.


I think these might have been the super old rock outcroppings, not sure.


Continuing up and into the clouds it got colder and colder. I crossed Powder River Pass at 9666 feet at 38 degrees F. Woo-whee it was cold.


On the way down the west side of the pass, I was in the clouds for a while...just like riding in fog.


Apparently a whole flock of sheep live up at that altitude. They must have some nice warm outfits to live up there all year.


After hitting the 'basin' area on the west side on U.S. Highway 16, I came to Ten Sleep (population 317), named for its location 10 nights, or "sleeps," between major Indian camps. I stopped at Dirty Sally's Soda Shop. Ended up with a root-beer float, yum.


I had intended to hit up Yellowstone today but the storm had delayed my departure that morning, so I decided to call it a night in Cody, WY (Named after Buffalo Bill Cody) and set up camp at the KOA outside of town. I like KOA's because I get a hot shower and usually meet some really cool people. I ran into Larry, a fellow biker and generally all round good guy.


He was waiting for a buddy who's bike had broken down so we decided to go into town to see the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. They have the largest collection of American guns in the world, which Larry was really into, as a gun collector.


We found out from the staff at the museum that Cody has nightly gunfights in the summer, so we had to stay for that. Basically, some actors in cowboy dress wielding real guns with blanks perform a skit in which they end up shooting at each other. Pretty entertaining.


After it was over, we got some food at Irmas Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill for his daughter.

On the way home, I noticed my headlight was burnt out, dang. And it was getting dark. Larry had to split so I was on my own and not really sure what to do. The BMW bike uses regular H7-12W bulbs so I should be able to get those from any auto-parts store. I went to the fire station nearby and asked them if they knew of any local stores, they said that across from the Super Walmart was an Oreilly's. So I quickly rode over there to find that it was 8:02 and they closed at 8:00. Dammit. On a hunch, I tried the Walmart for parts. Low and behold, Walmart stocked the H7 bulbs, rad. And I was also able to pick up some toothpaste, which I'd run out of that morning. In the checkout line, I ran into a familiar cowpoke from the gunfights earlier.


His name is Marc and he owns a motorcycle rental business in Wyoming, CC Rider Cycle Tours. We talked for a while about travel, why the layers of clothing the old cowboys used to wear kept you cool and life in general. What a cool guy.

Bedded down that night to the sound of horses behind me, about 10 feet away from my tent. After seeing all the Buffalo Bill and cowboy stuff, a gunfight, eating at Irma's and sleeping next to horses, I felt like I got a pretty good dose of the wild west.


My route for the day.

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Tomorrow, on to Yellowstone!


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