Day 36 CCR: Just Riding
Out of Montana; into Idaho. Out of Idaho; into Wyoming. I’m edging closer to home everyday, but I still won’t see Maggie Valley for another week. I’ve got a couple stops along the way that will fill up a couple days.
The first few hours of today’s ride were spent on a concrete slab–Interstate 15–from Dillon, Montana, to Idaho Falls. Those rides are quick but not terribly exciting. Unless you see a coyote loping along the road in the tall grass. Which I did. And later, as we rode through Wyoming, a pronghorn antelope buck stood on the shoulder of the road, inches away from a cataclysmic confrontation with cars or motorcycles. He may have crossed the road later, but he held steady while Steve and I whizzed past and the bike/buck confrontation was avoided. I’ve seen a lot of pronghorns on various motorcycle trips, but that buck was easily the closest I’ve been to one. Today was a good day for viewing a number of animals, in fact. Several bald eagle sightings, a couple deer, a coyote, prairie dogs, and hundreds of antelope. Unfortunately I was always on the bike and didn’t get a single photograph of any of the critters. Or anything else, for that matter.
We saw or rode through three mountain ranges today: The Bitterroots, the Grand Tetons, and the Wind River Range. But the air was hazy (smoke?) and the most spectacular mountains were at some distance away from us. Any photographs of the mountains today, I’m afraid, would have been second rate.
The roads were crowded as people started their July 4 Weekend early, towing their boat trailers and campers to the many lakes, campgrounds and other recreational sites in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Stopping along the road as I often to do take pictures didn’t seem to be a good idea with so much traffic on the roads.
So, today we just rode, except when we were stopped for 20 minutes by a construction delay along 10 miles of road next to the Snake River in Idaho. I always appreciate good road surfaces, but I’m a little impatient when road crews are actually doing their job to give me those surfaces. There were also several shorter delays by smaller projects such as bridge repairs that reduced traffic to a single lane.
We almost made it to Rock Springs without donning rain gear but ultimately we gave in. I stopped several times to look at weather radar and each time it looked like the storm on the horizon in front of us would go through before we got there. Twenty minutes north of town, however, I began to see a few drops on my windshield and several cars coming toward us had windshield wipers on, clearing away the remnants of the rain they had just gone through. So we stopped and put on rain gear, which naturally gave the storm enough time to move through the area so that we didn’t need to suit up after all. Bikers know what I’m talking about.
Tomorrow I make a detour to see a remarkable old friend who still runs an 8,000 acre ranch near Laramie by herself. Previous blogs have featured Linda and her ranch and there are always great stories to be had by visiting there. But the stories will have to wait a day or two until I leave the ranch, which operates without any internet service. I’ll write while I’m there, but I won’t be able to post until I leave.
When I detour to see Linda, Steve will continue riding and be home again in Colorado sometime tomorrow afternoon.
A visit with one of my brothers and a mini-reunion with childhood friends remain before the CCR is over and I complete my 11,000 mile loop back to Maggie Valley. Sure hope everyone stays with me to the end.