The High Life

Up at 6:00, breakfast, pack, watch hosts leave on their annual trip to Yellowstone. I’m in charge of the campground.

It is a short ride to the Beartooth Scenic Highway, Highway 212, the road Charles Kuralt called the midst beautiful road in America.

On the first climb is a fire tower lookout the hosts told me was recently out on the National Historic Register and is open to the public. I turned up the steep gravel road, and coaxed my loaded rig to the top only to find the open hours start at 10:00. Oh well, the view was great back to the Beartooth range. I took a short video panorama, no photo from the phone. A slow dance back down the gravel road and upwards.

I thought I had passed the summit and was tempted to ride backwards to savor the feeling but continued on. I couldn’t have been more wrong, the road climbs to over 10,000 feet past some lakes, across the treeless plateau at the top, then starts back down through huge gaping valleys.

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I agree with Chuck. Well worth the two hours it took. Lunch at a Subway in Red Lodge, listening to a guy chatting about 100 clip loads for his AR and how California is trying to take away our Constitutional rights. This is not a blue state.

Looking at the time and where I need to be tonight, I knew I had to put some miles in. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is Interstate 90 and there is another strong crosswind. Worse, 90 is 80mph. I couldn’t hold my lane with the wind and didn’t feel comfortable riding over 70 with my big rig, so I tried to ride the frontage roads and let the Garmin lead me. After a five mile gravel road adventure, I went old school and followed the map. needless to say, Montana is huge. But, I did manage to find some nice riding off of the interstate and got to see some small towns up close.

This town is still catching up on political correctness…

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Late lunch at a great burger shack where a cheeseburger is $1.89.

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I pushed the distance, and wind, until stopping close to Missoula. Missoula is home for the Adventure Cycling Association, our hosts for the ride. If they are open in the morning I may make the pilgrimage. My goal is to get to Whitefish before noon, park the motorcycle, get on the
bicycle and ride to Glacier. Jim is on the train and should arrive late tomorrow night. We’ll see if the plan comes together. A week on the scooter, then a week-plus on the bike. Everything changes tomorrow.

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