Day 13 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride (Great Falls to Billings 402 miles)

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Ride route Great Falls to Yellowstone thru Beartooh Pass to Billings

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Leaving Great falls, MT

Today is day 13 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself have ridden together for 12 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. Today we will back track a bit to Yellowstone National Park before heading east via US-212 thru Beartooth Pass and on to Billings, MT.

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South of Great Falls on US-89

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Riding South on US-89

This morning is another beautiful riding day, partly cloudy with the temperature starting out at 62 degrees. A bit warm for June but not bad… It did cool a bit more once we climbed in elevation. Riding over Beartooth Pass it was even cooler.

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Riding south to Gardiner on US-89

Even though we rode some of this route two days ago, I saw things I missed before and I got to see other things from a different perspective. It was nice seeing it all again, the small towns, pristine rivers and streams, grass-covered valleys, grazing cattle, antelopes, majestic hills and mountains. This is truly beautiful country. There is a bit of sadness because who knows when I will ever see it again… Hopefully I will pass this way again…

We stopped for gas and a bite to eat in White Sulphur Springs.  From there it was a scenic ride back to Gardiner, MT for more gas.

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Buffalo herds around every curve in Yellowstone National Park at Northeast Entrance

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US-212 Northeast Entrance Yellowstone National Park

Entering Yellowstone, we had a bit of a run in with a Park Ranger who made a big deal about nothing. We followed the GPS to the Park entrance. The way the GPS routed us was for Park employees only. It was an honest mistake on our part. Apparently, there is a sign we didn’t see. We explained we didn’t do it intentionally, but he didn’t cut us any slack… He should go a long way in the Park Ranger organization… Anyway, be aware the proper route into the park should take you through the stoned arch. If not, you may have to deal with that angry Park Ranger…

It was still early so the traffic wasn’t too bad in the park. From the park entrance it was a short ride of 23 miles to US-212. For the last 8 days (~1,553 miles) we have followed US-89 from just north of Prescott, AZ to Great Falls, MT and back down to Gardiner, MT. Today we leave US-89 behind. It has been a great ride taking us through some of the most beautiful, scenic parts of the western U.S. For the next 2 days we will be following US-212…

US-212 will take us out the northeast entrance of Yellowstone Park. This is my fourth trip to Yellowstone, but this is the first time I have visited this part of the park. I had no idea what I have missed. It has been said, “The northeast entrance is one of the most beautiful roads in America.” I haven’t been everywhere in America so I can’t speak to that. If you want to see buffalo, this area is where all the buffalo are. It seemed as though there were herds of buffalo around each curve of US-212.  I have never seen so many buffalo in one area. I can see why. There are lots of good grazing and water in the Lamar Valley.  US-212 parallels the pristine Lamar River with many smaller creeks and streams that feed into it. In 1995 wolf packs were reintroduced to the area. During early morning and late evening hours year-round the wolves can be seen around the rugged peaks and ridges. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any wolves on our ride through. I believe the 29 miles of US-212 has the richest diversity of landscape and wildlife in the park. Just before you exit the park, you will ride between the majestic Abiathar (10,928 feet) and the Barronette (10,404 feet) Peaks.

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Looking off Beartooth Pass

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There was as many Riders as Drives on Beartooth Pass

Two years ago when we rode up this way on what I called our “National Park Ride”,  we spoke with riders who had ridden over Beartooth Pass on their way to Yellowstone. Ever since then I have wanted to ride it myself. Today that day has come. Beartooth is everything I have been told and have read about it.  There are a lot of twist, turns, ups and downs with incredible scenery. Beautiful snow-covered mountains, rushing rivers, piney forests (lower elevations) and tundra (upper elevations).  There are a lot of pullouts to take pictures or just peer over the edge… This is truly a great biker road. There are as many bikes as cars on the road. We had a great time visiting with bikers and drivers at pullouts. The road over the pass is in really good shape, probably because trucks and RV’s avoid this road with all of its steep grades, countless hairpin curves and the many switch-backs. Because of the elevation it was a lot cooler going over the pass. Probably the coolest it’s been on our ride. It sure beats the several days that we rode in triple digit temperatures…

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Larry & Larry at Beartooth Pass

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Beartooth Pass Peak Sign

It is hard to describe Beartooth in words, pictures are better, but you really need to experience this pass from the seat of a motorcycle. You don’t just see it, but you feel it. You are part of the total experience…

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Looking off Beartooth Pass

Below is a slide show of our ride from Yellowstone over Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge…

Riding off the pass we stopped in Red Lodge, Montana, the “Gateway to Yellowstone National Park” to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat.

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Riding into Red Lodge

Red Lodge is a nice small town with a great view of the Beartooth range.  Red Lodge has a rustic main street and is a National Historic District. Like most small towns in the west, Red Lodge has a colorful history. It all started September 17, 1851, when the United States government signed a treaty with the Crow Nation, ceding the area to the Crow Indians. After coal and gold was discovered in 1870, the Crow, by treaty (1880), allowed the area to be settled. Coal mining defined the town and drew settlers from all over the world. Everything went bust during the Great Depression and the manufacturing went from coal mining to illegal bootleg whisky. In 1931 work began on the Beartooth Highway that linked Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park. The highway officially opened in 1936. Red Lodge had fallen into disrepair because population had dropped from its peak of 6000 people to about 2,000. Since the mid-1980s Red Lodge has been redeveloped for its historic and cultural tourism. There is much to see and do here. I will be back (hopefully soon) to explore it more, but today we have miles to go before we sleep so we headed on down the road.

Riding from Red Lodge to Billings the terrain flattens and we rode through farm and ranch land. Having grown up on a cotton farm in Texas, I love and appreciate farm and ranch land and the hard-working people who work it. I always find my mind wandering, imagining what life must have been like there. If walls of the farm houses could talk, the stories they could tell… Stories of family, joy, sadness, love, hard work and the many trials of farm life.

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Riding down US-212 to Billings, MT

It was nice to get back to Billings. Two years ago we were here on our “National Park Motorcycle Ride”. We stayed at the same motel, kicked back and caught our breath from our long day’s ride.

Tomorrow we continue riding down US-212 to Spearfish, SD via Devils Tower National Monument. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 5 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Day 12 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride

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Ride Map Great Falls to Augusta to Great Falls

Today is day 12 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself have ridden together for 11 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. We have made our way to Great Falls, Montana. Today is an easy day, a chance to catch our breath from all the riding of past days. Larry A., while in the Air Force, was stationed here at Malmstrom AFB. He will be showing us around Great Falls before we ride to Augusta, MT to visit his old Air Force buddy.

This morning is another beautiful, cloudless day to explore Great Falls. The low this morning was 57 degrees making for some nice riding. It will be warming into the 90’s before day’s end.

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The Falls at Great Falls Montana

Our first stop was an overlook to view the Great Falls on the Missouri River. The city of Great Falls takes its name from five waterfalls along the Missouri River. This is the only one of the waterfalls in its natural state today. Dams were built in the 1880s that submerged the five waterfalls. Today a damn is just above the falls. We can only imagine what the falls would have looked like before in its natural state. The overlook is a good vantage point to take pictures of the falls, the river and the surrounding area.

Our next stop is just a short ride to Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. The area explored by Lewis & Clark is amazing. I may need to plan a Lewis & Clark ride, visiting as many of their sites as possible. On our National Park ride two years ago we rode all the way into Canada. We were continually crossing Lewis and Clark’s paths. The center gives us another chance to learn more about Lewis and Clark’s travels. The Center is a 25,000 square-foot building that includes the exhibit hall, a theater, an education room for hands-on activities and a gift shop. We spent time viewing the many exhibits and taking pictures of the Missouri River from our vantage point at the Center. The center is a great place to learn about the Lewis & Clark exploration. If you are in the area check it out.

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C M Russell Home Great Falls Montana

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C M Russell Art Studio Great Falls Montana

We then followed Larry A. to the C. M. Russell Museum. If you know anything about western art you know C. M. Russell (Charles Marion Russell) also known as Charlie Russell or “Kid”Russell (1864 – 1926). Russell was a colorful character who was known as a historian, Indian advocate, writer, cowboy, philosopher and conservationist, but is best known as a western artist. The C.M. Russell Museum houses the most complete collection of Russell’s art and memorabilia in the world, a collection of thousands of works by other well-known western artists, Browning Firearms and Plains Indian Culture. Located on the museum property are Russell’s log cabin studio, and his two-story wood frame home. The house and log cabin studio are designated a National Historic Landmark. Touring his studio and home was like stepping back in time… I love the architecture of older homes. It always seems like I have come home.  The C. M. Russell Museum is another must see if you are in the area…

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C M Russell Museum

From the Russell Museum it was a short ride (~60 miles) to Augusta to visit Larry A.’s old Air Force buddy. It was a nice ride through more Montana farm and ranch land. It was starting to warm up a bit but still a nice ride. We parked our bikes at Larry’s friend’s house and walked to the Western Bar and grabbed some lunch. We caught up with Larry’s friend at the Augusta Rodeo grounds.

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Locals Chilling in Augusta

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Larry T. & Larry A. chillin’ in the shade

If you have read some of my other posts, you know I like small towns. The best people live in small-town America. They are a special breed of self-sufficient, close knit families, friends and neighbors. Augusta is another one of those towns.

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Augusta Montana Rodeo grounds photo by Larry A.

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Getting the concession stands ready… Photo by Larry A.

The first white explorer to view the beauty of the Augusta area was Captain Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. As I said before, Lewis and Clark seem to turn up everywhere in our travels out west. Lewis and his party traveled through the area and camped near the town of Augusta. Eventually, cattlemen found the prairie grasses and scattered timber of the Augusta area inviting and began the early settlement. Montana has been called the “Last Best Place”…and Augusta, Montana has been called the “Last Original Cow Town in the West”. I would have to agree…

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Augusta Montana Rodeo photo by Larry A.

Tomorrow is the 79th annual Augusta PRCA rodeo. Augusta is the home of the biggest and oldest one-day PRCA rodeo in Montana. The rodeo is sponsored and organized by the Augusta Chapter of the American Legion and is held each year on the last Sunday in June. We will be missing all the rodeo fun tomorrow since we will be heading on down the highway continuing our adventure… We made the best of our time here and spent the afternoon checking out the rodeo grounds, visiting with the locals and taking pictures. Larry T. and I decided to make our way back to our home away from home back in Great Falls and rest up a bit. Larry A. stayed a bit longer to catch up on old times with his old Air Force buddy.

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Rodeo grounds at Augusta Montana Photo by Larry A,

As I have said in previous posts about this ride, we have ridden in an unseasonable heat wave. Temperatures have been around 15 degrees warmer than normal. This afternoon’s ride back to Great Falls is becoming another one of those days, but not as bad as days past. My bike’s temperature gauge read 95 degrees on our ride back. It was nice to get back to our room and some AC…

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Riding back to Great Falls

Tomorrow we will back track a bit to Yellowstone National Park before heading east via US-212 thru Beartooth Pass and on to Billings, MT. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 5 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Viking Cycle Enforcer Three Quarter Touring Motorcycle Jacket

A review of the Viking Cycle Enforcer Three Quarter Touring Motorcycle Jacket from Motorcycle House.

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Viking Cycle Enforcer Three Quarter Touring Motorcycle Jacket from Motorcycle House

Good Gear Makes For a Good Motorcycle Ride – If you are like Janet and me, we have filled a closet with leather riding gear (i.e. Jackets and Chaps). It is good gear and has served us well… but there is one problem with all that leather. It’s big, bulky and takes up a lot of room on the bike. If you are wearing it there is no problem. We live in Texas which can be very, hot but when we ride north or to higher elevations the temperatures can be much cooler or even very cold and we need that gear. We need to be prepared for the cooler weather and carrying all that bulky leather gear with us limits what we are able to carry on the bike.

I was asked by MotorcycleHouse.com to review their new Enforcer Motorcycle Touring Jacket by Vikingcycle. It sells for a great price of just $99.

Details – Enforcer Motorcycle 3 Quarter Touring Jacket

  • Touring style 3 quarter jacket
  • Lead Free Tri-Tex Fabric: High-performance, breathable and waterproof
  • Tape sealed waterproof seams
  • Removable zip-out quilted lining with full-sleeve liner
  • Velcro flaps for adjustable cuffs fit
  • Multi-pocket design: Lots of pockets the biggest pocket fits up to a 10 inch tablet
  • Glove pouch on lower back
  • Phone headset wire system
  • Phone access in under 3 seconds
  • Spine, shoulder & elbow armor protection
  • Reflective front, back, shoulder & arm panels enhance visibility at night or low visibility conditions.
  • Velcro adjustable waist belt
  • Adjustable snapped tabs on arms
  • Longer in the back to prevent the back from riding up when sitting or riding
  • Front zipper closure with snapped flap over zipper
  • Vents include: 2 zippered vents at top of shoulders and large back zippered vent across the shoulders blades
  • Lower-back zipper to attach motorcycle pants
  • Overlapping mandarin padded collar secured with Velcro for a snug fit for those cold days
  • Velcro lower tabs to adjust fit around your bottom
  • Full non-removable inter liner with lower mess venting
  • Two-level lining for various weather conditions

When I received the Enforcer jacket, I gave it a good going over. It has many nice features going for it. It is well made and the medium jacket fits me very well. The Enforcer is a 3 quarter touring style jacket made from Tri-Tex high-performance, breathable and waterproof fabric. The jacket seams are tape sealed for waterproofing. The overlapping mandarin padded collar and adjustable cuffs secure with Velcro for a snug fit for those cold days. I really like that the jacket is longer in the back. This extra length prevents the back from riding up when sitting or riding. The jacket has reflective front, back, shoulder & arm panels that enhance your visibility at night and in low visibility conditions. The armor protection in the spine, shoulder & elbow seem to be of good quality and comparable with armor in other jackets. I like the double layering of the jacket. This allows the zippered inter liner to be removed on warmer days. The jacket closes securely with a large front zipper and a snapped flap over the zipper. You can snug up the jacket at the waist and arms with the adjustable snapped tabs on the arms and a Velcro adjustable waist belt.

The Enforcer jacket has many useful pockets in places I would have never thought of. There is one pocket I really like.  It is a zippered pocket on the lower part of the left sleeve. Inside the pocket is a lanyard so you can attach keys (I think) but I have found another use for it. I have attached the remote of my GoPro to the lanyard. When I’m not using the remote I can stow it in the zippered pocket. When using the remote I don’t need to worry about dropping it.  If I do drop it, it will just dangle by the lanyard. In an emergency, I just release the remote to free my left hand and it will dangle. I have used the two large pockets on the lower front of the jacket the most. The right pocket has another lanyard for keys. There is a lot of room for things you need to keep handy.

Below is a video from MotorcycleHouse.com detailing the features of the Enforcer Jacket that I may or may not have covered previously.

Back in October I was going on a 400 mile ride that I would have been riding in heavy rain. I thought it would be a good test for the Enforcer jacket. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. Before I left the weather forecast changed to the possibility of flash flooding all along my route. I don’t mind riding in heavy rain. I’ve done it more times than I can remember, but I haven’t ridden in, nor do I want to try riding in, a river of rushing water.

A couple of weeks later I made that 400 mile ride. There was a possibility of some rain going and coming with temperatures ranging from the low 50’s to upper 60’s. Not that cold and not much rain, but the jacket did well on the ride. I did ride in some heavy rain for about 40 miles and I stayed warm and dry. I’m looking forward to taking it out again in colder/wetter weather. So stay tuned for an update…

Below is a short video from that ride.

If you are looking for a good riding jacket for a great price, I think you may want to give the Enforcer Touring Jacket  from MotorcycleHouse.com a hard look.

Ride safe… I hope I see you down the road somewhere.

Day 11 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride (Gardiner to Great Falls 226 Miles)

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Day 11 Ride Map

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Leaving Gardiner Montana

Today is day 11 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself have ridden together for 10 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. Today we continue riding up US-89 to Great Falls, MT from Gardiner, MT. Larry A’s old Air Force buddy lives near there so we will be spending a couple of days in the area.

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Rolling down US-89 North of Gardiner Montana

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Waiting on road construction North of Gardiner Montana

Our ride up US-89 from Gardiner, MT is another scenic one. Most notably, US-89 follows the rushing waters of the Yellowstone River north into the perfectly named Paradise Valley. Riding through Paradise Valley we see beautiful views of the Absaroka and Gallatin Mountain ranges in the distance. At Livingston we stopped for a bite to eat. That breakfast at the motel didn’t go very far.  Once back on the road we hopped on I-90 a short distance before continuing north on US-89. We leave behind the Yellowstone River and pick up the Shields River as our companion. We ride through a valley between the Bridger and Crazy Mountain ranges to White Sulphur Springs. I am really enjoying the small towns, scenic farms and ranches we are seeing.

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Yellowstone River north of Gardiner on US-89

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Riding north on US-89 to Livingston, Montana

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Stretching our legs in Wilsall Montana

We stopped in Wilsall to stretch our legs, re-hydrate, grab a snack and visit with some of the locals at the Wilsall Bar & Café. We love talking to the locals about our ride and their experiences riding. Today was another one of those days… The girl at the checkout shared stories of her uncle giving her motorcycle rides when she was younger. I left her with one of my cards and told her to checkout this blog. Hopefully she will read this about herself and leave us a comment. We love hearing from the people we have met on our rides. At Wilsall we leave the Shields River behind. From here on to Great Falls we meet many scenic creeks that follow US-89.

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Rolling up US-89 to White Sulphur Springs Montana

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Rolling up US-89 heading to Great Falls Montana

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Rolling thru Lewis and Clark National Forest on US-89

North of White Sulphur Springs we ride into the Lewis and Clark National Forrest. The valley begins to narrow until we are in The Little Belt Mountains. The road begins winding its way through the pine-covered mountains for the next 50 miles. The terrain then flattens and becomes more hilly and the trees more sparse and eventually become non-existent. The closer we get to Great Falls the flatter the terrain gets. Riding into Great Falls we ride past Malmstrom AFB, Larry A’s home for several years while in the Air Force.

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Rolling up US-89 to Great falls Montana

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Heading to Great Falls Montana on US-89

I had planned to get gas at White Sulphur Springs. I didn’t realize my mistake until we were many miles past White Sulphur Springs. We still had about half a tank of gas and decided to ride on. We thought we could make it all the way to Great Falls. About 20 miles from Great Falls we hit road construction with some stop and go traffic. The road was rough gravel for what seemed miles. We were getting really low on gas and starting to wonder if we were going to make it to Great Falls. Long story short, we did make it to Great Falls, but had to ride a lot further until we found a gas station. Larry T. and I had a little (very little) gas left but Larry A. probably wouldn’t have made it another 100 feet. He was literally running on fumes… Note to self… Don’t chance it again…

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Ranch land near Great Falls Montana on US-89

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More ranch land near Great Falls Montana on US-89

After checking into the motel, Larry T. and I kicked back and took it easy. Larry A. decided to ride to Augusta and visit his old Air Force buddy. Larry A. and his friend spent their time catching up and talking about all those good old days in the Air Force…

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Ranch near Great Falls Montana on US-89

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Almost there…

Tomorrow will be an easy day. Larry A. will be showing us some of the sights around Great Falls before riding to Augusta with him. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 6 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Day 10 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride (Jackson to Gardiner 203 Miles)

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Day 10 Ride Map Jackson to Gardiner

Today is day 10 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself have ridden together for 9 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. Today we continue riding up US-89 to Gardiner, MT via “The Most Photographed Barn in America”, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

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Riding to Most Photographed Barn in America

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Most Photographed Barn in America

Yesterday we met up with Larry C., my old Air Force and riding buddy. Yes, another Larry. Larry wanted to come on this ride but it conflicted with other travel plans he had made. Larry and his wife, Jo, are traveling by car with another couple, Larry S. (yes, another Larry. That’s 4 if you counted correctly) and his wife Janet. It happened that our trips crossed paths here in Jackson. We will ride/drive to “The Most Photographed Barn in America” to visit more and take pictures before heading our separate ways.  We will continue riding north on US-89 and they will be driving south on their way home to Alabama.

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Larry, Larry, Larry, Larry and… me

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Most Photographed Barn in America Grand Teton’s

This morning is another beautiful riding day, a bit cooler than past days with partly cloudy skies. “The Most Photographed Barn in America” is located along with other popular photographed barns and other old buildings on Mormon Row. The barn with the Teton Mountain Range as the background has made it a symbol of the Jackson Hole Area.

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Log Cabin on Mormon Row

To get to the barn take US-89 north from the Jackson town square for 13.5 miles. Turn right onto Antelope Flats Rd and ride 1.7 miles to Mormon Row intersection. The barn is to the left down a dirt road. We parked at the intersection and walked, a short distance, to the barn. To get to the other barn turn right at the intersection and ride 0.3 miles to the barn on the right. Across the road is a parking area.

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Log Barn on Mormon Row

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Log cabin on Mormon Row

We spent time taking pictures and visiting. It was a bit overcast, I was hoping for more sunlight so the Teton Mountains would make a better background for our pictures. “The Most Photographed Barn in America” is all I have read and seen in pictures. If in the area it is a must stop even if you don’t take Photos…

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View from Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park

It was good seeing Larry C. and Jo again. We said our good-byes before heading our separate ways. Larry T, Larry A. and I rode on to the Grand Teton National Park visitor center. We got our entrance passes and checked out the park information and the displays. We rode up this way 2 years ago and now we are back. The scenery can’t be beat and is indescribable, pictures are worth a thousand words but seeing it from the seat of a motorcycle is worth a million words. We made just a few stops, while riding thru the Grand Teton’s, to stretch our legs, grab a snack and to re-hydrate. One of our stops was at Signal Mountain Lodge on Jackson Lake. There is a restaurant, gift shop, lodging with a beautiful panoramic view of the Teton Mountains across the mirror smooth Jackson Lake. Truly great photo opts… Before leaving the Grand Teton National park we made one more stop along side Jackson Lake to take more pictures of the mountains and lake. Leaving Grand Teton National park, we were back on US-89 headed north to Yellowstone National Park. Riding up US-89 we could still see Jackson Lake to our right for many miles. Leaving Jackson Lake we paralleled Snake River for several miles before we left it behind. Then we rode past Lewis Lake, another pristine mountain lake reflecting more beautiful scenery. Many years ago there were large forest fires in and around Yellowstone and today we can still see the damage caused so many years ago. The trees are making a slow comeback but they still have a way to go to reach their former grandeur…

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Rolling through Grand Teton National Park

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Jackson Lake at Signal Mountain Lodge

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Damage from forest fire years ago at Yellowstone

Entering Yellowstone we continued riding US-89 to Old Faithful, our first stop in Yellowstone. As usual, every time I have been to Yellowstone Old Faithful had just erupted before we got there so we had some time to kill to stretch our legs and grab a cup of coffee and a cookie in the Old Faithful Inn. From the moment we rode up to the Inn it was a totally impressive log multi-story sight! We sat out on the observation deck, drank our coffee, ate our cookie and waited for Old Faithful to erupt. It was worth the wait… We got some great pictures of Old Faithful from a good vantage point. Afterward we checked out the Inn. Once inside you just didn’t know where to look as there was so much to see. The lobby is massive in breath, width and height and all constructed from lodge-pole pine and rhyolite stone. In the lobby is a massive stone fireplace with an equally impressive pendulum clock on its face. If you are afraid of heights, exploring the upper floors may be a bit unnerving while peering over the low log railings.

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Jackson Lake

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Old Faithful Inn

We eventually made our way back to our bikes, only to find I had been robbed! Over the years, we have travelled far and wide and we have always been afraid someone may take advantage of all the stuff we store on our bikes that can’t always be locked away. Well, it finally happened. If you want to know the rest of the story click here.

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Old Faithful from Old Faithful Inn

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The thief at Yellowstone National Park

Leaving Old Faithful we back tracked to the southern entrance to ride up the eastern side of Yellowstone. We made several stops by Yellowstone Lake to take pictures before checking out the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. It was crowded and finding a parking spot was a bit of a chore. After leaving the Lower Falls the temperature was starting to rise as in days past but didn’t make it to triple digits. Traffic was getting heavier and it was moving slowly. I have never seen traffic like this in Yellowstone before and it did distract from what should have been a great ride. Traffic continued to be heavy as we made our way to our home away from home for the night, Gardiner, Montana. Two years ago we rode this route in July 2013.  Traffic wasn’t anything like what we have experienced today. Normally the ride from Mammoth Hot Springs is a nice ride following the Gardiner River into the town of Gardiner. As you ride you can hear the rushing water of the river as it tumbles down toward Gardiner but today it was hot with really slow-moving traffic and at times, stopped traffic.  We were ready to park the bikes and wide down for the day…

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Yellowstone Lake

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Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park

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Lower Falls Yellowstone National Park

Tomorrow we continue our ride up US-89 to Great Falls, MT. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 7 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Day 9 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride (Ogden to Jackson 235 Miles)

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Day 9 Ride Map Ogden to Jackson 235 Miles

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Leaving Ogden

Today is day 9 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself are together for the past 8 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. Today we continue riding up US-89 leaving Utah behind, catching the southwest corner of Idaho as we ride to Jackson, WY. This part of the ride is more virgin territory for me.

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Heading to Logan

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Riding down US-89 to Logan, UT

Today is another beautiful riding day, cool with beautiful blue skies and few clouds. The ride up US-89 north is a scenic ride through more picturesque Mormon farm and ranch country. The further north we rode the more mountainous the scenery became.

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Early cool morning riding down US-89

Riding out of Ogden we headed north up I-15 20 miles to US 91. From I-15 we did get a brief view of the Great Salt Lake. A short ride down US 91 we picked up and continued our ride north on US-89.This section of US-89 is scenic rolling hills.  The road is wide and is an easy ride, with mountains in front of us.

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Riding down US-89 into mountains near Logan, UT

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Riding along Logan River on US-89

We rode into Logan; Logan has an old-fashioned downtown and a beautiful old Mormon church. Instead of a courthouse or town square, Mormon churches are a common sight in this part of the country.  Leaving Logan, we are riding in the mountains with a lot of nice curves and scenery. I love running rivers. Logan River parallels US-89 for most of our ride through the mountains. At a pullout we stopped to stretch our legs and take a few pictures. At Brush Canyon, Logan River turns north where Brush Creek flows into it. Brush Creek then parallels US-89 to SH-243.

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Rest Stop on US-89 heading to Bear Lake

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Bear Lake from Logan Canyon Summit

At Logan Canyon Summit, there is a panoramic view of Bear Lake, a beautiful natural freshwater lake, on the Utah-Idaho border. A few miles from Garden City we pulled over to take pictures of the panoramic views of Bear Lake and Garden City below.

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Bear Lake & Garden City

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Riding into Garden City, UT

At Garden City, US-89 turns north and follows the scenic shoreline of Bear Lake.  Not long after riding into Idaho, we leave Bear Lake behind in our rear-view mirrors as we continue 90 miles up US-89 to Palisades Reservoir. The lay of the land from Garden City changes from mountainous to hilly plains with quaint small towns, scenic farm and ranch lands along the route. This is an amazingly scenic route. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but being here, seeing it from the seat of my motorcycle, is worth millions…

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Old Church? on US-89 between Garden City & Afton

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World’s Largest Elk Horn Arch in Afton, UT

Riding into Afton, WY we are welcomed by “The World’s Largest Elk Horn Arch”. The arch spans 75-feet across US-89 at a height of 18-feet and has over 3,000 elk antlers and weighs more than 15-tons. We stopped for gas, stretched our legs a bit and took pictures of another picturesque small town founded by Mormons.

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US-89 between Afton, WY & Alpine, WY

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Palisades Reservoir Alpine, WY

Continuing north, US-89 parallels the Idaho-Wyoming border as it meanders through the valley to Alpine, WY. More scenic small towns, farms and ranches are all along our route. At Alpine we cross the Snake River (of Evil Knievel fame) and head northeast on US-89. US-89 parallels the Snake River as it winds through the majestic Teton Mountain Range to just south of South Park, WY. There are nice views of the Snake River’s emerald green water rushing over the rugged terrain and occasionally rafters enjoying their trip down the river.

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Riding across Palisades Reservoir/ Snake River

Today has been the coolest day (low 80’s) riding so far. It is a welcome break from the triple digits days that we have ridden in.

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Riding US-89 by Snake River heading to Jackson, WY

After arriving in Jackson, our home away from home for the night, we checked-in with Larry C., my old Air Force and riding buddy. Yes, another Larry. Larry wanted to come on this ride but it conflicted with other travel plans he had made. Larry and his wife, Jo, are traveling by car with another couple Larry S. (yes, another Larry. That’s 4 if you counted correctly) and his wife Janet. It happened that our trips crossed paths here in Jackson, so we are meeting for dinner tonight to swap lies and catchup on old times. We met at Bubba’s BBQ, a midway point, for a good meal and great visit. We decided to meet tomorrow and ride/drive to “The Most Photographed Barn in America” to visit and take pictures before heading our separate ways.  It was a great end to a great day’s riding…

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Riding US-89: Rafters on Snake River

Tomorrow we continue our ride up US-89 to Gardiner, MT via “The Most Photographed Barn in America”, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 8 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Day 8 of My 5000+ Mile, 17 Day Motorcycle Ride (Panguitch to Ogden 287 Miles)

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Day 8 Route Pahguitch to Ogden

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North of Panguitch on US-89

Today is day 8 of my 5000+ mile, 17 day motorcycle ride…  Larry T., Larry A. and myself have been riding together for 8 days seeing some of the most scenic parts of the western US. On day 5 we turned onto US-89 just north of Prescott, AZ. Today we continue riding up US-89 to Ogden, UT via Salt Lake City and Temple Square. This part of the ride is virgin territory for me. I’ve wanted to explore this route for some time and today is the day…

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Riding North on US-89

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road trips, Travel, long distance motorcycle touring, long distance motorcycle travelThe ride up US-89 is a scenic ride through picturesque Mormon farm and ranch country. Today is another beautiful riding day, cool with beautiful blue skies and thin clouds.

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Piute Reservoir

As we continued north, the valley narrowed significantly before opening out near the town of Circleville. We rode past Piute Reservoir. As we rode past the reservoir the sun sparkled off the water making for a nice scenic view.  The reservoir was created when the Sevier River was dammed. Riding North of Marysvale, the Piute County Seat, the valley narrows again giving us nice views of the surrounding mountains. North of Sevier, US-89 and I-70 merge for the next 35 miles. At the town of Salina we left I-70 behind and continued up US-89 for 128 miles to the town of Lehi. Along this section of US-89 there are several small cities: Manti, Ephraim, Mount Pleasant, and Fairview. Beyond Fairview US-89 climbs out of the valley, reaches the summit at Hill Top (elevation of 6400 feet). The next leg of our ride descends through a canyon near the ghost town of Thistle. I really liked the small towns, well-kept farms and ranches all along our route.

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One of the many farms/ranches on US-89

At Lehi US-89 and I-15 merge. Riding up I-15/US-89 it is more populated and traffic increases a lot as we made our way to Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Riding a multi-lane freeway with a lot of traffic and pavement, contributed to the temperature starting to climb. By the time we reached Temple square we were ready for a break and some lunch.

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Mormon Temple Salt Lake City

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Mormon Tabernacle

We spent time touring parts of the Temple Square, sight seeing, taking pictures and being greeted by Mormon missionaries at every turn. The missionaries were ever eager to talk and answer questions. There was a lot to see at Temple Square and so little time to see it. The Temple is an amazing piece of architecture. I would have liked to take a tour, but the interior is only seen by the most perfect (for lack of a better word) Mormon members who are deemed worthy… The Tabernacle is another impressive piece of architecture and you can enter and tour the Tabernacle. The most impressive thing about the Tabernacle is the acoustics and the large pipe organ. It is also the home of the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Tabernacle was built between 1864 and 1867 when there weren’t any micro-phones, amplifiers or speakers. The seating capacity is about 7000, which includes the choir and balcony areas. Even though it is a very large room, we heard a pin dropped on the pulpit by a missionary to demonstrate the acoustics, while we stood at the very rear of the room.

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Lion House: Brigham Young’s former home.

We asked about a good place to eat and were directed to Brigham Young’s former home (The Lion House). Brigham Young was the second Prophet (leader) of the Mormon Church. The basement of his home is now a cafeteria. The food was good and was a welcomed break to cool off and relax. The cafeteria served many Mormon missionaries in training and their visiting families. The families were visiting before their sons and daughters were being sent out to their mission assignments.

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Salt Lake City near Temple Square

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Temple Square

After lunch we made our way back to our bikes and headed up a hot I-15/US-89 riding 37 miles to Ogden our home away from home for the night.

Tomorrow we ride to Jackson, WY up US-89. Come follow along and enjoy the ride over the next 9 days… I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…