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Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument

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Devils Tower & Spearfish Canyon ride map

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Day 13 Leaving Gillette, WY early morning…

Today is day  13 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

We were up early and on the road. Another short day of just 200 miles. Our first stop is Devils Tower National Monument. We were here on a ride in 2008 and it’s nice to be back. It seems like it was last month… I was here with Larry T. and Larry C. Today it is just Larry T and me. Larry C. is missing a great ride… 🙁 I love riding this part Wyoming.

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Day 13 Almost to Devils Tower

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Devils Tower National Monument entrance

Situated in the rolling prairie of the Black Hills, Devils Tower towers over the surrounding area. Devils Tower is sacred to the Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 when Col. Richard Irving Dodge’s interpreter misinterpreted the Indian name to mean Bad God’s Tower. Maybe the tower should be called God’s Tower instead… It sounds good to me. Stupid white men…

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In the shadow of Devils Tower National Monument

We arrived at Devils Tower early morning. The air was still cool and made for a nice hike around the base. Even without climbing the tower you have good views of the scenic surrounding area as you walk the perimeter. It is an impressive sight, with unique geologic history and Indian ties. We watch more adventurous visitors climbing the tower. You need a permit to do any climbing. In my younger days I would love to climb the tower. Today we will just be observers. There are many interesting stories of former climbers. The fastest climb was just over 18 minutes… An amazing feat because he didn’t use climbing equipment! Then there was the a guy who parachuted onto the top of Devils Tower and he was stuck there for four days until he was rescued! There was one big flaw in the plan.

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Climber on Devils Tower National Monument

From Devils Tower we rode on to the town of Spearfish and rode through Spearfish Canyon. Butch Kay, an old school friend, suggest the canyon to be a must ride 5 years ago. It was a bit warmer this time, 80’s vs. 30’s.

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Riding through Spearfish Canyon

The last ride we just rode through Deadwood, but this time we stopped to have a closer look. The street was blocked when we got to Deadwood. There was a parade… For what… We had no clue… We turned down a side street and parked so we could check it out. It was the ’76 Days parade.

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’76 Days Parade in Deadwood, South Dakota

The official reason given for ’76 Days is…  “The Days of ’76 began as a way to honor Deadwood’s first pioneers – the prospectors, miners, muleskinners and madams who poured into the Black Hills in 1876 to settle the gold-filled gulches of Dakota Territory. Since the first celebration in 1924, the Days of ‘76 has grown into a legendary annual event with a  historic parade and an award-winning PRCA rodeo.”

The unofficial reason is… Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Deadwood on August 2, 1876…

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’76 Days in Deadwood South Dakota

The parade ended just as we walked up the street to it. The streets were filled with people who were there for the parade and the ’76 Days events. We leisurely strolled up and down “Upper and Lower” Main street taking in all the sights of the day’s festivities.

Afterward we back tracked to Lead, SD. We rode Hwy 385 five years ago but this trip we are riding Nemo Road to Rapid City, our destination for today. I saw several posts on the web about Nemo Road being a good motorcycle road. They were right, it is a great ride with nice scenery.

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Riding Nemo Road in South Dakota

Everything on our ride has gone as planned… until today… Because we have been riding during the peak tourist season I had made reservations at all the popular tourist areas. No problems until today… Wyndham Rewards lost our reservation at the Ramada… The Ramada was full and we could not get a room! We were not happy campers… And we weren’t prepared to be campers. After a hour or so of trying to resolve the issue with Wyndham to no avail, Ramada did help us find another motel near by. Apparently, the Wyndham reservation system did not send the information to the Ramada reservation system. Note to self: Call motels to verify the reservation well in advance of your arrival…

Today was another great riding day with more beautiful weather… 13 great days and counting. We are not wanting this ride to end… It is almost over… 🙁

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom right column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow we will be riding to Mount Rushmore and riding  Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.

Ride safe and I hope we see you somewhere down the road.

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT

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Lethbridge, AB to Billings, MT ride map

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Leaving Lethbridge, AB Canada early morning.

Today is day  11 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

Today we are riding to Billings, 404 miles of just riding. There are no planned stops except for the occasional photo, gas and food. For the most part, the trip was miles and miles of Great Plains farm and ranch land… Some may consider this boring but I actually liked it. Having grown up on a farm in Texas I do appreciate this type of living and do see beauty in this landscape. You can see for miles and miles with the occasional view of the mountains in the distance to the west. Cattle and crops all along the way. These people work hard and do provide the good food that we enjoy on our tables all across the Canada and the U.S.. If you are riding out this way it is a good ride… maybe not as spectacular as the mountains we just rode through but beautiful in its own right…

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Visitor’s Center at Milk River, AB Canada

At Milk River, AB we made a pit stop at the visitor information center and visited a bit with the young attendant who answered several of our questions. Larry asked about the town of Milk River’s  namesake. He figured it to be a big dairy area… When  The Lewis and Clark’s Expedition passed through here they described the river as appearing to be the color of a cup of tea with milk.  Apparently it looks like more milk than tea…  She also answered our curiosity about what the many fields of yellow we had seen since leaving Banff. She said they are most likely Canola. Now we know where all the Canola oil’s source comes from…

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Queued up at customs head back to U.S.A.

At the border crossing it was a bit busier at this crossing than when we entered Canada. There were several cars in front of us but the line moved fairly smoothly and quick. I was wondering if all the customs agents were so matter-of-fact with no sign of personality as this one was… It seemed Larry was taking a bit longer to be processed through. I asked him what took so long and if Mr. Personality was as personable with him. Larry said the agent was until he finished with the questions… then the agent loosened up a bit when he asked about Larry’s Victory Vision. That’s what took so long… 🙂

 

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More farm and ranch land on our way to Billings, MT

Our route today took us through another of the larger cities in Montana. Great Falls is the third largest City in the state with a population estimated to be 58,950 according to the 2011 census. Great Falls takes its name from the series of five waterfalls along the upper Missouri River basin.

Through out our National Park motorcycle ride we have crossed paths of The Lewis and Clark’s Expedition and Great Falls is another place they have been. We may need to retrace their expedition as a motorcycle ride someday. I will look into that when I return.

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Billings, Montana from cliffs over the city

We rode into Billings from the cliffs that border the city to the north and east. The cliffs to the north being 500 feet (150 m) tall and to the east of downtown, the face rises 800 feet (240 m). The views from the cliffs give good views of Montana’s largest city, which had a 2012 population of 151,882. The GPS routed us through the older part of the city to our motel. It had a quaint and inviting air to it that made me want to explore Billings’ history a bit more and check out some of the many sites in and around Billings. We will have to leave that to another time on a return trip.

Today was another good ride with more great scenery and good weather, a bit warmer today but still a good ride…

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom right column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also, please take some time and leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow will be a leisurely ride to Gillette, WY via Little Bighorn Battleground. So until then, we will get a good night’s rest. Ride safe and I hope we will see you somewhere on the road…

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell

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Day 6 Route Map

Today is day  7 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

Today we head toward Glacier National Park. 407 miles from Gardiner to Kalispell, Montana. Much of the ride was on I-90 so we made good time. Our ride took us through Bozeman, Butte and Missoula, Montana. There was beautiful scenic views all along the way. Rolling hills, prairie grassland with mountains in the distance. The highlight was riding by the west side of Flathead Lake. Flathead is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. It is clean and clear. The water is the clearest I have ever seen. You won’t believe how far you can see below the water’s surface.

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Car Museum in Deer Lodge, Montana

Rolling down I-90, we kept seeing signs for a car museum in Deer Lodge, Montana. Do billboards work? These did. We decided to have a look and we were glad we did. Deer Lodge is the home to the Old Montana Prison,  Frontier MuseumPowell County MuseumMontana Auto Museum and Yesterday’s PlaythingsCottonwood City displays the Snowshoe Creek School, Blood Cabin and other buildings. Many of the museums were housed in the old prison.

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I found Janet’s dream car…

The main reason we stopped was the Car museum. The admission (less than $10) was for all the museums. The car museum had an interesting collection starting from the early 1900’s to present. It is amazing how old cars can transport you to a different place and time. Memories… good memories…

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Studebaker Avanti Car Museum Deer, Lodge, Montana

We had a little time to spare so we did a quick tour of the old prison… When touring the prison, I thought of a friend serving time in the Texas prison system. Seeing the area with 3 levels of cells that seemed to go on forever, I imagined what the sights and sounds would have been like when the automatic cell doors opened. The clanking of the metal doors… the chatter of the prisoners… all being amplified by the metal bars, concrete floor and walls. The sounds would  have been deafening and depressing. There were no good feelings here. If walls could talk, I’m not sure we would want to hear what they had to say…

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Prison museum in Deer Lodge, Montana

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Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana

While in Deer Lodge we had a good lunch and I called my good friend Avis, who lives in Troy. Montana, to let her know we were on schedule and would be rolling into her place about 5:30 or 6:00 pm tomorrow.

Deer Lodge was a good stop and I would recommend you stop there. There is much more to see and do there… I wish we could have stayed longer…

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Heading north on Hwy 93 to Kalispell, Montana

From Deer Lodge it was on to Missoula down I-90. We turned onto Hwy. 93 and ended our day of riding at Kalispell.

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Flathead Lake in Montana

The adventure continues… Come follow along tomorrow as we ride through Glacier National Park via”Going to the Sun Highway“… Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom right column to receive notifications of new post by email. Also please take some time and leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

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Early morning north-east side on Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Parl

Today is day  6 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

Today we are spending the day riding Yellowstone National Park. There is much to see and do. The park roads form a figure 8 through the park. We rode the entire figure 8 and saw as much as possible.

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Picnic area where we had lunch in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park.  The park’s name is derived from the Yellowstone River, which runs through the park. Yellowstone  has 60% of the world’s geysers as well as many hot springs and several mud pots.  The most famous feature of the park is the geyser Old Faithful. There is also mountains, rivers, lakes and  a diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk.

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Boiling hot spring fed pools in Yellowstone National Park

These are some of my favorite places in the park…

  1. The Lower Falls: The Lower Falls is 308 ft. high and is  more than twice the height of Niagara Falls. The volume of water flowing over the falls can vary from 63,500 gal/sec at peak runoff to 5,000 gal/sec in the fall. To me it is the most spectacular sight in the park. We stopped at Artist Point to get a good view of the falls and Yellowstone Canyon. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is a sight worth seeing also. The falls and canyon are very scenic and offer the artist and non-artist goodsubject matter. It’s hard not to take a good picture…

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    Lower Falls Yellowstone National Park

  2. Old Faithful: The most famous of the many geysers in Yellowstone, mainly because it is so predictable when it erupts. You know you will always see a good show when you visit Old Faithful… There are other geysers on walking trails at the old Faithful stop. They are short walks so you may want to visit Castle Geyser, Grand Geyser and Geyser Hill. motorcycle, ride, travel, adventure, touring
  3. Mammoth Hot Springs:  The features of these springs are quite different from thermal areas elsewhere in the park. Formations grow much more rapidly  due to the softer limestone. As hot water rises through limestone, large quantities of rockare dissolved by the hot water, and a white chalky mineralis deposited on the surface.The location of springs and the rate of flow changes daily. What you see todaymay be different tomorrow.

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    Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park

  4. Yellowstone Lake: The lake is large and beautiful with the surrounding mountains. Today the lake was calm and like a blue mirror. Very little boat activity kept the waters calm. The lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park and is 7,732 feet (2,376 m) above sea level and covers 136 square miles (350 km2) with 110 miles (177 km) of shoreline. The average depth of the lake is 139 feet (42 m). Its deepest spot is at least 390 feet (118 m). Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet (2,133 m) in North America
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Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park

There are so many stops and pullouts with geysers, mud pots, rivers, lakes and if you keep an eye out there is wild life to be seen. These spots are beautiful and scenic in their own right and must be experienced to be appreciated. Words… my words can’t do them justice.

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Yellowstone River flowing out from Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park

We rode only 174 miles today… but we saw a lot of beautiful and interesting sites. I believe there is no better way to see Yellowstone than from the seat of a motorcycle. The low was 54 degrees when we left Gardiner and reached 87 degrees while riding the park making for a very nice ride. The maximum speed in Yellowstone is 45 mile per hour and slower in a few places. This made for a slow and leisurely ride. There was some construction on the north-east part on Grand Loop Road. It wasn’t too bad but it did get the bikes a bit dirtier. If you are riding Yellowstone I would suggest getting an early start and head to the more popular sights in the park. It seems a lot of late sleepers and traffic and tourist are much lighter in the morning than in the afternoons. This is a great park and a great ride… We will be back… hopefully soon.

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The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park from Artist Pint.

It was another good ride back to Gardiner for our last night there. When walking to dinner we met a nice couple from Illinois. They were riding a Goldwing trike and I wanted to know how they liked it. They had some stories to tell. I didn’t write down their names and had forgotten them(I’m sorry) by the time I got to the motel. We enjoyed visiting with them very much. The woman mentioned she writes stories for their local news paper about their rides. I told her she needs to start a blog and share all their stories. I hope they read this and leave us a comment. I would like to know how the blog is going…

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The sign says it all… Leaving Yellowstone National Park at Gardiner, Montana

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom right column to receive notifications of new post by email. Also please take some time and leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow we will be riding 407 miles to Kalispell, Montana. We don’t have any planned stops except when we see something interesting…  I hope we see you down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

Here is a slide show of the days ride…

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

The Texas Rambler Facebook Page

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The Texas Rambler Facebook Page is finally a reality. OK, y’all… After being told by many people I need a “Texas Rambler” Facebook page, I have finally given in. You can view the Page by clicking here or entering the web address http://www.facebook.com/TheTexasRambler .

If you are a Facebook member “Like” the “Texas Rambler” page to get all the updates and share them on Facebook.

Here’s seeing on Facebook…

Ride safe…