Today was a “bad choice” day I think. Not that anything turned out poorly, but I think it was more tiring than it should have been.
Packing up the bike was much easier today; I’d taken everything off and into the hotel the night before, but knowing where things went made it much faster. I ate breakfast at the hotel and got rolling right around 8am. Temperature about 53.
I went east on 308 which was a nice, curvy road that ran past an abandoned mine, the site of the Smith Mine disaster in 1943. From there I went through Belfry (school mascot the Bats, of course!) A short run northeast on 72 to Bridger, then a turn southeast on 310 to Lovell, Wyoming. Then I picked up 14a toward Burgess Junction. All smooth so far. 14a is another of those awesome switchback climbing roads with incredible views! I was amazed at my luck, since I only chose that route because it was where I wanted to go! So I’m riding along, having a great time, estimated to arrive at my goal location around 2:30pm, plenty early to catch up the blog, or even continue on if I felt good.
This is where things start to turn a bit… Riding along I see a sign for the “Medicine Wheel” 3 miles. I figure, hey, I’ve got time to kill, that may be neat, and it’s only 6 miles round trip….so I turn in on the gravel road and ride about 1.5 miles, when I come to a parking lot and a ranger station. I park and go to the station, read some of the information and talk to the ranger, who tells me it’s a 1.5 mile hike to the site. I figure since I’m already here I may as well go, and I didn’t want to just turn around and walk away at that point. Figured maybe an hour to go out, look, and come back…turns out it really was uphill both ways, and at nearly 10,000′ my out of shape self wasn’t making very good time. When I finally got there it was really interesting and in a really scenic location. Again, though, the lousy wildfires obscured the views in haze. I stayed there for a while talking to the ranger about the site, football, hockey, my trip, and a lunch recommendation, and made the long walk back to the parking lot. I think my total time was about 90 minutes, but it seemed like I was walking much more than that!
Rode further on 14a and stopped at the Arrowhead Lodge for lunch based on the rangers suggestion. They seemed really busy, and it took an hour to get my bacon cheeseburger (rangers choice) (it was excellent). It was close to 1:30 when I left there, still having over 200 miles to my goal. After lunch the temperature had risen to about 88. I rode a bit more to Dayton, where I stopped for a Gatorade. While standing outside a local talked to me about where I was from, going, etc and suggested that I stay on 14 to Gillette instead of getting on 90 in Sheridan like I planned. I’d thought about it previously, so I thought it was a good idea. The temperature had risen to 93 now, and I’d ridden about 50 miles without stopping for a drink, there was nowhere. Finally I came up on Clearmont, where I removed my jacket shell, unpacked the Camelbak and filled it with water for the 70 miles with no services to Gillette. I doubt if I saw 10 cars on that stretch. It was interesting though.
After getting to Gillette, I did get on 90 for a short sprint to Moorcroft, where I got on Wyoming 24 to Devil’s Tower. I arrived at about 6:15pm. What an unusual place! It’s truly a place that I enjoyed seeing. I knew I didn’t have the time today to walk it, so I drove around the park looking for a place to get a picture with my motorcycle and the tower. (I know, lame) I plan to go back tomorrow.
After getting my picture, I was ready to be done. Made the short ride to Hulett, stopped at the Best Western, and here I am.
It’s 2am, but I’m current on the blog. Goodnight.
Total miles: 4238