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Diary 7

2 Aug.

I like Wyoming.

I thought it would be flat with straight roads like S. Dakota but I was wrong.
On the way to Devils Tower this morning was a fast flowing blast.
Get the bike to a ton and flow from corner to corner.
(There were a couple with heavy tar snake activity I backed down for).

Devils Tower it's self is magnificent.
This raw lump of ruck that protrudes from the earth.
(If you don't know what I'm talking about - remember "Close Encounters of the Third Kind")

Then a long lonely blast across the countryside.

Nearing the next set of hills, there was rain over Buffalo so I'm in Sheridan.

I'm glad to be away from the Sturgis crowd.
At a fuel stop this morning there were a bunch of guys on Harleys with all the label clothing asking things like "Do you have race underwear?" and "Is it plastic all the way through?".

3 Aug.

Got good and drunk with a Hells Angel called Greg last night so I wasn't too bright this morning.

Rode over the Big Horn mountains - and stopped to put the leather jacket on.
It's chilly at 9,400 feet.

Into Cody for a few days - want to check out the Buffalo Bill centre, take in a movie & do some exploring of Yellowstone from here.

4 Aug.

Bastard plumbing.
The mixer taps they have here ...
You spend time getting the water temperature right as you scrape your face, you spend more time getting the temperature correct for the the 'splash the excess foam off' then you lean over, nut the tap controller and instantly turn the water flow to 'searing' as your hands splash the boiling liquid onto your face.
God I love modern amenities.

Apart from that, Cody is a place that is worth visiting.

Buffalo Bills Centre is an absolute must.
It has the best history of Buffalo Bill.
It has by far the biggest collection of fire arms you will ever see (I believe it has one of every rifle that Winchester ever made - and I do mean EVERY).
There are a number of sections to the museum and every one is worth visiting (well the natural history section is a bit weak).
But forget all of that - there is a guy (George Marcum) who hangs out at the entrance of the gun section who plays the part of an army sturgeon from the Indian war era (James Madison DeWolf, surgeon, US Army, 7th Cavalry, 1876. Deceased at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana).
He is a star.
I could sit and listen to him all day, in fact I almost did.
He tells in detail how he would deal with an amputation.
How bathing more than once a month can harm you.
How he fixes folks with gonorrhoea (and every guy crossed his legs during that one).
He would never give whisky to a woman.
He played the part so well, a greying whiskered gentleman who was trying his best to save the bodies of the victims of the wars, the wagon trains and the settlers of this strange and foreign land.

In Cody they have gunfights every night.
Being the first Scot of the year to be present I got given a poster, signed by the cast, and I have absolutely no idea what the hell I'm going to do with it.

A bunch of bikers and locals I fell in with have told me that - apart from the spouting water - the best views and roads of Yellowstone are to be found north and west of here so I'm going to take their advice for tomorrow's tour.

5 Aug.

North out of Cody and onto Chief Joseph Memorial Highway over Dead Indian pass.

Even though I was hungover it was a fabulous road with astonishing views.

I could only go up Beartooth Pass to "Top of the world" as the top of the pass is blocked by a landslide & the section before that being used by GM to film a car commercial.

Back down and into Yellowstone.

At first it seems like nothing special, the scenery is not as good as other stuff found here, then the smell hits you.
This is going to get strange.

At Mammoth hot springs boiling water bubbles from the ground.
There are a number of terraces and having parked at the bottom I climbed the 400 odd feet, in extremely hot weather to find
A) there is a road there and B) the best one was the first one I saw at the bottom of the hill.

If someone here sees an animal they stop in the middle of the road get out and move towards it to take photographs - I'm sorry - what is your problem with parking.

There's a bear - oh good - I'm on a steep hill on gravel on tiptoes in the searing sunshine and ingesting sulphur, another 10 feet and you can pull off the road - LEARN TO FUCKING PARK (sorry about that)

On to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. This has one of the best waterfall views I have ever seen.

On the way out of the park a couple of bikes warned me to slow down and over the next ridge was a herd of Buffalo wandering towards me down the road.
It's a little disconcerting to be sitting on your bike with these huge smelly bad tempered ugly brutes wandering 3 feet away.

Irma hotel bar again

6 Aug.

It's goodbye to Cody - which is a shame,
and goodbye to the bar in the Irma Hotel - which is probably a good thing.
I met quite a few real nice, friendly and helpful people there - Unfortunately I also met rather too many beers.

Back through Yellowstone and south to Grand Teton National Park.
The mountains rise straight out of the water - quite stunning.

Back north into Yellowstone and to Old Faithful - which was kind enough to erupt about 5 minutes after I got there.

West out of the park and started heading north.

I got bitten by mosquitos at 'Top of the world' and my right hand is about twice it's normal thickness.
The whole back has swelled up and I can't fully close it.
I'm tired.
Hot bath and early night.

7 Aug.

Not much sleep last night - my hand is itchy as hell.

I spent this morning dodging rain showers and interstates.
I failed on both counts - not badly but slightly on both.

The strap of my right glove is remodelling the swelling and riding is real uncomfortable.
I'm not in a hurry so I'm going to have look round Helena, the Montana State Capital and take in a movie or two.

War of the Worlds.

8 Aug.

This feels like a Sunday.

Went down town, bought a book and sat in the sun drinking coffee and reading.

After lunch I did a laundry and then took in The Dukes of Hazard.


9 Aug.

Another quiet day cruising gently through the Montana hills.

10 Aug.

Woke up this morning and felt great.
I've been on a bit of a down for the last few days and I hadn't realised.
I got a surprise e-mail from an old friend from Aberdeen days a couple of days ago and just the process of bouncing a few e-mails back & forth seems to have had a cathartic effect.

Headed up through Glacier National Park.
I have been through many national parks in the US and some are pretty spectacular - but Glacier takes the prize.
I can't really describe it, the views, the scenery, mountains. You got to go see it.

I'm not sure if the 'going to the sun' road has the right name - perhaps 'going into the clouds' would be more accurate.
I didn't see much of the East side of the park as for the top third I was in the clouds and once below them you still couldn't see much.

Over the border into Canada.
I stopped just across the border to put on more clothing.
I swear the temperature dropped just as I left the US.

11 Aug.

North to Cranmore.
Cousins of my mother live there so I'm going to stop in with Joe & Pat for a few days.

Don't trust the maps here - when the map says there is a road it may not be metaled.
30 miles of gravel road this morning.
That took an hour and a half.

Diary 9