Badlands - July 2020 - Huskytalk.com - Husqvarna Motorcycle Forum



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  1. #1
    Daboo's Avatar
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    I belong to several motorcycle groups. The ST-Owners group had their national rally June 24-27 over in Spearfish, SD. I had originally planned to go to it, but our youngest daughter came into town for the first time since the coronavirus hit, and then we had a virtual birthday party with the oldest daughter who lives in France on that Thursday. I decided to stay home for that, and simply postpone the trip for a week. I still wanted to see the Badlands, which I had missed the last time out there. So on June 30th, I headed east.



    Day One. Seattle to Kamiah, ID.

    I had originally planned to stop elsewhere, but as I was picking my stops for what I thought I could feasibly do, I settled on Kamiah. There's a nice KOA resort there with both the campground and a motel. I stay there for a Kawasaki event, the Bun Cooler, so I wanted to stop there for the night.

    Even the open areas of the Palouse were in great colour.






    The ride over took me on Hwy 12 from Lewiston to Kamiah. It is over 60 miles of twisty road in good condition following along the Clearwater River.






    Day Two. Kamiah to Ennis, MT.

    My route would take me out of Kamiah on Hwy 12 to Lolo Pass. If you haven't ridden the highway to Lolo Pass, put it on your bucket list for when you're out this way. It is over 100 miles of twists and turns as it follows the Lochsa River.





    And then you're in Montana. You can see why they call it Big Sky Country.





    I thought for sure that I'd get caught in this one, but the storm moved on and I stayed dry.







    Day Three. Ennis to Cody, WY.

    The trip was beautiful before, but now it would get interesting. Another bucket list ride for people, is to go to Yellowstone National Park. I'd been there before, but there were some things I didn't see and here was the opportunity.

    I believe this was Gibbon Falls. Pretty.



    Next up, was the Artists Paintpots. It reminded me a lot of Lassen Volcanic National Park.







    One nice thing about riding a motorcycle to these places, is parking is never an issue.



    And what I came to see this time...the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.



    Look close and you can see a rainbow.



    Lastly, Yellowstone Lake. It is huge.



    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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  4. #2
    Daboo's Avatar
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    Day Three. Cody, WY to Wall, SD.

    There are two more bucket list rides you can take in this area. One is the Chief Joseph Highway. The other is Beartooth Pass. Stunning. Jaw dropping. Before I'd ridden over Beartooth Pass a couple years ago, I'd thought nothing could equal the beauty of the Cascade Mountain Range. All the while I'm riding along on the road up Beartooth Pass, in the back of my mind is that Carpenter's song, "I'm on the top of the world". You feel like that.

    Chief Joseph Highway.



    Take a close look at this picture. In my next life, I want to be a geologist and understand why you have so many rock formations in one area. You have a deep canyon on the right. And in the middle, seemingly tiny...but not...is a plateau.







    Beartooth Pass.
    I stopped here because it seemed like I wasn't going to escape the rain storm ahead. And it was getting cold. My last trip to Beartooth Pass was cold and extremely windy. So I put on some more clothes to get ready.



    As it turned out, by the time I got ready to go again...the rain had moved on and the rest of the way was dry and beautiful.



    There is a town at the bottom of the valley.





    Social distancing. The other bike was at least six feet away and moving along.







    And then things got interesting. I had hours to go to get to Wall, SD. For those of you not in the USA, the "city" of Wall is famous for Wall Drug Store. There are signs telling you about it a hundred miles away. If you've never been there, you have to go, just to say you did.

    I'd missed the rain all along, but I wouldn't now. For those of you who say, "I would never ride in the rain"...well, you do if you have no choice. Some would say that you'd find a gas station covering or something else to wait under till the rain stopped. There was nothing. I would've spent the night in a different motel and called myself fortunate for losing the money on the motel reservation I already had. But there was nothing out here. Not even farm houses.

    And out ahead was some of the worst thunderstorms I could imagine. My Garmin Zumo XT (and the 595 before it) has a weather app. You can overlay your route with the weather radar. Ahead of me was a massive thunderstorm, and my route would take me directly under the red area of the worst part of it. The clouds were black and you could see lightning arcing across the sky and to the ground.









    Perhaps you've heard the phrase, "the Peace that passes understanding". Well, I had that. I figured I'd either make it through, or die. Either was okay. The worst case scenario to me, was to go off the road and lie there in pain in a bunch of water with the storm going over head.

    I didn't bother changing into rain gear. The temperature was in the 90s F, and I figured that when I got out on the other side, I'd dry off pretty quick. In minutes, the temperature dropped 30 degrees. The wind came from the side and tossed the bike to the other lane before I could do anything about it. Luckily, there was no one else there. I put on my flashers, hoping that would help others see me. Besides the rain, it was so dark at 5:30pm, that it seemed hours later.

    I don't know that I've ever been in rain that hard. It didn't come down at an angle at all. It was coming down sideways, and there was at least an inch or more on the roadway. And then the hail started. Marble sized, and it stung when it hit.

    And when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. The rain came down so hard at one point that I don't think I could see more than 20 feet down the road. And the hailstones became about the size of ping pong balls. Ouch! I have a black and blue mark from where one hit. I tucked down over the tank bag keeping my head down behind the windscreen as much as possible and my arms and legs in. Why my visor or the windscreen didn't get shattered, I don't know. I figure my guardian angel was working overtime, just then.

    And then I was through. Soaked, but through the storm. I stopped at a gas station down the road, and a couple came up and asked if I was the BMW rider who had waved them by in the storm. Yup, I was.









    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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    Great photos, Chris. Except for the Grand Canyon parking, it looks like you were traveling in the wide open spaces. The weather looked nice too, except for your crazy experience with the thunder storm. Congratulations on making it though the storm.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    Day Four. The Badlands.

    This was the "reason" I took the trip. Though really the reason was the journey, not the destination.



    Obligatory motorcycle picture.



















    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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    Daboo's Avatar
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    Day Five. The Way Home.

    I decided to head home through Yellowstone again. I had been tempted to take my route north and ride the "Going to the Sun" road, but it still isn't open to the really scenic parts. And besides, there were still things to see.

    But first, I decided to take a side trip to Devil's Tower. I looked for the lights and aliens, but didn't see any.









    I've been to Yellowstone in the past, but there's always more to see.

    This is at West Thumb Geyser Basin. I thought this was it. What I didn't realize, was it extends into Yellowstone Lake.

























    From there, I stopped at another place that isn't a major attraction for tourists, but is quite nice on its own merit. Biscuit Basin.











    This pool below reminds me of the volcanic rocks you find where the outside looks crusty and uninteresting...but when cracked open, there's this beautiful crystal inside.



    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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  12. #6
    Daboo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard230 View Post
    Great photos, Chris. Except for the Grand Canyon parking, it looks like you were traveling in the wide open spaces. The weather looked nice too, except for your crazy experience with the thunder storm. Congratulations on making it though the storm.
    Most of the time was in wide open spaces. Even in Yellowstone, people were pretty much staying apart. Families of course would be grouped together. But on a trail for instance, someone would step to the side, and many had face coverings, even though they were outdoors and there was some wind moving the air away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunther View Post
    ...By the way, how do you choose the places you visit, or you ride to?
    It would've been so easy to stay home. I'm glad I didn't. As you read above, I hit a horrendous thunderstorm. On the last day, I hit winds that were that bad again on the plain above the Columbia River that was pretty bad, and going through Ellensburg, I tucked next to a semi and stayed in his wind shadow through some bad winds. Hiking in the Badlands was exhausting. The temperature was at 102F at one point.

    It sounds bad...but it was all bearable. And I have experiences now that I will treasure in years to come...and I wouldn't have those if I stayed home sitting in front of a computer screen.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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    I enjoyed the virtual trip, thanks!
    07 F800 ST 

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    Great job, Chris. Wonderful fotos and some interesting narration. Glad you shared with us.
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  17. #9
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    Stunning pictures Chris! I wish I could ride on one of these roads one day...

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    I agree. Thanks for sharing the captioned photos of your trip. I have never been to Yellowstone, just to Lassen, which as you know, is like a mini version of Yellowstone. However, I have ridden over Beartooth Pass. Unfortunately at the time the pass was completely socked-in and all I could see was my front wheel.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  19. #11
    Daboo's Avatar
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    Beartooth Pass is stunning and one of those rides you want to do if you are anywhere close. But you have to be prepared. The first time I did it a few years ago, it was cold and windy. I both appreciated the beauty and road as I went through the many switchbacks...but also was very happy to get off it. If you can catch it on a day like I did this time, it is truly marvelous.

    The Wikipedia article on the pass, says the pass is high enough to get snowfall, even during the summer months.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

  20. #12
    Melbourne, Australia IanA is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Just brilliant report, Chris! That trip will be one to remember for all time, I bet.
    Nowhere to hide from the hail on a bike, eh? Could have been worse - if you had been hiking without a helmet...
    Astonishing photos! Thanks again.
    Ian A

  21. #13
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    I really appreciate your detailed posts and the excellent pictures. Than you for sharing your trip.
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  22. #14
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    Nice trip summary.... Excellent (journalistic quality) photos and explanations! Kudos for going and not wimmmmping out. I can vouch for wikipedia on Beartooth Pass. I had to pull over because of 1/2" deep hail on the road in early August. We had to wait for several vehicles to pass so we had tire tracks to follow before we could keep moving.

  23. #15
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    As the others have said, great pictures and write up.
    I wasn't impressed with the Lolo Pass. Not twisties as such more like gentle curves and posted 55 mph. Just enough trees river side to not give much of a view of the river. The Wyoming section is more prudently posted at 70 mph. The Bear Tooth is a keeper. Loved the 70 mph signs up top. Unfortunately the fires in Yellowstone years when we were there obscured the view.
    Haven't had a decent road trip in a couple years. I'm jealous.

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