Not one of the very impressive days on my trip. The weather precipitation radar was showing quite a lot of scattered activity in the whole northwestern quarter of Oregon. I did have a little wish to see Mount St. Helens where that big eruption happened in 1980. This would actually take me northeast to my then position in Vancouver (yes, there is one in the state of Washington. So this plan was scrapped.
After staying in a great KOA campsite in Winthrop, Washington, I took the road across the Cascade mountains. The scenery was similar to the Going to the Sun road in Montana. Very stunning mountain scenery, lakes, waterfalls … it had everything. Unfortunately i didn’t see any bears but I was told they are frequently seen on the road. Stopped for a cup of coffee on the way and took the ferry crossing to Port Townsend.
Travel by ferry to Port Townsend. Olympic mountains not as impressive as thought but to prove me wrong would take to much time. Also the weather got worse so I had to go to a hotel for the night. The camp in Port Angeles was not really tent friendly. No soil to talk off, just a few centimetres, the coming storm would have blown my tent far away. So decided to cut my stay in the area short and took the ferry from Bainbridge island to downtown Seattle.
The previous day saw me hit the road big time as I rode from Yellowstone right up to St. Mary’s - a little town on the eastern entrance to the Glacier NP. My plan was to drive up the Road to the Sun over Logan’s pass. Unfortunately the road was closed due to all the snow that had to be cleared only to then have to do roadworks it in the few months that were left to do it in.
Day 8 was a travelling day from Rapid city, SD to Cody in Wyoming on the entrance to Yellowstone national park. Got lost a little in Worland and took an unwilling detour through a town called Thermopolis. Didn’t find a suitable camp so I took a room in a motel. And just by chance I found this charming lodge called the Grizzly Lodge in a small town of Silver Gate. This town is somewhat in the middle of nowhere, tucked between the hills north and south, Beartooth pass to the east and Yellowstone to the west.
Decided to leave most of my gear and head to the Black Hills in South Dakota to see the Mt Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorials. The first looks much more impressive when you are actully there. The second will be even more impressive once its finished … the bus guide estimated that will happen in the next 20 - 30 years. Bikers on road near Rushmore
Left Bismark in some rain and rejoined the Interstate 94, but not for long. Turned south and followed the Missouri river until entered the Standing Rock indian reservation. Soon after I entered South Dakota. You should the countryside. Nothing specific to see but a lot of it and scenery was spectacular in its vastness. The scenes from North by northwest sorung to mind as I was driving. Even got a little fed up with all the driving.
I guess a lot of seasoned bikers are familiar this skill but I had to develop it completely from scratch and it was up to necessity rather than fancying myself taking on a skill I might not use ever again. During my few weeks biking in the US this June I got quite good at it. What it basically is that as a motorcyclist you try avoiding getting wet by avoiding rainy clouds as they intercept your route.
Met some nice people over breakfast and chatted for a while. One of the ladies works as a teacher at the local reservation. Told me a scary and dad story about a little boy who was fishing in a river in the south part of the US and somebody saw the boy behaving strangely as if dizzy. The boy complained the worms were biting him. Turns out the boy thought he was picking up worms to use as bait but they were in fact baby copperhead snakes.
Not a very nice start to the day. Started raining early in the morning and so I had to pack a wet tent and everything that goes with it. The wetness just seems to impregnate everything else. Hit the road at about 7am and it was still raining then but it did soon stop. Just as I thought everything was just find I noticed something dangling from one of the bags.