Road down Deat Valley Decided to give it a go and hope it doesn’t bite me in the backside if I turn out to be late for my bike drop-off on Saturday I. Chicago. I decided I really wanted to see at least some of Grand Canyon and I went for it. From Bishop in California I headed southeast towards Las Vegas by crossing the “infamous” Death Valley. In fact its not that scary and there is even a small basic petrol station and motel there.
Yosemite national park I put these two together as I visited them on the same day. They are only about 4 hours drive from each other. I started the day in Santa Rosa and headed down highway 101 that leads into San Francisco over the Golden Gate bridge. The bridge always used to be a toll one as I recall but now they have a silly electronic system where your plate is scanned and then your account gets charged.
The name sounds like something from a children’s adventure book, perhaps depicting an overgrown legume, but this was an actually road-sign I saw in northern California that was inviting me to leave the route 101 and explore its mysteries. This is actually the name of a byway, a road that runs close to the Route 101 but is much MUCH nicer. The roads twists and rolls round enormous Redwood trees, which are really sequoia trees.
So now I am in lala land. OK. A bit mean of me and certainly not fair to generalise a specific entertainment made in a particular part of Los Angeles to the whole state of California. So far the surroundings are mesmerising. Its like riding in a scene of Jurassic park. Not even sure why they didn’t film the outdoor scenes here. Come to think of it, where did they film those scenes.
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