We broke down our bikes just in time for the storm. The brand new motorhome gleaming with new paint and shinny lights would be our personal traveling bus as we navigated towards Yellowstone from Jackson Hole, WY. My mothers face was illuminated with a giant happy glow as we shoved everything into the bins and locked our naked bikes to the rear bike rack. This 25 foot shelter was definitely an altered style of traveling in comparison to our three man tent. But this is what my mother wanted. A simple way to visit us while we live our lives spanning the distance of the united states on our 35mm tires. What can I say, the bike tour needs to be accompanied with some family from time to time so sharing in our time with the fam was a delight for everyone.
Buffalo, hot springs, and the constant “EXTREME WARNING” bear signs greeted us along the highway. For an outdoor place that is supposed to be world class beautiful-awesomeness I somehow felt like I was in Disney Land. Screaming large busses and rumbling Harley’s were everywhere. Tour busses full of people from all over the world dumped those two legged creatures off like cattle at the popular spots. Everyone living with their eyes up to their camera lenses. I guess I am not that different with my camera but I have nine plus hours a day to soak in everything else. My camera only brings you all a fraction of the beauty we encounter. So perhaps it was the crowds in Yellowstone that made me more or less indifferent to the place but I will be the negative nancy here and say I was glad to leave that place. It was not my cup of tea. However, it was nice to be in the protection of a vehicle because by the looks of the shoulders, or lack there of, we may have turned into asphalt ourselves trying to brave those roads. I could sense my mother was not all into the place either, too many rules she said. So after the few days of enjoying the tourist life we dodged out West Yellowstone towards the open land of no place in particular. So we ventured up highway 287 which splits off the 191 at Hebgen lake. A serious shot in the dark because non of us had ever ventured out into this part of Montana but it proved to be one epic place. The large mountains, stark green grasses bleeding into the baby blue sky, and perfectly preserved abandoned cabins made for some of the most memorable photographic scenery. Mom was happy as well because there were less rules and camping felt like camping, not trailer livin, crammed into tiny square blocks.
Once we arrived at the campsite near the end of the lake the anxiety of the tourist travels dwindled and we got to enjoy a few long hours of relaxing…stright kickin back. Although it would prove dishonest if I said it was all peaches. We did have one good surprise. Knowing me I always test the limits of everything and sometimes it’s the limits of stupidity. With that said I was forced to take a fast-floating swim into the river behind the campsite when I realized Avenue was being swept down river with these big eyes staring back at me…no thoughts, just action. I had enticed her to fetch some sticks in the river not thinking I would be jumping in after her. Looking back at the two minute river ride I could not tell you how cold the water was because well…I dont remember. Adrenaline does some amazing things and also amnesia I guess. But with moments of critical action over they always turn into great after stories when everyone is able to walk away. So thank you Avenue…I know now I would jump off mountains for you.
Climbing back on to the bikes after some time off is nice for the rump but does prove to be an interesting task repacking them. Piling all our crap into tight sometimes impossible places tests your efficiency skills because as you see all your gear slowly spread out over time, bits and pieces scattered around the motorhome you wonder “How the hell did I get all the crap on my bike?” Well if there is a will there is a way and I am someone that can literally stare at bike four hours wondering what else I can sneak into the frame or on my handle bars. Melissa and I said goodbye and like many other times in the past I found myself biking away from my parents into the unknown of the open wilderness. Feelings of freedom floored through my veins. Open air and the life of 10MPH was back and there is nothing as sweet as that.
The roads up to Bozeman were wide, flowing, and truly epic in magnitude. I can only equate the feelings I feel on the road as those chills you get when listening to one of your most memorable songs. The feelings of drive, compassion, an inner quest for growth and life are a drunken blanket that you are rewarded when traveling at 10. This world is the world I like to live in
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