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December 2012 Club News

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Bears, Bison & BMW

By Antoinet Glazema

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Antoinet and Ronnie at Bonneville Salt Flats
          International Speedway.
After a night at the Polson rodeo we woke up early because the sun was shining right into the tent. It got pretty warm that day and it was great to walk around in T-shirts and shorts. We decided to stay another night and explore the area a bit more.

Kerr Dam, Montana.
Checked emails at the local library (for free at all the libraries we went) and went to the Kerr Dam.

Bison hat in shop - it fits sir perfectly.
The next morning it poured down with rain, packing up in the rain isn’t much fun but it wasn’t cold which was good. We rode to the national Bison Range but were very disappointed when we were told there are no motorbikes allowed in the park. The road (90 miles of gravel) is pretty rough and the bison can be pretty dangerous.

We kept going and had some lunch near a river. There were a lot of trout fishermen around. We watched them for a while and packed up again to keep going. Suddenly Ronnie spotted the rear tyre was pretty flat. He decided to head back to the small town we had just come through and pump it up. I stayed behind and when he got back he told me it would be better to stay in town tonight and wait for the motorbike shops to open again the next morning (it was Sunday).

We put up our tent at the local caravan park ($16) and Ronnie took off the next morning to get an inner tube and also bought a little pump you can attach to the battery. The weather was beautiful and the road great. We rode through small villages and saw a lot of amazing log cabins/houses along the rivers.

We came through Nevada City and Virginia City. Both little ghost towns with a lot of history. That evening we camped near West Yellowstone. ($16 per night) We booked the site for 3 nights so we could explore Yellowstone national park. The night before we arrived there was a grizzly bear in the campground. They’ve got food lockers here and the bear could smell something.

Some campers had woken up and had made lots of noise with pots and pans to chase the bear away. The food lockers were right next to our camping spot, I didn’t sleep much that night.

Elk in Yellowstone National Park.
Rode into West Yellowstone the next day and I spotted about 6 bison near the ranger station (only 200 meters from the town). We stopped and took some photo’s. In the park we saw elk and deer. A lot of cars had stopped for a bison who walked on the road. He walked past a Harley with a trailer and stopped, the bison nearly had a go at the trailer. The people on the bike nearly pooped themselves, he was that close to them. Luckily nothing happened, Ronnie watched the bison closely and went around the cars to avoid the big beast.

The next day was the 4th of July, American flags everywhere. We left the campground early to do another big ride through the park. The morning was freezing cold; we only found out once we were on our way and didn‘t want to go back and get more clothes. We had to stop every couple of kilometers to get our blood flowing again, it was that cold.

Old geysers in Yellowstone.
We went to see the geysers, the old Faithful had just done its job but was still spraying lots of water and steam up in the air. Amazing scenery and beautiful waterfalls. Lots of wildlife too, we saw a black bear with her cub climbing the hills and there were hundreds of bison.

Parade in West Yellowstone.
Back in West Yellowstone we went to the IMAX theatre and watched the Yellowstone movie. That night we watched the 4th of July parade and we heard the fireworks that evening when we were back at the camp.
The next morning we packed up to leave the park. We put on all the clothes we could find, we had to go over a 8,262 feet pass today so I’m sure it would be cold again.

After about 100 kilometers we had a coffee stop to get warm. There were lots of rangers who were going to maintain the tracks in Yellowstone. They can only get to these tracks by horse and they were spraying mosquito spray onto the horses. The mozzies were thick here, they were zooming around us too and they just sting you through your jeans.

We were now in Wyoming and rode through Grand Teton National Park. There were bushfires somewhere though which was a real shame. Grand Teton is 13,700 feet high but covered in a haze from the fires. We had lunch in Jackson at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

Jackson is a real western town and very famous and busy. Later that day we rode into Idaho and got absolutely drenched. It was bucketing down with rain and we decided to book a motel. We looked for one in a small town called Soda Springs but didn’t like the feel of it. We rode another 50 miles through the pouring rain and stopped in Preston for the night. Turned the air conditioning on hot to dry all our clothes.

Warm and sunny the next morning. We took all the small country roads into Utah and that’s where it got a bit remote. Sometimes 75 miles between small towns, it got pretty hot here too. We rode 70 miles in Nevada and back into Utah. We were very excited when we saw the salt lakes in the distance.

Antoinet wonders what Bert Munro felt on the salt
We stopped at Bonneville Speedway where in 1967 Burt Munro rode the worlds’ fastest Indian at 183 miles per hour. A bright yellow Chevrolet Corvette came back from a run on the lake. We had a chat to the guy and he told us he had done 208 km per hour. The car was absolutely covered in salt, Ronnie really wanted to take the BMW on the lake but after seeing the car he gave it a miss.

In the distance we saw a four wheel drive car bogged in the salt lake. No idea how they were going to get him out, it looked pretty serious. We rode towards Salt Lake City. It was stinking hot by now and for 40 kilometers we rode between salt lakes, nothing but salt. We stayed near a canyon that night, it was very busy; Friday night and everybody had left the city to go camping.

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