Thursday, July 03, 2008

More adventures in Cody

Wednesday was supposed to be the coolest day during my stay in Cody, so I thought that would be the best day for a long motorcycle ride. But first I headed back to my shady parking spot near the Historical Center. I unloaded my motorcycle, then headed out on a long dreamt about ride over the Beartooth Pass. Unfortunately I missed a turn which would have taken me more directly to Red Lodge, MT. Instead I traveled about 40 extra miles. They were nice miles, so no big deal. Well, sort of. I eventually reached the intersection where I had a choice of going right or left on HWY 212. I chose left. I should have chosen right which would have taken me into the town of Red Lodge and a gas station. Instead, I headed south on HWY 212 towards the almost 11,000 foot elevation Beartooth Pass Summit. WOW!!! What a beautiful ride. I didn't count the switchbacks, but there were a lot of them.

You can see some of the switchbacks down below.

The weather report had called for a cool 77 degrees in Cody, with a 60% chance of rain. So, when I headed off on my ride I knew there was a very good chance I'd be hitting some rain. I dressed accordingly, and carried along with me even more clothing. When I finally reached the Beartooth Pass Summit I was relieved I avoided any rain. I had figured 11,000' + rain = SNOW!! So far, no rain and no snow. It was amazingly warm at the 9100' level,

but a bit cooler at 11,000'.

See the "Bear Tooth" to the right of the snow pole?

I headed down the west side of the summit, toward the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. I was hoping to find a gas station at the the intersection of HWY 212 and Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. There wasn't one.
I continued on my way, enjoying the scenery, stopping to put on my rain jacket, and riding very conservatively, in an effort to conserve my dwindling supply of gas.
The Chief Joseph Summit is a mere 8,060' but that's where I encountered rain and very cool temperatures. I didn't take any pictures partly because with the dark, gray skies they wouldn't have turned out very good, and partly because by then I was VERY concerned about my gas supply. I coasted down the 7% grades and slowly made my way up the steep upgrades. I was constantly watching my mileage, the hills up ahead, the mile signs to the next possible gas station, waiting for my bike to sputter at which time I'd switch over to my reserve tank, holding my breath, and trying to come up with a game plan for when I ran out of gas. I passed a few pickups towing trailers loaded down with 4-wheelers, knowing they would be carrying extra gas. the last few miles into Cody I was going 50 MPH and a State Trooper was right behind me. I kept thinking he should pass me, but maybe he sensed something as wrong and decided to follow me into town. I'll never know. My odometer read 212 miles when I slowly cruised into town and the second gas station. I passed up the Exxon in favor of the Conoco where I had gassed up at the start of my ride. I never did have to switch to the reserve tank. I filled my near empty tank, which took almost 4 gallons. It's a 4 1/2 gallon tank. I averaged a little over 50 MPG so I had 25 mile left I could have traveled on that tank of gas. I'm hoping to ride back to the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway again, on a sunny day and with a much fuller tank to take some pictures and enjoy the ride a little more.


At 10:39 AM, Blogger Diana said...

Wow, that was some ride! Great shots.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Barbara and Ron said...

A trip over Bear Tooth pass - that really does sound like a dream ride. Too bad about the gas. I've had that happen and all you can think about is your gas situation and can't fully enjoy the scenery. I never knew there was actually a 'bear tooth'.


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