12-29-2013, 05:28 PM
Ridin' in MT
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Eastern Montana
Continental Divide and More: The "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
Hauling the Mail
Ah, finally done with personal business, time to hit the road. Looks like I will have nine days to explore various roads. With everything packed, the bike and I hit the road at about 8:30. The bike has 28,530 miles on the odometer.
This Map allows you to see the whole trip. Green tracks are routes we planned ahead and red is the actual track from the GPS. In this case, red and green make dark green, so the dark green lines are places we followed the planned track. Makes perfect sense, no?
Prairie to the Yellowstone
Itís about 700 miles to Steamboat Springs CO where I want to meet up with friends from Glendive who are already riding. This will be a long day, so I leave late, and immediately head down a gravel road. Itís a beautiful day, take advantage of it, I thought. Turns out to be almost prophetic.
The gravel road rolls south over hills and prairie with some very nice vistaís. The view down this valley gives you a glimpse of the Yellowstone River; probably 5 miles from this point. The Big Sky is on display also this morning, adding its endless azure tint to the picture.
Ismay, Montana. AKA Joe
Ismay is one of those little one horse towns that have no real reason to be out here. Itís a rail siding town along the track from Miles City MT to Mobridge SD, an old freight supply route for Fort Keogh. No highway, just a gravel road from Fallon to Plevna. Ismay made a brief splash in the news back in the late 80ís trying to capitalize on the then 49er Quarterback by briefly changing the town name to Joe, and get some press as Joe, Montana. Wheat harvest was wrapping up in this area as indicated pile of grain outside an older elevator which doesnít have rail loading facilities. I snapped a couple of pics and then kept moving on.
Knowlton is another little oddball in the area. You are driving along normal prairie and badlands when you come up on these pine covered hills. They are kind of like the Long Pines or Black Hills plopped down here a few miles from the Powder River. Nestled in theses hills are a couple ranches and an elementary school. Somewhere around here I nailed a prairie chicken with my hand guard. :-(
After Knowlton the road drops down off the bench and into the Powder river valley. With the rain this year, things were still green and the view was pretty amazing. Here is my feeble attempt to capture this with a digital camera.
There is a bridge down here that crosses the Powder with the Mizpah school just up the hill on the west side. Before the school there is a road that follows the west side of the river to Broadus where I wanted to get fuel and lunch.
Sometimes the weeds get pretty bad along the sides of these roads and itís necessary for the counties to mow them before winter comes and the snow blows into the road. I encountered a first for me, a motor patrol with a wing mounted mower; it seemed to be a little unwieldy but was getting the job done. As the road was an improved 2 track, I had to wait for him to pull off at an approach before I could pass him.
At Broadus I got fuel and a fresh made sub sandwich at Aldermanís fuel. As I ate the sandwich outside a group of cruisers from Salt Lake City came in and fueled up, leaving in a staccato burst of exhaust.
Upper Powder, Wyoming
After Broadus you continue south on the west side of the river to a little town (three houses) called Moorehead right by the Wyoming border. As you continue south ďupstreamĒ the hills take on a reddish hue and the water meanders a little slower as the river becomes smaller.
It is out here that an antelope decided to out race me, and did a last minute course correction as he came up on the road and hit my footpeg and rolled under the rear wheel. That course correction probably saved both of us, as he just bumped into the side of the bike, rolled over, and ran off into the sage.
I continued on the Upper Powder River road past Arvarda to the I-90 interstate. At this point the road the road dead ended so I road west towards Buffalo looking for a road south. Finally I hit one and rode along stopping briefly at a marker for the Bozeman trail. Then I hit the highway to Kaycee.
I stopped for gas and as it was getting late decided I better stay on the highway the rest of the way to Steamboat Springs. Rather boring trip of another 350 miles of highway added to the 350 miles of gravel roads I had covered in the morning. There was a little rain at Rawlins which was an ominous foreboding. I ended up at Steamboat at midnight with my phone dead and no way to contact the crew, so I got a room at the LaQuinta and went to sleep.
Stats for the day: 723 Miles, 8:30 am to 12:00 midnight