A bear ate my jerky!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BGil, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. OrangeDreamCycler

    OrangeDreamCycler ...explorer of options.....

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
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    No,
    He is waiting patiently for you
    to stop counting sheep and fall
    Into dream-land.
    Mate.........You took some excellent photos.:thumb
    #61
  2. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Belgium
    I entered in Yellowstone through the North entrance, from the town of Gardiner.

    Yellowstone NP being centred on the huge caldera of a supervolcano, volcanism is the main featured of the park. Half of the geysers and hydrothermal springs in the world are located there.

    So the name of my first stop, Mammoth Spring, is not referring to a heavy-duty progressive fork spring for an overloaded BMW. I didn’t care, I was on an overloaded Suzuki.

    On the side of the hills, hot springs have deposited over the millennia the limestone they have dissolved during their subterranean journey, creating otherworldly landscapes.

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    At places, a few trees tried to settle there, until a surge of volcanic activity heated the ground and cooked their roots.

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    The waters flow on the slopes, creating some kind of steps and pans.

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    At places, they come out of the ground, like a fetid pool.

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    Then I headed south. The road crosses a narrow valley called Golden Gate.

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    A little further, at Sheepeater Cliff, a flow of lava had cooled down while crystalizing to form columns.

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    Near Norris, another lunar landscape.

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    To the west now. At this time, all the campgrounds inside the park are already full. I will camp outside. Anyway, I bought at Crater Lake NP an annual pass; I don’t mind coming in and out of the park.

    Along the road, a few cars were stopped.
    I had been given an advice: in Yellowstone, if you see people stopped, stop too; there is probably something interesting going on.

    In the present case, this was the interesting thing.

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    I’m used to big bulls (google Belgian Blue cattle), but this is huge!

    Now he decides to come for a walk on the road. He’s getting closer. Keeping in mind the countless posters and signs inviting visitors to beware of bison and never come too close to them, I move away to the other side of the road.

    My bike intrigues him.

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    At last, he leaves the scene.

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    I took a last picture before leaving, momentarily, Yellowstone.

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    It took some times but I managed to find a campground that was not full, along Lake Hebgen.

    After pitching my tent, I got a first visitor, Dan.

    He gave me the usual recommendations on what to see in Yellowstone and elsewhere. He came to this park every year for the last 60 years, since he was a kid, and every time he discovers something new.

    Ten minutes after, I see a biker coming to me.

    This campground is now full, too. He asks me if I’m ready to share my spot with him. I immediately accept.

    He’s called Pete, age 70, retired math teacher, and comes from Tallahassee, Florida.
    He’s riding a KLR, like to one that is waiting for me in my garage in Belgium.

    Eventually, we will spend 3 days together to visit Yellowstone.
    #62
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  3. NAZM

    NAZM n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1
    _20190104_093123.JPG

    Wow! What a great photo !
    #63
  4. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Next morning, back in Yellowstone.

    Pete and I decided to go immediately to a campground inside the park and book a spot, before everything is full. It was only 10 o’clock, we found easily a site near Norris.

    Pete took care of the registering: thanks to his age, he paid half price. That means that my share was 4 $/night. Nice!

    To be more comfortable, I left all my gear inside my tent.

    First stop, Norris geyser basin.

    The different shades of colour of the water are caused by microscopic algae and bacteria, each kind flourishing at different temperatures. Some extremophile bacteria lives at temperatures close to the boiling point.

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    And here is Old Faithful: smoking, smoking a little more, then exploding.

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    End of the day, back to the camp.

    We spent the evening drinking beers while grilling bread with cheddar on the campfire. That was a good end to a good day.

    The awakening was pretty cold.
    A little haze coming from the river covered the camp.

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    Then I realized that it was even colder than I thought. I had left outside my jacket. It was covered with frost.

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    When we registered, the rangers warned us to be cautious, sometimes a bison could come and pay us a visit.

    Seriously? Well, yes…

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    We left our gear in the campground and headed south-east, in the direction of Lake Yellowstone.

    We crossed a waterfall along the road.

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    At Lake Village, I got a very bad surprise indeed.
    I wanted to withdraw money from the ATM and had the operation denied. No explanations.

    A few days before, I had moved 4 000 € from my saving account to my current account, to be safe. Thus, I knew I wasn’t broke. But what happened?

    No Internet service in the park to check with my bank. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

    By chance, Yellowstone offers many features to keep worries out of your mind. This time it was again a board on the side of the road: Natural Bridge.

    We left the bike and went for a stroll of a little more than a mile to reach the bottom of the bridge.

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    A little path climb to the top. It’s even possible to cross that arch and meet the path on the other side. Another tourist offered to take our picture.

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    Back to the road. And another roadside attraction.

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    On the way “home”, we stopped near a field of mud volcanoes.

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    Even if it’s very hot, it’s not boiling.
    The bubbles are the gases rising from the magma chamber.

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    Further, the river crosses one of the meadows that feed the herds of bisons.

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    Back in the camp, now full.

    Again, we had a supper of beers, bread toasted over the fire, but this time with a refined twist: I grilled slices of bacon on my stove before adding them on top of the half melted cheese. Wonderful.
    Of course, it’s not the dish that matters but the circumstances.

    After that, we finished the bottle of whisky that I bought in Canada, a strange clear liquor called White Owl, transparent like vodka. Weird but good.
    #64
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  5. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    First thing in the morning, we went to Gardiner, at the northern entrance of the park.

    I needed Wi-Fi or a good phone service to solve my credit card problem,
    Pete found it at the local Chamber of Commerce and I was able to connect to my bank’s website.

    Fortunately, I had simply reached the withdrawal limit of my MasterCard. A couple of clicks later, that limit was set 2 000 € higher for the next two months, and I was immediately able to get some cash at the ATM next door. Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?

    I take this opportunity to tell you about the poor opinion I have of the banking system, especially at the fuel pumps.

    Using your credit card without any kind of verification is not what I would call safe or secured. Having to verify your identity with your ZIP code (a public information!) is, in my eyes, even worse, as it means that a foreigner like me cannot use it and the business risks loosing a customer. Of course, you can always pay at the attendant desk (and having to pre-pay for your fuel was very annoying too; I can understand the reasons why they’re asking for it, but if a fuel station did that where I live, it would go bankrupt in a few weeks), but I’ve walked away from gas stations requesting a ZIP code to go to the one on the other side of the street instead.

    Why don’t they ask for the PIN of the card, it would make using a stolen card much more difficult.

    Maybe I’m just paranoid and everything works fine, sometimes things annoy you simply because they are different. Are you happy with your banks?

    Another thing that puzzled me is that I was only able to use my MasterCard; my bank debit card wasn’t working in any ATM. Yet, on previous journeys, it worked well in various countries outside of the European Union: Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, etc. I wonder why.
    Different agreements between banks?


    Back to Yellowstone.

    I entered the park for the third time and we headed east this time, to see the waterfalls of the Yellowstone River.

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    Let’s move a little closer.

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    From here, the view is pretty but it’s full of tourists (many Indians, a lot more than in the other NPs that I visited; is Yellowstone especially famous in India?). I’m sure we can find a quieter place. There’s a bridge nearby, let’s go to the other side of the river.

    We are now above the falls.

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    We chatted with other tourists and they pointed us to a half forgotten road with a nice view on the river.

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    I bet that the trees that grow on these rocks have never seen the tail of a squirrel.

    We kept heading east, to the exit now.

    That’s where we parted. Pete will spend a day or two with a friend working in the park. Me, I will explore a road that I’ve been told is one of the most beautiful in the country: Beartooth Pass.

    It’s been a long day and I decided to stop in a campground next to Beartooth Lake.

    Out of habit, I tried to bathe in the lake. No, the water is way too cold, I will just wash my feet, I don’t want the smell to attract bears (just kidding).

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    While I’m busy cooking my feast of ramen noodles, the only other camper came by to greet me.
    When I told him that I’m Belgian, he smiled and pointed to his dog: a Belgian Shipperke.

    Then I discovered that he’s also an inmate, although I’m ashamed to confess that I don’t remember his name on advrider, I've allways been bad at remembering names. Maybe some of you will be able to identify him and tell him (it’s a bit late, I know) that he left his stool when leaving in the morning.

    He’s from Bozeman, was working in the headphones industry but is now retired, and spent the last years before quitting his job preparing for a life of traveller.
    He sold his house and bought a truck that he converted into a stealth camper called “Putt”. A work very well done, I was truly impressed.

    I hope that I will be able to have the same life when that time comes for me. Good luck on your travel!

    In the morning, the bikes seat was again covered by frost. It felt even colder than before.

    The road is as beautiful as I had been told. It climbs above the snow and gives the feeling that you’re above the world.

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    The mountain looks like a plateau split by a deep valley.

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    A string of little lakes lays in the grooves of the plateau.

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    At last, the road tumble down on the other side of the pass.

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    In Red Lodge, I stopped in a tiny Mexican restaurant. Colorado lamb tacos. Tasty.

    I talked with a local biker. He advised me not to stay in the town for too long; it snowed last week.

    Beartooth Pass was only a little detour for me. I retraced my steps and crossed it again, back to Wyoming.

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    The nameless inmate at Beartooth Lake recommended me to take the Road 296, almost as beautiful as Beartooth Pass, in a different flavour.

    He was right, it’s a nice road.

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    Drier, not as high, but this dryness lets you see the barren rock.

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    Like this strange table in the valley. Is that what you call a mesa?

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    Here, the view goes very far.

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    At places, the stone becomes reddish, maybe foreshadowing the canyons of Utah.

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    Eventually, I got to Cody, the city of Buffalo Bill.

    I headed directly to the Sheriff’s office and asked to see him. Don’t worry, I didn’t have any problem: I had met him at Lake Flathead and I wanted to greet him.

    We talked a little in his office about the county and the town and he pointed me to a good place to have my tyres changed (he’s a biker too), and to a campsite with showers.

    When I left, he gave me a little Sheriff star as a souvenir. Thanks Scott!

    First a visit to the workshop for my tyres (it was easy to find, just in front of the rodeo). I chatted with the mechanic while he was working. I liked his accent. Is Wyoming considered in the Middle-West?

    This time again, the campground was located in a lovely place.

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    A shower, a quick dinner and I was in my sleeping bag. It’s been a long day.
    #65
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  6. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Great report!! Buffalo and bike picture, front page!! (buffalo wins every time) Thanks for taking us along!!
    #66
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  7. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Great post and pics! Inmate Putts?
    #67
  8. Phlyn' Phil

    Phlyn' Phil Been here awhile

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    ya it sounds like @Putts
    Great trip and pics and narrative, Following along.
    #68
  9. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly Supporter

    Joined:
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    Yes, the ZIP code / credit card thing is ridiculous. If someone steals your wallet, they will have your ID card in the wallet, which would have your ZIP code on it. Totally pointless.
    #69
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  10. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

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    I never use a Debit card anymore for gas. Only credit cards. I only use the Debit card to get cash from a bank or ATM.
    On the Debit card if scammed you have to argue with the bank to get your money back. On credit you can dispute the fraudulent charges and pay only what you used. They have to prove you received the services for which you were charged once disputed. Also the time allowed to dispute charges on a credit card is much longer than on a Debit card.

    Guess how I learned these facts about US banking. :baldy
    #70
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  11. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Could it be that simple? I hope it is.
    If you're reading this: Hi man !

    About the bank cards, if the charge is disputed, who pays? The bank or the shop?
    #71
  12. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

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    If the charge is disputed and the shop can provide a receipt or other proof then you pay. If the charge is fraudulent then the bank takes the loss, or the bank tries to stick it to the shop. It depends on the circumstance of the fraudulent transaction.

    That is one of the reasons banks charge a ridiculously high interest rate on credit cards.
    The other reason is just corporate greed.

    Week after using a credit card in Italy, my bank called and asked if I was buying airline tickets in Turkey and electronics in Indonesia at the same time. I said no! and they haulted the payments, cancelled my card, and sent me an new one. Since Banks are at some risk for the losses they watch your transaction behavior. So if using a credit card on long remote trips let them know roughly where you are going and for how long. Else they may put a hold on you card at an inconvenient time (like in the rain at a parking meter). If they put a hold it can be released with a phone call.

    Again guess how I know:deal
    #72
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  13. SteenMan

    SteenMan Adventurer

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    Brussels, Belgium
    Nice report!
    C’est chouette á suivre un compatriote en voyage aux Etats-Unis. Un peux jaloux ...
    Salutations des Flandres.
    #73
  14. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    When I went to central Asia, I warned my bank of the countries I would be going to. Just to be sure.
    I didn't do it for the US. Positive prejudice?
    #74
  15. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    Het is leuk andere Belgen hier te ontmoeten. Send me a pm next time you come for a ride in the Ardennen.
    #75
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  16. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I went to Yellowstone again and crossed it to exit to the south.
    I was heading to another National Park, Grand Teton.

    This name made me chuckle. I imagined the French-Canadian trappers, after months of travel alone, without their wives …
    So when they came across these mountains, their imagination made them see unusual things in the shape of the peaks.
    “Huh huh huh Pierre, on dirait des nichons!” “Yeah, let’s call it Grand Teton, Great Tit”

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    I wonder what their wives looked like.

    I got a cap with "Grand Teton" for my stepmother. That's her kind of humour.

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    Leaving the great tits firmly on my back, I followed the Road 89 to the south. It was again a straight and a bit boring road going through farmlands. After Afton, I left it for a more pleasant gravel road heading approximately to the south-east, called Smiths Fork Road.

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    Much better, isn't it? There was some kind of waves on the road. I was in a playful mood; I had fun jumping over the ridge of these mounds. Not for long, it wasn’t the best place to break the suspensions of my overloaded bike.

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    The road climbed up a little pass following a ravine.

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    From time to time, I passed a RV or a trailer parked in the forest, sometimes in a group. Hunters I suppose, the game was plentiful and not easily scared.

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    Dusk was approaching when I reached a wide valley covered by dry grass where a few cows were grazing.

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    That looked like a nice place to pitch my tent.

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    I woke up during the night to water the grass and heard a strange noise around me: a mix between ruminating cows and deer calling.

    In the morning of the 6th September, I left that trail and crossed the little town of La Barge, then south to the Highway 80.

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    It was as hot as in California a month before (a month had passed already!). The region was dry and empty.

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    Then at last I reached the Flaming Gorges, which became even more beautiful as I crossed into Utah.

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    On the side of the road, I saw for the first time those birds in the wild, and not in a sandwich.

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    A little further, other birds. They look a bit similar, but I bet they taste very different.

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    Just next to the road, I followed out of curiosity a little trail leading to a canyon. Too bad it was way too early to pitch my tent.

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    A last picture of the Gorges.

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    Then I rode down the hills toward Vernal and the Dinosaur National Monument.
    #76
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  17. Spicciani2

    Spicciani2 Been here awhile

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    mobile AL USA
    Cant believe you lasted on that stock seat.... I love my drz with seat concepts! I hated my seat....
    #77
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  18. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

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    I had a DRZ as my previous bike. The seat inspires one to stand on the pegs...a lot. At least until I put a Seat Concepts on it.

    I love the ride report. Thanks!
    #78
  19. Merfman

    Merfman Cape truster... Supporter

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    That seat isn’t even stock. It’s KTM concrete covered in some space-age teflon slick that is also, hard as concrete. Brutal saddle....
    #79
  20. motoqueen

    motoqueen One Life. Live It.

    Joined:
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    central Texas
    Thanks for the entertaining ride report.
    .. and you deserve a trophy for riding a DRZ with a stock seat
    #80