Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 8 - Sturgis, SD to Billings, MT

All in all today was a pretty darned good day. I got back on the 300 mile per day pace that I'll need to get to Athena on Wednesday. Got on the road at 7AM and, before long I found myself in the northeastern corner of Wyoming.
Wyoming. It's beginning to really feel like I'm a long way from home.

Cloudy skies prevailed in the early part of the day. It wasn't all that warm either - about 60 degrees. I put the rain suit on early in the day. Not because of the threat of rain but because it's the most windproof thing I've got with me and it actually keeps you quite warm. In the end, it turned out that I needed it for the rain thing later in the day, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Following US Route 212 one cuts through the corner of Wyoming pretty quickly and the next thing I knew, here's Montana.

Montana. Not just "Big Sky",  it's a really Big Place!

This portion of Montana is still pretty much prairie with long straight roads but one can see higher terrain to the West. And MUCH higher is coming soon.

The long and (not) winding road.

Continuing on, the terrain looks much like this for 100 miles or so.

Higher terrain looking West.

In this part of Montana the towns are few and far between. And small. Gas stops take place at places like this (usually the only place in town.) One grade only. Dirt driveway. No credit card reader. In fact, often cash only. Nonetheless we buy what we need an move on.

Typical rural gas station. Reminds me of my Alaska trip in 2009.

Early afternoon I made a quick stop at the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, MT. When we were planning this trip, as a two rider deal, Don had looked forward to possibly visiting the St. Labre School as it is a charity that he has supported for many years. I popped into their little gift shop/reception center, nosed around a bit, briefly chatted up the folks, tossed a $20 bill in their collection box in Don's name, and hopped back on my scooter.

St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, MT

During the day's ride I was quite pleased with the bike's performance following the jetting change I made yesterday. Overall better response and less issues with plug fouling in low speed running. One thing I can't fix is the overall reduced performance at altitude. A bike with essentially no power, with that power reduced 10-15% because of altitude is still, well, a bike with no power.I was very clearly reminded of that late this afternoon when I had to go on Interstate 90 for about 13 miles. All I can say is that drafting behind trucks helps. ;)

Late in the day I arrived at the Little Bighorn Battlefield Natonal Monument. Unfortunately it was getting late in the day and I was racing some weather to Billings so I ha to pass. Next trip. Next time. It's unfortunate how many interesting things there are to see that I have to miss because I'm on a schedule.

Had to pass this up.

You can see the Little Bighorn Visitor Center from the road. Some bad stuff happened on that hill.

By the way. I lost the race with the weather. About 15 miles outside Billings thye skies opened up and I rode the last 20 minutes or so in a downpour. An hour later it was sunny again!

So here I find myself tonight in Billings. I've been watching the Weather Channel and it looks like the next couple of days will be bright, rain free, and even a bit warmer. That's good because tomorrow's destination is Missoula , MT some 340 miles distant. Then Tuesday I'll be passing across the Lolo Pass through the highest (and most scenic) part of the Rockies. When (if) I get to Idaho on Tuesday afternoon, the greater part of the trip is over. Wednesday will be a short 125-150 mile jaunt from Lewiston, ID over to Athena. But there are still about 700 miles to go so stay tuned and stay with me! Thanks everyone.

Just a reminder that there are always more pictures on my Smugmug Photo Share. To check 'em out CLICK HERE

Two Strokes Across America is powered by
Sincere thanks to our supporters including Giant Loop Moto, REV’IT, Strictly Hodaka, Bell Helmets, Martin Motorsports.

1 comment:

  1. Glad I didn't know about Interstate 90 until after it happened ;)