Yellowstone and Back

Earlier this year I was approached by a friend Chris who suggested we ride to Yellowstone National Park this summer.  He was putting together a group of four bikes for the ride from East TN to Yellowstone.  I immediately said HECK yes I am in, what an opportunity for me.  I have visited many states but Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana had not been checked off and this would be an excellent opportunity to add them to my list of States.  I have no claim to be a Ted Simon or a Danell Lynn but I was excited to be invited and since this was a motel trip I was in from the beginning.

Day 1 & 2,

The adventure began on Thursday June 9th with Chris and myself leaving Sevierville TN and spending the night in Deer Lodge TN at one of the riders homes, this is where Encar and Irving live, they were the only husband wife team on the trip and were riding double.  On Friday June 10th we picked up Johnnie at the Waffle House on interstate 40  and the four bikes headed west.  The first stop was Fairview Height IL which is East of St. Louis just over 400 miles from Sevierville.  On the second day June 11th we arrived in St. Joseph MO.  What a boring ride across MO.  Nothing but flat interstate.  While in St. Joseph we visited the home of Jesse James and the Pony Express Museum.



Day 3 -4

North to Mitchell SD. through Omaha NB and Sioux City another 380 mile day and lots of flat boring interstate then Mitchell SD to Custer SD, now things get interesting.  We were headed west again from Mitchell and as the first three days the ride was boring with nothing but flat interstate.  A ride through the Bad Lands  was interesting with lots of interesting formations, it would be a wonderful place to spend a couple of days with a good camera to capture a few of the beautiful formations.


A stop at Wall Drugs was interesting, like being in Gatlinburg under one roof. Lots of tourists and the food was just OK.  After riding for several hours we noticed off in the distance some dark clouds gathering.  The dark clouds came closer and closer and then we decided to seek some shelter, 0ut here exits on the interstate are few and far between so it took a while to find an exit.  At this exit there was only one structure and it was a building housing Fireworks.  Yes things that go bang.  We watched the clouds get closer and closer then the heavy rain came and we were joined by several others on motorcycles and in cars all seeking shelter.  It may not make sense now to shelter in a storm at a fireworks store but that was the only shelter in miles.  After a couple of hours of lightning and hard rain with hail the storm passed and we traveled on to Rapid City SD.

SD Tornado
Results from storm in Rapid City SD

Day 5 – 7

Custer SD.  What a beautiful place, lots of wonderful roads to ride and towns to visit.  Mt Rushmore, The Black Hills, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood,  Sturgis, Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway and Custer State Park.  The roads here had quite a bit of tourist traffic as well as local wildlife causing traffic jams.  It was really cool to ride through a tunnel and as you exited on the other side was a clear view of Mt Rushmore.  We were in the area three nights but it was not enough time to really take in all the sites that the area has to offer.  One could go on for hours about all the beautiful scenery and historic places to visit.

Needles Highway
Custer State Park
Custer State Park

I also found a coffee shop in Custer in an old bank building.


Day 8

Devils Tower to Sheridan WY.

I did not see an Aliens except for some crazy folks on motorcycles.


Day 9-11

Cody Wy.

A visit to Buffalo Bill Cody Museum was really interesting.  They have a lot of history on Buffalo Bill and a very very large collection of firearms, one can spend several hours maybe days here trying to absorb all the history.  Dinner was at IRMA, a restaurant named after Buffalo Bills youngest daughter.  Then a beautiful ride through Yellowstone to Old Faithful and lots of other beautiful sites throughout the park..  Trout Streams, Grizzly Bears and lots of Buffalo. We entered Yellowstone on 14, 16, 20 from Cody and  exited the park in the north east gate at Silver Gate.  Then the fun began, we rode 212 Bear Tooth Highway then on to Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.  What a beautiful ride through the mountains on some beautiful twisties with nice banked switchbacks.  It was a great end to a beautiful ride through Yellowstone.

Old Faithful
Buffalo in Yellowstone
Chief Joseph Highway

Day 11-15

Left Cody and headed south to Thermopolis, a beautiful ride through the Wind River Canyon then East to Nebraska.  As before the ride home was just as boring as the ride out, lots of interstate and heat, the heat was unbearable, above 90 degrees on a motorcycle is really taxing.  Thank goodness we tried to stay at Motels with a pool so we had a chance to cool off after the days ride.

A total of 4509 miles in two weeks time.  A wonderful experience and I am very fortunate to have be invited.  Would I do it again, HECK YES but maybe a little differently.  Maybe trailer to the Bad Lands then spend more time to enjoy the local towns and coffee shops.

I have lived in Key West, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.  Traveled the world in my younger days and I currently live in a beautiful part of the States but the Mountains in Wyoming will always be a special memory.

Camp Ytiliba

I was honored this past weekend to travel north to Camp Ytiliba which was held at the YMCA Camp Ernest in Northern KY with the motorcycle unit from Kerbela Temple in Knoxville TN.

We started the day at 9 AM and there was light rain in the area and as we traveled north up I75 the rain started pouring down, so much so that we had to pull off an exit and wait it out for a while under the canopy of a Weigels service station.

The rain started to slow so we divided to suck it up and head north.  By the time we crossed the KY border and stopped at the first rest stop in KY the rain had stopped and the sky’s were just cloudy.  Since most of the group were on Harley’s the group decided to stop at Wildcat Harley in London KY.  One of the riders need a new tire so I guess the old saying of why is there a Harley dealer every 50 miles?  So they can get serviced is true.   It took several hours to get the tire changed so we decided to go to a local truck stop and have lunch and gas up.

Hours later we were back on the road and the original plan to ride scenic back roads north was scrapped and we just hot footed it north up the interstate.  We arrived at the Holiday Inn in Florence KY in the evening and quickly headed to the local Montgomery Inn for a rib dinner.  I had not been to a Montgomery Inn for ribs in years, it sure was good.

Monday morning we left the hotel and rode as a large group to the camp.  This week the camp is rented to the Shrine burn Hospital of Cincinnati to provide a camp experience for patients.  About 45 kids were there and we all ate breakfast together.  Speeches were made and we made a large donation to the Hospital to help fund the camp.  Several groups other than the motorcycle unit of Kerbela made donations and they were rolled up as one donation.  It sure was a moving experience to see all these kids having fun and enjoying camp as my daughters did years ago.  I had breakfast with Brian from Canada who was a former patient and now is a junior councilor at the camp.

I left the camp as a lone rider and headed to Nicholasville KY.  It was on the way home and I wanted to see if some old friends and neighbors who still live there were home.  I didn’t have any phone numbers so I just took my chances.  Mary and I lived in Nicholasville just south of Lexington for about 3 1/2 years before moving to TN.  On the way I stopped at Keeneland to visit the track and take a couple of pictures.  Well as luck would have it  Joe Anne was home but Eddy was fishing.  We visited for a while, got caught up on all the gossip and I moved on.