Has been riding for: 9 Years
Rides: 2003 Harley-Davidson Sportster
Length of Ride: ~1300 Miles (Long Haul)
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We woke up early the next morning, finished our Backpackers Delight, and loaded up our bikes for the next day of riding. For day two we drove over the Big Horn Mountain Range and down Lovell Canyon where we encountered rim-wrecking potholes and spine-shattering roadwork. We then rode over Bighorn Lake where I learned why having a windshield is so nice on a bridge with a convoy of bentonite trucks coming towards us. Sadly, I don’t have a windscreen on my bike, so I perfected the act of one handing while covering my mouth into a headwind. Once we reached Powel, WY we refueled and had a conversation about how I almost died from a pothole. We got back onto the two-lane and rode to Cody, through what I can only describe as a desert in the middle of the U.S., and ate at the Proud Cut -- which is owned by a good family friend. The next morning, after packing up our bikes, we rode to the nearest car wash so the bikes would look nice going through Yellowstone.
Now, this is where my dad’s bucket list kicked in. We entered Yellowstone Park and rode through some of the most beautiful country in Wyoming. I got to one-hand-weave up the mountains and take some pictures which, in my opinion, look as good or better than the cover of Easy Rider. I mean some of these pictures ofYellowstone lake look straight out of the 70s. We ran into our first buffalo of the trip barely past the first lake at the east entrance. There was road construction, and the buffalo had it in his mind to fight an asphalt roller, but just before contact, he veered off into the road where we decided to stop and wait. While waiting, a man behind us got our attention and told us that the year prior he was on a snowmobiling trip and a buffalo gored his guide’s sled, so he wanted us to be safe and offered to block for us. We took him up on his offer, thanked him, and went on our way. Once we reached the top of the mountain, it was picture time again, and we went on our way.
We stopped in Canyon Village for lunch where we had one of the most humbling experiences I will ever have. A little girl was enamored with our bikes while her father unlocked the car. She wanted to watch us leave and hear the bikes. If I could do this trip again, I would give her a pin off my vest.
We left the village and headed up the mountain towards Cooke City, Montana and ran into a bear and her cub. We rode past the Mud Volcanoes and The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone where tourists took pictures of me and my bike. Then about 30 Miles after turning towards Cooke City, we ran into our third herd of Buffalo. They were all crossing the road and just hanging out. After about 10 minutes of sitting, the truck ahead of us decided to go to the front and blaze a trail for everyone behind him. From the far right lane, I could have reached out and grabbed a tuft of hair. Just before entering Montana we ran into the final two bears we would see, bringing the count to four.
After riding through the northeast entrance of the park, we rode into Silvergate, MT and then into Cooke City. Now every year I make it a point to stop in Cooke City because it is my dream to live there after I graduate college. We stopped at the 115-year-old general store, and I got a new vest patch and a few other things. We had dinner at the Beartooth Cafe, which I highly recommend if you ever go through. We unpacked and spent the night in the Super 8, but if you can, you should stay at the Soda Butte. The weather was the best it has ever been in Cooke City when I have been there since: blue skies, no clouds, and above all, it was warm.
The next morning, we rode out in full cold-weather-gear towards the Beartooth Highway. The first time I went to The Top of The World Store I decided to buy a knife; now it’s a tradition for me to do every year I pass through. And I even managed to find some Sundance Kid merchandise from my home town!
WILD WEST BUCKET LIST RIDE
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“WILD WEST BUCKET LIST RIDE”
Proud Cut Saloon n’ Steak House
1227 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY
Soda Butte Lodge
210 Main St, Cooke City, MT
211 Main St, Cooke City, MT
Top of the World Store
Bear Tooth Pass Hwy, Cody, WY
6900 I-90 Frontage Rd, Billings, MT
138 N Main St, Sheridan, WY
Spotted Horse Bar
US-16, Gillette, WY
Eagle Butte Coal Mine
10023 US-14, Gillette, WY
MAD MAPS STORE
I recently got my license in April of 2018 as a 15-year-old kid, and I had just finished building my bike to what it is today. I started taking it out because I wanted to become a more experienced rider by the time summer rolled around. It was only fitting that my dad went on my first road trip.
We started our endeavor in Sundance, Wyoming and rode to the Big Horn Mountains via Sheridan, WY. Here I encountered my first freeway rain riding. However, when we made it to the top of the mountain, it was clear, and we set up camp. We brought all the essentials including hammocks, a jet stove, and backpacking meals for our first night.
Afterwards, we rode down the mountain and into Red Lodge, MT. We ate lunch at Red Lodge Pizza and bought a few patches at the Iron Horse Rodeo. We then rode into Billings and stopped to check fluids and top off at Beartooth Harley Davidson. We proceeded on the Super Slab into Hardin for gas where I got stung by a hornet under the lip and on the eyelid. I had to ride with the left side of my face swollen, and my eye swelled shut. We ended up in Sheridan, WY for the night.
The next morning, we walked around my dad’s hometown and ate at the Cowboy Cafe. Then we rode into Gillette, WY through Ucross. Right before Gillette is a little bar called the Spotted Horse. If you’re going that way, you must stop to say hello and get an iced tea like I did, because unless you go through in the winter, it will be 100 degrees. Right before Gillette is Eagle Butte Coal Mine where there is a large shovel bucket on display, and with a little ingenuity, you can wiggle your bike inside to take a picture like I did.
From there we took the secondary road out of Gillette and into Moorcroft, home of famous Country artist, Chancey Williams. We hooked left in the middle of town and rode to Keyhole Lake, WY and then to Carlile. That road dumps out at the turnoff to Hulett, home of Devils Tower, so I had to take a picture to show I was almost back home. Then we made the final stretch back into Sundance, WY -- where the Sundance Kid got his name.
We were finally home after a week on the road and a week of being beat by the elements. The story doesn’t end there, however. The week after we got home is the Crook County Fair held in Sundance. My bike was to be in the parade, but I sprang a leak on the way down to the parade. It turns out that it was coming from my oil pressure sensor. I ended up changing it out in the Harley parking lot with crowds watching, but that didn’t fix the leak. There was a stress crack in the casting where the oil filter bolts on, so I welded the crack back together fixed it myself.
And that was my dad and my bucket list trip.
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This ride isn’t for the feint of heart. Pack your bags and bring your gear, because you are going to get a little bit of almost everything: heat, cold, rain, mountains, deserts, and wild animals. Peyton’s Bucket List ride started in his hometown of Sundance, WY. Head west through the Big Horn Mountains to Sheridan, WY. Continue west past Bighorn Lake and Lovell Canyon to Lovell. Continue west into Cody, a short drive from the eastern entrance of Yellowstone, and eat at the Proud Cut. Drive to Yellowstone Lake and then head north towards, Cooke City, MT and the highly recommended Beartooth Café and Soda Butte Lodge. From Cook City, head east and catch the Beartooth Highway and make sure to stop and see the Top of the World Store before cruising into Red Lodge, MT and checking out the Iron Horse Rodeo. From there, head north into Billings and stop by the Beartooth Harley Davidson shop. Head out east and then south for Sheridan, WY and grab a bite at the Cowboy Café. From Sheridan, take the northern route to Gillette through Ucross and make sure to stop at the Spotted Horse Bar along the way to quench your thirst. Just before you reach Gillette you can take a tour of the Eagle Butte Coal Mine. From Gillette, head east to Moorcroft before heading north in the middle of town towards Kehole Lake then Carlile, WY.