Monday, July 20, 2009

AK '09 - Day 30

This morning we slept in and didn't get started until 8 o'clock. Lydia had already gone down to the the lobby to discover that they didn't really have a good breakfast. But she did snag several packets of hot cocoa for our hot cocoa and Crown drinks. We decided to go down town to a cafe for breakfast. Reagan took the driver seat.

Breakfast was good, service was fair. Afterwards we mounted the bikes and I took the rider position as Reagan wanted to get some pictures. The plan was to go to Mammoth Hot Springs and then go east across the top of the Grand Loop to Tower Junction. The first sign of a challenge was when we had to wait in a line to get into the park.

When we got to Tower Junction I needed a bathroom break, then we headed north to Cook City. We ran into road construction along the way which resulted in a 20 minute break. Then we continued along on US 212 to Top of the World. We didn't stop but kept going to the scenic outlook which allowed us to see Beartooth pass before transcending it. Pictures were taken and then it was time to go down the pass. It was decided I'd go first to set the pace.

I pulled out of the overlook behind an SUV and took the first chance to pass them. I wanted to see what the Spyder would do and really pushed it. No matter what I did with the Spyder, it would stick to the road like we were on rails. I was the limiting factor in the corners, not the Spyder. The engine had lots of torque when I wanted to roll on and plenty of compression when I needed some engine breaking. It was great!

When I got to the bottom I found a pull out spot and turned around to wait for John and Lydia. They caught up just a few seconds after we turned around. Then we did the pass again, only this time we were climbing when entering the curves and the pace seemed a lot quicker. When I got to the top I found another pull out and waited. John and Lydia got hung up behind a SUV. Once I saw them, I pulled back out and continued along Beartoothe Highway toward Top of the World where we planned to get gas and lunch.

Reagan and I stopped off at the western summit to get an elevation photo, with a little effort we have a photo of the GPS reporting 11,000 feet on the pass. Woohoo! We continued heading toward Top of the World to catch up with John and Lydia since they passed us while we were getting our photo.

I pulled up to the gas pump and filled up. Then we found out there wasn't an actual restaurant there but they did have a gift shop/copnvenience store so we found crackers, cheese and salami. We went outside, sat down in some chairs and enjoyed a nice lunch with a great view.

After lunch, we geared up and proceeded to leave. Reagan decided she was going to be the rider for a while so I took the co-rider spot. The first thing she had to contend with was a little construction but that didn't slow her down a bit. She managed the construction just as easily as she managed the curves. She was finding her groove with this bike.

Meanwhile I was on the back snapping pictures and taking video. Here she is riding the Beartooth Highway. There's a video, but I can't seem to get it uploaded to YouTube.

We entered into the park again and speeds slowed down due to traffic. The decision was made to go to Tower Falls. We checked out the falls and then Reagan resumed the rider position. I figured I couldn't say much since she let me ride Beartooth pass in both directions and it is her bike. I did get to see some great scenery along the 90 miles of being a co-rider today and even managed to snap several photos along the way.

When we got back into Gardiner, we unmounted and went to the rooms. After a few toties, we walked across the street to a burger joint and enjoyed some really large burgers. I ate so much I was really uncomfortable. Afterwards, I walked to the liquor store to get some Crown and Moose Drool. Then we went back to the room for a little planning of tomorrow before calling it quits.

Reagan is rocking as the rider. I feel really comfortable in the co-rider position and it's nice to be able to swap out with her. Seeing the park on 3 wheels alleviates a few challenges on 2 wheels while still giving us the thrill of being on a motorcycle. I'm not ready to give up my GS, but it's a great way to see National Parks.

Tomorrow night I won't have internet as we are staying at the Old Faithful lodge. It's a small price to pay for getting to see Old Faithful late at night. I hope.

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