Friday, July 08, 2011

The Montana Trip - Day 1

Today was the first day of a motorcycle/car trip to northwest Montana and the Glacier National Park.

My family, in the car and me on Vikki the V-Strom Sidecar rig, took off from our home at 06:05AM and took mainly superslabs out of the great state of Colorado, heading north into Wyoming.

As I neared the border, I realized this was the first time I'd ridden Vikki across the state borders!  As I took this picture below, I also thought I'd made it farther out of state than last Fall when I'd attempted a ride on Natasha, my Ural Sportsman sidecar rig to Monument Valley!

Along the way out of town, I discovered something.  If you get your wife a car crafted by the Teutonic elves of Bavaria, and it comes with a 4.4 liter V8 engine and finally it was designed to effortlessly cruise the no-speed-limit parts of the famed Autobahn.....she's bound to like using the accelerator!

Despite the sidecar attached, my V-Strom has a damn good power to weight ratio with its powerful 1000cc engine.  Yet I was finding it hard to keep up with the X5 Bimmer SUV she'd recently acquired, replacing the Pontiac Montana minivan she'd driven for over 12 years.

The winds of Wyoming, where gas mileages go down the toilet.  My V-Strom tends to average around 34-36mpg, but with the strong head and crosswinds I encountered through damn near the entire day of riding in Wyoming caused my MPG to fall to 26 MPG!  These same winds caused, depending on which direction they hit me from, caused different parts of the rig to drag as if things were not aligned correctly.  So there were long stretches where I was fighting a tendency of the rig to track to the left or to the right.  Kind of tiring in a way but nothing I could not handle.

Still it made for a long day.  The banality that is Wyoming scenery along the interstate highway and the WY state road 20 all the way to Shoshoni didn't help time pass either.

North of Shoshoni though, and before Thermopolis, there was a brief stretch of very scenic canyon walls formed by the Wind River, all contained within the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Not many pictures though, it was either no safe place to stop or damn cagers following so close I could not stop slow to stop.  Still, I managed one stop:

I'll have to see if my return path back to Colorado takes me through this canyon again, some of its rocky formations were quite beautiful.

It was hot and sunny most of the way through Wyoming but bearable for the most part.  11 hours of riding/driving later, we pulled into the tourist town of Cody, Wyoming where we were staying the night.

One note about evening entertainment in Cody, during the summer months, the Irma Hotel (of Buffalo Bill Cody fame) sponsors a "western shoot-out" skit.  We thought it'd be good entertainment for the boys.  I recommend you skip it if ever in Cody.  It was a bit "hokey", though the gun noises were quite loud, none of us were impressed.

507 miles ridden by Vikki today, she did absolutely awesome, pulling strongly whenever I needed her to do so.  Keeping up with traffic with no issues except lousy mileage when going faster than 75 mph.  Whether it was because during that same period I was fighting strong winds, not sure.  More riding tomorrow, with the main objective being Beartooth Pass!


RichardM said...

I've enjoyed that stretch of highway south of Thermopolis. I spent about a month there doing field work and we went through that canyon just about every day.

Did either of your boys opt for the sidecar instead of the car? Looking forward to your posts and pictures.


redlegsrides said...


Miles was with me as we reached Colorado/Wyoming border but the winds had been beating him up so I sent him to the cage.

Patrick rode with from Thermopolis to Cody.


Steve Williams said...

So the adventure begins. You don't mention how often Martha considered pushing the accelerator a bit further and leaving you in the dust.

The riding contrast between the motorcycle/sidecar and the SUV could only be more start if you had a scooter as tug.

The Wind River area looks beautiful. Looking forward to more pictures. We see nothing like it around here unless you count evenings at home with an old copy of National Geographic.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Unknown said...


they say that Beartooth Pass is very cold at the top, you may need heated gear. Glad to hear that Vikki is performing flawlessly. Happy to see you enjoying your vacation

Riding the Wet Coast

Gary France said...

I am somewhat behind in reading blogs, so I have only just got to your Montana Trip. I thought it a great idea that Martha and the boys came along in the car, allowing it to be a family trip but at the same time you can ride your bike! I saw the gunfight show at the Irma and while it was a little silly, I enjoyed it. I guess that is what being a Londoner does to you, especially when it comes to guns that we never see back home. Okay, going to read day 2 now....