Imagine if you put a cat in a paper bag, placed it close to your head, then tried to go to sleep. Rustling, flapping, beating…. That is what our night was like! The winds whipped the tent ALL….NIGHT…..LONG! And, we woke up to more cold temperatures. The CGY folks told us that the wind was predicted to remain fierce all day, with gusts to 50 mph. As I have said before, riding in the wind is no good. Cycle Greater Yellowstone knew that many riders were exhausted and would not want to attempt the last day in the high winds, so they arranged for transportation to Red Lodge for those wishing to forgo the day. We signed up!
We arrived in Red Lodge before our luggage, which allowed us time to walk around town and sight-see. After our luggage arrived, we loaded up our things and headed back toward Georgia. We took a cross-country route via US-14 Alternate through the Big Horn National Forest. It was a beautiful road and we recommend it if you happen to travel in that area.
Wyoming and Montana are two of our favorite states to visit. We always come away amazed at the ruggedness. I always think about the early settlers who were strong enough to attempt to make a home here. Not only would getting here have been hard, but staying here would have been treacherous because of the extremes in the weather during almost every season.
Cycle Greater Yellowstone was tough this year, mainly due to the weather. When signing up, riders are informed that weather is highly variable in this part of the country and that was certainly true this year. This is the second year that we have participated in this ride and we are not sure that we will attempt it again. That said, though, the ride-organization, headed up by Jennifer, was awesome! The meals provided by Yellowstone Kelly’s were great! Creature comforts like port-a-potties, showers, baggage trucks, etc. were as good as any ride we’ve done. The SAG workers were spectacular; we don’t know how they did it all–fending off bears during the night, hauling cyclists and bikes through the snow and rain, making sure everyone was safe, flagging at crucial turns, and the list goes on! Wow! The HAM-radio operators helped to keep us all safe and are so appreciated! The beer garden (and heater) provided by Uberbrew Montana was great and we love that they donated all sales to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. The very best part was meeting new friends! We enjoyed talking with so many people, particularly Jason & Heather from Minnesota (and Australia), Bill from Sacramento, Karen from the Bay Area, John & Martha from the DC area, Isaac from Maryland (I think), John from Alaska, Stephanie and Madison from San Francisco and Portland, Patty from Alabama, Matt & Becky and Scott from New Mexico, and so many others. Our best memories are of the friendships made!