A word about accommodation in Bozeman. The first night at the Best Western Gran Tree (sic) was in a modest room, no breakfast included and at a premium price indeed. My Scottish thriftiness was deeply offended so in the morning we decamped around the corner to the TLC Inn where the tariff was over a third better, but still not inexpensive. It was a shocker. Non-smoking room? Ha! The breakfast was so unappetizing we went back to the Best Western and paid! Bottom line: hotels in Bozeman are expensive, even the cheap ones! For dinner on the last night we went out of town to The Mint at Belgrade,recommended by a fellow ADVrider. Yep, good; and in the ball park price-wise.
The ride to West Yellowstone was cool, pretty and a little damp from the spray on the road from the spectacular storms the night before. Yes, you guessed it, I had washed my bike! As it was a short ride' we had an early lunch in that tourist trap that is West Yellowstone MT and took off to the Park. First use of our Annual Pass! We visited Firehole Canyon/river/falls and were really taken with its beauty- and the thousands of people wanting to swim in it!
We then decided to turn around and go north because we would be coming the some road the next day, heading south. That took us past our first thermal activity, Beryl Spring. Small, but to us exciting. What a curtain raiser to the Norris Basin! Steamboat had erupted the day before for the first time in five years and our 'evidence' of the occasion was the empty Cistern Spring.
The next day we checked out and headed back to the Park and turned south for Old Faithful, something I has aspired to visit for most of my life. It was superb to arrive and observe the expectant crowd - clearly we would not have long to wait. And we didn't! We found a couple of seats in the front row and five minutes later were treated to a stunning display as the geyser rocketed perhaps one hundred or more feet into the air. It was just beautiful, fulfilling every expectation.
Feeling very privileged we continued our journey, stopping here and there to take photos and stretch our legs.
The next spectacle was the Grand Tetons. How majestically they rise to view! We stopped at Colter Bay to take photos and then had lunch in the cafe we met Jeff and Gabriela from Texas, also on BMW GS -powered tour of the USA. (Hi guys, it was great to meet you and Idaho 12 is in our sights!) After lunch we made course for Jackson WY and at the turn off I stopped to check my map - and noticed the camera wasn't in the tank bag. I hard left in the café hanging over the back of my chair. I turned around and kinda ignored the speed limit for a while. Fortunately a chap handed it in shortly after we arrived back. whew!
On our way again to Jackson, there is a stretch of road that heads directly towards the mountains. I thought to myself, 'it is as if these mountains are marching towards us'. They are even more impressive than they are beautiful. They are just so in your face.
We stopped at another tourist trap is Jackson, where we sat in the sun enjoying a coffee (Liz) and a smoothie (Duncan), priced like a big city. Hate to think how much they would cost in ski season. After a walk along the main street which did not improve our impression of the place (although it may well be popular - the placed was packed) we arrived back at the bike to find another GSA being backed in next to ours. We had quite a good chat to fellow ADVrider Meat eater and his wife, who were on their way home to Ohio from California. (Hi guys, great to chat. Please make contact when you come to Australia.)
The remainder of that day's ride took us to Alpine WY to a clean, affordable and basic motel there ain't much choice, in Alpine WY! But close by was this diner, where guns were allowed, perhaps even welcomed; and the walls were COVERED with patriotic paraphernalia. Serving military personnel ate free. Food was basic but good and I could not resist the hot fudge sundae for dessert. At breakfast, the conversation at the next table was about guns and ammo. I figure a Democrat would suffocate to death in there!
An early morning start out of Alpine (didn't forget anything although Liz's prescription sunglasses gave bus a momentary scare) saw cool weather, only 8 degrees Celsius, which was the whole purpose: we wanted to get some good miles in before the heat rose. A petrol stop at Montpelier and then crisscrossing the state lines of Wyoming, Idaho and Utah on our way to Evanston WY where we stopped for lunch. What a pleasant little town that is. But we did not dally and took off for Orem UT, from where we write.
A comment has to be made on relative pricing of accommodation so far. This is the best room we have stayed in thus far and breakfast is included. Being a Holiday Inn , breakfast will be moire than acceptable. The price is $10 more than the dive in Bozeman, $55 less than the BW in Bozeman; far cheaper than the Hilton in Portland and the same price as the BW in Walla Walla. Finally, $60 cheaper than the HI in Missoula. There is no discernible pattern. Does any one understand this?
Our next stop is Bryce Canyon City UT, for two nights. Utah 12 to Escalate will get a ride.