Friday, June 15, 2007

Summer 2007 Tour - Day 06

Day 06
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Custer, SD to Cody, WY
434 miles

After lots of “Goodbye’s”, “Ride Safe’s”, and “Have Fun’s”, I rolled out of the resort and what felt like another beginning to my trip..

Just outside Custer, US16 narrowed as it went through Jewel Cave National Monument. Due to traffic and lack of shoulder, I didn’t feel safe stopping for pictures.

It was safe enough, but I didn’t feel inspired to stop for pictures on US16 after crossing into Wyoming. (I missed the border crossing while passing some RV’s)

Feeling like my planned route was less than interesting, I decided on the spur of the moment to swing north to Devil’s Tower. I had been there two years ago, but the R1200ST had never seen it.

US14-Alt to Devil’s Tower was fun and scenic.

Next I hopped on I-90 to express back to US16 out of Buffalo.

There are essentially three popular routes between I90 and Cody: US14A, US14, and US16. I did US14A two years ago. Dad has always raved about US16 through Ten Sleep canyon, so I decided to give it a try.

I was wondering about my decision about fifty miles out from Buffalo when I started getting pelted with advertisements for US16. “Most Scenic! Shortest Route to Yellowstone! Least Grade!” All those things might be nice in a car, but to a motorcyclist they evoke thoughts of slow-moving traffic and boring roads.

I decided to stick to my route, figuring that I will probably be back to try US14 in the next few years anyway.

The Cloud Peak Skyway climbs out of Buffalo to scenic Powder River Pass at 9666 feet. The air was crisp and smelled of pine trees and wildflowers.

I was stopping often for pictures. I played leapfrog with a couple of fellow travelers who were doing the same. At one point, one of the drivers asked me “Is that stuff against the fences SNOW?!?!” With car license plates from Florida, I decided to excuse him.

The byway then descends into Ten Sleep Canyon where I was delighted to find colorful high rock walls and long sweeping turns.

Out of the mountains, I stopped at a rest stop about fifty miles from Cody. A aviation museum, next door provided a photo op.

Approaching Cody, I waffled between finding a hotel room and finally managing to use my camping gear. The KOA appeared and the driveway looked paved. I turned in and parked in front of the office next to a very recognizable Honda Blackbird. Birdrunner and his fiance were just checking in. I checked with the office to make sure it was ok, and followed them out to split a $32 campsite.

Ninjagirl and her other half rolled in several hours later. Between the STNers and two cruiser riders who were also in the campground, we had quite a group roasting marshmallows over the fire and telling tales. After so much solo travel, it was admittedly very nice to have a group to chat with.

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