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Conquering the Rockies

Ginger is ready to go! Steve called and talked me through this morning’s start of Day 9 headed over the Big Horn Mountains and ending up at Lake Yellowstone. Steve and Josh talked about taking the Rockies at a nice slow, steady pace while waiting on the signal for their class to start. Steve said it’s mass confusion as each group starts and it takes about 45 minutes to an hour each day for everyone to get sorted out and paired up with the crew they plan on riding with for the day. So, it’s kinda like a shuffle or better yet, musical chairs first thing every morning.

Today, Ian, Josh and Steve plan on riding together and Dick is joining them on the Indian Drifter. Jazzy Jeff and Brett Johnson are paired up together. Doug is up and running today as well and Marcin hopes to have his bike completed today to ride tomorrow. As they start and the sorting begins to take place about 5 miles into the run, he sees Jazzy Jeff and Brett off on the side of the road and sees that they are working on Jazzy’s electronic odometer, so it must need adjusting. He says that the 101’s are in Class II and Class III is always breathing down their neck and comes at them like a stampede, so you don’t try to stop unless you absolutely have too and you definitely don’t want to stop to check on the other guys. They’ll catch up. As he says this, he tells me that Josh has now pulled off the road, but he continues the slow, steady pace he must maintain to take on the Big Horn! Josh will catch up!

Steve says that he will have to go easy on Ginger’s clutches as he can tell it wouldn’t take much for them to let go. He has the spare motor in, so it’s a learning process again today to coax her to respond like he wants. As he starts up the first incline, he says she jumps out of second, so he’s got to hold her in gear with his knee. Also, the shifter is in a different position on this power plant than the original, so he’s got to adjust.

He says there are all kinds of turkeys along the road today and comments that he’s seen 3 roadkill coyotes the last couple days. He thought about getting a coyote tail off one of them, but decided it was not worth becoming roadkill himself! I reminded him not to hit a buffalo in Yellowstone!

As they climb to the higher altitudes, the motors get more gas than air, so the 101’s have to work on keeping just the right blend for their bikes to perform.

I got a text from Steve saying that he arrived in Cody for the hosted lunch at Hotel Irma, named after Buffalo Bill Cody’s daughter and said that it was really great. They left there about 1:15 this afternoon and headed to Lake Yellowstone, in Yellowstone National Park. I am envious of them, as no matter how many times I’ve been there, it is always changing and you always have a different experience each time you go to the park. We went through last May on our way to participate in The Great Race in California and had snow drifts higher than the side mirrors on the motorhome and we got to see a grizzly bear near the lake.

I tried Steve later this afternoon and then remembered that there is virtually no cell phone service in the interior of the park, so I haven’t gotten to talk with him tonight either. Tomorrow they will ride through the park and come out the south entrance through Grand Teton National Park and on to Jackson, Wyoming for their next overnight stop. They will only travel 160 miles tomorrow compared to the 229 miles today, but it will be a slower pace in the park with speed limits due to the abundance of wildlife and tourists, plus the awesome views and breathtaking scenery they will take in.

Currently, Jazzy Jeff is holding 6th position and Josh is right behind him in 7th. Both men have ridden every day for the full mileage, so they are doing GREAT! Steve is ranked 43rd due to his partial Day 2 ride when he blew a head gasket and for not riding at all yesterday. Doug holds 54th, Ian is 56th and Marcin ranks 69th. The 101 Scouts are hanging together and the Tribal Council is holding strong and steady for the Cannonball!

Let’s hope that Yellowstone is kind to all of them and that they can fully enjoy the beauty of that pristine wilderness. A full 101 report will follow when they come back into the modern age of technology.


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