Monday, August 29, 2016

NW Wyoming Scenic Mountain Routes for Motorcycles

I've been "itching" for a long day ride on the 1977 Gold Wing for a couple months, but the front brake calipers were sticking. I finally got off my rear and ordered a couple of caliper rebuild kits which arrived last week. Late Saturday I decided to tackle the rebuilds. Everything went without a hitch and in a couple of hours I had functioning front brakes. Had it put together just before dark in my outside "garage".
Prepared the bike late Saturday and hit the road at 7:20 AM Sunday AM without knowing where I was going. Decided to plan my route "on the fly"....
NW Wyoming, heading South, sounded good as the early sun wouldn't be in my eyes.

Stopped at the junction at Fort Rockvale MT. for my first major route decision of the day....Life is a Circus?


Wyoming Highway 14 beckoned me so off to Greybull Wyoming I went. Stopped in Greybull for a quick fuel up and a massive breakfast burrito.....the "gas station burrito" left a lot to be desired....even the hot sauce sucked. But it filled the void. Typically, "gas station burritos" suck...this one was no exception.


Some minor clouds and a LOT of smoke in the air all day. The old bike hit a steady 42 MPG all day long which gives me a total range of 200 miles with the 5 gallons. I have a pair of  one gallon saddle tanks, which replace the side covers. That will boost my range to 280 miles. I will prepare them this Winter and mount them. They are massive tanks and somewhat "angular" which will look a little strange on the bike.  Guess I don't really care what they look like but the maroon (purple?) paint needs to come off first....then a little aluminum fill repair.


Just before Shell Wyoming...looking up towards Shell Canyon.


Red sandstone lump....


Part way up Shell Canyon I stopped for some photos...the above and four photos below are at the same location....kinda gives a panorama of the awesome place....





I covered the next 30 odd miles quickly to Burgess Junction and stopped at Bear Lodge for a quick break. A few other MT. bikers were also there. I thought I recognized one of them, but couldn't place him....right after they pulled out I realized one of them was an old acquaintance that I hadn't seen for 30 years....just didn't recognize him right away....leaving there I was initially headed down the mountain to Dayton WY....but then something inside overtook me and I did a u-turn in the highway and headed back to WY Highway 14A....this mountain road parallels Highway 14 and comes out in Lovell WY.... Don't know why I turned around but I don't question such snap decisions....just meant to be. 


14A is a great mountain road...about 15 miles of variable 10% grades down the mountain....got behind some older / slower riders and followed them a while as passing wasn't safe. One old fellow looked pretty shaky on his loud Harley....he "squared up" most of the curves / corners. Made me nervous watching him....when I finally was able to pass he disappeared quickly in the rear view mirror. 


Next way point was Powell Wyoming for fuel and refreshment. Decided to take a 19 mile back road I'd never traveled over to Belfry MT. But when I got to the next junction, my bike turned back South towards the Chief Joseph Highway....what the heck it was only 3:00 PM so I had plenty of time for Chief Joseph and then the Beartooth Highway. That stretch would be around 165 miles to the next gas station, within 35 miles of my 200 mile maximum limit. Since gas consumption was stable I knew I'd be fine. 


Top of  "Dead Indian Hill" looking into the Sunlight Basin. Great set of roads ahead...I've ridden it once this year already....time to go again!



Looking SW





Clark Canyon  / Sunlight Basin


Eerie view of a smokey Pilot & Index Peaks.


Stopped at Beartooth lake for 1 minute and a couple photos....temps dropped quickly and the riding jacket liner had to be zipped in. Probably only in the high 40's / low 50's going over the Beartooth Pass....I did not stop for any photos for the remainder of the ride.....focused on getting over the top and down the hill....Arrived in Red Lodge MT at 5:30 PM and took on 4.1 gallons of gas....surprised I didn't have to go on the reserve tank petcock setting....supposed to be a one gallon reserve.Must have been real close. I noticed a faint "bird" sound coming from the lower front of the engine. Figured one of the cam belt idler rollers was going....not much I could do but keep going. Ran 35 miles and stopped.....noise was gone.(?) Still completely quiet when I got home. I'll check them out closer this winter in AZ. as long as the noise doesn't reappear. The idlers were replaced less than 10k miles ago so I'm not too worried. 

A great ride and I covered 452 miles per my odometer....bike never missed a beat. 
I see the National Gold Wing Riders Association is having their National "Wing Ding" in Billings this week.  They say 11000 - 12000 riders are supposed to attend....that's a LOT of Gold Wings. Working 10 - 12 hours a day doesn't leave much weekday time but maybe I'll try to check it out if I can.  Most the later model Gold Wing riders seem to "look down their nose" at first generation Gold Wings like mine from my past experiences....But then I guess it doesn't have 150 pounds of chrome, 250 pounds of farings, and 50 pounds of lights....lol

1 comment:

Charlie6 said...

Good ride report, seems things are a bit hazy up your way.

The shadowy outline of Pilot Peak reminded me of my ride into Montana and riding the Beartooth Highway and Going to the Sun Highway later.

As to the owners of newer goldwings looking down their noses at earlier generation versions, they're just mad because you're riding something just as good but without the extra tonnage.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.