2011 Memorial Day Ride Postmortem

Well, it’s a wrap. 2944 fantastic miles in 13 days.

Here’s the map:

In summary, Jeff and I compiled a few of our favorites from this trip:


  • Best Meal: Jake’s in Portland – Horseradish Encrusted Salmon (Jeff says it may be the best piece of salmon he’s had in his life.)
  • Best Day Riding: Day 9 – Baker City to Bend, OR
  • Most Memorable Experience: Day 3: Ely, NV – From the ER room to the old western saloons to the shuffleboard. The place is stuck in a time warp!
  • Best Hotel: The bungalow at MacMinimian Brother’s Old St. Francis School.
  • Missing Gear: The phone charger on the BMW that didn’t work even after paying to have it fixed before we left.


  • Best Meal: Dinner in Madison Camp Yellowstone on Day 7. Jeff invented the steak with caramelized onion potatoes & french onion dip.
  • Best Day Riding: Day 9 – Baker City to Bend, OR
  • Most Memoriable experience: Buffalo joining us for breakfast on Day 8 in Yellowstone.
  • Best Hotel: Hotel Nevada in Ely. For the same reasons as Jeff: the place was in a time warp.
  • Missing Gear: A better camp seat. Mine malfunctioned on day one.

As always, its hard to tell what the real impact of such a trip will be. But I’m relaxed, in a creative state of mind, and ready to get back to work.

Until the next time that I’m back out on the highway…

Day 8: Madison Camp, Yellowstone National Park, WY, to Twin Falls, ID

Being awoke by a bison running through your camp three feet from the tent is a new experience for me. I’ll be happy to never repeat it. Startling to say the least.

Fully awake, I got up to starting getting around for a quick cup of coffee when an entire herd of bison decided to visit us for breakfast. I woke up Jeff (who slept through our mini-stampeed) and we watched for a half hour while they grazed in and around the camp.





And then they decided it was nap time…



Thats when we decided it probably be okay for us to relax and have breakfast while keeping a sharp eye out.

After a couple of hours, they stirred around and meandered off.

And so we got a late start on breaking camp. It was worth it!

The ride to Twin Falls was a little rough. High winds made it a little rough to stay on the road.

After a couple of nights in the dirt, it was time to hit a cheap hotel and do some laundry while I took a business call. I’ve been out of touch a week. Time to get back to business. It delays the trip, but it’s what makes the trip possible.

Today’s Ride: 280 Miles


Day 7: Yellowstone National Park, WY

Before dinner last night I walked out to Madison Creek near the camp to see if there were any bison. It was a disappointing walk.

There was frost on the bikes when we got up. After a freeze-dried breakfast and a couple of cups of coffee it was warm enough to venture out.

While we were having breakfast, this little guy bounced into Jeff’s tent and left a present.


We started with the north loop of the park up to Mammoth. Here is a little taste of the ride…



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We had a lot of fun. And Jeff was clearly feeling his oats today!


The road was closed past Mammoth, so we doubled back to pick up dinner at Canyon Village when we were the 4th and 5th vehicles upon this accident. According to the park ranger, the guy let his right wheel drop off the edge of the pavement. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.


We were there for 45 minutes waiting on the wrecker and the (precautionary) ambulances. Jeff, being Jeff of course made a new friend with a young guy doing an internship at YNP in Landscape Architecture.

Canyon Village was a bit of a disappointment. After so much beef that we almost changed the name of this ride from “So, where we going?” to the “Where’s the Beef?” tour, they had no chicken, no pork, and only potatoes, broccoli, and beef. I can only assume someone called ahead and told them we were coming.

I bypassed camp to ride out toward the West Entrance and see if any bison had shown up while Jeff iced down the beer. We were in luck and after a couple of cold ones, hiked a about a mile and a half down the creek to get these shots.

I felt a little safer getting close this time because Jeff was wearing flip-flops and I was in tennis shoes. I figured I only had to outrun him.




We even saw a couple of Canadian Snow Geese with a gosling.


Back to camp with a cigar and the remaining brewskis, we watched clouds like these roll through for a couple of hours.


Jeff, ingenuous chef that he is, concocted a sautéd onion, potato, and french onion dip dish that was worth writing home about (even if it did take 2 hours to cook at altitude), and steaks that were amazing. I meanwhile managed not to ruin the broccoli. Too hungry to wait for photos, you’ll have to imagine how good everything looked.

This is living!

Today’s Ride: 94 Miles


Day 6: Jackson, WY to Madison Camp, Yellowstone National Park, WY

4:15 am came early and I packed up my camera and braved the 27 degree temps to watch the sun come up over the Tetons. Of course, i also took along the handy coffee maker to stay warm.

This is looking east over the Yellowstone Mountains.


Along the way, I interrupted a large herd of Elk crossing the road. Well,large to me. I’d guess there were seventy or more. One large cow stopped in the road of course. This is why you don’t speed in areas with large wild life. As I slowed down, the new pipes barked, and the herd split and started running down both sides of the highway. I’ve rarely seen a more beautiful sight.

It was quite an hour watching the sun come up on the Tetons, the elk grazing down on a flat. I’ll upload more photos later, but here are a couple of shots from my morning out.



As beautiful as it was, it was also COLD! By 7:30 I was back at the Antler Motel and in a hot shower. A two hour nap set things right before Jeff and I got out to breakfast. After which we hit the market to pickup dinner (Jeff found bone-in NY steaks on sale and couldn’t say no.)

We spent most of the day in The Grand Teton National

Jeff continuing the “Zen” series



Even taking the time to ride to the top of Signal Mountain.


Crossing over the great devide, we passed Yellowstone Lake, which as you can see is still frozen over:


Along the way, we sighted a wolf, but didn’t have time for a photo. I think I’ll keep the camera hander for the rest of the trip!

We reached Madison Camp around 6. Carrots, chicken resoto,and NY bone in strips completed the evening.

We bear-proofed the camp and racked out for the night.

Route today: 111 miles