Chief Joseph’s Highway & Beartooth Pass

I got so caught up photographing and exploring Yellowstone, that I was running out of daylight by the time I left the park.

Here are a few more shots leaving the park.

I risked life and limb for this shot. Crawled over the barrier, reasoning that my motorcycle gear would protect me if I fell to my doom.

This place is truly breathtaking…

Yellowstone has a lake so large it has waves and looks and smells like the ocean.

I’d never seen anything like it.

I saw a waterfall being born.

Goodbye Yellowstone…

I headed West seeking a campsite…



…but had run up against a bit of an issue. I had zero cash, but couldn’t seem to find an ATM or a camping site that took plastic. I got turned away one after another and was starting to get concerned. I finally ventured up a dirt road to a construction gravel pit, toying with the idea of stealth camping there, when I spotted a rider stopped off the main road, examining his map. I rode down the hill and pulled up next to the chromed out Harley Davidson. The rider was a Native American war veteran (as proclaimed by his heavily embroidered leather vest), who greeted me with friendly eyes and a broad grin. I explained my camping dilemma and he told me to follow him and we would find something. The first couple campsites we found had no vacancies and the third said cash only, but before I could argue, he paid my site fee. I asked if he wanted to split the site and he said he was making a run for the freeway, shook my hand and roared off down the tarmac.


I owe a massive karmic debt to the riding community…

I rode down the embankment and set up camp right by the stream. This little guy was snacking right next door.

My neighbor was a young guy on a street bike and we chatted briefly over some maps about our intended routes.

I left early to beat the 4th of July parade and hit the Scenic Chief Joseph Byway.

Look at these twisties!

I had the itch to ride dirt, so I ran up a jeep trail at the top for a better view.

Then stopped at a little restaurant for some amazing pie!

The Chief Joseph transitions into the famous Beartooth Pass…

The pass climbs to nearly 11,000 feet, the small gift shop at the top is aptly named ‘Top of the World’

and the view is phenomenal!

but it got mighty chilly…

before you know it you’re in Montana!

and greeted with more curvies on the descent.

My bike wasn’t taking turns too well, the front end felt weird, so I pulled over to check it out…


My stomach knotted. Every other set of knobs around about half the tire, was all but gone. I crawled down the mountain to the nearest town…where I came to the realization any place that might have a tire was closed for 4th of July weekend.

I didn’t feeling like hanging out in middle of nowhere Montana for days, so instead decided to make a run for Canada! It’s not a holiday there!

Paranoia had me riding slowly, but eventually I grew tired of that, got on the interstate and hauled butt (as much as my 400cc’s can) for the great white north.

The sun began dropping in the sky, but I rode and rode and rode. I was a woman on a mission…and I was concerned getting off and looking at my tire more would make me too freaked out to continue.

I was passing through ghost towns. You really notice the effect of the wilted economy up there. Whole towns, boasting signs with camping, lodging and food were left abandoned. I started to shiver on my bike as the sun was kissing the horizon and gave up at finding legitimate lodging and instead wandered down a dirt road in search of a secluded camping spot.

I found a small clearing and began unfolding my tent.

Gunshots rang out.

I spied a tin shack between the trees up on the hill. someone was clearly unhappy about my presence and I wasn’t going to argue. I lumped my tent under my bungee net on the back of the bike and fell over in my haste to get the hell out of there.

With the aid of adrenaline I now know I can lift my fully laden bike.

I got back on the freeway, determined to reach Canada and the safety of Rob’s couch in Edmonton. I had already been riding all day, but I didn’t care, I would ride all night if I had to…

3 thoughts on “Chief Joseph’s Highway & Beartooth Pass

  1. That’s freaking scary about being shot at o.O

    You really make me miss the West, and I want to see Yellowstone so much now! I love giant lakes and water, we could camp and chat and laugh for hours as the sun sets and rises again šŸ™‚
    <3

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