Long Way Round – Part 6

Origin: New Meadows, Idaho (Last Chance Campground)
Destination: West Yellowstone, Montana
Mileage: 480

I woke up early to the sounds of the forest. I repacked all my gear and plotted the course for the day. I wanted to reach Yellowstone, or at least be close to it by dusk. These curious kids in the picture stared at my bike with amazement. I was amused at the sight of the small child walking a dog at least twice his weight and almost just as tall. The way out through the two mile gravel road was not nearly as nerving as last night. I think I just got over the fear of riding on anything else by pavement. I spent the day traveling through valleys between the mountains and along side white water rapids. I looked at kiakers in the river thinking that they were crazy, then realized the irony as I screamed through a curve at full lean scrapping my pegs. The roads were in good condition except for a few spots where rocks had fallen onto the road, or should I say small boulders. My heart jumped out of my chest after I thought I saw a huge rock right in front of my tire as I rounded a corner. It was just my mind playing tricks on me. The roads were literally carved out of the mountain. It was interesting to imagine how some of the mountain passes had to of been constructed.

I made it to Arco, Idaho where I took an extended break. I was living off of beef jerky and eating as I was riding that morning so I didn’t have to stop for lunch. I am pretty much limited to anything cylindrical since it has to fit through my helmet. So I “treated” myself to some lamp-lit pizza at a gas station. Various people saw my plates and asked, “Illinois eh? Where ya headed?” People always think that riding a sport bike for such distances would causes a sore back. I always explain the various riding positions that are possible and explain how comfortable it really is, but most just shake their head in disbelief.

From Archo the roads died down and become fairly straight which I welcomed at that point. I made it just outside of Yellowstone and got a room for the night. My body was tired, and I was mentally exhausted. Luckily there was a bar open across the road. I sat outside and enjoyed the ability to smoke. I rarely found establishments that allowed smoking. I sipped from very strong Jack and Coke, read some Dawkins and unknowingly got drunk (off alcohol, not evolution) after only two drinks.

I had been on the road for a week now and I was just half way to Phoenix. The reality of this life changing move started to sink in. “No turning back now.” I kept my anxieties at bay and just focused on the road ahead.

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Road to Last Chance Campground in Idaho