#HOGWild17: Day 13 – Red Lodge, Montana

Oh, the joy of having a windowless hotel room.

I was so cozy after a rough ride into Helena, Montana that I heard Leah say, “It’s one thirty-four.” I jumped up out of bed and into a pitch black space. How could we have slept so late?

It was a dream, and while Snoozy Suzy pounded sand next to me, I checked the clock. It was ten o’clock and time to get going. We’ve followed so many of the great suggestions before the trip, except the one about hitting the road early. We don’t do early.

I had a feeling that the hotel staff was out to get me following my exposing them for hogging the plate of iced tea cookies. A resounding knock at the door signalled the staff was trying to get us. In reality, it was after checkout and they wanted us out. I still think it was motivated by the cookie caper.

Yeah, I’m a bit hung up on it. But then, my bride started growling like she does around noon, and guess what wasn’t an option? Tea cookies. So we hurriedly loaded the bike and I blasted over to Wendy’s.

It was a long ride over to Red Lodge, Montana. Endless miles of rolling hills surrounded by majestic mountains and crystal blue lakes. Although this is day 13, it’s only our second day back after the Whitefish multi-day detour. I can tell you that Big Sky country is still super sunny, and after we eclipsed the 200 mile mark, my hiney hurt.

I kept pulling off for gas and Gatorade. I’d buy more time by asking Leah to clean the windshield. I don’t need it to see through, but I thought it was cute having her scrub so hard while I chugged my drink. Don’t tell her though, I’m hoping to keep her going once we get home.

Like I said, we put lots of miles down today, but had such an amazing time being together. We met a great group of bikers during a gas stop in Big Timber, Montana. These folks were also heading into Red Lodge for the giant bike rally.

We knew nothing about this until late last night while I was researching the area. Imagine that. Us stuck smack dab in the middle of an old-fashioned Harley Davidson rodeo rally and street party. One of the guys was a retired Sheriff’s Deputy and the other guy had possibly the best old-Western handlebar mustache ever.

I love meeting people. These were some of those people. I always scan the pins and patches on their leather vests for signs of friendly or outlaw. Most folks we’ve met bare a cross or witness fish showing their belief in Jesus Christ. We enjoyed talking with them and tried to plan a meet up in Red Lodge.

After my Wendy’s and windshield pics, I was restricted to Fig Newtons. It was worth it though!

Once inside the convenience store for the convenience of air condition, Leah had a super surprise. Her latest novel, Gone To Dust was right there on the shelf.

She’s a writer, big deal you say. Yes, it really is a big deal. We see her books at Target, WalMart, Barnes & Noble and all of the big distribution site. But to see her books in Big Timber, Montana shows her widespread appeal.

One of the things she does that I think is so nice, is wherever she finds her books on shelves, she signs them (after asking the manager of course.) The unknowing reader who buys the book gets an original autograph. Pretty cool surprise I’d say.

I just realized that this day’s post is mostly about Snoozy Suzy or as I also call her, Snacky McSnack. It’s okay, because she pretty much keeps things rolling. She’s been the photographer and navigator the entire time.

It’s been great having her pick out a better route or a scenic byway on the fly. We’ve seen more than we expected.

And I’ve discovered she not only enjoys taking pics of scenery and wildlife, but she also enjoys photographing the “wildlife” when he’s not looking. I think my roadtrip beard has gone completely off the tracks. As for her, she thinks she’s being cute with the camera. I guess she kinda is.

When she captures actual scenery it’s still so hard to grab the true beauty of what we’re getting to see. Growing up in south Louisiana, and now in Dallas, seeing hills is exciting.

Being surrounded by mountains is absolutely stunning. This is the heartland of America. You get a grasp of big agriculture out here and begin to understand how unsung our farmers and ranchers actually are. Leah’s 21 ounce steaks and vegetable sides don’t just appear on the table.

We made it to Red Lodge and cruised real slow down main street so my Vance & Hines pipes cracked and rumbled a greeting to the hundreds of bikes lining the street.

The Beartooth Rally is ramping up, and it felt like riding through a welcome banner made of leather and chrome.

This is a very cool town, and although I suspect it’ll be run over by rowdiness for the next four days, it still looks like a great place to visit.

After unloading, we walked the main street to a great place called Foster and Logan’s. Immediately upon entering, I saw the giant LSU flag.

It made me a little homesick, but made me smile because Louisiana people are happy to go everywhere for any reason and always leave the places a little better than they found it.

Day 14 is going to be a bear (I’m being nice) thanks to a monster ride across Beartooth Pass and then several hours to Yellowstone before bedding down in Jackson Hole, Jackson, Wyoming.

Beartooth is rated as one of the greatest motorcycle paths in America. We’ll climb to an elevation of almost 11,000 feet while managing hairpin turns and steep switchbacks. Am I a little concerned? Not as long as Leah sits still and the good Lord blesses us.

See you tomorrow,

Scott & Leah

 

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