#HOGWild17: Day 9 – Whitefish, Montana

I’m pooped.

It’s day 9 and I’m a whipped pup. But the beauty of this state of exhaustion is I’m not tired of being on the bike or on the road. We’ve just been nonstop since July 1st, so our stay in Whitefish, Montana comes at the perfect time. To be honest, Leah had scheduled a break period earlier, but I wanted to push forward to cover more ground.

We left Great Falls, Montana around noon after another good night sleep. Leah and I are used to living out of hotels, but we both have trouble adjusting to the whimpy pillows found in most places. At this point, we’d sleep on a log and snooze all night.

I wish there was news about another feisty older waitress at our favorite Cracker Barrel, but resources were scarce between Great Falls and Whitefish. There was a wonderful lesson learned by Leah about resources. I’d stopped for gas right outside of Great Falls and asked her if she wanted to grab something to eat. She snarked and said she’d wait for real food.

Guess what? Over 40 miles through highways and hay bales, we found a Subway in Conrad. I guess next time it’s better to eat what they got than hope for what doesn’t exist. Of course, she still has a saddle bag full of beef jerky. I knew she didn’t feed it to the sweet donkey back at Custer State Park.

An observation I’ve made over the miles is that highway warning signs can be horrifying. Elk crossings, free range roaming animals and beware of bear are just a few signs you don’t want to see while on a motorcycle. Even the picture on the deer crossing signs is a giant 10-point buck.

Although it was 106 degrees, we found slices of shade as we rode through Glacier National Park. The beauty of this area is unrivaled. As much as we adored the park area, once we hit Whitefish, we fell in love.

With as many places as we visit, there are just a few locations that we say immediately, “We’d live here.” Deadwood was one, and Whitefish is the other.

At our cabin, the welcome guy was explaining what buttons activated the fireplace, hot tub and 16 shower head human car wash, but I knew Leah was thinking the same thing as I was. Let’s buy one. Sure enough, by the time the old guy left, she’d googled real estate in Whitefish.

We have friends who live here full-time and I’ve a life-long friend who just bought a condo downtown as an investment property. Seems like a no-brainer as long as we’re out of here by winter.

Speaking of friends, we met them for supper and enjoyed speaking with people not dressed in leather and sunburned. Leah claims she went hiking before supper, but we simply walked to the restaurant. I gave her a C for creativity. It’s funny wearing regular shoes. We both said our feet feel floppy without the weight of biker boots.

I had Alaskan salmon which was incredible. I’d spent a few weeks in Alaska a few years back, and went crazy for fresh salmon and halibut. Leah had more red meat. A lot of red meat, but I was afraid to photograph her in front of company.

We returned to our cabin and decided to stock up on groceries so we’d not have to get on the bike all day tomorrow unless we just get the bug. We’re going to sightsee with our friends.

The rest of our night was spent outside watching a giant round moon rising and then around the fireplace watching TV. It feels incredible doing nothing particular.

Today wasn’t the longest ride, but the days in Big Sky country are super bright and sunny. We’re using sunscreen and covering up as much as we can, but the 100 plus degree days make too much cover a difficulty. I think we’re both a bit “tanned” and kinda ready for a sun break.

As we near the halfway point, I have to say that we’re still loving our time together. The hours of silence on the road has allowed for lots of praying and meditation. It’s incredibly liberating to stop worrying about so many things, and only focusing on what truly matters.

We really appreciate you coming along and love your comments here and on Facebook.

Scott & Leah

 

#HOGWild17: Day 8 – Great Falls, Montana

Huh?

It’s day 8! I think.

I don’t know what time it was when we got up this morning, but the sun was pretty high up in the sky. it’s all blurry in my memory, but I know I slept like a baby and Scott’s lip was swollen when I woke up. Sometimes these things happen. Also, this is my blog post so I can retell the day how I want to.

Once we’d prayed, showered, dressed, and taken full advantage of late checkout, we headed to Beartooth Harley-Davidson. I have to say, this might be my favorite HD yet. Before Scott tells you I “shopped” again, I’ll confess that I bought a couple of shirts. But so did he, so I’m not taking the heat all by myself!

 

Bears Everywhere

Beartooth HD was filled with bears. Scott was scared of the big one and wouldn’t stand too close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping at HD was pretty taxing, and since it was past lunchtime at this point, we mosied down the street to the Cracker Barrel. Yes, the same Cracker Barrel we ate at last night. There’s only two in the whole state of Montana, so we wanted to take advantage.

Stay Golden

I saw this sexy man on my way into the Cracker Barrel and he bought me a meatloaf lunch, so I’d say I started the day off “winning.” Also, I’m digging the cut-off shirt. It reminds me of The Outsiders. What do you think?

The meatloaf really was delicious.

Montana is really big. And really hot. Like…super hot. We left Texas thinking we’d come north and spend a cool month of July cruising the highways. Well…we’re cruising. But today it was 106 degrees, so we haven’t experienced cool yet. Montana is gorgeous. And the roads are long. There are stretches of hundreds of miles with nothing but highway and hay bales.

But there’s a reason they call it Big Sky. Pictures don’t do it justice.

Road Life

Also, the wind was brutal. At one of our gas station stops to refuel and guzzle some water, Scott had to hold down my hair so we could take a selfie. It didn’t work.

I think motorcycle living has changed us. We’re not sure what day it is or where we are most of the time. Scott and his jeans are one with the road, and my headbands are covering growing gray roots. Our bodies are patchwork quilts of various and unusual tan lines. But the journey has been incredible as we approach the middle half of our trip.

We got to Great Falls, Montana late in the afternoon and were greeted with this beautiful sight.

By the time we got to the hotel, we were hot and thirsty. I think Scott is planning something nefarious in this picture. We talked about putting on our swimsuits and getting into the pool to cool off, but we ended up facetiming the kids. Then Scott decided to work out because he’s an overachiever, and I decided to lay on the bed in my underwear and eat Bugles because I’m on vacation.

NightLife

We eventually drummed up enough energy to head to dinner. The lady at the front desk recommended a place called Jakers Bar & Grill. It was delicious. And I could’ve eaten a dozen of their rolls by myself.

This is what greeted us on the way back to the hotel.

The entire day can be summed up in one word…gorgeous. This country is so beautiful, and we’re so blessed to see God’s creation and meet some incredible people who are on journeys of their own.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Whitefish to stay for a couple of days and rest up, and also meet with our friends John and Kristen. We’re looking forward to beautiful scenery and great company.

See you tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

#HOGWild17: Day 7 – Billings, Montana

Looks like I get the honors on day 7. It’s not like I just motored all day. But I’m not complaining, because I get to tell my version of today’s events. The truth may bend, but it’ll never be broken.

Mail Call

Before we did anything, I insisted we mail dirty and newly bought clothes back home. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the bike was to the brink of busting open, thanks to her shopping sprees.

The lady at the Post Office was nice, but surprised we’d amassed so many clothes in just 6 days. I just shrugged and pointed at her.

Joy

We’re both feeling the groove of the road. We’ve gotten into a good routine for loading and unloading the bike, navigating, and doing the little things that might not be an important part of the trip, but sure add to the joy. During this morning’s prayers, the word joy was placed on my heart.

If biking from Deadwood, South Dakota through Wyoming and along a thin black ribbon across Montana counts as joy, then oh boy, did we have joy!!

Deadwood has stolen our hearts and imaginations. I’m pretty sure this town is going to end up in one of our next novels. We spent the morning there, and left after a visit to the Deadwood Harley Davidson. We met a very nice lady who told us a bit about the town’s history.

We also had a great lunch at Maverick Steakhouse. I had one grilled chicken breast and my beautiful wife had….well, a lot. I made a comment and she said she wasn’t going to apologize. Not pictured are the “side” salad, mac-n-cheese and possibly dessert.It takes a good sense of humor, flexibility and a sense of situational awareness while travelling. This can also apply while driving across town, but especially on the road.

Strange

The things you see once leaving your comfort area can be funny. We live in Dallas and are used to city life. Nowhere, USA isn’t Dallas, or actually, any other place we’ve seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All I can say is at least the flies weren’t in our food, and this realtor must be crazy…crazy like a fox.

Do-Do-Do-Do-Do

Speaking of crazy, we went to see Devil’s Tower. It’s pretty odd, but also a testament to the wonder of this world. I mean really, besides being featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it’s a marvel. Though there was no Richard Dreyfuss or aliens. Here’s a nostalgic clip.

Someone suggested we walk the base of the tower. Have you seen how big that sucker is? No way were we walking it. We drove by and took a selfie. It’s that big hill in the background. 

After this excitement, we began the drive to Wyoming and then Montana. This area is called Big Sky. The scenery is unbelievable. We went hundreds of miles with only farmland and livestock.

Dude Chat

We did find a lonely gas station where I met a guy from Florida. He seemed less than happy to have taxied his 14 year old daughter and wife all the way to see Old Faithful.

I asked, “Was it worth it?”

He said, “You’re not heading there are ya?”

I lied, “No, of course not.”

He huffed, “It was less than impressive.”

I felt bad, “Actually, my wife wants to go.”

He handed me the gas nozzle, “Good luck with that.”

I felt like we’d shared a Bro Moment. I didn’t tell Leah I’d thrown her under the bus. Again.

So after I cat-walked the bike across the gravel parking lot like a primadonna, we hit the endless black ribbon across Montana’s Big Sky until we came to Billings. This was my view for most of the ride. I guess that fly strip didn’t catch all of the bugs after all.

The actual view was incredibly beautiful as I sit above the height of the windshield, but I leave the photography to my-copilot.

Working It

I’ll happily admit that a wife is genius at motivating husbands when properly enticed. After my mojo had been blown with the news we had another 260 miles to get to Billings, Montana, Leah tapped my shoulder and whispered those oh so sweet words.

“They have a Cracker Barrel.”

With that news, I would’ve put her on my back and run the distance. We both enjoyed a fantastic late night breakfast menu. It was worth the long day ride.

Well, it’s another night of resting sore booties and trying to remember everything that happened today. We can’t even recall what it was like when we first left home. It seems like so long ago. A friend said after a few days, you’d become one with the road.

I was suspicious of that, but beyond the esoteric contemplation, it’s the truth. You stop having to work at it as it becomes very natural. The ebb and flow of being out on the open road has a rhythm of it’s own. I even found that Leah was feeling frisky while on the bike, or just tried to bug me by doing what drives me nuts. It’s all fun.

Zen

People are different, and those also travelling respond to you very differently than those who are not. I can’t say I blame the others. After a week baking in the sun and wind, I look kinda…crazy (notice the goggle white rings.)

Well, I’ll wrap this up before my love decides to start reading over my shoulder. Day 8 is a shorter run to Great Falls to see what, I have no idea. I’m guessing waterfalls.

See you all tomorrow,

Scott & Leah

 

 

#HOGWild17: Day 5 – Rapid City, South Dakota

Can I say one thing about today’s ride? It was hot. I mean really hot. Actually, it was hotter than hot. I told Leah once we settled in for the night that had she told me it was 103, I’d might have stayed in Sioux Falls,

Instead, we clipped over 600 miles along the open South Dakota plains. But before we headed out for the Badlands, we made two quick stops in SFalls.

Oh, and yes, we did pull off a Badlands #PromPic. Let’s see your locational #PromPic

You have to visit the local Harley shops, so we rode over to J&L Harley Davidson and picked up a few shirts. Of course there’s zero room for extras but that didn’t stop Fancy Pants.

Now, some folks might think it’s weird, but Leah and I both fell in love with the Duluth Trading Company. She’d bought me a pair of their rooster booster underwear for Christmas as a joke. It was no joke. They are incredible. Now, it’s about all I trust my rooster to.

We found a store and just had to pay them a visit. I guess we felt like they’d recognize us from our purchases, or our cool undies. Instead we met a few great staff who we enjoyed talking to. They said to tag the Duluth Trading Company’s blog and say we met Jim and Dale.

Hear that Duluth blog? We kicked it with Jim and Dale in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They also said a store was coming to Texas (Please consider Dallas.)

So after Fancy Pants bought even more clothes and shoved them on top of the other stuff there was no room for, we headed out across rugged, but beautiful terrain.

This is our Facebook live broadcast from the Badlands. My beard is longer than the hair on my head. It’s out of control, but I’m not touching either until we get back to Dallas.

We met a guy from Iowa who was driving his teenaged daughter back to the Badlands area. They’d already run over 400 miles and still had a few hundred to go. Poor kid was red faced but looked like she couldn’t be happier than hanging onto daddy.

A few days ago, Leah said how she loved meeting folks on bikes because everyone was on a journey. Most enjoy sharing their stories. I’d love to know they made it home okay.

We were determined to make it to the Badlands National Park before the evening. I didn’t know much about the area other than always having heard the term badlands. It always made it seem so intimidating. I can tell you that after exploring the area, it actually is very intimidating and beautiful.

We’d stop at lookout points, and you’d feel the tug at your spirit, but without the ability to express it in words. I think I said, Wow about a thousand times. I felt sorry for the folks in cars (other than having AC) because the motorcycle allowed us to experience it so much more intimately.

We even came to a halt as what looked like goats or rams stood in the road to graze on the shoulder. They were beautiful, and it was easy to identify the mom and babies and then the big daddy who walked up. I guess he was making sure our Harley Davidson wasn’t some sort of alpha animal.

Once I was sure, he wasn’t going to pull Leah off the bike and eat her, I cruised on past them. It was so cool being that close. About a mile up the way, we stopped again for a single deer. It too, was close enough to touch, but Leah decided to yell, “Haya.” Why, I do not know.

Okay, I’m going to give you a marketing tip. Stop wasting your time and money on that interweb thing. Instead, do as Wall Drug has done for decades and string hundreds of billboards over thousands of miles. You don’t even need wifi or internet service. Just a few poles in the dirt and a funny slogan on paper.

After the Badlands, we were obsessed with visiting Wall Drug. It was like a moth’s flame. It’s all we could think about thanks to those old school billboards. We both love them. They remind me of family vacations as a kid. They were so exciting to read.

After supper there, we zipped over to Rapid City for the night. We’re resting up for a giant day at Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park. I’m so excited to see Rushmore. It’s captivated me my entire life and I’m less than 12 hours from realizing that dream. I doubt I’ll sleep.

We’re going to get some rest after mashing a monster day on the bike. My longest day ride was 525 miles, so when we clipped 600 miles, I was happy to tell Leah we’d broken a PR. She wasn’t so excited. She’s more focused on prepping for the next day. I’m not in any big rush to break that personal record either.

Well, please keep us in your prayers for continued safe travels.

Scott & Leah

#HOGWild17 Pages To Track Days: START HERE

This Is Happening

Hi All,

I’m trying to be organized. No promises though. Each day will be detailed after the day is done (obviously), so keep track and I’m hoping for an undamaged Mac and lots of wifi. In the Menu I set up #HOGWild17 with a drop down for each day.

CLICK HERE to follow the drop-down journey day by day.

This is our proposed route below. I say that because our goal was to be in bed early for a fresh morning start. It’s well after midnight and we haven’t finished packing yet. Things may (will) change along the way.

This is also our official image just above, so when you don’t see us, you will see them. They look happy don’t they? Leah picked it out. It’s not like I’m actually going to offer two pigs ripping across the roadway as the image for our travels, right! Plus, he’s got ink and she’s sporting leather.

Let’s Connect

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Proposed Route

Day 1 TX to Ouchita National Park via hwy 71 to Fort Smith / 6 hours 4 minutes

Day 2-3 Pig Trail Scenic Byway highway 23 through ozark national park to brashears to Eureka springs – 2 nights July 2-4)

Day 4 Fort Leavenworth Kansas 4.5 hours (July 4-5 fireworks at Ft Leavenworth)

Day 5-6 Lewis and Clark scenic byway to Omaha to Sioux Falls, SD

Day 6-7 Sioux Falls to Badlands to Rapid City area 5 hours

Day 7-8 Rapid City to Mount Rushmore to Deadwood 2 hours – 2 days need reservation)

Day 9 Medora, North Dakota 3.5 hours

Day 10 Lewistown, MT 4.5 hours

Day 11-13 whitefish, MT 5.2 hours (go north through Glacier)

Day 13 Butte, MT 4 hours

Day 14 Red Lodge, MT 3.5 hours

Day 15 Beartooth Hwy scenic road  WY 4 hours

Day 16 Grand Teton National Park to Rock Springs, WY 5.5 hours

Day 17 Rock Springs to Steamboat Springs 3.5 hours

Day 18 Trail Ridge Road, CO Scenic Hwy to Denver to Colorado Springs 5.5 hours

Day 19 Colorado Springs to Trinidad 1.5 hours

Day 20 Trinidad to Woodward OK 5 hours

Day 21 Woodward to Home

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