Reluctantly I pack up my gear to leave Lander. The town was much better than expected and had been a great pit stop. I went down to the café where I had lunch the day before and wanted to have the usual bacon eggs – no can do but they could do a bacon/egg burrito. I went along with it and out came this massive burrito that had bacon/egg and like shredded potato in it. Wasn’t a fan of the potato and scrapped that out but the rest was great.
I head off with my destination being Idaho Falls which made for a day of just under 400klms.
I get up the road about 20klms and enter an Indian Reservation. Straight away there is a large Hotel/Casino which operates 24/7. I had spoken to a Police Officer the day before and he made it very clear not to ‘bush camp’ on any Indian land as they hate white people doing that. With what he told me re violence, alcohol, crime, it had a lot in common with the issues with Aboriginal communities back in Australia. One thing I did find (early in my trip) that if you filled up at a petrol station on Indian land its 30 cents a gallon cheaper as they do not pay tax on it!
About 30 mins later I start riding next to the Windy River – straight away it begins blowing a gale crosswind. It was so bad that I felt that Fred was a catamaran and I had 1 keel out of the water. I could barely manage 80kph (as I didn’t want to flog Fred).
This lasted about 100klms and I had to stop twice as my arms were throbbing from holding on so tight to stop being blown off. I have never experienced anything like it before and then suddenly it was like someone flicked a switch and there was nothing. I put it down to the landscape and how the ridges must create some sort of wind tunnel – hence the name of the river.
I go through Dubois and some outstanding country.
I arrive in Jackson and the traffic congestion is unbelievable – people overflowing everywhere and it is obvious that it is a very big tourist town. I call in at the local Sherriff and he tells me that the population is 10,000 that swells to over 60,000 during summer (people heading to Yellowstone) and 30,000 in winter (snow season). Then he tells me they are expecting over 100,000 for the solar eclipse! It is a nice town but I would expect that its very expensive to stay there.
I notice a few spots of rain and it gets very dark. What I should have done is parked under cover to see what was going to happen but stupidly thought that if I got going I could outrun it. WRONG. I get 5 klms out of town and it absolutely buckets down and I am totally soaked. I keep going and then it starts hailing *&^%$& – luckily the hail was only brief. After a while the rain stops and eventually I dry out – except my boots which were overflowing with water. Something about riding a motorbike with wet socks and jocks that I have never gotten used to.
I get to the border;
I arrive in Idaho Falls and the sky is again black as a dog’s guts. Fearing the worst, I check in to a motel to dodge the weather – cheapest one I could find in a hurray was 90 USD and it was still a dump. Bed was ok but everything else was either filthy or sticky. I did watch the news on tv and the forecast was for overnight thunderstorms so I was glad I took the money hit (and it did rain several times during the night).
I also took the opportunity to do some washing – I will be amazed if I don’t catch some sort of disease when I wear the clothes again as the machines were disgraceful.
So, there you have it, wind, rain, hail. I call it character building. HA.