Friday, November 1, 2013

Bear's Lodge and Making Tracks for Yellowstone

We had experienced relatively pleasant tenting conditions in South Dakota, but with a forecast of cold rain, we were eager to find some shelter in Wyoming. At times, we’ll look to a motorcycle forum to find someone who has offered a place to set up your tent in their backyard. Hey, even if we could shelter on the leeward side of a house, that would be better than nothing. We fortunately found a guy just over the border in Wyoming who offered that we could set up our tent… in his garage! Perfecto! In his message, he also said that he might not be home but would leave the key for the garage for us in a secret spot. Slightly strange, but ultimately, we were relieved to find the key to his garage and inside a large enough space for our two bikes, next to his KLR, and our tent.
"Garage Camping"
My poor mother... telling her I'm camping every night is one thing, but somehow, sleeping in someone's garage seemed infinitely worse to her. Sorry Mom!

After waiting out the rain the next morning, we headed for Bear’s Lodge (a.k.a. Devil’s Tower by white people), America’s first National Monument. Similar to Uluru (a.k.a. Ayer’s Rock by white people) in Australia, Bear’s Lodge holds tremendous cultural and spiritual significance to our Native Americans, and has a palpable energy and impressiveness about it. 

Bear's Lodge

The Local Wildlife
The site is used by many tribes to this day for prayer offerings, sweat lodge ceremonies, vision quests and sun dances. There are many stories as per how Bear’s Lodge was created, but the less scientific, and more interesting ones hail from Native America folklore and generally suggest that young girls were running from a bear and climbed upon a small rock. They prayed to the Great Spirit to be saved from the bear and so the ground rose and rose bringing them away from the bear and close to the sky. The bear clawed at the mountain, unsuccessfully trying to get to the girls, creating deep grooves in the sides of the mountain, and the girls were thrust into the sky and became the constellation known as Pleiades.

A park ranger at Bear’s Lodge advised us that Yellowstone would soon be closing, especially if any additional snow fell in the area, so we made a bee-line across Wyoming for Yellowstone. 

We made an overnight stop in ­­­­­­­Buffalo, Wyoming, where we were able to get a shower at the local YMCA and Roel found a great shop called Ultimate Outdoors where he changed his rear brake pads. 

We rode on to Cody, Wyoming where we spent a beautiful night under the stars just outside of town. The next day, we prepared for entering the park. I spent the morning blogging, uploading photos and meeting more nice people at McDonalds. Roel changed his rear chain and sprockets, finally, and stocked up on supplies for our trip into Yellowstone. 

Enjoying the journey on the way to Yellowstone


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