Bugman and I got up at 1:30 am to drive to Red Lodge, Montana, where we would park and catch the last bus to West Yellowstone, Montana, where the tour began. As we pulled out of the driveway in the predawn darkness, our car radio quit working and a CD got stuck in it (this would have later consequences), which made for a very long 8-hour drive.
When we got off the bus in West Yellowstone, we got in line in the historic Union Pacific Dining Lodge to sign our waivers, pick up our rider ID packets and t-shirts, and make sure we were set with on-tour bus options.
There was a map at registration showing the home locations of all the registered riders.
Next, we wandered around until we figured out the lay of the land in our Day 0 camp in the West Yellowstone Town Park: find the bags, check in with the tent sherpas, learn that our bike wouldn’t arrive until later that night, put our gear in our tent.
Dinner was in the UP Dining Lodge, followed by announcements in a park outside (which consisted each day of information about the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, ecosystem issues, the scenery, route information, and other info) and live entertainment.
Given that we were wiped out, we headed for bed right after announcements. Even from a few blocks away and with earplugs deployed, the band kept me awake until they quit at 10pm. I also awoke at 2 am to a deflated sleeping pad. Bummer.
Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw