The tour organizers planned in a rest day. As long as we were resting, we might as well be sightseeing!
Everyone on the tour had to choose one of three routes through the park (short, medium, or long) and a departure time. Bugman and I chose the 6:30 am “grand tour” departure.
All of the tours were in school buses (there were not enough charter buses in the area to accommodate our entire group), so I was glad there were plentiful restrooms in Yellowstone.
I’ve decided the best way to see Yellowstone is early in the morning. The light does amazing things to the scenery, and you avoid a lot of the crowds. Pictures ensue:
When we got back to camp, we wandered in the rain to consult with tour officials, bike mechanics, and shipping truck staff to figure out how we were going to get ourselves and our bike to Cody the next day, since we would not be riding. A volunteer from Bozeman had room in her car and offered to give us a ride. (Thanks, Shannon!) The jovial-yet-no-nonsense guy from High Country Shipping gladly offered to hang our bike from the rafters of the baggage truck right then so it would arrive in Cody the next morning. All we’d have to do the next day would be to pick up our rim and get our bike repaired.
Announcements were interesting that night, as we were told that the wildland firefighters had co-opted our campsite in Red Lodge and that we would not be riding Beartooth Pass on Saturday.
A clip on the subject from the August 22, 2013, Carbon County News:
The All American Beartooth HIghway 212 that goes through Beartooth Pass is closed south of Red Lodge as the Rock Creek Fire grows to 700 acres. The Board of the Red Lodge Area Chamber invited speakers and the Carbon County Commissioners to discuss the event at their meeting at The Pollard on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
“Can the pass open for the bicyclers on Saturday?” asked Angela Beaumont, board member referring to the upcoming Cycle Greater Yellowstone event.
“Not happening,” said USFS Fire Information Office Jeff Gildehaus. “If there is fire near the road or firefighters working on the road – it’s not safe.” He said he had just spoken with Montana DNRC Director Matt Wolcott and they felt 700 cyclers in the pass was an unacceptable risk.
Sherri Moore, CGY Coordinator agreed. “It will have to be rerouted.”
The ride planners were working all day to coordinate information under changing conditions and with no cell phone signal – relying instead on radio relay. I don’t remember what was said that night – perhaps that we could still stay at the rodeo grounds in Red Lodge Friday night – but ultimately we learned that we would be staying in Cody two nights and riding and out-and-back route from Cody on Day 6 instead of riding to Red Lodge, and that we would ride to Red Lodge on Saturday instead of biking the Beartooth Pass. The cyclists were disappointed, but probably not as disappointed as the officials in Red Lodge, who had been working so long and so closely with the Cycle Greater Yellowstone staff to bring the event to their community. (Don’t worry, Red Lodge – Bugman and I will be coming back! We’ve got to have a go at the Beartooth!)
Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw