The Wind and The Wind River Canyon

Today is the day we start home which means a variety of questions rush through my head.  Did I see what I wanted to see in this area?  Did I remember to repack everything?  The biggest question: Would I come back and visit this area again?  I think I’ll wait until I get home to answer these questions.

We got up early and headed back into Absarokee to have breakfast one more time at the Redbud Café.  The waitress saw us pull in on the trike and asked where we were headed.  We told her it was time to head toward Indiana.  She told us that the weather reports are saying it is snowing up on the Beartooth Highway.  I knew it was cold (50) but I never thought it would snow in July.  Fortunately we had already seen the Beartooth and wouldn’t be going that high today.

The trike was repacked with all of our stuff and we left Absarokee in a cold drizzle.  The radar showed some promise but the cold and damp were going to be with us for a while.  The route to Red Lodge was retraced (MT-78) where we hit US-212 then MT-308 to Belfry.

We chased a clear spot on the radar for the first 100 miles heading south on US-310.  By the time the trike needed gas the drizzle had stopped.  Unfortunately the drizzle was replaced by wind – a lot of wind.  The gusts were reported at 35 to 50 MPH and were a direct crosswind.  The temperature was still in the low 60’s so all of us were damp, cold, and windblown.

About 200 miles into the ride we stopped for lunch at Thermopolis, WY.  The Thermopolis Café had a nice variety and we enjoyed the break from the wind.  At the outskirts of Thermopolis we turned south on US-20 and drove through the Wind River Canyon.  What an appropriate name on a day like this.  This road is beautiful and runs beside the Wind River.


Entering Wind River Canyon and we’re seeing patches of blue sky for the first time all day.


Interesting rock formations line the canyon walls.


The run through Wind River Canyon also included 3 tunnels. Honking the horn in each one is a requirement. Did I mention that I love the air horn on the trike?

From the canyon we turned due east on US-20 / 26.  The road continued to climb until we were back up over 6000 feet.  The wind we had battled all day long was finally letting up a little and we were cruising along at 70 MPH.  (Wyoming (and Montana) know how to build roads.)  The sky was a bright blue and the clouds were fantastic.


Finally blue sky and fun cloud formations.


Much better than gray but the temps were just barely over 70.

There were several antelope laying along the route but they were content to watch us pass and did not venture onto the road.  We finished the day on I-25 in Casper, WY.  We put in 350 miles through some tough winds and a beautiful canyon.  We think we’re headed for 90 degree temps tomorrow.  That sounds much better than the snow on Beartooth Pass.





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