Wednesday, March 4, 2009

THE MAKING OF A BIKER CHICK – Bear Tooth Pass


This week's Spin Cycle assignment is "adventure". One of the most exciting (if not THE most exciting) adventures I've had was our bike trip out west.

I'm really better described as a reluctant biker chick. I feel that by calling myself a biker chick on this blog, I've maybe given some of you the wrong impression. I'm not very tough unless you threaten my children and I'm not very bold unless you count stalking complete strangers. I was more than a little nervous about taking this trip. My anxiety was on so many different levels, it would be impossible to list them all. Thus far in posting about our trip, I've taken you in chronological order. But when I heard the spin this week was "adventure", I decided to skip ahead to the most life-threatening adventurous portion of our trip: Bear Tooth Pass

We pulled into Cooke City right about lunch time. The plan was to have something to eat and then hit the road to cross Bear Tooth Pass. Before we headed into the café, The Saint and I decided to check out the trading post to see what we could see. Once inside we were overwhelmed with t-shirts, mugs and all sorts of souvenirs proclaiming "I survived Bear Tooth Pass." Until this time, I wasn't aware that we were about to undertake such an adventure. While reading t-shirts that said "The top ten ways you know you've made it over Bear Tooth Pass", I began to secretly panic. I lost all desire to purchase a souvenir and found it hard to concentrate on anything besides how I was going to tell MHS that I needed to find an airport make this trip without xanax having a full-blown anxiety attack.



Just an innocent looking little town that gives no clue what lies beyond. (unless you read the t-shirt)That is The Saint and MHS standing in front of the store.

We had lunch at a little café next to the Trading Post where I discovered the solution to my problem: I would drink my lunch. Now My Harley Stud rarely drinks at all and never drinks when we are on the bike. But there are no rules that say that the passenger can't drink. Thank the Lord! A few beers later I was ready to tackle the Pass and anything else that came along.

Courage in a bottle can be found inside this little cafe. It's not the way I usually roll but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.


Once on the road, I began to relax and enjoy the view. There were still times when my knees would squeeze together to grip MHS in a way that said, "If you don't slow down, I'm going to push you off and drive this blasted thing myself!" Other than that it was lovely trip.

I thought the colors were interesting in this photograph.

It wasn't very long before we saw snow on the mountain tops. This trip was in late July.

Each turn brought new terrain and an even more beautiful view.

What I wasn't able to capture either in still photos or video was the winding hairpin turns that sometimes did not include guardrails. It was during those moments that the camera was safely stowed in my pocket while I held on for dear life.

The Biker Nazi and The Saint get ready to take off after a butt break.

We came upon this young girl almost at the top of the mountain. She was traveling by herself as far as I could tell. I wanted to get off the bike, grab her by the hair and say, "Does your mother know you're here!?!" I repeat: RIDING.BY.HERSELF!

These kids were venturing a little to close to the edge for my comfort. Loose rock and flip flops do not make a very safe combination in my humble opinion.


I had to take this photograph. The daytime speed limit is 70mph. This has to be a joke. This is at the top of the mountain where there are no long stretches of straight road. The entire ride is one hairpin turn after another. You would have to be out of your mind to go 70 mph.



This stop was close to the top. Notice the elevation.
Try to ignore the helmet hair.




It's the passenger's job to spot wildlife. It was pretty amazing how the deer could maneuver these steep inclines.

I apologize for the quality of this photograph but it's all I have. We came upon several cars pulled over at the side of the road. Everyone was out of the car with their cameras pointing in this direction. That little brown blob in the right/center of the photograph is a bear. I wasn't about to get close for a better shot.


The next morning, I was informed that we had a change of plans and instead of moving on toward Billings, MT, we were going back over the pass. While I'm sure it was 5 o'clock somewhere, drinking my breakfast didn't seem like such a good idea. I distracted myself on the way back by taking video of our trip. It's very noisy due to the wind and exhaust. I was jamming to my ipod so I couldn't hear any of it.

For more adventure spins, visit Jen at Sprite's Keeper.

33 comments:

smiles4u said...

Wow! What an adventurous ride! Beautiful and breath taking to say the least. I am just a little bit jealous...okay a lot jealous...lol!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Oh my gosh, I just love this post Smart Mouth Broad. I'm a biker chick wannabe. Prince won't let me.......says's I'll fall off or something, lol.
Love the snaps and.....I'm a lil jealous :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Jan said...

You crack me up, woman! And I can completely sympathize - while it's not as bad, I feel the same way every time we drive up to Waimea Canyon on Kauai in our rented Jeep, even though we've done it three times now. Of course, I'm so afraid of heights I get nervous on the step-stool in our kitchen.

Drinking your lunch when you're the passenger is always a good idea in such situations.

nothingfancy1 said...

I love this post! Beautiful...breathtaking pictures. And to think that you experienced it all first hand on a bike is just amazing to me! What an adventure!

midlife slices said...

All I can say is....you must love that Harley Stud more than life itself. That video made me nervous just watching a short 50 seconds of the trip.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Omigoodness, the pictures are giving me vertigo! I've been on a motorcycle once. ONCE! And only for a small trip around the neighborhood on the back of my friend's husband's bike. My knees gripped his thighs so tight, and my hands dug into his sides, he told me at the end that he almost felt like I should have bought him dinner before I assaulted him like that. Never again. And add heights to that? Uh, no. I'm the kind of person who gets queasy in the movie theater watching the height shot from the top of a building. Oy. You're linked!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Your post made me miss my life with Pat SO much!
After our "biker" :) days passed back in the 70's (ok..so they were just little 100's!! and we stayed local) we moved on to our little Sea Breeze motor home with all the comforts of home..but how I miss the adventures with our best friends. I haven't even had the courage to look at the video's we made. And it's been 11 years now. I LOVE your trips..but then you know that already! Think I'll just sit here with my butt in this chair and play the clip over..and over..and over..and... :)

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Smiles-You might not have felt so jealous if you'd have heard my heart pounding in my chest.

RG-You and Prince should just do it. It's a lot harder to fall off than you might think.

Jan-I'm still picturing you waiving your hat in that jeep. Booyah!

Fancy-You see way more on a bike than you would ever see in a car.

MLS-I do. I had another video but it took so long to load, I gave up. Manning the camera was a great way to distract me from the death plunges. LOL

Jen-That knee squeeze you used is my "slow down" signal to MHS. And if he doesn't listen, he gets smacked in the helmet. He usually gets the message from the knees.

Mona-Don't get dizzy watching that clip. LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

I'm ignoring your apologies, because these are great pics! Especially the one where it says"I think this pic has interesting colors."
At such heights I'm getting dizzy in the car, so I won't try your thing :)

TuTu's Bliss said...

I love all the amazing pictures!

Oz Girl said...

Wow, brought back some great memories for me... I remember eating in that little restaurant in Cooke City and DRIVING over Bear Tooth Pass with biker friends. Since we flew to Montana, we didn't have our bikes. One of the biker guys was freaking out in the car when he would be on the guardrail side; he had us laughing hysterically because he would yell at my ex-BF and then lean inside the car as far as he could. I would have been scared stiff to do that scenic drive on our bikes!! (Esp since my ex-BF liked to take serpentine roads fast!) Wonderful post, I really enjoyed it. :) You are my hero.

p.s. I also have several bear photos, er, "brown blob" photos...

MilesPerHour said...

Fun reading and great pics!

Reader Wil said...

Well your photos are breath taking! I love mountains! I really do, because we have no mountains in Holland. Thank you for taking us on a wonderful tour!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Jeannette & Tutu-Thank you for your kind words and for visiting. I hope you'll come back and see me again.

OzGirl-Wasn't it awesome! I don't think I would have seen as much in a car but maybe that would have been a good thing too. LOL

MPH-Thanks.

RW-Me too and here I sit in flat Florida.

Fragrant Liar said...

Wowee, that looks like a lot of fun. I'd love to do that some time. Hopefully, my next man will be so inclined. Or is it reclined? How do I want him again?

Loved the pics, SMB. What great memories you must have made on that trip.

only a movie said...

That was awesome. I'm impressed. We spend a lot of time in our little wimpy mountains, where half that elevation is about as high as it gets in a car.

I think I'd require Ativan to get over that pass. And I remember the no guard rail thing out in California. Eeek.

But such a cool post, SMB. Love it. Love the photos and video too.

Paige Lacey said...

Gorgeous pics. And I bet you had a blast! Thanks for sharing. :o)

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Auntie here.
Some of those photos can make you dizzy.
You have a good eye for photography.
Thanks for sharing.
PS
Tweeting with you and midlife is fun!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I totally love heights. This was amazing and I'm a lot jealous. I absolutely love the little towns on your trip and the main streets. Stunning, gorgeous shots.

Thanks again SMB for taking us along.

Beth said...

Your pictures are AMAZING! And I'm impressed. Not ready for a motorcycle trip yet, but impressed none the less. :)

Gaston Studio said...

Photos are great, my favorite is the huge tree clinging to the boulders with its roots! Incredible adventure you must have had.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Liar-You could always hang out at a biker bar and see what they have to offer......LOL

Movie-Like most things, it wasn't as bad once we got on the road as the anxiety I had prior.

Paige-We did have a blast. Thanks.

Auntie-Hey you! Thanks for visiting and your kind words.

Pseudo-I loved the little towns too and the way they all report their population. I had this little game I played with MHS: Remember the old HeeHaw thing....Population 210! Salute. I would do that every time we entered a new town. I'm a dork!

Beth-It's fun once you get over the terror! LOL

GS-I love that one too.

Laufa said...

Your pictures were beautiful. My In-Laws take these kind of trips all summer long. Hope you have lots of adventures this summer!!

Lauri Ann said...

Wow! Is this ever gorgeous. You're a braver woman than me, My Dear. Must have more butt power too. LOL. We once had an old Indian, I had to cry to get him to stop my butt hurt so bad! Thanks for sharing. I almost feel like I was there.

Camille said...

Oi! What a memorable experience! And QUITE adventurous.

HeatherPride said...

Awesome!! My parents are avid bikers and they take a ride out west every year. I'm secretly jealous - my husband would NEVER ride a motorcycle!

Stepping Thru said...

I loved it when Coach and I rode our bike. I miss it but we just don't seem to have time anymore and have found we love to camp. The bike is still in our garage and we need to sell it before the mice eat all the wiring up. I loved the video!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

You are SO brave! I think I've told you - I've never been on my husband's Harley. You made it look like fun though. Thanks for the trip through the mountains.

Shangrila said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos! You made me feel like I was with you on part of the trip! My only experiences on a motorcycle were rides on my dad's bike when I was a teen-wouldn't you know it, I got a HUGE 3rd degree burn on the inside of my ankle/calf from the exhaust pipe-cured me of motorcycle rides completely!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Laufa-Thanks but I'm hoping this summer's adventure will be for MHS to finish my kitchen. LOL

Laurie Ann-Look at you with a new look and a new name! We took a lot of butt breaks on this trip and every trip.

Camille-It was a real adventure.

Heatherpride-I guess it's not for everyone and there are times, I think it's not for me but for the most part, I love it and have a great time.

Steppin Thru-I hear HBL wants a motorcycle. Maybe you could sell it to him. *wink*

MLJH-I really think you should give it a try. You might find that you like it. There is nothing that compares to it.

Shangrila-I think everyone who has ever been on a bike as a passenger gets that burn (once).

Casey said...

Those pictures were amazing and that was quite an adventure. I think I'm getting too old to ever become a biker chick, my butt would fall asleep after a few miles.

Rachel said...

Ack! I was once on a bus in the Colorado Rockies and that freaked the heck out of me. But I still felt comforted by the big metal box I was in. Nothing in between me and those falls but a helmet! Ack! Now that's adventure!

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