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Yellowstone-Grand Canyon Trip (Many Pics!)


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Joan and I left on our two week Yellowstone trip June 3 on our new R1200GS. Here she is (the bike) ready to roll north:



We drove north from Phoenix to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we stopped to visit my friend, Don and his family. Our timing could not have been better. More later.

Our plan was to visit the Badlands of South Dakota, Devils Tower in Wyoming, Yellowstone, Grand Escalante in Utah, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I tried to avoid the Interstate Highways as much as possible and keep daily travel under 350 miles. I think we succeeded.

Our first day was a transit: Phoenix to Gallup, New Mexico. I chose to travel I-17 and I-40 on this leg because I wanted to arrive in Gallup early so Joan could do some shopping. She wanted to buy a nice Hopi pot for our house. She found what she was looking for at Richardson’s Trading Post in downtown Gallup.

Day two was a transit from Gallup to Gunnison, Colorado. The first leg was Gallup to Shiprock, New Mexico which took us into the Navajo Reservation. This picture was taken south of Shiprock on Highway 491:




This is a boundary marker on highway 491 delineating the Navajo Reservation:




The next leg was from Shiprock to Gunnison via Cortez. From Cortez, we took highway 145 which was a beautiful windy road transitioning us from the high deserts up to the foothills of the Rockies. This picture was taken south of Montrose, Colorado:




We arrived at Gunnison around 2pm and did some bar hoping along the main drag. Stephen from Bedord, Texas, recommended that we dine at Garlic Mikes in Gunnison. We followed his advice and had a wonderful dinner. When we returned to the motel, I turned on the weather channel and almost freaked out. A rare low pressure system was rapidly moving across Utah with wind gusts of 60 – 90 mph predicted the next day. Not good.

Next day we left early for a speed run to Cheyenne in hopes of missing the storm. We succeeded. We did stop once for a photo op. This was taken along highway 285 en-route to Denver:




Arrived in Cheyenne about 1pm and the storm hit around 4pm. Our plan was to spend the next day (June 7) with Don and his family. On June 7, the storm whipped through Cheyenne with high winds, cold temperatures, and that white stuff called snow. Weather channel said that the storm should move through the area pretty fast. Sure enough, June 8 was sunny, cold, with a light breeze from the west. Our next stop was Custer, Wyoming where Joan wanted to visit Jewel Cave. The pictures I took really did not do any justice to Jewel Cave (awesome), but here are a couple of samples of what the cave looks like:






I am not an expert in caves so I apologize for the lack of explanation of what you are looking at. Joan of course loved it.


We spent the night in Custer and traveled to Rapid City via the Badlands next day. We left early in the morning and drove through Custer State Park:




From the park we drove to the Pine Ridge reservation via highway 79. This was a beautiful highway that had little to no traffic. Here is a pic of the view on highway 79 looking east after we entered the Rez:




This was a preview of the Badlands we would be going through later in the day. When we reached Pine Ridge on highway 18, there appeared to be some celebration planned because people were lining the streets for a parade and the reservation police were starting to block off traffic. It turned out that the Lakota Sioux were having a Veteran’s Pow Wow that day in honor of their men and women who served in the armed services. Made my heart feel good. Here are some pics of that parade:






From Pine Ridge we drove to the site of Wounded Knee Massacre:




Then on to the Badlands:










We spent the night in Rapid City, SD, and left early for Sheridan, WY via Devils Tower.


Here is the first view of Devils tower on highway 24…




…and some more pics of Devils Tower:








Just before we reached Sheridan, we stopped for a stretch break. This is looking east towards the Bighorn Mountains.




Next day we were off towards Yellowstone via Highway 14 from Sheridan, one of the most scenic highways I have ever traveled. I could have stopped every mile and taken a ton of pics. This pic was taken at or near Granite Pass, 9000 ft:




Yep, that is snow on the ground. Temperature was around 42 as I recall, glad we had our Gerbings. By the way, and I am hijacking my own post, you cannot plug a Gerbings into the new R1200GS without modifying the plugs and how the plugs are wired to the bike.


We entered Yellowstone via Cody, Wyoming. Just inside the park there was highway construction and we had to wait about 30 minutes. When we were allowed to go, we traveled through a gravel and mud road which made the ride a bit more interesting. The construction lasted about 5 miles. Bike was a bit muddy, but it IS a GS, right at home.


The weather really cooperated while we were at Yellowstone. It rained a bit on the 3rd day but it was nothing serious. Traffic was light, I believe this was due to us being there early in the season. We hit only one real traffic jam which was caused by a bear. There was a ranger telling traffic to move. Joan was able to get this pic of the bear:




We also encountered lots of Bison:





Note the road sign:




We took a tour to the Grand Teton’s on our second day:






We took a ferry across Jenny Lake at Grand Tetons and did some hiking.




On our third day, we toured the park on the bike. This is Yellowstone Lake at 8 in the morning, temperature was about 38:






Yellowstone pictures:






Old Faithful:












From Yellowstone we headed south to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with layovers in Evanston, Wyoming and Torrey, Utah. This was taken from the balcony of our motel room in Torrey:




Further down the road on highway 12 near Tropic, Utah:




We spent two nights at Jacobs Lake Lodge. Joan has been in love forever with the Grand Canyon so we always make it a point to stop. Here are some Grand Canyon pictures.








On June 19, we left Jacob’s Lake for Phoenix. We left early in the morning in order to get home before the temperature hit triple digits. These pics were taken on highway 89 near Marble Canyon:






This is the Colorado River looking east towards Lee’s Ferry. Joan took the picture from the Marble Canyon Bridge.




We arrived home about 11 am, temperature was around 96. We were tired, hot, and ready for a nice cold one. tongue.gif


George and Joan

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Incredible picture's, one question though, how did ya get away with just buying the front seat? Oops, Joan didn't know did she. wink.gif



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Our next stop was Custer, Wyoming where Joan wanted to visit Jewel Cave.

George and Joan,

Great pictures and ride tale. Gar and I did Jewel Cave and loved it too. Sure got a workout going up and down all those stairs but it was worth every step. Yellowstone is always one of my favorites, loved the photos.


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Great pics of my favorite area of the country! By the way--Custer is in South Dakota, not Wyoming. We were in Jewel cave last October and you are right, no photos can do it justice. My children still talk about the "Bacon" formations on the wall! When we pulled in the parking lot we were the only car there and we had a tour guide all to ourselves. You can't beat the Black Hills for a great relaxing fun vacation for the family. Every couple of years we rent a cabin around Hill City and spend a week hiking around and fishing for trout. I have been there over thirty times since 1970 and will go back the next time we get a chance! Spearfish Canyon and Spearfish SD are the area I dream of retiring to.


Terry cool.gif

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That was a wonderful trip! Amazing landscapes and great pictures ! Thank you for sharing ! thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

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Thanks, nice post with great pictures. thumbsup.gif

Riding with a passenger presents a different set of opportunities and we hope to emulate your trip to Yellowstone one day.

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