Friday, May 18, 2012

This is the Coolest Map I've ever seen.  Check it out!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Summer Sabbatical

I love to do these stories and videos.  I have about 16 waiting to be done.  However, riding season calls, and I’m embarking on a new project that is going to really demand my time. 

I hope to get back to writing and video editing soon and I hope you don’t mind the short absence.  In the mean time, my friends, stay safe and keep the Shiny Side Up! 

Road Dog

Do you know where this is?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Glacier National Park - By Road and By Air

In August of 2011 we rode our bikes to Glacier National Park.  I had never been to this park, but I have always heard of its grandeur. Glacier National Park is a stunning example of the earth forces that changed North America over the last billion years.  The rock formations in the park are sedimentary and were laid down between 1600 to 800 million years ago when this area was an inland sea – as was so much of what is the western US today.

The mountains here were uplifted during the formation of the Rocky Mountain Range beginning around 170 million years ago.  They hold some of the best Proterozoic fossils in the world. The mountains were carved into their present form by the advance and retreat of glaciers during the last ice age, and the park still contains many glacial features like lakes, valleys and even remnant glaciers although these have diminished significantly in the last century as photographs show.  It is all part of the normal cooling and warming cycle our earth goes through.  

Glacier is a one road national part, just like Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef and others.  But this road is one that challenges all others for the top position.  It’s called Going to the Sun Highway and the most spectacular viewpoints in the entire park are along this road.   The road is named for Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, which dominates the eastbound view beyond Logan Pass.  Before this road was completed in 1932, it took visitors four days to see the park.  

It is closed to traffic in winter because it is the hardest of all the park roads to keep clear during the heavy snows in that area. It takes more than 10 weeks to clear the road of over 80 to 100 feet of snow near Logan Pass.  Road construction is likely each summer often with just one lane open to traffic .  This can cause serious delays and even road closure.  

This is what happened to us the day we decided to ride “Sun Road”.  So we turned around (not an easy feat on a narrow road, a wing, an incline and gravel) and headed to one of the companies that offer helicopter tours of the park.  So while I have some views from Sun Road for you here, the rest of this video blog will be our outstanding view from above, all the way north to the 49th parallel.

On Sun Road
On Sun Road

Parked the Bikes for a Photo
Beautiful Shot
There are many lakes, lodges, hiking trails, camping sites and almost every kind of recreation you can imagine at Glacier.  The beauty also comes with Grizzly Bears and severe weather anytime of the year but if you are lucky to see this jewel on a pretty day, it will be an image that will stay with you forever.  
One of the Glacier Lakes
The 49th Parallel


Ready to Fly
Two Wings and Two Jet Rangers

I hope this music video of our helicopter tour of Glacier will either make you want to visit the beauty, or perhaps bring back some great memories.  

So from the Sun Road, to 12,000 feet above, here is Glacier National Park. 

 Enjoy!  "Road Dog"

Shiny Side Up; 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bighorn Scenic Byway (Wyoming 14 & 14A)

The Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming and southern Montana are a 200 mile extension of the Rocky Mountains.  The Bighorn Basin lies between the Bighorn Range to the east, and the Absaroka Range to the west.  The Absarokas are where you will find Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and of course the famous Beartooth Pass (WY 212).  (Ride along with me in the video below!)

Map of the General Area
There are three highways that traverse the Bighorns and they are all designated Scenic Byways - These include U.S. Route 14, WY 14A and WY 16, which is also called Cloud Peak Scenic Byway.

Overview of Area

The Scenic Byways of The Bighorns

Today we are going to ride 14 from Cody over to Sheridan (Bighorn Scenic Byway), then return.  At Burgess Junction on the way back, we'll take the 14A Northern Branch into the Bighorn Basin into Cody.  This is a great day ride and you can either eat lunch in Sheridan or picnic at Burgess Junction.

US Route 14 is one of the original United States Highways of 1926.  The most eastern part of 14 is in Chicago, Illinois.  The western terminus is the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

The Bighorns were uplifted beginning approximately 70 Million years ago.  At many points along the route you can see 2.9 Billion year old Precambrian rocks - some of the oldest rocks on earth.  There is even a glacier on the east slope of Cloud Peak.

Aerial view of the Bighorns
Western Slope of the Bighorns

On your way east from Greybull and shell, be sure to stop at Shell Falls, a waterfall on Shell Creek on the WY 14 section.  The falls are 120 feet in height and tumble over basement rock of granite.  From the visitors center you can see outcrops of the Cambrian sandstone about 500 Million years old. 

Shell Falls
Base of Shell Falls

WY 14 and 14A come together at Burgess Junction, a great place for a rest stop or picnic.  I suggest you continue heading east to get the best twisties on the eastern slope of the Bighorns as you head toward Sheridan.  You will even see many signs on the side of the road describing the amazing geology through which you are riding. Geology students from all over the world come here to study. Take time to pull off and take in the billions of years of earth's formation that are exposed for you. 

When you head back west to Cody, once again at Burgess Junction, take the WY 14A northern branch.  This will let you descend a rare 10% downgrade into the Bighorn Basin.  A thrilling ride!  There are several places where you can pull off and look west into the Basin - a major source of our nation's energy.

My Bike At Burgess Junction Sign
You won't see many signs like this

Jimmy Chance and Family
Patricia on her Wing ready to head down

The Bighorn Scenic Byway offers the two wheeler some of the best twisty roads you will find in the United States.  Plan a day ride, or take the road when traversing the country from either direction, you won't regret it!

Shiny Side Up!  

"Road Dog"

NOW, Enjoy The Video!