Home - The Yellowstone Ride - CycleBlaze

June 19, 1995


The ground is wet when I awaken, but the skies are partly cloudy.  The newspaper warns of rainy skies both today and tomorrow (the promised break in the weather pattern keeps receding with each new forecast).   Maybe I'll get lucky though, and cover most of the sixty five miles to Red Lodge before the rains resume.  My plan is to make it there tonight, and then bike another 55 miles to Billings tomorrow morning and arrive in time for my flight home.

After breakfast I embark hopefully on highway 120 as it slowly but relentlessly ascends the western shoulder of Heart Mountain.  If the weather were more favorable I'm sure this would be a fine ride - no traffic, wide shoulder, expansive views - but almost immediately after leaving town the northern horizon turns steel grey, and after only about six miles the rains begin.  After two miles of biking uphill, upwind into a hard, cold rain, with no respite in sight, I give up.  The prospect of six more hours of this leaves me cold.  I reverse direction and race back to Cody at about 25 mph.

I don't really have a plan, but I'm incorrigibly optimistic so I'm sure something will work out - rent a car, fly to Billings, buy a car, dump my bike - almost anything sounded better than riding out this storm today. 

At the airport, I make the round of all the car rental agencies.  Only one has a car I can take to Billings, and it is too small to accommodate my bike.  Giving up on that possibility, I move on to the airline desk, where I am greeted by a sympathetic, patient and helpful agent.  An hour later, I'm astonished to find myself reticketed, my bike boxed, and checked in for a flight to Portland.  It is always a shock to find how much difference the right person can make.

Today's ride: 18 miles (29 km)
Total: 349 miles (562 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Jeremy Perks Having read the posts up to now I have this overwhelming desire to ride through the USA, not New York and not Los Angeles and the big cities. Just the small places that the author describes so well! Time to plan!
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4 years ago
Keith AdamsCody Airport, with its three tiny gates, was still a welcome sight for me, too.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsIt’s interesting rereading this. Over time I’d completely forgotten about that aborted ride to Red Lodge, but it all came back in a flash. I’d gradually come to think that I intended to fly home from Cody when I rerouted there, forgetting that I was still on the plan to bike to Billings.
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3 months ago