Cycle Source Honeymoon
Article By: Chris Callen
Photos By: Heather Callen
Originally Published In The April 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
So when we left off the last time we had just bedded down at the Sheridan KOA in Wyoming. All that lay before us was the open road and I was excited to show Heather some of this country that before now I had only traveled alone. We woke up and broke camp pretty early. This was something we would end up getting into a pretty good rhythm. We had established an order of things and a list of duties we each had so it started to go pretty quick from this point on. It’s important that you keep your pack light for just this reason. The trouble is you also need to have the essentials covered and easily accessible. Learning what you need and what you don’t comes pretty fast on a long trip. We both agreed that to have this be the perfect trip, no schedule was the main objective. The funny thing is, the more we held to that the more our friends and family seemed to get irritated. But hey, this was our trip so too bad. We did begin to send out an invitation on social media for suggestions of what was cool at or near the places we were. This was great and would end up leading us to some of the greatest features of this adventure.
This next leg was suggested from a follower on social media. We got off the super slab and took Rt. 14 almost the entire way through Wyoming. It lead us through Ucross and Sheridan, which was so close to the border of Montana that I decided to take a quick detour and cross back and forth just so Heather could add that state. Back to Sheridan and into the Big Horn Mountain Range. As beautiful as the Black Hills of South Dakota are, this is the part of the country where it starts to look like the west. Giant expansive skylines that go further than the eye can see. We climbed enormous mountains, stopping from time to time to look for the elusive herd of Big Horn Sheep. Heather started a list of animals we were seeing along the way and she was desperate to add the Big Horns, to no avail.
There was a hell of a rain cloud ahead of us but it seemed to stay in the middle of the mountain range as we rode around the outside of it. We almost wished to get a little rain since we had some riding gear to test from Harley-Davidson. Never the less, we didn’t really mind staying dry either. As we came down off the mountains we headed into some beautiful country through Greybull and eventually into Cody. We stopped for a bit and swam in Buffalo Bill State Park, the water was freezing cold but it is kind of a tradition I have to swim in the water wherever I travel. It was getting late in the day by this point and we wanted to make Yellowstone by dark so we headed out. Our plan was to camp for the night inside Yellowstone and hit old Faithful in the morning. As we entered the park we started to see whole sections that were closed due to bear sightings. This was a little unnerving since camping in the park is not like camping at a KOA. This was out in the real wilderness and not everyone is as good with the rules as you would hope. Near the place where we decided to camp was a general store and the temperature was already dropping so we decided that we had need and room for a giant hand made wool blanket they were selling.
Back at the camp site after getting provisions I will never forget the look on the rangers face as he was giving us the rundown on keeping our site “Crumb Clean” as to not attract bears, when Heather said excitedly “I want to see a bear, it’s on my list.” His reply, “No you don’t, trust me.” Our campsite was perfect, inside a little pine tree grove and almost cut off from everyone else, everyone but the family next to us that decided to leave the site with food out and a fire going when they went to see a presentation the ranger’s were putting on. Well let me tell you, a group of rangers came in and wrecked that camp site, threw the time we reached the hot springs there was a second heard, it looked like something out of Jurassic times with these giant snorting animals and billowing hot springs. We forged on to the Paint Pots, which are like mud volcanoes but in every color of the rainbow. Along the way to Old Faithful Heather got to add Elk to her animal list and we arrived five minutes before the geyser was supposed to go off. We hurried to the bleachers to get a good seat, I could hardly believe that we were at the exact point at the 90 minute interval that it goes off, what luck. Front and center, this is too good to be true. And then I realized that the other people that were in the bleachers had started to walk away and that the smoke coming out of the geyser was in fact post residuals and not pre-build up. No big deal, we had an hour and a half for ice cream! This would end up being a daily staple, one that my big ass may have been able to do without but there’s nothing better than ice cream on a hot sunny day.
After seeing Old Faithful’s next performance we went over the continental divide at 8,262 feet. Our next adventure took us on the southern route through the park where we could see the Grand Tetons snow capped peaks off in the distance. The sun was coming down as we rode beside them with a giant lake at their base. It looked like a painting with two floating mountain ranges in it. We finished the day up in Jackson Hole where our home for the night would be another KOA. After checking in and getting our campsite we went just down the road for supplies. I think that this remote general store was where Heather realized upon seeing our magazine on the newsstand, that it’s a national magazine, like really national… Hahahaha! It was only the very beginning stages of this incredible journey but the need to obsess over our phones faded fast. The freedom of the road was erasing the mind- numbing blur of every day life and each hour was filled with a renewed vigor for just being alive. Oh, don’t get me wrong… there were still the tense moment here or there of who’s turn it was to start the fire or who farted in the tent (ALLEGEDLY) but all in all I could already tell this would be one for the history books! Tune in next month as we start across the 49th US state I have now ridden a motorcycle in: Idaho.