"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bee Stings and Bears

It's hard to believe it's already been a year since I headed off on my first motorcycle adventure to Yellowstone National Park. Two weeks ago, eight of us set out for the 2nd Annual Foley's Jackson to Yellowstone Motorcycle Adventure.  Like last year, I was the only female in the group of seven men and seven motorcycles.  I wrote about that trip here.   Hopefully, next year a few more ladies will be brave enough to join us, so I'm not the odd man (or rather, woman) out again. 
The Cast of Characters
This year several of the riders from last year rejoined us, some from last year couldn't make it, and a few new people joined in.  Even though some of us were strangers at the start, we were soon fast friends, laughing, teasing and talking together like we'd known each other for years. We all have the same common connection, our friend Dave, owner of Foley's MMA Training Center.  
Our VRBO rental in Victor, Idaho
We did a few things different this trip.  For one, we decided not to camp and instead rented a luxury home in Victor, Idaho.  What a great decision that was!  It made packing the bikes so much easier and it felt much more like a vacation.  Being able to sleep in a comfortable, warm bed, take hot showers and baths, and wake up to fresh coffee brewing and a hearty breakfast eaten with a beautiful view from the back deck was heaven. It also didn't hurt that I did none of the shopping or cooking on the trip.  A crew of tough, manly men, several of them professional MMA fighters, doesn't at first glance seem like a group to spend a weekend with, but that's why it's dangerous to make judgements based on stereotypes. I have to admit I was spoiled and well taken care of the entire time. We also didn't ride nearly as many miles as last year, when we went all the way through Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, Cody, Wyoming and over both Chief Joseph and Beartooth Pass, and to Red Lodge, Wyoming and back.
The view from the back deck.
Mike, the head chef, flashing gang signs in the kitchen.

The crew ready to hit the road.
The highlight of the trip was early on our second day when we saw a Grizzly Bear in Grand Teton National Park.  It was my first time seeing a bear in the wild and it was beyond cool!  I'm giving credit for the sighting to our collective positive energy, as that morning I'd asked everyone to think positive thoughts and focus their energy on seeing a bear.  If I'd known it was that easy, I would have tried that method years ago! 

We also saw a large group of elk, and I spotted a moose drinking from the river when we were still in Utah heading up a mountain canyon.  Dave saw a bee up close and personal, as one flew inside his helmet and stung his ear on our first day as we were driving over Monte Cristo Highway in Utah.  More on that later.

The weather was beautiful the entire weekend, which made riding that much more enjoyable.  Our itinerary was very flexible, so we spent as much time as we felt like at different stops along the way.  In Jackson Hole, we did the usual tourist things, watching an old West shootout on the street, posing in front of the elk antler arches, and shooting whiskey at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.  Okay, I guess not everybody does that last one, but since it was Shawn's first time there, I felt like the occasion should be properly celebrated.  

Just like last year, we spent way too much time at Old Faithful, or as we like to call it Old Disappointment.  Not because it doesn't erupt regularly, but because it's more than a little underwhelming seeing it in person for the first time after hearing about it for years.  Or, maybe we're just jaded. Honestly, we all like the ice cream cones from the visitor center better than the geyser.

Ice cream and Old Faithful
At this point in the trip, a new member joined our group.  Dave's bee sting had made his ear swell and redden to a point that we couldn't ignore it. His ear had taken on its own identity!  We named him Monte, after Monte Cristo where he was stung. We teased and laughed at Monte unmercifully for the rest of the trip. For a while we were worried Monte was going to require his own helmet and bike! 
Monte, a good listener with an ear for everyone.
Like all vacations, this one didn't seem long enough.  There never seems to be enough time to cover the vast space in Yellowstone Park and see all the beautiful sights there.  We left the park on our second day already making plans for next year.  Yes, we will be back, and chances are I'll be on my own bike.  That's right.  I've been bitten by the bug, and getting my motorcycle license and eventually having my own bike has officially been added to my bucket list.   
Boys and their toys.
Justin had some odd choices for riding attire this year.
An overcast day in Grand Teton National Park, but still beautiful.
Rest stop




  1. What a grand adventure! And it looks like you will be coming back next year with your own bike, Keicha! How does your mother feel about this? :-)

  2. DJan, Don't ask. I do appreciate your adventuresome spirit, Keicha. The weather and company seems to have been perfect. I'm glad you had a great time.

  3. Keicha, it looks like you had a really fabulous time and a great group of companions. I'm like your mom -- I'd worry! But it sure looks like you know what you're doing and a grand time!


Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate your feedback.