12.14.2011

Outlaw Run 2011: Bighorn Loop pt. 1

Inside the Sheridan County Museum.

Heade up into the Bighorn National Forest on US 14.


Approaching Burgess Junction. Saw an elk for the first time ever after taking this picture.


Shell Falls


Looking west towards Greybull. Note road to the left of the picture.

Out of the forest and into the Bighorn Basin. Approaching Shell.
After our unscheduled stop we went over to the Sheridan County Museum. I missed the museum last year when I was in town so this was a must do for me. The museum contains a lot of interesting exhibits and displays pertaining to the town of Sheridan and to the County of Sheridan. For me as a Old West fan it was full of neat little tidbits of Wyoming history! Now, the plan was for an over-night stay in Sheridan at the Best Western; at this point we were about half-way through our run. Time for a hot shower and laundry! Ah, lavida loca!
Main Street Sheridan was knee deep in a resurfacing project which equaled loads of fun on an over-loaded motorcycle! Wyatt and I managed just fine and it really was a breeze especially after our morning off-road experience in Montana! Once we got our room we loaded and walked over to the historical Buffalo Bill Hotel for dinner. We certainly were not expecting a fancy place but it quickly became apparent that it was! But, no one batted an eye at our appearance and gladly accepted our greenbacks! So, our stay in Sheridan was really uneventful except for me failing to wash my clothes on COLD and thus wrecking my most prized Chris Ledoux t-shirt! So, I spent the night repacking due to ALL of the souvenirs I bought at the Custer Battlefield Cafe and Sheridan County Museum while watching a TV show on how the Mayans and Aztecs put a hurt locker on the bumbling Spaniards. It was nice having TV, AC, a bed, and a shower! Morning arrived with brilliant blue skies and piercing sunshine. The Best Western had a true breakfast that was like eating at home! We stuffed ourselves and I loaded up on the mandatory coffee...
It was a tad chilly but our breakfast kept us warm while we rode over to a gas station and topped off our trusty steads. The only delay in getting out of Sheridan was due to a train and not me getting pulled over, although, I was feeling a wee bit paranoid, oh well! 
I guided us out of Sheridan and north on to Interstate 90 for a short trip up to Ranchester were we picked up US 14. I rode through the Bighorns last year but I traveled from Buffalo, west, north, and east; this time I would be traveling west, south and then east; so I would be traveling counterclockwise or opposite last years trip. The elevation at th base of the Bighorns is about 4000' but you start a steep and very twisty ride up.Once the twistys end you find yourself at the Fallen City scenic pull-off at about 7500'! MIND BLOWING!
Wyatt and I stopped to enjoy the scenery before moving on up to Burgress Junction. Up in Burgess Junction it levels out for a bit before you hit long sweeping curves and soon afterwards you start to descend slightly while traveling in a westerly direction. Now, I didn't think to much of the lone bicyclist that I passed before Brugess Junction but soon afterwards we started to encounter A LOT of bicyclist and soon it became apparent that we were in the midst of some thigh burning tour. But when you add steep and twisty roads, free range cattle and cages, well it got a little sketchy and sometimes a little annoying! But to pedal a bicycle from 4000' to almost 10,000' I will give them ALL the room I can afford with out hitting that herd of Black Angus or the on-coming cage! Eventually Wyatt and I made it safely to Shell Canyon and Falls. Here are these incredible falls that have wooden walking areas, that you can feel sway, and awesome views of Sunight Mesa (8,301') and Elephant Head Rock! There to was a stop point for our pedalling friends! I asked one fella what the deal was and he explained that every year a massive bicycle tour is organized and they tour an area of Wyoming...my legs burn just thinking about that! So, always one for taking pictures I took a ton more of the falls! Last year it was overcast when I stopped but this year was sweet with sunshine! Wyatt and I finished up our sightseeing and roared past the Japanese tourist and out onto '14. US 14 follows Shell Creek through Shell Canyon. The ride is just as sweet as it was coming up except now we see huge red and khaki rock walls instead of the lush green tress on the east side. Just as we pass Horse Mountain Gulch the landscape turns to orange-red Utah style rock formations and into the Bighorn Basin. BIGHORN LOOP pt. 2: Greybull to Buffalo

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