Day 5: Laurel, Montana to Butte, Montana

This morning we skipped our usual free hotel breakfast so that we could meet a fellow Tiger rider for breakfast in Red Lodge. We were supposed to meet him at 8:45, and the cafe was 45 minutes from our hotel, but we were ready early and ended up leaving at 7:30, which would have put us at the cafe at 8:15. Luckily we noticed a gravel road up on a ridge where we could get some pictures of the snow covered mountains in the distance, so we made a short detour to check it out.

We ended up pulling up in front of the Red Lodge Cafe just a couple of minutes before Darrell did, so it ended up being good timing. We enjoyed breakfast and great conversation, and before we parted ways Darrell gave us some route suggestions and pointed them out on a map for us.

Once we left the cafe we took off towards Beartooth Pass. We rode Beartooth on our first trip out West in 2014 and absolutely loved it, so we were excited to ride it again. There was a lot less snow this time around, probably due to the fact that there’s been a heat wave here this week, and we are a week or two later this time than we were last time. It was still absolutely beautiful though, and it is such an incredibly fun ride. It has everything an epic ride road should have, tight technical curves, longer sweepers, and breathtaking scenery.

We stopped a lot of different places to take pictures and see the sights, and it was so awesome to see things that we had loved so much the last time we were here.

We had to go through part of Yellowstone to get over to highway 89 up to Livingston where we hit I-90 to Butte. We weren’t sure what to expect riding through the park, because last time we were there was also on a Saturday, and it was horribly congested and our hands were hurting and cramping from stop and go traffic by the time we got out of there. Luckily things on the North end of the park aren’t too bad, so although we did hit some slow traffic a few times, it didn’t end up being too bad.

When we left the park it was starting to get very hot, but we could see a rain storm off in the distance, so we hoped that we would run into it. Eventually we did, and the temperature dropped down to 68 and the rain felt amazing. It was such a nice cool down and break from the heat. It didn’t last long, though, and soon after the sun came back out and  the temperature started rising rapidly. By the time we made it up to Livingston, it was 90 degrees.

We stopped in Livingston for lunch and to cool off again and take a break. From there we had just over 100 miles left to Butte, so we hopped on I-90 and headed in that direction. As it turns out, that section of I-90 is actually rather fun. The speed limit is 75 or 80 most of the way, and it is has tons of long sweeping switchbacks. It was some of the most fun I’ve had on an interstate, even if it was nearly 100 degrees at some points.

We were very happy to make it to our hotel though, and the cold shower felt incredible. Tomorrow should be under 300 miles, so hopefully we will get to the hotel before it gets ridiculously hot, and hopefully the hotel will let us in our room early.

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