Key to The Highway

September 12-13, 2021

Okay, stick with me here. This song reference is a bit harder to actually tie in, but it stuck in my mind, so here we go.

We had a short day, riding from Idaho Falls to West Yellowstone, actually stopping just short of West Yellowstone at a KOA campground. This gave us a little time to relax, and the weather was a beautiful 66 degrees.

We awoke to 27 degrees. It was a bit chilly in the tent, but another nice day and it quickly warmed up into the 50s again. The west entrance to Yellowstone National Park is one of the busiest, and looked a bit like entering Disney World. There were four or five lanes of traffic extending back into town, and it took a while to get into the park. We had both been to “The ‘Stone” more than once in the past, and Yellowstone wasn’t actually on our “to see” list. We were simply cutting through the northwest corner of Yellowstone to head across the Beartooth Highway.

This guy was walking down the road alone, into a construction zone filled with stopped cars (and one motorcycle). He walked between cars, crossed the road, and walked up behind us, then decided to cross right behind us, literally within a few inches.

A little further down the road was this herd. They were crossing the road in front of us, slowly.

This guy was huge. He was walking along the side of the road, right next to us, while we sat in traffic.

Outside of the north entrance to Yellowstone is Highway 212, also known in part as the Beartooth Highway. It is a fantastic, twisty climb up to Beartooth Pass, at an elevation of 10,947 feet.

View from Beartooth Pass of the portion of Beartooth Highway we just came up. Fun road. Cold at the top (10.947 feet elevation, 48 degrees F).

The actual Beartooth in the distance.

Looking down at the road down the east side of Beartooth Pass. Another great ride into Red Lodge, Montana.

We crossed Beartooth Pass and continued to Greybull, Wyoming for the night. We found a nice campsite in Greybull, and enjoyed the local A&W Root Beer stand across the street for dinner.

So here’s the song tie-in: Key to the Highway (Beartooth Highway, in this case) was recorded by Blues pianist Charlie Segar in 1940, and covered by many different bands since, including the Rolling Stones (as close as I could come to Yellowstone with the Highway). Thus, the Stones and the Highway.

Phew. That was too much work.

Next up: Another musical connection, this time from a movie.

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