Wednesday 29th August 2001, Boseman MT

We had planned to visit the Buffalo Bill museum before leaving town. But in the event, we decided that it was just to large to do justice to the entry fee in the short time we had available. All we really wanted to do was to visit the Yellowstone National Park. So we topped up with gas and made for the Chief Joseph Highway.

John noticed a worrying rattle coming from his bike. Brigid suggested that his chain might be loose, but was surprised that it had not been spotted when Dunbar Eurosports had changed the tyres. A quick check confirmed that the chain was indeed far too slack. We went back into town where we had noticed a small Harley dealership.

The mechanic was delighted to see the Triumph, and quickly adjusted the chain. We set off. A few hundred yards down the road, John stopped again. Now there was an unfamiliar rubbing noise coming from the chain. Another check revealed that it was far too taut. Back to the shop. Again the mechanic adjusted the chain … this time with John and his luggage on board.

At last we were on the road. The Triumph was now running better than it had since John bought it, and he was enjoying the full power of the 1200 engine. The Chief Joseph Highway was beautiful, rising up into cool, green, forest, from the dull plains below. We stopped for too many photographs, risking expending our supply of batteries and film by the time we reached Yellowstone.

At the entrance to the Park, we stopped for lunch at the Harley-friendly Beartooth Café in Cooke City. Yellowstone itself was predictably magnificent … and big. We wanted to see Old Faithful, but due to one road-closure, the round-trip would have involved an extra 100 miles or so. We made do with views of buffalo herds, forests (some still showing the effects of a great fire 13 years ago), mountains, and lakes. By the time we left the Park, the sun was setting and it was time to find a motel room.

Bozeman, Montana, was just celebrating the return of its students … and their parents! There was a surprising scarcity of accommodation. In the end we plumped for the Bozeman Inn, which had a convenient Mexican bar/restaurant attached. At dinner we found ourselves the oldest patrons by at least 20 years. Around us, groups of male and female students sipped lethal-looking cocktails, while eyeing each other up for ‘talent’.