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French bikers, Shell Falls, rafting trip add up to unexpected fun out West

By LARRY VAUGHT

Sometimes the best part of a Globus Tour is that you have the most fun in unexpected ways.

That’s what happened to me Tuesday on a day that started with a visit into Montana to visit Little Bighorn Battlefield — the site of George Custer’s last stand. It was certainly a somber sight seeing all those graves and I enjoyed it all — including seeing a rattlesnake as I hiked a trail to check out the graves of Custer’s soldiers as well as those of a few Native Americans who were also left behind.

But the surprise came when we made our lunch stop at the top of the Bighorn Mountains near Dayton, Wyoming, at Bear Resort. The soup, salad and sandwich bars were great along with the desserts, but the big surprise came as we were waiting to board the bus to leave.

It was a nippy, windy day. A group on motorcycles drove into the restaurant — which does a booming business with hunters and snowmobile operators. I wondered how cold they  must be since I was cold just standing outside. That’s when I realized this was not a typical group of bikers.

Instead, I found out they were from France. I finally understood that they had flown into Denver, rented bikes and would spend about three weeks touring the area. They were a friendly, vivacious group that loved to laugh and talk.

So when I kept asking how they stayed warm, two of them told me they were freezing and their ice-cold hands proved that. But then they showed me how they kept somewhat warm. One woman produced a small flask she passed around to each biker.

She finally asked me if I wanted to try. I thought, “Why not?” As they watched, I tasted their mixture and immediately felt warmer inside myself as they laughed. “Now you know how we warm up,” she laughed and said.

Next another biker volunteered to let me on her bike for a picture. I opted just to have my picture with her rather than risk doing something that might damage her bike — or let those on the Globus bus watching and waiting for me from giving me even a harder time.

We took just a short drive in the mountains — and more gorgeous scenery including a stop where you overlooked Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana — before reaching Shell Falls. It is about halfway down Shell Canyon and the falls are 120 feet. The water of Shell Falls drops at a rate of 3,600 gallons per second and makes for a spectacular site.
We arrived in Cody — a town of about 10,000 named after Wild Bill Cody — and it was off for a raft trip down the Shoshone River with River Trips. Our guide, Sarah, took seven of us safely through the white waters — and we did get wet — and showed us red canyons, native wildlife (including two newly born deer) and more. The water is a level 2, but she told us it was moving faster than normal and that made the ride even more fun. Twice we came close to having one person fall out, but he hung out and somehow we helped paddle just enough for Sarah to get us safely back to our destination.All that was left to end this day was a walk into Cody after we got back to our hotel for a hamburger and beverage at Silver Dollar Bar. The jalapeno burger had just enough kick to make listening to the live music even “hotter.”Now it is off to Yellowstone where they tell me even Verizon, which has been great with keeping me connected online and letting me provide pictures on Twitter daily, won’t have service. So there will be no TV, internet or cell calls for me again until Thursday afternoon at the earliest.

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2 comments

  1. Terry Sowder

    I am a committee of 101 member. My son lives in Jackson Wy. I hope your travels take you to Jackson & the Grand Tetons. He is a river guide down the Snake River in the Grand Tetons. He works for Solitude Float Company. He is the biggest Wildcat Fan in Jackson. Yellowstone is terrific and so diverse but as far as sheer beauty there is nothing that I have seen that beats the Tetons. I am also a friend of Jim Porters’s. I know you are g0ing to his event this month. I have ushered in section 29-30 in Rupp for 35 years. I know you are having a great trip and I hope you continue to have a great time and safe trip.

    GO CATS

  2. Mayor Krauss

    Big Blue fans are supposed to notify me when they get out this way.

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