19 July, 2012

Day 14, 305km: Into Yellowstone

Hello everyone,

Another day in the USA!
Today I need your advice on earbuds that can fit in a helmet. I've spent the past 2 weeks without music but now I'm in the USA it's time to unleash ACDC, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and other albums that any respectable motorcycle rider would listen to while cruuuuuising (let the u go on for a bit) the US of A.

I trusted the earbuds that came with my Samsung phone (I have a few spares ...) would do the job just fine. But they don't! They're simply too big to fit in the helmet and they try to force their way into my ears which isn't very comfortable.

Since you obviously can't try earbuds at a shop, if anyone who's reading this has recommendations please share them ... the cheaper the better :)

Ignorant me thought "Lewis and Clark" had something to do with Superman
Today was an easy day, headed for Yellowstone, 300km from Anaconda, MT.
So for those who were as surprised by the sign above as I was:
- It's Lois and Clark in Superman
- Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were the two leaders of a transcontinental expedition sent by President Jefferson in 1804, after Lousiana was purchased from Bonaparte (amazing deal at $1 per hectare - in 2011 dollars mind you)

So the above Carvens State Park had nothing to do with Kryptonite, unfortunately. That or this whole expedition was invented to cover Superman's hideouts.

The day I understood why it's called the "Rockies" - it's full of rocks!
So I have to admit I was not at my brightest yesterday. Several breaks were needed to deal with the heat (32deg C almost all day long) and general tiredness I was starting to feel.

Passed the 7000km mark somewhere on that road
The road was incredibly windy. Which had a slightly annoying side-effect. Driving a motorcycle is noisy. There's wind blowing on the helmet, the sound of the engine. But after a few kilometers, the brain filter these sounds out so the ride feels silent. So in the end it's not disturbing even on long rides. Amusingly this "background noise" comes back immediately if you focus on it, swallow, or have sudden drops/rises in altitude.

So anyway, the point of the above is that with the wind blowing, and wind gusts, the background noise isn't stable so it seems the brain can't filter it out. Therefore I tried to use my MP3 player, only to find that the ear-buds wouldn't fit - see the beginning of this post. I've red that in Patagonia it's even windier than here so I definitely need working music before I reach there! :D

No trees because it's too windy? Too dry? Or simply they were cut?
Why there are no trees in this region is still a mystery to me. Maybe that's because the huge forests of northern Canada are still fresh in my mind so everything pales in comparison. I have to admit I'm getting a bit sick of the smell of pine trees!

I'm guessing the things above are to the wind what levees are to water
Anyway that was a short day, and soon enough I was reaching the entry to Yellowstone.

I had to take a picture showing flags ...
The above wasn't actually in Yellowstone but somewhere along the way. Pretty cool for a pharmacy right?
Oh and another thing, they have drive-in for everything here. Drive-in bank, pharmacy, video rental, fast-food of course but also liquor stores ... ! This last one really blew my mind. I'm waiting to see a drive-in hotel, I'm sure they can make it.

Going up the Madison river "canyon" or is it a lake now?
The last few kilometers leading to West Yellowstone (a small city outside the park's boundaries) where along the Madison river, with lots and lots of people fly fishing, waist deep in the river. Beautiful sight! Even with zoom maxed on my camera the pictures didn't show much, I'll try again another day!

So eventually I made it to West Yellowstone. In the middle of July, with no reservation for any hotel. Seems a bit dumb, doesn't it? Well indeed it was.
All campsites in the park? Full. Cabins? Full. Campsites within 20km of the park? Full. Top 12 hotels ofn tripadvisor? All full.

After 2 hours of circling the city looking for lodging, I settled for the "White Buffalo Hotel". What got me sold is that they have an "all you can eat" breakfast. Which, when you're saving as much as you can on food and drinks is a sweet, sweet deal. I'm just back from breakfast where I ravaged the buffet for an hour.

Feels good to get some rest too, the last 10 days have been intense!
This afternoon I'll go and visit the park.

Take care everyone,


  1. Earbuds... I use the type that go deep in the ear and the cable connects close to the bud. say the skull candy titan or heavy metal line, Not the skull candy smokin' line. Then I loop the cable over top my ear before I put the bud in. That way the cable holds the bud in place while you put your helmet on.

    1. Great tip on the safety loop, thanks! :) I'll see if I can find these in the next big city!

  2. I switched recently to a Sena SMH-10 bluetooth unit because I got tired of the wires. By default, it uses in-helmet speakers rather than earbuds -- which might not help you with the noise blocking. They do offer an option to plug in earbuds, though. I purchsed mine from rocketmoto.com and was incredibly impressed with the customer service -- they'll work with you on shipping to one of your future stops.
    The best earbuds I've used are JVC Marshmallow. They have foam inserts (like ear plugs) so they stay seated in your ear much better than the rubber/plastic inserts, end end up blocking ambient noise quite well.