This summer my wife and I, along with a good friend, decided to visit some parks on motorcycles. We began our nine-day journey with big expectations and no reservations.
After sneaking through the Sturgis rally in the Black Hills, we made our first stop at Devils Tower near Sundance, Wyo. The tower is an igneous rock structure more than 5,000 feet tall, and was named the first national monument in the United States in 1906.
From there we ventured west through the Big Horn Mountains and entered the east gate of Yellowstone, set aside as our first national park in 1872. This is where our expectations of seeing some natural beauty and wildlife were overwhelmed with the grandeur of the mountains, prairies, wild animals and breathtaking landscapes.
Being on two wheels puts one up close and personal with nature, including the bison and other creatures that roam the park. These American buffalo ignore the fact that there are people, roads and vehicles invading their turf and go about their business. As we wove in and out of the road-hogging giants, it reminded me of scenes from “Jurassic Park,” where people and dinosaurs coexisted in a man-made park.
Before leaving Yellowstone, we experienced the natural phenomenon of Old Faithful, religiously spouting off every couple of hours or so, much to the delight of the tourists and their cameras.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the first big canyon on the Yellowstone River, was the last of our stops in the park and a glorious ending to the favorite day of our trek.
Our last few days of riding took us through the switchbacks and 11,000-foot elevation of Beartooth Pass in Montana and then back south through Grand Teton National Park into Jackson, Wyo.
Heading east toward home, we rode through the Black Hills and Custer National Park, which proved to be icing on the cake of our park tour. Besides the picturesque riding through the hills, we experienced Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and the Needles Highway, which was loaded with splendid surprises of wildlife and beautiful views around each bend.
We enjoyed exploring the parks and certainly will relish the experiences we encountered on this, the 100th anniversary of our National Park Service, and the beauty our country has to offer.
Kevin McDermott, of Plymouth, rode through the parks with his wife, Lynn Petros, and friend Kelly Johnson.