This is where it gets interesting.  I know there are storm chasers but if there were such a thing as storm flee’rs it would definitely be us.  Let’s start from the decision to leave Yellowstone.

As we saw the rain clouds start to surround us, we knew our time was limited.  The day was so beautiful and entertaining that we forgot about the forecasted storm which we hoped would just skip over us because of how awesome God thinks we are.  But like many times before, we were wrong.

We promptly started to depart, but we did not leave quickly.  It took us over two hours to get to the Northeast Entrance while it sprinkled on us as we descended about 3000 ft.  Peace of cake.

We had the choice… freeway or scenic route.  We chose the Highway 212 for the scenic route (and because it looked shorter on the map) thinking we had plenty of time and could outrun the storm.  Here is what a travel website says about Highway 212:

“It is arguably the most scenic entrance [or exit] into Yellowstone, but each entrance has its own scenery.  U.S. 212 follows the nationally acclaimed Beartooth Highway from Yellowstone into Montana, and it has some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring views in the West…

… The Beartooth Pass on U.S. 212 rises to an elevation of 10,947 feet.  This road has switchbacks and treacherous turns everywhere.  There are few guardrails – the responsible departments of transportation can’t put them in because the road clings to the side of the mountain.”

Now, imagine the worst-case scenario on this treacherous path.

1) Keeping pace with huge storm… soaking wet and low visibility
2) 40 degrees
3) 30 miles of brand new slippery tar with no middle line.

Put the three together and you have a slip n’ slide not like the ones we use to enjoy as children.  This path is only open 4 months a year, and has over 30 U-turn-like switchbacks going up and down this mountain.  We ascended over 7,000 feet and descended 10,000 feet, and drove about 15 mph for about 2 hours and also had to wait 30 minutes at a 1-lane section for road repair… in the pouring rain and almost freezing temperatures (there was snow at this elevation).  Greg’s tires slipped around every corner and kept him tense and ready for any further signs of slippage.  He mentioned kissing the pavement upon arriving on solid, old, non-slippery roads.  Jerry would have let him but we were already making horrible time (we were suppose to be meeting family in Billings… and we were already about 2 hours late).

We finally reached the bottom of the mountain and drove through the valley as we finally outran the storm.  We stopped for gas and a Cappuccino to warm our bones but before we knew it, we were soaking wet again.  We still had one more hour to go.

With our excitement high from the foreknowledge that our final destination includes an actual solid structure to protect us from the storm, we trotted on.   30 minutes later, we were rewarded with the most colorful rainbow, and… a DOUBLE RAINBOW!  I don’t think the picture does it justice and shows the second one very well, but if you look closely you can see it.

We were on our bikes over 9 hours today and completely exhausted and it was utopia showing up at Catherine and Chris’s house and having pizza waiting for us. As well as a fun kid to play with (Zeke)!  Another great day.

Tomorrow, we are off to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally about 300 miles away.  This should be an interesting experience.

The clouds coming in.

The clouds coming in.

Double Rainbow!

Double Rainbow!

(We have a video but it’s too big. If I have time and the software to shrink it down, I will)