Day’s distance: 438 miles
Total trip distance so far: 7,622 miles
Temperatures ranged from the low 40s to the mid 70s. The day started out with clear skies and light winds but ended with showers and steady light to moderate winds.
The owner of the BMW dealership in Sioux City, Dave Bak, suggested Hwy 12 and Hwy 20 would be good alternatives to I-90 if I were heading west. They were just that. The quality of the roads were generally very good and traffic was light along both. Hwy 12, especially the eastern half, was more scenic – actually quite beautiful for prairie and grass lands. My photos will not do either justice.
Having made some progress but still having four hours to go, I stopped in Springview, NE for lunch. The population here, according to wikipedia, is about 242 (based on the 2010 census). I saw one gas station and one cafe.
George’s Windmill Cafe was right on main street. I decided to try it.
They don’t take credit cards so I had to grab some cash I keep in the bike. The lunch special was a fish fillet sandwich with tater tots, a drink and dessert for $5.85. Lunch hit the spot and I ended up talking to George and another customer about my travels. It was an enjoyable stop.
I left Sioux City with my fuel tank about 3/4’s full. In looking for more fuel, I came across an unexpected situation – no higher octane fuel was available. I stopped at a number of stations and the pattern was the same.
There was Unleaded and ‘Super Unleaded’, which was also 87 octance fuel but with Ethanol added to it (to make it super). Because I was in a pinch, I added three gallons of unleaded to the two gallons or so of 91 octane I had in the tank. At a later stop I added another two gallons.
About 30 miles east of Chadron, the skies darkened …
and it appeared I might run into some light rainfall.
I made it to Chadron dry. And, in Chadron, I filled the tank, which was now running on reserve, with 91 octane. Another option at that point would have been to add an octane booster, but I’m glad they had 91 octane fuel available.
It did sprinkle a bit on me between Chadron and Hot Springs. I took a 360 photo prior to getting to Hot Springs. You should be able to get a sense of both the geography and the weather here.
Saturday is going to be another long day at just under 400 miles. I will push on to Cody, Wyoming. Weather permitting, I will go over Beartooth Pass, as I did in 2014. This year I will try come down the western side using Alt 14, instead of Hwy 14. In Cody, I’m looking forward to eating at the Wyoming’s Rib and Chop house again.
Sunday, I will head up Hwy 296, or the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway from Cody. I missed it in 2014 and it is reportedly spectacular. Online photos certainly confirm it will be scenic. I am tentatively planning to then head over Beartooth Pass, if the weather at the top is above freezing.
At this point, it is predicted to be below freezing, but we’ll see if that changes. I’m using this site as reference. It appears I’m one day too late as both Sunday and Monday (not shown) is are no good.
Monday, I’ll ride through Missoula and down Lolo Pass into Lewiston to stay the night.
Tuesday, I’ll probably head back to Seattle. I won’t need to get the bike serviced just yet, as my return route was shorter than planned and my last service was performed in Vermont instead of New York.