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The Great Yellowstone Raid - 2015

Since we're going to be so close to Yellowstone for the Monumental Rally in June, 2015, it seems a shame not to push our trip a little and see a bit of Yellowstone.

Some of the best rallies I've attended were the Butterfly rallies put on by Tom Hansen in New Mexico. These were multi-day events where a group of sidecarists traveled together on tour. I want to do that again but that old stick in the mud, Hansen won't keep putting them on.


TLMaryann and I will be staying in Gardiner, MT at the Yellowstone River Motel [hereinafter the YRM] on Sunday evening, June 21, 2015. The YRM is a Mom and Pop place with a new and an old [sorry, they say “vintage”] wing. Cheap clean rooms according to all reports, with air conditioning, free WiFi and close to lots of places to eat. I picked this place because they were nice on the phone, recommended by other motels in the area and the only place with anything approaching reasonable rates. STAYING IN OR NEAR YELLOWSTONE IS EXPENSIVE! Would you believe that the Super 8 was $160 a night? The Travel Lodge started at $545 a night, for a Travel Lodge!

Anyway, The YRM has reasonable rates for the area [$96 - $129] and they offer an AARP discount, so figure about 10% less. We'll stay there for two nights departing on the morning of the 23rd. The motel is less than a mile from the North Entrance Road to the park.

For Monday and Tuesday we'll explore Yellowstone. Plan on about 4 or 5 hours a day in the saddle with lots of time to stop and enjoy the scenery and all the natural wonders that our nation's first national park has to offer. On Monday, its 56 miles from our motel to Old Faithful but folks say it will take about 2 hours. There are wonders to see along the way either outbound or on the return. We'll be on Hwy 89 for most of the day. It will be a full day. Of course if you don't want to ride with the group that's fine, just tell us that you're striking out on your own and when to call the park rangers if you don't show up back at the motel.

On Tuesday, we'll branch off Hwy 89 to go on the east side of the park via Hwy 20 and then in the afternoon we'll head out of the park via the Grand Loop Road and Hwy 212 over Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge for the night.

Not sure about Wednesday, some advice says we should go back into the park to pick up Dead Indian Pass and Summit. It appears to be one of those special places where you just HAVE TO visit at least once. After that we'll probably push on to Sheridan, WY to spend the night. I'm thinking about the Mill Inn It's a converted flour mill with reasonable prices and a lot of historic appeal. I'll get some more info and decide soon.

From Sheridan it's just 223 boring miles back to the Elkview Campground to join up with the rally. We can do a little exploring in the morning and roll into Sturgis on Thursday afternoon.

The fine print…
1. This IS NOT a USCA rally. It’s just a few folks who are going on a ride together.
2. I’m not “in charge” I just did the leg work.
3. You are all on your own to make reservations in the places that we’re staying or where ever you’d like. I chose plain cheap places that looked clean and had air conditioning. You can go upscale or you can camp if you want. Be very careful about other places you may choose. I looked at one really nice lodge only to find out that it lacked indoor toilets. Also, NONE of the actual Yellowstone properties run by the National Park Service have air conditioning.
4. We’re going into a national park and that's not free. Most of us are seniors and if you are 62+ you can get a lifetime pass for just $10. You can probably get one ahead of time in your own home town. Google, THE NATIONAL PARKS AND FEDERAL RECREATIONAL LANDS SENIOR PASS. For the younger set, a seven day pass is $20 for a motorcycle. I don’t know what they think we are, what with the extra wheel and all.
5. If you don’t like where we’re going, when we leave or the route we’re taking, do your own thing. Please let us know so we don’t have to go looking for you or suffer the guilt of not looking for you.
6. You don’t register for this ride but it would be very nice if you told us you are coming.
7. If you think that you have a few months to think this over, you’re wrong. If you plan to make this ride you need to start making reservations. The accommodations, especially the ones normal folks can afford, fill up months in advance. It IS NOT TOO EARLY.
8. Got a question or better, a suggestion? Call me at 612-759-4666 or works too.
9. No, I will not be dressing up as a cowboy.

It's a ways off but I might be interested in joining you. Since I know you'll be monitoring this thread, Al, ( and I might completely forget about it) I'm posting this reply in hopes you might PM me next Spring and remind me to firm up my plans.

Big question is always--bring the dog or the wife?

I can't give you any guidance on the og vs. wife question but... I'm bringing mine [wife that is, I don'thave a dog]

I am going to talk to my wife tonight and we will start looking at ways to join in the fun. Do you have a tentative head count yet for this little adventure leading up to the rally
Yellowstone is definitely on my bucket list of places to take the wife.

EDIT: OK I am happy to say it looks like we are going to work on participating in this ride. We have to work out a few details as we camp and have a little dog in tow.
might have to tow the rig most of the way then drop off the truck somewhere until the ride home.

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

I'm not too proud to tow my rig to a place where I want to ride. Anybody who gives you a hard time about it can kiss my grits. I'd rather arrive and be able to have fun riding than to beat my self to death getting to a great place and be too whipped to ride when I arrive.

We'll be towing our rig out at least as far as Sturgis and then going on the rig from there. BTW, most of the Raid folks will stay in cheap motels during the Raid but you can certainly camp if you want.

How many are going to go on the Raid? Who knows? We usually find out at the starting point and go from there.

You need a bigger sidecar so you don't have to choose between the wife and the dog. I much prefer my wife over a dog. She has ridden with me for 45 years (and about 100,000 miles.) and I think I'll keep her. Enough about that. We will be at the Elkview at least 2 days before the rally starts and the folks there will have places to park your rig-haulers if you need such. If that doesn't work we have a big back yard in Rapid City - about 30 miles away.

we will be firming up our plans and making reservations soon for camping during the Raid ride. I have been working on finding the best campgrounds based on where everyone is staying each night in the Motels.
I just wanted to see if there might be others interested in camping
So far we are thinking we will trailer everything to Sheridan and leave our truck at a campsite then ride to Yellowstone and camp, Ride with the group then camp just short of Red Lodge, ride with the group and camp at Sheridan, load rig back on truck and make ride to Elkview to camp for the Rally.
This is not set in stone yet but seems to be the best plan so far

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

OK so I just confirmed a site at Yellowstone RV park for the 21st and 22nd, I was sort of surprised to hear they only had 3 spots open when I called today. Good thing I didn't wait any longer
So now I'm waiting on a call back from Perry's RV on 212 just outside Red Lodge. I spoke with Peter at Peter D's RV in Sheridan about parking my truck and trailer there for a couple days and then camping there on the 25th, looks like we can work something out on that part.

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18

IF you're planning on going on the Great Yellowstone Raid...

It is not too early to make reservations. Things fill up fast [read the previous post on camping] and late reservations may be at significantly higher prices.
We [TLMaryann and I] are staying in cheap motels that seem to be friendly and clean. Here are our reservations...

Sunday, June 21 and Monday, June 22 [departing on the morning of June 23]
The Yellowstone River Motel, Gardiner, MT. They are closed now but are taking reservations by email at Details at

Tuesday, June 23 [one night only]
The Yodler Motel, Red Lodge, MT. They are open and you can call them at 866-446-1435 or 406-446-1435. One of the owners, Tulsa [she] is a sidecar driver! For details

Wednesday, June 24 [one night only]
The Mill Inn, Sheridan, WY. They were once an operating flour mill and on the National Register of Historic Places. They are open and you can call them at (307) 672-6401 or Toll Free (888) 357-6455. For details

On Thursday we should be back in Sturgis and you can settle into your accommodations for the rally. Call me with questions or send an email to If you are planning to come, please let me know but it's never too late to change your mind and come anyway [although you may be sleeping on the ground].

and just like that plans get changed and or tweaked a bit, I was not real pleased with my results in Sheridan as to camping and parking my truck for a couple days. it would have probably worked out but it just wasn't a done deal for me. Also I wasn't real happy with other sites I was finding, SO I looked outward a little and found a great place in Buffalo about 30 miles south of Sheridan. I have decided we will leave our truck there and camp there while others stop in Sheridan for the night. if any one else is going to camp we will be staying at Deer Park. on the 24th

97 1500 SE Motorvation II sidecar USCA # 8913 Double Dark Side # 1522 Goodyear Fuel max 175/60 R16 PILOT ACTIV 130/70 18