Bear’s Tooth Pass. Chased away. WY/MT

Monday, August 4th, 2014

“In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counterword in English. It is the verb ‘vacilar’, present participle ‘vacilando’. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is ‘vacilando’, he [she] is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has a direction”
~ John Steinbeck ~ Travels with Charley ~

MEDIA [original]

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Bear's Tooth Pass

The dynamics so much have changed these past 15 months since my Mother passed away. The ones governing my Life, our Life. It is pretty much an "alone" situation bringing up the lack of conversations, ideas exchanged, much Love, thoughts shared and now taking a path deeper than ever into consequences of consequences of actions taken. Life is on my shoulders and this certain sense of "on my own", which always was, yet not in this fashion, weighs heavier than ever trying to break through this barrier up. Living in the now is present and at the same time escapes me. Just a couple days ago I realized it is almost vanishing. Too many "if" and more "if". We did not think as much of the consequences of our actions in our youth. Jokingly, I would say, our only thought was always to not get caught!

Bear's Tooth Pass-6 xxx

This is and has been such a strange feeling. There is no doubt I knew that someday I would miss my Mother. I just never knew how much of an impact she had on my Life even from thousands of miles away. It hurts as once again I diligently apply myself for the colors surrounding me to brighten up while sharpening my tools used to handle this path on the road. I cannot take these nights and days superficially. Luckily my own words written bounce back and appease me. These pages are never of a motorcycle laying down on its side in the mud creating a "Oh! How cool that is…" or an array of cans of beer and bottles of whiskey wanting the world to know another form of pain to come. I don’t drink! I don’t belong to the "Terlingua Drinking Club"… That, another subject of its own.

Bear's Tooth Pass-4 xxx

Yet, I realize I have to get away from the constant thought of what "if" and mainly the consequences of the consequences. Spontaneity has to return as today is always the first day of the rest of our Life. "Acceptance" fades too often. Myself, as also with Friends, we witness the beauty dangling in front of our nose at times not seen. "Acceptance" is a much stronger word anyone can imagine. It is the thought of the finality of Life which will be engrained in us. "It is what it is". There is never going back even returning to that one minute ago. Easier said than done. I so much wish I had a huge family, many children, brothers and sisters! Amazing as I grew up as a single child never knowing one of those days that fact would have such an impact on me. Consequences!

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In reality, while thinking about all this, what is there to truly "think" about in regard to our present Lives? We follow the cooler weather all year round, we have somehow after three thousand nights and days developed an intimate relationship with the country and the destinations taken, while always searching for the "new" and "beautiful" which never lacks or will. It is not a physical truth of the moments to come but an inner one which has left me a bit hollow, as they say "not able to reach and touch". I feel so fortunate having Spirit by my side and can only hope he will give me a few more good years of his own Life. More than ever we have become one. Not that he has replaced my Son or my Mother, but a constant companion day in and day out. He knows it too. I feel his closeness has increased, his eyes never ever leaving my sight.

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There are however still "some" who do not realize or accept that these pages are my own. Nasty, mean and heartless, for lack of better words, e-mails still come in weekly sometimes. They show so well the array of us Human Beings so different from each other. Disrespecting the memory of my Child and my Mother is common in their words. It truly amazes me that with millions of other pages written on the Internet they have to read ours and on, as now, with dull darts project their insults. I must add as it always has been, they cowardly hide behind fake addresses unable to reply. Why would I want to though? How miserable they must be in their own skin suffering and so wanting others to suffer with them their lack of dignity. It is part of the complete gamma of this society we live within. Sometimes a sad one. The good people outnumber them, that is one reprise which I think makes us all float to the surface of well being versus their dark and deep pit they are slowly smoldering in. What a shame…

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We are visiting some dear Friends right now in Lander before heading North in a couple days. Spirit stayed here one time when I went to Germany. He knows this is where I left him behind as more than ever he stays under my foot and if I go out the door just for a few minutes he is right behind it waiting. What a faithful companion. I played with their one year old. A cool little guy that loves food and gets into everything. We actually even threw ball one evening. What a happy child. That was, since we have now left, such a true reality also in his eyes. Children are magic. How can some parents forget that aspect. I would give my Life to just once more embrace my own lost Child.

Bear's Tooth Pass-5 xxx

The mind calmed down once we passed Cody and took on Chief Joseph Highway nearing Montana looking for a site to occupy for a few days while we will also ride Bear’s Tooth Pass. Maybe even have a cheeseburger at the Red Box in Red Lodge. No dispersed camping here and we pulled in the second one we saw at a higher elevation as it was getting late. Hunter Peak. It was a "Oh! no…" situation as "reserved" cards where on every post for this $5 a night campground! One card, lucky us, said "available tonight". Too tired to go further we settled as a few minutes later the hosts showed up. Yes, all reservations are done centrally through an 800 number and there would be nothing available for the rest of the season. But… understanding our dilemma, the host is going to take us tomorrow to a secret spot, a primitive site which sounds promising.

Bear's Tooth Pass-14 xxx 

Winter gear once again is out unpacked. This summer I am playing this game counting the hot days. We only have had two. I am pretty excited about that considering this is the first day of August and here we are again at elevation. Last evening was actually cold and if we ride into the late hours of the day, who knows, we might even need our heated gear! The space here, the sharp peaks, all is so massive, so breathtaking and the roads built such an accomplishment. We are not just riding through this time around, we will be living here with Red Lodge and Cody as our two towns opposite from each other in case we need anything and that would include fuel.

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The outcome of this game did not quite turn out as I thought it would be. From blue skies quickly all turned into an almost black color and the hail mixed with rain started. Here and there a break while our friends the mosquitoes showed up to visit relentlessly. Tomorrow the rain gear comes out, right now it is back to reading. The oppressing weather spared us today as we did make it to Red Lodge and came back the long way through a hotter section. The area always leaves me speechless. The photos do not make justice to this grandiose stage surrounding us. One afternoon while napping and hiding from our flying friends, typical “us”, we left. Those mosquitoes became a non sense not just in the evening but all day long. Enough was enough and we are now on the banks of the Madison River south of Ennis. More favorite spaces surround us.

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Bear's Tooth Pass-3 xxx

Stay well,
               Ara and Spirit

map terrain

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13 Responses to “Bear’s Tooth Pass. Chased away. WY/MT”

  1. Plumb crazy rider Says:

    Ara and Spirit , I really enjoy and look forward to your posts , we met at the snowy range , I have been riding as well , I cover a lot of miles on a bike , but don’t see it as you do , and sure never could express what I did see as you do , hope to run into you sometime and get those tips on how to use the Go Pro , I tried putting it on the KTM but couldn’t figure out how to make that Akkad work , oh well , I enjoy your pic as I have been to most of the places you are , glad to here you two are doing well

  2. E. H. Alberts and Ripple Says:

    Dear Ara and Spirit. Greetings from the Olympic Penninsula of Washington State. We love you both so much–for what that is worth coming from a total stranger—and we continue to be amazed, inspired by all you do, all you are, all you see, and continue to share. We have followed your Journey for the past three years. But we just spent the past week, daily, finally reading ALL of your posts, every one of them, from day one, 2006–crying, laughing 20 times every day, with each post… for you, and for me. A heart thing. A gentle witness to your development and evolution as a photographer, writer, traveler, and extraordinary human being. I am a photographer and motorcyclist of 53 years and not much of a writer. I don’t have your exceptional gift of words, of such insights, such honesty, such humility… But I do share so much of your ideology, spirituality, music, frustrations, success, sense of stumbling along blindly, loss and grief. Ara, whiter or not you are fully aware or embrace it, you follow a great tradition of the very best American Writers and Photographers. You don’t have to answer to, or justify yourself to anyone, ever! You’ve done it. You are doing IT! I am sorry about the haters. What can be done in this maddening world? As me and my rescued Pit Bull Service Dog “Ripple” push ever forward toward our own full-time, homeless sidecar life/adventure on the road, we pray you don’t lose fatih in humanity. It will be alright my friend. It will. If you need ANY help while in WY contact my friends at HD Deluxe — I wish you both the Forests Peace and the Grace one finds there. E. H. Alberts and Ripple — Pit The Road

  3. Bill Says:

    Hi Ara, I spent an entire summer living in Red Lodge in 1959 while working just south of Belfry. Visited all the great places including Beartooth Pass. I went back in 2001 and it hadn’t changed much at all. Linderman’s Swinging Doors had burned as had Richel Lodge but the Piney Dell was still there. Beautiful places with friendly folks. Probably the best summer of my entire 78 years.


  4. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Hi Jim… So nice to see you here! Wish I could help you long distance with your Go Pro! Maybe over SKYPE sometime? It was really nice meeting you and your Dad and Family! I know where you live and will make sure to stop by when in the area… Northbound now dodging the mosquitoes!!! Stay well. Ara and Spirit.

  5. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Wow… that must have been something else as that is what I had to do to write our Book “Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash”. This winter will make a Coffee Table Book, print on demand only as they are pretty pricey. You are too kind in your comments…
    We actually will be on the Olympic Peninsula September First on to Neah Bay. Showing our kind Editor [Book] a bit of the country! Maybe we can meet over a cup of coffee?

  6. Carolyn P Says:

    Thank you, thank you for the wonderful pics & stories. Speedy, my hubby got me started on your site.Spirit is so beautiful. We are dog lovers and know the loyalty they give. So many of us stay in our own little world and don’t venture out. You & Spirit are awesome. Stay safe. I bought the book and will give to Speedy for his anniv…..can’ wait to read it;)

  7. Sally Says:

    Hi Ara and Spirit, hope you guys know about the Forest Fenn treasure hunt. Cheers.

  8. scuffy Says:

    wish I were there 🙂

  9. ET Says:

    Thank you for your beautiful photos and writing.

  10. hobopals Says:

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

    Forget the ones who made you feel bad, Ara

    I remember when my Mother died. Over and over in my head were the words, “I’m nobody’s kid now.” An orphan at 50. When I lost the love of my life, I reached for my Mother, but she was gone–her space filled only by emptiness. I think we all remain tied to the woman who brought us into this world.

    Jack is 13, now, and I’m letting him live out his “retirement” in the peace and quiet of his home. Still, at times, he looks up at me and he is my forever puppy. Still happy and wonderful and the giver of unconditional love.

    I’m reading your book. I hope it brings you comfort to know that you and Spirit are loved by so many people. Age has caught up with me. Whether I will ever see the west again is questionable. I know I can’t stay here if Jack leaves. All the people I’ve loved in my life are gone; others living their own lives, and I realize I have spent the most time with him. What will I do when that ends.

    Pats to our buddy, Spirit.

  11. Larry in Seattle Says:

    Thank you for living in the moment on a motorcycle with your dog and sharing your experiences with rich sentences and amazing photographs. You inspire me.

    Your journey and your tales reminds me of the places that both of us have been to…. but we had different experiences there.

    When I was a little boy, we were camping at Elephant Butte in New Mexico and an old fella nick-named Bullwinkle was our temporary neighbor. When my father and Bullwinkle was sharing some of my father’s whiskey one night, my father asked him “So where is home?” Bullwinkle said “Here.” Dad asked him, “so you don’t have a home?” He said, “this is it.” I was shocked as that was the first person I had ever met that was living their life out in nature. Your stories bring back the many times I have reflected on “Bullwinkle” and how envious I was of his chosen path. My Mom and Dad tried their “Bullwinkle” experience with an RV pulling a fishing boat. It was not the same, and was cut short from cancer.

    What makes your “Bullwinkle” experience so close to my fantasy, is that you are riding a motorcycle and doing it. I am inspired by your book, your website and I wish to have my own Bullwinkle experience, not copy or duplicate yours. I have 11 months before I can drift, so I have much to learn about dispersed camping, and living in the wind.

    I live in Edmonds, close to the ferry terminal and my brother lives on the Olympic Peninsula. I ride it often. If you are taking the ferry, use the senior rate. It would be an honor to just be on the same ferry boat when you make your crossing. I wouldn’t need a handshake or any words of acknowledgement, I would just like to give you an acknowledging nod of approval.

  12. ali Says:

    What kind of camera do you use? I love your pics.

  13. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thanks for asking ali. Right now it is a mix of Go Pro, phone photos, Sony A6000, Canon S-95 and a couple Canon 5D MarkII [full frame] with “L” lenses, mainly a 16~35mm and 70~200mm.

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