State 18 – Wyoming

8/3/2019

Having just finished Montana the day before, the plan was to drive down south and dip into Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park for a quick ride. When we got up at 5 am, the ground was wet from rain the night before, but looked to be clearing up for a nice day. We got up early because it was a 2 hour drive to Yellowstone from our motel. We wanted to get into the park before the crowds got there possibly making our ride unsafe.

Corvin wanted to stay awake, but quickly fell asleep as I ticked off the miles.  As the sun came up over the mountains, the view continued to change. An occasional low peak would give a glimpse to the days pending sunlight. At some point, the sun rose over the majority of the eastern mountain range. At that point, it was if somebody turned on a light switch and the day really kicked off.

As we approached Gardiner, Montana, I woke Corvin up. We planned to stop at Roosevelt Arch near the north entrance. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I wasn’t a huge fan of him climbing, but I was young once and remember how important it is to explore!

Yep, its old but still looks great!

And looking back at the whole thing.

Shortly after going south of town, we entered Yellowstone National Park. We were getting serious usage out of our National Parks Pass purchased earlier in the summer and it was really starting to save us money. We were still in Montana, but very close to Wyoming. We scoured both sides of the road looking for a Wyoming state sign to no avail (Darn you Highway 89). This was frustrating, but I knew we would figure something out. Even if we had to make a hand made sign or pose next to a license plate. We did find the state sign (pictured first in this story) a day later on the west side of the state, but we’ll tell that story later.

Our unicycle plan was to start at Mammoth Hot Springs and ride the road for an out and back. We previewed the route in the car to see what we were up against and how far we needed to travel. This was going to be some difficult uphill riding and back, but we decided we were up for it.

We didn’t capture much on the way up because of the difficult uphill riding component. Here are some photos looking over the top of Mammoth Hot Spring.

Corvin with the unicycles.

Hogan and the unicycles.

I didn’t do a great job of pre-scouting the ride as we pulled into what we thought was a small parking lot overlook and decided to ride around. It turned out to be Upper Terrace Loop Drive. The hills were short but abrupt. That meant that Corvin could ride them no problem and I walked a bunch. While the walking slowed us down, it allowed us to take in a lot more of the scenery. There were several smaller formations that people driving would not have seen at their speeds.

Our feeble attempt at a self balancing unicycle.

Hard to beat these other worldly views.

It looks like snow, but its just deposits from the spring.

This little one ran under the road and wasn’t that big, but still interesting.

I’ll let you describe this to yourself, I have no words.

Eventually, we made it out of the loop and started on our way back down. Again, the amazing views!!! We didn’t take many photos as it was a rather steep downhill and we didn’t want to fall. Traffic was starting to pick up as the day was getting later.

After we finished up our unicycle ride, we put the unicycles away and hiked on Mammoth Spring for an hour before heading out of the park. I’m not sure if Corvin was more interested in the girl or the view…

You won’t meet many people that travel this far to go to Yellowstone and only stay for 3 hours, but we had places to be!

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 99.14
Total Moving Time: 19h 39m
Total Elevation Gained: 2807feet
Total Hogan UPD: 10
Total Corvin UPD: 7

Hogan Haake

 

State 16 – Idaho

8/2/2019

We spent the night in Wallace, Idaho.You may not know this but this is the center of the universe since 2004.

Its a really quaint town off I-90 in a mountain valley that just begs you to spend time walking the streets. I wish we had more time to hang out and explore every street. The town has several staircases to get from one street to another as there isn’t much flat ground. The views are worth it!

I guess it snows a bit here and they really want to be able to get around!

Our time in town was at an end as we had places to be. Specifically, the Hiawatha Trail.This is a privately maintained rails to trail path high up in the mountains. I made reservations for us before coming out to ensure we had tickets. The plan was to meet at the beginning higher up in the mountains and pick up our pass. Then we would drive around the 1.6 mile (unlit) tunnel where we would start our unicycle trip.

This is the tent at the East Portal where we picked up or tickets for the ride.

The start of the 1.6 mile tunnel that we drove around. Its hard to explain how 40 degree air blowing from the tunnel was early in the morning! We were second guessing if we would be warm enough for the ride.

We drove (a few miles) around to the West Portal on the downhill side of the 1.6 mile Taft tunnel. This is where the shuttle drops you off after riding downhill. You then have to ride back through the tunnel uphill to get back to your car. This is why we opted to drive around it to save the extra riding.

Starting from the West Portal, we rode 14 mostly downhill miles to the finish. Here are some photos of the journey along the way. This ride included multiple tunnels and trestles (bridges in train speak).

Every mile of the 14 mile trip had views that were this good!

Since the ride was going to be a long one, we made several stops, making sure to get our silly faces in them!

Corvin spent at least 15 minutes working his way through the woods to get to the top of this tunnel for some video. As a dad, I  was a bit worried for his safety, but it all worked out!

There were multiple trestles that had amazing views and large drop-offs! On one of the larger ones, we met a couple and talked the gentleman into trying a unicycle. We love sharing our rides with others. He didn’t have much success,but we all laughed and enjoyed the experience.

Its hard not to stop every time and capture the views that were available!

We’ll ride across this one later.

Taking in the view with both unicycles!

Taking in the view with both unicycles!

Earlier, when we picked up our tickets for the ride, we mentioned uni-cycling to the ticket guy and he just played the whole thing off like we were just kidding him. Later we would see him on the trail and he was extremely shocked to see that we were both on unicycles. He said that we were the first unicycles they had seen in the 21 years they had been in business 🙂

Uni-cycling is hard work, and I’m happy that I get to do this with Corvin!

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 88.2
Total Moving Time: 17h 18m
Total Elevation Gained: 2172 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 10
Total Corvin UPD: 6

Hogan Haake

State 15 – Washington

August 1, 2019

When we planned this trip, Corvin picked out this uni-cycling location all on his own. I had a heavy hand in most of our riding locations, but this one was 100% choice. And its one of our favorite rides of the whole trip so far!

We originally flew into Spokane but decided to ride Oregon first. On our way back, we stopped again in Spokane to ride their Riverfront Park. It looked to have lots of paths for bikes and several water features.  The thing below is an outdoor theater. It was under construction or we would have gone in to check it out.

Stopping on a bridge to get a lay of the land.

Its hard not to just hang out to listen and watch the water below the bridge.

A random owl sculpture.

I had to have my turn as well.

It took a bit to get this one right, but the statue needed more zen!

Corvin being the better rider and show off than me, went through the grass to make the kids happy.

And a huge radio flyer wagon where the handle is a slide. Corvin went up with the kids and slid down.

When the video comes out, you can see our interaction with a nice lady that wanted to try the unicycle. She warned us that she had a few glasses of wine, but wanted to try anyway. She ended up falling forward and I was barely able to keep her from falling on her face. Corvin rode through a fountain and soaked himself completely. Overall, a perfect ride! We spent a lot of time filming here as there was a lot to see!

Corvin’s Journal Entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 74.06
Total Moving Time: 14h 48m
Total Elevation Gained: 1897 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 10
Total Corvin UPD: 5

Hogan Haake

Southwest Summer Adventure – 6/13/2019

Today was probably the most disappointing day of the trip. We drove to Pikes Peak to go up the mountain. We found out when we got there, it was under construction. We were able to drive about 2/3 the way to the top, then had to park and get into vans to be shuttled to the top. These are the vans optimized to fit tons of passengers, but where no normal sized American can fit…

At the top, the construction took something natural and rugged and made it what I expect to be a fancy more expensive thing to “enhance” what was already a great experience. Its now truly “America’s Mountain” because it appears to be all about consumerism.

When we finished at the top, we had to get into what felt like animal pens to wait for a shuttle to go back down. Don’t waste your money or time. There is still Mount Evans near Denver that you can drive up.

On the way home, we stopped in Oakley, Kansas to visit Monument Rocks. This is a cool formation where Corvin and I did some more unicycling.

Then we drove to my parents house in KC.

Hogan Haake