After my voyage back in time in Cody i found one room available at Chico Hot Springs and booked it. This sent me back into the Park along the northern route after following the Chief Joseph Trail. Again i was overcome with emotion as i rode the windy path up “Dead Indian Pass”. The pass is so named for a wounded brave left behind by the Nez Perce who was killed by the US Army.
This was the last pass the tribe had to climb before easy access to Canada would find their freedom. The Calvary was again fooled by the tribe’s clever tactics and far behind. By this time the press and most Americans were rooting for the Indians and General Howard was in a political pickle, he had to win.
As i pass through these historic locations and read more of the history i ponder what Howard, Custer and the lot would think if they knew they went down in history as villains. Chief Joseph and the brave Nez Perce will always be remembered as the heroes of this saga. Their stalwart march to freedom, their military genius and the tragic end are known worldwide. I bowed my head in reverence to their courage.
Back down the road and down one of the most amazing motorcycle rides, zig zags a plenty into a lush alpine valley. There in the distance i see my first wild Buffalo herd, hundreds grazing away as if it were 1800. One came up to the road edge to pose. This is wildlife Mecca for photographers.
Out of the Park and at a lower elevation the cool mountain air warmed and off came the bundle of clothes for the short ride to Chico Hot Springs. The area is called Paradise Valley and for good reason. Many Hollywood folk have taken residence here including motorcycle icon Peter Fonda, i wonder if he saw my stars and stripes helmet ala Easy Rider.
The Chico Hot Springs are set in an old style building built many years ago, my room had a bath “down the hall”. The pools are wonderful and kept at a good hot temperature. This is a family place and packed with kids. I watched in amazement as the mothers scurried about so worried about their kids and doting to their every move. I thought of the cruising kids i have met and how they would just be left along in the pools, mothers knowing they had the savvy not to drown. I actually told one such exuberantly stressed mother she should read s/v Totem’s blog, she was not impressed hahaha.
The real treat came later that night when i joined a raucous crowd in the bar to dance to “the Red Elvises”. This is a Russian rock band who does all comical original material to a tight and talented group of musicians. Five members who all played multiple instruments to songs like, ” Closet Disco Dancer” and the woeful tale of love gone wrong, “i want my Honda back”.
I awoke to another sunny Montana morning, packed the bike, paid my respects to the Red Elvises and hit the road, bound for South Dakota! All the day hearing odd Red Elvises tunes in my head, “Polka is the hit, Polka is the shit”.