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Welcome to The Helmet Center! In this blog post, we have the pleasure of talking with Chad Carpenter, who embarked on a thrilling motorcycle trip with his sister. Join us as we dive into their incredible adventure through Yellowstone National Park, filled with unexpected twists and memorable moments.
Setting Off on Two Wheels
Chad and his sister, both residents of Arizona, had always dreamed of exploring the stunning sights of Yellowstone. After his sister retired from her career as a semi-truck driver, she purchased a Ninja 1000 sport touring motorcycle, determined to cross this bucket list item off her list. Chad, still tied to his work, decided to join her and ride his 2016 Indian Roadmaster, a significantly different ride in terms of comfort.
A Biker’s Spirit
Chad’s sister had been riding motorcycles for around 10 to 15 years before taking a 10-year break. However, Chad’s persuasive skills reignited her passion for riding. She now owned two motorcycles, thanks to what Chad jokingly referred to as his “motorcycle drug dealing.” Riding had become a shared passion and a true adventure for both of them.
The Route: From A to B
Due to work constraints, Chad had limited vacation time, while his sister had a few weeks to spare. She took a leisurely route, enjoying the scenic journey towards West Yellowstone, located in Idaho, approximately 1,100 miles away from Phoenix, Arizona. In contrast, Chad opted for a more direct approach, cruising at full speed on the freeway for two days to reach their base camp.
Yellowstone’s weather proved to be quite unpredictable during their trip. May and June, the months they chose for their adventure, brought about ever-changing conditions. They experienced sunny days, snowstorms, hail, and even sleet. It became a game for Chad and his sister, with a competition to see who could record the lowest temperature on their bike’s dash. Chad emerged victorious, proudly claiming a reading of 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adaptation and Unexpected Delights
Despite the weather challenges, Chad and his sister made the most of their time in West Yellowstone. They rented a car, a 2000 Chevy Impala, to explore the park and its surroundings from behind a windshield. They realized that the true essence of the journey lies in the unexpected events and adaptations. Chad captured a hilarious photo of his freezing sister, eagerly warming up her hands while he wore a mischievous grin. Though she despised the photo, it became a treasured memory shared with their families.
Hidden Gems and Pleasant Surprises
One of the memorable aspects of their trip was discovering hidden gems along the less-traveled roads. As they traveled south from West Yellowstone, Chad and his sister chose scenic routes and avoided interstates whenever possible. They enjoyed the freedom to select accommodations spontaneously, waiting until late afternoon to decide where to rest for the night. This approach led them to stumble upon charming places such as Tori, Utah, a town they had never heard of before but have since returned to twice.
Reflections and Lessons Learned
Chad emphasizes that the true cost of such a trip lies not in the daily expenses but in the necessary equipment and preparations. Following the advice often given to Harley Davidson riders, he recommends laying out everything you plan to take and then cutting it in half while doubling the budget. Such a mindset ensures preparedness while keeping the luggage manageable.
Leaving the Heat Behind
Chad shares a valuable tip for beating the Arizona heat during summer vacations. He suggests leaving late Thursday evening and heading to Flagstaff, where the climate is cooler. Spending the night there and departing at 5 a.m. the following day provides an ideal start for extended journeys to destinations like Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and even South Dakota. By escaping the scorching temperatures, riders can embark on remarkable adventures in comfortable conditions.
Chad’s Yellowstone adventure on two wheels showcases the spirit of exploration, adaptability, and the joys of discovering hidden treasures along the way. He encourages fellow riders to get off the couch, dust off their bikes, and embark on their own unforgettable journeys. As Chad states, leaving from a place like Arizona during the summer is the perfect opportunity to experience the thrill of the open road. So, gear up, hop on your motorcycle, and let the adventure unfold!
Thank you for joining us on this exciting ride with Chad Carpenter. We hope you’ve been inspired to plan your own motorcycle adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime.