More Pictures from Touring in 1980

by Matthew Cole
Bike Touring Circa 1980 The 1980s 1980

The Loaded Bike Ready To Go
Boy, You Gotta Carry That Weight: It's the Motobecane minutes before departure, fully loaded and ready to roll.

To my surprise, the Bike Touring Circa 1980 Page has proven mildly popular. Though it would be an exaggeration to say there has been a crying demand for more pictures (it would in fact be an exaggeration to say there had been any demand for more pictures whatsoever), I thought I'd go ahead and run some more. Some are bike-oriented, for most visitors to the page are looking for bike stuff, and some are camera-oriented, since this is mostly a photo site. Others I ran just because I like 'em.

As with the rest of the site, you can click on most of the photos and see a bigger version if you're deeply interested. These photos are all from the early part of the trip and are all taken on my Rolleicord Vb twin-lens reflex camera. The film? Mostly Plus-X Pan Professional but there's at least one roll of Verichrome Pan in there and possibly some Tri-X Pan as well. One problem with medium format cameras is that film can be tricky to come by, especially black and white 120 film in Yellowstone in June. Still, somehow pretty ordinary photos take on an Anselish grandeur when they're in black and white.

At left, my bike minutes before departure from Des Moines. The sleeping bag, tent and shoes are strapped on the rack behind the seat. The water bottles barely fit--a quarter inch further down the down tube and the chain would hit the lower bottle when the chain climbed to the large chainring. Not that I rode the large chainring a lot--the cog was pretty small and the gear ratios correspondingly high. The aerodynamic mudflap on my front fender is very clear here. Note also the ornate lugwork on the steel frame.

Approaching Storm in the Black Hills
Approaching Storm in the Black Hills
Approaching Storm in the Black Hills
Devil's Tower

John was on his way to a job in Boise and had a couple of weeks before he was due to start. A nice leisurely road trip? Nope. We zoomed across South Dakota. I did get him to stop so I could take this snap of an approaching storm over some lake in the Black Hills. We stayed the second night out at the campground by Devil's Tower, Wyoming, which some people were busy climbing the next morning when we walked around it. It's pretty weird, the way it just sticks up in the middle of the rolling rangeland around it.

Along the Yellowstone River
Along the Yellowstone River
Old Faithful does it's thing
Old Faithful does its thing

Our quick trip meant that my first visit ever to Yellowstone lasted about 3 hours. We went in the east entrance, stopped by long enough to see Old Faithful erupt, cracked off a couple of shots along the river and left the park at West Yellowstone. Along the way I made a futile attempt to find some black and white 120 film in the guest shops. In those days even K-Mart carried 120 Tri-X and Verichrome Pan but there was none to be found in the park. Lesson: 120 is great, but carry lots of film with you.

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