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Topic: Vacation Dilema - The Adventure begins  (Read 7158 times)

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baddogonabmw
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2008, 06:50:14 PM »

Thanks Foo's for posting the pics. I always have such trouble.

Day 9 report

As I start to load my bike this morning, I look over at the Motel 6 next door and notice there are hardly any vehicles there.  So, after I'm packed, I do a drive around the parking area and count like 34 cars.  They told me last night that they didn't have any openings.  Well why not.  I almost wonder if I was a victim of motorcycle discrimination.  However, there were 2 bikes in the parking lot (1 cruiser, 1 sport).  Maybe that went inside in civilian clothes where I stil had my gear on.  I found it strange.

I head up through to Death Valley at 5:30 AM as I don't want to get caught in the heat.  I later find out it was still 95.  As I approach, I keep seeing signs for this being a fee area and be prepared to pay ahead.  well, I'm expecting a toll both operation and figure I'll be able to roll right through.  Well, it's a machine, so it's an honor system type thing.  Damn.  Ticket was $10 for motorcycle.  I had out 95 west as I want out in the shortest distance, plus I want to go to Yosemite.  I take a few pics including the sign for Scotty's castle, sorry, but no run up there for me. By the way, the run down into the canyon was fun.  I head on out across the desert and go thru Steamboat Hat or something like that, which is a little "town" or station there.  I see a couple people movng about as I start to head up out of the valley.  I hit some fun corners and then go back down into another valley.  It looks like an old lake bed.  Meanwhile, I've been seeing a pair of single lights in the background.  Looks like a couple of bikes gaining on me.  The lead rider passes me on her yellow BMW, yellow jacket and helmet and luggage with flowers on it.  Plus, I see a pony tail.  I'm assuming girl.  As I pull over to take a pic, the guy passes me and it looks like maybe he's a fly fisherman.  They go on out ahead.  Eventually as we're going up and out of the valley through the 11-14 miles of corners (can you say weeee?), I catch up.  Just as I do, the 2nd bike pulls into a viewing area, but the first one keeps going.  I continue to follow the first bike.  She's a good rider setting a nice pace, so I continue to follow.  We turn on 136 and head up toward Lone Pine, when I finally stop to take another picture of the salt flats there.  I think it's at that point that the lead rider realizes that I'm not her partner and she pulls a U-e.  I continue up into Lone Pine and stop for gas and a breakfast burito.  Pretty soon, those 2 riders plus another guy on a Hyabusa pull in for gas.  We say hey, but that's about it.  I was wondering if the guys got left behind.  I talked to a local guy there at the station that was originally from Iowa.  He suggest I try route 198 around lake June plus tells me some things about Yosemite.

I then take the long boring ride up 395, which is mostly a 2 lane highway.  I noticed a strange smell in that valley and never could put my finger on it.  As I go north, it gets more hazy.  Eventually, I'm smelling smoke very strongly.  It gets quite bad at times, stinging my eyes and sometimes making it hard to breathe.  I do the Lake June loop, which would have been much better if you could see the mountains that were only like 100 feet away.  I continue on up to the turn into Yosemite.  I figure I'll run the 11 miles up to the entrance and see if it gets any better.  It really doesn't and there's a line and I'm getting tired (exhausting day yesterday).  I decide to put a move on.  I come back down the mountain and stop at the Mobil station for gas.  I hear they have good food here.  I run into the guys and girl from earlier.  I talk to the one guy and he said they camped in the vally overnight.  They came in as it was getting dark, when it was 120 and it never got below 95 all night.  Then, the guy tells me he was running low on gas and switched over to reserve.  He said as he pulled into the gas station where we first said "hey", that he had 1 mile showing left on his gas range indicator.  That was close.  I pull out to leave and see this guy is moving his bike away from the pumps and then I see disaster unfolding.  His helmet is on the back and as he sits the bike up and starts to pull away, the helmet falls.  I see it bounce off the ground.  Damn man, I feel for you.  That had to hurt.

I push myself on up to Carson City hoping that if I get here early enough, I might get the guys at the cycle shop to get me done.  Fortunately, there's a hotel right across the street and they say they'll try, but no promises.  It sounded to me like I won't get it til morning, but I can hope.  I really don't like being in the city and would like to get back out in the woods, so to speak.  I talk to the one service guy and it's 2.3 hours of labor for changing the tires at $70/hour, I'm looking at $170 to install (530 for tires + 170 to install = Are you crazy?  $700).  He asks what I paid for tires and he's like "oh, let me look into that".  He comes back and says they charged you full retail.  I'll see if I can help you on it, but there might not be anything I can do.  Ok, fine, whatever.  Just get me on the road.  It was my short sightedness that lead to this situation, so I'll have to deal with it and pay accordingly.  Fortunately, the service guys seemed to know more about the bike than the parts guy did yesterday.  Here's hoping it gets done.

I was disappointed about the smoke and not doing Yosemite, or being able to get to the coast to do the PCH, but I guess that will just have to be a trip for another time.  Maybe the wife and I can fly out and ride a harley up the coast just for shits and giggles.

If I haven't made it clear, I am having an awesome time.  I love riding my bike and I'm enjoying a lot of the scenery and not getting in as many "bike" roads as I originally anticipated, but that's ok.  I am missing everyone at home.

Now, I have to decide what to do and where to go since the fires have altered my plans.  I'm not sure what to do.  


Mileage:  400
Gas:  $42
Hotel: $69
Breakfast:  $8
Dinner:  $?

Death Valley:  $10 Honor System.  Thought I might get by being early, but to.
Yosemite:  $don't know - Drove up to where line began and with all the smoke/haze in the air, still couldn't see anything, so decided not to go.
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chornbe

« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2008, 03:37:27 PM »

Planning on getting to NorCal? Some AWESOME stuff up there. We have NOTHING here in Eastern PA to compare.

Rts. 190 (between Springville and Sequoia National Park, especially as far as Ponderosa) & 36 (Red Bluff to Fortuna) are must-rides.

Here's 190:


Here's 36:


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baddogonabmw
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2008, 10:58:32 PM »

Thanks Chornbe, but the wildfires scared me off. I stayed in Western CA and headed in to Oregon. I'm now quite torn between finding nice windy roads, or just sitting back and enjoying the scenary.  I try to do both when I can.

Day 10

The good news is that my tires got done last night just before closing time.  So, I got my back such that I could head out early this morning.  The service guy knocked $20 off the bill and had my bike washed for me (normally 1/2 hour labor charge min).  I think he felt bad for the parts area dicking me over.

So, let me vent this.  I get to the cycle place early on Friday to see if they could possible get me in.  They agree to try.  Then they tell me I had better check with the parts department to make sure they have my tires.  The parts department is in the same @#% building on the other side of the wall.  Why do I have to do this?  If my local dealer did this to me, I would be done.  Anyhow, I think the service guy did try to help me and appreciate them getting me out early.

I leave Carson City somewhere between 5:00 and 5:30 am headed out of town on 395 north.  I go right through Reno with barely a spot of traffic at 6:00 AM on a Saturday.  Imagine that.  As the 4 lane goes back into a simple divided highway, I come upon an accident.  Looks like a PU hauling a 5th camper had an incident.  Less than 1/2 mile after I go by, I see a sign that trucks may be impacted by severe cross winds next 56 miles.  Yikes.  I wonder if that's what happened.  I'm starting to get a little chilled.  I continue up 395 towards Susanville and then take A3 shortcut over to Lichfield and jump back on 395 to continue to Alturas.  Damn, that's a ways out there in the middle of nowhere. It's the high plains and I saw nothing but hay and haying equipment all the way to Alturas.  I stopped at a local coffee and donut shop there.  No, Jeff is not moving the donut shop.  He was thinking of starting a luncheon business, but that fell through.  Please stop spreading rumors.  LOL.  Gotta love life in a small town.  I continue up 395 past Goose Lake which is quite dry and come into Oregon.  I continue on until I get to Lake Albert and then I pick up route 31 as I remember someone on the STN board pointing this out as a good route.  Well, the scenary all morning has been gorgeous, even if the roads aren't real challenging.  It's probably the most relaxing day driving that I've had.  Somewhere before La Pine, I pull off and take a nap.  I get back on road and come into La Pine on route 97.  Now, my day gets a little more stressful.  First, I pull in for gas at this GNC (?) station. I put in my card and it tells me card not recognized.  I then see a sign like only for GNC customers.  I'm like, oh, I get it.  I move on to the next station.  I pull in, hop off bike, put my card in and star to pick up the filler hose when all of the sudden I have this guy in my face asking if he can help me.  I'm like "No, I'm just getting gas".  Then he tells me he's supposed to do that. I'm like really?  Are you supposed to swipe my card too.  "Yup, I'm supposed to do that too."  I'm like OK, still somewhat confused.  He says it's not my law, it's Oregon's.  Apparently, in Oregon the state legislature either thinks that 1) people are too stupid to pumb their own gas or 2) they want to keep a certain level of minimum wage jobs.  At least that's all I could come up with.  I can say that there are many things I don't mind having people do for me, but pumping gas is not one of them.  Get out of my way and I'll do it.  NOw, get this, they are supposed to swipe the card, select your gas and take the hose/nozzel off the pump and then they can hand it to you. I'm like "Oh, I can do the filling part."  He's like "Yeah, don't want to get it on the paint."  OK, so probably the most important step and that is to fill properly and not spill gas over everything is left to me.  WTH?  Am I the only one who thinks this is silly?

It's still early afternoon and rather than put up in Bend, I decide I definitely have to get to the pacific ocean.  So, I decided to find this loop of routes 46 and 42 that someone recommended around Mt Bachelor (not Mt Bishop).  Funny thing is that in Oregon, they don't seem to number their lessor route numbers or at least I couldn't find them.

At one point, I decide to find a main road and just head towards the moutain. I have to run into sooner or later.  I go down Cottonwood road and end up in this development and then find that Oregon is very fond of round-abouts (circles).  After going through 1 or 2, I decide to head back out of there.  By the way, I went by Cascade Brewing Company.  Do they make good beer?  I get more lost and finally see a police officer.  I pull over and ask for directions.  Go back to circle 4, look for sign for circle 11, go through circle 11 and look for signs for circle 10 and then look for sign to get back on 97.  Umm, OK.  So much for normal instersection and directions. I make it back to 97 ok.  I still haven't found 42, 45 or 46.  I come into Bend and get off at Downtown exit and Mt Bachelor.  I head downtown and see 1 (count them - 1) sign for Mt Bachelor.  I then go through one of these marvelous circles and nothing.  I figure I must be all goofed up.  Back to 97 I go.  I go south looking for my routes.  Don't find them and so head north.  When 20 and 97 split, I know I've gone to far. I  finally figure out how to get Jill (my GPS) to help.  So, we head back down town.  After going through 3 circles, we are actually on route 46, accorind to Jill, but not according to any signage I could find anywhere.  Even the circle signs showed nothing.  I wasted at least an hour on these 2 excursions.  I also went over a river with a ton of people Kayaking.  Bend seems to be a place for that.  Remember it.

The day seems to be set straight again and then I start to see those damn bicyclists, but they're spread out on the other side of the road going in a different direction than me. I figure I can deal with it.  Well, then I come to the the ski area and the joining of like 3 mountain peaks and I'm presented with a choice of going left or right. I see some people who are apparently involved in the bike event, so I decide I will ask.  I come down and the guy stops me and then says it's ok to go through, but please watch the bicyclists cause I can see there in your lane and they really aren't supposed to be there.  Well, no kidding.  I roll through and then I really start to get aggrevated. I have this care with orange flags on it and apparently affiliated with the bike thing coming up stradling the center line with his/her 4-ways on and motioning for me to 1) slow down and 2) move over.  Ok, I'm already slowed and like 20 mph and I'm moving over as far as I'm going.  You're in my f@#%@%# lane idiot.  For the next 4-5 miles, the bikes are backed up and so is traffic behind them. I have people trying to get by the bikes, giving them 8 feet of room, coming into my lane giving me like 2 feet of room.  I call  BS and starting riding in my lane where I normally would, about 3 foot from center and start motioning everyone back into their own lane.  Finally, I'm out of that and I get to enjoy the rest of my ride through some absolutely gorgeous scenary.  I decide to head towards Oak Ridge and Eugene. It's been a long day and I'm approaching over 550 miles.  Finally, I come to Oak Ridge and I decide to fill, or rather, have someone else fill up my bike in case they're not awake in the morning when I want to leave and I pick up a six of beer - Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, which once I get to try it, is quite good. I recommend it.  I go through town and stop and 3 different hotels.  Each one is booked.  So, I guess I have to head to Eugene.  Finally, I find a motel 6 and head in.  Now, it's only 5:00 PM local time here.  Why are hotels already full?  The guy has like 3 rooms left and I take it.

While checking in, I see a flier for local businesses and I ask if the pizza is good at this one place.  Yup, he says.  I'm like great, I know where dinner is coming from.  I call and order.  She figures out where I am and then tells me they have a $15 min order.  I'm 1 guy, I want a pizza, I don't want to have to drive. I tell her to just forget it.  She apoligizes and I say fine, have a nice night, but not in so nice a tone. I kind of feel bad about that now as it's probably not the girls fault, but I wasn't in the mood for bs.  So, then I see Domino's has their ad all over the door cards.  I call.  Do you deliver to this hotel?  "Yes", Do you have a min order amount?  "No."  Good, then I want a small pizza.  "We have a $2 delivery charge."  Fine.  "It will be there in 40 mins."  Well, it was here in 20 and I gave the guy I $3 tip on top of it.  Still ended up costing me $15 for dinner.  Guess I'm tired and grumpy.  I had probably 10-15 things that I wanted to mention in today's notes, but I forgot them.  In fact, if I didn't have a map to help me, I probably would have forgot where I was.

Despite any negative things I may have said, I am still having an awesome trip.;

last nights dinner:  $10
Tires:   $530
Install:  $150

Mileage:  600
Gas:  $58
Hotel: $77
Breakfast:  $4
Dinner:  $15
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baddogonabmw
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2008, 11:01:06 PM »

fyi... I had 36 on my to do list, but as I said, I cashed out due to the fires.  I just got concerned after going by Yosemite and seeing how the smoke impacted everything there.  I'll just have to come back another time.
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2008, 10:42:06 PM »

Day 11

Let's see, where did my day begin.  Oh yeah, back in Eugene.  The motel I stayed at must have been near railroad tracks because about 4:00 AM the train whistle blew in the room next to me.  I just about had a heart attack thinking I must have fell asleep on the railroad tracks.  Took me a while to fall back asleep after that.  Got up and got out about 6:30 local time, which is a little later than I have been recently, but I was whooped.  I get on to rt 126 west and head for the ocean.  I even go buy the Oregon Country (or county?) fair on the way.  I'm amazed at the "farming" type communities through here, especially being so close to the ocean.  I come across this river and stop to take a picture.  Ugh-oh.  My battery has gone dead. Oh crap, dumb a$$ strikes again. I remember forgetting to shut the camera off last night after uploading pics onto my pc.  I need to get my battery charged.  So, I head into Florence and stop at the first coffee shop I come to. The waitress indulges me and allows me to charge my battery, litterally speaking. Armed with a charged battery, I head up highway 101 to Waldport.  Oh my, this is absolutley gorgeous.  Not like our beaches on the east coast.  It has ocean coming right up to mountain and tree's.  Awesome.  I hang a ralf in Waldport and head down rt 34 figuring to go back to Eugene and out 126 to the east.  Well, this road is an absolute hoot up to Alsea, where I stay straight on 34, but should have turned on to 99.  Oops.  Of course, I get to Corvalis before I figure that out.  So, I decide I'll head out route 20.  I stop and phone the wife and ask her to make reservations for me as close to Wood Village as she can as I don't want to run into No Vacancy situation again tonight.  I look at the map when I stop in Sweet Home (Alabama - not) to get some gas.  Looks like rt 11 is a cool rt.  I ask the gas attendant and she says it's a gorgeous ride and she was up through there last weekend on the bike with her husband.  I'm like cool.  So, I head out that way and cross the resovoir on to the other side. I have a lot of traffic to start, but it thins out.  Then, I see a preminition of what awaits.  There's this yellow/orange sign with a squiggly mark on it.  Under it, it says:  "Next 80 miles".  Holy crap batman.  I'm so tickled that I forget to stop and get a pick.  Well, I cruise up along Foster Lake and Green Peter lake, which is similar to riding the back side of Pepacton for the folks back home.  Then the road just starts following the river when the resovoir runs out.  This is awesome.  Ugh-oh.  The road narrows ahead.  It becomes essentially a 1 lane road.  I pull over next to a car (one of few) that is coming from the opposite direction and I ask if the road is open and paved from the other direction and she replies that she believes so.  Apparently, she didn't come all the way across.  What the hell, I say to myself.  Let's go for it.  Well, I do and I have one of the best rides of my life over this 1 to 1 and 1/2 lane road for the remaining 30-40 miles or whatever it was across this National Forest Route 11.  I don't think I ever broke 30 miles and hour, but the sights were marvelous and the corners were cool too.  Yet, I never had to go fast.  I got to the bottom where the road intersects with route 22 and am thinking to myself that probably no other biker goes over that road and what a shame, when this guy pulls up behind me on his CBR.  The guy gets off too.  He's 65 years old and is about 6'5" tall.  On a CBR 600 mind you.  My back hurts just thinking of it.  Well, Dennis is a local heavy equipment operator from Eugene who also does track does and such.  We shoot the crap and he offers to take me down to the town of Detroit and send me on my way up Brientenbush path.  

This is route 46 on my map.  Again, another good road.  I end up going through Mt Hood national park.  Part way up, I see a bike standing up on it's stand out in the jing weed.  I stop and take a quick look around.  The bike had definitely been down.  I don't see anyone around and since the bike is upright on it's side stand, I assume that the rider had went for attention or help.  I head on down the road. and pick up rt 224 in to Escada.  From there, I jump up to Troutdale, where the wife has reservations for me.

I didn't do a lot of mileage today, but I had one of the best rides of my life.  The scenary here is spectacular and if the summer months are any indication, I could definitely live here.  

Once again, I forget about all the little things I was hoping to mention.  I'm going to have to start writing these down.  Well, I hope to head into Washington state tomorrow, at least for a bit and then it's time to turn tail for home.  I hope to make it to the Atlantic Ocean on the way home so I will have gone from coast to coast.

Even considering the crisis at home with water in the basement tonight do to so much rain, I still can't get the smile off my face.  This trip was so worth it!

Oh, and for my beer sewer friends, I had a Widmer Brothers Drop Top Amber Ale tonight.  Good stuff.

Mileage:  400
Gas:  $42
Hotel: $55
Breakfast:  $5
Dinner:  $10
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chornbe

« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2008, 10:55:14 AM »

Awesome. Keep it coming.  Bigok
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sagerat
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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2008, 11:09:19 AM »

Welcome to the Cascade Cycling Classic, a local road race they hold every year and where I always make sure to be on a road going somewhere else.   Lol  I don't want to tell you how close you were to making the correct turn several times in your criss-crossing of Bend.  Reed Market Road leads to the Cascade Lakes Highway.

The road you took from Sweet Home over the Cascades is US 20 and you went on Tombstone Pass, one of my favorite rides.   Thumbsup
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« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2008, 12:19:04 PM »

Here are some more pics for STN...

This time I picked some of Phils photos with more bike related....

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« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2008, 09:04:24 PM »

We still have 10 more days of this!  EEK! Keep it coming.
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« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2008, 07:31:58 PM »

Sorry, but no internet last night, believe it or don't ya...

Day 12

I got on the round between 5:30 and 6:00 local (8:30 and 9:00 at home) and headed east on route 84 right into the sun.  Boy, the next 1-2 hours of riding in an easterly direction were really tough.  I was heading up to see the cascade valley and the hood river region.  Interstate 84 runs along a good portion of the river on the oregon side and route 14 runs on the Washington side.  I crossed over into washing at the Bridge of the Gods and stayed on that side of the river until I crossed back just past the Dalles and just before the big hydro-electric plant.  I continued on 84 east until exit 147, where I got off and took route 74 (south/east).  I stopped in the town of Ione for gas.  The only problem is that the only gas station in town is closed.  So, I go into the local cafe, lunch house and saloon for breakfast and some info.  I was the only one in the place besides the waitress (owner?).  Apparently, the owner of the gas station passed away recently and the kids (probably in their 50's) come down once a week to keep it running.  I guess they're trying to sell and if they drain the tanks and all, the new owners might have trouble getting permits and such.  Fortunately, there is gas just 9 miles down the road.  Whew.  I'm on an E now and this is where Jill brought me to.  Well, it's not blinking yet, so I'm sure we're fine.  Ione is a town of about 350 people, about half of which are kids.  They graduated 15 seniors this year and have won numerous state titles in football and girls volleyball (what I like to hear).  They play 8 man (iron-man) style ball.  I thought that was kind of cool.  They had pictures of the town dating back to 1890.  They could have been taken yesterday.  I finish my breakfast and head on down to the next town and get gas and head out.  Route 75 does a lind of winding around in some 1/2 fast sweeper type corners, so I was finding a nice rhythm.  Finally, I come into town of Heppner and I make the turn to stay on 74.  Well, being the smart one that I am, I didn't check my map to see that I really wanted to pick up 53.  Anyhow, this isn't a bad thing as now they start adding in all sorts of elevation changes with these sweepers.  Man, who designed such a track out here.  This is sweet.  No traffic either.  After 30 mins or so of delighful flight, I come to 395 and decide to take that south so I can pick up 53 again.  Well, I come into the national forest near Ukah and am enjoying that road such that I go right through and never noticed that I crossed route 53.  I then come to the town of Long Creek.

Well, I can continue ahead on 395, but now that's getting boring.  I decided to hang a louie and head toward Galena, which is 25 miles away accordingt to the sign.  I program Jill for Boise as that's where I want to be at end of the day.  As I go up this road, Jill tells me I should do a u-turn and go back.  She often does that until she see's that we can go my way and still get there.  So, I tell Jill to wait it out.  About 8 - 10 miles later, I run out of pavement.  No warning, just gone.  Now what.  Well, I had my spirit of adventure, so I went forth until I came to a fork in the road.  With no signs telling me what to do and Jill yelling at me that I shouldn't have gone that way to begin with, I turn around.  Jill has that "I told you so tone of voice."  I have to apogize and tell her "I'm sorry.  You were right."  Man, I must be losing it.  I'm talking to the damn GPS now.  I come back in to Long Creek and jump on 395 south again.

I come to route 26 and it's time to head east.  Now, my problem is that I don't have an Idaho map with me and the GPS is NOT good for looking at the big picture.  I have to kind of guess where in Oregon I have to be when I cross the border to be semi-close to Boise.  I decide I can still run up route 7 by Austin, which I follow back through the national forest and up to Baker City.  I'm treated to some really fast sweepers here.

I jump on 84 east now knowing I have to slab about 120 miles or so to Boise.  I get on highway and go a ways when I see a car up ahead turn on it's blinker for the median. I expect something is up and slow down some.  Then the 4 ways come on and there's extra's.  I'm like ugh-ohh, something's up, but I wasn't going much over, but still, maybe.  I go by and the "unmarked" car now pulls back into traffice behind me, but he starts lagging back.  I'm starting to get nervous. I keep it right at the limit and he slowly fades from view. I think he may have been after the truck that was near me at the time.  All I know is left me alone and that's a good thing.  Boy, it's getting hot too.  I stop at a rest area to take a break and all the truckers were kind of looking at me strange.  Like they ain't seen a woman in a year and I"m looking good in my motorcycle pants.  Either that or I just looked freakishly like a power range.  Either way, it was a little unsettling and I booked out of there.  Finally, I cross the border into Idaho and look forward to pumping my own gas again.  Fortunately, I get the opportunity as I coming into the Boise area. I decide to pick up a map while there.  All they have are the glossy ones, so I get it. I figure I better get one for Montanna too since that's not in my bag either (I got 15 maps, but not those 2).  I also pick up a $2.00 gatorade.  Grand total is $15.38.  Those damn maps were expensive.

I hook up with my hotel for the night, but no internet, so all you folks will be getting this a day late.  Sorry.  I'm in development type area and a I got to Sarah's or something like that for dinner.  It's kind of like a Friendly's.  That had a very good loaded potato soup.  The rest of the food was decent and I'm stuffed and ready for bed.

Some things I forgot to note previously:

1 - From Eugene, Or to the coast and back to highway 5, I stopped counting old Chevy pick-ups (pre-1980) at 28.  These all appreared to be running trucks and most appeared to have the original paint.  I think 6 of the ones I saw were for sale.
2 - Did I mention I lost a pair of gloves.  Left them on back of bike when I stopped to take a picture and then left without them.  Went back looking for them, but never found them.  They were my light weight pair.  I need to pick up another set.
3 - There were a lot of elk crossing signs near the coast.  I didn't realize that elk enjoyed the beach so much.
4 - Knock on wood (Kirk - that's for you)...  Most people here are very aware and courteous of motorcycles.  Thanks all.  I hope this continues.
5 - CA has more police than anywhere I have been, at least by my count.
6 - there are a lot of wineries on the Washington side of the hood river along route 14.  Wish I had more room in my saddlebags.
7 - I scraped the right peg today around 4975 miles.  Woot!  I have street cred!  Well, maybe not, but who's gonna know.
8 - When I have to start running highways full time to get home - that is going to SUCK!

Mileage:  540  (5275 total)
Gas:  $42
Hotel: $51
Breakfast:  $8
Dinner:  $18
Maps:   $15
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« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2008, 10:31:01 PM »

Day 13

Some leftover thoughts from previous days:

1 - what are those stainless steel type containers along the road every so often that look like some sort of coffee machine? I saw today that were a light green?
2 - Had a weird dream a couple nights ago.  It essentially ended with someone coming up behind me and wrapping their hands around my throat trying to strangle me.  "It" said something like I bet you didn't think it would be this easy.  I woke up swing and kicking the covers and all.  Freaked me out a little.  Kind of like Freddy and nightmare on elm street type thing.  
3 - Why are all the trucks and vans out west white?  The forest trucks are white, the police vehicles are white, all the other pickups and vans are also white.  It must be crazy in the winter when all the vehicles are camoflauged.  They do make other colors.
4 - I want to see a bull moose. I've seen just about every other animal that north america has to offer, but not a grizzly and not a bull moose.  I do not wish to see a Grizzly.
5 - Every motorcycle rider I have met that is doing some sort of touring is the same age or older than i am, or at least they are not distinguishingly younger.  Kind of weird when the guy next to you on the CBR is 60 + years old.
6 - 95% or more of the riders I meet are wearing full gear.
7 - The majority of touring riders are on BMW's.  
8 - Guys on K-bikes and even the R model boxers are ok.  The guys with the big old square metal looking containers don't like the rest of us cuz they never wave.
9 - Cruisers will wave to me, but never will they initiate a conversation, which is OK, cuz I don't talk to them either and I own/drive a cruiser.
10 - Definitely more waving happening on the west side of the country
11 - Had a dream last night that someone moved my bike so they could get into a parking spot.  I woke up in cold sweet ready to do bodily harm.
12 - Last night at hotel, a handicapped gentleman got out of vehicle parked in the handicapped spot and he was in a wheel chair.  You know the area that is stripped off where no one is supposed to park?  Well, that's where he unloaded.  This morning, I walk out to load my bike.  I notice 3 cars with handicap tags hanging from the mirror and 1 without.  Well, the one without is parked between the van and another vehicle in the no parking area.  Well, this pisses me off as there was 1) another parking space 3 spots down right in front of the door and 2) there were multiple other spots in the lot that were open.  I left a note for the guy telling him not to be dick...  Now the guy in the wheelchair can't load himself into the van because of this person.  
13 - it amazes me how generic America has become.  Their is practically nothing out west that I haven't seen back home.  It gives me comfort, but yet concerns me that we are becoming so vanilla and losing our individuality.

Last night as I was without internet, I was busy planning my course for tomorrow (now today).  I decide I would head up rt 21 to Stanley and then pick up route 75 to Salmon and then pick up 93 to take me up to Montanna.  From there, I would hit 43 east over to Wisdowm, pick up 278 east to Dillon, 41 north/east to Twin Bridges and then take 287 into Ennis and down into West Yellowstone. I  then decided that I should have the wife try to get reservations for me in case things were to be full by time I go there.  Well, it's a good thing I did because the closest she could get me was Belgrade, which is about 40 miles north east of Ennis up by Bozeman.  Bozeman just happens to be where my friend Chris used to live when I visited him 8 years ago. He's since moved back home.  When I walked into the hotel at 5:00 local time, the girl was like "I hope you have a reservation because we are booked."  Thankfully, I did.  I'm now about 90 miles from west yellowstone, where I wanted to be.  Yikes!

So that was the plan and I followed it pretty much to the T.  I left the hotel around 5:30 and jumped on 84 to get out to rt 21 and took that.  I got a nice morning pick of the damn in the 6:00 am time frame.  I couldn't believe how busy traffic was on 84 at that time going into Boise.  Also, the traffic coming down 21 from Idaho City in the 6:00 time frame was pretty impressive. I think the sign for Idaho City had the population listed as either < 4000 or <400.  If it was <400, I can tell you that everyone in Idaho City must drive down to Boise each morning because I met at least that many cars.  The riding was good and there were good corners, but a little too congested for me at that time of the morning.  I continued on up and caught site of a couple of bikes ahead of me.  I continued to gain on them and finally caught them.  A BMW K bike followed by an R model.  They were running a decent pace, so I settle in behind them almost all the way to Lowman when they stopped off at one of the scenic areas.  The ride was spirited and most folks simply got out of our way.  Well, I'm down to a half tank and due to my Nevada Desert experience, I get nervous when I get that low and start looking for gas.  Both places in Lowman are closed.  I figure I can make it to Stanley and push on.  Suddenly, out of the morning haze is an oasis... last gas for 47 miles and they serve breakfast.  Sweet.  I stop and fill up both my gas tanks before continuing on to Stanley.  In Stanley, I see the BMW boys must have stopped for breakfast too.  I jump on 75 headed for Salmon when I catch sight of another motorcycle a ways ahead of me.  I always find this a bit challenging to see if I can match or beat the other guys pace and catch him.  It takes a while, but I do.  This guy rides pretty well.  I hit a geologic hot spot and stop for a pic. I  take off again and wonder if I can real this guy in again.  Well, after passing a car and a camper, I decide this is ridiculous and settle into a less aggressive pace.   Just as I do, a nice view of the river opens in front of me with a pull off, which I decide to hit.  At that same moment, I see a motorcycle in the pulloff with a guy standing/jumping beside it.  I think I caught someone taking a nature break and he was trying to get things tucked away.  LOL.

So, I end up talking to this guy, I believe his name was Howard.  He's from CA, out near Yellowstone.  He's supposed to be meeting up with a buddy of his, whom he claims set out earlier and did 800 miles the first day.  Both Howard and I think that's nuts as 600 is around our max.  Anyhow, we had a nice chat about numerous things, including the Pilot
Road tires, which we both like, although I didn't tell Howard how much a was gyped, I mean paid, for the tires.  We continue up the road and hit a lot of nice corners.  

I continue on up to Salmon and stop at the local Yamaha shop looking for a pair of light weight riding gloves.  Unfortunately, the shop was very dirt oriented and light on stock.  A kind of cute thing did happen though when I stopped for gas.  3 guys on trail bikes stopped and then ma and pa kettle pulled in with jethro and a young blonde grandson in the back of the truck.  Gotta love the rural country where it's OK to put an 8 year old boy in the back of a pickup to bounce around.  Me, myself, have no problem with it as that's how I was raised, but now-a-days (sp?) that would be a major no-no on the east coast.  Well the kid is tickled pink with my bike.  He wants one of them.  I'm like:  "Oh, you like my helmet."  He says:  "Not the helmet, the bike (you dumb a$$ was implied;-)"  I smile and he says I like the helmet too.  Well, Granny walks by just a smiling with a mouth full of gums and 2 teeth.  She speaks and I do understand, but then Pa, who is driving the truck says something that even Boonhauer from that Hank Hill cartoon thingymabobshow would have had a hard time understanding. OK, stick to the kid.  He's young, seems intelligent, has all his teeth and speaks so I can understand him.  Anyhow, I chatted the boy up for a while and I finally asked him if he could ride a bike.  Well yeah I can ride a bike he says.  I can even ride it with no hands.  So then I tell him he could definitely ride a motorcycle.  Mom and dad may not like me much now, but the boy just grinned even bigger, if that was possible.  I geared up and got ready to head out.  I told him I hoped to see him out on the road some day.  Well, let me tell ya, it's really cool being a "hero" to a kid even if you know you're not.

I then picked up 93 up out of Idaho.  Climbing the big hill up to route 43, it's 2 lanes going up and 1 coming down.  Well, this was a good time to play and up I went.  I drug the right peg first at mile 5583.2 and the left peg at 5583.3.  Woot, woot!!!!  I got them both now.  The Connie and I are gelling, like magellan.

Once I hit Montanna though, things kind of get boring because I just hit the upper plains.  I get into Wisdom and stop to do a panoramic picture of all the mountains around me.  It takes 20 pics trying to string them all together.  I drink some gatorade and check the map too.  The whole time I'm there, which might have been 15 minutes, 2 cars go by me (this becomes important later).  I continue down the road for probably 10 miles or so and I'm keeping the speed limit as it's flat and open and those are good places for spped enforcement officers to lay and wait.  I can see at least a mile or more ahead of me and I can see something shiny at first and then I can make out it's a vehicle and it seems to be sitting at the entrance to a ranch that's another 2 miles back up the hill.  About 20 minutes later, I reach the ranch entrance and the local sheriff sitting there trying to catch speeders.  I wave as I go by, but he doesn't even look at me.  I give thought to turning around and doing mach 100 by him just to make his day entertaining, but decide that can only work out bad for me.  Here's the thing.  I would have to guess in a half hours time, no more than 10 cars could have gone by this guy.  Is this an efficient use of taxpayers money sitting out here in the middle of nowhere trying to catch a speeder?  So, even if one guy is doing 80 (instead of the 70 mph posted), big deal.  You can see forever and no one else is out there.  I have to question this.

*This brings up another topic I wanted to mention.  On the east coast, the speed limit is normally 65 in rural areas and 55 in more densely populated areas.  As a rule, everyone does 75 all the time.  When I get to the west, the speed limits are 70 - 75 mph and people do 55-65.  What the heck people?  I'm doing the speed limit and feel like I'm doing something wrong as I'm passing people.  In fact, I passed a police office on rt 84 in Oregon the other day as he was doing 72 in a posted 75.  No one else would go by him.  What makes this even more strange to me is that in the east, the most you may ever be able to see in front of you at one time is 1/2 mile, where in the west, that's about the minimum.  So, in the west, you can see further (generally), the roads are flatter and straighter, your speed limit is higher, but yet you drive slower???

I continue over 278 to Dillon, hop on 41 to Twin Bridges and then tack 287 in to Ennis, going through Nevada City and Virginia City.  Virginia City was kind of neat to go through, but I think it would be better if they kept all the cars off the main drag and parked them somewhere else.  That would be kind of freaky driving through and old western town with no sign of modern "stuff".  I get into Ennis and finally, I have phone service. I have a message from the wife saying she has a reservation for me back in Butte, not quite, but holy cow... I want to be in West Yellowstone.  So, I ask Jill to point out the local lodging, which she does. I do a drive by, but everyone is full.  Off to bidderbocker I go and here I am.  

I filled up with gas so I'll be ready to go in the morning and picked up a 6 of beer.  The selection is limited to bud, coors, corona, the "american" standard crap, but they do have Henry Weinhard's private reserve.  I pick up a 6 of that for the second time on my trip.  I'm guessing if I drank all of it before writing my ride report, it would have been more interesting for all of you.  G'nite yall!

Mileage:  530
Gas:  $54
Hotel: $120 <- Tough finding a hotel anywhere close to yellowstone.  Thanks honey for finding!
Breakfast:  $10
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« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2008, 02:27:23 AM »

Well I'm really enjoying reading this, what an interesting experience you are having.

You sure went out of your way to buy a Concours. They are a hell of a bike but didn't they have one on your side of the continent? Your daily miles are also insane, back to back 1000+ mile days? You're either extremely hard-core or crazy! Also it's very brave to take a brand new bike on such a long trip with no shakedown or time to get the seat and windscreen dialed in. And Death Valley in JULY?? I'm willing to bet you didn't see a lot of other bikers on the road with you there.

Anyways I love your new bike and admire the courage  Smile.
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« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2008, 12:07:53 PM »

Well, Since I have been appointed picture guy, here are some more he sent me, Phil has trouble uploading them.

I am including a picture of Phil's desperate attempt to get some street cred, it is OK Baddog, no need to spend all night lying on your back in the motel parking lot with a file, I know you can toss that thing around.

Kirk
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« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2008, 10:07:50 AM »

All, I could have got a Concours back home, but what's the fun in that.  One of the problems with trips is you have to drive away from home to your destination, before coming back.  So, that limits your range and how far you can go.  By flying out west in < 1 day, that meant I had the full 20 some days to have fun before come back.  Also, the guys at Arizona Kawasaki were awesome in price.  I found one place in North Carolina that was cheaper, but I've already been to North Carolina.

I never did a 1000 mile day.  If I posted that, it was a mistake.  I have done as much as 600 miles in a day, or 1000 or more in two though.

You believe the number of motorcycles I saw in Nevada.  Even as I was coming up out of Death Valley at 6:00 AM, mind you, I had two bikes come up on me.  They camped out there, so now who's crazy???  Death Valley was one of the reasone I wanted new tires on the bike as I didn't want to risk it more than I already was.

The concours has held up awesome as I expected.  There's no way I could have doon the mileage that I've done so far on my bird.  Anyway, thanks all for the comments and questions.  Keep them coming.

Day 14.

miscellaneous musings:

1 - Saw adobe homes in the monument valley area starting at $399,000.  WOW.  A mud home for close to 1/2 million.
2 - coming into the national forest from Idaho, I thought I saw a sign for 2 acres for sale for $89,000, but as I went by, I'm sure it said $899,000.  OMG.
3 - Up near Brickerman, MT, building lots were a bargain at $79,000
4 - A saw a bull moose yesterday.  In fact, if I hadn't been so damn cold and been slowing down to put on more clothes, we may have come into close physical contact.
5 - Found out why there's so many BMW riders - a rally!!!  Right were I had hoped to be staying.  Boy, did that suck for me.

I got an early start on the day and pulled out of Brickerman or whatever that town was I stayed in.  All I can remember is Bozeman and that's the next town over.  I took 191 down to yellowstone, which parallels the Gallatin river most of the way.  The closer I got towards West Yellowstone, the colder I got.  It even got to the point that I couldn't feel my hands through the heated grips.  I was getting ready to pull over to put on more clothes when I thought a horse was up by the guardrails when it then jumped right out in front of me.  Holy cow, that horse has horns!!!  Fortunately, I was already going slow.  I didn't want to stop in such close proximity to him, so I pulled up the road a hair to take his pic.  I also put another sweatshirt on.  I continued down into West Yellowstone and where 287 and 191 intersect, a guy on a BMW pulls in behind me.  Well, when I stop in West Yellowstone to get some coffee and get warmed up, he pulls in right behind me.  We never introduced ourselves, but I'll come him Eng as he was an Engineer from Chicago area.  Well, Eng and I chat for a bit and then go our seperate ways.  Shortly after, he comes in to the same place I'm at and takes a seat behind me, so we strike up another conversation.  This time we're talking about where we're going. I mention I hope to hole up somewhere in Buffalo or Gillette.  He wishes me luck finding a room as Gillette is where the BMW rally is being held and they've been out of rooms for weeks.  Yikes.  I call home and talk to the wife and ask if she can find me a place to stay.  I had a decision to make.  Should I pull up short for the night (I should have) or should I go long (I should not have).  Anyhow, she finds me a place in Sundance which is a good hour past Gillette.

So, Eng and I go our separate ways and I head into yellowstone park's west entrance.  I go to the north entrance and stop and pick up something for my girls and continue on to the northeast entrance up by Silver City and Cooke City.  What a mess they have in there with road construction.  You have to follow a pace truck if you will.  Not a fun place for a street motorcycle.  I stop in Cooke city to get a drink before heading on my way.  Yellowstone was beautiful of course, but having been there once before, I didn't feel a need to explore the whole park for if I had, I would have been in big problems.

Well, I then have to decide to go over the Beartooth to Red Lodge or jump down to Cody.  I really want to do the Beartooth, so I do.  I noticed they seem to have a lot more guardrails on it than they did 8 years ago.  It's a nice ride down to Red Lodge and only got hit with a little rain.  I jump on 308 over to Belfry and run 72 north to Bridger and then 310 down to Lovel where I pick up 14 across the Bighorn mountains.  As I go across the plains, it's getting hot again.  Well, as I come up into the Bighorns, I get cold again.  Not as cold as going over Beartooth or as cold as I was this morning, but very cool none-the-less.  The roads up into and down out of the mountains are awesome and I'm fortunate there is minimum traffic.  I don't know what the material is that gives the road a red look, like red shale or something.  Whatever that material is, I love riding on it.  It seems to be very grippy and the sun doesn't seem to beat off it with the same intensity.  Well, I follow 14 to route 90 to do my super slab race to Sundance.  Yuck.

Note that it took me about 8 hours to go the first 200 miles of today's trip from Belgrade (that's it!) to Red Lodge and I've got to do about 600 in total.  I get to Buffalo and wish I pulled up short for day.  I get to Gillette and I'm cursing the BMW rally.  I pull over and get wifes voice mail with directions to hotel.  It's a rodeway inn.  Well, I plug this in to Jill as I head for Sundance and the only ones she finds are back in Buffalo or ahead in Rapid City.  OMG.  Not Rapid City.  That will be over 700 miles.  I pull over and call home in a panic.  I'm assure that the hotel is in Sundance and I get the address.  Everything worked out in the end, but I didn't get here until after 9 local time.  Remember that I left at 5:30 local time.  That was like 14 hours.

So, after getting here, I went to "The Dime" (a local bar) to get a bite to eat and have a beer.  I learned some things about Wyoming Liquor practices, which maybe I'll update you on tonight.  It's now 8:00 local time and this is the latest I've been in a room.  I just wanted to get this typed up and posted before I forgot.

So, Good morning everyone and wish me well with today's travel's.  I don't expect to go too far today.

Mileage:  600+
Gas:  $45, but I didn't fill up when I came into town at night, which I usually do
Hotel: $85 <- Tough finding a hotel anywhere close to Gillette, MT due to BMW Rally.  Thanks again honey for finding me a place.
Breakfast:  $4
Dinner:  $10 - a tombstone pizza + tip at "The Dime" bar in Sundance.
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« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2008, 10:46:40 PM »

Day 15

Well, I got a late start on the day due to the long day I had yesterday that just left me beat.

I promised you some insight on Wyoming liquor law, so here's what I remember:  1) you must be either a bar or a liquoir store to sell either.  2) until September of last year, a passenger in a motor vehicle could legally have an open alcoholic beverage in the vehicle when traveling on a state road (not interstate and town though).  3) a short time prior to that, the driver could also have an open alcoholic container provided he wasn't over the limit.  4) some bars had drive up windows where you could pull up and order a margarita or a gin and tonic to go.  5) some towns still allow you to walk the streets in public with an open container.  Sundance is such a place.  I could have bought a bottle of jack or a bottle of wine from the bar and left with it.  As it is, you can also just buy 1 beer if you want it.  This is awesome!  I'm sure I learned more peculiar things, but in my exhaustion, I'm plenty sure I forgot some too.

I get up around 8:00 am local time (10:00 am for home time) and get my gear ready to go and write my ride report from yesterday and get that posted.  I'm ready to ride by 8:30 and out the door I go, headed for Devil's Tower up route 14.  One good thing about driving all the way to Sundance last night is I'm now only 1/2 hour away.  About 1/2 into the trip, I realize I left my sunglasses on my bed at the hotel. Oh well, that's why I buy cheap sunglasses cuz I'm always leaving the damn things somewhere.  I'm not going back, so plunge on.  Even though it's late for me, it's still pretty early here and I encounter little traffic.  I do however, have 2 bikes pass me when I pull over to take my first pic of the tower.  I think, oh good, I can go fishing again.  Unfortunately, these fellas got tied up behind a slower moving 4 wheeler and I reel them in quite quickly.  I follow them into the Tower entrance, where these 2 older fellas get off their bikes to walk up to the window and pay.  The one guy walks with a limp and I notice a cane on the back of his bike.  I later come up on these 2 guys again at the top and they have got to be at least 70 years old.  I'm thinking that is so awesome that these 2 are still riding and getting it on.  I hope I can still be doing that when I reach their age.

I walk the trail out for a ways to the prairie area and come back.  I see a couple on an BMW K1200 LT and go over to talk to them about their impressions on the bike.  In particular, I'm interested in the passengers perspective.  The couple is very friendly and I gain some perspective on the bike.  As I walk back to my bike, a guy (Paige) comes over to talk to me.  He's on an older model Concours and wants to get my feelings on the bike.  His buddies Bob and Paul also come over.  Bob is riding an LT currently, but is looking for a new bike.  They ask me a bunch of questions on the bike and we swap war stories and all.  I even let Bob sit on the bike to get a feel for it.  After about 30 minutes of this, we decide we need to break up the party if any of us are going to get any riding done today.  I say farewell to the boys from Virginia and ask Jill how we should get ourselves to Keystone, where Mt. Rushmore is located.  Jill says we have to go back to Sundance.  Great, I'll get my sunglasses and I do.  Jill wants to take the interstate again.  I overrule and we take 585 down to Newcastle, where we pick up 16 back to Custard area where I stop and see the Crazy Horse himself.  I paid the entrance fee, watched the video, took the bus ride up the mountain, explored the grounds and enjoyed myself tremendously.  It had been threatening rain all morning, but sprinkles was all I got thankfully.  I didn't want to be seeing any lightening.  As I was walking back out to the parking lot to leave, a US Marshall vehicle went by me blinged to the nines.  I mean any up and coming rapper would love to have had this escalade for a ride.  I'm seriously considering changing careers, especially if I get fly equipment like that.  Am I jiggy or just nerdy?  Don't answer, it was rhetorical.

So, I head to see the 4 presidents.  Now, the fellas from Virginia had told me that I would go through 2 tunnels and said after going through the first, find a place to take your pic and bail out as otherwise, it just wasn't worth it.  They said they wanted $10 to park your bike.  I'm not sure what they might by tunnels, but I didn't go through on the way in and only hit one on way out.  Anyhow, I had taken 16 in oto Custer and 385 up to Crazy horse and continued up til I hit 244 up to Mt Rushmore.  I see a 16A on my map with what looks like tunnels, but I dont' remember that.  In any event, I stole a picture in the "No parking, no standing" zone in front of the monument as they dont' want you getting a freebie.  Somehow, I ended up in Keystone and I made tracks for Rapid City, where I picked up route 44 that took me to the badlands.  I head for "Interior", which I assume to be the interior of the badlands, but later learn, is a town.  I stop at the horseshoe tavern for a drink.  Many, you have not been in a bar until you have been into one of these old western saloon type places.  You want to talk about atmosphere.  Damn, I could live here.  Now, just as I was going in the place, a guy pulls in with a pickup (looks like a company truck, but I'm not telling).  He follows me in.  I have a drink and am ready to roll.  This doesn't look like the sort of place I want to eat at. I walk outside and when I do, I notice the truck is still sitting there idling.  WTH???  Worse, the windows are down, so he's not even trying to cool the thing with air conditioning.  
Can't be his money he's spending on gas.  As I'm gearing up, 2 older guys come out of the place.  1 gets on an old harley with a kick starter with a bicycle pedal on it that also had a bucket of tools strapped to the back.  What a machine... And people think I'm crazy for heading across the desert in a brand new, state of the art machine...  This guy was the definition of cool in my book.  His buddy comes out and gets on an old Concours.  Of course they're not much on gear, so he fires up and pulls up beside me.  He looks at me and at the bike and repeats enough that I'm getting nervous.  So, I say "This is the new version of yours."  He says:  "I know.  I like it."  He then drives away.  Damn, my kind of people.

So, telling that story reminded me of this one:  This morning as I take 14 under route 90 headed to the Devil's tower, there is a sign with motorcycle rules for South Dakota.  One was that anyone under 18 must wear a helmet.  The next one really made me laugh.  Your handlebars must be below shoulder height.  Well, who's shoulder.  I have a cousin who is 6'5" and a friend that is 5'3".  If my cousin's bike has handlebars level/below his shoulder, does that mean my friend can't ride it?  This sounds quite arbitrary.  What if you suffered from a form of dwarfism and the handlebars on your stock bike are higher than your shoulders.  Is having your handlebars up that high unsafe, or do you simply not want to see people's arm pits?  What about the really tall guy riding a "crotch rocket" where the handlebars end up being below his knee's.  Come on folks...  My $.02

I leave Interior and decide to head towards Wall to make it a short day.  Of course, they put another friggin toll booth in my way.  They call these National Park entrance fee's, but they are friggin toll booths.  Basically, you're telling me that my tax dollars and everyone else's has already paid for this park, but now you want to pay extra to go through it on a federally funded highway.  Anyone else confused by this?

Recommendation:  If ever taking a trip like mine where you're hitting a lot of national parks, get the annual or lifetime pass.  It will probably save you in the long term.

The park is gorgeous, but you can only take so many pics of the same type of thing, so I head towards Wall.  As I come into town, I see this beautiful looking log cabin "motel's" if you will.  I fill up with gas, grab some food and drink for the night and drive back just to see what the price is.  As it turns out, it wasn't bad, so I took it.  The place comes with cable, which I haven't used yet on my tip and wi-fi, which I use every day to send my pics and post my ride report.  It comes with refridgerator and microwave and air.  What more can a man want.  I'm in such a state of nirvanna right now that I just can't explain how this feels.  I've gone 2 weeks now not worrying about anything more than where can I get gas and occassionally, where will I sleep.  I want to thank my family for letting me do this.  It's been great.  I've now down everything I wanted to do except for the Pacific Coast Highway and that was called off on account of fire.  Now, begins the trip home.  From this point on, I have no plan.  I'll have to see how it all pans out.  I still have to get to Ocean City NJ after all.  Coast to Coast baby!

Mileage:  300
Gas:  $37
Hotel: $85 <- I'm in a gorgeous cabin rental in Wall, SD.  Like it here a lot!
Breakfast:  N/A
Dinner:  $10
Devil's tower:  $5
Crazy Horse:  $5 + $4 bus trip up mountain
Mt Rushmore:  Refused to pay the $10 parking for a motorcycle
Bad Lands:  $10

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« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2008, 12:10:31 PM »

More pics
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« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2008, 10:54:47 PM »

Day 16

 More miscellaneous musings:

1 - I saw 1751 or 1571 acres for sale in the gallatin valley on my way to West Yellowstone.  An acre is roughly a size of a football field.  I have a hard time imaging how big this property is, let alone the price they must want.
2 - I've seen these American Inn's all over the west and finally decided I should give one a try, so I stopped in Albert Lea as I was out of gas and tried it.  Price is over $100.  I think I would rather go to Holiday Inn at that price.
3 - Gas light just started blinking 3 miles before I got off highway to get gas.  I took 4.5 gallons of gas.  My tank shold be 5.8 gallons, so that means I have 1.3 gallons in tank when the E light starts to blink.  Even at a measely 30 mpg, I should be able to go 40 miles with flashing E light.
4 - Gas mileage goes down when traveling at speeds of 75 mph + for extended periods of time
5 - What's the deal in SD of building your expectations with road advertisments 50 miles til you get to a place.  Wall Drug - OK.  corn Palace - kind of cool.  1880 Town - didn't stop, so don't know.
6 - I have not eaten at Burger King, McDonalds, Arby's or any other recognized franchise, yet I still haven't lost a lot of weight.  This means I can eat as much junk as I want, but I don't want.
7 - I only had 1 soda this whole trip so far and that was the day I was coming into Montanna and I felt iffy.  I drank 1/2 can of coke and was good to go.
8 - Wine makes me giddy.
9 - I decided NOT to go to North Dakato.  I was going to do it just to say I did it, not because there was anything I wanted to see there.  I decided to keep plugging east.
10 - Similarly, I didn't go down in to Iowa.
11 - Back in SD, I saw a sign for Bear Country.  It had a picture of a wolf on it?  What the heck?  I think someone is confused.
12 - ***The badlands were not what I thought they would be.  This is because I have a memory of an old western, which I think had Clint Eastwood in it.  In the moview, the actor is leading his horse through this area of dark black lava spires (Pumice looking). I think he puts his hand on one and pulls it away and says to the horse:  "Now, I now why they call these the bad lands."  Does anyone remember this movie?  I mean the badlands were cool, but my memory of this movie distored the whole experience for me.  I gots to know man, I gots to know.
13 - Note to my Mom.  I did see a place called the Cow Palace back in eastern Oregon, but it was a rodeo arena, not an ice cream stand.  LOL.
14 - I passed some Pinnacle Stone national park, or something like that.  Anyone know what this is?
15 - Somewhere back in Oregon, I crossed the 45th parallel, which is halfway between equator and north pole.  Ain't I a fountain of information?
16 - I also passed, somewhere in lower Minnesota, a monument for the Golden Spike. Was this really in Minnesota? I would have figured it to be farther west.
17 - Back between Wyoming and South Dakata on route 16, I think it was, on my way to Crazy Horse, I passed a cattle stockade.  This place stunk like nothing I've smelt before.  I grew up on and around farms, including those with "slurry stores" (big blue shit tanks).  Nothing, and I mean nothing, ever stunk as bad as what I smelled that day.  Yuk!
18 - I could have swore my sister-in-law passed me and she even had a Michigan state helmet on her trailer hitch. I passed the woman back and let her pass me again.  Damn, I guess everyone does have a twin.  I hope to never find mine cuz my guess is that he's an ugly SOB.

So, I'm guessing this ride report is going to be pretty much as my day started - dreary.  Sometime during the night, the rain, lightening and thunder came.  I slept in.  I found that southwest SD is apx 4" above average in rainfall for the year and 1/2 - 1" of that came during my stay here.  Awesome.  I wake up and find it raining and I sleep some more.  Lather, rinse, repeat until you can't take no more. I get up and it's still storming pretty bad.  What should I do?  Well, I figure I have to make some easterly progress, so I decide to head out.  I pack up, gear up and run up to the Cabin office.  By the way, if you have the chance to stay in the Cabins just off the Wall exit where they sell fireworks... Do so. It's worth it.  I grab a bite to eat and get ready to go. Now, before I move on, I should mention that the people acting as "caretakers" of the place.  They could be the owners for all I know.  Well, they both ride bikes.  When I registered, I indicated I didn't put in a very good day at 300 miles.  They were like "Well, that's not bad."  This is then followed up with "We usually run 500 - 700 miles a day", which is subsequently followed up by the woman saying that her longest day was 1050 miles or so.  Holy crap.  My longest day is 600 and some.  Granted, I have down a few of these now, but still.  I commented that it sounded like Iron Butt material and she's like "Oh, you've heard of the Iron Butt.  Yup, that's what it were fer."  
Too cool.  She said on their last trip (I'm assuming they are a couple by now) that at 500+ miles she told the guy to go on without her and that her elbow, or shoulder, was hurting her to bad to go on.  Friggin wuss.  LOL.  I know many people that 300 miles is a lot for.  Cool folk.  Anyhow, I say my thanks and get ready to head out, but decide I have to go see the Wall drug store.  I mean I've only seen signs for this place for a 100 miles out.  Ok, I went, I saw.  It was cool and I'm glad I went, but wouldn't have been terrible to miss.  It's cool to see a piece of history though.  

It's almost 9:00 local time (11:00 edt) when I leave.  It's stopped raining, but roads are moist. I head east on route 90 and I'm good for at least an hour or so before I get splattered with some wet.  I get dry again. I repeat the process a few times before I decide I'm about to get soaked.  It appears as though I've been following the storm. I can either pull over and wait it out or push through.  Seeing as patience is NOT one of my virtues. I push through.  Something about doing 75 mph is pouring rain passing tractor trailers, or vice versa, that really gets the blood pumping. Ha!  In actuallity, I hate it, but I had to keep moving.  The funny thing though was I met a lot of people on bikes going west bound and it seemed as though everyone waved.  It was like it was a relief to see someone else as stupid as you were out here plodding along.  All along now, I've been seeing signs for the Corn Palace.  Finally, just before I get to Chamberlain, which is where I think the Corn palace is, it stops and starts to get muggy.  I decide that this place had it's requisite 50 signs, so I'm obliged to stop. *I should note that I stopped more for my old riding partner Kirk (foosnut) as he likes oddball things like the worlds largest ball of twine and such.  In the end, it was pretty cool to see.  I'm glad I stopped.  Now, I'm wondering if I should have stopped at 1880's town.

Speaking of those damn signs.  What's up with Al's Oasis. I didn't stop.  I thought I was comign to the Missouri river, but it may have just been a lake.  However, I don't see it on my map.  Does anyone know where I was?

I eat lunch at a sidewalk cafe (i.e. bar) next to the Corn Palace.  There's a guy on a BMW there when I walk in. I say hi, but don't get anything in return. I don't know if he's deaf, didn't see me, or simply doesn't want to associate with me. I assume it's the latter.  I have some chili and get back on route 90 heading east.  The number of motorcycles I see decreases as the day goes on.  I have to say that at first, I was upset by bikes that didn't wave back, which were mostly american made cruisers. Then, I decided to make sport of it. If I saw one of these American made cruisers (if I was able to tell, which I wasn't always - I would look for now helmet, cut off sleeves and a "bitch" on the back), I would wave my arms wildly like I knew them.  They would go by me looking so perplexed.  Why would someone on a jap touring bike wave at me like that???  Sorry, it's a straight boring ride.  Let me have what little fun I can.

I continue east chewing up the miles and an excruciatingly slow pace.  I can see 20 miles ahead of me at any time, but I must maintaing the speed limit. No sense getting a speeding ticket here.  Save them for when I'm having fun some place I shouldn't.  I'm come in to Minnesota and keep plodding along.  A car passes me and has a bumper sticker on that says:  "Where the hell is Wall drugstore."  I laugh, to myself of course, and look at the license plate.  This person is from Wisconsin. Oh My Gosh (cleaned up for the kiddies)...  I have traveled 1/2 way across the country and can pick out all the states, except for, you guessed it, Wisconsin.  Where the hell is Wisconsin?  When I get into the hotel room, I pull up a big map and figure it out. I'm headed straight for it.  Now i know.  The best geography lesson is the one the one you experience.  Lower Minnesota reminds me some of the Lancaster, PA area, only more spread out.  

The E light is flashing.  It's getting late.  I'm not sure how I want to go home.  So, let's call it a night and see how to approach tomorrow.

After checking in, I head over to the Liquor store.  I decide to have some wine tonight only to go in and find that they actually have a selection of "oddball" beers.  Unfortunately, they're all mostly warm.  I pick up a bottle of White Ziffandel and gead back to my palace. I call the wife and we share stories for the day.  Gosh, I miss being home.  Soon, I'll be home soon.

I'm sure I forgot more than I remembered, but that's the way of things.  

Mileage:  475
Gas:  $49
Hotel: $110
Breakfast:  N/A
Dinner:  $10
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« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2008, 09:35:06 PM »

Day 17

More miscellaneous musings:

1 - I went by the Spam museum early this morning.  It was also the manufacturing plant.  That is not a smell you want to encounter early in the morning.
2 - Went through a number of small neighborhoods along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi.  Saw many bars with a Heileman's sign.  Do they still make this?  If so, I need to get some.
3 - I saw my first Pigly Wigly today (supermarket).  We don't have these back home.
4 - Saw a corvette and an old International tractor for sale in the same yard.  My kind of people.
5 - I think it was back in Eastern Oregon or maybe it was in Montanna coming out of Red Lodge, but somewhere as I came into town was a huge sign that said "Beware of Dog."  I thought that was an odd sign for the town entrance until I saw a sign for the High School team - Bull Dogs.  I got a chuckle.
6 - I may have forgotten to mention when I was coming up NF-11 on the reservoir as I came around corner on to a bridge that crossed the reservoir was a pickup stopped on the bridge.  A 20 something male climbed on to tailgate and stepped on to side rail of truck and then jumped over bridge railing into the reservoir.  Damn.  I never would have the Cohojones to do that.
7 - Did you know that Prairie Du Chien is the 2nd oldest settlement is Wisconsin?  Now, you do.
8 - Was Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie a real person?  I went by a historical place for Dr Lauri Ingalls "some last name" Homestead.  This got me to thinking that Little House may have been based on a real life story.  Anyone know?

I was on the road by 7:00 AM local (8:00 AM at home) and simply jumped on route 90 east towards LaCrosse.  Once I crossed the big muddy, I jumped off and picked up route 35 south, which parallels the river.  At one point, I pulled off into this lot to get a picture of the locks.  I pull in and building on my right, RR tracks straight in front of me and locks are down to my left.  I'm looking at the looks and am stopping to park the bike when this train pops into my sight about 50 feet away doing mach 1 and the horn is screaming.  I just about jump off the bike Right there.  Damn, going to have change my shorts again.

Just down the road, I stop for gas and there is an Amish couple out front selling home made baked goods and rugs.  I go over and pick up a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a cream pull.  I pull over a little ways down the river to eat the cream puff.  It was damn good.  I continue down 35 toward Dubuque and go throw the beautiful rolling farmland of south west Wisconsin.  The farms here are gorgeous.  I even come to the town of Lancaster, which reminds me of Pennsylvania again.  In Dickyville, I come to Sunset lanes, a bowling alley.  This reminds me of our Sunset Lanes in Hallstead.  I can almost smell home.  I continue down into Dubuqe, which is in Iowa, to my surprise.  I cross the Mississippi into Dubuque.  Go a block or two down and turn onto Route 20, which takes me back across the river and into Illino.  That's not my spelling.  That's the spelling on the sign where I came into the state.  The "is" were blocked out.

I follow route 20, also known as Grants Memorial Highway, into the town of Galena.  Seems to be a big tourist attraction area, but I can't figure out why.  Shortly after I come upon a sign for President Grants Homestead.  I knew Illino was the homestead for Lincoln, as was advertised on the sign, but I must have forgot that Grant was from here.  I continue to roll out route 20 through the Illinois corn fields.  They must have had some flooding here too as I can see evidence of it in the fields still.  As I approached Rockford, I had to stop for gas.  I think it was in the town of Winnebago.  Anyhow, I went by a Miller distribution center and a Lowes retail outlet and through a somewhat seedy portion of town on my way to route 90.  Then, I see a sign that indicates route 90 is a toll road.  I hate toll roads on a bike.  First off, I'm cheap.  Second off, I hate the time it takes to get through the booths and all the jerking around.  I tell Jill to ignore toll roads and find me another route around.  So, Jill does here duty and I go across a bunch of roads.  I'm on 72 at one point and then back on 20.  I'm headed for Chicago.  At less < 35 miles to Chicago, I am still in some major corn country, but I'm coming into a bunch of high price developments. I could buy a home for anywhere from 350K to 1 Mill.  What a bargain.  However, I went by this one development where the house appeared to be done, but the roads were still gravel and they had grass and wild flowers growing up through it all.  My guess is that the housing market is down here.  I hate seeing farm land converted like that.  Jill wants me to get on 290 East towards the airport.  Oh yeah, somewhere before getting on 290, I went by a Daimler Chrysler plant and saw them loading cars on train cars.  Cool.  I also went by the largest Nursery I've ever seen somewhere back in this area too.  It was called Wilson's Nursery (hear that dad?).

Now, up until this moment, my vacation has been pretty much stress free.  All of that is about to change as enter the Chicago freeway system at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday.  I can't begin to imagine what this is like during a work day. 290 is packed.  Speed limit is 55, but one minute we're doing 70 and the next we're stopped.  I have a beautiful charcoal grey Ferrari (sp?) pull up beside me, whom I follow for a while.  Boy, that car sounded great.  It can scoot too, but why you would drive it here, I'm not sure.  At one point, I goose it to get out into the passing lane just as everyone break lights are coming on.  I practically pull a stoppie.  Why?  Because some idiot decide to pull into the U-turn spot, which was also occupied by a police vehicle.  Not cool.  I continue towards the city and traffic comes to a dead stop.  I tell Jill we have to detour and she does her job.  I get off the next exit and meander the Chicago burps with Jill's assistance.  At one point, I go past a city Zoo.  I think the town begin with "B" like Bedford Park maybe.  Jill brings me back on route 55 and follow that to 90/94.  I remember seeing sign for Lake Shore drive and I did see the Chicago sky line. I  think I was close to lake Michigan, but I never actually laid eyes on it.  What's that on the traffic sign?  State police are targeting reckless Motorcycle driving?  Just motorcycles???  Why not all the other reckless shit I see out here.  I'm the only motorcycle I've seen and I'm just trying not to get squished.  Grrr.  Jill has me popping on to 94/90/80/20 and so on.  I'm not sure where I am.  I'm just mindlessly taking instructions hoping to get through this in one piece.  Oh good, sky is dark up ahead.  I'm going to get wet.  Welcome to Indiana.  Yup, it's starting to rain.  I have to pull over and at least bag up my duffel.  I can get wet, but I don't want to be changing into wet stuff.  Back on the road I go.  It's a downpour.  I'm in construction.  I can't see.  This is not fun.  I get off at next exit and find a truck stop. I top for coffee and chili and to wait out the storm.  I get done, gas up and head out again.  Jill has me going up into Michigan (cool) cuz I don't want any toll roads.  Guess what?  I'm faster than the storm is.  I want to make Michigan before I hit the storm, but it's not going to work.  I can see places on the west bound side where road is flooded many inches already.  Let's get off here in Michigan City.  OK, but easier said then done with all the construction.  I number of people goof the construction exits (I saw 2 other bikes and a bus do so) and I'm dodging orange cones like at the advanced rider training, and in the wet mind you.  Well, I finally find my first Red Roof Inn where my AMA card will get me a whooping 10% discount.  

Well, I'm off the road and I'm safe.  Where can I find beer?  The check-in girl (sorry if not politically correct, but so what - it's my story) says you probably want it cold don't ya.  Well, duh!  Do I look British?  Yeah, well the gas station across the street sells it, but it's not cold.  You can go to liquor store or to the supermarket.  Forget it.  I'm not going back out on the bike.  It's not worth it.  Time to crash and figure out tomorrow's route.

By the way, in case you're wondering why I'm in a hurry to get to the east coast, it's because I'm meeting some people there that are very important to me for a few days of sun and surf.  This is a can't miss event, so that's what I'm scurrying along this way.  I still got some time though to run down the Miss.  Maybe I can hit some back roads in West Virginia.

Mileage:  510
Gas:  $44
Hotel: $68
Breakfast:  N/A
Dinner:  $8
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« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2008, 11:09:57 PM »

Well I spent the last hour and fifteen minutes reading your report, and it was worth it.  Thanks so much for sharing.  Especially enjoyed your musings, and sense of humour, though it might have been the beer!  Bigsmile

Oh, and yes Laura Ingalls Wilder was a real person, and Little House on the Prairie(the show) was based on her books.  I guess it is a Mid West thing, mandatory that you learn this in elementary school.

Thanks again for sharing your trip.

Chris
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chornbe

« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2008, 06:24:38 AM »

Anyone heard any more from bad-dog? Hope everything's OK.
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