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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Day 1,
May 28, 2011
0-648 miles

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It’s that time of the year again when I make a month long motorcycle trip. This year I had invited three of my good friends to accompany me. Joe Ianiello is a buddy of mine from the Navy Reserve. We go back fifteen years. He works for US Customs. He and I have ridden our bicycles in Sicily on many occasions when we went on our two weeks of Navy duty in Europe. He was always razzing me for riding my motorcycles instead of bicycles. Then last year he bought a KLR650. I told him he was ready to go on some adventure touring with me. I had invited him to go to Death Valley last February for an annual ride I do, the Air Heads BMW Rally. He was all set to go when threats of rainstorms and cold weather caused him to decline. As it turned out the weather last February was great but he had to do some unexpected work for Customs that would have prevented him from going. He rode his KLR for a few months then traded up to a 1999 BMW R 1150 GS in pristine condition. Now I knew he had to go on my next summer ride.

Another ride companion was my regular riding buddy, Jim Hargas, a dentist and friend of mine since 1980. We have been to Alaska and back in 2009 and on many rides up the California coast to Big Sur and Northern California on our Wee’s and cruisers. We have also done a 10 day ride through the Colorado Rockies in 2002. He is like a brother to me, one who at times I want to strangle or bludgeon to death. But hey, who hasn’t wanted to do that to a family member? I swore this year I would be nicer.

The other rider was a friend of mine for two years. I met him through a mutual friend of mine when we did the Air Heads Death Valley Rally 2 years ago. His name is Scott Olson and he rides a 2010 BMW R 1200GSA. He is an interventional neuroradiologist. He looks like he is about 25 years old, but he is the guy you want treating you when you have an aneurysm about to explode deep inside your brain. He will snake a catheter up your artery to place a special metal coil in the defect to strengthen the vessel. I figure he could also do a field lobotomy on Jim if necessary.

Scott with Joey over his left shoulder

Work constraints required I do the ride in June this year instead of July. I had decided to let the other three guys choose the route and itinerary since I had done most of the area we were headed on previous rides. I just wanted to share the ride this time. Plus the others had to be back in San Diego by June 12 and I was planning to head to Florida to see my dad when they split for home. Our busy schedules did not allow us to get together to discuss our wants and desires for the trip but we accomplished it through emails and phone calls. Jim and Scott were very seasoned adventure tourers and little discussion was made about what to pack except to affirm that we would need cold weather gear, rain gear, and hot weather gear due to the varied temperatures we would encounter. We discussed what to take for cooking and fixing meals. Joey was a bit more concerned about what to pack. I supplied him with the list of items I took on my 30 day tour of America last July and advised him on other things. He prepared by reading my Alaska Ride Report ( and my report from last year ( He had already purchased good camping gear and had a very capable bike. I advised him on prepping his bike. He was ready.

We had decided to meet at a suitable off ramp on I 15 at 2:30AM on May 28th. I rode to Jim’s house and we rode to the off ramp to get Joey and Scott. Joey rode up a few moments later while we talked and waited for Scott. As we talked a middle aged Mexican man walked over from a stalled pick up truck 100 yards away. I could have sworn he asked me, “Tiene Vasolino?” (Do you have any Vasoline?) I looked at him and said, “No tengo Vasolino.” I wondered what he needed Vasoline for. He then corrected me, “Gasolino, senor.” Oh, that made more sense. But unfortunately, we had no spare gas either. I directed him to the nearest gas station 2 miles south. Joey then proceeded to critique how I should never have let this stranger get that close to me. I knew Joey has his piece on him and was backing me up, though.

Scott showed up and we all discussed a few things about riding styles, stopping for any reason to rest, sleep, get gas, eat, or take a leak, etc. Safety was our goal, no injuries. It was going to be a good trip. Jim mentioned that everyone was getting along well and “kervokian” with each other, whatever that meant.

We rode into the cool night air and had a light mist at times. Going up the Cajon Pass out of San Bernadino was downright cold as we hit 3000 ft altitude of the high desert at night. I can’t remember where we were as the sun rose but we made it through Las Vegas before it was oppressively hot. We seemed to be making great time. Somewhere between Las Vegas and St George, Utah a small armada of state troopers had pulled over 20-30 choppers ridden by the Mongol’s MC. The troopers were in full riot gear with AR-15 assault rifles. Hmmmmm. It created a small traffic jam on I 15 in the middle of the desert. We rode on.

(L-R) Joey, Jim, Scott, Me.

When we stopped to refuel in Cedar City, Utah a few of the Mongols trickled in to refuel. They had their chase truck and rushees accompanying them for the inevitable break down one or more of the Harley’s would surely suffer. They were also probably carrying their guns and drugs in the truck. We rode on to highway 14 east to Cedar Breaks but the pass was closed due to heavy snow pack. We continued east on a very nice mountain road till we turned north at highway 89. This straight road offered beautiful views of Utah mountains. We made good time. We turned east on highway 12 to enter Red Canyon just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park. We took an unmarked road north across from the entrance to Bryce Canyon. This road headed toward Antimony and Otter Creek Reservoir. It was at a bar an restaurant across from the campground at Otter Creek Reservoir that we saw the Mongols for the third time. I think this must be their destination for the Memorial Day weekend. We headed north on highway 62 to Koosharem and refueled there. I told the guys we would take a short cut a mile up the road that would cross highway 24 an take us straight up a dirt road to Fish Lake National Forest where we would camp for the night.

Back on the road we made the short cut and in no time we were at the dirt road. I shot across the road and headed up the steep dirt road first. Once you began up this road there was no stopping or you would have difficulty restarting without slipping the rear wheel. The road was more rutted out this year than last from the rains. It required skillful use of the clutch and front wheel control to avoid the ruts or cross them at the proper angle. I arrived at a fork in the road and was able to wait for the others. Unfortunately it was a longer wait than I had hoped, indicating some trouble downhill. I had no desire to go back down the steep road so I waited a few moments longer. Jim rode up and said Joey had dropped his bike and Scott was helping him right the bike. He was OK. They soon showed up and I apologized for bringing everyone up this road. Joey was ecstatic! He was having the time of his life and was eating up the off roading. His mistake was not turning of his ABS before riding in the dirt. This had caused him the problem that made him dump his bike. No harm, no foul. We pressed on.

Old mill on the way to Antimony, UT

We rode past Fish Lake and headed up into the mountains where I knew of a good camp spot. We turned off the highway and rode into the edge of the woods where I heard semi-automatic rifle fire coming from my camp site! I turned to Scott and said there was a problem. I then blew my Stebbel horn repeatedly and rode slowly forward so I would not take a stray round. I approached 3 young adults who enjoying exercising their 2nd amendment rights and asked them how long they planned to be there. They were planning to leave in 30-60 minutes. I asked then to hold their fire so we could ride to the west 200-300 yards to find a camp site, and also to be sure they were firing to the east. No problem. Have a nice day. Joey critiqued my handling and gave me high marks for all the things I did right. He was behind me ready to take them out if anything got dicey.

Our campsite on the first night near Fish Lake. No fee camping in the National Forest.

After finding a nice spot to put our tents, Jim discovered he had forgotten to pack his sleeping pad. I briefly considered not telling him that I had both a dense foam pad and a thermorest, but decided that would have been cruel and uncalled for. I offered him the foam pad and he gladly accepted. We were at 9500 feet and it got down to 35 degrees that night so I am sure it helped him. We cooked our dinner after setting up the tents and collecting firewood. After dinner we enjoyed the fire and some wine. Joey brought out the largest porcelain tin cup I have ever seen. It was easily 3 times larger than Jim’s enormous camp cup. Jim’s cup can hold a half liter of wine. I thought a good ride name for Joey would be Joey “Big Cup” Ianiello. It turns out he would sport a better name more fitting in the coming days.Jim’s ride name was usually Grampa since I look at him as more of a grandfatherly type than a brother. Maybe it’s because he tends to move slowly and get ready to move out slowly. Jim would sport another ride name on this trip also, compliments of Scott.

Grampa Jim looking for his sleeping pad

Since Joey was the newby and had no camp merit badges, we assigned him the job of fire starter. Jim tried to tell him how to do it, but I protested that this was Joey’s responsibility and Joey would need to demonstrate success without outside help. He did a superb job earning him a field award for fire starting. I had planned to get Joey as many merit badges on this ride as I could so he could be fully checked out to do a solo adventure tour.

Jim and I did our usual bickering back and forth while Joey enjoyed the show. He commented, “Just like Felix and Oscar.” Scott showed us a you tube video of the Honey Badger narrated by some guy who sounded like a poof. It was hysterical. You have to see it (YouTube - ‪The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger (original narration by Randall)‬‏). Scott instantly earned the tour name “Honey Badger” because the honey badger is the “most badass animal in the animal kingdom and isn’t afraid of anything”. My tour name alternated between “Yoda” as the wise and all knowing teacher or “Ride Leader”. Ride Leader is the sarcastic name we gave to a bull shit artist we have been seeing on the last two Air Head Rallies at Death Valley. Ride Leader was memorable for saying such things as “Never ride with your cell phone in the breast pocket of your motorcycle jacket. If you crash it can penetrate your heart and kill you.” He was also famous for telling someone following him on a trail whose headlight assembly was broken by a rock thrown up by his bike, “That’s what happens when you are ride leader. People eat your dust.” So we secretly dubbed him, Ride Leader. If we were bored at the rally we would say, let’s go stand close to Ride Leader and see what kind of BS he is putting out. I actually enjoyed having the guys refer to me as Ride Leader in a bizarre kind of way. It was a term of endearment since I was never spouting any BS.

Joey is loving life

By the campfire the first night. Notice Joey's enormous cup. It can hold a whole bottle of wine!

We turned in for the night. Joey slept with his handgun under his pillow and we all felt a little safer, I think.

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Day 2
May 29, 2011
367 miles

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The first evening at 9500 ft was quite chilly. Add the fact that I was dehydrated and don’t do well when I head straight to high elevations from sea level. I had a head ache all night and woke with a killer head ache. I could hear everyone else up and about and I just wanted to stay put. I finally rolled out of bed and every movement made my head throb, especially bending over. Joey gave me a few Advil and in a half hour I was good as new.

Jim had slept well on the foam pad I loaned him. We cooked our breakfast and had coffee while we started making jokes with each other. We began to slowly pack up. It was then that I noticed that Joey’s gear had managed to grow exponentially. He had decided on the style of motorbike packing that I like to refer to as, “the burrito”. He had taken it to new extremes. He had brought a 25 foot by 35 foot plastic tarp as his “tortilla”. He placed his gear in the tortilla and somehow wrapped it up into a large roll. This roll required him to use five or six heavy duty tie down straps to hold it onto his bike. He even had a traffic flag to hang off the end of the load. He now had his new ride name. The name that would stay with him the entire trip. He was now Joey “Big Burrito”. We had hours of amusement watching the burrito get larger and larger as the days passed. More on that later.

Joey sporting the Big Burrito

We were soon all packed up and heading out to the hard top. I had been on this route last year in July and was amazed that the aspen trees were still so bare. Last year on June 29th they were fully leafed out. We had passed from Las Vegas heat to the high elevation of the mountains of Utah where it had gotten to 36 degrees the previous night. We would then ride into the canyon floor before we went over another pass. We were on a sparsely traveled road to highway 72. We then turned north until we reached I-79. As we passed under I-70 the highway changed to highway 10. The scenery was now arid with views of the steep bare canyons and buttes to the west. At Huntington we turned northwest onto highway 31. This magnificent mountain road allowed us to make good time on tight sweepers through evergreen forests. As were ascended it got colder and colder. The sparse tree cover allowed a stiff cold wind to make us feel uncomfortable. We stopped on the pass to take photos of all the snow and put on our electric vests and more layers of clothes. Man, it was cold! One advantage of the tale wind that day the 59 mpg I got on one of my refuels. Everyone's mileage increased.

Notice Joey's Big Burrito!

Joey and Jim discussing the proper camera to take on an adventure tour.

The ride down the other side allowed us to warm up rapidly. Dark rain clouds were forming over Salt Lake City and Provo to the north. Our plan was to find a Wal-Mart so Jim could buy an air mattress and then take !-15 to Idaho. We found a Wal-Mart outside of Provo and then decided we should fill up on food at a Cracker Barrel nearby.

Scott at Cracker Barrel

Jim at Cracker Barrel. Soon he will have to loosen the rib belt.

I am checking my email on my son's iTouch.

After eating way too much, we once more headed north on I-15. The traffic through Salt Lake City was moderately heavy. It seems this interstate around Salt Lake City has been in a perpetual state of repair for the last 15 years. A crazy driver who wanted my lane without checking caused me to lay on the Stebbel horn with excellent results. By now it was raining. We had rain off and on all the way to the border of Idaho. The map showed Caribou-Targhee National Forest just over the border. We would look for a free camp site there.

At exit 17 we headed east on highway 36. The ride through the national forest was beautiful but unfortunately there were lots of private farms lining the roadway. We rode through the small national forest without seeing many chances for camping. There was one spot that Joey and Jim thought might work. It was at the Pass of the Standing Rock. This was a wide area to pull off the highway next to a large rock that had fallen from the side of the mountain 30 or 40 thousand years ago. It landed upright light a tower. It had been a special area for the local Indian tribes and later it was used as a way point for settlers and miners. Joey and Jim waited there while Scott and I rode back west to check out a dirt road we saw a few miles back. That turned out to be way too muddy and wet for our heavily packed bikes. So we decided to pitch our tents at the Pass of the Standing Rock. Traffic was very light on the highway which was 60 feet away from our tents. We figured as the night wore on few cars would pass by.

Joey guarding our camp site at Pass of the Standing Rock while Scott and I scout other areas.

The tents are up. Everyone is tending to their camp craft.

Scott risking his life on the Standing Rock

As we put up our tents and settled in, I took a hike up the side of the mountain next to us. Scott explored the Standing Rock. Jim discovered he had left his camp ax at the previous camp site. We decided to collect wood for a fire. Joey built another “phenomenal” fire. We piled wood on until we had a raging barnfire, or was it bonfire?

Enjoying the barnfire (bonfire). Notice the clear skies to the west, hah!

Joey was always first to turn in.The three of us stayed up and burned up the wood. It had been a pleasant 41 degree evening with mild winds and few clouds. That was about to change. At some point later that night the wind began to howl. The temperature dropped. The sides of our tents were caving in from the winds. Joey said later he thought his tent might blow away with him in it. I reached out to my vestibule and brought in my boots as the rain was blowing under the edges of the vestibule. Later in the night the rain sounds turned to a softer sound like sleet or snow. I expected to wake up with drifts around us. Joey also admitted later after the trip that he was thinking about his warm bed back home and wondering, “why is it I am doing this?” After the ride was over he realized experiences like this make for an interesting ride and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Still, while you are in the crappy weather, you gotta wonder.

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3,322 Posts
Super ride reports - keep em flowing! You guys are having fun.

FYI, we have a similar thang to 'ride leader' in the bicycle world, he's actually called 'race leader', who annoyingly reminds everyone around him, at the last second, that he's not in your class and you should just move aside 'race leader out of the way, NOW!" and, those pesky guys on the singlespeeds always yelling out ahead of themselves "singlespeeder, cominnnn thrrruuuu!!!" The sense of arrogant entitlement and way too much serious an attitude always makes them the object of our ridicule [it's not my fault your bike has no gears, Mr. Hipster!]. We often yell that out, often for no apparent reason, while riding.

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423 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Super ride reports - keep em flowing! You guys are having fun.

FYI, we have a similar thang to 'ride leader' in the bicycle world, he's actually called 'race leader', who annoyingly reminds everyone around him, at the last second, that he's not in your class and you should just move aside 'race leader out of the way, NOW!" and, those pesky guys on the singlespeeds always yelling out ahead of themselves "singlespeeder, cominnnn thrrruuuu!!!" The sense of arrogant entitlement and way too much serious an attitude always makes them the object of our ridicule [it's not my fault your bike has no gears, Mr. Hipster!]. We often yell that out, often for no apparent reason, while riding.
I had a good laugh at your report about the bicycle leaders. You obviously get my drift!

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Day 3
May 30, 2011
357 miles

To view route on Google maps:
May 30, 2011 - Google Maps

We all woke early this morning with thankfulness that we had survived the night and dread about what the morning would be like. I expected to see snow drifts around my tent. To my surprise it was a remarkably calm morning. We piled out of our tents and packed up quickly. We wanted to be packed before the rains began again. Anyone who has packed up a tent and gear in a driving rain knows what I am talking about. We skipped breakfast in favor of moving out quickly. The plan was to get a big hot breakfast in Pocatella.

Joey "Big Burrito" trying to wrestle the burrito onto his machine. Note the old school canteen. (These canteens are frequently found to be empty just when you need them most in the desert, having been hit by a stray round in your last gun battle. Newer versions have a self sealing capability if hit by anything up to a .50 cal round).

As we rode back west to I-15 we saw how fortunate we were. The surrounding mountains had a fresh cover of snow about 500 feet higher than our elevation was the night before. We were very glad we had not taken the muddy route into the mountains to find a camp. It certainly pays to be lucky if you can't always be smart. Cold rain greeted us for the ride to Pocatella.

We stopped in Pocatella and drove through town to find a suitable cafe. Idaho State University campus was off the main drag and Elmer's restaurant looked like the spot to eat. We filled up on huge plates of food and cups of coffee while we studied our maps. Joey and I had remarked how stuffed we were when we saw the restaurant offered Marionberry crumble cake. We both had an order that was warmed and covered with vanilla ice cream. We remarked for days how it was the best dessert we had had on the entire trip.

Back on the road to I-15 we were looking for the Blackfoot exit for highway 26 to Arco, Idaho. This part of Idaho is flat and somewhat desolate. We had to fight a head wind and be on guard for antelope. We stopped at a rest area to read about the area. It was the site of nuclear reactor research and housed more reactors than any spot on the earth. Arco was the first city in the world powered by nuclear energy. We watch menacing storm clouds gather to the north over the Sawtooth Mountains exactly where we were heading. As we saddled up, rain pelted us followed by BB sized hail and murderous crosswinds. Our rain gear and electric clothing kept us comfy. My iPod was belting out some awesome tunes from my "Rain" playlist.

Joey practicing the "Cha-Cha" before riding into the $hit.

Honey Badger, smiling before going into the $hit. "He is so badass, he doesn't give a $hit about anything"

We turned onto highway 23 at Carey to go toward Sun Valley. The sky got even darker and visibility dropped. A heavy rain fell as we joined highway 75. The rains let up as we reached Sun Valley and ascended the Sawtooth Mountains. So far no signs requiring chains! The road out of Sun Valley is a superb twisted motorcycle road. Very fast sweepers and opportunities to pass slower vehicles. The snow was heavy beside the road but the road was dry and clear. We stopped at Galena Summit to marvel at all the snow still present in the season. It was remarkable how sparse the traffic was for this Memorial Day Monday.

At Galena Summit in the Sawtooth Range

Joey, loving life again.

Me at the summit

"Check out this snow!"

Giving the horse a rest

Looking north toward Lower Stanley, Idaho

We headed down to the town of Stanley and took highway 21 west. The weather turned most foul and reminded me of the dead of winter. Light sleet fell but did not stick to the roads. As we continued down the mountain it was obvious we were not going to make it to Weippe, Idaho that evening to see an old Navy buddy of Joey and mine. Larry flies for Southwest Airlines and lives in Coeur d'alene. He has a 62 acre hunting lodge in Weippe and had invited us to stay with him. When we were 10 miles east of Lowman, Idaho the sun came out and we had been passing a number of dirt roads leading off to the river nearby. I stopped and asked the guys if they wanted to stop early or press on another 300 miles to Weippe. It made good sense to relax by the river and enjoy the sun and be out of the wind for a while.

I had noticed a likely spot to camp a mile back and we headed up the mountain to check it out. The dirt double track ran about 400 yards through the woods to the edge of a bluff overlooking the swollen river. It was perfect! There was even some firewood left over from the previous campers. And the price was right, free!

View of the bluffs at our camp site. Jim and Joey on the bluffs.

Joey, relaxing before dinner

View of river

Camp site by the river.

We pitched our tents. Scott wanted to do some off road riding and explore the numerous paths along the river. The three of us wanted to relax and practice various camp craft. I wanted to build an Inunchuk out of the river rocks and take some photos. We warned Scott to be safe since we would have no idea of his location if he got injured and needed help. I now knew how my family felt when I took off on a month long ride by myself and would ride up to 14 miles off a highway to find a place to camp.

One of the finest Inunchuks I have ever constructed. The Native Americans of the Yukon and Alaska used these to show the way to the best fishing, hunting and cheapest souvenirs.

"Private Property"

River view

Scott had scouted the area and returned about 90 minutes later with a surprise. He had stopped in a small restaurant in Lowman and brought us a take out order of hot tater tots! We feasted on them as if we had not eaten in days. What a guy! Later Joey built another "phenomenal" fire as Jim tried to continually "teach" him the correct way to build a campfire. Joey would have none of it as he was now fully qualified with his fire starting merit badge. I told Joey we still needed to get him his "make-shift shelter" merit badge. I had some aluminum Keltey tarp poles and wanted to see him erect a shelter with his 25x35 foot tarp. We could have had a shelter large enough to hold a revival meeting. (Alas, Joey never got around to it and his merit badge will have to wait until our next ride).

"Don't bother me. Can't you see I'm eating tots?!"

I had been policing my camp site area and collected 4 or 5 irresponsibly discarded blow dart arrows and disposed of them. I was not sure if they had curare on the tips or not. It was definitely one of the stranger pieces of trash I had found at a camp site. I also found an unspent .22 long rifle round and told Joey I wanted to throw it into the fire to see what would happen. He would have none of that. I threw it into the river and poisoned the fish with lead. I am sure I had violated at least 6 state, federal and EPA laws by doing this.

I had been setting up my sleeping bag and Thermorest when I exited my tent and the nylon zipper on my tent fly failed. No problem, I had 15 large brass safety pins I had used last year when the zipper on the opposite side of the fly failed. If you read that ride report you may recall how I found a seamstress in Evanston, Wyoming to repair it. She had told me that 99% of the time it is the slider that fails and replacing this will fix it. I had listened to her. I looked at the repair she did and noted how it would require only a few stitches to remove the slider. I pinned the fly closed for now and hoped it would not rain like it did last night before I could get it repaired. I would look for a slider at a sporting goods store or fabric store when I could. I was hoping to qualify for a "camp equipment repair" merit badge in the process.

We slept well that night with the sound of the roaring river below us. It was a clear night with millions of stars visible.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 4
May 31, 2011
284 miles

To view route:

May 31, 2011 - Google Maps

What a fine evening of rest. No wind or rain. A few times I woke and heard the roaring river and fell right back to a restful sleep. We all rolled out of our tents and ate a nice breakfast. After packing, we rode to Lowman and took the cut off route to Garden Valley that would take us to highway 55 north. This cut off road was a most excellent motorcycle route. We reached highway 55 and turned north with the raging Salmon river alongside us the whole way. The amount of water and rapids was astounding. Most of the road was free of cars but as we reached the part of the road that began a steep ascent we fell in behind a line of cars. The lead vehicle was a dualie pick up truck pulling a trailer full of ATVs. There were a few cars in front of me. I easily passed the car in front of me on a short straight with no double yellows. The next car I passed on a clear stretch that had double yellow lines. As I pulled behind a small import pick up truck the driver felt a need to flash me the middle finger, for crying out loud. I found his behavior very perplexing. What I had personally done to him to make him do this? I was quite disturbed by his rude gesture. The lead truck had multiple opportunities to pull over on turn outs and even passed several signs telling “slower traffic to use turn outs” that he ignored. The road reached the top of the mountain and became straight. As this occurred, the lead truck gunned it and attempted to prevent the cars and 4 motorcycles behind him from passing. It was not a problem for us to pass him and the jerk in the small import truck on our bikes. As I was passing the small truck he was frantically flinging me the bird. I looked at him and shrugged my left hand as if to say, what gives as I shook my head? I hit 90mph as I passed the dualie. What a bunch of nimrods. This encounter was the only ugly incident on my entire 8600 mile trip. The crude behavior of that young man in the pick up truck disturbed for weeks afterwards. I guess his mother just didn’t raise him properly.

Just south of Grangeville

Just past Payette Lake Joey had to stop to re-tie his burrito. One of his tie-down straps was in danger of wrapping around his rear wheel. Jim had noticed it before Joey crashed. It was at this point that I told Joey that the burrito was fun to make jokes about but I was seriously concerned about what it was doing to his center of gravity and the fact that he had these tie-down straps with loose ends. He assured me he had it under control.

Our ride north on highway 55 was again like riding in the winter. We had a clear view of the snow covered mountains in the Payette National Forest as we turned north on highway 95. The grey overcast skies and cold air made it feel as if it were December, not May 31. The ride alongside the Salmon River was quite enjoyable. It too was quite swollen with recent rain water and soon to be released snow melt.

We turned off highway 95 onto highway 13 toward Kooskia. We called Larry and left a message that we were near Weippe and should be there in 30-45 minutes. We took one of the finest roads of the entire trip when we turned east at Greer and rode up a steep mountain toward Weippe. The road had many banked hairpin turns advised to be taken at 10-15 mph that we all tried to take much faster. We were sorry to see the road end at Weippe. Weippe had 3 local bars. We choose one and entered for a beer or two while we waited for Larry to show up. Larry came riding up on his ATV. His house was only a few miles out of the small town on 62 acres.

We were amazed at the place. He had a grass landing strip for his bug smasher. He had places in the woods where he was “chumming” for elk and deer. He told us to get showers, throw our dirty clothes in a pile and handed us all beers while he heated up his elk marinara spaghetti sauce. Joey made the salad. We had a great time catching up on things and hearing Larry tell us about all the pelts and trophies he had in the place. His elk head was registered with Boone and Crockett. He had numerous elk hides and a bob cat hide. He told us about his “DMZ” along the fence line about 200 yards out his back door. He said any coyote trying to pass the DMZ was taken out with one of his high powered rifles. We watched one of his videos made by a company that makes various game calls. This one was about some dudes who staked out a place and called in coyotes. It showed them blowing them away like a sniper. Very cool stuff.

View from Larry's house at the "DMZ"

Chef Larry and his elk marinara

Joey, working on the salad

Chef Larry adding Parmasan cheese. Note his tee shirt.

Tasting the food

Strolling around the farm after dinner

Dinner was “phenomenal”. We took an evening walk around his farm to see deer and possibly an elk. We rested in his house that night and pondered our next move.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Day 5
June 1, 2011
341 miles

To view route:
Jume 1, 2011 - Google Maps

We slept in today while Larry began making us a righteous breakfast. We relaxed and talked for a while and seemed to not be able to come to a consensus about whether to stay at Larry’s another day or head on to Montana and visit Scott’s aunt and uncle in Kalispell. They were expecting us but not on any rigid schedule.

We finally decided it was best to move on. While we were loading up our bikes in his garage Larry was on the front porch killing squirrels with his varmint rifle. He said if you left the carcass other squirrels will come to cannibalize it and you can pick off more of them. Cool! We packed up and Larry suggested a dirt road into the valley over Lolo Creek. It would be a different way back to the Lewis and Clark Highway 12 over Lolo Pass. It was “supposed” to be a short cut. Larry would take us by the Weippe Prairie where Lewis and Clark first met the Nez Perce Indians. They would ultimately help them overcome starvation and death. They pointed them the way to the Pacific and probably hoped they would not see any more white men for a while. Too bad for them. In the late 19th century they would be chased into Yellowstone and be virtually annihilated by the 7th Calvary. It should have been the first signs that you could not trust the American government for anything.

Group photo at Weippe Prairie

Historic marker at the Weippe Prairie

We made a few photos of the historic site and Larry pointed us the way to Lolo Creek. He was probably chuckling to himself as we headed down the steep muddy road on our loaded down bikes. The road was a slick as snot with lots of hairpin turns. Joey loved it, but I felt a little unnerved by all the sliding and lack of ability to slow before the turns. If you slid off the road you were going down a big drop and would be stuck there until a tow truck and an ambulance could haul you and what was left of your bike out.

The route was about 30 miles. We made it to the creek and observed some type of contraption put there by the mother ship doing its thing in the creek. We didn’t know if it was a turbine or a fish trap. It was on pontoons and made of metal with a large central drum slowly rotating. We gazed on it with wonder and then headed up the steep canyon road. The ride out had its own set of problems. The hairpin turns had to be taken slowly but if you slowed too much the mud would cause your wheel to spin and you would have problems. There was an optimal speed to travel over the rutted, muddy sharp turns.

At Lolo Creek before our ride out of the valley

We made it to a gravel road and made some decisions at forks in the road. Honey Badger consulted his GPS and took the lead as Ride Leader did not have his GPS fired up. We made it to the highway 12 as the rains began to fall again. It got ugly as we advanced up the mountain toward Lolo Pass. We stopped to rest at one point and I noticed Jim’s rear tire was nearly bald. I told him be would have to replace that tire very soon. I was somewhat perplexed because we had only traveled 2,000 miles or less and he had just put the tire on before leaving San Diego. It was the original Vstrom tire he got when he bought his bike used a few years ago. He had been told by the seller that it was virtually new. So Jim had stored it for later use at an appropriate time such as before leaving on a 4000 mile ride into snowy and rainy mountain roads, hundreds of miles from repair shops. At any rate he did a great job on the tire as we rode 65mph on the curvy highway. The left hand turns were a bit dicey since the swollen icy Locksa River accompanied us nearly the entire way. If you slid off into the water you were certainly going to drown.

As we neared the pass, Joey was getting very worried about his fuel state. He asked where the next gas station was. I told him it was 5 miles up the road, knowing that it was probably more like 15-20 miles. What was the use of telling him the truth? If he ran out of gas, he was out and we would deal with it. Once we made the pass, we could coast, maybe.

It turned out to be 20 miles to the gas station. Joey filled up his 5 gallon tank with 4.95 gallons. I told him he learned a valuable lesson about touring on his bike, “You can always will your bike to go a little further than you think you can.” It sounded wise and good at the time. We all had some laughs over it.

Having a discussion with a friend at the gas station down from Lolo Pass

We had a very forgettable ride through Missoula during afternoon rush hour. We wanted to get to I-90 east and take highway 200 north then 83 to Flathead Lake. It was getting late in the day and we passed 7-8 deer on highway 83 that looked like they wanted to commit suicide by jumping out in front of us. As ride leader I would have to perform emergency braking and point out the deer for the guys behind. It’s what you do when you are “Ride Leader”.

We got to Scott’s aunt and uncle’s house and took them out for dinner. Another fine day of riding.

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Day 6
June 2, 2011
120 miles

To view route:
June 2, 2011 - Google Maps

We slept well at Scott’s aunt and uncle’s nice house near Kalispell. After breakfast we headed into town to do our errands. I needed to find a zipper slider to attempt the repair on my tent fly. The weather in Kalispell was overcast with heavy rains at times. I did not want to get caught camping in a rainstorm with a busted tent fly. Honey Badger wanted to do repairs on the elastic cords in his aluminum tent poles. With any luck we could sign each other off for our “camp equipment repair” merit badge. Joey Big Burrito and I left before Honey Badger and Jim. Jim had been given his ride name the night before by Honey Badger. He thought “Wiki” would be good since Jim had an encyclopedic knowledge of just about everything. Also the information in Wikipedia is user contributed and unedited so at least half of the stuff on Wikipedia is BS. This seemed to fit, so from then on we called Jim “Wiki”. The Big Burrito and I would meet up with Honey Badger and Wiki at JoAnne’s Fabrics.

It only took me a few moments to realize that JoAnne’s did not have the slider I was seeking. The lady there referred me to Snappy’s sporting goods. Another fail. The sad thing about that store was the only camping gear they had was in a basement section that looked worse than one you would find at Walmart. I asked the lady for a slider and she showed me zipper pull tabs. When I pointed out that was not a slider, she said they did not have them. I asked what their customers did who needed zipper repairs on their tents. She said they send the tents to the manufacturer. Not an option for me. I thanked her and went upstairs to ask the pretty little cashier to announce for “Joey Big Burrito to please come to the checkout”. She announced it and Joey and I were soon back on the hunt.

We traveled across town to the Sportsman, a large store that could have passed for an REI. They had the slider repair kit I needed for a few dollars. It came with full instructions and a practice zipper with several different slider sizes. If you do moto-camping I recommend you have one of these kits along with spare tent shock cord, rip stop nylon tape to repair tent fabric tears and an aluminum sleeve to repair a broken tent pole. It takes up very little space and will save you a lot of aggravation.

Honey Badger bought his shock cord at the same store and we drove across the highway to fill up our gas tanks and stomachs at Costco. When we were leaving Costco, it was obvious Wiki would need to replace his rear tire before we could go to Glacier National Park today. He got on the phone and found a place on the way that had the right sized tire for him. We rode in the rain to the shop. While there we enjoyed looking at the bikes and noted a motocross bike that instead of wheels had a tracked rear drive and a snow ski for the front wheel. It looked like a lot of fun in the snow.

Snow equipped Kawasaki moto-crosser

The mechanic had bad news for Wiki. His rear wheel bearing was going bad and should be replaced. It would take a day to get the bearing delivered. After much deliberation and wasting of daylight the shop manager offered Wiki the use of his KLR650 so we could do our Glacier ride. He even told us how to enter Glacier through a back route that was 10 miles up a gravel road. The road was the Nucleus Road north out of Columbia Falls. Wiki took the KLR and we went looking for the road to Glacier.

Western entrance to Glacier National Park. Note the nice enduro style custom seat I had made for me at the local upholstery shop.

Ride Leader and Wiki hamming it up for the camera

Wiki and the Big Burrito in Glacier National Park

The Big Burrito at Lake McDonald

(L-R) Ride Leader, Honey Badger, Wiki and the Big Burrito by a raging river. The number one cause of death in Glacier National Park is drowning.

The road was a fast gravel road through parts of Glacier that had recently burned. We stopped for photos at the entrance. It was a cold drizzly day and very few cars were in the park. I had thought the week of Memorial Day would find Glacier packed. Part of the reason I am sure is that the Going to the Sun Highway was still closed due to avalanche danger. Rats! We rode through the parts that were open and enjoyed the raging streams. We stopped at the nearly empty tourist area and had coffee and desert to warm up. It was late in the evening and we would be eating dinner back in Kalispell with Scott’s family. Larry had given us a large quantity of elk sausage when we left Idaho to share with everyone. Scott’s uncle planned to bar-b-que chicken and the elk sausage.

We rode back toward Kalispell and when we had passed Columbia Falls a massive rainstorm hit. We had been riding all day in our rain gear but still it was raining so hard there was an inch of standing water on the highway. Once this stopped we dealt with a 40-50mph cross wind threatening to blow us off the highway.

We were glad to be back at Scott’s folk’s place and looking forward to dinner. I had purchased some blueberry steak sauce to try on the sausage. It was a fine meal. After dinner Scott and I attended to our camp craft. I repaired my slider good as new and we replaced his shock cords in his tent poles. We had another merit badge under our belts.

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Day 7
June 3, 2011
252 miles

To view route:
June 3, 2011 - Google Maps

Left John and Betty’s at 2 PM after Jim picked up his motorcycle from the shop. He paid $400 for the tire, bearings, and labor. We departed back north towards Glacier National Forest and encountered a few showers in Columbia Falls. We stopped to take pictures of the Bear Adventure. We actually had no desire to drive through the Bear Adventure on our motorcycles but the sign in front was quite humorous. I think you will agree with the sign stating "your car is your cage". Truer words were never written.

Wiki and Honey Badger at the Bear Adventure

We rode very hard on highway 2 to get to East Glacier and St. Mary's. As we passed the east entrance to Glacier National Park we stopped to take photos. We then turned south on Hwy. 89 through Blackfeet territory. This highway afforded very nice views of the mountains to our west however the 50 mph cross winds demanded that we keep our eyes on the road. The terrain consisted of rolling hills with some fast sweepers. We rode for 50-60 miles continually leaning to the west because of the stiff wind.

Old tour bus still in use around Glacier and Yellowstone

Honey Badger

Towards the end of the day we had decided to investigate the Lewis and Clark National Forest for a potential campsite. In the town of Augusta we headed up a dirt road that traversed private cattle land. We saw pronghorn sheep and herds of deer along with very healthy cattle. I had taken a wrong turn and we needed to backtrack to another dirt road. This dirt road was hellish. There were at least 2 areas with huge potholes and deep mud on the sides of the road. I was unprepared for the potholes. The severe bouncing of the front wheel threw me into the deep mud. I did several sickening tankslappers and was preparing to do a rapid dismount but somehow regained control of the motorcycle.

On the way to Lewis and Clark National Forest

Lewis and Clark National Forest

We rode 20 miles on a dirt road until we found suitable camping. There were signs that had warned of grisly bear activity. We set up our tents and enjoyed our camp food. Joey built another fire. We enjoyed our wine as darkness settled in. This area was so cold that the fire was not hot enough to warm us. We woke the next morning with frost all over our motorcycles.

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I hope that one day I can experience an epic ride like this. You have once again have me thinking of next year, or maybe sooner. I love reading your reports Doc and I am looking forward to the rest of the report.

Thank you again for sharing. :thumbsup:

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Day 8
June 4, 2011
305 miles

To view route:
June 4, 2011 - Google Maps

We slept well the previous night even though it was cold and Joey worried about grisly bears. I was sure he had his handgun under his pillow the whole night. I had checked my thermometer during the night. The inside of my tent reached 35 degrees. I was glad I wore my polypropylene long johns and wool socks. In situations like this I also throw my riding jacket over my torso like a quilt and wear my neck gaiter on my head. I also carry a bivvy bag with me but I don’t like the way it traps body moisture under it and dampens my sleeping bag. It can add 10 degrees to the thermal rating of a sleeping bag.

View of our campsite, deep in grisly territory

We climbed out of our tents to a perfectly sunny day! This was the first day like this we had seen in over a week. AND NO WIND! It was going to be a great day of riding south to Yellowstone. My only concern was getting through the pot holed road bordered by deep mud. I was glad to have survived the road yesterday without having to be airlifted to a hospital to have my ruptured spleen removed or have a fractured femur pinned. I was going to be more careful on the ride back to Augusta. After a fine breakfast and leisurely pack up, I told Honey Badger I was heading downhill. He and Wiki wanted to explore the dirt road “a mile uphill”. He said “you know the way”. The Big Burrito and I departed downhill.

View of the area near our campsite

In the Lewis and Clark National Forest

I stopped for a few photos along the way. I managed to negotiate the treacherous areas much better after my restful evening. The pot holed road was taking its toll on the bolts holding my front fairing and headlight assembly on the bike. It looked like the whole thing was about to fall off. When Joey and I got to the highway we waited for Wiki and Honey Badger. I took this down time to tighten my front fairing bolts and Joey needed to tighten one of his mirrors. After 10 minutes Joey said “this doesn’t look good.” He thought Wiki and Badger had left before us. I assured him they were behind us “about a mile”. After 20 minutes we got concerned and flagged down the few cars coming our way. We asked if they saw a couple of confused or injured bikers. Only one guy said he saw them at the lake 10 miles back, “looking at eagles by the lake”. Great. We tried calling them but there was no service up there. We left them voice mail and went into town to wait, trying not to think the worst. Were they broken down, injured, lost? Why had we split up?

The lake between Augusta and our campsite in the Lewis and Clark National Forest

Joey and I decided to eat another breakfast. It was around 10:30AM and there was a nice cafe in the small town, the Lazy B Cafe. While I went to the head to wash up Joey ordered his beverage. Imagine my surprise when I sat down and saw Joey having a local Smokehouse Micro Brew. I ordered one also to go with my cheese omelet and hash browns. Nice. Now we waited.

Beautiful downtown Augusta, Montana. I highly recommend the Lazy B Cafe!

Wiki and Honey Badger rolled in around 11AM. We had a spirited conversation about the meaning of “going up the road a mile”. They had obviously had time to get their stories straight as they both said, “we thought the road went up and circled around to the down hill road”. Anyone who has looked at maps of the National Forests in Montana should know they are crisscrossed with hundreds of miles of dirt roads. I knew they had succumbed to the lure of the sparsely traveled open dirt road through western mountains. They figured Joey and I would find something to do while they spent the morning off-roading. Wiki and I came to an understanding about the issue, laughed about it and drank our beer.

Breakfast of champions

“At least we understand each other!”

Click on the photo to watch video of our ride south on Highway 287.

Click on the photo to watch video of Joey and Me on Highway 287

We traveled the scenic by-way 287 south affording beautiful views of the nearby snow-capped mountains. We took I-90 briefly from Three Forks to Livingston. The ride to Gardiner was stupendous. We saw pronghorn, an elk sow and a grey wolf. I took some great videos of the guys while they rode. Gardiner was the last stop before heading into the north entrance to Yellowstone. We wanted to find a cheap (free) camp site outside the park and not have to deal with full campgrounds or hordes of people with their RVs and generators. We consulted our maps and noted Eagle Creek Campground was a few miles outside of Gardiner in the mountains to the east. We took the dirt road toward the campground. We were not able to find the campground but we did explore about 10 miles up the mountain to the end of the road where the snow covered the road and a locked gait signaled the end of the road. We decided to make camp at a flat area that was 100 yards off the road and ¼ mile downhill from the dead end with lots of dead wood for a fire. The ground was covered with thick pine needles and had been recently logged. We set up a fine camp site, ate dinner and had our evening wine while Joey built the biggest and finest “barn” fire of the entire ride. We were noting a significant amount of traffic up and down the dead end road even after dark. Joey’s law enforcement spider sense took over and kept track of how many went in and how many came out. He had decided to forgo wine tonight in case he needed to take charge of some evil $hit. I heard a motorcycle go up the road at 3am that night. We there must either be a rave or a meth lab somewhere up there.

Self portrait on the road to Yellowstone

Mr. Wolf

On the road to Eagle Camp Ground

Panoramic view of the area we traveled to get to our campsite

Our beautiful camp site near the “meth lab”

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Day 9
June 5, 2011
160 miles

To view route:

June 5, 2011 - Google Maps

Click on image to view video of us riding into Gardiner

Click on image to see the guys riding down the mountain to Gardiner

The dirt road down from the meth lab into Gardiner

Honey Badger at the North Entrance to Yellowstone

Less than 400 yards inside the park

Joey riding past a herd of buffalo in Yellowstone

I slept very well last night. Joey and I both noted a motorcycle riding uphill last night around 3am. Very strange indeed. We had breakfast and packed up. We took the dirt road down the mountain to Gardiner and gassed up prior to entering Yellowstone. After entering the park we immediately encountered a herd of buffalo. We took some photos and discussed our plans for the day. Joey was getting anxious to be home in time for his son’s high school graduation. He was a good 2 or 3 days of riding to San Diego. He wanted to cut south today to give himself some cushion in case of mechanical problems. He said good-bye and took off ahead of us. We followed at a slower pace to enjoy the wildlife all along the route. We hoped he would make it home safely.

Yellowstone wildlife

We stopped at Mammoth, a historic area that was home to the army when it was charged with taking care of the area prior to its being named a national park. I suppose they were also there to kill off any pesky Native Americans that had survived the earlier massacre. We noted a herd of elk in the city had were there so regularly that the park rangers had put up signs and barriers to keep the public at a distance. It was fun to watch the tourists try to get close to these large wild animals so they could get a photo of their children standing nearby. What nimrods.

Elk in Mammoth

Elk in Mammoth

Not far from Mammoth we saw a line of cars stopped with lots of photographers armed with very long lenses. I pulled aside to scan the distant hill for a clue as to their photo subject. About ¼ mile away one could make out a couple of bears. I couldn’t even see them through the viewfinder of my camera but snapped a photo anyway. You can barely see their outline when the photo is enlarged. We discovered the road to Beartooth Highway was closed due to snow, rats! We ate lunch at one of the tourist stops and headed east to Canyon. After eating we turned south to Fishing Bridge and were going to ride to Cody, Wyoming but this route was closed also. We took photos of the ice covered lake Yellowstone. Then we decided to go to West Yellowstone with a stop at Old Faithful Lodge to shower.

Lake Yellowstone in June

Global warming has caused the long range motorcycle tourer to nearly go extinct. Here one drifts on an ice flow miles out into the lake in search of food.

Two bears we saw ¼ mile away

Elk by the Yellowstone River

Friendly buffalo. They like for you to pet them, especially when they have their babies around.

By the time we reached the lodge it was very warm. We paid for a shower at the lodge. It was very nice with old style mosaic tile work and clean shower stalls. It always feels great to get a shower when on the road. Honey Badger and I had a beer on the upstairs patio and waited to see if Old Faithful would do its thing. We caught up with Wiki and packed up to leave for West Yellowstone.

Patio at Old Faithful Lodge

Inside Old Faithful Lodge. Very cool place.

Traffic jam.

We stopped for food and wine at the grocery store in West Yellowstone and took off into Idaho on Highway 20 to search for a free camp site in the near-by Caribou-Targhee National Forest. We found a suitable spot by the dirt road and had dinner. Honey Badger had purchased blueberry crumble cake for dessert. We missed Joey. We had to build a fire for ourselves tonight.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Day 10
June 6, 2011
215 miles

To view route:

June 6, 2011 - Google Maps

It was 39 degrees in the tent last night. We had a nice fire after sharing Honey Badger’s bluberry crumble cake (freeze dried Mountain House brand). We ate breakfast and rode north on Highway 20 back to the west entrance to Yellowstone. We rode fast through the park, passing horribly slow drivers who couldn’t manage the posted speed limit on the beautiful twisted roads.

Road from Old Faithful to Fishing Bridge

Road toward Cody from the east entrance

Outside of Cody

Female Big Horn Sheep outside of Cody

The pass through to Cody had been cleared so we rode toward the east entrance. The road was spectacular. The day was sunny and warm. We passed a few tourists trying to “sneak” up on a grisly bear to get his picture. Wiki and Badger said the guy was about 200 yards away. Wonder if he got his photo.

There was a 1 mile stretch on the road that prohibited stopping due to avalanche danger. I could see why. The canyon was very steep in this area. The road gradually leveled outside of Cody. I spied an antler shop and turned around to check it out. I had told the guys I wanted to buy some deer antlers for my bike.It was a fun stop. The Misty Lady was owned by a guy who bought antlers, skulls and pelts from hunters and hikers. He then turned them into chandeliers, candelabras, end tables and other cool items. I purchased a set of antlers and a badger skull. There was a stack of unusable antlers outside his place that was pretty impressive. There was also a house down the highway that was built by an eccentric artist. He had added onto the house over the years and apparently fell off the top floor one day as he was working on it under the influence of adult beverages. He died. The neighbors wanted to raze the building as an eyesore. I thought it looked cool and should be made into a museum or theme park. At first I thought it was an old mining building.

East of Yellowstone

East of Yellowstone. The topography changes rapidly.

Antler mound at the Misty Lady outside Cody

Inside the Misty Lady

Pelts at the Misty Lady

Honey Badger looking for one of his ancestor’s skulls

The dead artist’s home outside Cody

We rode into Cody with a strong headwind. At 86 degrees it was the hottest day since we left Las Vegas. We ate a fine lunch at the Proud Cut restaurant on the main drag. We all wanted to try Wyoming steak after days of eating elk and freeze dried camp food. There was some kind of slogan around town about Wyoming beef and Wyoming women being very good but I forgot the exact wording. We left the restaurant to visit friends of ours who lived 10 miles north of Cody.

Cody, Wyoming

Downtown Cody, very cool town.

Inside the Proud Cut

Honey Badger waiting for his meat to be cooked.

100 pound house kitty

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Day 11
June 7, 2011
371 miles

To view route:

June 7, 2011 - Google Maps

Another nice evening in a house after a hot shower and cleaning our dirty clothes. We had a simple breakfast and packed up to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody before we left to head south. The museum is a must see item. It would take a week to see and digest everything in this place. They have at least 15,000 rifles and handguns that span the history of firearms in the world. It also includes the history of ammunition from the muzzle loaders to the development of cartridges. One large room includes world class trophies registered with Boone and Crockett. Another wing of the museum contains art work from famous western painters and sculptors. Another the historical artifacts and exhibits of the Native Americans. If you are active duty military the $18 admission price is free. Unfortunately I had to hurry through the museum in a few hours but I will definitely be back. We stopped at the local Irma Hotel and Restaurant that was famous for housing and feeding Buffalo Bill’s crew when they were in town. It had a real old west feel to it and the food was very good. The huge cherry wood bar was magnificent.

The Buffalo Bill Museum

The Cartwright’s guns from Bonanza

Marshall Dillion’s six shooter from Gunsmoke

Paladin’s gun from Have Gun Will Travel. My brother had one of these replicas when we were kids, complete with calling cards. Very cool. All black hired gun, the original Honey Badger, bad ass.

Note the now extinct Wyoming walrus trophy

The elk tooth child’s shirt is a show of family wealth.

The Native American children played with these items. Note the little girls learned to pack up and set up the teepees by playing with their “doll teepees”. The paintings on the sides of the teepee shows brave warriors killing the white invaders. The papooses would be equal to the $500 mega-strollers that so many American woman today need to show off their wealth.

Very wealthy family to have one of these elk tooth dresses.

Wiki at the cherry wood bar in the Irma Hotel

We left Cody under threatening skies. The weather had closed the east entrance again but only to motorcyclists. Honey Badger and Wiki were planning to go back into Yellowstone and exit through the south entrance to pass through the Grand Tetons but the Tetons were expecting storms with snow. I was planning to take another 2 weeks to travel to the southeast to visit my dad in Florida. We rode together against a stiff wind as we kept our eyes on the menacing clouds to our west. We took Highway 120 to Thermopolis, Wyoming. From there we took highway 20 to Shoshoni and 26 to Riverton. The ride through Wind River Canyon on highway 20 was gorgeous. The raging river ran alongside us as we fought 40 mph headwinds.

Riding through the Wind River Canyon

The Wind River

Actual teepees on the reservation by Wind River

I waved goodbye to Wiki and Honey Badger outside of Riverton and began my solo trek south. The road began a steady climb to 7100 feet. I got a nice tail wind for a short while until I reached Sand Draw. The music from my iPod kept me company and helped the lonely miles pass. When I turned south toward Rawlins the headwinds made so much noise in my helmet I could not hear the music clearly. I took a brief turn onto I-80 and exited in highway 130 south. The antelope were heavy along this stretch of road. I lost count at over 40 when I began to see small herds of them. I hoped they would not jump out onto the road.

Where the deer and the antelope play

I crossed the North Platte River in Saratoga and saw the town bracing for the rising waters from the coming snow melt. The banks of the river were heavily sandbagged. It would not take much rise to begin flooding the town. Signs outside of town said the pass through Medicine Bow National Park were closed due to snow. This pass is at 10,846 feet. I rode on in hopes of finding a camp site inside the National Forest where I could camp for free. I would worry about the ride east tomorrow. As I turned into the National Forest I noted I had only 15 miles before I would be at the closed pass. Fortunately I saw signs for campgrounds a few miles inside the forest. I took a dirt road off highway 130 about 3 miles to Lincoln Park campground. I was the only one at this campground and there was no charge since it was still early in the season. Half of the campground was blocked off from snow melt with water running through it. I set up my camp and collected dead wood before dark and settled in for a quiet cold night. The moon was beginning to turn full and would be full on June 15.

My camp site at Lincoln Park Camp Ground on Forest Road 100 in Medicine Bow National Forest. Note the completely ******* deer antlers on the beast.

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Day 12
June 8, 2011
285 miles

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I slept well after watching the last of my fire die down. I packed up quickly and left the campground. Backtracking to highway 130 and the entrance to the Medicine Bow National Forest, I had decided to head south and take in the northwest corner of Colorado via highway 230. The locals I spoke to said traffic on I-80 was slow because of single lane construction and tractor-trailers. I gladly took the twisty roads into Colorado. Highway 230 turned into highway 125 across the state line. I then took 127 north that turned back into 230 thus by-passing the closed pass in Medicine Bow National Forest. I spotted two bald eagles in a tree and many antelope. There was no wind until I reached the flatland a few miles south of Laramie. I stopped at a bike shop to add ½ quart of oil. Over 3500 miles and only used ½ quart, not bad. I got on I-80 for a long ride against the wind. My gas mileage dropped to 41 mpg. I was not impressed with the first 250 miles of Nebraska, sorry to all you mid-west folks. Hot, windy, flat farm land is not my motorcycling cup of tea. I passed up the chance to see the headquarters of Cabela’s in Nebraska.

Sorry in advance to motorcyclists who have to live in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi for my next few reports. I took only two photos since leaving Wyoming until arriving at the Gulf of Mexico. All I wanted to do was get out of the heat and wind.

Day 13
June 9, 2011
601 miles

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I was in a mad rush to put Nebraska behind me. I woke on Day 13 to a threatening sky but at least the wind was blowing from the north now and I was heading east. By the time I finished breakfast and got on I-80 east the wind had shifted and was full on 30 mph headwind. Great! I by passed the Kool-Aid museum in Hastings, Nebraska but you can read about it here if you really want to:
Kool-Aid: Hastings Museum. I took highway 2 out of Lincoln. When I got to the Iowa border one lane of the east bound traffic on highway 2 over the Missouri River was closed because of flooding. The gas stations and restaurants in Iowa had built 10 foot berms around them. I turned south in Iowas just as the winds changed and blew, you guessed it, from the south. Damn!!!!

I saw more road kill in Iowa and Missouri than anywhere else on the planet, deer, dogs, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, cats, possums, snakes, etc. There was a dead carcass every mile. Incredible.

Missouri was hot and boring. I wanted to get through Kansas City before full on rush hour. Stopped at a small town north of Joplin and noted the penalty for littering was “one year in jail”. They must have trouble keeping their jails filled with regular criminals. Saw loads of trucks heading north carrying debris from the horrible tornado in Joplin.

Scenery got nicer in southern Missouri but still miserably hot. I had traveled from 39 degree weather and roads closed by snow to 100 degree humid, flat, boring scenery in a little over a day. Crossing into Arkansas at Bentonville was a strange experience. The scenery went from rural foothills to a highway full of golf courses, strip malls, and high-end shops and houses. Wal-mart had been good to this part of Arkansas.

I stopped outside of Rogers, Arkansas to camp by the lake for $18. The lack of free camping in the crowded eastern part of the US was annoying. I by-passed the Daisy Air Rifle Museum in Rogers the next morning to make haste south.

Day 14
June 10, 2011
555 miles

To view route:

Got an early start out of Rogers. There was no wind so the heat was more bearable. There is nothing worse than to be riding a motorcycle with a 30 mph headwind in 100 degree humidity through flat, boring farm lands. At least the small hills that pass for mountains in Arkansas were interesting and there was no wind. I hopped onto highway 7 for a very enjoyable and fast ride through the hills, then a 17 minute stop in the hot sun for road repair. I then took a roundabout way out of the Hot Springs area to finally head south into the swampy, hotter, flat lands of southern Arkansas, ugh! Thermometer was reading 100 degrees.

I rode on into the heat and reached Louisiana. Nothing here but sugar cane farms, cornfields, bayous, swamp cedars, heat and flat straight roads. I stopped to eat a mess of crawdads and have a cold beer. That is when I took my one photo of the past 3 days. I rode through Vicksburg to Jackson, Mississippi where I found Timberlake camp ground next to the lake for some “fine” city camping. The cool shower was nice but the cost of camping next to a busy intersection with street lights was almost too much to bear. I missed my cold, mountain, solitary camp sites.


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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Day 15-21
June 11, 2011- June 20, 2011
1320 miles

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June 11-20, 2011 - Google Maps

I am consolidating the trip report now because I rested my a$$ for a few days along the Gulf of Mexico and enjoyed the cooling ocean breezes, evening dining and overall relaxation of not riding 500-600 miles a day through hot, boring territory. I also attended to some much needed motorcycle maintenance. I had enjoyed the gawking and picture taking that folks did as they saw the antlers on my bike, but I soon had had enough and removed them outside of Hattiesburg.

I left the Pensacola area on June 16 and headed into nasty weather. I had stopped for gas just as buckets of rain began to fall and lightning struck all around me. The rain was not letting up soon so I suited up in my rain gear and headed off on I-10 east towards Melbourne to visit with my dad for a few days. 30 miles east of Pensacola I got a warning light on the speedometer cluster that indicated a fuel injection problem. I had a sick feeling when I first saw the light. I thought it was an oil light due to my recent oil change. I pulled to the side of the interstate and unloaded the gear from the bike to get at my owner’s manual under the seat. The rain continued to pour as trucks rocked me with wind blast and noise. The manual discussed all kinds of things to try that involved taking off the gas tank and pulling the plugs to see if they were sparking, etc. As I was contemplating my options an FHP pulled over to ask me if I was OK. He was able to give me the phone number and directions to a Suzuki shop 40 miles east of me. I turned the bike on and the warning light was gone. I rode onward expecting the engine to falter or seize at any moment. When I was at the exit for the Suzuki shop I called the service department and spoke to a guy who said if the bike was running fine with a “FI” warning light, the light was in error most likely because of moisture in the sensor or wiring. He told me to ignore it. I rode on to Melbourne without any more warning lights.

I stayed with my dad for a few days and left near sunset on June 19. I wanted to ride all night to avoid the heat. I had to skirt massive thunderstorms in Orlando. I found myself going further northeast than I wanted and finally took the highway to Deland, Florida. This would put me back to the west where I could pick up I-75. It was near dark on highway 42 bordering the southern edge of the Ocala National Forest that I saw a large black dog aiming for me. I was traveling about 50-55mph and was not concerned about missing him. Dogs usually attempt to intersect you and will adjust their closure to begin veering off so they can nip at your heels. This guy was on a collision course so I goosed the throttle to make sure I missed him. As he passed behind me I saw that he was a freaking black bear! His shoulders were slightly lower than my thighs and he had a distinct bear shaped head and rump. I estimated him to be around 100-120 pounds. He was only interested in getting across the road and was not after me. I have traveled all over Canada, Alaska, and the Northwestern states. How ironic it would have been to be taken out by a bear in central Florida.

As it got darker I slowed down even more and began to count the deer along the sides of the road. It was the ones I didn’t see that worried me. I stopped at a Waffle House for coffee and breakfast outside of Tallahassee around 3am and noted a large night bug on the sidewalk. I wondered what kind of damage he could do to your skull if he hit you while you were traveling 70mph on a bike with no helmet or face shield on. I speculated that he just might be able to knock you off your seat. I rode on into the cool night air and reached Biloxi at mid morning. I stayed at Keesler Air Force Base so I could sleep through the heat of the day.


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Dan Vesel Hwy Pegs

Doc, do you run highway pegs on your bike ? I just picked up a setup for my own Vstrom and couldn't be more pleased of the comfort that these provide on the long cruises of endless hwy driving.

These are for the Givi crash bars setup that I have for my bike, but Dan sells kits for the 650 in different configurations. The pegs on my bike are first prototype for the DL1000 and Givi crash bars setup, so any other pair bought will be more refined. But they are awesome.

Me and a few others did a trip to eastern Washington, to Lake Roosevelt and one of the guys in our group hit a Deer at 60mph on his Harley Fatboy. He didn't go down and the Deer died and it bent up the bike a little bit, but this guy was fortunate that he had Mini ape hangers and a low center of gravity bike that is heavy like these hogs are and hit the Deer at center mass.

Click the picture to expand the view.


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I run footpegs off my SW Motech crash guards that I bought from Twisted Throttle. I agree that being able to change up the foot position including stAnding up on the pegs is a perk of riding a bike long range.
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