One young adventurer, his Triumph, and 2000 miles.
I'm going to start off this ride report by saying that I'm a 20 year old college kid who spends all of his spare time money not on beer; but on the nasty, expensive, and antisocial hobby of motorcycling. After a somewhat unsatisfying summer of operating ski lifts in the Northwest, I decided that I needed to go on an epic (epic to me, at least) motorcycle ride to mark the end of the summer months and the transition back in to college life. Unlike many of my other epic ride plans, I actually followed through with this one.
I intended on doing this ride with a friend and his GS500, but he flaked out in the last few days proceeding the ride. While I was discouraged by the loss of my wingman, I still decided (perhaps against my better judgement, but I'm going to let my youth be a good enough excuse) to do this ride alone. Oh boy!
This was my game plan - five days and four nights of camping rough, and consuming lots of peanut butter and caffeine:
Ignoring the increased possibility of failure that comes with going on such a large trip with a bike that has definitely seen better days, I threw a bunch of camping gear on the bike (1996 Triumph Tiger) and left White Salmon, WA at around 7:30 AM on Monday, September 10. I was ecstatic to be departing on such a long ride (the longest I've done), despite having all day scheduled on an interstate. I had Boise, ID in my sights for the evening.
The first 114 miles heading east in the Columbia River Gorge on Highway 14 was marvelous. I had a 35 MPH tail wind the entire way, and I interpreted it as a good omen for the remainder of my trip. There's something uniquely beautiful about the eastern part of the Gorge in late summer - everything is dry, windy, and you can see hundreds of enormous windmills lethargically churning out electricity.
Sorry about the hideous bike ruining the otherwise nice scenery, but it's a common theme in the pictures I took. I was only stopped for a few minutes, so I don't think I interrupted too many peoples' enjoyment of the scenery:
I continued southeast after crossing in to Oregon and getting gas. Oregon is quite possibly the most awkward place in America to get gas, especially while on a motorcycle. State law requires that an attendant pump your gas. Usually for motorcycles they'll just let you pump it, but the attendant is still required to take the nozzle out of the machine and press the buttons for you. On the plus side, I got 47.7 MPG out of the Steamer with the gnarly tailwind in the Gorge.
I snagged a picture at a rest stop just outside of La Grande, OR. Despite all of the negativity there is on this website towards riding interstates, I was having fun getting in to the mindset that happens when you waft along the interstate on a motorcycle.
After a curiously satisfying day of interstate travel, I arrived in Boise, ID, which was much larger than I expected it to be! When I think about Idaho, I think about things like the number of pickup trucks per capita, helmet laws, and cheap alcohol. I certainly didn't expect Boise to have a five lane interstate littered with Toyota Priuses. For my camping arrangement, I wandered in to the nearby national forest and found a suitable place to camp - I love taking pictures that really emphasize the scale of the world that I am riding through:
I read a book until dark, and spent the night listening to coyotes and thinking about the adventure to come!
:clap Great start! Looking forward to the rest of it! Good for you for pressing on when your riding partner cancelled. When you get back, show your "wingman" what he missed out on!
It's nice to see a young guy that's got his priorities straight! Make it a journey you're buddy is going to regret not going on.
Looking good so far! :lurk Nice pics!
You may find motorcycling to be less antisocial than you think!
You can really meet a lot of nice people when you ride.
Sweet! Remember, the best motorcycles are ugly motorcycles...they show use!
Great start so far, looking forward to more.
Good luck and great start!
Excellent! I think your bike has loads of character (a very good thing!). I've done a lot of solo riding for the same reason you did yours, and there's a lot to be said for it. You can go anywhere you want to go, at your pace, stop when you want, ride non-stop as long as you want, turn around, change routes, etc. and no one will second guess you (well, except yourself :lol3). I've met a lot of wonderful folks while doing that. I did a trip out that way once and travelled the Gorge with that tail wind; it makes the bike rather squirrelly if I remember correctly. I rode Crowsnest Pass (Hwy 3 in southern BC/Alberta Canada, north of Waterton-Glacier Park) once in wind that was pushing me from behind; I was riding at 50 to 60 mph and the wind was faster :huh. I thought I had a flat tire for a while, but it was just the wind pushing me around from behind. It is great for gas mileage!
While I do prefer the back roads, I can't knock the Interstate for making time. I-80 isn't bad through Oregon and Idaho, but kinda sucks once you hit southern Wyoming. I-90 further north is actually a very fun ride through Washington, Idaho, and western Montana; I used to live in Wyoming and rode Montana when there wasn't a speed limit - I-90 at 100+ through western MT was a hoot!
Anyway, glad to see you've got your priorities straight and are out there having fun. Please note: there are lots of women out there that love a good motorcycling adventure too, and as Led Zep once said, there ain't no companion like a blue-eyed girl :evil. Oh, I have some wonderful memories... Changes the freedom factor a little, though! :lol3
Ride on! :lurk
Nice bike and nice pictures... looking forward to the next installment.
On to day 2:
I woke up slightly before it was bright and early; it certainly wasn't bright, just early. Those lovely Idaho hills don't really retain that much heat at night, because it was oppressively cold! I kept on having to warm my hands up after touching the Tiger's panniers or top box, because they would just sap the warmth right out. After apologizing to the Steamer after such a cold start, we were off and headed to Evanston, WY.
I was able to get some pictures that morning that I had been too tired to get the night before - There was this earthen dam with some optimistic words on it... I think they'll need a bit more water than what is contained in that reservoir to make their forest green:
They did have a rather green lawn and fountain to contrast the dryness (in the background) of the rest of their "forest"
Before cruising on down to Utah and Wyoming for the day, I stopped by Albertson's to grab some deli food for breakfast. Inside the store I was rather amused to see an entire aisle labeled quite simply, 'Budget Beer'. It reminded me of what a ski patroller said to me this summer; "The difference between good beer and cheap beer is infinitesimal, but the difference between beer and no beer is infinite." I wonder if that ski patroller was from Idaho.
I got the funniest looks in the parking lot of that Albertson's as I was oiling my chain. A 1983 Honda VT500S parked next to me as I was in the store (My first bike was an '83 VT500FT) and he came back out as I was (very carefully) applying oil to my chain. We had a conversation about his bike and how he's lucky to have a shaft drive, and he wished me luck on my voyage before leaving. You certainly do meet lots of people you never thought you'd meet while on a solo trip.
My spirits were high after being back on the road once more. The loneliness of going on a solo trip really settles in when you're camping all on your lonesome. I snapped a picture while at a rest stop that morning, among my traveling companions:
After a few more hours of the deliciously boring Interstate 84, I noticed a large and rather exciting sign with some silly slogan about how action packed Utah is. "Ootah," I thought to myself, "So exciting there's an exclamation point right on their license plate!" Idaho must have been hung over when they made their license plate. Famous Potatoes... really? That's the best you can come up with, Idaho?
I pulled off at the nearest rest stop because I was desperate for a nice stretch and a drink of water. The rest stop had a good example of an Ootah sign:
When I was sitting on the curb of the rest stop, I was continuing a thought that started while on the interstate - comparing states by the quality of their rest stops. Washington was decent, Oregon was pristine, Idaho was also decent, and Utah was quite good as well. "Someone must be paying taxes on these rest stops," I thought. While I had my mind on public restrooms, I noticed something in the distance - Rocky Mountains! I took a picture from my curbside perspective.
Onwards and Southwards! I continued south for Park City, UT, and Evanston, WY for the night. My exciting activity for the day was to try Park City's alpine slide - I worked at an alpine slide in Government Camp, OR all summer. It's difficult to explain to the layman what an alpine slide is - a bit like a half mile long water slide without the water. Except you haul ass down the track on a little plastic sled. Here's a video of the one in Government Camp that I made this summer - I put a GoPro on my fastest co-worker when he was on his break: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_Sj1...ature=youtu.be
I stupidly didn't get any pictures or videos at Park City's alpine slide, but they definitely had a much classier establishment than Skibowl. Their slide was also trickier to ride. I took this picture after I had ridden their slide:
I decided early on that I should "conquer" one more state since I was only an hour's drive from Wyoming. So, I continued east through some beautiful country:
No, I wasn't pulled over - the Sheriff was enjoying the view just as much as I was!
I also saw some of these fantastic red rocks - this was one of the most scenic interstate rides I have done!
I arrived in Evanston, WY a couple of hours before dark, so I took the opportunity to take a picture of this sign:
I thought that it was ironic how Wyoming's motto is "Forever West", but this is the farthest east I have ever gone on two wheels! I guess your perception of whether a certain part of the country is east or west is relative. I had a little bit of a Lord of the Rings moment, replaying the scene where Frodo takes one last step away from home in my head, except with Frodo riding to Mordor on a Triumph Tiger.
After getting my contradictory picture of a "Western" state, I went to the classiest of all retail establishments - Walmart! I picked up some necessities that I forgot to pack (soap). At the checkout stand, the cashier - a mid-fifties looking woman - noticed my helmet and asked where I was going. With a smile, I replied "Here!" She seemed amused that I had picked Evanston as a destination on my trip and continued to tell me about her adventurous days when she owned a Harley. I booked a $16 tent site at a mom and pop campground and set up camp for the night, and enjoyed a shower. What a great day!
Lots of familair sights.... :lurk
Great report bro! and it doesn't matter the bike you ride its the adventure thats important :D I have a small trip planned in the next few weeks myself looking forward to it lol
Looking good so far!
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