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Old 04-08-2008, 07:10 AM   #31
Sly-on-2 OP
Rockin' Winger
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Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
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Thanks for the replies. Glad to hear someone is reading. As I mentioned in the opening post, the first part of the trip isn't the best. It's more like a long ride. Today, I'll post about how it became an adventure.

100mpg - Glad that picture jumped out at you. Really glad. It's not great twisties or even perfect asphalt or any ot the other "perfect" biker roads, but I'll remember cresting that hill and looking at the stretch or roaod ahead for the rest of my life. One of my vivid memories in fact.

"That when I thought to myself, wow, this is it. I'm really doing it, and yes, it is as cool as I imagined."

Nice screenname by the way. If I'd gotten 100mpg on my trip, I'd still be on the road, and just now getting ready to run out of dough!!! It was in SD that I realized my fuel economy assumptions were way off. I've had cages consume less fuel per mile that the 1/2 ton Wing.

Cheers all. Now back to the saga.

Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:25 AM   #32
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I am totaly loving this report!!! I can't wait for more.

**Lunch (a ride report)**

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Old 04-08-2008, 09:21 AM   #33
@ the new dad thing
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:42 AM   #34
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Location: Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
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False alarm. Before I get back to the story, a bit about style. Pehaps it will explain my route, and some of the choice I've made that you're about to read about.

Some riders are planners. I'm not one of them. Once or twice a day, I walk into a bar/resteraunt and plan the next couple of hundred miles with the help of locals.

I found that if I ask someone, "I'm headed to Alaska, can you recommend a good route?" Well, that doesn't work. I'll pick out a cool place 80-150 miles away and say: "I'm headed to Alaska, but I'd like to make it to such-and-such town this evening. I know that such-and-such highway would get me there, but I'd like to take the back roads and see some cool stuff instead. Got any ideas?"

It works like a charm.

I'd planned on using the Tent Space Thread, and another site called The couchsurfing project to find places to stay.

However, I quickly found two things:
1. I have having my hands on the keyboard when they could be on the handlebars. I didn't take this trip to spend time on my laptop.

2. Wi-fi was pretty easy to find, but wi-fi fast enough to surf ATVRider was hard to find. Possibly because I avoided cities almost entirely and even avoided big towns.
Once I made it out West (SD, WY, MT, ID) I got really snooby and tried to avoid towns bigger than 2,000 people. I like the tiny places.

So, since I wasn't planning to find people to stay with, how did I keep from going insane? I'm definitley a people person and love good conversation and can only tolerate being alone for so long. While riding, I never got bored because I avoided boring roads. I was on a shoestring budget so I couldn't stop often at places without spending cash.

I planned on one meal out per day and made sure to meet a few folks every time. A longneck at a roadside tavern also was a good place to meet people and get route suggestions.

I never woke up with a plan, and never turned down something that sounded fun, no matter if it was out of my way.

That's probably a huge reason why I stayed gone for so long.

I don't have a lot of food pictures because I ate really boring cheap stuff. Check out Jacequlin'es latest Californa report for some great food pics. Hoon on the Loose is great reading!

Oh yeah, about my pictures. I had my camera (a wanna be SLR) around my neck at all times.

This is the point in the trip when I got serious about taking pictures. I think you'll see a huge increase in both quality and quantity.

With the left hand on the clutch (to keep the bike from decelerating) I took pictures from the saddle with my right hand and got pretty good at it. Most of the one's you'll see from here on out were taken while riding.

I also had a little tripod called a gorilla-pod. It was super handy.

Here are a couple from Alaska just to keep y'all reading.

Ok - back to the RR - seriously this time.

Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:12 AM   #35
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I woke up to a misty morning and jumped out of my tent and broke camp quickly while things were still dry. Geared up, hopped on the bike left the campground. I had been the only one to spend the night there.

So I had a few realizations this morning that really set the tone for how my trip would change. First, as I left the campground, I realized how crucial the first 100 yards of the morning really were.

Again, I can’t touch both feet to the ground on my bike. I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but the bike ways a ˝ ton. Bikers often look skeptical when I say that. They think, my bike weights 550 and I’ve got 80 pounds of gear so how can that thing weigh so much more. Well, I’ve weighed it. Admittedly, I’ve got way more crap than necessary, but why the hell not? I’ve got room for it. With the water, the canned food, the tools, the axe and all the other stuff, the bike is heavy. So a campground with tall grass, deep ruts and often mud is a tricky challenge. Also, I park my bike a few feet from my tent. Period. So wherever the tent goes, so goes the bike. Rough terrain be damned.

After committing to being extra careful in the morning, I began to reflect on last night’s conversation with Arlo. It was very different than all the other conversations I’d had, and set the stage for all the ones’ I’d have in the future. First, I was no longer some guy out riding a motorcycle. On the east coast, sure, I was in Maine, but Maine is just a long haul on I-95 from NC. Big deal. Sure you’re going to Alaska was the regular reaction. Last night, I realized just how far from home I was and how different it was here. I’d heard of the BLM, but had no concept for the vast amount of public land out West. Arlo said, “man, you’re on an adventure.” He also asked me why? No one had asked me that before and I wasn’t prepared to answer. So that’s when I had to ask myself and try to figure out why.

Enough Robert Pirsig-esque philosophizing. My bike didn’t need maintanenece and my Zen was around the next corner. Time to ride.

Down along the Lewis & Clark trail, some gravel roads through Akaska, SD and on to Pierre. (I’d misread my map and though it was Alaska, SD and had to check it out. Oh well.)

I went to the Vietnam Memorial in Pierre and the WWII memorial. My Grandpa is a WWII vet, and my whole life riding motorcycles has put me around Vietnam Vets like Arlo. I wasn’t there, but I still care. I was born as the conflict drew to a close.

Leaving Pierre, I set of to Kadoka to pick up a package. 15 miles out of Winston-Salem, I realized I’d left my watch at my friends house and she had put together a package for me. I was excited. That watch has good karma. I got it at age 21, just over a decade ago.

After buying the helmet in Asheville, NC, I’d grown to hate that thing. Riding the plains had been awful. ATGATT in 100 degree heat isn’t for me. I’d given up on ATGATT in less than a week. Actually, less than that. I’d called my friend and asked her to include my ˝ helmet in the care package she was sending, almost immediately after buying the full-face. I hate it!

Riding with my riding pants in the heat wasn’t happening either. Jacket, not a chance in hell. Gloves, nope. So much for my commitment to safety. Today was the day I got to go to the Post Office in Kadoka, SD to pick up a care package sent to General Delivery. All my gear went in a bag bungeed to the rack on my tour pack. Riding 100 degree weather in the Great Plains is not compatible with full motorcycle crash gear. Back on the road in Jean and T-Shirt and now I actually felt like a motorcyclist again. I could hear the wind and feel the sun. It was a great care package!

Yeah, I know. ‘nuff said. It’s a struggle for me to do what I know I should. At least I always wear a helmet. Not to mention, I’m pretty good at rationalizing bad behavior. A man of many talents if you will.

Back on the road dressed like I was born to ride, life couldn’t have been better. I convinced myself I’d gear up when I left the plains, but as for now, the sun, the wind and the burning prairie heat felt so good.

I wear earplugs of course, what, do you think I’m nuts?

I stopped at the shadiest watering hole I could find. Just for kicks. The bartender was cool, but the only other patron was sitting at a video gambling machine. In the time it took me to down two cans of Coors Original Gold, he’d gone through six twenties. The bartender was begging him to stop. Literally. The big, badass bartender was begging this guy to quit. It was heartbreaking.

Back on the road for me, I went out of the way, south, to get to a State Road that paralleled I-90 and headed for the Badlands.

First, I stopped at the big ‘ole tourist trap. I needed a journal to use as a guestbook and a hat. Before leaving NC for the second leg, my friend and I had gone to a bbq festival and they had one of those crushable cowboy style hats for $80. Couldn’t do it. I got one today for $25. It’s awesome. Great at keeping the sun or rain away. Also, my right wrist was toast. I’ve always had carpel tunnel symptoms and have wondered if those magnetic bracelets work. I’d just clicked over 10,000 miles to this point. 10k & three months on the road and my wrist was a mess. We’ll see if the magnets are snake-oil or saving grace.

A couple of SD bikers had told me that the Badlands are best at dusk and dawn. I got to the park in early evening and set up camp. As the sun sank low, I hopped on the bike and rode the entire park twice at dusk. Wow! Unreal.

The Badlands were amazing; somewhat spiritual.

I went to camp and made dinner and set my alarm for a half-hour before dawn. After breaking camp, I rode the entire park twice once again. It’s fantastic.

The pictures look like they are out of sequence because of the lighting, but I was playing around with metering, trying to capture the colors so that's what's going on.

Just before 5:00, I stopped to take pictures and saw a guy with professional camera gear. Jesse is a college student in Spearfish and had a summer internship working for the State. He just drove around and took pictures. He taught me a new photographic technique, told me about some cool place to ride and then I hopped back on the road.

Check out the deer!!!

Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report

Sly-on-2 screwed with this post 04-08-2008 at 10:24 AM
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:46 AM   #36
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Location: hutchinson island,fl. / mt.snow,vt. / costa rica
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Great Ride On Such A Heavy Bike!!!!!
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:03 AM   #37
I got a job, I explore!
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Great job on the ride report!
Looking forward to the rest of your adventure.
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:09 AM   #38
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Thanks for sharing... GREAT report.

Your riding style is similiar to mine when I take trips. I like to stop at small town watering holes every evening and have a few and talk to the locals. They all have good ideas on the route I should take the next day.

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Old 04-08-2008, 11:11 AM   #39
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A bit later, I pulled over and set up the stove for breakfast. Coffee and a smoke and beans and hot sauce. Yeah baby. Life on the road!

"Beans for breakfast once again, it's hard to eat them from the can..." It's an old Johnny Cash tune. Actually, they were delicious and not difficult to eat at all. Check out the bunny in the background.

At some point, I put the sticker from New Hampshire on my trunk. "This Bike Climbed Mt. Washington." I've got a blue Dragon on my windshield that I picked up in Deal's Gap. A couple of conversation-starters.

After leaving the Badlands headed West toward Sturgis, I began to really worry about a problem with my bike. Down from 200 miles per tank, at 140 miles, I'd had a 30% reduction in fuel economy. True, gas is $3.50, but the disturbing part is that something had gone wrong with the bike. Before leaving, I'd put in a new fuel filter and air filter. Perhaps a bad fuel stop wrecked the filter? Even worse, maybe a bit of sand was gumming up one of the jets in the carbs. Or, maybe when I dumped the bike in WI, oil had gotten sucked up through the intake manifold and soaked the air filter. I saw a billboard for a Honda Dealer in Sturgis (I was surprised.)

I was nearly in tears when I pulled in the parking lot. I was laughing so hard it hurt.

Rice Honda - That's some funny shite. You can't make up something that funny. Maybe I've been in the sun too long. Don't care. That's HILARIOUS!!! Rice Honda... in Sturgis!!!

They had a filter in stock so I went out to inspect mine. It looked ok, clean and bright orange. It did smell like oil though. I didn't want to worry anymore so I plunked down fifty bills and installed the filter. Nice, back up to nearly 40mpg and worry free!

Somewhere, I found a brew pub and had some civilized beer. Yeah, I like Budweiser, but I'm a craft beer guy at heart.

The ride toward Mt. Rushmore is amazing. There was little traffic and I made great time.

Mt. Rushmore is really impressive and I'm glad I went. Spending $10 for 10 minutes is getting old, but the pictures are worth it. I will have to learn to "say no" to some of the many cool National Parks I'll pass along the way.

None of these pictures have been cropped or altered.

I came around a corner and saw parked cars... which usually means wildlife. Wild Donkeys are cool! Who knew?

The little one was frolicking intensely. It's hard to tell in the picture, but he just bounced all around the meadow for a couple of minutes.

I watched them for a few minutes, then took off so as to leave a buffer between me and the traffic that was sure soon to follow.

Here's one with an itch.

Shortly after seeing these animals, I saw buffalo. They were far enough away, that the pictures aren't worth posting, but seeing them was spectacular.

On Wednesday, June 20th I was in Hot Springs, VA. A month later I went though Hot Springs, SD. I rode almost all the roads in the lack Hills National
Forest. I wish I could post a map of my route. I bought the GPS without much research and thought I could download my route to a computer. Not so. I’ve traced each route on my atlas, and it looks like: A to B via C,D,E,F & G. Pretty cool.

I pride myself in always watching for animals. In Maine, it was Moose. In Michigan, Bear. In South Dakota, Pheasants. And everywhere, Deer. However, I realized that I do not, in fact, always watch for animals. This one really caught me off guard. I was in the middle of town, and there he was.

I left the Canyon and took country roads for a bit before stopping in Deadwood. What a cool town!

It's also where I met Jerry Lee.

I stopped in Deadwood (a real Western town) to take a few pictures and I wandered into the Wild Bill Hickok Saloon. Working on a laptop at the bar, I met this guy who was also on a trip. He’d been on the road for 3 weeks and had come from Chicago and was riding a 1200 Interstate. His bike was the same model and same era as mine! I talked for awhile and then went out to check out the bikes. Jerry Lee’s bike was much nicer looking than mine as he’s smart enough not to dump his on a sandy road in Wisconsin. I actually don’t care about clean motorcycles, but I did like his XM radio and upgraded stereo system. My stereo is simply a dash ornament.

We’re at the bar at the Saloon and the bartender tells us that beers are free. WTH? Why, I asked. He looked at me as if that were the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. They’ve always been free, he replied. Jerry Lee and I had a few more of the 8oz drafts and then hopped on the Wings. I was following him and laughed as he took his shirt off while riding. With my riding buddy wearing no shirt and a cowboy hat, I felt pretty good in my some-of-the-gear all-of the-time choice.

You may get the impression that I booze and ride. Not so. In 100+ degree heat, I stay well hydrated. After a bunch of water, I do enjoy some cold beer, but I don’t over-indulge. During the whole trip, I felt good about my level of responsibility with regards to the hop-flavored water.

Jerry Lee’s trip was nearly over and he had to be back the next afternoon to take his girlfriend to a concert. It was 5:00 and he was almost 1,000 miles from home! He and I rode a very scenic and curvy rode for about 20 miles into Sturgis before he headed East toward Chi-town.

After Jerry Lee and I parted ways, I stopped by the Harley shop in Sturgis to get a throttle rocker. It's a little piece of plastic that covers part of the throttle that allows one to hold the throttle without gripping it. It's great for the wrist on a long stretch of straight pavement. I pulled in, and as always, drew a crowd of onlookers. The old Wing ridden by a young guy is a bit of an oddity. The group asked about my story and we chatted for a few and then I got to talking with Harry.

Harry is clearly from New Hampshire. Having spent a few days up there, I'll never mistake that accent. I asked if he was at the Blessing of the Bikes (The Great North Woods Ride In) and he said for sure, “I helped with the blessing,” he said! Turns out, Harry was a big-time drug dealer in NYC and about 10 years ago and then became a missionary; a motorcycle missionary. He has a church, a radio ministry, and he rides to ralleys as a missionary. Someone approached him in NH and gave him some money and said that he should go to Sturgis, so off he went. We talked for awhile and his story is really neat. Then, he mentioned that he'd been riding with Panhead Bill. Panhead Bill has been on the road for nearly 20 years, riding his 1951 Panhead about 50,000 miles each year. He's legendary.

When I got on the internet a few days later, I googled Panhead Bill and found these pictures taken at the Chicago race a couple weeks earlier. I was at that race! And on the right... is brother Harry! He and I will definitely keep in touch. The guy in the picture with Bill & Harry signed my guestbook on my blog. Pretty cool.

Anyhow, early in our conversation, Harry asked why I came to the dealership. I pointed to his Throttle Rocker and said, "to buy one of those." He took his off his bike and handed it to me and said, "I need gas money more than I need this, give me $10 for it."

I knew the Internet price was $10 so the Harley price was probably $20. I needed it and he needed cash so I reached into my wallet and carefully removed at a ten. I looked down and had somehow grabbed a twenty. It had to be a sign. I gave the motorcycle missionary a twenty and then we hopped on our bikes and rode down the street to go find a soda. Harry bought me a soda and we talked for about an hour.

I rode into Sturgis three weeks before the rally and the whole area is getting ready. 600,000 bikes will converge on a tiny town. Rooms for 300 miles will be full at $300+ per night. However, when I arrived, it was very anti-climactic. I stopped at the legendary Broken Spoke and talked with some people who recommended Spearfish for the night. Quick trip to the Kunckle before splitting town.

Remember Jesse, the photographer from the Badlands? Yep, I took off for the home of Black Hills State U.

The ride was great and the town was buzzing. Thousands of Corvettes had come from all over for a rally in Spearfish that weekend.

Also, there was a HUGE Arts & Crafts festival. I love festivals of any kind. Though clearly Corvettes more than Crafts.

Back at camp for a shower and some grub.

A little nighttime amusement with my camera and tripod. No, I'm not taking a leak in the creek.

Breakfast. Oatmeal, Celtic Sea Salt, Dried Blueberries. I doubt I'll ever eat another oat upon returning from this trip. That includes Oatmeal Cookies and Crumb Cake.

My campsite was great and they had wi-fi in the office. In the morning, I set up 2 gigs of data-transfer and left my PC in the office and set out to ride Spearfish Canyon. If you're ever within 300 miles of Spearfish Canyon, it's worth going out of your way. Amazing. Riding it with hundreds of Corvettes didn't hurt either. If only I had a nickel for every time a Corvette guy looked annoyed when he got passed by an old Goldwing that cost less than a set of tires for a 'vette. At age 16, I bought my first car (Audi 4000 GT Coupe) from a guy who was selling it so that he could put tires on his Corvette. The cash I paid for the car would barely buy a set for the rear.

Seeing all the Corvettes was a lot of fun. I'd have a chance to meet some of their owners / driver later in my trip. I met couples from IN, OH, NE, KS, WA, and even FL.

I talked to several couples who were touring in their old cars. The lamp on this one is from a car from 1911. They've driven over 500 miles in a single trip. All the guys were filling jugs of water to add to their radiators.

I don't know which year this car was made, but it is beautiful. It's an old Pierce and the wheels stood nearly chest-high. It is a HUGE automobile.

Back in Spearfish, the pictures had uploaded nicely and I didn’t have to sit around while 2 gigs of pictures slowly crept up the cyber stream. Jackpot. I walked over to the Festival for dinner and a quick look around. An Indian band was playing amazing music. Flutes, Strings, Drums, and tribal-sounding vocals.

I took off toward Sundance, WY. Pretty fitting since I’d stopped in the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid restaurant earlier.

I needed gas and had to choose between a left or a right. I should have gone left. In 10 miles, I found the gas pump, but they were closed. I idled along at 40 mph to conserve fuel to make my next stop.

I found gas and a National Forest spot and made camp. Yup... my post-riding footwear. Crocs. Ugly as sin.

I spent the next night outside of Sundance. In the morning, I pulled out of the campsite and stopped on the gravel road to take a picture. I got the picture alringht, as my bike fell over. Dumbass. It was in deep gravel, so I couldn't get traction to pick it up. Again, I can pick it up on pavement, but not on slippery stuff. Like I'm really going to drop it on pavement.

I was groggy and careless and dropped my bike while taking a picture. I walked to the main road and waited. Three 'vettes were roaring up the canyon. They didn't want to stop, but I was standing in the middle of the road. When they didn't slow down, I moved to the middle of their lane.

They were three couples from IN traveling together. They were nice and did help me get the bike up. Two of the three Corvettes were official Indy 500 cars. Pretty cool!

They signed my guestbook; I sent a postcard to thank them. It was nice for them to take 10 minutes to help me.

Oh yeah - in case it's not obvious. I'm a big fan of 'vettes.

Off to Sundance once again. I found coffee, but no wi-fi.

Then to Devil's Tower.

It is an amazing natural beauty. I talked to a couple of guys who were preparing to climb it. They said it would take them 3-4 hours. Amazing!

I pulled over to take this picture. When I pulled away, my speedometer had stopped working. Strange. The timing is uncanny! Now, with no odometer, I've got to keep good records to know when to change my oil (which I'll have to do in a couple of days in Montana.) Also, with no trip odometer, my primary gas gauge is now gone. I'm not very happy about it, but I don't have a jack to get the front wheel off to diagnose the problem. My guess is that it's a gear that turns the speedo cable.

I didn't ride far today. Only about 180 miles. I stopped in Gillette, WY to find a hotspot. I was there nearly five hours uploading pictures and writing. The $40 tab was a bit excessive. The good news is that right down the road was a race track and it was a Saturday (July 21.) I threw up my tent and watched racing (and met some really cool people.) Jimmy was there with his wife and kids, cheering for the Pink # 62 driven by local 19 year-old Kim Horn. We talked and cheered for the 62 until the races ended around 11. What a blast!

Notice that the racetrack isn't fenced. I've never seen that before. Kim flew off the track in her #62, disappeared over the hill, and then launched back up on the track 150 yards later with all four wheels in the air! Since I only had about 50 yards to WALK to my tent, I spent my share of time in the beer tent. I tied one on and had a great Saturday night in Gillette.

A nighttime picture of my campsite. Did I mention that I camped on the moon?

Time to go pass out. Er... I mean... get some sleep.

What a night!!! What a week!!! What a life!!!
Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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Old 04-08-2008, 11:25 AM   #40
Beastly Adventurer
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Location: Tampa
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What a cool experience
'09 Buell XB12XT, TL1000S, H1F, M620, CR250R, KX100, XR650R, Cota 315R

Summer 2009 Ride Report
Summer 2008 RR.
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:29 PM   #41
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: hutchinson island,fl. / mt.snow,vt. / costa rica
Oddometer: 210
keep it coming...
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:59 PM   #42
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I am all caught up.. Carry on..
Learn to ride. Ride to learn.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:46 PM   #43
Buying more ammo
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Well done Sly.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:25 PM   #44
dreaming adventurer
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Location: right here on my thermarest
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Really enjoying your story.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:44 PM   #45
Sly-on-2 OP
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Location: Previously, Camel City Carolina, now Denver
Oddometer: 156
Somewhere in Wyoming. A Viper pulling a chopper and a cruiser. That's even more rare than a horse trailer on a Cadillac!

Coming over the Big Horn Mountains, I met two couples from Ohio on Ultra Classics. We talked for a bit and they took this picture.

The Big Horn's are amazing. I turned around at one point and rode a 20 mile section again (and then turned around again of course.)

I passed Meadowlark Lake at the top of the mountain range and passed all sorts of beautiful things.

When I got back down, it was 107 degrees. (down to 5000 feet, I've been over 4000 feet since I got to ND about 10 days ago!)

I was scorched so I stopped in at the Ten Sleep Saloon. My arms were both brown and burnt, and though I’d polished off a quart of water at the top of the mountain, I was parched.

I think I know the girl that this place was named for. In fact, I do believe I've dated her.

The Saloon was dark and I could only make out shadows until my eyes adjusted. The bar tender poured me a pint, and then made a round of Bloody Mary’s for a few folks at the bar. They started carrying on about how delicious they are. I do love a good Bloody, but usually only on weekend mornings after a hangover, or to kick off an afternoon party. What the hell, I could use some vegetables. Sure, make one for me too. By the time the cocktail came, I’d finished two pints of water with no ice, a pint of brew and a couple of smokes. The Bloody Mary was delicious; by this time, the bartender, Rita and I had been swapping stories. Cool lady. She and her husband moved from Chicago and they sounded like interesting people. From somewhere behind me, I heard a girl say, “we’re going swimming at the top of the mountain, you should join us.” I turned around, not sure which person at the table behind me had made the offer. The guy and girls looked like nice people. They told me how to find them and left. Rita assured me they were all good people and that since it was 105 outside, I was a long way from home with no friends, and a guy without a plan, that I should join them. I finished my vegetables and headed to Meadowlark Lake.

Not only were they all super cool, but a friend showed up with a jet ski and I got to go play. I’ve always thought that jet ski’s are like motorcycles on water, except that jet skis are meant to crash. If you get pitched off, you’re not riding hard enough.

Me, asking to ride the jetski


Yea - I had fun. Check out the s$$! eating grin.

Time to go, and leave a plume of GoldWing dust in the air.

I raced this kid for a few hundred yards. He was showing off his cool four-wheeled toy.

The Dragon on the Windshield - a memento from roads ridden long ago.

Anyhow, Wes the Dinosaur Man told me about a badass party the following night and suggested I come back. Perhaps I said. Perhaps. By the way, if any of you WY guys out there, if you know Wes, tell him I said “hi.” He’s a cool dude.

After a couple of beers and a couple of laughs, I said goodbye to my new friends and hit the road. Wes had insisted that I visit a few places in his home state of MT, so I now had a few places to check out.

Damn - it's still hot.

This settles a bet I had with a friend from Minnesota. Yes, Hamm is still around

I took a dirt road to Hyattville and then over to Manderson and Basin, before making Cody. Having never seen a rodeo, it was on my list of things to do. There’s one every night in Cody. Probably not a real one, but since I’ve never been, my standards aren’t too high. A “tourist” rodeo is fine with me.

Off to find a spot to camp. Holy heart-attack!!! $30 to pitch a tent!!! Suddenly, I thought Cody sucked. At the KOA, I explained my situation. I don’t need a nice place, don’t need amenities, don’t need anything but a tiny plot of ground for about 12 hours. They warmed up to me and cut me a very sweet deal. But then, they broke the news to me that the rodeo cost $20. Ouch. As I left the office, a random guy walked up to me and handed me $20 and said, “this will get you into the rodeo.” I was stunned. He then told me of someone at the rodeo who may comp my entry. “Go talk to so-n-so and if you get in free, then use the twenty to treat yourself to a steak dinner.” Wow

I took off to the rodeo, and sure enough, his friend let me in. Not only that, I got to sit with the friends and family of the cowboys and cowgirls.

I know nothing about rodeos, but I was really impressed with the cowfolk. They’re great!!!

I think this is one of the girls that got me into the track as a guest, but I'm not sure as they change into fancy shirts before their ride.

In the morning, I cooked a fine breakfast and packed camp. Before leaving, I walked over to a guy in a HUGE Diesel Pusher Motorhome. He was towing a late-model Benz. It was a million dollar rig. I asked him if he’d hang onto my laptop for a bit while I ran errands so my pictures could upload. “No problem buddy”

So off I went to Wally World. At the big-blue-box, I got some more useless crap, and a bit of stuff I needed. A dozen cans of food. Several pouches of food. Some suntan lotion. Fuel for my stove… etc… In the parking lot, I met a kid from Duluth on a bike and we talked for a bit. He had a pass to Glacier National Park that he was done with. I would be there soon, so I gave him half the cost of the ticket. A mutually beneficial transaction. Sorry Park Service. Desperate times. -Later brah- (William I believe)

Leaving the KOA, I pointed the Wing toward the beautiful Chief Joseph Highway.

Somewhere along the way, I checked my phone and found a voicemail from Jerry Lee. He'd made it back to Chicago and called to recommend two roads for me to ride. One was the Chief Joseph Highway, the other was Wind River Canyon near Thermopolis. I was on the Chief Joseph when I got his message, and it is a sweet road, so I checked the map and saw that Thermopolis would put me back near Ten Sleep. It was a sign. I should go back to the base of the Big Horn Mountains to party with the fine folks there.

It was sooooo hot, I stopped here and soaked my clothes.

In Red Lodge, I stopped at the Crazy Creek Headquarters. On this site, everyone talks about the Kermit Chair. I thought about getting one after reading y'all recommendation, until I saw the price. I have a Crazy Creek and so another chair was out of my range. I do like the Crazy Creek though.

Here are some pictures from Beartooth Pass: I was over 10,000 feet for a couple of hours. Red Lodge is beautiful. That part of the world is other-worldly.

I had fun talking with these people from Quebec. The stickers all over his trailer tell a pretty sweet story.

While stopping to photograph the lake, I put my foot down in tiny pebbles on the gravel shoulder and have posted the result for your laughing pleasure. At 10,000 feet, I’d have had a coronary trying to pick it up. Walking down the mountain with his dog, I saw a hiker and so I just waited for help.

Tom and his 14 year-old Border Collier, Cammy Dog, were from Red Lodge and just out for an afternoon hike. He gave me a hand and headed on down the road.

In the mean time, these folks had pulled over to take pictures and I had to get a look at his very nice Indian Motorcycle and sidecar rig.

It was 105 degrees at the bottom of the mountains, but nice and cool up top.

Ahhh snow.

I rode down from the mountain and had to log some flat-miles back to Ten Sleep.

I've got some quick hands, yet another deer picture.

The roads may have been flat, but the scenery was cool.

I rode 350 miles that day during ten hours before ending up in Ten Sleep around 8:30 pm.

I walked into the Saloon and was excited to see Wes & Rita. Within minutes, Wes was on the phone trying to arrange a place for me to camp in town. Being able to walk from the Saloon to my tent was a must. I planned on getting as drunk as the party demanded and didn’t want to park my bike 20 miles from town and then rely on a ride back to it. Soon, he talked to his friend that owned a coffee shop right down the street and she said I could camp out back.

With camp set up, I was back in the Saloon by 9:30 as the place was filling up; the whole gang was there. My friends from the day before were great at making introductions and soon, I'd met just about everyone in the place and was immersed in a great party with a great group of people.

The party was a blast. I bought a couple of drinks for people, but nowhere nearly as many as people bought for me. Everyone was great and it was nice to hang out for hours. I met "Just Randy," a nice guy that goes by Just Randy. Aaron, from Grand Rapids, had worked at the ski resort. Betsy was there with her little dog. Janna, the coffee shop owner. Wes, the dinosaur man of course, and Jilaena, the photojournalist. We shut the place down for sure.

The next morning, I didn't take Wes up on his offer to go see the dinosaur. I had to be in Jackson by 6:00 p.m.

Time to hit the road. It was 95 by 10:00. On the way out of town, I bought a drink for the first time on the trip. I fill my water bottles from whatever local tap I find. No soda, no Gatorade, nothing. It’s too expensive. Rules are made to be broken and this was a morning for an exception… for sure. At the gas station, I saw Rita’s husband and Aaron, who I’d hung out with for awhile the night before. Later fellas. I chugged an entire Gatorade and cussed my hangover all the way down the road.

I made it to Thermopolis and prepared to ride the Wind River Canyon. The roads were fun to ride! After breakfast in Thermopolis, the cobwebs were gone and I was ready to ride with Wing like a GIXR.

I rode from the Canyon to Jackson. After a couple hundred miles of flat roads, I made it to the Tetons.
From the Tetons, it rained the entire time, and I rode over 50 miles of gravel during three patches of road construction. Conditions sucked. It wasn’t treacherous, but it just demanded so much concentration. Also, the muscles used in keeping a bike up at low speed on wet construction gravel, get tired after 20 miles of the same ‘ole thing. I was exhausted. Getting two hours of sleep the night before probably didn’t help either. We’d partied until nearly dawn, and then it was so hot as soon as the sun came up that I had to get out of the tent.

The full-faced helmet and waterproof riding gear worked like a charm.

Finally, I made it to Jackson. What a great place after so many days on the road. I got cleaned up and prepared to go out to a nice dinner with my hosts. Thankfully, I’ve got a collared shirt somewhere in a saddlebag.

The last 48 hours had been epic. The offer to swim, the jet ski ride, the call from Jerry Lee, and the big party in Ten Sleep, and hanging out with great people, the combination of events made for the highlight of my trip to-date.
Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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