Austin to Banff on a Tiger 800XC

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ElJefeATX, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    He pointed his beak at my beak and I won.

    [​IMG]

    The magpies of Alberta and Montana have a death wish. I involuntarily granted this one's wish.

    That was this morning. This was yesterday.

    [​IMG]

    I made it to belt Montana and camped at this little Lions Club picnic area. It was a beautiful starry night but lots of mosquitoes and close to the road so lots of traffic as well. And cold. I did not sleep well.

    [​IMG]

    Population 319. Triple that if you include horses. The rodeo is in town. Waitress tells me there's a lot of liability with rodeo now so they've really toned it down.

    [​IMG]

    The Coyote Creek cafe is where it's at.

    [​IMG]

    As you can tell from the signage, they have everything you need.

    [​IMG]

    We pressed on through southeast Montana past Little Big Horn. I skipped visiting the monument because in all honesty it's simply a monument in the middle of hills that look-alike for miles and miles and miles.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, after Billings and Little Big Horn the landscape changed from miles and miles of boring and redundant open prairie to the painted rocks and fractured Earth. Riding through the Custer national Forest was great with lots of nice wide sweeping turns and lots of scenery.
    No pictures because the wind was still trying to kill me. But the GoPro's were running and there will be video later.
    #81
  2. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    And then it happenedÂ…

    Today happened to be my 50th birthday. The plan was to meet up with my girlfriend at the Devils Tower and celebrate my birthday that night with some friends of hers from Sundance. She drove up from Texas to Spearfish to meet me and show me her old stomping grounds.

    While fueling up in Broadus Montana I noticed a problem with the rear tire, there was cord showing.

    That's 3000 miles premature since the tires only have about 7000 miles on them. I cleaned and lubed the chain yesterday morning before I left Banff and inspected both tires. They both had plenty of tread left. I'm still processing it but I believe it is possible that much treadwear could've occurred in the last two days since I've ridden about 700 hard aggressive miles at high-speed loaded down. I rechecked the tire pressure and it was fine. It's quite possible that the premature wear is the result of one of the n00b things that I may have done in the process of fixing my last flat, using the wrong kind of tube to cause it to overheat or something along those lines. I'm not above suspecting one of my amateur mistakes could have led to the problem.


    So I haven't made it to the Devils Tower, and I am spending my 50th birthday alone in a cheap motel in Broadus.

    The plan is for my girlfriend to rent a U-Haul trailer in Spearfish, come up and trailer the bike back to Spearfish where I will find a motorcycle tire dealer to replace the tire.

    I might even let the dealer install it, and forgo the rugged individualist macho act of installing it myself on the side of the road like I did back in Texas on day one.

    50th birthdays should be interesting. And this 50th birthday was "interesting".
    #82
  3. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Oddometer:
    65
    Dang, that magpie did have a death wish! Looks like you could use a headlight guard (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=987509). A little higher and you'd have lost the lights.

    This has been a fantastic RR. I grew up in Southern Alberta, so I know the area well. I've been wanting to ride from Austin to Banff and this has got me thinking next year is the year!
    #83
  4. HPTuner

    HPTuner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    347
    Location:
    Southeast Ga.
    I had a glancing blow with a buzzard last week! Thankfully, it was a glancing blow, at about 45 mph. Smelly situation, to say the least! :D

    Great report!
    #84
  5. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Great shot!
    #85
  6. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,676
    Location:
    New Haven, Ct.
    I did it last year enroute to Nova Scotia. A brain seizure caused my passport to remain at home. What the US border folks said (I checked on my own side before I tried to cross) was that "they" (the Canadians) would probably let me in, but there would be "a problem" coming home. The "problem" might result in my detention, possibly for 24 hours or more, depending on how long it took to verify my ID. Indeed, the friendly Canadian officer let me in on the basis of my drivers license. Fortunately, my good wife overnighted my passport to me & I didn't have to spend my golden years camping on Cape Breton Island., as I only have a three season tent.
    #86
  7. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    Some pictures from yesterday's tire change. Thanks to J&S Tire in Broadus MT for the assist. We didn't trailer the bike. My gf was in Spearfish, went to RApid City, picked up a Heidenau K 60 then brought it to Broadus. She had driven up from Texas to meet me in Spearfish to spend a few days, so that was fortunate with the tire debacle. As a surprise she had also brought our dog Harlan, whom I thought was going to stay in Texas in a kennel. So that was a nice surprise.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We convoyed to Spearfish, got rained on a little bit and took in the sunset.

    [​IMG]
    #87
  8. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    Riding shotgun as a tourista around the black hills today. Harlan was upset that he has been relegated to the back seat.

    [​IMG]

    Stopped by Wild Bill Hickocks grave at Boot Hill then did a Griswold drive-by at Mount Rushmore.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We were headed over the Needles highway to go to Custer State Park, but a bus load of Japanese tourists high-centered on a hairpin turn, closing the road.

    [​IMG]

    So we took Harlan out to climb and sniff on the rocks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We were all exhausted after the nearly mile-long hike.

    [​IMG]
    #88
  9. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    One more day as a tourists and then I'll be back on the bike headed into Wyoming and points south.

    Had a great steak dinner at the Buffalo Jump saloon in Beulah WY tonight. Highly recommended.
    #89
  10. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    Quick crazy person story...

    I was looking for a campsite at the end of the day and saw a sign for the Fort Ponderosa campground and RV park in Belt, Montana. I turned in and rode through the campground to see the tent spaces and decide whether it would suffice for the night. There were lots of people and Mosquitos, as well as a sign beside the tent spaces that said "pet potty area", so I was not enthusiastic about staying there, but it was getting late. I was indecisive. As I rounded the loop toward the office a lady came marching, literally marching, down the middle of the road and thrusted out an open palm demanding that I stop.

    "Would you mind telling me what you are doing?"

    "Yeah, I was riding through to decide if I wanted to camp here tonight."

    "You do NOT just ride through our campground deciding if you want camp."

    "Well OK but I'm not going to pay for a campsite without seeing the place first. "

    She opened her hand gesturing toward the highway... "At this time I'm going to have you exit the campground?"

    I'm usually not this way but I couldn't help myself... "Well the tent sites are pretty nasty so I'll be more than happy to exit at this time."

    I ended up putting up my hammock in a Lions Club picnic shelter down the road. Had the place all to myself with a beautiful starry sky to gaze into.

    Later on I had a hunch that Yelp reviews of the Fort Ponderosa Campground and RV Park might be enlightening and entertaining. Sure enough, several reviews had titles like " the manager lady is a psychopath."

    Be sure to make yourself at home and ride through if you're ever I'm the area.
    #90
  11. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    I saw that truck at the Grand Canyon a couple months ago. It could be just another guy with the same kind of truck, but that was the model. Sweet looking truck for sure!
    #91
  12. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    Still a tourist with the girlfriend around Spearfish. Tomorrow we get back to actually being a ride report rather than a riding shotgun report. Wyoming and points south tomorrow.

    The last couple of days have been like when Ewan's wife joined them in South Africa.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I did take the bike to a local for a wheel balance, alignment, adjustments and safety check. Now I'm starting to think I'm going to need a front tire before I get home.

    Shout out to Mike at Metric Motors in Spearfish. Really nice guy, great mechanic and motocross rider. You know you're at the right place when there's a stunt ramp stored on the premises.

    [​IMG]
    #92
  13. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #93
  14. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Nelson BC, fer now.
    Good report. Might try your trip in reverse sometime as I unfortunately had to bypass Austin on my last big trip due to mechanicals. That hot springs is not too far from here and I would love to check it out. And the tire? Like you I got fed up with premature wear and went for Heidies on my F800GS. Got an incredible 22000 kms with more to spare out of em and they will be my replacements on my new bike.
    Happy trails.:thumb
    #94
  15. statsman

    statsman Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,044
    Location:
    Toronto ON
    Smart move. Always yield to bison. :lol3
    #95
  16. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    He didn't even look before merging.
    #96
  17. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list

    If you get to Austin let me know.

    So yeah. Ride report.

    I decided to backtrack to Rapid City and have them just go ahead and replace the front tire too. It didn't look like it was going to last much longer. So I'm rocking a Shinko 705 on the front now. Damn that thing is loud.

    Got back to it and had the ride of my life on 16A Keystone to Custer.
    Same road we had to turn back from previously because a tour us full of Japanese tourists high centered on a hairpin turn.

    That's a must for anyone who likes to ride motorcycles. Had the whole road all to myself.

    Saw the buffalo while rolling through Custer State Park.

    Or as the waitress called it, Custard State Park. Only buffalo I saw in 2 trips to the park you go to to see buffalo.


    Obv did Rushmore and went to the Crazy Horse memorial. Fascinating 70 year work in progress with second generation sculptors taking over as the first pass on.

    They have a laser light show at dark, and as impressive as the sculpture and Native American museum are. I gotta say I saw a better laser light show at Foghat in '78

    And I did do a Griswold and sleep in that teepee.
    #97
  18. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    Sitting in a picnic shelter in Wheatland WY at the mo, with designs on Estes Park vicinity. Thunderstorms everywhere. Gonna get wet wherever I go...
    #98
  19. ElJefeATX

    ElJefeATX Morally correct

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10,018
    Location:
    On your ignore list
    Cheap hotel, Fort Collins. Managed to dodge all the thunderstorms via Laramie. But crosswinds and tumbleweeds a tried to kill me. A wind gust knocked me into the oncoming lane and that was the last straw. I've never had a bigger oh shit moment on a motorcycle. Parked it at a turnout and found myself Being vigilantly watched by some horses. While I was just waiting for the wind to die down a cyclist doing 4000 miles so far stopped and chatted for a while. He had a tail wind so he was not nearly in the peril I was. He's photo blogging at www.whereswinslow.com. Great writer, nice guy bad-ass quest.
    #99
  20. White6Romeo

    White6Romeo Sectum Sempre

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    New York
    I got to Ballenger Texas and this happened.
    [​IMG]

    Same thing happened to me in TX a couple years ago. Par for the course when you travel roads in cattle country I guess. Made across 40 into NM before I ever lost any pressure. Fun times:)