Big Trip II

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bigger Al, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Yeah, this report is turning me into a post whore. So sue me. :evil

    I'm a big fan of Olympia Moto gear. I've had their jackets for the last 8+ years, and I'm very satisfied with the way their products fit, and the functionality as well. For this trip I wore a GT Air jacket, which features zip-down panels that expose mesh underneath for maximum airflow. I matched that up with a pair of Olympia's Moto-X pants, which feature the same kind of panel design as the jacket. I took along the zip-in liners for both, as I knew that at some point we'd find some rain. I tend to stay warm when I ride, and the rain liners proved to be more than enough for me even on days when the temps dropped into the high-40's.
    Gloves: for the hotter temps I use a set of Cortech Supermoto gloves. They don't necessarily give the greatest protection in a fall, but the amount of airflow allowed makes up for that. Cooler temps and rain had my hands in a pair of Elkskin Gauntlet gloves from Aerostitch. I bought a pair of these gloves in 2010 before our first Big Trip, and they've been my favorites ever since. I bought yet another pair for this trip, and they fit like butter right out of the package. The elkskin seems try dry very quickly after the rain, too, which is a plus.
    I used Keen Detroit 8"-tall work boots for the riding on this trip. I have a couple of pairs of dedicated motorcycling boots, but decided that the Keens would give me adequate protection while letting me hike as much and as far as I wanted off the bike. They feature a Gore-Tex liner, and kept my feet cozy and dry throughout the rain. They're superb boots.
    Helmet: I became a fan of flip-up helmets several years ago when I bought one of HJC's original Symax models. It was comfortable, a bit loud, and very convenient for long-distance travel. The HJC IS-Max is the helmet that both my wife and I used for this trip. It's almost as quiet as a true full-face jobber, fits me like it was made for me, and offers the flip-down sunshade on the inside. That got used quite often, as we rode a lot of miles as the sun was either coming up or going down.

    My wife's jacket is an Olympia Airglide 3 Women's model, and her pants are an old set of Firstgear HT Airs that she's had for about 4 years. She took along rain liners, as well as a quilted inner liner for her jacket. Her boots are Magnum Women's waterproof work boots, again with the idea that they're better to hike in than dedicated moto boots. She prefers Alpinestars Stella gauntlet gloves, and had a pair of Olympia Winter Gore-Tex gloves stashed in the luggage, just in case.

    She wore a Camelback Classic 70-ounce hydration backpack, and used the hell out of it. I had a Camelback StoAway 100-ounce reservoir that I strapped to my Ortlieb duffle bag. I wore a backpack model on the last trip, and sweated like a pig throughout. I need the air flow on my back to stay comfortable, and the strap-on reservoir was the perfect solution.
    #21
  2. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Like I said: thank God for the colostomy bag, or else I woulda had to wash the seat at the next stop.
    It's funny, but Mertz never came to mind during that whole episode. :lol3 Later he did, and it was Holly that mentioned it first, but while I was face-to-huge-fucking-giant-bison-head, I was otherwise preoccupied. :eek1
    #22
  3. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

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    Well it surely appears that you two are having an Awesome adventure. Thanks for sharing your experience and your doing great on this RR.

    Not all adventures have to entail dirt/rocks/ crashes, and in general scaring the shit out of ourselves it all in what we make of it and what we want out of the ride.

    I love Yellowstone but hate the traffic. Next make sure and do the Bear Tooth Pass road :deal
    #23
  4. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    This trip happened about a month ago, and yes, we did do Beartooth. :evil

    Thanks for the kind words!

    I know that someone will eventually give me some crap about how "This is ADVENTURE Rider, not vacation rider!!" or some such thing. I can take it. Gots me some big shoulders. :1drink
    As you said, it's what we want out of it, and what we wanted was a nice, relaxing ride to some incredible places. We got that, and more.

    We've been through YNP twice now, and I too hate crowds. Both times I just resigned myself to the fact that it's one of the most popular destinations in the United States (if not the world) and that there were going to be loads of people. Once I did that, it was easy.
    #24
  5. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Our second day in Yellowstone started in the Canyon Village cafeteria. We'd been eating instant oatmeal for the entire trip, and it was time for something different. There's a nicer sit-down restaurant in the village, but the line to get in was about 30 minutes, and cafeteria filled the bill with no wait.

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    The plan for the day was to ride to Old Faithful via Norris and Madison. We wanted to check out the other camp grounds in the area, and stop at some geothermal features along the way.

    First up was the Artists Paintpots, which is an area with some mud pots and hot springs, all accessible via a one-mile trail.

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    Fountain Paint Pot is just a few miles further down the road:

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    There are some out there who would find the idea of going to Old Faithful akin to having dental work done with no Novacaine. It's true that the area is a mass of humanity most of the time, and the crowds and traffic can indeed be maddening. In my thinking as a tourist geek, missing this classic American sight would be a shame, even though my wife and I have seen it before. We discovered that by getting there later in the afternoon, we were able to park closer, and the crowds had thinned out considerably. It was about 5:30 PM when we got there on Day 2, and we were able to see a nice eruption with a very menacing sky as a backdrop. This makes for much better contrast for pics, and the rain that fell on and off helped drive off even more of the people.

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    My wife just loves her little stuffed bear.

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    We also took the opportunity to go through the new visitor's center at Old Faithful. It was under construction during our last visit, and it's well worth a look.

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    #25
  6. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Way Cool! Americana,small bears,Biscuits and Gravy,all very good!

    Now we need some gnarly weather,slick roads,heavy wind,like what really happens out on the road.:eek1
    #26
  7. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    I think that there's a bit of all of that coming along. :1drink
    #27
  8. The "OC"

    The "OC" Been here awhile

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    Wow, this looks like an awesome trip!! great RR :clap
    #28
  9. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Our ride back to camp from Old Faithful was very pretty, with more of the same threatening skies, rain, and a little wind tossed in for good measure. My wife's F650 hit 36,000 miles about a mile from camp, and she had to stop to record the moment.

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    Once back in camp, we ate a late dinner, got our gear sorted for the following morning, and did a little relaxing by a campfire. My wife's toe was still giving her some fits, so I got to play doctor, and dug this out:

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    It was about 3/8" long, and 1/4" wide, and was embedded under her little toe. The relief was immediate. I could see a tiny bit of sliver still under the skin, but trying to dig it out really hurt her. so I stopped.
    The next evening I did manage to remove a second splinter that was the same size as the first, and it ran just about straight in toward the joint. Musta hurt like hell. I married a pretty tough girl.

    We fell asleep to an incredible light show, courtesy of a thunder storm that moved in from the North. It rained hard for most of the night, and I don't know about you guys, but I don't sleep any better than I do in a tent during a storm.

    ______________________________

    Yellowstone, Day 3:

    We wanted to ride South, around Yellowstone Lake, to Grant Village, which had all of the displays for the fires of 1988. It's amazing to see how the park has recovered in the 25 years since.
    The route took us once again through Hayden Valley, and the inevitable bison traffic jams. This one was following the double yellow line like it was the trail.

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    I had no idea that bison could swim as quickly as they do. This huge bull crossed the 100-yard-wide Yellowstone River in about a minute and a half, then climbed out and shook like a dog. A really, really massive dog. :eek1

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    There's a tiny lake that sits squarely on the Continental Divide. Half drains East, the other half West, and during Summer it's covered in lilly pads with yellow flowers. We stopped to take pics, and the parking lot was crowded in by a bus full of tourists from New Jersey. While we were there, a woman approached my wife and excitedly asked if there was any way that she could sit on my wife's pretty little yellow bike and have her picture taken. She did, and so did a few others. Note the expression of joy on my face, as I stand at the rear, waiting for one of them to drop the thing on themselves. :lol3

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    They really were nice people, and it was fun to see how excited they were to do something as daring as to actually SIT on a motorcycle. :deal



    Obligatory nature shots:

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    We made our way back to Old Faithful to try and catch one more eruption.

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    This time, on the way back to camp, it was my turn to snap a pic of MY odo, as the Strom clicked over 59K. Oddly enough, it happened at exactly the same spot as my wife's "odo moment" the evening before. Strange, pithy, banal, but true.

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    #29
  10. De Trommelslager

    De Trommelslager Been here awhile

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    Figured I would drop my first ADV post here! Have been lurking for some time, so may as well join the fun! :evil

    While this RR may not be mud, rocks and flops, I am still thoroughly enjoying the virtual journey. Sure makes me want to take a vacation and hit the road. Great report; keep it coming!
    #30
  11. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    JHEEEZZE THATS A BIG BUFFALO SUMBITCHIN BISON,Im amazed more people dont get offed with those monsters strolling around.

    One of those suckers has a bad hair day or hangnail it could stomp 20 tourists from Poughkeepsie before they knew what happened.

    Keep your wits about you and some more food shots would be fine,Im starving.
    #31
  12. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    I shoulda taken a pic of the pork tenderloin that I BBQ'd for dinner tonight. :dg

    I'm gonna do a tri-tip tomorrow night to take up to Reno for the weekend. You'll be well fed. :deal
    #32
  13. Treadless

    Treadless Long timer

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    A little help for when you decide it's time for a new avi. Or finish this report. :evil


    Finish this sentence... I'm so happy I could ____.


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    :lurk
    #33
  14. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    :lol3:lol3:lol3
    :rofl
    #34
  15. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    You're getting kinda fussy in your old age, aren'tcha? :evil

    The looks come from watching the very nice ladies try desparately to lift their little fat legs over the seat, dragging their shoes across the upholstery, and tipping the bike over to the right. It's a good thing I'm as big as I am or else one of them woulda worn the damned thing like a hat. :1drink

    I'll work on this report this weekend. Work (sucks) has been busy, and the Airhead had a nice little mechanical issue on the way home one night last week. :bluduh
    #35
  16. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    We left YNP on a nice, partly-cloudy morning. Our destination for the day was somewhere on the Eastern side of Beartooth Pass. We were just playing things by ear at this point.

    Sitting in more construction:

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    The ride through Lamarr Valley was one of the most beautiful that we've ever been on. The plan originally was to be in the valley one of the mornings that we were in YNP, so that we could have a chance to see wolves. There are two or three packs that have been frequenting Lamarr, and there's a den above the valley to the South. The rub was that we'd have had to be up before dawn, in the rain, and ridden the 45 miles through road work to get there. Vacations are supposed to be fun, and that didn't wound like much fun to me at all.


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    The road gained elevation as we headed into Cooke City, and the clouds started tho thicken up as well.

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    The rain started to fall on a set of steep switchbacks, so we pulled over and geared up.
    The temps were falling quickly, and at one point I thought that we might get some snow, or at least a little hail. There was yet another construction zone at the top of the switchbacks, about 2 miles West of Beartooth Lake. Traffic stopped and a guy in a pickup came down the line with a big grin on his face, telling all of the motorcyclists in the queue that it was going to be about a 30 minute wait, and that the rain was heavy at times. A couple from Quebec was in front of us, riding a Harley. They were in jeans, sweatshirts, and athletic shoes. The spent the delay scrambling to get what rain gear they had on and situated. The woman was not amused at all at what was going on, and she was giving the guy some nasty looks. :lol3
    There were some close lightning strikes, too, which caused more than one concerned comment from other riders.

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    The delay wasn't bad at all, and the worst part afterwards was being in a Conga line of slow traffic as we approached the pass. Cars ahead of us pulled away despite the rains, but there was one guy from Kansas in a full-sized American car who was bound and determined not to ever once even come within 10 MPH of the 25 MPH speed limit. :bluduh I'm also guessing that being from Kansas, he'd never seen a curvy road before, and was having a tough time adapting to his steering wheel going more than 15 degrees to either side of center. He was going to take it nice and slow, by God, and he was having none of the dozens of turnouts conveniently placed by the nice engineers. At one point, I think his brake lights were on for a full 5 minutes.


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    Okay, I've gotta be honest here: everyone that we met along the way told us that going over Beartooth Pass was an absolute "must-do", and that it was the single greatest motorcycle road in North America. Our expectations were high, and I knew that the traffic would dampen things a bit, but both Holly and I were kind of blase about the road. Sure, the views were incredible in some sections, and on a clear day the twisties might have proven to be more fun, but on this day it was just work to get over the pass. Maybe we'll have to go back and give it another go, just to be sure. :D

    By the time we got to Red Lodge, MT, we'd been on the road for about 4 hours, and it was time to stop, stretch, and eat. Red Lodge is a nice little tourist town that has a main street full of businesses that cater to the traveling hordes, of which we were a part. There were a ton of bikes in town, most of which were Harleys, and as a result, mot of the eateries were packed. We spotted a place called Bogart's, and decided that was the place to go. Bogart's offers up pizza and Mexican, and to this day I do not know what possessed us to order Mexican food so far away from Mexico, but that's what we did. It was beautifully presented, freshly prepared, and simply awful. We in California are spoiled when it comes to food from South of the Border. I'm guessing that the pizza is better, so if you ever find yourself in Red Lodge, MT, and decide to eat at Bogart's, try that. :deal

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    Our server was a very nice young lady, and we chatted her up about routes out of town to Cody, which was the next major town. She knew al about Cody, but when asked about potential places to stop for the night South of there, she had no idea. She'd never been South of Cody. :huh

    We rode out of Red Lodge, headed to........................we didn't really know.
    #36
  17. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile

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    I’ve ridden these areas quite a bit and am enjoying the scenery again. Looks like you two are having a great trip! Keep up the good work and looking forward to more.
    #37
  18. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    The pic of Holly grinning like crazy in her helmet is priceless,happy girl!

    You guys got the short end of the stick on Beartooth,I rode it with no traffic,decent weather only drizzling on top,it was fun and scenic.

    Now coming back from the Mile last weekend in dark/windy/foggy/rainy with an endless pack of scared cage drivers on a twisty road with leaves blowing,that was sketchy.

    More food and rainy cold weather shots please!

    (I always,always, pass any and all cars while they are stopped for roadwork,Ive given up caring about their tender feelings,left/right it doesnt matter,they exist to be passed might as well do it then)
    #38
  19. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Looooooooooong olllld tiiime beeeeetweeen installatiooons.

    People are hanging on this report,try to move along thanks
    #39
  20. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Sorry, some of us are all caught up in that thing called work. :norton I'll try to put the final nail in the coffin this weekend.
    #40