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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by PA Slammer, Sep 27, 2012.
Ahhhhh, I felt like I was home. And I wasn't in any particular place. And I was continuously moving. Yet I felt like I was home? Crazy...
So after enjoying a night at Nellis AFB's RV park, I was back on the road and heading to Death Valley. How cool is that?
So... what in the hell day of this trip was it? Six? Seven? Only five? Ah, who in the hell cares anymore!
So, out of Lost Wages, past Creech AFB, up along Area 51...
and onto one of my favorite "ME" pictures I own...
Now where in the heck is that CA welcome sign...
Seriously? California, is this the best you can do? What?
The country got cooler and cooler as I rode...
After a quick night's sleep somewhere in... OK, just somewhere... I didn't even know anymore where I was. Didn't matter either.
Freakin' temperature was getting really cold. I actually saw 23 degrees this day! I had my heated gloves and heated jacket on to take the edge off though.
Although... OK, I have to be honest here. You guys will love this. Like I said, I ain't no motoman. I own the cool shit, but never get to use it. I barely know how to use it. I guess you could compare me to Ewan. Now I ain't bagging on Mr. McGregor, he has done a whole hell of a lot more than me. But guys seem to love giving him a rough time. In my book though, he's out there doing it. Crew or no crew, support or no, he's having fun, doing something he loves. That's cool in my book. And I was out there doing my thing as well... So what was I saying? Oh yeah, you guys will love this... long story short, I don't know shit...
So my jacket was heating up nicely, but my gloves, not so much. I was pissed actually. These gloves are expensive! I had the heated grips on as well, and my hands were chilly still. What gives? So I decided to take things off and investigate why my gloves seem cold. Did you guys know that plugging in your gloves to your sleeves of your jacket is only half the battle? Yeah, turns out you have to ALSO plug the "second" plug in that little pocket of your jacket, into the bike. Who knew there were two plugs? What a moron.
Ahhhhh, much better. Yeah, two little knobs on my controller... one for the jacket and one for the gloves. WOW, waht a great idea, huh?
I can't even put into words how gorgeous it was riding along the Clearwater River. Amazing riding... and it was now snowing! Amazing.
Again, I had to ask myself, "What was I doing here?" I really didn't qualify to be doing this.
Yeah... it was cold.
So time for a little story tellin'.
I rode from somewhere up and over to the WA border, took a quick pic of the welcome sign and made my way through the northern..ish part of ID. I had the best ridding ever. Unbelievable... However, I was a bit concerned with the weather and forecast. It was cold, but clear, however is was supposed to start snowing and I now had a storm on my heals. I moved on through the MT border to Bozeman for the night. Stayed in a hotel, the temps and pending weather was just too much for me to process. I didn't need a night outside. I needed a warm bed and a TV with the weather channel.
Actually... I could have done without the weather channel. Watching what was coming just made me nervous. Now I don't want to sound like snowmageddon was coming, but ANY snow would be difficult for me to deal with...
So why did I push into MT? Well, I was now on a quest. I wanted to ride and I wanted to see all those welcome signs. Every time I saw one I got so excited. It was sooooo cool doing this. So far, I had gotten every one! All I had to do was get across MT, drop down into WY for a quick pic, back up to the highway and head over to ND. Then I would start dropping down; across SD, over to the southwestern corner of MN, a short side trip into NE... well you get the picture.
However, RIGHT NOW I WAS IN FREAKING MONTANA... IN OCTOBER... ON A MOTORCYCLE... What was I doing? I felt like the snow could start any day and there I would be until spring... Sounded great actually, but I had to wrap this up eventually and get back to reality. I couldn't afford to get stuck for a couple days, or a week, or anything.
OK, last post for awhile, I can hear my boys wanting to play Legos with me.
So, I got a not so restful night's sleep and woke up. Quickly rose out of bed and...
sure enough, snow on the ground. But it didn't look like too much and the roads looked clear. I started to feel better. Not great, but better. I still had a very nervous feeling in my stomach, but I thought I'd be OK.
So I had breakfast and gave it an hour or so to get light out. Jumped on the bike and headed out of Bozeman.
Now, I didn't know much about Bozeman, but turns out, it sits a little lower than the surrounding area and in fact, just 15 minutes or so out of town the highway starts to climb.
So I climbed a bit in elevation. Now the cloud ceiling was already low. Now I was climbing up into the clouds... until finally we met.
And in a blink of the eye, I was in a whiteout! You had got to be kidding me!
So the highway led into a mountain pass, and conditions went from a little snow on the ground to a no kidding snow storm. Huge flakes of snow were coming down. The snow on the sides of the road started to show more and more drifts and chunks from where the plows had been busy all night keeping clear! The speed limit was 75, but I had already slowed down to about 45...
The big rigs started to pass me. The slush and snow on the road were terrible. I was freaking out. Every time I got passed, the trucks would spray shit all over me. My helmet visor was covered with an inch of ice and I had to keep it flipped up, but quickly flip it down when passed and then hurry up and flip it back up after I was passed as I couldn't see anything but a blur through the ice. This was ridiculous. I couldn't turn around. There were mountain cuts / hillside cliffs on my right and a snow filled median to my left! No exits! I had now slowed down to about 25 mph and had both feet dragging on the ground in a wide stance in case my front tire slid out.
Now at 25 mph I wasn't too worried about going down. Yeah it would hurt for sure, but I had on tons of protective gear and layers of jackets to keep me warm. I'd survive a fall. However, what really worried me was the traffic behind me rolling over me like one big chunk of snow! I was pissing my pants.
So, 15 minutes out of the hotel I hit this... and 15 more minutes I was at the top of the pass... Now controlling your speed going up hill is easy... just lay off the throttle. Now I was going down hill and I had to down shift to keep slow. And the back tire would just slide around. THERE WAS NO WAY I SHOULD STILL BE UPRIGHT! I should have been laying in a ditch. And then I saw... what is that... something glowing... a stop light??? no... those are police lights... Off in the distant fog and clouds of the storm I could barely make out a police car in the middle of the road. What the hell? Was the highway closing? Was there going to be an exit I could pull off? Nope! There was a jack knifed tractor trailer off the shoulder and half way on the road. Great, now I had to change lanes and move over to the fast lanes. I had no mirrors either, as they were both splattered and covered with frozen slush from the passing rigs. And I couldn't turn to look behind me as I would surely crash. So... just start to ease over a bit...
And as quickly as it started... I broke out into the clear. Yep, that's it. I pulled over and looked around in disbelief. The top of the pass was completely engulfed in clouds. I was now in the clear. This was too much for me to take in. I thought to myself, I would not be able to do this again. So I chiseled off the ice, got back on the bike and called my wife. I ask her, calmly, to please get on the computer and see if she could google earth some elevation maps for the highway I was on. She was like "What?" I just said please do it.
Well it turns out, I would be fine the rest of the day. The passes were all low and the weather was behind me. So, the question now was, "Do I continue to try and head into WY. It would mean a right turn, head south for 35 minutes, hit the border and turn back to get to the highway where I started. About an hour and a half. I had hoped the weather wouldn't catch me and decided to finish what I had started. I headed to the WY border...
Dude I want to hear the rest of the story! I'm doing a career change next year, and will have quite a bit of time for traveling...you're giving me some ideas!
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Hey me again.
Side commentary for a minute... You know anyone in the military? Any of you guys? Well, for what it's worth, some of the shit we are required to do is so FREAKIN stupid!!! Our exercises and inspections are nothing but a bunch of bullshit! I've spent the last few weeks in and out of getting ready for our huge inspection and let me just say, we're totally out of our minds. Why do we do what we do? Now don't get me wrong, when we actually have to go to war and get a job done, we always do well. But when it comes to exercises and inspections... we're out of our minds. It feels like we write rules about rules some times. We waste sooooo much time and money on this crap, when it could be better spent on the guys over in the sandbox. Why do we have to practice this stuff anyway, when we are actually over there doing it? Arrrrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!!!
P.S. please don't put me in the basement because I got a little political. Just think of it as you letting a military guy blow off a little steam. OK, I'm better now... even though I'll never get those few weeks of my life back, EVER! Argh.
So, I made it passed the big bad mountain passes of Montana and had set wheels down in Wyoming. Time to get back headed in the right direction... AND finish this damn trip report.
It was really crazy seeing this sign. The ability to put ourselves into places that we can't imagine being... and then figuring out how to get out of them. That my friends is the definition of adventure!
A few more miles to cap this day off...
The rest of the day was filled with scaring pheasants out of the brush on the side of the road. Every time I would stop paying attention, it seemed one of those damn beautiful birds would come flying out of nowhere and scare the hell out of me! Onto Pierre, SD to find a room for the night.
But, little did I know that it happened to be prime time pheasant hunting season. Almost every hotel was booked. WTF? After the 5th hotel... score! One room left. Ahhhh.
The next morning, bright and early, I was on the road. My mind at ease. All the hard stuff behind me. I still had many more miles to go, but the tough stuff was over and my mind wondered as much as my motorcycle had over the last few days.
It would have been nice to write as I went. Not enough time though. And it would have been such a different trip. To have the time to write would mean less time on the road each day. Now yes, I had the miles to do in the time frame I had, but I didn't really feel hurried. I simply felt like I needed to ride. To burn up a set of tires for nothing better than... hell I don't know why. Or.. maybe I do, I just can't find the words to describe it. It's that reason I was trying to describe and talk about in the beginning of my thread; GET OUT THERE AND DO THOSE THINGS YOU REALLY WANT TO DO IN YOUR LIFE.. It'll be over too soon. Now I ain't dying or anything. But I have had a few years pass me by like I was sitting still. How do people let that happen. Why do we waste that precious time? Quite simply... it's a gift.
Cool sign on some back road... These ones are always the coolest.