HBN Boondocking the Nation: 16 Days, 8300mi, 1 Motel

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by HBN, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. PinIt2WadIt

    PinIt2WadIt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    SW Arkansas
    SPEECHLESS! Like iDave said....EPIC:clap

    The pics, the prose, the fortitude/opportunity/ability to do something like this...yeah, I'm jealous!

    (B-Rad aka 'Mo' from the Three Stooges here) Thoroughly enjoyed meeting and riding with ya, man...hit me up if you are going SW next time!:freaky

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    #21
  2. jigdog

    jigdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    813
    Location:
    NJ
    Very nice. You are to be congradulated!
    #22
  3. staudio

    staudio Time for a ride...

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    259
    Location:
    Peoples Republic Of Marin, CA
    great report and great photos....:clap
    #23
  4. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,533
    Location:
    Somewhere East of Omaha....
    Very nice job indeed! Great photos and writing. Thank you for taking the time to take us along.
    #24
  5. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 10 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Russian River > Daniel Smith National Forest<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    At 6:15, I quietly packed my belongings; a wet sleeping bag and poncho fresh with dew, and set forth into the cool damp morning air. I rode down Rt161 back to CA1 and the sea fog greeted me with a hazy present. Temps fell once out of the Russian River Valley hovering in the mid 40’s all morning. I rode 15 miles then stopped and put on my heated vest and gloves in addition to placing my camera on the USB charger off my 12V socket. Forced to trust my GPS for upcoming turns, I downshifted early for the slow radius curves like a rookie pilot learning IFR flying. I was hungry but had run out of propane fuel in my drainage tube shelter so Oatmeal or Coffee was temporarily out of question.
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    <o:p>The fog cleared for a moment crossing this river and I took advantage of the sunny warmth to snap a photo.</o:p>
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    I was alerted of upcoming seaside towns when “SPEED ZONE” signs materialized out of the dense fog. Fast asleep under warm beds behind drawn shutters, they seemed deserted this early waiting for the fog to clear and Sunday church services to begin. The many inns and expensive campgrounds were full with cars. Energetic surfers donned wet suits at fog obscured scenic vistas beside CA1, their eyes scanning the dark sea counting the lapping waves. <o:p></o:p>
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    The fog developed a cover of small droplets on my windscreen through which I gazed. When looking away from the screen, the drops were still in my vision and languished much like the feeling of looking at a bright light then looking away. It was time for a rest stop break and a cup of coffee. I roll into a small town and park beside two Harleys out front of Moody’s Organic Coffee Shop. I pay for a medium cup and settle in to the internet café seating space to write the remainder of last evening’s journal.
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    Casually eavesdropping on local patrons discourse of housework and building permits, I scribble on my pad, check my email and sip my hot coffee. A young couple seated in the outdoor patio are busy surveying my bike and stickers so I wrap up my journal entry and exit the warmth of the café. Silas rides a 2-stroke 250cc dirt bike and has always dreamed of buying an adventure touring bike to ride to Alaska. We discuss the merits of my VStrom vs others and he gives me advice on tracking down a propane canister for my stove. I roll up to Fort Bragg and begrudgingly spend $7.50 for a $4 propane bottle at an Outdoor Store then continue north into the fog.
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    This location was featured in a popular "Amazing Roads" email. I had to stop and take my own photos :eek1
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    I snap a few flower photos along the way and before I know it, the fog lightens and the sun is soon shining through in brilliant morning warmth. <o:p></o:p>
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    Turning away from the coast, temperatures rise 20 degrees as I climb the twisty carless road into the dark Redwood forest.
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    The technical twists and turns of this section of CA1 are as good as the Tail of the Dragon and I scrape a peg a few times. Within the 15mi till its ends at Hwy 101, I pass two sport bikes tearing up the twisties.
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    I follow signs for the “drive thru tree” and pay my $3 to drive in and park at the Chandler Tree.

    This is the gravel road into the small park.
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    Now that is an old tree!
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    While here, I remove my thermal under layers, heated vest and lube my chain.

    Taking a rest in a comfy chair:nod
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    A mile down the road, I stop at The Peg House store/music venue for a sticker. Airing out my sleeping bag in the 80F temps and direct sun, I ask the clerk about route information heading north and he gives me a free map of the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic secondary road through the Redwood Groves.
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    Never seen one...have you?
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    The Living Chimney Tree which you can go inside.
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    The impressive virgin growth Redwoods leave me in awe. I struggle to comprehend their extraordinary scale and age as the road twists among them, reflective markers identifying commonly hit trees on the Ave.
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    Some sense of scale...wow!
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    I grab a cup of coffee at the visitor center and savor it over a walk through the quiet canopy shaded grove across the street. The struggling beams of sunlight dance over iridescent green ferns dotting the needle strewn floor.
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    Tree Hugger!
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    The hiking trail goes THROUGH this tree :nod
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    I continue along the Ave for another 15 miles then reluctantly rejoin Hwy 101 for Eureka.
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    Temperature falls to the lower 60’s as I approach the coast and the Humboldt Bay greets me with a light wind and the dense scent of the salty sea.
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    I pass through Eureka looking for a North Coast Brewery but fail to find it in passing. Oh well…having eaten little today, I don’t have the stomach for a beer.
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    Riding takes little energy and I typically snack on fruit and nuts rather than meals weighing my gut and lightening my wallet. Rolling into Arcata, I pass a Honda Superhawk rider pulled over by the CHP, his buddies waiting on the overpass above. I quickly check my speed, 50 in a 55, I’m safe.<o:p></o:p>
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    The remainder of the ride up 101 is a freeway or fast two lane.

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    I pass over the Salmon and Kalamath Rivers then take a rest top at Misty Woods when I spy Babe the Blue Ox and a talking Paul Bunyan.
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    As I remove my helmet, I hear him speaking to the awe-struck children at his feet. “Alright kids, at 4:30 everyday I have to meditate to cleanse my thoughts and body. I will see you all in the morning.” Click. Something tells me that this NorCal hippy voice of the modern Paul Bunyan strikes a fraudulent diversion from his axe wielding, virgin growth slicing persona.

    Insert "Blue Balls" joke :brow
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    I snap a photo then continue north to Elk Valley and say goodbye to the Pacific with a sad wave.
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    I will see it again, for this I am certain. Passing through Redwood State and National Park, it shifts into the Six Rivers National Forest.
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    I decide to skip the $10 SparkPlug Motorcycle Campground in favor of a naked bath in the cold East Fork of the Smith River.
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    Air Dry!
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    A dinner of Rice with Picante sauce, coffee, snickers and a pipe of Cavendish help me to relax in the final light of the day. I write this day’s journal then retire to my hammock only slightly awoken by passing trucks on the nearby road.<o:p></o:p>
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    #25
  6. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 11<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Smith Recreation Area, CA > Burns, OR<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I slept cool in the Hammock, only waking at 2:30 to reinflate my leaking air mattress. My alarm sounds at 6, I push the snooze button on the brilliant screen delaying the chill of rolling out until 6:30. I twisted through the canyons of the Smith River, through a tunnel, and soon I crossed over the Oregon state line as the sun struggled above the nearby peaks.
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    I attempted to fill up in Obrien, Oregon but the gas station was not yet open. This old Plymouth police car sat outside.
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    I snapped a pic of the Sunrise over a fog shrouded lake then continued to the next town for fuel.
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    The station attendant came over to help me which I thought was rather strange until I realized that they pump your fuel here in OR. I don&#8217;t really like that so I pumped my own, unsure whether to give him a tip or not. In Grant Pass, I stopped for coffee, resupplied groceries and cleaned and lubed my chain. After repacking, I worked along the Rogue River to Gold Rush, OR. The road to Crater Lake followed the Rogue River through a more arid climate than the coastal pines I had slept in the night before. Soon, I was riding down straight roads through a National Forest of towering planted pines for 50mi until arriving at Crater Lake.

    I stopped at the visitor center and jumped off the bike as a group of husband and wife Harley Riders were taking a group photo. Eager to redeem myself for the ill-returned photo at the &#8220;Welcome to Colorado&#8221; sign, they accepted my offer to photograph them. I poked through the gift store, chatted with a fellow motorcyclist inside then finally rode up the twisty entrance to the West Rim Road. The elevation around 7&#8217;500ft, the flora transitioned to struggling low flowers, spindly brush and many pine amongst the rocky landscape. When I first laid eyes upon the azure blue lake, my jaw literally dropped.
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    It is quite a sight from 1000 feet above looking down on Wizard Island and the ripples of the cool pure waters. The tour boat wake was mesmorizing.
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    I snapped some photos while stopping along the rim route and snacking on granola bars acquired during my morning stop.
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    These docile chipmunks are fat from their tourist-fed diet.
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    Self portrait courtesy of my right pannier
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    On one overlook, I met a young Swede on a DR200 purchased in Colorado, riding a three week tour through Canada then back through Nevada and Utah to CO. A very cool guy, I exchanged a card for the pleasure of signing his helmet covered in Sharpie well wishes from passing friends and travelers. It turns out he is on ADVRider.com&#8230;small world.
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    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>I descend from the former imploded volcano to a smoky forest fire wafting hazy smoke down the straight highway. I
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    turn toward the marsh lands and smell my first Buffalo, an earthy pleasant smell quite unlike cattle or pigs. They graze in large herds beside the highway. It is a shame we killed so many in our pioneering past.

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    Low on gas through the Winema National Forest, I keep the speed at a constant 50mph drone and play around on the GPS looking for the nearest gas stop.
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    It is not looking good, they are all in the opposite direction I am travelling by 50+ mi.
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    I approach the small town of Silver Lake and notice the Water Tower sticking high above the town.

    (seen to the right here in this picture)
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    There may be gas here&#8230;fingers crossed I roll in to town and spy a single pump service station 247 miles into my 5.8gal tank.
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    I fill up, have a Snickers and plug in &#8220;Helena, MT&#8221; to the GPS unit then set out east across the Great Basin. In Christmas, OR, I run into a group of ADVRider folks on BMWs riding a mostly dirt route through this high desert country. One snaps my photo before I depart with a friendly wave. I pass on the water from a blue handled well between the gas pumps.
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    I crest its easternmost limit before camping beside Hwy 2- in the dry grasses of an Oregon autumn.
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    Irrigation allows some lucky farmers to harvest grasses and hay.
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    Biggest haystack I have ever seen!
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    Say...who is driving this motorcycle!?:huh
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    A few b&w shots of the area
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    The tribes we killed.
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    Just before setting up camp, I stop to mark the end of the Great Basin.
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    I better find a camping spot. The sun is fading fast.
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    #26
  7. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    The parched soil beneath my tires spreads and cracks as I attempt to put down the kickstand in the sandy surface, eventually settling on a promising clump of grass.
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    Unknown bird calls pierce the dusk air while temperatures dip with the setting sun.
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    I make coffee, eat a chocolate granola and snickers then get in my tent, camouflaged beside the bike, both under a sand gray rain fly blending with the tan grasses.
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    A day of relaxation, laundry, oil changes and family in Helena is mighty attractive after tomorrows 500mi push east. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    #27
  8. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 12<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Hwy 20, OR > Helena, MT<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Thunderstorms rolled through just south of me after I was snug in my hidden home beside the highway. I was awoken often by passing double-hitched semi trailers and the brilliant flashes of lightening accompanying the deep rumble of high desert thunder. I rose around 5:15AM, clumsily packed the tent and gear, then set off into the still darkness of predawn, stars shimmering in the heavens.

    I watched the sun’s glow illuminate the horizon and reflect warm colors on the inky river winding beside the roadway.
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    Cresting the rise, I took a snapshot of the morning clouds then continued down into the fertile irrigated crop lands of eastern Oregon.
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    I stop for gas in Vale and note the many murals and painted historical scenes on turn of the century buildings in this stop on the Oregon Trail.
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    I continue into the fertile onion and potato growing fields of eastern Oregon soon coming to the confluence of the Weiser and great Snake River at the border town of Weiser, ID.
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    Ontario eh?
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    Crossing the river.
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    A cup of coffee brings a morning chat with a local farmer outside a McDonalds while I lube my chain. His inquiries take longer than I wanted to stop but I enjoy the company and advice for things to see on my trip through Idaho. The warmth of the low crop lands begins to fade as I wind my way up the topography with many 4000ft passes and rises usually descending back into desert and pasture land.
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    I turn around and snap a shot of the signpost marking the 45<SUP>th</SUP> Parallel, halfway between the North Pole and Equator.
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    After some time, I rise into a National Forest and take in the rich smells of pine, the recently passed rainstorm moisture evaporating from the roadway and nutritious forest floor.
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    Each turn offers views of white and blue rapids contrasting against the greenish yellow Aspens sporadically brightening up the morning scene.
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    Cold rivers flow from their headwaters down into the Salmon River cascading for miles beside the roadway.
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    White Bird Pass had a huge elevation gain and steep grades. If ever you travel this way, make sure to take the old road up by turning in Hells Canyon. I saw its beautiful twists stretch out beside me and wished I had chosen that route instead.

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    Each small town’s snail-slow 25mph speed zone warrants respect while I snap pics to keep occupied and remember the sights and architecture.
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    Kooskia
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    Grangeville, ID
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    Within no time, I turn onto Hwy 12 toward Montana pausing to photograph the road sign reading “Winding Road Next 99 Miles”.
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    I aim upstream slowly closing the 80miles toward Lolo Pass at the ID/MT border.
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    Nice place to stay a while...
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    The weather warms and I stop at a picturesque beach beside the road to cook a lunch of rice and tuna while dipping my feet in the gold-flecked shallows of the cool river.
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    Oops :uhoh
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    Back on the road:nod
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    This scenic 50mph route closely keeps with the river, workings its course along the very route that Lewis and Clark forged hundreds of years before. For me, this road and exploration into wilderness is just as personally momentous and grand.
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    The scenery, fishing (judging by the many parked trucks) and potential for outdoor enjoyment in Idaho is extensive. Continuing against the river upstream, the temperatures slowly dip while the river’s width narrows.
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    A little early in the season for these guys though.
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    Soon I am chilly and up at 7-8000 ft through Lolo Pass into Montana.
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    I hit some construction stops on the Montana side but the 70mph speed limit takes me swiftly through my first windscreen cleansing rain showers approaching Missoula, MT. I call family and check in.
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    They are following my spot and my aunt announces a spaghetti dinner will be waiting when I arrive!

    Missoula and the storm I passed:
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    Off to war...
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    Slab'n it
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    Chasing this dark storm which just dumped on Helena with heavy winds and hail...
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    Two hours on the interstate and an hour on a two lane over MacDonald Pass and I descend to Helena following the dark clouds of a retreating severe storm.
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    I arrive and quickly shower away the days of grit then sit down to the wonderful company of my family and a home cooked meal.
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    EXACTLY :thumb
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    My uncle offers me a locally brewed beer and I taste the crisp delicious “Moose Drool” Brown Ale, my first beer of the entire trip.
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    After relaxing around the house, I am given a night time driving tour around Helena followed by a stop at a downtown bar for a local IPA brewed a few stores over in the same building.
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    I show pictures and discuss my trip then we return home, change and sleep in a warm clean bed.
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    <o:p></o:p>
    #28
  9. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 13<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Rest Day in Helena<o:p></o:p>
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    I sincerely enjoy the soundest sleep of the trip and wake around 7 for coffee. We go out for an AM breakfast at a neat local earthy café.
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    I treat them to a breakfast. My uncle has Huevos Rancheros and my aunt, Oatmeal, while I enjoy a huge whole wheat pancake.
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    After our filling breakfast, we drive to the nearby motorcycle shop and I buy an oil filter before returning home for more coffee and conversation. Around noon, they drop me off downtown and I walk around taking many photos and exploring some of the local shops along the pedestrian mall.
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    I saw my first bear!
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    Never seen Ramen like that :scratch
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    Cool Mural.
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    The Cathedral is impressive and built with gold rush money.
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    A stop at the library has me chatting with the librarians hosting coffee and cookies in the lobby in exchange for completing a survey. A young woman my age overheads and begins asking me a few questions. It turns out she is a local news reporter for CBS and asks to interview me for her blog. I go outside the library where she attaches a microphone to my sweater and begins her 10 minute interview about me, my trip and my goals. I regrettably fail to take a picture of her, perhaps out of respect or shyness, and we exchange cards before bidding goodbye. I drink my coffee and hike to the historic fire tower overlooking town for some more photos.
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    After exploring more shops, I meet my uncle and aunt then continue to the outdoor patio of a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch.
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    I enjoy a delicious cup of seafood chowder and share half of my aunt’s succulent chicken sandwich.
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    After lunch, we get oil then go over to the ranch of a family friend outside of the north end of Helena. Darryl has two horses, many acres and an antique and new Mustang in the garage parked beside four wheelers and a BMW R1150RT with less than 10k mi. He offers me space and tools allowing me to accomplish my oil change in less than an hour. At 5’600 mi into the trip, I am a bit late on my service interval and the black used oil reflects that.
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    We enjoy a beer on the patio overlooking his ranch and Helena in the distance.
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    His kind wife, Carina, invites us to stay for burgers and we spend the evening relaxing telling stories and swapping advice on riding and local sights.
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    Darryl gives me a map and nice route for tomorrows trip to Yellowstone then follows it up with a slideshow presentation on his 60” HD TV of a recent trip. After many thanks and handshakes, I leave a cloud of dust riding 60mph into the darkness of the sage lined dirt road back to town. I use the washer and dryer to do a much needed load of laundry…mmmm clean clothes! I retire to bed around midnight then poke around the internet on my phone until 1:00AM before falling asleep.<o:p></o:p>
    #29
  10. FOXedupONE

    FOXedupONE Momafox can I ride?

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,618
    Location:
    Raising the cub in the foxden, B'ville,VA.
    Nice!:clap

    So you got 1 ticket?
    #30
  11. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 14<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Helena, MT > South Dakota<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I savor the last minutes of warmth in the comfort of the queen size bed then roll out, take a shower and complete packing my hear. We have a breakfast of steak and eggs soaked up with homemade drop biscuits and washed down by a stiff cup of freshly ground organic coffee. After two days of rich food, I am stuffed and feel fat. The energy is an added benefit though.
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    After strapping the finishing touches down to the bike, we drive up the mountain to visit with neighbors Don and Trina. He shows me his beautiful AC Cobra Replica and starts it up.
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    The 409 stroked V8 fires to life filling the air with sweet high octane exhaust, it’s definitively US rumble emitting for a pair of four into one exhaust pipes.
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    We only say “hi” as he must make a golf tee time. At 9:00, I suit up, take a few pics with the family outside beside my bike, and am riding by 9:15.
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    I pause leaving town to lube my chain, having avoided depositing an oily spot in their driveway. I take I-15N to US20 and can feel the action of some binding chain links. Not good. Chain wear; I will have to clean it good tomorrow but it can be such a mess (note. Bring plastic gloves in the future). The morning air is cool at 58F for the hours spent travelling at 70mph south in the cloudy gray Big Sky morning.
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    An Apache passes overhead.
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    The skies start to clear as I approach Ennis
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    Snow-capped peaks sit to my right.
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    I follow the Bozeman Trail
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    Alongside the road, I spot some Antelope but usually am not quick enough with the camera to get their front sides.
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    I fill up in Ennis and take a stretch walking around the Old West style main street munching on chocolate covered Acai berries given to me by my aunt.
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    This Saloon for Mac people ONLY! :deal
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    Traffic is really a mess:poser
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    :pierce The drivers are always ready to use their horns!
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    These posts mark the entrance of ranches all across the west.
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    I make my way up to Raynolds Pass toward Earthquake Lake.
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    Continuing on, I cover the last 70mi to West Yellowstone passing Earthquake and Hebgen Lake.

    Earthquake Lake
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    Hebgen Lake
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    Strikingly beautiful mountain reflections appear to my right over the water and the wind blows strong but bearable.
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    Past the lakes and through some marshy areas, I top off the tank in touristy West Yellowstone, enter the park, and then follow traffic to Old Faithful.
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    I'm gettnig used to this traffic now...
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    I see my first Bison in the wild on the roadside and stop for a few photos.
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    Some more tame Antelope
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    The aftermath of wildfires.
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    Evidence of underground geologic processes.
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    Arriving at Old Faithfull’s massive parking area, it is easy to get lost and turned around. There are many lodges and inns of varying status, expense and class spread by acres of parking lot.
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    I park once, get a sticker then, after discovering where the geyser is, move my bike closer and walk the boardwalk path for an hour waiting for Old Faithful to do her thang.
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    The sulpher pools and geysers on the boardwalk are otherworldly, their smell pungent punctuating the path.
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    The Colors George! The Colors!!!
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    You can see the water bubbling to the surface here.
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    It was getting close to Old Faithful time so I didn't walk the distance to and fro to this geyser.
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    I took a seat at the viewing area and watched as Old Faithful beagn to spit and spray.
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    At 3:00, Old Faithful explodes in a tower of spray and mist.
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    Mistakenly sitting downwind, the blast lands directly on me but I don’t mind.
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    Hundreds sitting in the viewing area immediately flock to their vehicles and I sit in the hourly traffic jam exodus. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
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    Back on the park’s “West Thumb Road”, I follow the slow 45 mph speed limit behind lines of RV’s and neck craning tourists.
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    Stopping affords me a brief section of open road...that is until I catch up to the line of cars.
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    I ride past Lake Yellowstone and up toward the Canyon Lodge. I take many pics while riding but the day is growing short so I avoid stopping.
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    More evidence of fire damage:
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    After Yellowstone Falls, I pass through this great valley and witness herds of hundreds of grazing bison in the late afternoon sun.
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    The road twists up and over a mountain pass with beautiful views and great turns.
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    Zooooooommmmm!
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    Speaking of fires...
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    Oh...here's the culprit. He said he started it :brow
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    Fly fishing anyone?
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

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    I stop frequently for photos and they stop traffic walking lazily across the road.
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    Representin' for the BWDR and Cat Herders!
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    This one is giving me the stink-eye. Right back atcha!:patch
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    There is a managed wild fire upwind which creates and intensity and shade to my photos as the sun slips closer to the horizon.
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    Eventually working out of the park on 212.
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    In Cooke City, the road turns into the highly discussed Beartooth Scenic Highway.
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    This ribbon of pavement was designed only for the enjoyment of the high altitude switchbacks and scenic vistas looking back toward the 10’000ft peaks of Yellowstone.
    Temperature falls as I twist higher and higher. The sun sets to my back and the distant western peaks rest shaded in dark purple and blue in my mirrors.
    [​IMG]

    Nonsense!
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    Oh! I had been looking for this place!
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    So this is what it looks like at the top of the world...
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    I spot snow up high on the pass ahead. Doubling the suggested speed limit, I climb skyward on this magnificent road to the summit.
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    Negotiating switchbacks reminiscent of the European Alps past the timberline, I finally reach the summit pass at 10’500ft.
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    I pause for a couple pics of my bike in the snow despite the 20mph winds coupled with temps in the low 40’s.
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    This snowman is fading fast!
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    The vistas here are magnificent.
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    Stopping frequently for pictures of this wonderfully engineered road, I creep deeper into the valley floor below and it grows darker.
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    Okay...when there is a chair-lift up to the road, you know you are in prime country.
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    Weeeee!!!!!
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    I see a fellow in shorts trying to take an arm-length self portrait so I pull up and ask if he'd like his picture taken :wave He is a long way from Massachusettes!
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    Wyoming behind me
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    Dark clouds are visible miles to the west, perhaps it will rain overnight.
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    Another new Wallpaper shot!
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    The descent...
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    Smoothe on the throttle.
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    Thisriver flows down beside the highway between it and the Forest Road.
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    I make it down the pass to about 6000ft and turn down a National Forest road eventually choosing to camp along a flowing stream bordering barb-wire fenced private land.
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    I make leftover beans and bratwurst with sauer kraut supplied by my aunt, check email over coffee, chocolate and a pipe then retire to my tent for a marathon writing session to cover the last three days of neglected journal entries.
    [​IMG]
    Tomorrow…South Dakota!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    #31
  12. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 15<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Beartooth Pass > Rest Stop somewhere on I-90 in South Dakota<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I&#8217;m happy I made Beartooth Pass last night. This morning I woke to a dry tent and watched the fog rolling over the mountains to the west. I packed the gear and set off for the east. By Red Lodge, the fog had really set in. I fueled up then set forth into the dense 30 foot visibility dawn and was surprised yet relieved when I came across the red taillights of a Subaru with a bicycle affixed to the roof rack. I followed him through speed zone small towns with parents guarding their children beside the wet highway waiting for the school bug. Kids with trombones, oversize jackets and pink book bags stood beside the roadway struggling to see the flashing school bus in the fog. Eventually reaching I-90, I get coffee and pie at a convenient McDonalds then set off into the cold drizzle with a slight shiver.
    [​IMG]

    After maybe an hour of riding in the cold wet conditions, I pull off for gas shivering uncontrollably as the north wind cuts right through me. I drag out my heated gear and strip to my base layers to put it on. Down the road, I am much more comfortable and happily smile as my core temperature rises. I turn off I-90 and stop at the Little Big Horn Museum and ride up the hill to the site of Custer&#8217;s Last Stand.
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    This shots for all you firearm buffs
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    Accurate dioramas
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    I chatted with this guy outside the visitor center who was having trouble with a fouling plug.
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    Upon that hill he lays, a black grave marker stands out amongst his men&#8217;s many white markers dotting the grasses.
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    Back into the chilling mists, temps are around 38F and the mean north wind attacks me for hundreds of miles across tribal lands. The speed limit is high and I stop only for gas.

    My eyes reflect the determination...
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    To stave off the bone chilling weather and boredom, I turn on some episodes of my favorite radio program: &#8220;The Story&#8221; and listen to complex tales and dramas of distant cities and cultures.

    The clouds seem to be breaking south of me but are still cool and dreary where I ride.
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    Yes...this pipe line was the most exciting thing I saw for this stretch of road.
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    Shoot! I even took two pictures:huh
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    This guy makes his bike look REALLY small. I think he was just HUGE!
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    I reach I-90 and speedily make my way to Deadwood for a snap shot of the town.
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    ZZ Top soptting in Deadwood :rofl
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    Then I ride over to Sturgis where I procure a $.49 sticker and make a cup of beans beside my bike.
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    Bunch of Jap bike parts:
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    Back on I-90, I only travel 5 miles when my cell-phone suction mount falls off at 75mph. I reattach it and resume but it soon falls off again and I angrily stuff it away in my tank bag. Rolling into Rapid City, I follow signs for Mt. Rushmore and am dismayed when I enter the city traffic then spy the &#8220;Mt. Rushmore 27 Miles&#8221; on a sign ahead. Damn! I keep on anyway not knowing if I will ever be here again and make short work of the distance there.
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    More like "City of Tourism"
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    I take a snapshot or two while rolling by, stop for a sticker, then head back to I-90 where I slab my way into the Badlands evening. [​IMG]

    Nice Fiat!
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    Out into the Badlands...
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    I begin to pass numerous burma-shave style signs for &#8220;Wall Drug&#8221; and am sucked into its vortex by the allure of 5 cent coffee and a donut.
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    I pull in and stop for my evening snack, take a free sticker then continue on my push east.
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    My beard is getting a little scraggly but nothing like this rough guy!
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    It was really only $.05!
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    Our buddy RatFink helps me finish the second cup.
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    I didn't make it to see the dinosaur :cry
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    Heavy 30mph side winds continue to hinder my progress and foreboding dark clouds blossom to the north.

    75mph kills the mpg so I keep it around 70mph.
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    A glimpse of the distant national park.
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    The sun sets behind me and I watch the changing colors of the horizon in the vibration of my rearview mirror.
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    I pass a rest stop in the dark but see the sign &#8220;Next Rest Stop 54mi&#8221; When I reach it, I welcome the break from my slabbing slant into the wind and quickly pull over the curb and around back behind the main facility building. Shielded from the wind and under the overhang of the roofline, I inflate the air mattress, roll out my sleeping bag and walk inside to brush my teeth. I cover the bike and myself with two ponchos then slide deep into my sleeping bag.
    [​IMG]

    Shielded from the wind, the back side of this rest stop is rather comfortable and I take advantage of the electrical socket to charge my Chatterbox unit. I am awaken around 1AM by the clap of thunder and flash of lightning signaling the approaching storm. I slip closer to the building under the awning akin to the insects hiding beside me in the shelter of the roofline. I fall back asleep<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    #32
  13. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    Day 16

    1000mi in 24hrs
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    (I-90 > Some Casion in Indiana)

    I sleep through the rain which mostly misses me and awake in the darkness around 5AM. Packing goes quickly and I hastily make my escape over the grass, curb and back onto I-90. I ride until my gas light comes on then fuel up and check my tire pressure. I watch the sun rise as I make for Mitchell, SD where I eat breakfast and make a brief visit at the Corn Palace.

    The entire facade is recreated each year out of corn cobs.
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    All the art up there is made of corn cobs.
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    Corny aye?
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    This thing just looked strange. Some pseudo tribal tourist thing-a-ma-jig.
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    The remainder of this day is all about big miles and crossing as many states as I can in a final push back home.

    Minnesota.
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    See ya Minnesota
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    Hello Iowa
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    It began to sprinkle in Iowa and I glanced at my radar on the phone. Looks like I am riding into the back end of a storm :doh
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    Later Harley Dudes
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    Guess I will just have to push on right through. [​IMG]

    BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE!
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    Success!
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    I ride well in to the night and stop somewhere in Indiana by a Casino at 11PM or so. After covering over 1000mi for the day, I am starting to nod off and could use the break. I pull off the interstate, ride past a marine store then down a dead-end road to a clump of trees where I string up for a four hour rest. Laying in my hammock, I watch a police car pull over an SUV on the opposite side of the interstate. Soon, a couple cop cars flash their blue lights and haul away the driver in front of the Casino. As long as they stay busy on that side of the highway I'm happy.
    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    I have just over 500miles to get home. I pack up the hammock, have a bite of beef jerkey and set off into the darkness with four hours of sleep. The miles roll past but the sun doesn't show any traces of awakening the night sky. After 120miles, I stop for fuel and breakfast in Cincinatti.

    Somewhere in Ohio, the sun begins to rise in the sky.
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    The landscape changes and I start to feel more at home.
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    In Kentucky, the fog sets in and I deal with it.
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    I lube my chain and fuel up in KY then cross the river to WV
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    :rayof
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    The Capitol Dome in Charleston, WV shimmers in the morning sunlight.
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    The wide Kanawha River
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    Leaves are starting to change as I climb higher into the WV hills.
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    I make my way back to VA, fill up for my final time and remove some heated layers and wool. It is not 85F, the warmest temperature I have seen since California!

    I-81 is back to the same old congestion.
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    My father surprises me when I get home. The first thing I do after pulling in to my driveway is give my bike a big hug and "Thank You"
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    I was running a relateively fresh set of Bridgestone Battlewings when I left.

    This is after 8500mi on the tires:

    FRONT
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    REAR:
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    RatFink and I both MADE IT!!!
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    Now to find space for all these on my panniers (I eventually do but it takes me some time...they are now full)
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    I shower and shave. Ahhhh I feel like a new man!
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    Dad picked up a meal of Ribs as a surprise so we sit down and I tell him about my trip over a Dogfish Head IPA
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    I finish the meal, clean up the dishes and our buddy George (ONandOFF) happens to ride by. We chat with him for a few hours then Dad and I get Ice Cream in town. I go to bed around 9PM, savoring the fresh white bamboo sheets of my own queen size bed.

    Monday is just another work day...though I am a changed man.
    #34
  15. mnd

    mnd Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,080
    Location:
    Fredericksburg, VA
    So you smuggled fresh fruit into California? :rofl
    #35
  16. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    They weren't taking my Fruita peaches! :nono
    #36
  17. twohawks

    twohawks Not Afraid

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,978
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley Virginia

    Wow. :bow
    #37
  18. twohawks

    twohawks Not Afraid

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,978
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley Virginia
    Great fotos...outstanding narrative. Bravo.
    #38
  19. T

    T --------------

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,114
    Location:
    DE
    Mike- Nice report, the perfect amount of flower pics. :D

    As Pirsig wrote, " On a cycle the frame is gone. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore".

    Thanks for sharing your scene.

    BTW, do your JMU friends know you travel on a UVA seat pad?
    #39
  20. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,049
    Location:
    Seat of my Ruckus
    It cost $1. Something about putting it under my backside just seemed so right. Honestly, I'm not one for sports or team spirit.
    #40