VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by viola-tor, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    yeah, that's what I'm talking about! :lol3 I bought the bike in July, it's now November and I've only washed it (with soap) once, and that was to prep it for the paint saver! It stayed surprisingly clean over my whole summer adventure, the pics make it look like I'm a total n00b (which is probably true...).
    #81
  2. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    I now possess one of the baddest all-around motorcycles ever forged by man, capable of feats I’ve yet to dream of let alone understand. I guess I should learn to use it! Everyone else is working, sooooooo...

    If things would’ve gone according to plan I would have upgraded my motorcycle later this year and hopefully enrolled in a dual-sporting clinic like Neduro’s or Jimmy Stewart’s to help get me acclimated (since I didn’t grow up riding a dirt bike, or any motorcycle for that matter! I was an adult beginner). Well, I guess “the plan” was not to be, and here I am in Utah with a KTM 990 Adventure. Gaw-Lee!

    The KTM decides to take me into Hyrum Canyon, the Blacksmith Fork area near Logan. Here we go...

    It starts out easy enough.

    [​IMG]


    I’ve never done “off-roading,” but I’ve been down plenty of gravel roads, and lately I’ve been taking my street bike places it probably isn’t appropriate. I got Neduro’s DSR DVD and have been devouring literature about “adventure style” riding, so academically I understand what’s supposed to happen under my two wheels, but I’ve yet to experience these things myself. Scary fun!

    Hmmm, getting more interesting:

    [​IMG]

    Damn, I’m slow, I wish I had one gear lower. I suppose that 16 tooth front sprocket I hear so much about is in my future.

    This hill had cool looking red dirt which reminds me of Oklahoma (the dirt, not the hill :lol3 ).

    [​IMG]

    There were some Jeeps rolling around here and there, but I was pretty much by myself. Being new to this type of thing I brought a few items I hope I don’t need: Tie-down straps, tire irons, tire kit, first aid kit, snacks, water, and my new snazzy red gas jug (which I seriously doubt I’ll need, but like I said, I’m a beginner). The soft luggage is a real PITA to remove, so I pile everything inside and figure that they’ll help pad a tip-over if it comes to that. I very much want to avoid crashing alone, so I’m being uber cautious.

    I’m also operating without a map. I couldn’t find one online anywhere and daylight was burning, so off I go armed only with my sense of direction and memory. Hoo-boy... Sometimes there are “trail head” kiosks that have a large map printed on them, in which case I usually snap a few pictures to refer to if necessary, but no such luck this time. I do photograph any signs I come across, just in case I get turned around. Might help...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I’m not in tune with how time and distance passes riding like this. Usually when I’m hiking I can kinda gauge how far I’ve come and how long it will take to get back, and the same goes for when I’m sport-touring. My viola practice is similar too in that I can pace my session with my internal clock to achieve my daily goals. I don’t have any idea how to do this riding off pavement! A learning experience for sure... I’m concentrating and working so hard I have a hard time keeping track of how long I’ve been out and how far I’ve come. The bike clock is still on Pacific time (and it’s that annoying military time too) so that’s no help, ‘cause I suck at math, especially whilst operating heavy machinery. I’d like to see this Mount Logan/Logan Peak, but I get the willies and turn around at this sign, having gained quite a bit of elevation. I’d really like to come back with a proper map, and maybe a friend!

    How come down is scarier than up? I think for going up I know that I can stop anytime I want, the brakes and gravity combined will end the panic quickly, whereas descents are trickier (at least to me). Braking won’t necessarily stop me! I need to work on this.

    I make it down back to the gravel “intersection” and take a break. A few Jeep Rubicons roll past and I feel kinda bad-ass knowing I’m hanging with specialized off-road equipment. Yes, I know this is pretty damn tame riding, but I’m breaking new personal ground here! It’s exciting! Share in my joy... :marc

    [​IMG]

    I turn right and head to Left Hand Fork, which is even represented on my AAA map as an “unpaved” road. This should be fun!

    And it is:

    [​IMG]

    Whoooo! It’s beautiful, and no traffic, no cops, no speed limit (like it’d even matter, I’m S-L-O-W...). I can see why guys get addicted to this, and I’m almost there. The air feels and smells good. I’m hot, but not too uncomfortable with all my vents open, although I wish I was comfortable going a little faster for some extra air flow. With my new bike I can finally stand up and ride like everyone suggests, even though I think bar risers for my 6’3” bad self are on the short list too.

    Did I mention the suspension on this thing? There are a couple sections where I have to turn around to ride again just because it feels good to compress the forks. I’ve got about double the suspension travel I’ve ever had on a bike before, so I keep having to pinch myself to see if I dreamt that last whoop, hole, or rock that crossed beneath me. Oh man, I’m in love...

    [​IMG]

    I know how to get “out” to Hyrum Canyon, but now I’m feeling confident and have plenty of gas and daylight left, so up another trail I go, and this one has ominous signs:

    [​IMG]

    I’m huffing and puffing, sweating and grunting as I scrape my way onward. All the tutorials I’ve been reading and watching say to stay loose, relaxed and poised on the handlebars, but it’s hard to implement as I don’t know what to expect from me or my machine. I’m also starting to see why off-roaders wear the things they do: goggles (as my face gets scratched from another tree branch, again), jersey’s (hot in my jacket), MX gloves (there’s not a lot of room for my armored knuckles under the clutch lever), and boots (for obvious reasons, I’m trying to be really careful in my combat-style boots). A whole other world of motorcycling! I’m so into this. I guess I have to buy more gear, darn. Guess what color!!!

    [​IMG]

    It’s getting pretty rocky, but I press on. I’m appreciating the brush guards and wind screen which are moving the branches out of the way for me.

    [​IMG]

    Satisfied that I’ve gone farther than is recommended for passenger cars (whoo-hoo!) I turn around and take a little Clif-bar break next to the stream. These whacky tires are still a mystery to me... So much to learn...

    [​IMG]

    Damn, somebody laid down brand new pavement for me, looks like this very morning! I’ve never seen such a black road and such vivid painted lines. It might be partly my perspective after coming off jeep trails...

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    I head on up to Hardware Ranch just because, and low and behold, a OHV trail system parking area! Awesome! I’m out of time for today (and energy), but I take pics of the maps for later (hopefully!).

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Okay, that’s enough for today, I’m tired, hungry and excited about my first real dirt test with my ridiculous orange monster. I'd guess about fifty miles off pavement and another fifty or so back on road. Success! And no “naps” either. I must be doing something right...

    The night is for fragging my friends with plasma rifles and rocket launchers... and with style!

    [​IMG]

    Show me yer WAR FACE!!!

    [​IMG]
    #82
  3. xdbx

    xdbx Motorcycle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,503
    Location:
    NorCal
    From one music aficionado (drum & bugle corps) to another, you're only allowed to play halo on an xbox! :lol3

    Great report! I love the report, but it's really terrible to have to stay up so late every day to read it. The poor folks in eastern time are having a hard time keeping this up! :clap
    #83
  4. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    There’s many fun things for me to do here in Logan, and I must say it’s pretty nice not to have a schedule!

    Going to the movies with my girls:

    [​IMG]

    Bonfires:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Also taking little day rides in the area (with a lovely passenger!):

    [​IMG]


    Utah has these great little hamburger/dairy stops in just about every small town. The food and ice-cream is comically cheap, so we make bacon cheeseburgers a regular habit with big-ass ice-cream cones for dessert. The cone’s prices are in cents! You just don’t see that everywhere... Note the “Fry Sauce.” It’s some sort of vinegar/tomato dipping sauce that is kind of a Utah thing. Tasty!

    [​IMG]


    Sometimes I infiltrate the orchestra pit to harass and annoy the worker bees. Pit playing is an interesting beast. Often a production has a long run, so the musicians get very familiar with their parts after a while. As the familiarity goes up so do the pit pranks and jokes. Since the audience can’t usually see the pit musicians sometimes the shennanigans and inside jokes get pretty whacky. I’m an outsider this year, but it’s still fun to stir things up during intermission...

    [​IMG]

    It’s not ALL playtime for me, I do need to keep my practicing up for my upcoming auditions. I find that it’s hard to squeeze in a significant amount of practice time with all these fun activities available to me!

    Still life: My days in Logan. The beauty of nature, beer, and music! (and a plate...)

    [​IMG]

    You never know what’s going to happen in the music business, so it’s good to stay active and maintain professional and social contacts (which is probably true for most any profession!). I may want to play in the Utah Festival Opera Company again someday, and I also want to have some musical contact with my friends, so the music director let’s me sit in for one of the concert performances on stage. I wasn’t about to haul my tux and shoes with me across country along with all my other gear, so I set up an appointment with the company costume shop. This opera company is a big deal in this part of the country and in the summer they truck in sets and costumes from all over the place, including renting stuff from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Professional wardrobe personnel, wig makers (these gals’ work seems to never end!) set builders/painters, and production and lighting designers are all here living in Logan for the summer, the works.

    The costume and fitting shop:

    [​IMG]

    I joke with the costume crew as they run down the basement and find me a full tux (jacket, pants, shirt, bow tie AND shoes) in a matter of minutes. For some reason there’s an oven in the shop and some chocolate chip cookies come out just as I’m leaving. Score! This is pretty cool.

    We stop for a quick photo on the way to the concert hall:

    [​IMG]

    When I take pictures on my trips they're usually of the things that are fascinating and beautiful to me (like motorcycles! :evil), usually things that are out of the ordinary. When showing the photos of my adventures to others people often ask where the pictures of the music and musicians are. Oh yeah, I forgot about that! Concert settings are a difficult place to take pictures with the low, indoor lighting (and using the flash on stage is verboten!), and when I’m working my mind and hands are busy, and so is everybody else’s, so photos of the musical action are usually sparse, but I’m trying to get better! I suppose pics like these would be interesting to others!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Backstage some of the other pros want to try the Black Death. Most reactions upon seeing the viola are suspicious “Does it actually sound good?!?” Then after the individual tries it for a few minutes they often say, “Wow, it really sounds like a viola,” and “Huh, I kinda want one!”

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The concert is no big deal, a little fun menagerie of arias and show pieces, kind of a “pops” type program, but it’s fun to be on stage with all my buds again and to show off my new avant garde instrument.
    #84
  5. Wildabeast

    Wildabeast Wide Open

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    307
    Location:
    Vermont
    Loving it! :thumb
    #85
  6. Peka

    Peka Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,013
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    +1 Keep it coming
    #86
  7. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    As I’ve mentioned several times I like hiking. I LOVE hiking. The higher the better! Walking is okay, but actually hiking out in the trees, mountains and sunshine brings great happiness to me, especially if I can get there via motorcycle. I call the combination of these two passions “Motorhikeling.” Clever, eh?

    I’ve been having so much fun goofing off I haven’t hiked a lot so far this trip, but I do manage to round up a few folks to hoof it over to Crimson Trail, which is only a few minutes up Logan canyon from the orchestra housing. I’ve hiked this trail many times over the years and I love and hate it every time. It’s steep up, then flat on the top along beautiful cliffs, then steep down, I think around three to four miles round trip. It’s a serious workout if you push it (which I do!). Damn, it feels good to be out again... There’s so many great little (and big) hikes around here, but this one is still my favorite because of the great view as a reward, the incredible exercise, and the close proximity to town.

    The reward after the climb:

    [​IMG]

    On the way down (I dig those orange pants!):

    [​IMG]

    I’ve seen a few rattlesnakes from time to time on previous hikes, but this was the closest call so far. If he would’ve decided to strike I’m sure he’d have hit me! Luckily he rattled and started moving away instead. I damn near stepped on him.

    [​IMG]

    After the hike we feel we’ve earned some Aggie Ice Cream, made by the dairy school at Utah State. If you’re passing through stop in and get some, it’s extremely creamy! The raspberries on top are locally grown from the “fruit highway” near Ogden, famous for it’s delicious fruits, canned by an enthusiastic opera musician. Mmmmmmm...

    [​IMG]

    The line for Aggie Ice Cream is often out the door, but it’s worth the wait.

    [​IMG]

    Boy I sure am tired, but the boys can’t seem to get enough of my Halo ass-whuppin’, so I guess duty calls until the wee hours once again.
    We finally let Eric win a game. OMG, one of the funniest moments I can remember ever, the pic doesn’t relay the hilarity of the situation. I think I threw out a rib. It’s amazing how intense “virtual” experiences like this can be! The competition is very real indeed... Post Game Carnage, and how!

    [​IMG]

    Tired now, bed time at last. Tomorrow is another big riding adventure post, with a twist! :evil
    #87
  8. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Thanks guys, it's good to know someone out there is reading my report! More soon...
    #88
  9. Footprint

    Footprint Rat race Dreamer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,905
    Location:
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    :lurk :slurp :lurk :thumb
    #89
  10. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,731
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Heheh! I am enjoying all this violation. I watched How it's made on Discovery channel and they were showing how these carbon fiber violas are made.
    #90
  11. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Well, we might as well all see it, eh? There's a few "errors" in it, but I found it very helpful and informative when I was considering the carbon fiber viola.

    Part. 1

    <object height="344" width="425">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/J_gI3chGtww&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="344" width="425"></object>
    #91
  12. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Here's part 2. Also notice the comments for both vids. Many are negative, even though most also mention that they haven't actually heard one! It's all the player...

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/X-A7K4TPT2k&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/X-A7K4TPT2k&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
    #92
  13. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Now I&#8217;m warmed up with the Orange Freak, let&#8217;s try some more dirty action!

    I plan a second day of exploring in the canyon, thinking I&#8217;ll figure out how to connect Bear Lake to Hyrum Canyon via dirt. As I&#8217;m suiting up a friend offers to do a photo shoot of me and the new bike with his new camera (sorry, can&#8217;t remember which kind). Well, this doesn&#8217;t happen everyday! He&#8217;s headed up to Bear Lake in his car anyway and suggests we stop a couple places in the canyon for some cool shots. Okay! The only problem is that the launch time gets pushed back, back, back. Now it&#8217;s afternoon... Friggit. I&#8217;m a little worried about getting caught on a gnarly dirt path in the dark... oh well!

    I think this is the best one:

    [​IMG]

    Another:

    [​IMG]

    I brought the Black Death along too, &#8216;cause eventually I want to get some nice promo photos done of me with the viola and bike, so why not give it a test? It didn&#8217;t turn out great, but it&#8217;s something. We needed a wider angle lens to get more of the bike in there...

    [​IMG]

    The sunlight reflecting off the carbon fiber weave looks pretty cool, almost like fiber optics conducting light (it also looks super-cool under stage lights!). When I get a new &#8220;uniform&#8221; I&#8217;ll have some nice photos made, hopefully in some bad ass, off-road scenery if I can coax a photographer out to the boonies...

    Uncle Paul and I made four stops for the photo shoot, then he headed on to Bear Lake as I cruised up to Tony Grove, since I hadn&#8217;t seen it this summer. Nice little road up there with some new pavement!

    [​IMG]

    No hiking this time, I&#8217;m on a moto mission! Let&#8217;s get to some dirt already, sheesh... After some ice-cream! This part of the state is renowned for it&#8217;s fruit, raspberries in particular near Bear Lake (where a raspberry festival is held every summer). In Garden City (which is where UT Hwy 89 bumps into Bear Lake&#8217;s west shore) there are a number of establishments trying to make you fat with their famous raspberry milkshakes, burgers, fries, onion rings, ect. It&#8217;s a great little topper for a half day ride to have an ice cream break in the middle!

    These things are huge! I think it&#8217;s better to split them, they&#8217;re seriously gluttonous.

    [​IMG]

    Lot&#8217;s of beach goers getting lunch, I spy this nice one in line. :evil

    [​IMG]

    But, as if to punish me for my wandering eye (and camera), I also see this. :eek1 Be careful how many of these shakes you eat!

    [​IMG]

    There are usually a handful of bikes coming and going, and this pristine honda six-cylinder pulls up. Wow, this guy takes great care of his bike, it&#8217;s flawless! Like it&#8217;s been in a time warp. It&#8217;s in better shape than my KTM which is only days old...

    [​IMG]

    I stop in at the gas station for some advice about where to turn off to access my intended dirt path. Along the side of the store there is a BMW F-650 Dakar with all the tell-tale signs of a gritty adventure bike, so I circle the parking lot to have a look. No ADV stickers on it anywhere, but otherwise it looks like it&#8217;s on a big trip. I glance around to see if the rider is about, then continue about my business.

    A really nice attendant dude in the store gives me a detailed map of the whole valley for FREE and points out the route for me. It&#8217;s amazing what a little friendly conversation can accomplish! Great guy.

    As we're chatting another man approaches and in a European accent asks if I know about BMW&#8217;s, motioning to the BMW roundels on my sleeves of my Rally II suit. I answer &#8220;yes, I know a bit about them&#8221; and notice he&#8217;s wearing a BMW baseball hat. He proceeds to tell me that he&#8217;s broken down and asks if I know where the nearest BMW service station is. I&#8217;m a little confused and assume he&#8217;s talking about BMW cars (he&#8217;s wearing street clothes), but after some more dialogue I realize he is the rider of the F-650. We sit outside as he tells me about his adventure, and he&#8217;s visible upset. It&#8217;s interesting though, he seems to be dodging some of my questions.

    &#8220;Where are you from?&#8221;

    &#8220;Europe.&#8221;

    &#8220;Yeah, where in Europe?&#8221;

    &#8220;The north.&#8221;

    &#8220;Oh?&#8221;

    [pause]

    &#8220;Denmark.&#8221;

    He gradually starts to open up as I explain that I can probably help him. As we visit I learn that he&#8217;s been touring North America for nine months! Damn. As the discussion progresses he also tells me that he&#8217;d never been on a motorcycle before preparing for this trip. He got some rider training in Denmark and then bought the bike in New Mexico to start the trip. Damn, a real adventurer! He&#8217;s distraught almost to the point of panic because of his broken-down bike which also confuses me a little (since it IS a motorcycle adventure, after all. Break-downs seem to be a regular occurrence, at least for me!).

    Needless to say I changed my plans for the day right then and there in the spirit of good moto-karma. I&#8217;ve been assisted more times than I can count on my motorcycle adventures by selfless folks who just want to give the gift of giving, and now it&#8217;s my turn. I have the knowledge, the means, and the time to help out this global adventurer, so that&#8217;s what I&#8217;ll do.

    We continue to talk as I brainstorm the options, and I start to see why he&#8217;s so guarded with his speech. He&#8217;s no doubt had the exact same conversation with Americans ten times a day for months on end, and he finally reveals that his &#8220;shut-down&#8221; answers shorten the exchange. Too bad, in my opinion, part of the fun of traveling is opening up to other people and in exchange them opening up to you, but I digress. By his own admission the Danish are not as &#8220;forward&#8221; with their emotional state as we Americans. And what do I know? This guy&#8217;s been traveling for months, so maybe when I&#8217;ve traveled in his shoes I&#8217;ll feel similar...

    I&#8217;m impressed with his gear, fully ATGATT astride one of the most proven world-ride machines outfitted with many tasty farkles: Jesse Luggage (albeit missing ADV stickers), dry-bags, laptop, GPS, full camping gear... This guy did his homework! I feel that I did a lot of research as a beginner but I continue to learn and have yet to embrace some of the sensible technologies that Jesper the Dane uses.

    I assure him repeatedly that breakdowns are no big deal, in fact I&#8217;m surprised it took him nine months! I add that many times the break-down turns out to be one of the most memorable if not the best part of a motorcycle trip, due mostly to the way people come together to aid a vulnerable adventurer. I&#8217;m not sure he completely believes me. He want&#8217;s his bike fixed NOW. (I&#8217;m unable to diagnose the breakdown with my limited knowledge, my guess is something to do with the charging system, battery, or injection system, but these are only guesses, it&#8217;s beyond my expertise &#8220;in the field&#8221;).

    The nice guys at the store tell us we can leave the bike locked behind the store out of sight for the night, and I convince Jesper that he should ride back to logan with his bare-essentials on the back of my KTM to hang with my musicians for two nights. I promise him his own room with a clean bed and private bathroom, plus some lively company with the after-opera-performance musician crowd. If the timing works out perhaps I can even take him to a performance! On Monday we&#8217;ll return with a car and trailer that I&#8217;m sure I&#8217;ll be able to borrow once I explain the situation so that I can take him to the Salt Lake City BMW dealer which will open on Tuesday. For being an emotionally reserved northern European I thought I detected a tear of happiness in his eye... He keeps saying &#8220;I can&#8217;t believe you are doing all this for me, you are an exceptional American!&#8221; To which I reply: &#8220;See? Breakdowns bring out the best! This kind of thing happens to me all time!&#8221;

    Jesper the Dane with a rare smile on his face:

    [​IMG]

    His stuff fits easily in my empty soft bags, so the only awkward piece of luggage is the Black Death, which I have him wear on his back for the ride back to Logan through the canyon. He&#8217;s kinda nervous about riding as a passenger, and I learn that he&#8217;s never done that before either, except for one cross-town flight of terror he experienced in Guatemala. I guess I&#8217;d be nervous too... I assure him I know what I&#8217;m doing with thousands of miles carrying a passenger and promise to be nice, with the disclaimer that I like riding twisties appropriately. :evil He didn&#8217;t quite understand that last part... I was gentle with the throttle and lean angles and we arrived in Logan no problem. After the opera players returned we arranged a spare room for him, and even got him online to email his family back home. It&#8217;s all good. Paula (my special little moto convert!) agrees to let me use her car and sweet &#8220;Trailer in a bag&#8221; for the rescue mission, and she even wants to come along in the morning, as long as there&#8217;s time for a Bear Lake raspberry shake... :beer

    We have a day to kill so I take him for a hearty breakfast with a violinist friend of mine.

    [​IMG]

    Naturally our conversations gravitate to the differences in cultures that Jesper has observed, and he&#8217;s not exactly flattering about everywhere and everyone that he&#8217;s met. He tells us that most of the news from the U.S. that is broadcast in Denmark is about the whacky gun laws we have (they have very limited gun ownership), they think we&#8217;re nuts! He also thinks the European social model is great, and wonders with frustration why other parts of the world don&#8217;t emulate the success that the Europeans have. He points this out with examples such as American&#8217;s fitness level (fat), health care (on your own), unemployment/homelessness (apparently there simply aren&#8217;t any homeless in Denmark, according to Jesper), religion mixing with politics, and others. A pretty interesting dialogue, to be sure! I guess he&#8217;s kind of a picky eater too, so he wasn&#8217;t thrilled with the cuisine in much of Mexico and Guatemala. But his report wasn&#8217;t ALL bad, he planned his route (and amazingly stuck to it! And I mean mile for mile...) from start to finish over the entire nine months to maximize his view of the mountains and curvy roads of North America. He liked that very much, as would I! When I asked him if he knew of ADVrider he said he&#8217;d done some research online, but wasn&#8217;t an inmate.

    I gave him a little tour of Logan via the KTM and explained some of the history of the Mormon culture. He was puzzled to say the least! :lol3 Then we headed over to the Tabernacle for a chamber music and aria recital (wearing our moto-gear, naturally!) featuring many of the instrumentalists and singers from the opera company. Par for the course Jesper reveals that he&#8217;s NEVER been to any sort of classical music concert. WHAAA?!?! Never??? Hmmm, I thought the Euro-System was so great, Mr. Euro-Pants... Anyway, it&#8217;s my honor to introduce him to live classical music, which is really the way it should be appreciated.

    [​IMG]

    I can&#8217;t tell if he&#8217;s bored or what (Northern Europeans...), but he told me afterwards that he got chills during a soprano aria, so I&#8217;ve done my job! :thumb

    Okay, let&#8217;s go get this bike! Yet another first for Jesper: loading a bike on a trailer. He&#8217;s VERY nervous about this. I eventually just take over and tell him I know what I&#8217;m doing (which I do, from learning everything the hard way!:dog).

    [​IMG]

    Now off to SLC! I know exactly where the BMW dealership is from previous breakdowns, grrrrrr... We lock the bike up at the bay doors and I drop Jesper off at a youth hostel a few miles away. He&#8217;s only a few days away from ending his adventure, selling the bike, and returning to Denmark. He had no job waiting for him, no plan at all, and seemed worn out and ready for the ride to come to a close. It was interesting to talk with someone who was at the end of an epic like that, whereas my much-shorter-ride is only beginning. Best of luck Jesper! (The problem with the bike turned out to be a bad spark plug wire, he emailed me a few days later.)

    Okay, it&#8217;s time to make some tracks for myself. Logan has been a great vacation and I feel rested and recharged, but it&#8217;s time to get rolling...
    #93
  14. Footprint

    Footprint Rat race Dreamer

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,905
    Location:
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    :thumb

    Karma will be good to you!!!!
    :slurp
    #94
  15. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    I&#8217;ve got two days and one night to meet my best friend Tarren (Bugman98) in Buena Vista Colorado. I know the ride is possible in one day, but I want to enjoy it a least a little bit. He&#8217;s taking two days to ride from Oklahoma, so Buena Vista is roughly half way between us and will put us within striking distance of all kinds of good riding and vast array of fourteen-thousand foot peaks to climb. Excellent...

    Paula (the owner of the &#8220;Trailer-In-A-Bag&#8221;) escorts me away from Logan for a hundred miles or so, leaving enough time for her to return for the evening opera performance. It&#8217;s kinda strange to ride &#8220;with&#8221; her in formation since we so often ride two up. Chicks in leather on sport bikes... Oh baby! It&#8217;s fun to see her carving up the turns in my mirrors. Yes, Grasshopper, you are ready... What&#8217;s that in your tank-bag map-pocket???

    [​IMG]

    It&#8217;s threatening rain so we have our suits at the ready and I go ahead and put the rain covers on my luggage. The Bear Lake view point is worth a few minutes, even if it&#8217;s overcast.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That little Ninja 500 is a great bike, no doubt. Between us we have put that motorcycle through the wringer for thousands of hard miles, and it keeps ticking away. What&#8217;s that noise? It&#8217;s a lawn-mower shaped like a motorcycle! :poser

    My rescue mission of the Dane took my off-road day from me, so we double up on the KTM down to the beach of Bear Lake, just because we can!

    [​IMG]

    The clouds look awesome as we get out into the plains and head towards Wyoming. I like riding when it&#8217;s cool and overcast like this, partly because of not needing sunglasses. We fail at finding a hip place to eat lunch, so we settle for Wendy&#8217;s salads. Ehn. Paula opts for the rain suit for the ride back to Logan. Here&#8217;s where we say our goodbyes... :cry

    [​IMG]

    On my own again. A road sonata for KTM and solo viola... I already miss my friends, but I know there&#8217;s some great adventure waiting for me in Colorado, and it&#8217;s time to get it on. I&#8217;m shooting for Flaming Gorge to camp for tonight.

    The light is getting low as I enter the National Recreation Area, so I start searching for some free camping. I bypass a couple of pay campgrounds. There&#8217;s GOT to be some freebies here somewhere... Ah HA!

    And what's this I spy? A fellow ADVrider! And not only that, a solo girl ADVrider!!! How cool is that? I must be in the right place, eh? :super

    Ms. Chiff:

    [​IMG]

    After I set up camp we sit and chat into the night about the joys of motorcycle touring. Nice. Naturally my music profession is mentioned, so I take the opportunity to play a mini-recital for her under the stars. I think it was a hit! It&#8217;s really hard to just start playing at a high level, I get much better after a warm up, even if it&#8217;s only a few minutes. What I&#8217;d like to be able to do is play like a top level musician with NO warm up, simply open the case and WHAMO!!! There it is... This is hard to do, the fingers don&#8217;t want to do that after operating a motorcycle all day, so I&#8217;m finding that I should play some easy but flattering selections to start with to give myself a warm-up lap that still leaves a good first impression. I&#8217;ll need to refine this technique over the coming months... Hey Ms. Chiff, I know you have some pics, post &#8216;em up!

    I knew I had a nice camping spot, and the morning light allowed me to get some better pics of the place. Not to shabby!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ms. Chiff rolled down to say goodbye. We&#8217;re a couple of shutter-happy riders! (that's her taking my picture! :lol3)

    [​IMG]

    She was on her way to West-Fest, which I&#8217;d never even heard of (I haven&#8217;t spent much time in the ADV rally forum), and she strongly encouraged me to come and bring the Black Death to the Rally (doesn&#8217;t that sound awesome? &#8220;Bring the Black Death to the Rally...&#8221;). Hmmmmmm, Tarren and I will be in that area, perhaps we can swing through Lake City, we&#8217;ll just have to see!

    She&#8217;s got this sweet little Kawasaki 250 (KLX?), that&#8217;d be a great bike to have as a second dual sport along side the 990, apples and oranges. Or more like Cantaloupes and Kiwis...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not that anyone here needs to hear it, but why the hell do people ride with no helmets? And more perplexing than that is why people ride with a helmet strapped to the bike instead of their head! I don&#8217;t get it, if you&#8217;re gonna bother bringing it along, why not pack it on your stupid head? It seems that this trend goes for almost all makes and models of motorcycles across the country...

    [​IMG]

    I naturally take the scenic route and find a couple of pesky mountain passes in my way as I wind my way through Colorado. :evil I have a waterproof camera (Pentax W-30), but somehow I don&#8217;t take it out for photos as I&#8217;m getting drenched up top. Cold! Whenever I find myself getting cold on my summer adventures I repeat over and over to myself in my helmet, &#8220;Not Texas Not Texas Not Texas Not Texas...&#8221; and then I feel better!

    Tarren doesn&#8217;t have all the mountainous terrain to cover coming from Oklahoma and across the plains of eastern Colorado (lucky bastard! :lol3), so he ends up getting to Buena Vista hours ahead of me. He'll just have to wait! I press on in the worsening storm, finally up and over Monarch pass, down to Salida then north into Buena Vista. Goodie...

    Just wait until you see where we get to stay!
    #95
  16. kobold

    kobold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    102
    Location:
    Ankara, Turkey
    Really interesting and fun to read RR. +1 Keep it coming!
    #96
  17. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Being a classical musician means that you&#8217;re part of a world-wide fraternity, kinda like being a motorcyclist! :thumb Both are also highly mobile, party by choice and partly out of necessity. I have friends and colleagues scattered across the country (and the world) most of whom I&#8217;ve shared rehearsals, performances, and social interaction with. I have a particularly strong connection to Buena Vista.

    In Texas I met a very talented family of musicians that I became close with, and Harvey and Jo retired a few years ago and chose to escape the scorching suburbia of Texas mega-cities in favor of small mountain town life in Colorado. On only a moments notice Jo happily agreed to house me and my friend in &#8220;the house that music built,&#8221; her dream home outside of town overlooking the Arkansas River with a view of the Collegiate Peaks. Not bad.

    The house is pretty ridiculous. Jo is an accomplished concert pianist and owns THREE Steinways, the primary one being her nine-foot concert grand piano. They designed the house themselves around that piano, with the &#8220;living room&#8221; being a performance space that can seat 60-odd concert listeners. The stage where the piano sits can also fit a small instrumental ensemble such as a string quartet and has track lighting above it. The blinds behind the piano can be raised for a view (and windows opened for the sound!) of the Arkansas River splashing away only a few feet away. Un-be-live-able. :eek1 I guess it just shows that with hard work and perseverance even starving artists can enjoy a piece of the good life!

    [​IMG]

    Jo and Harvey are true inspirations. In their seventies they are both extremely active in the things that interest them, Harvey (a flutist) being well studied in eastern meditation, Alexander Technique, Ti-Chi and other &#8220;internal&#8221; practices, Jo being a AVID adventurer. Her hobby is climbing mountains of the world. Seriously, this pocket-sized pianist climbs several 14,000&#8217; peaks PER WEEK. Most people my age can&#8217;t do that, let alone folks in their 70&#8217;s. All this in addition to being musical artists of the highest caliber. I feel lucky to be friends with such great people AND to get to perform with them on a regular basis, as I&#8217;m sort of their &#8220;un-official&#8221; violist. Sweet!

    Jo, Tarren and I go for a little local hike to stretch out:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tarren contemplating the forces of erosion whilst scratching his arse :lol3:

    [​IMG]

    Harvey and Jo are also into eating healthy, natural and tasty foods, so we eat GOOD! Buena Vista has only a few restaurants worth eating at, so I guess you get good at cooking out of necessity! I have a feeling these two were already good...

    Yup, we&#8217;re really roughing it now!

    [​IMG]

    Tarren and I both psyched up for some big hikes, so we start making a plan of attack with Jo&#8217;s extensive knowledge of the area. Before any climbing happens Jo has another interesting activity for us: attending a town meeting hosted by Senator Ken Salazar focusing on designating a new wilderness area which is sure to be a lively debate between the &#8220;hikers&#8221; and the &#8220;ATV-ers.&#8221; Let&#8217;s go!

    The turnout is incredible, apparently one of the largest attendance records for a town meeting in recent memory.

    [​IMG]

    It&#8217;s beyond standing room only, there are people straining their necks out in the hall!

    [​IMG]

    I&#8217;ve performed for events with high-level politicians a number of times (including some presidents!) but this is the closest I&#8217;ve been to a senator who wasn&#8217;t reading a prepared script/speech. It was pretty cool to see Senator Salazar work the room and make everyone and their views welcome, even if they differed from what he&#8217;s trying to accomplish.

    [​IMG]

    The senator taking notes on Tarren&#8217;s comments:

    [​IMG]

    There are strong opinions on both sides of the proposal to designate the area in question as wilderness, but everyone is respectful and polite, and at several times the tension is broken with a humorous comment that lets everyone laugh at themselves a little bit.

    Like most issues I find myself somewhere in the middle. I love the outdoors, and hiking is sacred, there are places that no vehicle should go, it just wouldn&#8217;t be right. A big part of the joy of hiking and back-country camping is the &#8220;getting away from it all,&#8221; which most certainly includes cars. There&#8217;s also the environmental side of the argument, but I&#8217;m not gonna open that door... However, there are mountain roads and trails that have been around for generations that aren&#8217;t bothering anybody, so what harm is there in letting them continue to be accessible to the 4WD crowd? Once they&#8217;re gone, they&#8217;re gone. I now own a rough-n-tumble motorcycle that&#8217;s capable of terrain like that in question and I&#8217;m excited about the possibilities of using it. But, as always, it&#8217;s a few rotten apples that spoil the whole bunch. Even one ATV rider ripping up a stream bed leaves an impression not only on the land but more importantly as a lasting reputation of recreational off-roaders in the minds of others. What to do? (That&#8217;s a rhetorical question!)

    I talked with these nice folks representing the Blue Ribbon Coalition (I'm pretty sure they took my picture too!):

    [​IMG]

    That was interesting for sure, but enough of all this seriousness, I want to get back to adventuring! I didn&#8217;t bring any music with me for viola and piano, but Jo is a real pro and fan of the viola, so she has a few standards in her library. I make a mental note to carry at least something with me on future trips. She&#8217;s pretty impressed with the carbon fiber instrument, and after a few bars slide by we both forget about it and just play. That&#8217;s what I&#8217;m talking about... :super

    We&#8217;re just having fun, so Tarren and Harvey get to hear a performance with plenty of mistakes. Jo&#8217;s missing many of the viola parts so I&#8217;m reading off the piano score over her shoulder. Teeeeeny little notes!

    [​IMG]

    Whatever we&#8217;re about to play here I guess she had the part for... This is the "standard" spot for me to stand.

    [​IMG]

    Another still life!

    [​IMG]

    All this from traveling on a motorcycle! This is too cool...
    #97
  18. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Let's hope so! So far, so good... :beer


    Okay, I will! Thanks for watching.
    #98
  19. Wildabeast

    Wildabeast Wide Open

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    307
    Location:
    Vermont
    Your a good person for helping out that stranded fellow! Something I have done too, and it feels great.
    Karma will come back to you for sure.
    Again, totally digging your travels and thanks for keeping the trip alive...

    PS-Still getting out on the 990? I'm watching it dump snow out my window right now
    #99
  20. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    I sure am! I love my bike. It's prime riding season in Texas right now (sunny in the low 70's :super), at least IMHO. I'm working hard on this report to try to get it caught up to the present day, it'll take a while... :lol3

    Sorry to hear about the snow... Snowmobile? Those are fun too!