Buffalo run

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cRAsH, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. cRAsH

    cRAsH Banned

    Jul 6, 2001
    Nicetown, USA
    Ever get a wild hair up yer ass and decide to go on a long ride for a buffalo t-bone?
    I did.
    See, there was this heat wave coming to Califonia, and I heard it was nice
    and cool up in Montana. And, I was hungry in a way no cow beef could satisfy.
    No siree bob, hadda be fresh off the hoof all-american-by-god bison for this hunger.
    So, on the recommendation of a fellow lister, I headed up to the Corral in Gallatin
    Gateway, Montana.
    Yep, Big Sky country.
    Smooth as silk, slabbin' all the way. Hit 135 indicated in full battle dress on a
    downhill stretch of I80 - so I don't think I've lost much top end with the final
    drive gear change.
    Stopped for a nap or 2 along the way, but mostly I was Red Bull wired for this one.
    Left Friday night at about midnight, just to tease all the local bambi's, and right
    at 1100 miles and 17 hours later, I was in West Yellowstone. Coulda gone for the 1500 in
    one or whatever the LDRiders thing is, but I was there, and there was a t-bone with
    my name all over it.

    Man, I tell you what - twenty five bucks for that piece of meat was a steal! If
    you've never tried it, you should. Buffalo meat is rich, tasty, tender, and NOT full of the
    crap they give the moo cows to keep their feet out of their mouths and such.
    Spent the evening watching the locals play pool and pinball, lotsa big hats and
    buckles in that crowd. That I forget the name of the local brew should be contributed to the
    quality of the ale, not my short-term memory loss issues... I remember it was good.
    The next day *was* going to be explore Yellowstone day, but when I woke up to
    snow blowing sideways, I knew I better high-tail it outta there - I've been like Gary
    Gerlach before, and brother let me tell you, it ain't all it's cracked up to be.

    Seeing as how I knew of a hotshot beemer pilot in Poulson, (on Flathead Lake)
    I decided I better head up there for a visit or my name would be mud. A phone call
    later, Lady Carmine was receptive to the Biff-boy surprise tactic (as usual), so I knew I
    had a place to stay, a cold beer, and a good ride partner ahead of me.

    As I went back to my cold-weather gear layering pre-ride routine, I noticed a strange
    looking apparition pulling into the station. The strains from Man of LaMancha suddenly
    swirled out of my mental music channel, and I watched as the pilot, nay, horseman
    proceded to peel his frozen fingers off the handlebars of an early 80's Honda CX500
    Custom with a full Windjammer fairing.
    Yeah, the poor mans Moto Guzzi.
    This dude was cold - and was wearing what looked like some farm boy clodhopper boots,
    Carhardt pants, a light suede jacket, driving type gloves, 3/4 helmet and goggles.
    On his back was the BIGGEST backpack I've ever seen this side of the Explorer
    channel, and strapped to the back of that was a day pack stuffed to the zippers.
    It looked like some strange three-way after-hours action at a North Face store,
    riding a VERY unusual moto.
    Remembering I was out of Red Bull (a necessary LD ingredient) I went in to the store
    and there sat the horseman.
    A young Don Quixote.
    Huddling over a backpackers tin mug full of coffee, and struggling to hold his fork
    in his frozen fingers so he could wolf his hot pie, he still looked like he was
    having the adventure of a lifetime, so I struck up a conversation with him.

    Me: Getting warm? (ok, lame question)
    DQ: Yeah, it's just my hands. I didn't realize how cold...
    Me: Where ya headed?
    DQ: Seattle
    Me: Which way ya going?
    DQ: I don't know, really.
    Me: How much time do ya have?
    DQ: Well, I have to register for school soon, but then I have all summer.
    Me: I'm headed towards Poulson, if you want to ride with me today, I know
    where you can stay the night.
    DQ: Ok!
    Me: Can you ride fast?
    DQ: I can try.

    ... and the conversation continued.
    Zach was his name, and his favorite saying was "No worries."
    Before we headed off, I found out he was 20, leaving Minnesota for Seattle on a bike
    he bought for $500 bucks the week he left, and had just been riding for 5 days.
    All his riding experience. He read the manual, borrowed a little bike from a buddy to
    take the test, packed up what he could stuff in his packs and fairing pockets
    (including, I kid you not, a copy of Don Quixote...)
    5 days, and 4 of them were heading west from MN.
    My god, what chutzpah!
    I forced him to take my insulated gloves, balaclava for his face, and managed to
    convince him that strapping his load on my mule was a good thing to do for this ride.
    I also gave him my trusty little gas can, as his range was about 100 miles.
    After giving him Carmine's card in case we got separated, we took off.
    One turn into the ride I knew he was a natural, but needed some coaching. So, I
    pulled off and gave him some tips and things to work on, to which he was very receptive and
    a quick study. (Except that late-apex lefty, and he'll get it.)
    The ride over McDonald Pass went way too quickly, the only solace being the rapidly
    improving weather. We were starting to see some of that sky that is so-o-o big out
    Carmine met us about an hour out of Poulson on Redshift (her 1100RS), and we headed
    to get gas. As Zach led us into the gas station, he managed to find a little leftover
    traction sand, and before our eyes did a pretty nasty lowspeed highside. He tucked
    and rolled, came up on his feet, looking at me, then the bike, then Carmine, then the
    bike - all the while looking like he wasn't really sure what just happened or where
    the hell he was.
    What added to the drama and flair was the shattered windscreen flipping through the
    spray of gas spewing from the gas can.
    What a scene.
    We checked him out - bruised, a little scratched, but mostly just freaked. Got the
    bike up, and after we determined he was fit to ride (mentally, mostly) got Carmine to test
    ride it while I figured out how to strap the remainder of his windscreen on my bike.
    With the exception of the busted screen, bashed crashbar, smushed tailpipe cone,
    the old Honda was good as new. Which it almost was - 3800 miles, if I remember
    The rest of the ride went incident free, we rode around the east side of beautiful
    Flathead Lake and on to Poulson.
    The ride along Flathead lake was spectacular as the lake was still as
    a... lake? Mountains and clouds reflecting off the water - dancing
    along beside me as we barreled down to Poulson. I had to force myself
    to quit staring, and resisting the urge to stop and shoot was almost unbearable.
    Carmine was hungry, and had the foresite to have Nolan (the oldest) start the
    steaks so when we pulled in to the stable the grill was already sizzling.
    A great evening catching up with the Carmine and the kids, bench racing
    with and grilling Zach about his life, cold beers and a hot-tub under the
    big, starlit Montana sky.
    The following morning, after Zach tried his best to cook omelettes for us,
    we set about to making Rocinente road worthy again.
    A couple of hours with a drill and some safety wire, and the windscreen was
    good as new - just looked a bit like Frankenstein...
    True to his journey, and his soul, Zach decided it was time to move on solo
    We arranged to have his pack mailed ahead, made a quick trip to the hardware store,
    repaired the muffler, and rode him out of town.
    Said our farewells, got a little lump in my throat as he pulled away with a wave.
    Godspeed, Zachery.
    Now, of course, the race was on.
    Carmine and Redshift are a damn fast combo - and they were feeling frisky on the
    ride back to Poulson.
    The Pyg and I could hang until the lo-o-o-ong Montana straights, then they had to
    keep waiting for us - even though I had it pinned....
    I though my shift in body position was working! I started reeling them in!
    Well, not exactly.
    Redshift had lost a lung - we were going in....
    No puff of smoke, no noise, just no power on one side.
    Grim news, indeed.
    Then, as we were looking over the RS, we smelled burning tranny oil...
    Looking back at the Pyg, I saw streaks of oil all over the rear tire.
    All over the whole rear of the bike, to be precise. Further investigation showed
    it to be tranny dope. What...? Blown seal? WTF?
    I had changed to Mobil One a few months ago, and turns out I overfilled it. After
    taking the fill plug out, and letting out the excess it quit blowing it out.
    What a relief. If we hadn't stopped for Redshift blowing up, I might have had a nasty
    surprise in the next big right hand sweeper.
    Note to self - MEASURE next time.
    Poor Carmine had to endure a 45 minute ride in the tow truck with a really nice guy
    who insisted on telling her about every wrecked motorcycle he's had to pick up,
    including all the grisly details.
    Good thing I stopped for more beer - it was needed.
    Same routine, bench race, cold beer, hot-tub.
    The next morning was time to head back home again - and noting the rear Tourance
    had really squared off in the last few days, I made a foolish error. The first one.
    Rather than letting air OUT in order to utilize the remaining tread, I pumped it to
    my usual high-speed high pressure.
    1500 miles, I'm thinking? Probably make it... Second foolish error.
    Decided twisty would be the order of the return trip as to maximize on the side tread
    useage, ya?
    On the way through Missoula I made the third blunder. I didn't stop for a tire.
    I just kept on flying - up and over the magnificent Lolo Pass, down Idaho 13 to a
    little detour on 14 for the river twisties, to 95 south into New Meadows.
    This, boys and girls, is one of the premier long range twisty routes in the West. If
    you ever get the chance, make that run from Missoula to Boise, it's awesome.
    Just outside of Weiser, I stopped for a break, and finally decided to REALLY look at
    the whole back tire.
    That's when I saw the scary, nasty glint of steel belts showing through in several
    Oops. Drop the pressure to 32 lbs, and cross yer fingers.
    Looks like I'll be limping into Boise, about an hour after Big Twin closes.
    So much for my plan of taking the Great Basin crossing in the cool of the night.
    Grab a hotel, turn on the weather channel, looks like a record day for heat tomorrow
    in the west! Gosh, what great news!
    I was so pissed at myself - my own damn fault.
    No restaurants in the area, so I walked to the local 7-11 and got a six pack and
    frozen pizza to console myself with. Cooked the pizza in the little kitchenette stove, and burned
    the back of my knuckle pretty good pulling it out - great. Just great.
    If you're gonna be dumb, ya gotta be tough.
    Get to Big Twin half an hour before opening, and Mike is out there doing the MC
    retailer shuffle. Bikes in, bikes out, bikes in, bikes out.
    Says no problem, I yank the wheel, they slip on the new rubber while Mike and I
    discuss the Nez Perce Rally this year.
    It's gonna be awesome, I think. 3 days of back-country trekking to Redmond.
    Off I go - heading for Hells Canyon under Mike's strict orders to "scrub it in
    Hells Canyon is a great MC road - and the scenery is sweet too.
    Up to the overlook, 30 or so miles of tight forest service backroads up, same thing
    down towards Joseph, OR.
    I'm thinking the tire is scrubbed in.
    Joseph is a beautiful little town on a lake at the foot of Mt Joseph in the middle of
    nowhere. Bronze sculptures everywhere - there's even a foundry in town.
    I paid homage to one of my Heroes, Chief Joseph, laying some tobacco on his
    Up and around on 244 from La Grande to Ukiah is incredible - green forest river
    tunnels to alpine meadow vistas and back again - repeat to 395, heading for John Day.
    395 absolutely ROCKS down the river to John Day. I had to deal with the Mario
    Andretti-like logging trucks flying down that stretch, but they like a good contest - and most of
    those cats can DRIVE.
    By the time I hit Wagon Wheel (population: 2) I was all alone on that lonely stretch
    of road, it was dark, and I was, well, making time.
    Catnap in a freezing high desert rest stop, wake up to the dawn desert sky and the
    stench of a privvy... Ah well, beggars and all.
    The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful - although I did take some back/side roads
    down from Tahoe to Auburn to get off the slab.
    I soaked my Kool Shirt in Auburn (it was getting hot), and it lasted all the way
    until Watsonville going down I5 on a hundred plus degree day.
    I was wearing the roadcrafter, and although my feet were baking, legs too, head as
    well, my chest was so cold my nipples were hard.
    Amazing product - it works. Get one if you do ANY hot weather riding and suffer like
    I do.

    Got back Thursday, and Friday afternoon headed out to the 49er Rally.

    6 days, roughly 3600 miles.

    That's how you ride 42,000 miles in less than a year, my friends. Go out for dinner
    more often....

    Pictures: http://www.pbase.com/rainman/dinner_cruise

    **** Harley Addendum ****
    I came around a curve, and there was the accident scene.
    The ambulance had just gotten there, so I started snapping. It felt kind of ghoulish,
    but I felt obligated to document it.
    Dunno why.
    From what I could gather, he came into the turn too hot, tried to rear brake,
    started fishtailing (duh), and bailed on the corner.
    To his credit, he shot the gap just right - as you can see, he didn't have many route
    choices into that field - the barbed wire was unavoidable, as was the 6 foot drop.
    He managed to miss the mailbox and telephone pole.
    His buddies were all in t-shirts and doo-rags, but they were smart in not moving
    him or letting him move once he was down.
    When I got there they were shading him, holding him down, and talking to him.
    It was eerie.
    He was moving his hands when they put him in the ambulance, but don't know any
    other details. I didn't stick around for the interviews.

    Then I wheelied out of there. :huh
  2. engineer

    engineer lookee lurker Supporter

    Jul 8, 2001
    Bothell, WA
    Thanks for the trip report. Thoroughly enjoyed the story. The nekkid lunch picture was quite a contrast to where I was at the time - cube dwelling. Nice of you to help out a fellow traveler. Let us know if you hear from Zach.

    Via con Dios!