Honda C125 Michigan to California (and back)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jabroni, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Cody3232

    Cody3232 Adventurer

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    If/When going from Washington or Oregon down 101 I highly recommend a north to south route. So many turn outs along the way for many, many fantastic views. And easy on and off 101. IF going south to north you have to fight/wait for southbound traffic to cross to the turnouts.
    And it IS a fantastic ride. I have done it probably 20 times over my lifetime and never tire of it.
    Be safe!
    #41
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  2. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    Yeah I definitely wish I coulda have/would have spent more time through those areas. I mostly have just been planning things by end destination and usually I’ll tell someone I’ll be somewhere at on a specific day and it really limits my “free time.”

    But on the other hand I do enjoy pushing myself to meet certain objectives. I’m still young so hopefully I’ll find time to do a more leisurely trip in the future.
    #42
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  3. Essbee

    Essbee Been here awhile

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    Brilliant RR so far...big respect to you for doing this so minimalistically!
    #43
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  4. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    I left Vista CA on July 14 bound for Yuma. Once again it was hot, above 100F, and I rode without my jacket. Because of how everything is strapped to my rear rack, I can’t open my seat to put fuel in without taking it all off. It’s funny that I started with only a tent, which I undid one strap and let it dangle to one side, which was easy enough. In Missoula I acquired a flannel jacket after unexpectedly riding around with a guy and his Triumph late at night. It got cold at night and he handed me his “burner” flannel that he keeps around even though I told him I didn’t need it (I did need it that night, I was shivering). It did make a good addition as a pillow for camping though. In Portland I was gifted a plush Waldo toy that I tuck behind my flannel which sits on top of my tent with two small bungee cords. Now with the hot weather I have another jacket on top of all that with a large bungee cord , so to refuel became something of an unloading/loading process.

    The drive to Yuma was nice, as usual despite the heat. I was curious as to how the Honda would handle WOT all day through such temperatures but it had no issues whatsoever. For myself, I couldn’t decide what was cooler, face shield up or down. You would think having the breeze on your face would be best but to me it felt like being blasted by a furnace, so I spent all day alternating between up and down indecisively.

    I took Highway 76 from Vista to San Felipe Road, then Highway 78 to past Brawley where I turned south on a vacant S34. I had to hop on Interstate for 15 miles on the last stretch otherwise it would have been an unreasonably lengthy detour.

    I stayed two nights with some friends I knew in the military. On the second night we went and did some tactical shooting which is always enjoyable, even though we waited too long and ended up doing a night shoot in an attempt to evade the heat.

    My next destination was Scottsdale where another friend was living. The route was fairly straight forward: Highway 95 to Quartzsite, then Highway 60 all the way to Scottsdale. I had to make a detour north of Quartzsite to avoid interstate but it was minor.

    When I was driving past the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, I decided I wanted to take one of the many off-roading trails and get a picture of the bike next to a cactus. Once I got out there I ended up staying on the trail for 3-5 miles and put the bike through some abuse. The trail was straight and bumpy as it went up and down small but steep hills. I had to get off a few times to assist the bike up while I was giving it some gas. The entire time I was thinking to myself “man, I cant wait to buy a CT125.” Even though I won’t get one soon, being that the off-roading is my favorite part of my trip, I think the CT125 would be endless fun.

    Eventually I had to give up because I was wasting to much time and got back on the highway. The drive after that was uneventful, just desert, which I love but it becomes mind numbing pretty quick.

    I got to Scottsdale around 6pm (I seem to have a tendency to tell people I’ll arrive at 5, but get there at 6.) My friends girlfriend suggested I stay another night so we can get brunch and bottomless mimosas the next day and I obliged.
    #44
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  5. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    Somewhere on Highway 76 (an old shoulder of the road, the entire highway doesn’t look like this)
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    I believe this is East of Brawley, I always think I’ll remember where a photo was taken but am always mistaken
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    Cactuses from my Kofa adventure
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    The trail through Kofa. It wasn’t awful, but at the bottom of each hill seemed to be large rocks that I would bottom out on and loose sand I had to fight.
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    More of Kofa
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    Another cactus. (I don’t see cactuses every day so cut me some slack.)
    #45
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  6. IndigoSwann

    IndigoSwann Pirate

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    Easton, PA
    The thing I enjoy most about your trip report is that it shows you don't need a 600+ lb adventure bike with 300lbs of gear or a dual sport with 20" suspension travel to adventure off into trails and tour. Love it! But sad to say one of the inmates here put a deposit down on a CT125 with Honda last month and they called him a couple of days ago to refund it. Apparently Honda US has declined to take the CT125 for 2021 - so at best we will see it 2022.. *fingers crossed*

    I like to watch a few youtubers n Japan & Thailand that have them, going on their cool adventure trips fishing, camping, riding through the jungle - looks like a capable little machine - really hope it comes here :)
    #46
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  7. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    I forgot to mention I ordered a new set of shocks to my friends house in Scottsdale, so I took off the old ones and the passenger pegs to ship back home. It alleviated me bottoming out on every bump and scraping on every left turn, so money well spent. I ordered a new side stand to be put on in Fargo ND this next week, the current one is so worn that I have to place something (usually my gloves) underneath the left leg just to even it out. It’s annoying but a minor inconvenience.

    When I was in Scottsdale I decided to go straight north to the Grand Canyon. I took Highway 87 to Flagstaff and 180/64 north to Kaibab National Forest. I feel myself being repetitive when I say it was a beautiful ride. What I liked most is when I was a ways into Tonto National Forest the temperature dropped below 100F which means I could refrain from sweating while driving.

    Before this trip, the only place I’ve been in AZ is Yuma and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked northern Arizona. I’m a snowboarded and I like Fall, so I can’t say I’d live there permanently, but I stopped viewing Arizona as a barren desert surrounding the city of Phoenix.

    Another thing I enjoyed was just how prime the isolated camping in Kaibab National Forest was. I’m surprised people would pay to set up a tent at an established campground there. After taking any of the Forest roads in this area, you don’t merely look for a “suitable” area because they’re everywhere. If anyone is passing through that area and wondering where to set up camp, the answer is everywhere.

    When I was looking at Google maps for a general route to Denver I was wondering why it wouldn’t take me through Highway 64 to Cameron but rather take me on a long detour back through Flagstaff, but I decided not to worry about it. The next morning I woke up and drove to the Grand Canyon National Park with the idea of spending a couple hours there (which I did). First of all, I was unaware that it costs $30 to enter the park, but at this point I wasn’t *not* going to go. Secondly, I’ve always been curious to see the Grand Canyon because everyone I know has said the pictures you see of it are entirely underwhelming compared to seeing it in person. I agree. It’s massive, and I think of some poor traveler in the 1800s who has to cross it for whatever reason and feel a nostalgic sense of awe. Sadly I do not have any pictures of the bike with the scenery there.

    It turns out Highway 64 between there and Cameron was closed. Looking at the map I saw the main option was to do a 120 mile trip back down to Flagstaff and up, or, cut across the fire maintenance roads in the park which was only 70 miles. A combination of me not liking the idea of backtracking and my joy of doing squirrelly things on the Honda made me opt for the latter. Oh boy.

    I’m not sure what I expected. I knew it wasn’t going to be nice gravel roads that I could fly down at 50 mph, but I also wasn’t expecting a 70 mile trip to take four hours. For the first 40 miles or so, it alternated between rocky trails where I’m surprised my bike didn’t fall apart and then, out of nowhere, loose soil where I had to kick my legs out to keep me afloat.

    As previously mentioned, the bike is light. That made it bearable, if it was any heavier I wouldn’t have been able to keep it upright through some of the nastier patches. One of the memorable times was me going about 25 mph on a bumpy patch that reminded me nothing other than those classic videos of soldiers testing WW2 era jeeps (I hope you know what I’m talking about so I won’t explain further) and then out of nowhere, loose soil followed by a sharp turn in a patch of trees. I couldn’t be pressing the brakes harder, but due to the bouncing and no traction I ran off the road and was a few feet from being sent head first into a tree. I managed to stop, but I was doing the splits and holding on to the poor bike with one arm trying not to drop it. After that, I slowed down even though I already wasn’t speeding.

    No cell service added to the complications. The gps on the phone seemed accurate but there were trails that didn’t appear on the map. Eventually I figured it out after plenty of back tracking.

    After about 50 miles the fire maintenance trail turned into a real trail. I crossed a fence into private property which said all were welcome as long as you respect the wildlife and environment. No problem in my case. I saw trail markers and it said something like Arizona Scenic Trail or something similar, not sure if that’s means anything to anyone.

    The riding was much smoother but still at the level of an unmaintained country road. The trees disappeared and the land became open and flat, it felt like I was back in eastern Montana. It seemed to last forever but not in a bad way, other than by this point I realized how much time I was taking. My goal was to get close to the Colorado border but that didn’t happen. I eventually made it to the highway and to Cameron, feeling like I accomplished a great feat but also knowing it’s all in my head.

    It was a little after 4pm when I was out of the wilderness, so I made a decision of going to Page AZ to camp out. My other options was to stay in the area I was at, which seemed unacceptable, like admitting defeat, or just go somewhere within 100 miles, which was Page. I knew I was cutting across the Hopi/Navajo reservation to get to Colorado but honestly I couldn’t pin point a place I would set up camp, being unfamiliar with the area and there not being any State/National parks or forests.

    The ride to Page was awful. Not because of the area but because there was a strong wind pushing against me, so I was only making about 40-45 mph. After what I went through, it was very disappointing. You do go through a nice mountain pass though, but I don’t recall it’s name.

    I arrived in Page around 7pm, ate, and looked for a place to camp. I drove to the national park just northwest of the town hoping to just set up at the first suitable place. I passed a campground where after that it said no camping was allowed. It was getting dark so I decided to pay the $14 to camp at the established site. Nice place, but free is better than $14.
    #47
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  8. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    F92EF61A-12AD-4BD5-97DD-CB1BFE1F2682.jpeg North of Flagstaff

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    Setting up camp in Kaibab National Forest

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    Fire Maintenace road, I didn’t take pictures of the worst parts just because I was trying to get out of them.

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    It started calming down

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    Then it stayed as such for 20 miles, but don’t let the photos fool you, the road was still bumpy

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    Towards the end

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    The end. That sign did not appear where I started.
    #48
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  9. JohnnyWaffles

    JohnnyWaffles Been here awhile

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    Jul 16, 2012
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    San Jose, CA
    You're really putting that bike through it's paces! I think a bike like that def lets you slow down and appreciate things.

    Disappointing the adv version of the bike isn't coming to the US!

    For the new shocks - are these OEM replacements or something aftermarket?
    #49
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  10. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

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    This is a refreshing narrative of minimalism. Excellent. Couple of things.

    First, I live in central Utah and you were in my back yard terrain when you were passing through the Grand Canyon/Page AZ zone. Not sure if you'll spend much time there but I'd be happy to point out some good camping zones and other worthwhile routes.

    Second, I'm originally from Michigan and I'm actually in Honor hanging with my father right now. If you need assistance on your return, let me know.

    You naturally show numerous Adventure Rider Fundamentalist tendencies. There is no doubt you will continue to discover other techniques that ADV-Fs use regularly. I would recommend that you try building a fire and cooking over it while at camp. I'm guessing that doing this will enlighten you in many ways. In the National Forests and BLM land, you can build campfires basically anywhere as long as you're mindful of any potential campfire bans due to wildfire danger.

    Carry on!!!
    #50
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  11. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    Send him an adjustafork, that will fix him right up!
    #51
  12. ChongLi

    ChongLi Adventurer

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    South Central CA
    The WW2 jeep testing analogy made for a great visual. I think my favorite picture so far was in front of the dunes. The bike looks strangely more at home there than it did in the Big Sur coast picture.
    #52
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  13. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    The shocks are SP Takegawa from the japanwebike site, and they’ve been great so far.
    #53
  14. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    Thanks! Yeah I would like to have made a point to cook food over a fire each night while camping as that would have made it even more fundamentalist. But I’m not upset too much because outside of Montana it seemed everywhere had a burn ban going on.

    I passed through Arizona already but thanks for the offer. I wish I would have spent more time there (like just about everywhere so far). Also, I haven’t planned my route back through Michigan so I’ll let you know if I plan to pass through Honor.
    #54
  15. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    I woke up and changed oil once more in Page. I took highway 98 to 160 and continued there all the way to Pagosa Spings. Crossing the Hopi and Navajo Reservations is all desert but is very scenic at times, but by now I was pretty numb to the desert so I didn’t stop for any photos. I only stopped for gas as there’s really nothing that I could see worth stopping at. The Four Corners was closed at this time so I didn’t even bother with that. Needless to say, this stretch was uneventful for me.

    I stopped in Cortez to eat and also buy new rain clothes now that I was exiting the desert climate. When I looked at the time for sunset it said 830, so I thought I had plenty of time to find a place to camp, but when I realized I hadn’t taken the time change into account I decided I needed to hurry up if I didn’t want to set up camp in the dark. I found nice place just north of Pagosa Springs in the Rio Grande National Forest and had everything set up before I ran out of light. I went to sleep early but woke up continuously. Just like how I’m not afraid of ghosts until I’m alone in an old house, I’m not afraid of bears until I’m alone in the woods at night. I must have woke up every 30 minutes for no reason other than my brain was on edge.

    The next day I was shooting for Denver and taking 285 the entire way. Going over Wolf Creek Pass is probably the best view I have had in the mountains so far and had to take some pictures despite feeling almost as numb to the mountains as I was to the desert.

    Also, I had to climb the thing in 2nd gear at 30mph at parts.

    The entire day was spent going over mountain passes followed by going smoothly for a while in the valleys. I wish I hadn’t told friends I was going to meet them in South Dakota on Friday (this would have been Wednesday July 22nd) as I could have spent at least a week in Colorado. I wanted to check out Aspen and Woody Creek because I once was a huge fan of Hunter Thompson, but I didn’t have enough time, I already told the guy I met in Missoula that I’d be in Denver and staying at his place that night.

    And so it went on nice and smoothly until I was past Bailey. The sky darkened and it started to rain, sprinkle mostly, without looking like it would let up. It was very tolerable but eventually the road got wet enough that every car that passed would send up a cloud of mist, so I decided to pull over and put on my rain clothes that I bought the day before. Good decision on my part.

    As I got closer to Denver it went from a light sprinkle to heavy rain. Then even closer to Denver it become a full on thunderstorm. The sky to the north was clear so I was hoping I could drive out of it as that was my destination anyway, but the clouds followed me wherever I went. Occasionally I had gained a 30 second lead over the clouds and I thought I might be in the clear, but it always caught up. The rain was so heavy that the cars all had their wind shield wipers on the fastest settings, if that works as a reference.

    I didn’t close the plastic flap over my rain coats zipper so the center of my chest was soaked, as were my hands even after putting on my heavy leather gloves.

    The guy I was staying with is in a band and he told me to come by their practice studio as they were getting ready for a show tomorrow. I showed up, got out of the rain and we lifted my bike up some steps and put it in the studio entryway. I hung out in the studio and listened to their full set (partly because I wanted to and partly because I had nowhere else to go) and quickly made friends with all them and got a hot tip to watch a terrible movie called Miami Connection, which they were always referencing.

    The next day I helped them set up and watched the show they were playing at the Larimer Lounge and it was a great time. Later we watched Miami Connection and if you love terrible movies I highly recommend it.
    #55
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  16. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    Wolf Creek Pass

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    Wolf Creek Pass, again.

    Sadly that was the only location I took photos of in Colorado. I wish I had more in-city pictures but due to traffic and parking it can be hard to find a good spot so it usually doesn’t cross my mind at the time.
    #56
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  17. JohnnyWaffles

    JohnnyWaffles Been here awhile

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    Ah man you circled around the best parts of Colorado! Ouray (my fav) and Telluride are pretty amazing. I'm impressed you went 285 on that, especially through the long flat stretches. I've done some epic 10 vehicle 100mph+ passes two-up on my 990 between Buena Vista and Denver haha

    Always more to see though, right? You're definitely seeing a lot in a short amount of time which isn't a bad thing at all.
    #57
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  18. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    I took Highway 85 all the way from Denver to Deadwood. Mountains were still visible for the first hour or two of the trip, but it quickly became nothing but small hills interrupted by flat and stayed that way until the Black Hills. I feel most at home in the plains, especially if it’s grassland instead of never ending corn fields. Strangely, at times I can feel the most claustrophobic in ranch territory. Fences that mark your limitations are everywhere, whereas in most other terrain your limitations are either more hidden or simply implied.

    I woke up on time and was ready to go by 830. Right outside of Denver there was a car accident that I didn’t see despite being one of the first vehicles in line stopped because of it. I didn’t want to appear rude or antsy so I stayed in place. Thirty minutes passed by and a car turned around on the on-ramp that was about 500 feet ahead of me. Determining there was no end in sight, I finally decided to end my patience and rode on the shoulder and got out of the jam as well. I didn’t bother finding a road back onto the highway, I just rode up the ditch in the first clearing.

    After that the ride was uneventful, but I was glad for it. This time I knew I could just go and not have to be upset about missing something. I could have did a detour to see the devils tower, but I’ve been there before so it wasn’t a priority.

    I passed the same group of three bikers 4 or 5 times and got acquainted in a silent way. They were having a nice casual ride and stopping every so often wherever there was a decent place to take a break, and I was just going nonstop and treating my refuels as pitstops in a competitive race. I’m sure it was entertaining for them to see the same guy go by multiple times within 100 miles with the engine wide open making a pathetic groan.

    I got to Deadwood and parked the bike on the patio at the place my friends were staying and it remained there for the weekend. It would have been fun to take it on some trails but a friend rented some ATVs, so I did that instead. So, no good pictures up on Custers Peak...

    That Sunday my plan was to cut across South Dakota and stop off at my hometown southeast of Fargo, but I was told the Sioux reservations aren’t letting any traffic through at this time, understandably. Not in the mood to route plan, though it required almost none, I decided to go straight north to Medora and take the same route across ND that I took going west.

    My ride north from Deadwood to Medora was surprisingly one of my favorites. I was just going to take 85 up all the way, but north of Belle Fourche I saw a sign for “Old 85” and it was a gravel road, so I changed my plan. To continue heading north I changed off on county highway 897, still gravel. I found a nice spot just beyond a small river on a hilltop that I laid down in a nice patch of grass and read for about an hour since it was a shorter riding day than normal.

    I kept on until Highway 20 and took a left to Camp Crook where I was going to get some fuel. I saw on the internet that there was a gas station, which there was, but I can’t say when the last time it was open. I wanted to continue north but I only had at most 40 miles worth of fuel left, so I had to head east to Buffalo to my disappointment.

    I was back on 85, but not for long. At Bowman I went west and beyond Rhame I headed north on some gravel once more. The road changed names a few times, but if you’re looking at a map I went through the Little Missouri National Grassland via Rhame/Mound/Alpha then on to Sentinel Butte. Shortly after I was at my friends Cabin just west of Medora in Buffalo Gap.

    Over half of my 250 mile day was on gravel roads, which was a welcome change of pace.

    From Medora to home was a little over 300 miles. I’ve taken this general route many, many times over the years and it made me wish I would have just did a longer detour through southern South Dakota. It was a good ride but also mind numbingly dull for personal reasons.

    I have finally caught up my ride report with my current status. I’m still in ND and am getting a new center stand put on in Fargo on Friday. Today I went out to my bike and the rear tire was flat, my fault since I knew it was ever so slowly bleeding air and I neglected to check it at normal intervals. I tried to get some air in the tire but it wouldn’t seat properly no matter how hard I tried, so I had to take it in to the local tire service and they had it ready within a minute. I’m just glad I wasn’t camping in the middle of nowhere when this happened.

    After Friday I plan on heading back straight for Michigan, though I’m not sure of my route. I really don’t want to take the UP again since I already did that, and swinging south to Chicago isn’t exactly appealing. I’m thinking of heading to Manitowoc and hopping on the SS Badger but I also feel like that’s cheating. Any suggestions are welcome.
    #58
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  19. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

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    Back in the flatlands (in or near Wyoming)

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    Where I stopped for to lay down for a bit on “Old Highway 85” in South Dakota

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    Little Missouri National Grassland

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    Also Little Missouri National Grassland. Perhaps controversially, this might be one of my favorite views I’ve had on the trip, everything just seemed so perfect at the moment.
    #59
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  20. AHRMA17L

    AHRMA17L Been here awhile Supporter

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    The irony of the weather. I started out that same day, July 6, but going in the opposite direction on the same exact route, Portland headed east. Fog, rain, mist. Got soaked to the bone (in what is supposed to be waterproof gear) and nearly froze to death going around Mt. Hood. It sure was nice and warm on the east side, though.
    #60