Retired and Riding. Northern US Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by danisOTR, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    Gillette WY to Buffalo WY via US 14 - 97 miles, fuel available in Clearmont, WY 68 miles from Gillette, 30 miles from Buffalo
    #61
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  2. Omar

    Omar Muddling thru Supporter

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    Following you both. Great read. Thank you Bob. Big John sounds like an amazingly helpful guy. Enjoying ‘going along’ with you guys.
    Ride safe.
    #62
  3. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile Supporter

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    I’m in Jackson. If you are coming down let me know.
    #63
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  4. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    We finally made it out of Yellowstone which has no service either phone or WIFI. We are at JHPowderhounds at his invitation in Jackson Hole Wyoming.

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    More to follow. Lots to catch up on.
    #64
  5. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    IN. Well written/photographed. R U doing any wildcamping?
    #65
  6. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    No wild camping yet. Definitely not a good idea in Yellowstone with the bear issue. We actually saw one heading towards the campground we were in. It is on our agenda though. I am always looking at side roads as possible locations as well as cemeteries. Patti is up for it too.
    #66
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  7. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    No need for Cemeteries. You can wildcamp on most USFS and BLM property. There are a few restrictions, but, you would be surprised where u can camp. Now that your 'out west' take advantage.
    #67
  8. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile Supporter

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    It was very nice to meet you and host you at my house. I enjoyed hearing about your travels and get to know you. If you are ever back this way you are welcome to stay again. I hope you had a great ride today and have a great rest of your trip. I wish I would have taken some pictures to post. Please feel free to post any pictures you took.
    #68
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  9. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Thank you Eric. Patti and I really enjoyed the visit. It was great of you to know we really liked spaghetti with meat sauce and have it there for us!

    Your home, neighborhood and your moms' house are all beautiful.

    Also thank you for all the route advise. The ride around Bear Lake was fantastic and the trip through the canyon to Logan was fun. We were glad to be going towars logan because it was bumper to bumper heading from Logan to the Lake.

    We will be in touch and if you get to urge we can probably meet up on the road.
    #69
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  10. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    7/25/2020 Saturday Logan, Utah

    Again, there is a lot to catch up on.

    On Monday July 20, 2020 Greybull to Yellowstone NP, WY

    When I last wrote we were in Greybull, WY. We were on our way to Yellowstone. We had no reservations in the Park so it was going to be a crap shoot if we were going to be able to get a site. Even Bigjohnsd had recommended we go in through the North Entrance but we ended up going through Cody, WY and going in through the East entrance.

    We took Route 14 all the from Greybull into the Park. Once we were through Cody the scenery started to change dramatically. The road was perfect and traffic was light. We moved through to the official entrance and rode right up to the gate with no one in front of us. I inquired about camping and was told that all sites were sold out as of 7:30 AM.

    The further we went along Route 14 the more spectacular the scenery became. Normally I would be taking pictures on my P&S but the road was busy enough and curvy enough and too beautify for me to attempt or want to pull the camera out.

    One thing we were not aware of due to our poor schooling in Geography was that there is a HUGE lake in the Yellowstone, appropriately named Yellowstone Lake, which is fed by The Yellowstone River. I know many of you are saying, DUH. Well even still it was a surprise to us and was all but overwhelming with it length, width and beauty.
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    We passed some campsites but I had read that they were for “hard-sided” camping only which was a precaution due to the bears. At one point we noticed cars parked along both sides of the road with people running back and forth along the roadway. Apparently, there was a bear that was spotted and people we stopping to see it. This was something that would repeat itself several times during our travel through the park over the next few days.

    We went past Fishing Bridge Campground. This is another RV only park. No tents. We came up to the intersections where if you head north you go to Canyon Village and south eventually leads you out the South Entrance.

    We took a shot and rode into Bridge Bay Campground to see if any sites had become available. All interactions at any check in stations, stores or concessions stands required wearing a mask. No exceptions. The young man that helped us told me that Bridge Bay was full and asked if we wanted him to check the other campground’s in the park. Why yes we would. He said there was a site at Grant Village which is the southernmost site in the park. Lesson learned all Campgrounds can check others for availability. Also, we found that all the attendants really wanted to help you out. One other thing, there is a constant change going on. People leave early, people cancel, so there is better than a 50% possibility that you can find a space somewhere.

    We headed down to Grant Village continuing to admire Yellowstone Lake to our left. It is in view much of the way down with several pull offs for fishing and picnicking.

    At Grant we went to the check in and presented our reservation to the young lady at the counter. I asked if there were any cancellations for the following night. Well, it was our lucky day there was! So we ended up booking in for two nights which was a relief. We were given the spiel about bears and putting our food and anything scented in the bear box.

    We found our spot on “C” loop and set up camp. We’ve become very adept at this point of our trip and have everything set up within 30 minutes and can be sitting sipping a cocktail in our Kermit chairs.

    It was late afternoon at this point and we went to the store to get food, wood and ice. We also asked about bear spray. The cashier said she’d love to sell us the $50 item but asked if we would be doing any back woods hiking. When we answered no she said not to waste our money. Nice.

    We grabbed some crackers and cheese chicken and seltzer along with the other items above and headed back to camp. Note to self and all else reading. Get everything you can before you enter the park. Everything is 4 to 5 times more expensive once you get inside.

    Back to our site where we settled in to enjoy an adult beverage and some snacks. As we were sitting and relaxing one of the camp volunteers came by and commented about our bikes. We spoke with him for quite a while. He was a retired trauma surgeon from Texas. He also has more than a million miles on two wheels. He’s ridden all 50 states, all the Canadian provinces and all of Central America. It was a fun encounter. One of many that we’ve had and are still having.

    Patti did her thing with the campfire and we finally ended up with a nice bed of coals. I put together our traveling grill, seasoned the chicken and cooked them up.
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    As the twilight finally diminished into darkness and the temperature dropped so did we into our sleeping bags.
    #70
  11. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Tuesday 7/21/2020. Yellowstone NP, WY

    We were up and on the road by 8. We wanted to see some wildlife and understood the earlier the better. We were riding the Grand Loop clockwise.

    Our first stop was Old Faithful. We arrived to a parking lot that was ¼ full but people were walking at a brisk pace to the geyser. Apparently, they looked and found out the approximate time it would erupt next. We were just lucky and showed up at the right time.


    We found a spot where we had space around us. The majority of the people were wearing masks but there were many that were not.


    We waited and watched and were fooled several times with false starts and stutters from the old girl. Finally, we were rewarded for our patience and “there she blew”. Quite a site to see in person.
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    We mounted back up and continued clockwise on the ring road. As we rode we passed innumerable vents that were spewing steam and exhausting sulfur. We detoured off on a one way road, no RV’s or busses allowed on what is called Firehole Lake Drive. It is a short road that has a number of bubbling cauldrons of water and smaller geysers that if you are lucky will pop their cork while you are there. The colors are very vivid in many of these spots.
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    Then there were Bison.
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    A few miles further up the road is Firehole Canyon Road. It is a tight a twisty one lane, one way road with no shoulder. It is a small canyon with a river at the bottom. This is another road that I did not dare take my hands off the bars to capture a picture. But, take my word for it, it was worth the detour.


    We worked our way up to the Norris Geyser Basin. It was fairly crowded with people jostling for parking spaces. After parking we took on of the shorter walks to the Steamboat Geyser. It is referred to as “unreliable”. It is sometimes years before a major eruption.


    Moving more easterly now we made it to the north rim of “The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”. Traffic but easy parking for two motorcycles. We took the path along The Canyon which provided several view spots. Spectacular with a touch of vertigo.
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    Back on the bikes we started back south. We got held up in a little construction. But the people headed north were backed up for more than a mile.

    A short time later traffic again came to a stop. This time for a different reason. There was a Bison bathing in the water by the roadway. Traffic was at a standstill and people were out of their cars watching and taking picture.


    The beast must have felt he was clean enough or was tired of the voyeurs watching him bathe. He lumbered out of the water, shook himself off and proceeded to cross the road to join the rest of the herd.
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    We stopped in a rest stop just south of Bridge Bay at a rest stop on The Lake. Patti took a cat nap on the grass, avoiding the Bison poop that was all around. The view was beautiful and I watched the water and relaxed.


    On the road again we headed back to Grant and our campsite. I deposited Patti at our site and headed back out. I stopped by the check in to see if there were any opening for Wednesday night and was told there were not. Then off for more groceries, wood, ice and Vodka. Bring your own drinks. It is god awful expensive if you are not well supplied.


    A campground volunteer stopped by to warn us that there were coyotes prowling around and they were now eating citronella candles. We didn’t have any but we continued to put everything with any kind of scent into the bear box. I didn’t already say that all showers in The Park were closed for the season. Pretty soon I’d be sleeping in the bear box!

    Attached Files:

    #71
  12. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Wednesday 7/22/2020 Yellowstone NP, WY.

    I was told that the check in opened at 7:00 and that if the group camping sites were not spoken for that they started selling them at that time. I was up and with coffee in hand I walked over to the campground entrance. I was not the first one there. There was a couple that had been sleeping in their car. Another that had brought their chair from their site and were cuddling under a fleece blanket and a few more people.

    At this point I knew the questions to ask and also know that the staff really wanted to help. Even before I was at the window I heard that Grant was sold out. When it was my turn I asked about the group spots. Sorry, sold out. Then I asked about the spot next to us that had been vacant since our arrival. The woman looked up the number and found that it did not show up. I thought it was because needed something fixed as it was a small RV site and it had a yellow cone. Turns out it is permanently blocked for emergencies for The National Park Service. The staff member asked if I would like her to look at other campgrounds. Sure. Still no go.

    Patti and I had planned on taking a short hike so I went back to camp and we rode two up to West Thumb. We chose the trail to the Lake Overlook. It is a short 1.7-mile loop. Withing100 yards we saw a elk grazing in an open area.

    We continue along the trail slowly gaining altitude and emerged above the trees and started to see views of the expanse of the lake. Magnificent. A few more hundred feet we were at the top of the trail with the woods laid out before us and the vista of the lake as a background. We sat and enjoyed it for as long as we could and then headed back down at a quick pace knowing that we would only have a short time to break down camp to be out before 11.
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    Before we went back to camp, I took one more stab at getting another campsite. I was informed that Grant was still full but would I like her to look at other campsites. Of course! She found that there was a site at Canyon which was on the north side. We quickly grabbed it as there is no time to decide because any other attendant doing the very same thing for another guest could swoop it up.


    With our nights’ accommodations set we busied ourselves breaking down camp and packing up for our short move up the road.


    We headed out of Grant at 11:30 and moved north to Canyon Village. Traffic was light and there was no road construction as there had been the previous day. However, there was a slowdown. Traffic again came to crawl and then stopped. This time a Bison was controlling the flow. One of these fantastic beasts was walking in the middle of the southbound lane. Walking at his own very slow pace he had a line of 20 or more cars behind him and a similar number of look-e-loos heading north. I pulled to the right hand side of the lane ready to tuck in behind the car in front of us in case this furry creature decided to take an interest in me. Patti asked if I was taking pictures. My response was that I was too busy looking for an escape route. Had I maintained my usual lane position I would have been able to reach out and touch him.


    We rolled into Canyon Village and I queued up to check in. At check in I inquired about the following night. You never pass by an opportunity to check. No go.


    I exited the building to a commotion in the parking lot. A few of the staff were out there with walkie-talkies in had monitoring the movement of a bear that was right across the street from where we stood. I pulled my binoculars out of my tank bag and Patti had her iPhone at the ready. After a false alarm a reversal took place and we watched as a Cinnamon Black Bear Casually crossed the road and sauntered into the edge of the campground. He quickly changed course but continued to be under the watchful eye of the staff.

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    We found our site, pitched and unpacked. We decided we’d ride down to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We made it less than ½ mile down the road when traffic came to a stop. Not wanting to sit and swelter we did a U turn and went to the Canyon Village to check out the store for food, ice and dinner.


    Patti noticed people eating scoop ice cream cones. Well that had to happen. We found the counter and ordered our ice cream fix. Patti used to work for Ben & Jerry’s so we always had plenty in the freezer. But since she left 10+ years ago we lost that free addiction. This was a welcome reminder of those calorie heavy years.

    We sat outside enjoying our treat until we had savored the last bites. Then it was into the store for the night’s provisions. Did I tell you things were expensive? Well that did not change. We gathered up our goods and headed back to our site.

    We ended up snacking on cheese, crackers and salami. We had bought burgers which unfortunately ended up being trashed a couple of days later.

    We burned though our $7.99 box of wood (4 pieces this time) watched the twilight turn to dusk. As I may have already said there is virtually no cell service for AT&T customers. Sporadically there would be a 3G signal and 2 bars of phone reception. Sometimes you’d get a text to go through or receive one then other times not. All of a sudden, you’d get email but not get one to go out.

    Well I had received an email that someone from ADVrider had started a conversation. JHPowdehound wrote that if we would going through Jackson Hole, Wyoming to let him know. He included his cell number. I texted him and it went through. In the end he invited us to stop and stay at his place on our way through. Got to love this forum.

    Also since I had change my front brakes I had developed a brake fluid lead from the piston in my front master cylinder. I had reached out to my friend “twicedad” on the forum and asked if he could source a replacement for me as I could not access the internet. We had been going back and for as best we could all day. He had contacted our local dealer in Vermont who ended up sending a rebuild kit to and address of a friend in Logan Utah where we would be for a few days starting the coming weekend.

    But to get all of this back and forth done I had to take my iPhone, tie it to a 8’ pole that I had bought for our tarp and stick it in the air. Too funny but it worked.
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    With JHPowderhounds invitation we decided we’d head south out of the park the next day. So all the above taken care of we headed to bed.
    #72
  13. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Thursday July 23, 2020 Yellowstone, NP to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    Overnight we ended up getting a steady rain that lasted until around 6:00 AM. I got up shortly after it had stopped and went through my morning ritual of making coffee and reading a book. We had already broken down our Kermits’ the night before and I started to do some organizing hoping that things would start to dry off before we packed. However, this was not to be. The sun was not cooperating and we were in full shade.

    Around 9:00 we started to pull things together and pack up. Unfortunately, it began to sprinkle as we packed so our tent fly needed to be packed wet which is never fun.

    During our pack Patti told me she had a dream that she had lost here engagement/wedding ring. We searched through her ridding gear and reopened our clothing bag with no success. Obviously, that put a pal on the day.

    Rather than just drop our site tag off I went to the desk to turn it in and inquired about a lost and found. When I told them what was lost two woman from the back office jumped right up and came out front. They could not have been kinder. They immediately checked their data-base. When that did not turn up anything, they asked me to write out a description and contact information that they would enter into the database.

    That completed we were back on the road at 10 heading counter clockwise. The first hour was overcast but with occasional sites of blue sky.

    We moved through the park and stopped back at Grant Village for food and caffeine. That accomplished we continued south finally exiting Yellowstone and shortly reaching The Grand Tetons.

    At first we were just getting peeks of the peaks. Then the peeks grew in size and the became vistas. Again, we were surprised to find a huge lake. Yes, I know we are geographically deficient. But that is what you travel for, to learn.
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    We cruised south and after a couple of hours found ourselves going through the valley heading into Jackson Hole. JHPowdehound had given us his address and we made our way through and south of town and into his neighborhood. After a couple of turns we ended up in his driveway.

    We got out of our gear and I went and rang his doorbell. “Eric” greeted us with one of his two beautiful blue-eyed huskies. This poor guy had recently been hit by a car and had undergone a couple of surgeries and is now a bionic dog. He was still under house arrest for a couple of more weeks but you could tell he was raring to go.

    We had beers in hand shortly and were out front getting the bikes settled in and seeing Erics’ collection with a few KTM’s a Honda a Triumph Speed triple and I am sorry to say on more steed that I can’t remember.

    Eric is a builder of high-end homes. His being one of them. All customized with high end finish and fittings. His place has a beautiful view. He asked if we wanted to see his mothers’ house which he recently completed. It was a short distance away and we hopped in his truck and rode over.

    Erics’ place is spectacular, his mothers’ is phenomenal. This man is quite the craftsman! Plus his mother had a full on view of the Tetons! His poor mother is going to wonder what the marks are on her floor. It is from Patti and my jaws hitting them!

    After we were done oohing and ahing we headed back to Erics’ for more adult beverages.

    Eric, having read our ride report knew we have a weakness for our comfort food of spaghetti and meat sauce, which he had on hand. I volunteered to cook and got to preparing dinner. We continued to chat as I got things going. We swapped stories about travels. Eric shared how he had come to Jackson Hole and ended up becoming a builder of high-end homes. His story to tell but it is a good one.

    Dinner served with Texas toast on the side. Nice stories shared over a long relaxing meal. We adjourned to the back porch and enjoyed the evening along with the views of the hills in the background.

    Both of us tired from a couple of long days and long nights in a tent retired fairly early. We both enjoyed a very restful nights sleep in a bed and not a sleeping bag.
    #73
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  14. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    July 24, 2020 Jackson Hole, WY to Logan, UT.

    I was up around six and spent a couple of quiet hours looking a YouTube videos of how to repair front master cylinder. I also used Erics’ large format Road Atlas.

    Patti and I have been debating whether we should head north to Glacier NP or South into Utah and the in both cases back east. We are planning on being on Cape Cod for the first week of September, so it is time to start the return route. Interestingly both rough routes returned almost the same amount of time required to get back. Basically 70 hours of “seat-time”. At 5 hours of travel per day we are talking about 19 travel days.

    Patti and Eric made their appearances. We jabbered for a bit and Patti and I prepared the bikes to head out.

    Eric, It was great to meet and spend time with you. Thank you for your hospitality!
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    Southbound again. We were heading to Logan Utah. A former neighbor of ours in Vermont with roots in Logan had returned there and had invited us to visit.

    With Erics advice we moved southerly to head around the east then south side of Bear Lake. After 45 minutes it was time for fuel. We stopped fueled and went inside for our own fuel. Here we found no mask or barriers between tellers and customers. This was the first place we found that. Don’t judge. Just an observation and make of it what you will.

    We had been in contact with Melanie and knowing we were going into Utah and it is a “dry” state we inquired about being able to buy liquor when we arrived. She advised that it was “Pioneer Day” and you could not buy liquor. So we found a place still in Wyoming to stock up.


    Shortly after that surprisingly we found ourselves entering Idaho. Oh wait, now we are out of Idaho. Oh wait, we are back in. We are out. We are in. The road that we were on ran the border between the two states.


    We finally turned east and were back in Wyoming. We moved south and then west. The road stretched out straight and flat for as far as we could see. After a while we were into some foothills, then some real hills gaining elevation until we peaked and then headed down. Soon Bear Lake started to show itself.


    As we dropped out of the hills the lake grew in size on our right. It was pristine turquoise. The road looped north and we followed it. It was Friday and the beeches were filling up. Boats being towed into town. Heavy traffic, but it was heading in the opposite direction us.
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    After a bit we turned west away from the lake into Logan Canyon. We climbed and climbed until we came to an overlook where we stopped to admire the expansive view below.

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    We headed back to the road but had to wait for quite a bit of time until we could get across the east bound lane filled with people heading to the lake for the weekend.

    Heading west we had light enough traffic. The canyon is very narrow with rock faces looming on either side.

    Then all of a sudden the canyon ends and you find yourself in Logan. No suburb or outskirts, you are just there.

    A few turns later and we found ourselves in front of Melanies’ house. The dead giveaway was the Vermont License plate on her front porch.

    Hugs all around then it was time to unload the bikes and put them to bed for the night. We spent time catching up. Melanie had prepared pulled pork, fresh corn-on-the-cob grilled, the fixings with soft taco shells. Watermelon balls on the side. We feasted.

    Sated we headed to see her kids which were with her ex-husbands farm a few miles away. We had not seen Ethan and Leaf in a couple of years and as with young kids two years is a lifetime. They grow so fast.
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    Justin, Melanies’ ex-husband has a lot of animals. The ones that got everyone’s attention was the goats. They were entertaining and the humans spent time entertaining them. Patti must be a goat whisperer because this little girl fell asleep in her arms.
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    After our visit we headed back to Melanies’. We sat up for a bit looking at her photos of her trip to Iceland. We were going to reciprocate with our photos for Mexico but eyelids were drooping and we were off to bed.
    #74
  15. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Traveling in the US
    7/25/2020 Saturday Logan, Utah

    We had a great night sleep. I was up around 7:00 when I started writing this part of the RR. When everyone else was up we headed to a local bakery where the ladies had quiche and I had a croissant with Nutella. MMM, MMM, MMM.

    We were back at the house at 11:00. I was hoping the rebuild kit would be in. No joy.

    I headed out to get DOT 4 and rags. Then we needed a backup Jet-Boil gas cylinder. Done and done it was back to house where I’ve spent the last several hours catching up with this RR. The rebuild did not arrive as hoped, but I’ve been checking and testing the master cylinder for leaks and it seems to have stopped. Fingers crossed.

    So now my back is soar and eyes are tired. I also need another cocktail.
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    #75
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  16. steinVT

    steinVT Just a rider

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    Vermont
    :lurk Enjoying your ride.
    #76
  17. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Traveling in the US
    Here are our "Spot" tracks for the last several days. We will likely be heading north next. We plan on going up to Glacier National Park. From there we will begin our trek back east. I estimate 19 days of 5 hour per day riding to get back to the North East. We will likely stay as for north as possible hugging the Canadian border and the Great Lakes Coast Line. Info on roads and routes in those areas would be appreciated along with suggested campgrounds or nice inexpensive hotels.

    7/20

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    7/21

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    7/22

    7-22-2020.png

    7/23

    7-23-2020.png

    7/24

    7-24-2020.png
    #77
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  18. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Traveling in the US
    Expenses to-date. It has been a little while since I posted this. Tires and oil change really spiked it up. But I consider them trip expenses. Gifts are not included as It is likely something we'd be doing anyway if we were home, at least in some fashion. BTW this is almost double what it was costing us in Mexico.

    Screen Shot 2020-07-26 at 7.24.50 AM.png
    #78
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  19. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,156
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    Quote..... His poor mother is going to wonder what the marks are on her floor. It is from Patti and my jaws hitting them!

    Now that's funny, thanks for taking us along!!
    #79
  20. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    905
    Location:
    Lafayette, LA
    Great infomation. Still not bad for two people and two motorcycles. It gives this solo rider a little more hope that his dreams are not out of reach.
    #80
    Golden955 likes this.