Taking the heat with US-July '21

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by doublegobble, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    In an attempt to escape the July heat of Southern Georgia, and do something besides working all the time, I convinced myself many months ago that I could travel to Kalispell, MT, visiting a close friend and resident, for the entire month. Besides our hay operation, the cow program is relatively calm in July and I finally had acquired enough help to disappear.

    My wife and I had acquired Stella (24’ Class C RV) in the prior summer and had been wanting to do a family trip. Our son Silas (11 years old) flew out to spend a week with his grandmother in Lake Havesu, and we were to meet them at my wife’s aunts in Show Low, AZ for the 4th of July.

    So of course this all would require some motorcycles.

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  2. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Two other friends made plans to fly out to MT for overlapping weeks to ride Mx’s, get in some rivers, and enjoy the mountain air. I was in charge of picking up one’s ride (’13 Husky 650 Terra) and lend the other one a steed from my garage.

    The closer I got to our departure, the more duties starting piling up on my doorstep, and it wasn’t until about 36hrs prior to leaving that I actually made a packing list and started getting ready.

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  3. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Well when the day comes to leave and your not completely ready you either leave or you don’t….so we did the correct thing and just left. The first day turned out to be very similar to all the other days…Google maps said Stella could make it in a certain time, and you could pretty much count on adding 1-3 hours to that guesstimate. We have decided we (and Google) doesn’t understand time zones nor the not so rare time warp sinks found across the U.S. landscape.

    Regardless, day 1 was in the books and we shared some delicious street tacos with JB in New Orleans at our RV campsite on Lake Ponchatrain. I even got to do a quick ride on JB’s Husky before dark, although with the wet roads and on a friend’s bike, I quelled the urge to get frisky.

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  4. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    The next day was a doozy, tackling a big bite of the odd shaped steak of Texas. Traffic of course was a challenge around Dallas-Fort Worth, but the drive from there to Abilene was gorgeous, especially if you are a rancher like me. With the rains they had been getting, looked like a nice place to raise a few cows. We pulled into Abilene about dark and in need of a beer, which was not a problem. IMG_0601.jpeg
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  5. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Another long day eating Texas and NM ended with us arriving at our first real stop in Show Low, AZ. It’s an amazing spot up on a ridge at about 6000’, surrounded by National Forests and Reservation land. Jen’s aunt Maryland has lived up them for a few decades and has a great spot to hold family get togethers and is a great cook and generous host.

    We played a lot of cornhole, Yahtzee, Mexican train, and enjoyed much libation and merriment. I brought our grass-fed beef and made burgers, Jen brought our yard eggs and we made delicious deviled eggs, and also made my famous “Aunt Grace’s grits” for the entire crowd. Maryland’s husband Wes blessed us with some of the best BBQ I’ve had in a while. It was a good time to be had by all.

    And best of all, I got to squeeze in a few rides. Unfortunately being 4th of July weekend and the threat of wildfires extreme, all National and State lands were closed. So finding good terrain was difficult. I managed a few out of the way paved rides that were scenic and worthwhile, but look forward to re-visiting when I can really explore. This was my first foray with Gaia GPS and I was extremely pleased with how easy it was use.
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  6. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    We pushed out of Show Low with 2 mild driving days to Kalispell. First stop, well worn Moab, fingers crossed the scorching temperatures would moderate the Moab Magnet. The drive up US 191 through the reservations was quite desolate in the drought conditions, and the roads kept driving speeds well below the speed limit at times, but we plodded north with determination.

    Moab was roughly as I remembered, but bigger. The suburbs pushing outward on its waistband as the new wooden condos and apartments rose a few stories into the dry sky and choked out. The nice hotels on the north side of town were a new addition as well, having been nearly a decade since I had passed through. We stayed at a clean and packed RV spot on that side of town so that we could plug in for A.C. to keep the families spirits in vacation mode.

    All that red rock was whispering to me as we pulled into town, and after eating some delicious Thai take-out, I started researching where I might could sneak it a ride early in the A.M. before the family awoke. As per usual, the ADVrider inmates were a great source of guidance and I settled on Klondike Bluff Trail. I wanted something quick and easy since this was my first ride in Utah and it would be alone. Described as a 3/10 for difficulty and about 14 miles out of town, I mistakenly picked the 701 as my horse and left the KTM 500EXC in the stable, since she was a little harder to unload and it was 11:30pm before I found my route on the internet. I woke up at 4:45am before my alarm, slammed an ice coffee I had hiding in the beer cooler, suited up in my shock troop riding gear, and was on the road heading out of town in the dark. I would arrive at the trail head before sunrise and make my way onto the gravel road as the light was changing from the bruised hues to the blushing and golden light of a fairy morning.

    Gaia GPS and I were still getting to know each other, and I took one wrong turn early on, but my spidey sense was tingling and I quickly checked the map, found my arrow, and got back on track. The gravel roads were a joy, opening up the throttle and the war song of the Wings exhaust was an amazing rock n roll feedback. Soon I found sand, which I was native to in South Ga, appearing shallow but was surprisingly slippery, then some mild to medium rock obstacles, creek bed crossings, and narrow tread. Even though I had wished I'd jumped on the 500, the 701 was capable of it all, I just had to convince my self I was.

    By the time I made it to the slickrock, I felt like I had a workout. ( I weigh 150lbs dripping wet) The smooth rock was a completely new riding world for me and it felt foreign.
    It was both exciting and produced a mild state of fear. It took a bit for me to see the faded white painted lines I was supposed to follow, but having found them, I got into the groove and built my confidence. It was an excellent intro to Slickrock 101, being neither too steep or too technical, although I had wished by that point that I'd worn my knee pads underneath my Basilisks. After a few lost moments and some time and map checks, I found a great view relatively close to the end/top, took some photos for the homies, and turned around so I would keep to the schedule I promised the family. (this was a little hard to do, but I felt like an adult turning around early and staying on time). Made a quick get off coming back down when I couldn't decide a route choice on a steep drop, and my 32' inseam was no longer tall enough leaning down hill on the tall horse. It was innocuous, but a lesson in making quick decisions in difficult terrain. IMG_0638.jpeg
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  7. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Before leaving town, we made what appears to be a slight detour and takes hours in the RV, but the view at the end of the road at Island in the Sky, Canyonlands, is about as magnificent as they come. We were there early enough not to be an ant in the stirred bed, so we could enjoy the view. We saw a small group of mx riders on the White Rim Trail below and my wife commented, "...that would be fun" . I told her to start practicing. Maybe not the first one to tackle. IMG_1136.jpeg
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  8. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Our Utah day was uneventful, besides enjoying some rocky terrain and impressive mountains. As a grass farmer southern Idaho was eye opening, with as much irrigated pastures along I-15 as I've ever seen anywhere. The next day seemed to drag on forever as Kalispell couldn't arrive quick enough. We took the scenic route and passed through Ovando, where a lady was pulled out of her tent by a grizzly bear a few days before and I'll leave it at that.

    My buddy Adam has lived in Kalispell for over 20 years and has been rider for most of that time. Our first day we took a great trip up the hill for a nice view into the National Forest. tempImageG6cZBx.jpg
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  9. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Our first group of friends arrived a couple days later and we promptly made a day trip over the hill to Tally Lake, an under appreciated gem. We mistook a deer highway for the trail and bushwacked into early season Huckleberries, and eventually found gold as we had the entire end of the lake mostly to ourselves. tempImagejUhqIb.jpg tempImagell1qrO.jpg
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  10. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Next couple days yields some nice grilling, yard sports for the kids, and short stint day rides on gravel and jeep trails. The receding author on a ponderous stump and his local host lounging among the rock slide. tempImageTAEjxQ.jpg tempImageCL4AbJ.jpg

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  11. Boudhini

    Boudhini n00b

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    Incredible view
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  12. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    Yesterday was epic. What started as a failed bid at a long morning riding, bypassed by a flat front and long limp home, turned into a 73 mile dusk loop. The final member of our party arrived mid afternoon, who we greeted with Desoto Grill BBQ, which even as a Southerner, I would recommend without reservation.

    After a short digestion, we suited up and embarked upon the aforementioned ride. Fire and jeep roads for the entire trip, minus one short section of dream pavement in the middle of the national forest perfect for carving. The trip was highlighted by a standoff with a cow moose...after a brief encounter with a bull a few miles prior.

    I will let the pictures do the talking.

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  13. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    After a day off taking the group van through the well worn "Going to the Sun Road" in Glacier National Park, we got back to riding. Glacier is almost too packed this year for me to enjoy being an aspiring hermit, but the views are so spectacular I had to include a couple.


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  14. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    After recovering from the crowds, our biker gang pushed out in the AM on a day long ride that made hauling those bikes from GA worth the gas money. We took an icewater dip in the North Fork of Flathead River, ate burgers and cookies at the Polebridge Mercantile Co., and swam in the dreamiest lake I've ever been to: Red Meadow lake in the Whitefish Range. Finished the day with a quick ascent up Werner Peak and daydreamed of more days of scrambling the hillsides on two wheels without a care. Was a few digits short of breaking the 200 mile mark.


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  15. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    The weekend was mostly centered around music (Big Sky Music Festival) where it seemed the pandemic was checked at the door. We snuck in a fast paced Sunday morning ride that tested our ABS. Today we aim to get the maps out over Shrimp n Grits and plan a longer ride for this week. Grabbed good intel from two ADV riders I bumped into in town who had to abort the IDBDR due to fires and were hopping on the CDT and heading south. Ride safe fellas.

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  16. doublegobble

    doublegobble gnat dodger Supporter

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    For those of you who were interested in more about the moose encounter:
    #16