Three old guys to Alaska - goldwings and a 300 versys

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Fuzzy74, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Enjoying the ride along with you. Spahats and Helmcken Falls, and Wells Grey in general, are well worth the short diversion, as you discovered. Bullwinkle and I made a much longer diversion last summer just to check out the park and some of its many waterfalls (not our first time there) and enjoyed every moment.

    ...ken...
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  2. Pekes1956

    Pekes1956 Adventurer

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    Victoria
    I can't believe I didn't know of these spectacular sites in my own province - thanks for the education!
  3. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    821
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 33 – Penticton to Hayden Lake

    Dodging Deer, Turkeys and Cows

    Had a good nights sleep at the Hostel. Taking a morning walk noticed the sign post in front of the Hostel giving distances and directions to points far away like Australia and New Zealand.
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    Riding south to Osoyoos one cold see why this is Canada’s fruit basket. Apples, Cherries, Peaches and vineyards lined the road. Wine is a growing industry and their ability to make good wine has vastly improved in the 25 years since I lived in Canada. I took a turn at a sign for See Ya Later Ranch. It was a run winding road up the hill side for 6 kilometers. The tasting room was open I came away with a bottle of Ping, a Meritage of Bordeaux style. All the wines at the vineyard are named after former dogs of the owner so they had to be good. They have 2,500 acres of grapes growing for their wine,
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    Leaving the vineyard the gps suggested I stay on the same road to bring me back to hwy 97 further south. It was a fun, winding mountain road for another 15 kilometers. At one point going around a hairpin curve I realized I was passing a deer eating on the side of the road almost close enough for me to reach out and swat her rump. She looked up at me to make sure I didn’t then went back to eating.


    At Osoyoos I turned east on HWY 3 staying north of the border. As soon as I was out of town the road started climbing for many miles. Several points gave a good view of the city and lake below. At one point the motor home in front of me had to brake for a deer crossing the road. I continued 100 kilometers to Midway and turned south. There was a wait at the small border station while the customs agent searched a small car with Florida plates. I caught up on my email while waiting. Eventually he let them go and I had a short wait left for the Harley in front of me. When I pulled up to the agent his first words were “I hate Harleys.” He told me of his Versys 1000 and gave good advice on road conditions ahead.

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    I road south on hwy 535 turning east at Curlew, WA on Boulder Creek Road. It was a great mountain road until I came across this guy. Border agent had warned me to watch out for moose but they look different here than In Canada.
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    Further up the road were more and at one point 50+ had gathered. Maybe these were the bison heard we had people tell us they saw on the way up to Alaska.
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    Towards the end of Boulder Creek Road I had just passed a car when I saw a deer standing in the road ahead. I was immediately on the brakes hoping the car behind was alert and not mad for me brake checking him. I continued to slow as the deer slowly walked off the road and paid mind to the fact there is often more than one. Sure enough as I continued slowly to point where deer crossed here comes Bambi following his mom.


    I turned south on hwy 395 following the Columbia River to Kettle Falls. We came close to war with Britain on the western Canada / U.S. border with the winning presidential candidate running on the slogan 54 40 or fight. The British wanted the border to be the Columbia River and the U.S. 54 40 parallel to connect to Alaska Panhandle. 49th parallel was the compromise that avoided war.

    Cresting one hill I had to brake hard for 3 turkeys in the road who showed no urgency at all to get out of my way. At Kettle Falls I stopped in a city park to eat my lunch and listen to a band playing on the stage for July 4th celebration. At Colville, WA I turned west on hwy 20. I thought about spending the last two days on great mountain roads or valleys following scenic rivers and lakes through small towns while Nuke navigated sleepy locations like Vancouver and Seattle riding roads like I5 and I90. My friends picked much better places to ride an MC to.


    At Newport, WA I turned onto hwy 41 and passed into Idaho. I new I had left Washington and entered Idaho when the animal warning signs changed to “Game on Road”. In Idaho apparently animals on the road are targets. Riding a motorcycle without the standard cattle guard on front I chose not to play.


    I pulled into my friends in Hayden, ID just as he was putting July 4th burgers on the grill. The fellowship with good friends in the evening was a great end to a good day.
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  4. Ken in Regina

    Ken in Regina Long timer Supporter

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    Yes, Wells Grey Park has a number of waterfalls in the park. Many are easily accessible. Some need some hiking. At last count they had 41 they had found and named.

    https://www.wellsgray.ca/site/activities/waterfalls.html

    Spahats and Helmcken are just two, probably the most well-known because they are quite spectacular and easily accessible right from the road.

    ...ken...
  5. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

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    Sep 9, 2008
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    226
    Living in BC I tend to see MANY deer and other "four-legged, grass-eating" critters along the roads. I have a VERY loud horn ( a WOLO Bad Boy) DSC03573 copy.JPG in BOTH of my Versys, behind the left-side tank fairing, so when I see one I get ON THE BRAKES while thumbing that horn, and generally they turn back rather than cross in front of me.
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  6. Splantingatree

    Splantingatree Adventurer

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    Sep 27, 2015
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    Location:
    Grande Prairie, AB
    Just stumbled onto this RR. My dad and i camped at the same campground as you gents in Ft. Nelson. I'm the fella from Grande Prairie.
    Glad to see you boys are still on the road!
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  7. Rapturee2

    Rapturee2 Ride often, Pray Hard. Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
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    Post Falls Idaho
    Oh Man!! So sorry i missed you guys, I live 20 minutes from Hayden!! I would have happily rode up to the border and met up with you and rode back to Idaho with you. I was out riding part of the Lewis & Clark trail Hwy20. That'll teach me to check the RR first! :{P
  8. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Sorry we didn’t meet up. Would have been great.

    I made my trip your way so come on down to Tennessee so we can ride together. :-)
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  9. AdvLTC

    AdvLTC Adventurer

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    Aug 22, 2017
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    33
    Location:
    Washington State
    Just on that road four days ago. The cows are still on the road! Had to be careful of all the cow pies in the road. It's a nice road I don'y think I saw more then three cars all the way to Curlew.


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  10. rtcoker

    rtcoker Adventurer

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    Smokies
    Hey Fuzzy I live 30 minutes from the Smokies/Dragon. Let me know the next time you need a "Volunteer"!
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  11. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Will do. I’m over by Monteagle.
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  12. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 34

    Hayden Lake to Lolo Hot Springs

    Day started by meeting up with Nuke at McDonalds in Coeur D’Alene. We headed east a few miles across top of lake, then south on Idaho 97. The road followed the bank of Lake Coeur D’Alene. It was cut into the hillside rising from the lake. It was rare for the road to be straight for 100’. Occasionally it would take a short cut over a fold of the mountain with switchbacks climbing and descending. I don’t know how far it is across the lake but following the twisted shoreline is it a long long way around.

    After 97 a sequence of roads took us to Lopwai. On the way we found out we had climbed some elevation with a couple 1,000’+ drop to a river then back up. The last drop took us to Lopwai where we came to highway 12. From a hwy 12 review on MotorcycleRoads.com:

    Helpful rider’s comment: "First time in my riding that I actually thought there were too many turns and was looking for some straight..."

    Hwy 12 follows the clearwater river upstream towards Lolo Pass. Our ride on 12 was 200+ miles of constant turns. The only way for a break was to stop.
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    Prairie Dog as visitor center top of pass.
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    All in all the day was 320 miles with virtually no wear on the center tread of our tires. A definite money saver to get more use out of the sides of the tires. Bottom line it was the most turns either of us had made in a day and we frequent the Appalachians on roads such as “Tail of Dragon”, “Moonshiner” “Cherohala”, “Devils Triangle”, Blue Ridge Parkway, etc.


    We stopped for the night at Lolo Hot Springs to camp. We do not recommend this location for tent camping. Tents were relegated to a large field of grass 8” tall. There was one picnic table in the 2 acres and only 3 fire rings all accounted for by the first 3 tents. Bathrooms were porta potties. Internet would not connect unless walking over to office and staying close. (No cell service available.) Garbage bins were overflowing. Didn’t go to the springs for another $10 each. Basically a concrete swimming pool with some hot spring water piped in.

    At Lolo RV campground. Wonder what fuel they are using to have the fire extinguisher so handy?
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  13. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 35 – Lolo Hot Springs to Columbus, MT.

    We woke up in middle of night with major lightning storm accompanied by heavy rain. Our tents kept us dry and luckily little wind with storm. In morning we were socked in with fog so took our time getting going but still packed wet tents. Found out bathrooms ran out of toilet paper. The Hot Springs restaurant had a sign on road “open for breakfast” but when we left at 8:30 there was no sign of life there yet.

    Leaving the hot springs was another 25 miles of 12 down to Lolo. We fueled up and turned south on 93. Initially 93 was a 4 lane high speed run but eventually turned into 2 lanes, climbing with lots of turns. We turned west on 43. It continued to climb the flattened out on a plateau. Eventually we saw a pull out with a sign indicating it was a cell phone reception area. A few miles later we pulled into Wisdom where there is no cell service. We gassed up and had a good if slow lunch. Café did have wifi. Had we been to Wisdom first to absorb some wisdom we would have known to use the pullout. People traveling west have an advantage.

    We turned north on 569 towards I-90. It soon turned into poorly maintained mixed with road work but was a pretty ride getting us where we needed to be. East for 200 miles on I-90 we dodged thunderstorms successfully to Columbus, MT. Goal was to get close enough to Beartooth to have a morning climb.

    The city of Columbus has a nice campground on the Yellowstone River. Camping is free but there is a donation box. Had another lightning storm in night but little rain.

    Sorry no pics today.
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  14. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Edmonton, Alberta
    These kinds of things were an adventure at 25. At 60 they're not (for me). Crawling on my hands and knees in mud in the dark. No thanks. That is time for a Fiat Spider or Mazda Miata and a hotel points card. The bike gets punted to fair weather days and the tent is given away. Sad to say but for me true.
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  15. dirtdreamer50

    dirtdreamer50 long time rider

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    Location:
    texas coast
    Like as not, we can't stay young forever. Ended up adding a Slingshot to the garage. Main commuter now. Love riding, but not as comfortable in heavy traffic on two wheels, at 69, as I once was.
    This is a great RR, so keep those pics and reports coming. tp dd50
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  16. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 36

    Supposedly Charles Kuralt said the Beartooth Highway is the most beautiful road in the United States. Having seen it now I can not argue the statement.

    We broke camp early and headed towards Red Lodge. A few miles out of Columbus a truck going other way was flashing his lights. A couple curves up was a group of cowboys herding a few cows up the road. We stopped in Red Lodge just long enough to fuel up and deposit our morning coffee, then headed for the Beartooth. Shortly out of town the road started climbing. Pictures speak for themselves, but don’t fully capture the beauty of the road. It is the highest I have ever been without the benefit of an airplane.
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    I was really disappointed when we stopped at the Top of the World store and they did not have their advertised sticker.
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    After Beratooth we turned left on Chief Joseph Scenic Byway towards Cody, another great road. Several climbs and descents with great views the whole way.
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    We then stopped in Cody for lunch.
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  17. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 36 cont. – Cody to Big Horn Canyon to Bald Mountain to Dayton, WY

    After Cody we headed east from Cody on hwy 14a. At Lowell Nuke decided to go straight to Dayton to beat the heat but I chose to take advice given here and check out Bighorn Canyon. I’m glad I did. As I turned north off 14 the landscape morphed into a different world. Coming around one curve I had to brake for a big horn sheep. Unfortunately taking picture with one hand while steering with other and eyeing the road the subject isn’t always at center of picture.
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    Landscape was beautiful.
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    The canyon

    There were wild horses in the park.
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    Moving into Montana I was able to see the canyon.
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    Leaving park a cow was leaving road but hurried on when he saw the Hi-Vis giant on the green monster.
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    Back on 14a the climb soon started up Bald Mountain. Lots of views of valley below I had just left. On the top was a plateau for a while before beginning the descent. 3600’ climb in 13 miles according to a sign.
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    Top not quite as high as Beartooth. Half way down 14a joined 14 and at bottom found Nuke relaxed at campground in Dayton.

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  18. codebot

    codebot Neophyte RTA (Round The Americas).

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
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    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I wanted to make a run up to the top of Beartooth pass on June 22nd. This was towards the end of a 4000 mile trip and it not easy to avoid weather events. I stayed in Cody the night before and made a run over the Chief Joseph byway to get to Beartooth. (Holy #$%, what a great road) I then sat for a few minutes at the turn off to Beartooth Pass looking at a sign that said, "road closed 17 miles ahead". I had seen reports leading up to this moment, as I was sitting at the sign, that said it had snowed a good 8 inches on top of the pass a few days before. I then said to myself, "self? Let's go". So I did. I am so glad I made a run up to the gate. GPS said the elevation was 9934 at the gate and it was about 4 miles from the actual pass. The road is not in great shape for a number of miles east of the junction with the Chief Joseph byway (296), but OMG what a fabulously beautiful road. Those two roads are right at the top of my hard to get to but must be done again list. Sorry for the diversion. Now, back to your regularly scheduled ride report.
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  19. nuke65

    nuke65 Adventurer

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    Apr 7, 2019
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    Georgia
    A2A - Part 16, Three Nights of Fireworks and Twisting the Day Away

    Miss me? I’ve been delinquent in getting a posting out. I’d give you all the excuses such as limited internet access, long days on the road, or I’m just too busy. Fact is, by the end of the day, I was just lazy. So I’ll try to catch you up on the past week. Standby for a long post.

    A week ago last Tuesday we were delayed in Prince George, BC for the motorcycle shop to open so we could get new tires and an oil change. While my tires still had life in them, I didn’t have the confidence they would last until I got home and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere trying to find tires. So I had them changed.

    During one night in Prince George I was rudely awakened by loud banging. I thought my hotel neighbors were having a sumo wrestling competition until I emerged from my sleep and realized that the noise was coming from outside and not inside. I opened my curtain and behold, it was the Canada Day fireworks. The full show was on display from my window. Knowing that fireworks is on of my wife’s favorite activity, I texted her a picture of one such display. Let’s see, three hour time difference would make it 2:30 in the morning in Atlanta. Good thing she has do not disturb on her phone, or we would both be up trying to get back to sleep.

    After getting said tires and an oil change, Fuzzy and I split up. Just for a couple of days. He had long ago friends from Canada to see and I had a relative and the son of long time friends to drop in on. Actually, I didn’t really drop in. I gave them plenty of warning to come up with an excuse to be busy. But they took pity on me and allowed me to visit.

    Did you ever have dreams that you were flying? If you didn’t, I think you missed out. My flying dreams didn’t really have me fly like Superman. It was more of swimming through air. I would run and leap up, then with swim like motions I could keep floating and move forward. Maybe that came from spending so much time underwater in swimming pools. Anyway, I had a similar real life feeling on the road from Prince George to Seattle. The route took me through a descending set of twisty roads through a canyon in the mountains. There were enough twists in the dropping elevation that I felt like I was being pulled by an underwater scooter through the air above the road. If I looked down the road, I would be propelled in tune with the curves. If I looked right or left at the view, my trajectory would change and not for the better. Still, I took chances and looked at the view. It was a different terrain from before with striating rock formations melding with the forests.

    It took two days to make the trip, with an overnight at the Canyon Alpine Campground near Boston Bar, BC. This campground turned out to be a nice, friendly place to stay. The second day was taken up by mostly interstate driving and a border crossing. I did find a use for my Global Entry card. It allowed me to use the NEXUS lane (only for entering the US), which saved me about 20 minutes. I never would have thought that I would find traffic as crazy as Atlanta, but I think Seattle could win the battle of car congestion. Seems like the city had a major sneeze and cars went everywhere in globs.

    I arrived to see my cousin Kris, and his wife Elaine. I had a great time catching up with them. It was 30 years ago that I last saw them. I’m glad I hadn’t changed any.

    Then on to Spokane. Jonathan Frey, the son of long time Atlanta friends, and his family had just returned from camping near Jasper National Forest and now, apparently, awaited me. As I pulled up to their house on my motorcycle, there, sitting on the front steps, were three of his four daughters. I imagine the fourth would have been there but she was still napping. The evening was quickly filled with a van full of children all participating in the scavenger hunt for Chinese food. Who would have thought that all the Chinese restaurants were closed on July 4th? So we settled on Tai food and had a wonderful dinner table game of “give me math questions”. Fortunately, I got to give the questions; not answer them. I even got souvenir pictures to take home! After I bid adieu, I was pleased to find that the July 4th fireworks were outside my hotel, just a short few blocks away. This time I sent my lovely wife a couple of videos for I had hotel bandwidth now.

    On Friday, July 5th, I joined back up with Fuzzy in Coeur D’Alene, ID. Turns out a week prior, one of my other cousins competed in an Iron Man competition in Coeur D’Alene, taking third place in her age group. Even if I hadn’t changed, I could never finish an Iron Man, much less come in third.

    Fuzzy plotted this simple route to and up the Lolo Pass. We only had to go through about 130 miles of twisties. Continuous twisties. Well, it wasn’t completely continuous but the longest stretch of twisties was about 100 miles. We went along Lake Coeur D’Alene on Highway 97, to Highway 6 through St. Joe National Forest. Then on to Highway 13 to Lolo Pass. The one thing about twisties is that they are normally on the edge of a mountain and this was no exception.

    For my non-motorcycle friends, there is a riding principle known as target fixation. If you directly focus on something in the road for example, target fixation will dictate that you run over it. This is a real phenomena. The motorcycle goes where you look. I don’t know if it was about mile 59 or mile 73 in the twisties, but I began to get tired looking at the road ahead. So I looked out over the edge of the road. I forgot that I have developed a keen, shall we say, awareness of heights. That look was enough to convince me that if I were to continue with this “viewing the scenery” folly, I would soon become part of the scenery. At that point, the twisties became work. No longer gliding along being pulled by an underwater scooter. More like a feeling that I was in the Iron Man competition hoping the end of the race would come soon. I was convinced by the end of that day, I had seen all the twisties that existed in this world.

    That evening we camped out on the top of Lolo Pass and we got to see a third evening of fireworks. Only these fireworks were natural; provided by God. On one of the first evenings where it finally got dark, we awoke to blinding flashes of lightning and booming thunder. Oddly, there was no wind.

    I am convinced, though he has not confirmed this, that Fuzzy was a child who yearned to ride roller coaster rides but was denied that pleasure growing up. Therefore, he now makes up for that lost childhood by hunting the most challenging twisties in existence. It turns out Friday was merely a warmup. Saturday started out innocently enough. Who would have thought that I would have found Darby in Montana? No, not my daughter Darby, but the town of Darby, MT. I didn’t know they named a town after her. I should have expected it though because she is rather special.

    After setting me up to think I had seen it all, Fuzzy led me on to the Beartooth Pass and the Chief Joseph Highway. Here is where we combine twisties with airplane height elevations. The summit of Beartooth pass is about 11,000 feet. And we climbed it on a motorcycle following a trail of dumped spaghetti up the side of the mountain. Known for its breathtaking views, this is a popular “ride” in the Rocky Mountains. Charles Kuralt called it the “most beautiful road in America.” Remember my “awareness” of heights? When you can’t see the bottom of the mountain you realize that you can have target fixation on nothing. This would have been a Superman type flying dream that I never had. Still, I enjoyed the ride and we did stop to take in the views. I also videoed the “technical” portion of the ride to enjoy later. When I’m seated on a firm foundation in a chair with arms.

    Our day ended in Dayton, WY. On Sunday, we started the trek home by taking a northerly route to avoid the higher temperatures crossing the plains. A great plan devised by engineers, we also didn’t give much weight to the fact that the cooler temperatures could result in rain from Noah’s day. Over the next two days, we rode about 800 miles through North Dakota and ended up near Minneapolis, MN. I found out some new things riding in 500 plus miles of solid rain. First, my once waterproof boots no longer have that attribute. At least by the end of today’s ride my socks won’t need washing. Another thing I found out is that rain pants don’t really keep water out when you’re sitting in it for over 8 hours. Eventually, water seeps through. Luckily, you couldn’t tell this by looking so I avoided the potential embarrassment of trying to explain how I wet my pants.

    We think the rain is gone for tomorrow as we transition from interstate to the Great River Road that parallels along the Mississippi River. Perhaps I won’t be as lazy and let you know about it.

    Some snippets of the Trans Canada Highway and Beartooth Pass.











    Beartooth Pass Overlook
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    Another view from an overlook. Note the road below.

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    On the Trans Canada Highway E12DE450-ADBD-4623-879D-D8866D5AD551.jpeg


    Another from the Trans Canada Highway
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    On the way to Lolo Pass. I believe Fuzzy posted the same picture.

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    Trans Canada Highway
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    Attached Files:

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  20. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    821
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Days 37, 38 - Dayton, WY to Rogers, MN - Across the Plains
    Next two days were just a matter of getting it behind us. We chose going east on I-94 even though more miles than I-90 as further north forecast lower temps. It was just a matter of getting on the interstate and putting miles on with the two longest day of the trip covering 900 miles. 80 mph in Montana, 75 mph in North Dakota and 70 mph in Minnesota.

    My Versys 300 with larger rear tire lost some ability to maintain speed. Comparing actual mileage to Google mileage I am behind about 4% but the speedometer is now within 1 mph of gps. I think the combination of extra tooth on front sprocket plus larger rear tire has the bike geared too high. Of course it doesn't help that the weather gods made it uphill both ways Going west across I-70 was into stiff head wind. Now going east has been a head wind.

    Monday we headed north east from Dayton towards I-94. On a road cutting the corner of I-90 to I--94 we ran into a 10 mile construction zone. Good timing made wait short, but gravel was worst of entire trip with either deep gravel or in some places soft dirt. We made good time and at lunch extended our goal to Bismarck. As we approached storm clouds gathered, then the bottom dropped out. Nuke had the hotel programed in his GPS so I just stayed on his tail following the red light to under the cover at hotel entrance

    Tuesday it was still raining when we woke up and we rode in rain for 400 miles sometimes slowing for visibility in hard rain or stiff cross winds pushing bikes around. Surprisingly the Goldwing had more trouble from cross winds than the lighter Versys. My Dainese Boots and Revit overpants worked well although at second gas stop getting my wallet out from under overpants a river of water off jacket ran in. My first gear jacket did pretty well but without a good connection between gloves and jacket sleeve and no hand guards, rain ran up my arms getting my shirt wet. Gerbing gloves were soaked but with power on kept hands warm. Pulling them off my hands looked like prunes as if I had spent all day in a pool. The last few miles into Rogers were out of the rain.

    There are bugs in Montana.
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    North Dakota rain can wash bugs off. Color difference from natural vs artificial light.
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    Next three days riding river road south.
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