US National Park Ride CA>OR>ID>MT>WY>UT>AZ>NV>CA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SpecialAgentNancy, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco

    As you all know by now, every year I ride somewhere internationally.
    Not this year....I had considered picking up my bike in Ireland and going
    through Poland, Ukraine and maybe parts of Russia, but my heart really just
    wasn't in it so King Bob (if you don't know who he is, well...you are behind
    reading my RR's) suggested I ride through my own backyard.

    Yosemite.
    Lassen.
    Crater Lake.
    Glacier Park.
    Yellowstone.
    Arches.
    Bryce Canyon.
    Canyonlands.
    Zion.
    And some others I'm probably forgetting.

    The original plan was to leave August 29th and my first stop, Tahoe and visit a friend.
    The fires in Sonoma, Berryessa and Hamilton area sent toxic air there.
    Cancel that.

    The next stop was a camp spot at Lassen National Park.
    Except just the weekend before I was supposed to leave, Hwy 1 shut down due to yet another
    fire around Russian River. When I was coming home from my last training ride,
    on the 101, I got many evacuation text messages on my phone.
    There was very thick smoke and it was quite harrowing.

    There were patrol cars and rangers at every exit,
    signaling that if the fire got too out of control,
    they would have shut the 101.
    I felt lucky to make it home that day.
    Lassen Park....toxic air there too now.
    Cancel that.

    My friend Kenny in Eureka offered a warm bed and he makes excellent dinners.

    I started Sunday morning, August 30th, a day later,
    and first stop was two birds cafe in San Geronimo.
    If you've not been, strongly advise it. Delicious.
    Beautiful patio under massive trees.
    Off the beaten path.
    Cute!

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    It's a hotel too.

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    For my regular RR readers....who's nose that is poking out of the bag?

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    As I rode toward Hwy 1 through some small towns,
    you could see just how close the fires came to home.
    These signs were everywhere.

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    As you can see the air is still thick with smoke.
    After a couple weeks of breathing this crap, I was ready to have blue skies.

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    Popular motorcycle spot to stop.

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    Finally Hwy 1.
    The grey haze of smoke still visible, even out to sea.

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    Didn't stop these surfers.

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    This is the spot where the previous week I had to do a 100+ mile
    detour because they closed the highway down.
    I like this photo because you can see the scorched trees right
    next to one that didn't burn.

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    Black all the way down to the waterline.
    It will be years before I sit in front of a campfire.
    The smell of smoke makes me nauseous now.

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    Still think Climate Change is a hoax? Move to CA. I dare you.
    I rode near to the Redding fire on my way to Vancouver a few years back.
    I also wore a N95 mask for nearly 3 weeks as the Paradise fire drifted into the Bay Area.


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    Finally by Marshall, the smell of smoke was less heavy and the skies opened up.
    A beautiful rolling fog bank coming in down the river.

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    Once I made it north a bit more, saw a creative roadside outdoor garage sale place.
    Trusting people.
    Just drop your cash in the box and take what you want.
    Honor system.

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    Some other vendors.

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    Next.
    Avenue of the Giants.
    I'd heard that the Santa Cruz fire came close to the Redwoods on the peninsula.
    In particular around Boulder Creek but later learned they were saved.

    Perspective.

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    And here is Kenny.
    With his rather impressive workshop.
    I always bring a project for him to help me on with the bike.
    But first...dinner.
    That night was homemade linguica sausage and saute peppers.
    I ate as much as he and his wife together. I'm not called the Hobbit for my hairy feet.

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    Time to take Grindle out of the bag and get settled in.

    Funny, true story.
    I use sunblock powder, (cream just smears inside my helmet)
    and I had a small cosmetic powder brush to apply it.
    I took it out and laid it on the sink counter and stepped
    away for a few minutes, came back and it was gone.
    With a very mischievous looking cat nearby.
    Kenny found it a few days later and offered to ship it with a portion of the cat's ear.

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    Project #1.
    Hook on the top box to hang my jacket.
    Putting it on the mirrors just bends them (yes my gear is that heavy).
    Putting it on the seat, it usually falls off into the dirt.
    Putting it on the front wind screen, well, that is just gross. Bugs.

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    It held for 3 days with 100 mph tape.
    Shame.

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    Project #2.
    Mount Michelin Man.
    Collectors item from Japan.
    Been on the last 10 years of rides with me.
    Can't do a ride without him.

    He's my good luck charm. More on that later...

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    Mounted.
    Thankfully, he's not fallen off as I write this Sept 13th in Utah.

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    This ends my California portion.

    Glad to be out of the smoke and heat.
    Sad to have missed two national parks already.
    Might go through them on the way back.
    Glad to have a break from work.
    Happy to have a great motorcycle
    (which started as a back up temporary) to ride.

    Next. Oregon.
    And my own brush with 'Deliverance'.​
    #1
  2. radmann10

    radmann10 Derf Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,400
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ

    Don't leave out the Grand canyon!
    #2
  3. radmann10

    radmann10 Derf Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,400
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ
    GCBAR... IMG_5248.JPG
    #3
    shasta650 likes this.
  4. radmann10

    radmann10 Derf Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,400
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ
    North Rim, you can take a flight and experience a nice and quiet landing like this... IMG_5269.JPG
    #4
  5. MongoLikeCandy

    MongoLikeCandy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Oddometer:
    841
    Location:
    los angeles
    hey! we overlapped each other, we started aug 28th!

    we still out here searching for clean air and someplace void of people....the national parks are a total clusterfuck of covid and fire refugees on extended holiday courtesy of dat "free govt covid cash" and online schooling for the nasty little vectors. ive never been so disgusted and disillusioned with the national park system till now....they REALLY screwed this up.....massive closures, with record attendance in parks....we are back to our origional plans of rolling to BLM lands....true freedom, without the throbbing, jiggling, huffing, puffing, sweating masses of humanity gone wild.

    follow along here if you like....i hope your experience is better than ours with the National Parks .... we are finished with that mess.


    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/to...&share_fid=14159&share_type=t&link_source=app
    #5
  6. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Crater Lake National Park Oregon

    I spend time each night making sure there are no fires where I am going the next day. I also have a guardian angel that does the same. Those that are really in the 'know' can see my position every 10 minutes with my satellite tracker from my website.

    Started out early and it was pretty nippy along the coast as I continued into Oregon from Northern California. I remembered passing through this town on the way to Vancouver and Alaska with a lot of great Redwood tree stuff and this time I stopped and took photos.

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    Bigfoot territory you know.

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    Loved this owl.

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    Also remembered this weird ship way up near the road, pretty far from the water's edge. Probably an interesting story.

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    Pretty coastline for anyone who's done the Hwy 1 to 101 into Oregon.

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    This bike could use a little TLC. It might also be on purpose. Hipsters are everywhere.

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    Despite my fear of getting into an area with an active fire, the overwhelming urge to go back to Manley's Tavern in Crescent for their amazing 'Broasted' chicken kept my fears at bay. Trouble is, I had 7 hours of riding to get there and on a coffee (without cream, *sigh*) that was not going to work. Kenny suggested a fish and chips place in Bandon, along the coast.

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    When I stepped in to order, I told the lady at the register I had ridden from Eureka to eat there because a friend recommended it. The wait time was 35-40 mins. Mine came out in 15.

    Alaskan Halibut. I've been to the actual Halibut capital in Alaska and had fish n chips there and this was every bit as delicious. In fact, it was a huge portion but I gobbled it down happily just the same.


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    At Bandon I had to turn East and cut over to Crater Lake. I was dreading the heat but it never came. The day stayed a pleasant 90's and with sweepers. I had a wonderful time. I saw many ranges and farms and something familiar caught my eye in the distance. I turned back around for another look.

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    Zoomed in!
    Minions.
    Even the purple ones!


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    I ended up on a scenic road and after a good distance noticed the utter lack of anything. No homes. No bathrooms/rest stops. No gas stations. Thankfully I finally found one and then my heart sank when I saw this lock on it. I have terrible fuel range on this motorcycle, only 150 miles, so I really have to be careful. It feels as though I am filling up every couple of hours.

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    Not to worry, someone noticed I was there and came out to pump my gas.
    Well actually, remove the lock, hand me the pump then watch me pump my gas.
    It's Oregon. People are apparently too dumb to take the fuel pump nozzle off the gas pump by themselves.

    I was watching the time though and knew I needed to make camp before 6 pm. Bad things happen after that...deer start to come out, visibility is not as good. Reluctantly I decided to postpone my planned dinner stop for a crappy $16 salad from a deli.

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    While I was setting up camp, a grizzly looking man came over and started to talk to me about his motorcycle, his friend's motorcycle and a bunch of other topics I had no interest in and tell me what I didn't know about motorcycles. I kept quiet and focused on setting up camp. He got the hint and finally left.

    Later, another rider came over and first asked if he could approach my camp and chat.
    Why yes, Mr. super polite rider.
    He started with asking about my bike and then shared that he rides bicycles and was from Bend (where there was an active fire) and complimented me on my Ortlieb bags which are rather non-traditional for motorcycles. Then he proceeded to tell me of a lovely back road that I would have missed had he not come said hello. There is always a right way to do things. I told him about Manley's. Equal exchange in my mind.

    The setting sun sky was epic.

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    Oregon had some funny signs.
    "Debris in road". Mmmm OK. Something fell in the road and instead of clearing it off, let's just put up a sign. Next one, "Fallen rock". OK, same deal I guess. Rocks fall here a lot and well, we might not clear them off the road that often so let's put up a sign that tells people so we can't get in trouble.

    The next morning, swung by Crater Lake. It never fails to amaze me.

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    And epic views from all around the rim road.

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    Now on to important matters. Broasted chicken for lunch.
    What is Broasted chicken? They told me it was first cooked by rotisserie, then deep fried to finish it off. They serve a half chicken portion and of course, I finished it all. I even ordered another half to go which the cook wrapped in paper towels and put in a ziploc bag for me. So sweet!

    What kind of place is Manley's? (for those of you who read my RR to Alaska in 2013, skip this next part).

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    It was as amazing as I remembered it.

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    The route that the rider told me about was quite beautiful. Very few cars (well trucks, everyone has a truck in Oregon, I mean everyone, then I thought, the gas costs half the price here).

    Anyhoo, that pool of water was bubbling with some pretty serious, no swimming signs and a lot of algae. That black rock in the background is lava flow. It was impressive when I turned the first corner and saw it as high as a 10 story building.

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    Remember that short fuel range? I ended up in Mitchell looking for fuel.
    When the station was closed, I asked around, not another woman in sight. 100+ degrees. Single female low on fuel, late in the day. It was uncomfortable to say the least. Fortunately the clerk at the grocery store unlocked the pump for me and gave me a couple gallons so I could make it to Dayville where I had a completely different experience. I'm not making this up but when I checked in, I told my host about my Mitchell experience and he said "yeah that place is pretty different, we call it Deliverance".

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    It was like paradise. Cute little cottage.

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    My room. Grindle is pleased with the AC blowing full force. It's hot here.

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    See the little girl in the doorway? She was very curious about the motorcycle.

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    Adorable main street. It's the only street. Dayville is pretty much a dot on the map and in the old days would probably have been called a 'one horse town'. I loved it

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    One house on the main road was gorgeous.

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    This is the neighbor. Abandoned.

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    Missed out on this BBQ.

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    And the only store in town. Mercantile. She sold me two corn on the cob's for a dollar each and proudly announced they were from her garden out back. After I bit into the first one, I wanted to go back and tell her that for a dollar each, she should water them.

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    I was lured by these amazing large veggies. I bet they taste like sawdust too.

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    Still you could see the old shop style of the mid 1800 inside.

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    The next day I rode into Idaho and there was some fun to be had there too!​
    #6
    chudzikb and dyvking like this.
  7. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I've made sure to stay on the bike, be at the parks at the crack of dawn and out by 8/9 am and so far so good.
    I just learned about the reservation system with yosemite to pass through on my way home from Vegas this Saturday, on top of the exorbitant fee to enter in the first place. What lunacy.

    Thank's I'll take a look at your thread tonight as I savor a steak at broken spur in torrey UT in the safety of my own room. Restaurants are a crap shoot on following protocol too and the stats over the last month show that is where transmission is now happening (oh and bars too, let's not forget, people can't buy a bottle of booze and drink it at home).

    Shiny side up (someone rammed my bike, post to follow soon).
    #7
    dyvking likes this.
  8. davidaid

    davidaid Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    86
    The boat (if it's the one of which I am thinking) used to be a museum/gift shop/tourist trap that had a bunch of worthless crap you don't need at high prices. Kids love it. Actually, everyone loved it because of the cheesiness.
    #8
  9. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco
    ADV rider tent space found Roy and Phyllis in Lewiston, ID.
    But not before the 395 N with a beautiful canyon then on the 82 East to the 3 North.

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    My place for the night, included a steak dinner!

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    The next morning, Roy rode up the "spiral highway" with me.

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    Then I was headed to Montana through some passes. It was a little warm.
    Stopped to look at some Nez Perce folklore.

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    Roy said to have breakfast in Kooskia. Pronounced Kooska.

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    This omelette (yes with a side of country gravy) reminded me of the "pig vomit omelette" I had in Alaska. Chopped ham, bacon and sausage with cheese.

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    While riding what many people said on ADV was one of the best motorcycle roads in the US, highway 12, I saw all these old trucks lined up and had to stop to take a closer look.

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    Lots of sweepers. Meandering river. Oh yeah and 18 wheeler's and logging trucks. Yeah not that great in my opinion. Too nervous to take my eyes off the next corner. A number of inmates insisted Hwy 12 East to Lolo Mt was an epic motorcycle road. Ummmm they should come to CA where large trucks are not allowed, most of the passes through the Sierras and in Nor-Cal with the redwoods. Although not quite yet, CA is till mostly on fire.

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    As I neared Flathead lake, I rode north along this mountain range. It was gorgeous. This is a typical ranch entrance.

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    King Bob convinced me of the benefits of staying in a place more than one night. This is my little studio for the next three. Plush cushy mattress. Grindle happy. The softest water you have ever showered in and it was equally delicious.

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    The couple who built this have a property in a small town called Lakeside and he is a craftsman so lots of wood detail. And this is MT, they love mountain dew as much as I.

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    Got some groceries. Real cream for my coffee. Whipped butter for the local fresh corn. A dozen eggs and maple sausage (made in Oregon). Yeah that was enough for 3 breakfast meals.

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    Had quite a debacle with the bike here. The listing said gravel road. I emailed and asked about how long this was and how hard packed. This Honda, while comfortable, bullet proof and fun is not made for unpaved roads. I ended up burying the bike in deep round pebble gravel and my host had to come and dig the bike out. It was a nightmare. Each night I thought, I'll find a better spot. Never really did.

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    These came and visited.

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    Beautiful sky.

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    And the moon. Some corn moon or other. I check when the full moon will be so I know what night I won't sleep well and now Google is always telling me about the next supermoon or special moon. I was taught a neat trick...you can select the article and 'not interested' and it will stop on your feed.
    That doesn't stop someone close to me that tells me about each 'special' moon and I can't turn him off.

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    The next day, I thought I would hustle to Sandpoint (back in ID) to see if I could meet up with some riding buddies, one whom I met on a dirt bike ride in Mendocino National Forest years back and now lives in Arizona.

    I woke up early since it was 160 miles to Sandpoint from where I was at, even with the time difference between ID and MT, I would not get there till about 10 am. Stopped to read this. Wait till the next photo.

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    See that mountain on the left in the distance?
    Now multiply that times 8.
    That is the height of the ice shelf here back in the ice age.

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    When I got in around 11, I called Bob and sure enough they were still there so completed the loop back to Flathead lake together. I saw another Honda like mine too so stopped to say "nice bike".
    I love these old weird places that sell stuff from the bygone era.

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    Got to their hotel and kept an eye on the bikes while they figured out how to get the helmet comms to work

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    Strange I've not sent a group photo of us.
    It was a strange time.
    Next day, at 6 am, up and ready to go by 7 for Glacier National Park.
    Wanted to avoid the conga line and when the park is too full they shut it down.
    Labor Day.

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    Michelin Man enjoying the views.

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    Lot's of tight turns with rock face on one side, sheer drop offs on the other and a lot of distracted drivers coming from the opposite direction. No room for error.

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    Beautiful lakes.

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    Lot's of peaks. This place reminded me of Yosemite.

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    Made it to the other side of the park and it's closed as an exit.
    Reservation land and the people there decided they didn't want a bunch of tourists going through so, *sigh* had to turn back and enjoy the amazing views one more time.


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    This peak reminded me of the Matterhorn.
    Not the one in Disney.
    This is the zoomed in version.

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    The haze you see is due to the farmers in MT who burn after harvest when they switch the crop.
    Still this swooping valley was gorgeous.

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    One of the benefits of a motorcycle.
    Even the overcrowded visitor center always has room.
    Stopped here for more photos and to stretch my legs.

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    As you can imagine with these high peaks, lots of rocks tumble down.
    No 'rocks in the road' signs here.
    They bother to clear them off.

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    You can see how the road snakes along the edge on both sides.

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    BTW it's called "the sun road".
    Yep, in the sun the whole way and facing the sun too as I was riding East.
    For those of you who know how much I love the sun.

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    Photos nearly at the end.
    I went a bit crazy.

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    Glacier National Park Lodge.
    The boys were having lunch out back along the lake.

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    Back at my airbnb for my third night and my host did my laundry.
    Good thing too, I was officially out of critical items.
    My helmet smelled good again the next day.
    Hard to explain how morale boosting that is.

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    There was a brewery a mile away that I walked to for dinner twice.
    One night I had fish n chips and boy was it good.
    The next I got BBQ ribs. A whole rack.
    Nothing wrong with my appetite.

    This is a local produce stand that I had missed on the way in and made sure to stop for fresh local corn on the cob that was juicy and sweet.

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    As I rode back out of town, made sure to stop for these photos.
    I've seen easily thousands of bails of hay on this ride and the locals dressed them up in some sort of competition. Here are a few.

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    Cat?

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    Firehouse.

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    Teacher?

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    The apple computer is a pizza box.

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    Next stop, Big Hole Battlefield.
    More than one person on ADV suggested I stop and check it out.
    Glad I did.

    This horn was used by the chief of the Nez Perce group that traveled to escape from Lewiston and there are carved dots on it, each representing a fallen in the battle. One was for his daughter.

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    Drawing of where the individual family's tee pee's were on the plain before the attack.

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    Overlook.

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    This is a recreation of the tee pee area they had camped when the solders ambushed them.

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    Free range cattle.

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    Zoomed out. Tee pee's on left, cattle on right.

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    This was a magical moment for me.
    As I rode through some pretty remote areas to make it to my final destination, Virginia City MT, much like the Virginia City in NV, I discovered that these tall poles are set up for raptors to nest and this one had a Osprey (thought it was an Eagle, guess still disappointed I left Haines too late to see them there). So I turned around for the photo and just after I clicked this one..

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    It took flight!

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    One of my many gas station stops, saw this.

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    Lot's of open plains. Can get pretty windy too.

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    This photo didn't turn out nearly as beautiful as it was in person.
    But I'll try to describe it.
    In the distance is a tall mountain range.
    At the base of it, settlements and farms with sweeping green fields.
    Bails of hay freshly tilled and ready for collection.

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    Lots of gravel roads that I would have explored on the Tiger.

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    Made it to Virginia City. Massive cold front moving in tomorrow.
    That's my room on the end of the building.
    Lucky #7.

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    Bonanza Inn.
    Montana's most haunted hotel.

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    Sooooo, I locked myself out.
    My phone was in the room when it happened.
    Luckily I had my satellite tracker on me that I used to get help.
    10 minutes later, Janet showed up to let me back in and she told me 3 ghost stories.

    Room 1.
    She makes up the rooms and one morning as she was doing her rounds she checked room 1 and found a body imprint on the bed. She checked the roster and no one had booked the room the night before. She checked with the rest of the staff, nope, no one booked or stayed in the room the previous night.

    Room 2.
    She went in to clean the room and smelled 'rose toilet water'. A typical fragrance people would make themselves, usually with roses or lavender. It smelled very strong like a woman had just put it on. She asked the guests staying there that night if they had this old fashioned perfume. The answer was no.

    Room 3.
    Janet's room. One night she was sleeping and woken to the sound of a woman humming a very old hymn. This place was first and foremost a nunnery before it was a courthouse and now hotel. She looked everywhere in the room, in the lobby and hallway and even walked around the building outside and never found anyone but the melody didn't stop. She eventually told the ghost "I'm going back to sleep now".


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    Rooms are all modern though.
    Plush cushy bed.
    As many of you know, I ride internationally and always lament how hard the beds are.
    This trip, each mattress I've slept on was plush and cozy.
    I'm starting to think this is normal here and what I've experienced abroad is just koo koo.

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    Private bathroom.
    I really get excited when I see strong hooks to hang things from.
    My gear is pretty heavy and there is only so much room to lay things out.

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    Yellowstone National Park tomorrow....if I am lucky.











    #9
    Ginger Beard, dano619, EmmEff and 4 others like this.
  10. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,273
    Glacier rocks! Glad you got to experience it. Although, I must say it is much better in the back country hiking, the grizzlies are small there!
    #10
  11. DanOGrande

    DanOGrande vorn and confused

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    291
    Location:
    Bigfork, Mt
    Not a Bald Eagle. Osprey.
    #11
  12. MongoLikeCandy

    MongoLikeCandy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Oddometer:
    841
    Location:
    los angeles
    nice! love it!!! how was yellowstone?
    #12
  13. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Ah really? Didn't know they had white heads.
    #13
  14. MongoLikeCandy

    MongoLikeCandy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Oddometer:
    841
    Location:
    los angeles
    last week I was camping next to the Snake River just outside of Jackson Hole....sunrise coffee with the Snake, cold, but i was in the warmth of the morning sun ...a bald eagle landed across the river from me, treetop for fishing....amazing 40mins of company with my morning joe....we also have in them in springtime along the San Gabriel River Dam (39) here in Los Angeles. 20200918_181801.jpg
    #14
  15. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,588
    Location:
    Santa Maria, Ca
    Yo. It was fun running into you in Torrey the other day. Here’s wishing you continued clear, blue skies and amazing miles on the NC. :clap
    #15
  16. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,822
    Location:
    MT/Bulgaria
    :lurk
    #16
  17. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco
    SO JEALOUS!!!!
    #17
  18. SpecialAgentNancy

    SpecialAgentNancy & your little dog 2!

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    766
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yellowstone National Park

    I was warned. There was a massive early winter storm coming to WY.
    That wasn't going to get in the way of my seeing Yellowstone.
    I'd come all this way. So I cooked up a plan to rent a car, drop off the bike, and see Yellowstone like most people, in traffic jams, caused by Buffalo.

    Just as I entered the park officially, after a rather unimpressive omelet (notice my lack of food photos on this trip?) traffic ground to a halt on a bridge for no apparent reason...then this guy came rambling by 15 minutes later.

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    I sure was glad to be behind metal and glass as I snapped this photo. Google decided some time ago to send me articles on 'Yellowstone' and 'Buffalo' probably because of my many searches about the park in preparation for this ride. Most of them were about stupid people, taunting the Buffalo and getting attacked by them. It was the size of a VW bus.

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    No journey is without Grindle. Co-Pilot, helping with maps. He was also in charge of the bear spray.

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    The day was warm and beautiful but by late afternoon, that would all change. The clouds were those heavy winter storm clouds and thankfully gave shade all day.

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    Some beautiful streams.....

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    and waterfalls.

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    It's a supervolcano for those of you that slept through that part of class so plenty of bubbling pools, and vapor.

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    In the distance on an open plain.

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    Zoomed in a bit.

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    Full zoom in just to give you perspective of distance.

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    It was hard to conceptualize being at 8,000-9,000 feet with peaks soaring far higher in all directions.

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    That peak in the previous photo, zoomed in.

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    I saw something like this in Turkey a while back, but there they let you walk all over it.

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    And the epic herds of buffalo!

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    I decided to take the car to the original planned area of Bear Tooth Pass just to see what I had missed as the cold front closed in. I was told at the gift shop that the area was already closed due to snow.

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    More gorgeous topography.

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    Yellowstone is a driver's paradise. Plenty of parking and you can see just about everything from behind the wheel. I was grateful to be on four wheels as I could feel the temps start to drop by early afternoon.

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    Another gorgeous waterfall.

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    Plenty of wildlife.
    Seems I brought my bad luck around bears to Yellowstone. Didn't see one. I spent three weeks in Alaska in 2013 and saw the rear end of one bear crossing the road far in the distance. That's it. Didn't even see bear on any restaurant menus.

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    As I've done this US National Parks ride, I've seen plenty of scorched areas. Here in this photo, you can see the new growth that is probably about four to six years after the fire that passed through here. Fire is a natural part of nature but what is happening in California, Oregon and now Washington is just koo koo.

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    I timed my exit from the park around four when the storm was supposed to start. I should have had plenty of time to drive back to Virginia City in clear weather except one very annoying and stubborn Buffalo held up 100+ cars (including me) as heavy snow started to fall. Finally after an hour of no moving, a park ranger with flashing lights drove by all of us and persuaded it to get off the road.

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    Becky from the hotel suggested I pick up a meal from this place. $26 pork chop later which was exceptionally good.

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    Made it back to my haunted hotel and flipped a drawer upside down on the folding luggage rack for an impromptu dinner table in front of the wall heater to dry my hair and keep my teeth from chattering.
    The storm was in full force by now, howling wind outside and snow flurry was causing a white out.

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    The next day would be tricky. The heated gear I carry to allow me to ride in freezing weather stopped working. I suspect I blew the fuse and had a spare as well as a plan to bypass it and force the gear to work. Riding in 30-40 degree weather just isn't possible for any length of time without it. Then I also had to contend with the possibility of black ice. I contemplated staying one extra night in my haunted hotel as I fell asleep under four blankets with a small prayer.






    #18