Wild Wild West 2

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by freefallen, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yep, solo again. My last year's cross country was so inspiring that I decided to repeat it. Instead of riding 7,500 miles in 2 weeks, this time I decided to ride over 9,000 within the same time span. Although last year I had a 5 day backpacking through Great Teton Park. This time I'll do some light hiking through National Parks and other beautiful locations. There are so many parks that everything I see this year will be new to me.

    A quarter of my route will be across Canada. Like last time, my son will join me at the 1/2 way mark and together we will travel towards San Francisco. There I'll rest for a day and head towards home alone.

    001.jpg

    The following places await me:
    Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI
    Voted "Most Beautiful Place in America 2011"

    Glacier National Park, MT
    Pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes.

    Banff National Park, Canada
    Roaring waterfalls, emerald lakes, alpine meadows, snowcapped peaks.

    Yoho National Park, Canada
    Towering rockwalls, spectacular waterfalls and soaring peaks earn the park its name; Yoho is a Cree expression of awe and wonder.

    Jasper National Park, Canada
    The Icefields Parkway - one of the world-s most spectacular mountain highways.
    Thor's Well, OR
    This natural spectacle is at its best. Many people, I believe even the locals of Oregon, don’t realize the existence of an amazing nature place.

    Crater Lake, OR
    No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past.

    State Rt 1 Pacific Coastline
    Most scenic route in US.

    Redwood National Park, CA
    Home to the tallest trees on Earth.

    Redwoods State Park, CA
    The world's most majestic ancient redwood groves.

    Yosemite NP, CA
    Deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area.

    Death Valley, CA
    Below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes.

    Great Smokey Mountain, NC
    Ridge upon ridge of forest, the beauty of its ancient mountains.

    Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
    Slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains.
    #1
  2. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Jersey
    I left today after work. I drove through Pennsylvania, Cleveland and dropped anchor near the Michigan border. 540 miles flew by without too much notice. A light warm up. :1drink
    I made 2 fuel stops and got through Rt. 80 without any traffic. Almost without.

    I want to emphasize on Rt. 80 in PA. A year ago this road drove me nuts when I rode over 1,000 miles in one day from West to East. It was at night when 18-wheelers gathered like mosquitoes to a fire at night. There were trucks in front, back and to the side so I was surrounded. Their games start after midnight. Truck A passes truck B then after a few minutes truck B passes truck A. I'm going my 75 mph and try not to bother anyone. They pass me like I'm standing in place. There I was afraid for my life, but at least we were moving.

    This time around it was the opposite effect. The road was 2 lanes, is there not enough room or money to build a 3rd lane? There's traffic here, as I've already discovered, day and night - mostly 18 wheeler trucks. One truck tries to pass another and it takes about 15 minutes, especially if it's up hill. Besides that there was a lot of construction or sometimes nothing at all that caused one lane to be closed. The flow of cars we were pretty much standing, I lost more than an hour. I spent the whole time in first gear, my left hand almost fell off from holding down the clutch. What an idiotic road but unfortunately there are no alternatives.:baldy

    Fortunately as soon as I entered Ohio, the road greatly improved. A third lane appeared and the road turned into the turnpike. And this is the same Rt 80. I was going 85, no one was bothering me and I wasn't tailgating anyone.

    Anyway I'm already in the hotel and ready for tomorrows iron butt challenge. :ilmostro
    #2
  3. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI
    Voted "Most Beautiful Place in America 2011".

    I have to say that I really liked this place. Reminds me of Bar Harbor in Maine. Michigan Lake, looks and feels like the ocean. The water is unusually warm, 70F, due to a very warm summer. It's a very pleasant place. Very bike friendly and many winding roads.

    There are restaurants for any taste. Iron chef Valentino has his own restaurant here, Hearth and Vine Cafe. Other popular choices are Pine Cone, Vineyard Cafe, Blu... but require a reservation. There's a wonderful stop Cherry Republic store. You can find everything cherry related there, from cherry jams to cherry salsa.

    The dunes are both impressive and steep. A fall will have to tumbling head over heads down to the water:

    002.jpg

    Caribbean, isn't it?

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    You can spend a whole week of vacation here.


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    This is just the beginning of the descent. It really is impressive. People have to crawl their way back up:

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    I was ready to see such a gorgeous sunset:

    006.jpg
    I brought my tripod, poured some beer and waited for clear skies:lurkbut it never happened. Towards the evening large storm clouds covered the area, I was hoping they wouldn't bring rain with them. But it's ok, I got the inspiration I was after.

    Tomorrow is going to be a tough day. I mean very hard.
    Cya later.
    #3
  4. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I can say that I have officially completed my iron butt:ricky. I have the official seal imprinted on where it counts. If you don't believe me, I can show you.:D

    Besides being Saddlesore (1,000 miles in 24 hrs) I did a Bun-Burner (1,500 miles in 36 hrs). Unofficially I did it last year on my first cross-country trip but now I have witnesses and gas station receipts.

    Holly Cow! Giant-mania of North Dakota. Look at this cow:

    103.jpg

    I rode the first day without any rest, except to refuel. I didn't even eat to save time. I had a 3 liter camelbak, I drank on the go. I went to sleep at 3 am and left at 9 am to go an additional 500 miles. I needed to complete the 500 miles before 8 pm as I started riding at 8 am the previous day.

    The second day was much tougher as the exhaustion was starting to catch up with me. I managed to ride through Badlands, aka Theodore Roosevelt NP. Not the one in South Dakota but the one in the North Dakota. Nothing special but the roads were great for a bike.

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park:

    105.jpg

    Nice curvy roads up there:

    104.jpg

    Route 94:

    107.jpg


    My last fuel stop was 2 minutes to 8:00 pm which I used to confirm the completion of my iron butt with the two eyewitnesses.

    I'm in Montana and tomorrow will be in Canada.

    Iron Butt Itinerary (from C to D to E). 1,000 + 500 miles in 36 hrs:

    001b.jpg

    The Wild West only begins tomorrow with the many National Parks.


    #4
  5. NotAllWhoWanderRLost

    NotAllWhoWanderRLost So Many Roads...

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    780
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    It sounds like you have a great trip planned and I'm enjoying the scenery so far. I'm looking forward to the rest of the trip! :beer
    #5
  6. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    849
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    In!!!:deal
    #6
  7. uzbek

    uzbek dreamer

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    9
    it's gonna be fun follow your trip! I'm in :lurk
    #7
  8. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Glacier National Park - Pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes.

    Glacier... the irony of it is that these glaciers will soon only be on wiki and in the memory of those who saw them as they are catastrophically melting. So hurry up and see them before it's too late.

    The official site says:
    In the mid 1800s the park was named for its roughly 150 glaciers, though only 25 remain today and it's estimated that all the glaciers will have melted by 2030.

    The NPS site says:
    Global climate change scientists predict that under the current warming trends, all of the park's glaciers will be gone by 2020, affecting habitat and survival of plants and animals throughout the park.

    So, not much left.

    On the way to Glacier NP. Route 89, one of my favorite routes:

    007a.jpg

    The traditional sign for the entrance to the national park:

    009.jpg

    This is the first place that I saw as many bikes as cars. The bikers don't even wave at each other because you would never put your hand down.


    009b.jpg


    Hidden Lake
    :

    008.jpg

    To get to it I walked about 2 miles uphill:

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    Mountain goat, looks like a male:

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    It's nice to sit, meditate and get energy from the mountains and the beauty:

    015.jpg

    Tunnels, bends and curves, this park got everything:

    016.jpg


    #8
  9. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Another lake:

    018.jpg

    My girl in front of the mountains, to confirm the one in the foreground:

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    Wild Goose Island:

    019.jpg

    Waterfall along Going-To-The-Sun Road. While I stopped my bike, someone decided to cool off under the water:

    017.jpg

    Rapids:

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    One of the many scenic views:

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    Out of all the parks I've been so far, Glacier NP has been the most beautiful one.
    I think you can agree with me the park is amazing, yes?
    #9
  10. sk8rdi16

    sk8rdi16 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    Biloxi, MS
    :clap Just read through last years trip! Just amazing stuff!
    #10
  11. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thank you, guys! it's very encouraging.

    On the Canadian border:

    019b.jpg

    Welcome to Canada!

    019c.jpg

    Imagine my surprise when I checked into the hotel in Calgary, parked my bike and saw there were twin V-Strom bikes parked there already with NJ license plates. What are the odds of seeing something like this?

    While I was parking my V-Strom, I was approached by one of the riders. We greeted each other and started chatting. Brian and Valerie from Australia.

    019d.jpg

    They flew to America for 9 months. They bought 2 bikes in NJ, geared them out and started their cross country. Apparently it was cheaper to do this than shipping their bikes back and forth from Australia. They had already rode through the southern states to California, to Alaska and we met here in Calgary.

    In two days my son arrives but for tomorrow I planned a trip to Banff and Yoho National Parks.
    _________________________________


    Yoho National Park - Towering rockwalls, spectacular waterfalls and soaring peaks earn the park its name.

    Yoho, translated it means Yahoooo! :D Actually Yoho is a Cree expression of awe and wonder.

    This time, unlike last year, I did my cross country without any hiking or camping and I was able to pack light without the extra camping equipment. However there was one spot that I couldn't resist taking a small hike to see. Today it was pouring and I didn't feel up to riding far but my legs wanted to move. So I changed my plans and instead of a long ride I went on a hike. I departed towards a small mountain lake that involved a 14 mile round trip, 7 of which were uphill. Biker gear, especially boots, didn't add any speed or comfort.

    What can I say, I was very tired of walking. I only took water with me. Once I got to the top to my relief I saw a small hut that sold various stuffs. The smell of coffee and pastries tickled my nose. Just the time to refill my spent energy. A young girl poured me a cup of coffee and handed me a slice of cake but upon me handing her American money, she said they only accept Canadian dollars. And they did not accept credit cards either. Grrrrrrr
    I almost died from disappointment. Oh well, I came here for the lake.

    Glacier. On the way to the lake:

    022a.jpg

    Lake O'Hara:

    021.jpg

    All pictures taken by hand, dragging my tripod along would have made the hike even worse. And to be honest I wouldn't have made it.

    022b.jpg

    The place is amazing and the entire park is marvelous. Unfortunately the rain slightly changed my plans. But by the time I got to the top the rain stopped and the sun sometimes peeked out from the clouds:

    020.jpg

    The water is turquoise, be it a puddle, lake or rapids.

    Would be nice to stay in that cabin:

    022c.jpg

    Or kayaking on the lake:

    022d.jpg

    So quiet and peaceful:

    022e.jpg

    #11
  12. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,880
    Location:
    Central PA
    Got here a cple days late, but I'm in now.
    Beautiful pictures. I agree on Glacier, my first visit was last year and can't wait to get back.
    #12
  13. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    New Jersey
    022f.jpg


    Banff National Park - Roaring waterfalls, emerald lakes, alpine meadows, snowcapped peaks.

    One park is after the other: Banff, Yoho, Jasper. They are so close you sometimes don't notice when one ends and the next one starts. Sometimes they look similar: mountains, Evergreen trees, incredibly clear blue water and reflections of mountains in the water. The winter would add its own colors.

    One of the lakes in Banff:

    024.jpg

    My head is spinning from what I saw. And only photos help me keep the events in chronological order.

    I arrive at Banff early in the morning and see two sleepy chicks getting out of their tent. I asked if a permit is needed to stop here, they answered:
    -Who knows? We were going, got tired and decided to sleep here. I like this approach
    :D

    023a.jpg

    I later found out the Canadian rules are very strict, if a ranger caught them, the fine would have been huge.
    #13
  14. houndawgg

    houndawgg Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I'm in. We gotta be neighbors, going by your map. I'm riding a white, 2011 Wee, that I bought from Monmouth Cycles in Middletown.
    Have a safe trip.
    #14
  15. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    New Jersey
    Holy cow! we ARE neighbors. I live 10 mins away from Monmouth Cycles, in Holmdel. small world!:wave
    #15
  16. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Just wanted to tease you:ricky
    The roads in this park are unbelievable! Besides curvy twisty ones, they are in the mountains and going up and down. Pay attention to GPS, not to the road itself. The road is surrounded by forest and it wasn't possible to take a nice shot from the top:


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    Lake Minnewanka:

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    There are so many cyclists and skiers:

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    #16
  17. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    738
    Location:
    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    Those photos are something else. I think I might have to see the Banff area someday. I can't delay it too long though since I'm moving right up there in my age. Thanks for taking the time to do this for the rest of us. I certainly do appreciate it.....

    Gary "Oldone" :gerg

    Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
    Grampa’s National Monument Ride
    #17
  18. houndawgg

    houndawgg Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I'm in Millstone. I was suppose to be doing a very similar trip like yours next week, but I crashed on my Concours about two months ago and broke my wrist, so I had to cancel for this fall.
    At least I can see how your trip goes to help ease my depression :)


    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Ouch-ouch.... I'm so sensitive to such injuries. Being a skydiver I nearly killed myself. Twice. Had broken femur, pelvis, knee and titanium hardware. I don't want to show my x-ray to scare the rest of you. I'm ok now but it took me a while to recover.

    Looks it's right hand, how are you getting by? Wish you a fast recovery, bro!
    #19
  20. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Thank you!
    #20