70 excited riders showed up at the Baptist Church in Colfax to ride …
Day 1 Friday An odd shower greeted me as I rolled out of my driveway as I headed for the KTM dealer. “what ? I didn’t see this in the forecast…” I arrived to see Rick&Stacy Housel, Jeff Hayes, Stacy’s son Mike, and my good friend Keith parked and getting sprinkled on. Later Ted Griffin, Jamie, Daryl, arrived and ready to go.
After some banter we mounted up and headed out, but not before we pulled into the Chevron to wait for someone to gas up. But then some others wanted to use the restroom so I guess it was ok.
We rolled out onto the freeway excited for the days ride. Then our road captain exited at the Parma exit. I thought what is he doing? Then he led us through the country side on some roads that I hadn’t been on. We finally turned north on Old Hwy 30 cruising up through Payette. Daryl needed gas for his Sportster so we pulled into the Cenex in Cambridge for a break.
Keith (riding a Blue 2019 Goldwing) and I (riding a red 2014 Goldwing) were trying to figure out how come our Cardo’s weren’t connecting. I finally deduced it was because I had previously had been connected to Rick’s Sena and it was trying to connect to him. (sigh) I thought that was fine because we would have plenty of time to communicate on the way to California. The plan was that after we attended the T of the S we were headed for Shasta Lake for an appointment to get a seat built for Keith at Russel Cycle Products on Tuesday.
So it would be a leisurely two day ride from Pullman, where the motel was, to Shasta Lake. At Cambridge I inquired of Road Captain Rick, if he was planning on stopping for lunch or just stop for a snack and keep going. He said we would stop in Riggins and decide. So we again mounted up and headed north enjoying the heavy Friday tourist traffic.
With all the traffic the group got separated, with ‘Ol Blue and Big Red out front we rolled into New Meadows. I rolled up to the stop sign thinking we were turning left, when I looked over my shoulder there was Rick pulling into the Chevron with everyone in tow. We made the turn and pulled over thinking this wouldn’t take too long. After a few minutes we deduced that they were taking a break. So we turned back, joined them and proceeded to consume high quantities of junk food.
Later as I was following Rick and several others we rolled down toward Smokey Boulder. Suddenly Rick was pulling over. Seems we had lost Daryl. Mike, Stacy’s Son, turned around to go look for him. Seems he had lost his glasses after swapping for his tinted ones and went back to look for them.
After a while I suggested to Keith that we go ahead and ride on because we would see them later or on Saturday morning. He liked that idea and the others were ok with it. So on we went not stopping til we got to Lewiston where we stopped for a bite to eat. Then went over an visited one the early members of the Lewiston Clarkston Gospel Riders, Master Carl Benson.
Day 2 Saturday — The day dawned sunny and cool, in the great metropolis of Pullman Wa. I woke up not having a very good nights sleep. We thought we’d save a little money and have breakfast at the motel. Boy was that a mistake. (…urp…) We later got mounted up on our alew-minium steeds and cruised toward the (even greater) metropolis of Colfax WA. Yes the Cardos connected fine. (sigh…)
Registration for the Tail of the Snake was to take place at the Baptist Church. Many riders were there as we pulled in. The local chapter, 3n1 Ridaz, was all set up getting people registered.
After a long while Greg “next turn”Nolan, Road Captain for the 3n1 Ridaz gave instructions as what would be happening. The ADV guys had their own route and the Street guys were separated into two groups, the second of which would leave ten minutes later than the first….(…ok…) Keith and I ended up departing with the first group. The rest of our chapter ended up in the second group.
We were in the back when we headed west on Hwy 26 and turning right on Endicott Rd. We were riding a fairly good clip we noticed the group disappearing in front of us. Being law abiding citizens that we are, we thought ten over was enough. Pretty soon we noticed three headlights coming up behind us. The three bikes followed us for a while then decided to go around. They also pulled away in no time. Which was fine.
In yet another thriving metropolis called Benge. We pulled over because I wanted to check out the historical site and because we lost sight of everyone else. It wasn’t long before we looked up and the second group was rolling through town. And we quickly followed.
Later this gang stopped at Washtucna for a break. Even though the restaurant that was there is sadly no longer there. Then onward turning left onto Hwy 261 and across the Snake river. Passing through Starbuck, home of Starbucks, I don’t know, seems possible. Turning left again onto Hwy 12 and back toward Lewiston where we would meet at the Wayback, a fifties themed restaurant. Where I proceeded to down a Pizza Burger. Really good!
We hung out for a while and then headed back to our room up in Pullman. I showed Keith the Old Spiral Highway. Which he thought was amazing.
Day 3 Sunday– The morning dawned cool and crisp, we had discussed breakfast, deciding to ride down the road a while and find a restaurant. We were in Dayton before we found Ray’s Drive Inn open. They did a pretty good meal, a lot better than the motel.(whew)
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, stopping in Pendleton for gas and to change out of my heavy riding jacket to my mesh. Cruising south on Hwy 395 or what is called the “Pendleton/JohnDay Hwy”. We arrived at Burns, the America’s Best Value Inn, would put us up for the night. The gal at the desk gave us old towels (at least I think they were old) to clean all the bugs off our bikes. This is a motel that the rooms have a door to the
central hallway and a door to the outside in front of your parking spot. Ya, two doors. So weird. Nice clean motel with good beds.
We then asked about eating establishments and were informed that most were closed on Sunday. A Mexican place downtown was supposed to be open and Linda’s Thai restaurant was open but closed between 3 and 5. (…ohkaaay….) We rode downtown, stomachs growling, only to find the Mexican place was closed. We rolled up the street a block and found Linda’s Thai. Only we were early. So we walked across the street and sat on a bench, watching the traffic go by. A few locals walked by and were friendly. Then a little after 3 we walked over and waited for the owner to open up.
About 3:15 a truck pulls up and a Asian looking woman gets out, apologetically smiling and nodding at us, the Caucasian husband just looked at us and went in. Then we had to wait a few more minutes for them to let us in. (sigh…) This was to be my first experience with Thai food, so I chose something that looked fairly familiar. Beef Stew, supposedly… It was more like beef soup in a four inch high by eight inch bowl with a lot of very thin noodles. And yes spicy, but not too bad. ( I guess…) Rolaids was my friend that night….(whew…)
Day 4 Monday– Once again the day dawned very cool so we dawned our heat (heated gear) and rode down to the Apple Peddler for some sustenance, as the motel was only going to have pastries.
The road south to California is very boring. We rode out to Riley and turned south on Hwy 395. Then it’s a mostly straight shot to Lakeview OR. We did stop for a pic at Abert Lake, which is a real tourist destination (not) filled with Alkaline. mmm…smells real good too…(cough,hack,choke…)
We stopped for a pic and break, but the break didn’t last too long. The gravel was fairly soft so I had my own “adventure” getting out. But the highway was a nice twisty section of road next to it so that was nice.
After stopping in Lakeview for petrol and a CherryCoke and a Gramma’s cookie. (yes, I know, I know…I’m still drinking Coke ..shame on me…)
The terrain changed from desert to forest within a mile or two it seemed. Then turning right at Alturus we picked up Hwy 299 which took us ultimately into Shasta Lake. We did stop and look at the scenery at a pull out because the traffic was getting crazy.
We pulled over another time because we didn’t know that 299 was also considered the poor man’s Indy 500. People were getting nuts. I guess I should have expected it.
Thankfully the GPS routed us onto a road on the east side of I-5, through a nice rural section. As our motel was south of Shasta Lake.
Day 5 Tuesday — We woke up early anticipating the ride over to Russell Day Long, as it used to be called, but now is called Russell Cycle Products.
I think I have that straight. We got there before eight AM, the guy was expecting us. We went inside and he showed Keith the different materials and options he could have. Like a rider back rest that was better than what Keith had. Then another young man came out and pulled his seat off and remounted another loaner seat so that we could go for a ride. We were instructed to come back by 11:45 for a seat fitment. First we had to go find breakfast. We had got the rundown on the local restaurants for breakfast and rode off to find them. The first was closed and the locals sitting the parking lot didn’t understand why. So we went to find Joe’s Giant Orange, another place that was suggested. Turned out that it was real good and we would return later in the day for dinner.
Then we went for a ride up to Shasta Lake which is a reservoir. The road to it was only like eight miles but fun. Then it loops back into town.
The city of Shasta Lake is in a very scenic area. They said they get about four months of rain and then the weather is usually good. The gas was anywhere from 70 cents to a $1.20 more than what we are paying here. Side note: we saw $2.80 at the casino outside of Lewiston ID.
Then we rode back to Russell getting there an hour early. Keith pointed out a CMA poster on the wall. It looked like it had been there a long time. So we killed time till it was time for Keith to sit on the uncovered mold of his new seat. They remounted it on the bike and had him sit on it and took pics of him. And suggested foam choices for the section right behind his rear and lower back. He also had the trunk backrest modified for his wife so that she would sit more straight up.
After putting the loaner seat back on the guy said “Ok be back around 4” So we went in search of Lewiston California. I didn’t know there was a Lewiston California. We rode west on Hwy 299 for an hour, I think it was, before turning north to find it. Lots of twisties! Its not very big, we pulled into the local little mercantile and had a break while sitting their rocking chairs outside on the big porch. Then after a while we headed back to Russell because Keith said the seat they gave him was even more painful to ride on than his original one was. We did have to stop for construction first though that wasn’t there when we went over. So we arrived way before the deadline. Thankfully they had lots of motorcycle magazines to read.
Finally it was after 5 by the time they brought out the finished product. Looked really good, no, I didn’t get a pic of it.
We then rode back to Joe’s Giant Orange for dinner. All the while he was
raving about his new seat, just in that short distance. He said it was like going from a stadium seat to a nice bucket seat out of a nice Mustang or something.
Day 6 Wednesday — Even though it was fairly warm we put the heat on again because we knew we were headed over the mountains to the east. Good thing we did too, it got down into the low forties there for a while. We had reserved a room back in the same motel in Burns we had before, making it an easy day. No need to push too hard. Then on Thursday it would only be three hours home.
Day 7 Thursday – It was 39 degrees when we headed out. the plan was to ride to Juntura for breakfast and then on home. It warmed to 59 degrees by the time we got to our breakfast break. It was a good ride over all we enjoyed all the riding.
For several years before 2018 I had been talking about making the trek to the CMA National Rally in Hatfield Arkansas after I retired. I figured I would have lots of time and money, ya right Jim…. Then in the first part of that year my older brother Jeff found out he had some arteries blocked. When he was having surgery for it there were other complications with his A-fib and other stuff. As a result he spent several weeks there. The Lord still had plans for him so he pulled through. As a result I got to thinking…you know… life is short, and since I have lots of vacation time. I’m going to do that trip now and not wait.
During that winter we also had been planning a trip to North Dakota to see the kids. So Big plans were made. I would ride to ND and Viv would fly out there, we would spend a week there and then I would head some 1200 miles south to the Rally. And then I decided on the way to Minot, I would detour to Spokane to see my good friend Ron. Easy peasy right? About 400 miles to Spokane, 551 to Malta where I would camp out, then an easy 341 into Minot. No Problem…
Almost ready for the BIG TRIP
So on the 8th of June in the dark of the moon, well not really. This was June and the sun had been up for a while by the time I rolled out and headed north on Idaho’s scenic Hwy 95. The miles rolled past easily, I stopped at New Meadows and fueled up with petrol and got my usual health food, a Cherry Coke and Gramma’s Cookies. Halfway up White Bird Grade I pulled into the overlook for a break. Then it was past Grangeville, down through Lewiston and up the grade. Arriving mid afternoon at Ron’s place all buggy and he immediately started washing the bike. Actually it was pretty disgusting. We had a good time of fellowship that evening then it was off to bed for an early start.
June 8th,Spokane WA.to Malta MT. 553 miles
I think I was up around 5 packing up, excited to get rolling. We said our “see you later’s” and I hopped on I-90 eastbound and didn’t stop til I got to St.Regis for gas and a snack. This was a favorite stop when I was hauling propane over here, so I had to stop again. At Missoula I turned and headed up Hwy 200 into the wild blue yonder. At Lincoln stopped at the Cenex for petrol. There were a few other bikers milling around but they didn’t seem too friendly.
It wasn’t too far beyond there that the terrain opens up and you are out of the trees, into the wide open country of central Montana. I was cruising along quite happily when I looked down and realized my gauges were dead. Then I realized my cruise wasn’t working either. Well this is not good. I was in the middle of nowhere and the bike was still running so I thought, I’m not going to stop and try to figure it out. I said a prayer and thought I’ll just try to make it to Great Falls and look into it then. Thankfully I had my phone mounted up front and set on the speedometer app. So at least I could see how fast I was going.
In Great Falls I thought I’d get gas then google a motorcycle shop. As I rolled into town on Central Avenue, I caught sight of a place called Savage Motorsports, but I continued up the road a couple of blocks and got gas. I thought I’d investigate my problem there in the gas station. Pulling the side cover off I then pulled the fuse box cover off and discovered the top fuse was blown. The one for the tail lights, I didn’t know it also handles the gauges and cruise as well. I hadn’t discovered the cause for the short but I thought I’d go back down the street a couple of blocks and get some fuses. When I got off the bike at Savage Motorsports, I realized I didn’t have my lights again. I thought if that blew that easy it’s gotta be something to do with the wires on the tongue of the trailer. So after poking around a little I discovered that the sheathing near the coupling had moved exposing a bare spot. The guy inside had a box of fuses so I thought better safe than sorry.
I thought ok that’s enough excitement for one day as I rolled out of town. 117 miles later I pulled into Havre Montana. I was pushing a head wind so my mileage was terrible and I wanted my usual snack, yep, you guessed it. I was going to eat it right there in the parking lot but it was so busy there that I wanted to hurry and get out of there. But not before some local guy walked up and wanted to talk Goldwings. So my break turned out to be much longer than anticipated. The campground I was looking for was only 83 miles down the road in Malta. Which would make for a 553 mile day. No I didn’t blow anymore fuses…
There are two campgrounds right in Malta. I think one is a city park, Trafton Park and Campground and the other is the Edgewater inn & RV park. I had looked at reviews online and people seemed to like the Trafton Park at only $5 a night. But some thought it was a little run down. That was in ‘18, funny how when you look at the reviews now they are about the same. I thought even though the Edgewater cost a little more, it didn’t look as sketchy. After I checked in and set up, I rode across the street, got gas. Then I rode through Trafton Park. There was only one old RV in the entire park, the grass was long, it just didn’t seem kept up. I could just see some drunk local kids come roaring through raising heck. After seeing all that I was happy I paid a little more.
My mostly dirt spot at the Edgewater in Malta MT
The Edgewater was just redoing some of their sites, which was behind their motel. The spot I had didn’t have much grass and you could see marks where a loader had been pushing dirt around. I did have a table and the power hookups were about forty feet away. I had seen some dark clouds off in the distance when I arrived and they were looming ominously in the distance all evening. It wasn’t long before other campers started showing up, one with a whole tribe of kids and I oh great, there goes my peaceful night. But they weren’t too noisy. Around 8 or so it started to rain and so I buttoned up in my tent, did some planning on the map, calling it an early night.
June 9th, Minot, ND 341 miles
Thankfully by the next morning the ground had dried up quite a bit. So it didn’t make hooking up too much of a hassle. From there into Minot is pretty much a straight shot. Nothing much to report til I rolled into town. Fueling up at the Flyin J and then on over to the daughters house. Viv would be flying in later that afternoon. Then we spent a week with them enjoying our visit.
June 16th, Sioux City, Iowa 604 miles
One week later I’m packing the bike in the early morning light. I was watching the weather and there were heavy thunderstorms in the eastern part of the state. I had originally planned to go east then turn south at Fargo. But when the weather map shows red you avoid it. So I turned south at Jamestown onto Hwy 281. And nothing but straight highway in front of me, straight, straight, straight. Boring!!
Out there somewhere (can’t remember where) was a nice rest area so I decided to pull in and take a break. I had the whole place to myself. I just stood there and stared at the flatness of it all. It made me really glad I lived in Idaho. I finally made it to my motel for the night in Sioux City. By this time the temp was way up there and I was cookin. All I wanted to do was get into the air conditioning and stay there. The Comfort Inn had a water cooler by the entrance and I was guzzling the ice cold water down as fast as I could. I wasn’t hungry but I knew I should eat something since I hadn’t had anything for lunch. After I unloaded the cooler and the rest of the stuff off the top of the trailer and into my room. Didn’t want anyone walking off with it. I walked over to the quick stop/gas station just a little ways up the street and got a burger. Then returned to my room but not before guzzling some more cold water. Then falling asleep around 8.
June 17th-24th, Iron Mountain, Hatfield AR. Around 700 miles
I woke up about 2 AM, wide awake so I thought, no reason to hang around here. So I tried to be really quiet getting all my stuff down the trailer. I figured I’d get something to eat down the road. It didn’t take me long as I was on the road by 2:30 or so. I think I was around Kansas City when I’m rolling down the freeway and a car pulls up next to me and honks. I turn and this lady in the passenger seat of a white Chevy is waving at me. I thought “oh some friendly people and kept rolling. Then the driver honks again and this time the lady is pointing at my trailer. I looked back and I could see the left side storage door was open. “Oh man!” Apparently the lock had somehow moved and wasn’t keeping the door latched. The freeway had been really rough for the last hour or so. It was like I was riding a bucking bronco.Thankfully I was at a good spot to pull over. I looked in there and wondered what I’d lost. I thought it was my tools but upon investigation it wasn’t. I got it to closed and then later when I pulled into a gas station, fueled, bought sustenance, I adjusted the lock so that it wouldn’t do that again.
From then on I tried to stay off the freeways. When I got close to the Oklahoma border I got turned around somehow and decided to pull over and take a break. Found a parking lot to pull into and get my bearings. I thought I had it figured out, when I pulled out onto the road and into the intersection thinking I was heading south. That’s when I saw the big signs, Toll Road Ahead. What? I hit the brakes and then saw a small sign that pointed left that said Joplin. So I made a quick turn and headed toward Missouri. So my wandering around the south east part of Kansas added about 50 miles or so to my day. This was turning into a long day.
I finally found Joplin, no I didn’t find the famous street where the civil rights march took place. Turning south on I-49 I honed in on getting to Iron Mountain. More terrible pavement and soon I was in Fort Smith looking for Hwy 71. I-49 was like a speedway in the worst sense of the word. I was looking forward to getting on 71 thinking it would be a quiet country road. Boy was I wrong. Hwy 71 is a major route with lots of truck traffic.I was really thankful when I finally arrived at Iron Mountain, the CMA Headquarters and campground. All the way there I kept reminding myself to get a pic of my bike and trailer in front of the big green sign. I was happy I remembered.
At the entrance of Iron Mountain, I was so happy…
Arriving at Iron Mountain on Sunday afternoon meant there were lots of spots to choose from. I stopped at what I thought was the office to check in, walked in to find no one was around. I thought ok I’ll just go find a spot for my house. I observed a camping area between the pavilion and the highway and then more around the side and on the back side. I didn’t want to listen the highway all night so I motored around toward the back side. There were little roads (paved) all through the camping area specifically for motorscooters. So I turned my little motorscooter up the hill to choose a spot. Lots of lodgepole pine so it was easy to see across to the other side of the camping area. I was one of the first ones to get there so I had the pick of all the spots. I thought I’d set up my tent trailer and then go for a walk to look around. Especially around the pavilion, I was surprised how big it was. I knew it was big but I didn’t think it was that big.
I took some pics, but now I wished I had taken more. Seems like once you take them they are in your phone and you never look at them. I walked over and found the Dave Emery cabin. He was a very special member of the Boise chapter. It was right next to the pavilion, more specifically right next to the entrances of the bathrooms and shower rooms. I found out later that that would have been very noisy at night after the service because people liked to congregate at the picnic table under the awning. Only feet from the cabin. So if you wanted to go to sleep right after the service good luck.
View from a turnout on Talimena Drive
On Monday morning I decided I wanted to ride the Talimena Scenic Drive. Which meant riding north to Mena, riding through town to get to Hwy 88, which turns into Hwy 1 in Oklahoma then rode over to Talihena and looped back on Hwy 63 which turns into Hwy 8 in Arkansas. I found out later there was a good place to eat in Talihina but I didn’t know about that so I guess I missed out. It was a good ride though.
Tuesday I just hung out and got to know some people. I can’t remember if it was Monday or Tuesday I went into Mena to find a little local restaurant. I found the Skyline Cafe, there was a guy sitting in a chair outside the restaurant. As I pulled up and backed to the curb, dismounted he was watching me the whole time. I opened my trunk to get my hat he says “Your a long way from aren’tcha?”. I just smiled and said “Ya, a little bit.” I think we had a conversation but I don’t remember what was said. It was good food as I remember. Eating by myself wasn’t much fun though.
Later I’m sitting on the back side of my tent and I hear a bike cruising slowly down the little campground road toward me. It was a couple on a Goldwing trike pulling a Bunkhouse trailer. I went over and spoke to them and asked if they needed any help setting. Jerry and Sandy Tice were from the upper peninsula of Michigan, real nice people. They kindly declined, they had a system and they would be ok. Later they wanted to go to dinner before the service that evening.
Joe from Ohio and his little home
The next day another rider pulled in next to us on a Suzuki cruiser. I walked over to say hello, turned out he was of Ohio I think it was. He was 92 years old and was going to put his little tent and sleep on the ground on a thin pad. We couldn’t believe it. Quite a guy, he did never complain about the weather or anything. I think his name was Joe but I can’t remember. I proclaimed him my hero motorcyclist forever. What a guy!
Inside the Pavilion with the side doors open…
Walking into the Pavilion I was impressed by how big it was. It had big side doors to let the breeze come through. All the banners from all the chapters from all over the country or world, were hanging from the ceiling. I did find the Snake River Valley Christian cruisers banner. Later people were coming in to find a place to sit. Somehow the Tice’s found me and we sat down toward the front. There were about 800 or 1000 people there. But that number would grow toward the end of the week.The services were wonderful, it was great to see the ministry partners. The spirit of the Lord was definitely present.
I got to see my first actual road runner, there was one running back and forth through the campground. No, I didn’t Wile E. Coyote. Camping in Arkansas was a little different. At night there was some sort of bug in the trees that made an odd buzzing sound. I informed they are called Cicada bugs. I thought it was odd they would buzz till about 2 AM and then suddenly quit.
View from the road of Headquarters
One of the days, I don’t remember which day it was, they were doing tours of HQ down toward Hatfield. Seeing the main office and the chapel was a real treat. Then we went over to the printing building, warehouse, and the guy that was leading our tour was from western WA. I can’t remember his name, but I had seen his face over the years when I lived in Spokane.
My friend from Washington leading the tour
Silk screen machines and templates of various t-shirt designs over the years
We had thunder showers all week and the temps were about 90 with 80% humidity. I had been warned about that but I thought it couldn’t be that bad. Yes it was. I waited til 10PM one night to take a shower hoping it would be cooler by then. Wrong… I stepped into the shower room and it was like a sauna. (pant,pant…) So I hurried as quickly as I could and whipped through my shower. But I was too slow, I was sweating by the time I got out of the building. Now I am educated on Arkansas in June. (more panting…)
On Thursday morning we were in service and a heavy shower came through. For some reason during the service I decided to go back up to my tent and check things out. I had set the trailer up so that the awning was faced away from the building. When I walked up around the trailer I was shocked. The awning that is clipped to the side of the tent had filled up with water and had torn the whole side of the tent open at the top seam. It was still raining and I picked up the awning, which was on the ground. And pulled it up and over the top to try and protect the interior as best I could. It must have happened just a few minutes before I got there because it didn’t seem to be too awfully wet inside. My sleeping bag had gotten wet somewhat on the one side.
I grabbed all the bungees and ropes I had and tied the awning over the top and secure it pretty good. I went asked Jerry if he had any extras. And between the two of us we got it taken care of so that I could sleep in it that night. I was able to scooch over to one side of my bag to where I was comfortable enough to get “some” sleep.
Thankfully the next day dawned bright and sunny, with lower humidity. Praise the Lord! I had brought lots of rope thinking that I might need it. And I sure did. I strung the ropes between all the trees and was able to hang all my stuff out to let it dry. Turned out my bag was more wet than I realized. All the cushions of my bed were wet too. Then I went straight to the Wall Mart and bought a 16’x16’ tarp. Stretched that over the whole thing. And that kept me dry the rest of the time.
Jerry, checking out a GOLD Wing
Saturday of the Rally there was supposed to be a parade through downtown Mena. But there were heavy thunderstorms predicted and so that was canceled. And then as it turned out the storms went around us.
Sunday morning, I was planning to leave the Rally after the service. Jerry, Sandy and I were taking our time packing up our camps. I was almost done when I got a weather alert on my phone. It said rain starting in 30 minutes. What? So I looked at the radar map and it showed a lot of red coming right at us. Whoa! I yelled at Jerry and suddenly we went to hyper mode. Packing things away and hooking up our trailers to our bikes as quickly as we could. Just as we pulled down next to the Pavilion it started to rain. And then it rained harder, thankfully I had did one thing right and brought my rain suit into the building with me.
June 24th, Elk City OK, 430 miles
We had a great final service while it poured outside. Later we said our goodbyes and I pulled my rainsuit on. I said goodbye to my fun time at Iron Mountain. Before I departed I studied the weather map and it didn’t look too bad. I planned my route back up through Mena then west on Hwy 88. As I departed Mena the skies cleared up, but it was a little cool so I left my rain suit on. I was amazed how pretty eastern Oklahoma was, nice green hills and trees. I stopped somewhere and got gas, took my rainsuit off. Then later noticed when I stopped to take a break there were more thunder showers headed my way.
So I started to ride south trying to avoid the rain. I had a reservation for a cabin at the KOA in Elk City. I had changed all my campground reservations for the route home after my tent got wrecked. As I studied the map I kept turning south trying staying dry. I was almost to the Texas border before I turned west again. I thought I was home free when the storm moved more south. So I did ride through heavy rain and wind. It was pushing me around big time as I was praying hard, holding on tight. It lasted about thirty minutes before I finally came out from under the cloud. This is when I realized my rainsuit leaked. Bummer…Then I turned north, as a result I rode over an extra hundred miles or more.
Once I got past the storm it turned into a real nice day, but the KOA looked really good to me as I rolled in. Thankfully there was a restaurant on site and I didn’t have to go find someplace to have dinner. I might have had some cereal for breakfast but I don’t remember. Then I snacked some for lunch at a gas station/quick stop out there in the middle of Oklahoma. So I was ready for a real dinner. After dinner I decided to do some laundry since I was there. A couple of guys on bicycles were camping also so I shared my soap with them.
About 2:00AM all heck broke loose. I could hear the thunder coming from a distance so I checked the weather and there was red to the west for about 100 miles. Unbelievable! It wasn’t long before the thunder was right over our heads. AND LOUD! Then the wind really picked up and the rain started pounding. To the point that the rain was pushing around the sides of the window and dripping on my pillow. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep from then on. The wind finally died down around 6. You know how you think sometimes that things happen for a reason? Maybe God let my tent get wrecked so that I wouldn’t be out in that. I know I was real glad not to be out there in the middle of it. I thought I had secured my bike cover on the bike pretty good, but the next morning the cover was off the bike and next to the cabin in a puddle. I was thankful I didn’t loose it.
June 25th, Alamosa CO, 515 miles
I had wanted to get an early start and kept watching the map and could see the end of the rain showers inching closer and closer. I didn’t want to open the trailer to put my bag away exposing everything to the rain. It was 7:00AM by the time the rain stopped. So it didn’t take me long to get loaded.
It felt good to get out in the sunshine as I rolled west across the remaining part of Oklahoma. It continued to be wide and flat as I entered Texas and the speed limits went up. I was amazed to see a 75mph limit on a two lane Highway. I kept it down to 70 because I just didn’t feel comfortable pulling the trailer that fast.
My personal encounter with computerized help…
Somewhere in New Mexico I decided to get something to eat and pulled into a McDonalds. I walked inside to find some sort of order screens standing in front of me. I thought “what is this?”. Slide your card in, pick out what you want, walk up to the counter, pick it up and your outta there. Very personal, I had warm fuzzys all over when I walked out. After wandering through some of New Mexico, I zig zagged past Taos, before heading north into Colorado up to Alamosa, where I would stay. It was about 100 degrees there when I found the motel, I got checked in and then went back down town and found an Arby’s for dinner. In Arkansas I had been in 90 degree heat and 80%humidity on Sunday and now it was in 100 degree heat and 10% humidity two days later. Yes I was drinking alot of water.
June 26th, Caineville Utah, 470 miles
I rolled out early and rode down to the Walmart to get some ice and snacks to munch on later. I then rode back to the motel and had breakfast before heading out. I had wanted to ride the famous Million Dollar Highway but riding out of Durango there was lots of fast traffic. I felt like I was in the Indy 500.
Looking north on 550, can’t see all the traffic driving by.
I found Hwy 550 and headed north thinking I would ride up there 50 miles or so then turn around. But there was so much traffic and everyone was driving like there was no tomorrow. I finally pulled over took some pictures and drank my Cherry Coke and ate my cookies. Then I decided to turn around get the heck outta there. Boy was I disappointed.
Looking south on 550 toward Durango
The day was heating up fast by the time I made it over to Cortez and got gas. There was a little side road that I wanted to take that cut across into Utah. Road G on the map looked like it could be a real fun road twisting through the hills. Wow was I to be surprised. Even though it was paved and nicely curvy, it was very rough. I was bouncing up and down and all around, keeping a slower pace because I was afraid of breaking something. I did get passed by some locals that more than impatient. Finally I came to Hwy 162 and it was nice to be on a smooth highway.
At the Hwy 191 junction I turned right left into the little burg of Bluff Utah to get some gas and water, it was pretty hot by then. Another rider on a GS pulled in while I was there and we had a good talk about our rides. Heading north I finally turned left onto Hwy 95 and lots of scenic rock formations, seeing a high of 110 on the thermometer. Thinking, Lord don’t let me break down out here, I stopped and took a break at Hite Overlook after crossing the Colorado River and passing Dirty Devil River. It was hot but thankfully I had an extra bottle of water while I looked at the view. Couldn’t imagine riding horses out across there.
At the Hites Crossing turnout looking at the view
I finally arrived at Hanksville for gas, there were a couple of burger joints there but I was thinking I could get something to eat at Cainville. Twenty miles later I was riding down through this canyon looking for my motel expecting to see some sort of little community. When I thought I saw a building on the right. I thought that can’t be it so I continued on for a few miles finally deciding that that must have been it. So I turned around and went back. So this is Caineville, the only thing here is a motel. How weird is that? I pulled up to what looked to be a two star motel, it was ok but not that great. I got checked in and asked if he had anything resembling food. He laughed and said he had some microwaveable food in the freezer. And I thought instead of riding all the way back to Hanksville in the heat for food. I would just have whatever he had and call it good. The room I got had a hummingbird feeder outside the window and there were about six to eight birds fighting for the feeder. It was interesting entertainment while I ate my so-called food.
June 27th, Caineville to Home, 600 miles
I had originally planned to ride down toward Escalente and see the sights on the way home. But the more I thought about spending another night in a motel just didn’t appeal to me. And I was only 600 miles from home if I went up the freeway. So I went to bed early and got up at 3:00AM and headed out in the dark. I didn’t know I was missing some real neat scenery as Hwy 24 passes right through Capital Reef Nat’l Park. Now I’m wishing I had taken the time. (sigh)
The trip home was uneventful except for heading north on Hwy 24 almost to I-15 I came around a corner there were a few turkeys standing in the middle of the road. There was a car right behind me just chomping at the bit to pass. He took off around me and almost took out the turkeys right in front of me. The last thing I wanted all over me was blood and feathers.
After 4600 miles I rolled into my driveway in the late afternoon having achieved my goal of attending the CMA National Rally. It definitely was an adventure with all that happened. I just Praise the Lord for staying with me and keeping me safe.
It was 6:00AM and 57 degrees when Rob, on his gleaming 2010 Honda GL1800, rolled into my driveway. I was all anxious to get rolling so I had been up for a couple of hours. I had backed the bike and trailer into the garage, all packed and ready to head out the day before. I had been twiddling my thumbs for an hour. I wanted to get rolling. Rob rolled up pulling his little cargo trailer full of camping gear, a big grin on his face. All I had to do was put my helmet on, pair the Cardo’s and hit the starter button. I was towing my ’98 Roll-A-Home, packed with all I would need.
We headed out into the cool morning air yakking about the ride. South through Nampa on Hwy 45, then turning south east on Hwy 78 we stopped in Bruneau to top off our tanks because we figured we wouldn’t get very good gas mileage pulling our trailers, especially me. Cruising out across the desert the temps were dropping fast. Not to mention pushing a stiff head wind. We watched as our fuel gauge dropped like a rock. When we finally arrived at Owyhee the temp was down in the forties. Pushing that wind and gaining altitude, our gas mileage suffered for a high of 29 degrees.
After Rob had a cup of coffee and put more coats on we continued on, I was snug as a bug in a rug with my heated gear. We rode on south and were surprised by the highway curves we encountered before we stopped at the WildHorse Reservoir for a break. After taking a couple of pics of the water pouring over the dam. We cruised on toward Elko. We found something unhealthy to eat at the Mobil station where we fueled.
After our fill of fine cuisine we headed west on I-80 to find exit 261 which would put us on Hwy 306. Cutting down across central Nevada we weren’t in the middle of nowhere but we could see it from there. After getting on Hwy 50, eastbound there are three sections that are divided with small mountain ranges between which the highway is straight as an arrow or it seemed like it. It was fairly hot so we just cranked it on to get to Ely, our overnight destination. The KOA.
Ah yes, the wonderful Ely KOA, I had been here once before back in the early ’90s. I was the Road Captain for the Inland Empire Victory Riders, a CMA chapter out of Spokane Washington. 13 bikes, 7 of which were pulling trailers and one pickup pulling a VW trike. were headed for a Nat’l Rally in Kanab UT. We spent our second night here. But as Rob and I pulled in it looked a little different than I remembered. It seemed bigger. The driveway was wider and I’d forgotten how big the area was in front of the Main building.
I had made a reservation with water and electrical, Rob and I would be sharing a site. What I didn’t know was when they expanded they put the electric sites along the main driveway, a gravel driveway. Our spot was along the road next to the grass. I was told I
Looking across the entrance road to our spot
could not put my wee camper trailer on the grass. I had to turn my camper longways to the road to be sure I wasn’t sticking out into the lane of travel. It quickly became apparent that every time a vehicle came by it would raise a cloud of dust. Most people rolled right in there not slowing down much. As a result out bikes and tents got a nice coating of dust on them.
While getting set up I suddenly realized I couldn’t remember where I had put my keys for the locks for my storage boxes on the trailer. So I went up to the office and asked f they had a chain cutter. They sent the maintenance man over and that’s when we were told to keep the trailers off the grass. He was pretty particular about his grass. I was pretty bummed to have to buy another set of locks.
We got all set up and then road back into town to find some dinner. Rob asked someone who said the small Casino that we had passed on the way in was open. It was getting close to closing time but they didn’t mind and whipped up a good dinner for us. After dinner we wheeled by the Truck stop and topped off with petrol. Went back to camp and called it a night. About 2AM I woke up to realize my mattress was losing air. I tried to pump it up but it didn’t help that much. I had two pads that I put under it but it didn’t help and I didn’t sleep all that good.
2nd Day Ely Nevada 219 miles
The next morning we had a bowl of cereal and got packed up. I googled for a camping store where I could get another air mattress and there was one just down the highway by the Love’s Truck Stop. But we were up early and had to wait til they opened. We walked in and all the employees were standing in a circle like they were having a meeting. And I almost turned around when they insisted we come on in. I said “what have you got for an air mattress’ ?” and the girl said “I got one single left…” and I said “I’ll take it…”
Turned out to be one with an internal pump that pumped up to 18″ and I thought Ill have to make it work. I would have to climb up into bed though. I also bought a pair of locks. Walked outside and went to put everything away and that’s when I found the keys for the locks I cut off the night before. I was more than a little frustrated with myself.
Heading east of Hwy 50 again we rode to the Border Inn to get some ice for the cooler and had a drink of water while we were there. This is a restaurant/motel/RV campground that sets directly on the Nevada/Utah border. So you get gas in Utah and walk in to get a snack you are in Nevada. At least that seems to be the case. We then cruised south on Hwy 159 toward Milford where we got gas and bought some munchies. Then went around the block looking for a place to eat our munchies and parked across the street from the Liberry.
It was early afternoon when we arrived at the Panguitch KOA and got checked in. Turns out the owners were motorcyclists as well. After setting up we cruised over to Bryce Nat’l Park. It was fun just waving my Senior Pass at the lady, she smiled and waved us on. We rode all the way to the end of the road and then turned around and stopped at a few viewpoints and took pictures. Looked at the amazing views. Since we were in the middle of the Covid a lot of businesses were closed or cut way back so there weren’t a lot of tourists buzzing around. Which was nice for us.
Later we decided dinner was in order and we rode back into town and found a cool little place called Cowboys’ Smokehouse Cafe. Inside a hundred year old building it was a neat little place with really good food. Rob had the Ribs, his eyes got real big when they brought out his full rack. Ya I helped him a little bit. I don’t remember what I had, the chicken I think. We then waddled out to our bikes and returned to camp to relax. It was about 80 degrees but with a stiff wind.
3rd Day, Panguitch UT, 193 miles
Sunrise from the Panguitch KOA campsite
I woke up at 5:30AM and made myself “a proper cup of tea”. Watched the sun come up over the eastern mountains. A little while later Rob crawled out of his tent and smiled and said “It’s a beautiful day!”. I couldn’t agree more. Later we headed into town and had a big breakfast at Kenny Rays Restaurant. A Harley rider was in there by himself so we had a good time talking to him. Later we were wheeling south because this was to be the Nat’l Park day.
A couple of hours later we wheeled around a corner and came to a stop. There was a lineup of cars waiting their turn to proceed through the famous Zion/Mt.Carmel tunnel. It had been about 25 years since I had been through the tunnel, but now it’s not a two way road. Traffic takes turns going through making it a one way in each direction. Ten or twenty vehicles one way then ten or twenty the other way. We had some jerky while we waited for a while, don’t remember how long before it was our turn to cruise through the hundred year old tunnel.
Rob (Mr.”I’m Easy”) waits patiently at the entrance of the tunnel…
Rob thought it was amazing. It had been 25 years since I had been and it hadn’t hardly changed. We found a wide spot that a lot of tourists were parking at and had some more Jerky and water. While we were standing there a gal came across the road and was looking back the way she’d come. Turns her mother was on the other side of the road taking her picture. She asked if we were having a good ride. When she found out we were from Idaho she started asking questions about it. She was from LA and wanted to get out of there. I gave her my CMA card and encouraged her to move to Idaho. She told us about her own motorcycle and her vacation.
Later we rode past the entrance up to the lodge but the rangers had it closed. So we continued on down the highway a few miles and then turned around. Back at Mt.Carmel Junction we stopped for fuel, got something to snack on and walked across the road to find some shade to sit in while we ate. The temperature was rising quickly. Some guy pulled up close to us in his pickup and proceeded to talk to us like we were a long lost friend. Kinda weird…
We turned west on Hwy 14 to go find Cedar Breaks Nat’l Monument. When planning the route I thought the road up there (high elevation) would be a fun ride and we weren’t disappointed. By the time we found a viewpoint we were over ten thousand feet and things had gotten a lot cooler. We enjoyed wandering around taking photos and being touristy. On up the road, if you turn right at Hwy 141 it will take you back to Panguitch, which we did and arrived back at camp early. Which was ok because we were looking forward to cooking some steaks previously purchased.
Our spot at the Panguitch KOA
Day 4, 373 miles
The dawn came early as I put the pot on the stove to, again, make “a proper cup of tea”. Again I could hear Rob snoring in his tent so I sat down to drink my tea and watch the sun come up over the mountains to the east, again. After a while I heard some stirring in his tent then suddenly ‘zzzzip’, I see his head pop out and he gives me a bleary eyed smile and again for the second day in a row he says “It’s a beautiful morning!”. Indeed it is, indeed it is…
We had some cold cereal for breakfast so we could get packed quicker and get an early start. Moab was our goal for the day as we rolled out eastward on Hwy 12. Rolling through Escalante we passed a gas station with a half a dozen adventure bikes gassing up. I had the thought, ‘I bet they’re having fun’. Later we found ourselves breaking, and braking, over a ridge and seeing nothing but lots of rock. We stopped at the Head of the Rocks overlook and took a break. The scenery was amazing. After we’d been there a while those same guys rolled past honking and waving.
After wheeling down the mountain through all the rockiness we rolled through a little berg called Boulder. And then this is where the fun began. We headed out of the valley looking forward to all the curves that would take us over yet another ridgeline. Only to be disappointed, after a while the curves we were looking forward to became striped with tar strips! Not just a few, they were everywhere!
Tar Strips across the road, Tar strips straight down the road, wiggling here and there. To the point that we were putting along at 45 mph in the curves that we should have been able to take at 60. The bikes felt totally loose, worse than gravel. Every curve we all tensed up squiggling through it, feeling at any moment out wheels would squirt out from underneath us. From Boulder all the way to about Grover we slithered down the highway all puckered up. To say we were frustrated was an understatement. It was only 30 miles or so but it felt like 100.
We finally popped out on Hwy 24 and turned east again looking for gas. We rode past Cainville, the only thing there is a motel, which is now closed. I stayed there on my way home from CMA Nat’l Rally in 2017. It was pretty good, lots of hummingbirds flying around. When we got to Hanksvillle we turned into the Hollow Mountain Phillips gas station to fuel up. A business that is literally carved out of the sandstone many years ago. It looks like a regular convenience store out front though, kinda different. We had passed Dukes restaurant a mile back so we decided it was a good time to have some lunch.
Apparently the owner many years ago just loved John Wayne, so much so that his friends called him The Duke. So when he opened his restaurant he named it the Duke. To honor John Wayne and somehow had acquired a large number of items to showcase in the restaurant. I had the steak salad which was so good I wanted another one, but I was too full. As we were sitting there a bunch of other riders came in but we didn’t think much about it. Then as we walked out we saw what look like a biker gang had descended upon the restaurant.
Biker gang at Dukes
Being cool biker dudes that they were, I can only imagine the comments that were flying around when they parked about the weird Goldwings with the trailers parked there. We took a few photos and mounted up and headed south on Hwy 95. I had come this way returning from the Nat’l CMA Rally back in ‘17 and I had thought I had seen some really cool rock formations along this portion of highway. But I guess it was farther south or on another highway because other than the Hite Crossing overlook I wasn’t seeing what I thought I’d remembered.
Riding out across central Utah we realized we were actually in the middle of nowhere. It was hot and sunny as we headed for Blanding. Which is where we filled up and tanked up on water, again. Turning north on Hwy 191 we were shocked at how much truck traffic there was flying up and down this highway. It must be a major route from the south. We finally rolled into Moab tired and hot. Thankfully the KOA was on the south part of town right on the highway.
I pulled down the driveway and parked, The Robster parked next to me. I dismounted and started walking toward the building. All of the sudden I heard someone yelling at me, then Rob was yelling at me “Face Mask! Face Mask”. I yelled, “Arrrg!” “Stupid face mask!”. I turned back to get one out of my truck when a couple walked past and started talking to me about Goldwings since they had one. So by the time I got it on and was done conversing with the nice people Rob had walked in and gotten our paperwork and directions to the campsite. Good thing because I had a bad attitude by then anyway. Turns out certain counties had different rules about the masks.
Our camp setup at Moab KOA
Since Moab is in the desert there is a lot of sand and sage brush. Our site was just ok with all the gravel. At least we had a tree. The sun went down over the ridge and the clouds moved in cooling us off. Which we appreciated. We set up and rolled into town and found some dinner at the Subway shop. I was amazed at all the UTV rental business’, I didn’t realize how big the off roading is in this area.
The next morning it was cereal again then broke camp with the intent of riding up and roaming around Arches Nat’l Park. As I remember we were waved right through the gate. We were amazed again at all the really BIG rocks. I couldn’t imagine how all this was all formed. We decided to take a break at a little spot at Panorama Point where there were picnic tables. We were, again, amazed at the views.
Our view from the tables…
Looking east from Panorama Point….
Up the road we found the turnoff to the Delicate Arch. Found our way up to the parking lot and we decided we could handle the short hike up to the viewpoint in our riding boots. In the distance you could see a lot of people wandering around the base of the arch. We thought, that’s just fine you people can hike up there, we’ll stay right here. Rob took a couple of photos then we continued up to Devil’s Garden. (no, we didn’t see him…,thankfully…) Even more amazing rock formations there too. We just rode around amazed. There is a campground there as well. But I’m not sure if I would ever stay there, something about that name that just bothers me. Although it must not bother a lot of other people because there were many cars parked there.
After walking around a little bit we decided to venture on down the road. Wheeling back to the highway we headed north on 191. We didn’t stop at Dead Horse State Park, but I’m wishing we had at least checked it out. Intersecting I-70 we raced east with the high speed traffic for 90 miles but not before stopping at the Green River Love’s Travel Plaza. We got gas and decided to get a Subway sandwich for lunch, Rob was hungry.
The exit for Hwy 10 finally appeared and we had to take a flying leap onto it to avoid all the crazy traffic. As we rode north I was looking for a spot to pull over and take a break. Thankfully seeing one and there wasn’t any traffic behind us I gingerly pulled off. It sloped off to the right and was a little soft. I thought “uh-oh, I hope this wasn’t a mistake”, but after having some water and walking around a little bit we mounted up and were able to power out of there. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Stopping at Huntington’s Hometown Market we got a few supplies. Rob asked the lady where the individual rolls of paper towels were because we didn’t want to buy a six pack of rolls. And she said “…here…” and handed Rob a roll from behind the cash register. He offered her some money and she said something like “no, that’s ok..”. Our faith in humanity was restored. We then rolled through town taking note of the restaurants, towards our accommodations for the night.
The Huntington State Park, next to Huntington Lake, which is a reservoir. They have a nice campground there with lots of grass and paved spots. Since the wind was howling off the mountains to the west of the lake we decided to wait for a while before setting up our tents. After a while we unhooked and locked our trailers together, just in case. And rode back into town to look for dinner.
The Ponderosa Grill looked friendly enough, we walked in and were greeted right away. Rob said to the young lady, “I hear you have good food here?” and she responded with “Your not from around here are you?…” We all had a good laugh. The food was pretty good I’ll say that.
Later back at camp the wind had died down some but not a lot. So we decided to go ahead and put our tents. Which made it real challenging, I parked my trailer close to the edge of the pavement so that I could stake it down with some ropes. Rob put his tent up down closer to the water but left the flaps open so that it wouldn’t catch so much wind. Or at least that is what I think he was thinking. It didn’t blow away at least. We then went in search of a shower. Which were fairly nice but there was a problem. They had a push button valve on the wall and no way to regulate the water. Which wouldn’t be a problem except that it was set on a specific temperature and that was HOT. So we had to do a dance of in and out to keep from getting cooked. So that added to the adventure I guess. Rob discovered his air mattress was leaking but he toughed it out and slept on it anyway. Plus his sleeping bag zipper jammed up and he did get that figured out before nightfall.
Day 5, 362 miles
The morning dawned sunny as I got up and again brewed a “proper cup of tea”. Thankfully it was nice and still while I waited for some signs of life from Robs tent. After a while he appeared and we decided to pack up and go down the road aways to find breakfast. We pulled out and headed back toward town to pick up Hwy 31 takes you past the power plant and close to Candland Mountain. It was fairly warm when we departed from Huntington and but this road is in the shadow of the mountains and the temp dropped. It wasn’t long before we were wishing for some sunshine. We were rolling along having a good time in the curves when I spied what I thought was a couple of dogs from a distance on the other side of the road. As I got closer I realized their fir was grey and exclaimed to Rob “those are wolves!”. I’d never seen a woluf that close before. We agreed this wasn’t a good time to break down. We had only seen just a few cars so far.
It wasn’t long before we were climbing toward the mountain top. Once again we felt like we were on top of the world as the elevation topped out at 10,400. At one point you could look off to the west and see even more big mountains. I was continually surprised at the high elevations we were riding through. Up on top we intersected with Hwy 264 then started our descent toward the little burg of Schofield which is now Hwy 96.There was a little quick stop but it was closed, didn’t see any restaurants. Continuing on Highway 6 came up quickly and we turned toward Price in search of some breakfast.
This is definitely a main route through Utah as the traffic was thick for a two lane. It then turned into a four lane as we entered town looking for gas and sustenance. Rob was happy that there was a Chevron next to the JBs where we ate. We were filled up and the bikes were filled up and so we backtracked toward the Hwy 191 junction. The ride to Duchesne was kind of boring as we looked for the winding Hwy 35 which would lead us toward Kamas. This was a fun road to ride as the temps were in the 70’s and the traffic was fairly light. There were plenty of turnouts but none in the shade to take a break so we finally just picked one. I had gotten a Cherry Coke and a peanut butter Gramma’s cookie at the previous fuel up and was looking forward to that.
Later we rolled into the thriving metropolis of Kamas Utah, every vacationer in the state was there. We found some Phillips 66 pumps outside of a 7-Eleven fueled up and took a short break. We found Hwy 150, also known as East Mirror Lake Highway. Really fun road. After a few miles we came upon a sign that said “Road Closed No Winter Maintenance” but we kept seeing a fair amount of traffic. So we thought we’d just keep going and see what happens. We passed several more of the same signs before we passed Mirror Lake at the pass, no it wasn’t closed. Someone just hadn’t gotten around to taking the signs down.
It didn’t take long to wheel off the mountain and soon find ourselves in Evanston Wyoming. This route would take us through the corner of Wyoming then back into Utah. We stopped at some sporting good store looking for an air mattress and those guys directed us to the Walmart. Which just happened to be just a rocks throw away. And just like every other Walmart in the country, it was packed. We did get some water and other stuff, Rob did find a mattress. We then googled for a Mexican restaurant and we found an authentic one just off the highway we were headed up, Don Pedros Family Restaurant. Really good, now we didn’t have to find a place in Garden City where we were headed.
Hwy 89 which turns into Hwy 16 when you cross into Utah was smooth and fast, lots of RV traffic. The clouds had moved in and looked threatening as we found the KOA. This town had changed a lot since I had been here some 28 years earlier. I was attending the CMA Nat’l West Rally in Logan and a bunch of us rode over to Paris ID where the Bell Helmet factory was. To do a tour, I was totally surprised by that, its not there now though. It’s funny how you’ve got two Hwy 30s coming from Wyoming, one ends at Garden City and the other, probably true, 30 heads on north to Montpelier. I wonder what engineer thought that was a good idea?
We set up in our spot at a leisurely pace and then noticed some nasty looking clouds coming from the south. So we hustled up and put some tie down ropes on our tents. It wasn’t too long before the wind picked up and the rain came hard. At least it didn’t last too long, later I was able to go take a shower in the brand new shower house. Really nice individual locking bathrooms with showers. We were able to get acquainted with our neighbor who had his boys with him. He saw our colors and asked about who we were. We had a nice talk.
Day 6, 346 miles
Saturday morning dawned threatening rain, we had bought some food to cook but decided to head over the mountain toward Logan and find some breakfast. We were ready to roll and got our rain suits on just before it started to rain. Wow, talk about timing. As we rolled up over the mountain on Hwy 89 I was amazed at how much they had improved the highway. I remembered it as a skinny little windy road with lots of slippery tar snakes all over it. Making for a scary ride. They had widened it in most places and added passing lanes. It was real nice. After almost getting lost in Logan we found a Denny’s over at Tremonton. We could see the clouds disappearing to the east so we peeled off our rain suits and headed for home. We then gassed up and pushing a head wind stopped again in Snowville to top off as the mileage was terrible. Then later stopping somewhere that I don’t remember. And then again in Mountain Home for a break before pounding on to the home-20.
Overall it was a great trip, saw a lot of nice scenery and met alot of nice people. We need to do another trip next year.
Each time a muscle car or cool motorcycle rumble by I would stop and stare. Even way back before I was a teen I loved all motorized vehicles. It was mainly cars back then though. I had a wall of … Continue reading →
the sun has dawned bright, but there is a cool bite to the early morning air…
I’m sitting here staring at my Wing, trying to remember if Mike said “we will leave at 8” or “we will meet at 8″… think, think, think… This is what happens when I don’t get my morning “proper cup of tea”. Finally I decide to err on the side of being early. Better to be early than late I always say. Well… I don’t always say that but it sounds good anyway. I put on a long sleeved shirt over my regular CMA t-shirt, then my colors, then my cool weather jacket w/o the liner. As well as my mesh pants over me levi’s. That should be enough for this morning. I start the bike, (or should I say “motorbike”) and it warms to some semblance of an operating temperature before I pull out of the driveway and motor down the street.
I’m headed for that fine eating establishment known for its fine culinary experience, the one we call “Shari’s”. At the north Division Y. Motoring up Argonne and out across the flat toward Bruce Road. Apparently someone named Bruce lived out here long ago and thats why they named this road after him. I wonder where Jim road is? Anyway… I am realizing that I may have not put on enough clothes to keep my aging body warm, its a bit cool out here. I buzz through Mead and turn west toward Hwy 395 and into the Shell next door to Shari’s. Where the delightful people are waiting eagerly to sell me 3.6 gallons of petrol. I sing a happy song as I jam my dee-bit card into the pump and pump away. Knowing that I am helping rid our country of the use of foreign oil by motivating myself about the countryside on a single track vehicle. (ya, right….)
Later I pull into the restaurant, well actually into the parking lot of the restaurant not into the actual restaurant itself… Ahem,… I regress…, I find that there are only cars parked about. A white Goldwing is not anywhere to be seen. hmmm… it would seem that I am early. I will stand out here in said parking lot and wait for a while. Twenty minutes later I deduce that it would be good for me to go inside and order my breakfast because its rather cool out here and I’m hungry. The waitress greets me cheerily and ushers me to a window table to wait for the missing person. So now I get my “proper cup of tea” while I wait for said missing person. Finally I can stand it no longer, I must have an omlet.
About 40 minutes later after I am finished, a white Goldwing careens into the parking lot. Mike dismounts and saunters in, we immediately begin to discuss what was intended for the meeting time. I had it wrong, again, it was meet at 8 not depart at 8. (sigh…) So I watch him eat his breakfast while we discuss all things CMA. Later, with tummys full we head out on Hwy 2 toward Newport. Its a great ride up through the wooded countryside until we come upon some road construction up close to Diamond Lake. Which delays us for a few minutes. Finally we are cruising at highway speeds again and soon we arrive in the thriving metropolis of Newport.
Many bikes are supposed to meet at the Safeway but no one is there yet. We spy a handful of bikes sitting in the old gas station and Mike motors over there and asks them if they are with the American Legion Riders. No, this is the Honda Riders Group out of C’DA and they are on a day ride. Oh ok, never mind… Mike then decides that it would be a good thing to wander into McDonalds and get a cup of coffee while we wait for other riders to show up. Being the generous guy that he is he buys me a cup of hot chocolate. We sit and discuss the day while keeping an eye on the parking lot across the street.
Riders arrive at the Safeway in Newport ready to ride...
Finally we get the word to mount up and the Road Captain gives final instructions. The American Legion Riders will pull out first, then the Combat Vets, then the rest of us. 150 motorcycles roar out of the parking lot and south on Hwy 41 looking for our final destination, the American Legion Hall in Post Falls. The riders didn’t waste any time getting rolling down the road. We were right up to highway speeds and maybe a little more, in no time. When I would back off some from the bikes in front of me I could actually hear my own bike running. Otherwise the only way to tell was to look at the tach, and the fact that I was still moving was a good indicator as well. I think we made a few people mad as once in a while when a north bound car would stop in the highway wanting to turn left. They would have to wait for all the bikes to pass first. The group stretched about two to three miles in length. This is the biggest group ride I have been a part of. Mike and I fell in to the pack toward the back. I had a hard time hearing my stereo over the roar of all the loud-piped Harleys. So i turned it off. In the picture below the line of bikes stretch to next hill.
And the gang rides south on Hwy 41...
We cruise through Spirit Lake...
We got the intersection of Hwy 41 and Hwy 53 at the north end of Rathdrum and there was a car stopped in the turn lane but there was no one to block traffic and riders were just going around the car on both sides. I’m betting the public wasn’t too impressed with that. We did make the next light to continue south but we kept our speed down as we passed the local cop who had a car pulled over. Then guys were increasing their speed way before the speed zone increased on the south end of town. We did have people blocking traffic at the intersections as we approached Post Falls. Riders in the front were stopping to block the intersections so we could roll right through.
Then for some reason we stopped for the light at Seltice Way. It looked like the front part of the group had made the left turn and was way ahead of us. The organizers had us go through downtown Coeur’d Alene and thats where people were stopping for the lights so the group got all separated. But people all the way were waving at us and staring at the awsome sight of so many motorcycles. We continued on through town and everyone stopped at the gas station on Sherman Ave. next to the freeway. We effectively shut down the gas station. But only after about five minutes we were headed out again.
Riders arrive in Cd'A to regroup continuing on to the VFW building...
We were more together as we entered the freeway. Cars were moving over to the inside lane because there were so many of us. As we continued down the freeway there was confusion on which lane to take so we were moving from lane to lane depending on whether there was traffic trying to enter the freeway or not. We seemed to be all together as we passed the rest area in Post Falls. A dump truck was in the inside lane as we approached that first exit for Post Falls and then he started to signal. And being a fellow commercial driver myself, I knew how frustrating it can be trying to change lanes in lots of traffic, much less a hunert and fifty motorcycles. So I slowed and made a big open spot for him. I thought we were getting off at that exit too so I stayed behind him. I couldn’t see up ahead since he was right in front of me then as he moved toward the exit I could see all the other bikes way up ahead continuing down the freeway. The plan apparently was to get off at the next exit and then turn up N. Idaho St. Here we did have the Post Falls Police stopping traffic as we got off the freeway and at the intersections, so that was nice.
And the band plays as we arrive...
We then turned down Poleline Ave. only to turn into the parking lot of the American Legion building. I had heard that we were going to a BBQ, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next. There was Big flags all over and the Air National Guard Band was playing as we rode in. Although it was hard to hear them over so many LOUD Harleys. The Mayor of Post Falls was there, the Chief of Police was there and city councilman, a couple of pastors. The American Legion National Vice-Commander was there to speak. It was quite an impressive ceremony to remember those that died on 9/11. They even had a bagpiper play Amazing Grace. The colors were even posted by the American Legion Jr. Color Guard.
Color guard marches to start the festivities...
One member of the Jounor Guard passed out as she held the flag while they were standing up front. Apparently she had locked her knees. And the EMT’s were right there to assist reviving her. Then later one little boy suddenly screemed out, we all looked at each other and said almost in unison. Bee sting! There were alot of wasps floating around. The EMT’s helped him too. Sure was handy to have them there since it was around 90 out there and no shade.
So after all the ceremonies were over and feeling all patriotic, we all moved over to the side of the building for the BIG bbq. There was a long line waiting for their burgers. But of course Mike made sure we were toward the front of the line. Not sure how that happened.
They said it was to be 69 degrees, they said next week it will get much cooler, they said it was going to be sunny. But when I woke up it was 32 degrees. I thought I would take what might be the last ride of the year. I also wanted to tow the diamond plate trailer to see if the mileage would be any different from the Yellow trailer. Yes, I have two cargo trailers. A man can’t have too many trailer you know…
I had wired a new flat plug onto the Diamond Plate yesterday and so today was the day to see how different it pulls as compared to the Yellow. After getting some gas I headed out toward Lake Lowell to get the obligatory posed shot of the bike and trailer. I had taken one of the yellow and now I wanted one of the Diamond Plate.
Yellow Goldwing with Yellow American Legend Trailer
Yellow Goldwing with a diamond plate trailer
Parked in front of an orchard with the contrasting red leaves...
The lake was a lot more calm than it was the other day. It took a little to the shot because the traffic was enough I couldn’t walk out in the middle of road to get the aim I wanted. Finally I headed around the south side of the lake on Lake Shore road. Which is a pleasant road to ride, but you can’t see the lake because of all the trees. On the right is all the comfortable farm homes, some nicer than others. This is a nice section to ride even with the 45mph limit. There was a Nursery along the way and some of the trees still had their red leaves on, I thought it looked like a good photo opportunity. What with the contrast of colors and all.
Finally I intersect Hwy 45, as I roll up to the stop sign little flies gather around me and the bike. One flies into my helmet and crawls around on my glasses. I have to pull over and get the little bugger out. Then I give it the gas and start looking for Map Rock road. As I’m dropping down a big hill toward the river I see a “Map Rock road” on the right, but I’m looking for the one on the left. Then I see Ferry Road on the left. I’m thinkin someone changed the name of the road.
Approaching a stop sign I’m thinking this must be Hill road. Ya, I was doing a lot of thinking on this ride. The plan is to turn right here but since there is no cars behind me I stop to consult my directions. Yep, this is it and while I’m fooling around with the paper me thinks maybe I shouldn’t be stopping since a lot of these farmers have dogs that might like to run out and bite my leg. Just as I pull out I see a dog running in my direction. Boy, talk about timing.
Cruising down the road admiring strange rock formations I’m heeled over in a curve when I notice a little sign pointing right that said “Celebration Park”. I’m thinking “I should go look and see what’s down there…”. But by then I’m already past the turn so I slam on the brakes and make a U-ee and headed down the entrance road. Oh boy there’s some nice curves on this road. Then I see some scenic rock formations a couple miles off to the right and thought it would make yet another photo opportunity.
South of Melba, lots of big rocks out there
Railroad trestle that never did handle any trains, now a walking bridge...
Entrance to the picnic area...
I come around a corner and here is a train trestle sitting there all by itself. Apparently there had been a railroad through here sometime ago and the state or someone decided it would be a good thing to make a foot bridge out of it. It was probably a hundred feet above the Snake River. It was next to the entrance to the park. The big wooden sign says its Idaho’s first geological park. huh? who knew…
After a few pictures I cruised on into the park. It was right next to the water. Only supposed to be a day use area. There were tables and such. The only problem with it was the little flies would come around as soon as you stopped. Pesky little things…
Someone had built a shelter like thing that apparently the Indians used sooo many years ago.
I think this is a replica of an indian shelter of some sort...
Nice curves in and out of the park...
After a good look around I headed out the access road and enjoyed the few curves that were there. I’m still on my search for Swan Falls, its out here somewhere. I head east thinking I will intersect the road that I want but not too far I come to an intersection. My road continued on but turned into gravel. If I turned right it was paved. So I thought I’d just turn right and see where I’d end up. A mile down the road the road ends and I have to make a left turn. It is straight as an arrow for a long way so I crank it up a little. Finally I spy a stop sign out here in the middle of nowhere.
Stopped at the junction with no signs...
Dropping into the Snake River canyon...
Taking a sharp right and I’m dropping into the river canyon down a lane and a half wide paved road at about a 12 percent grade. At least that’s what if felt like. Swan Falls is actually a dam that was built in 1900. Growing up in Boise I never knew this was here. I parked next to the little park and was wishing I had saved my lunch for here, but it was even cooler here. So I read the historical sign, kind of interesting how it was originally built to provide power for Silver City mining operation. I took several photos and decided it was time to roll, but not before posing for a shot with a hundred and ten year old turbine.
Original one hundred year old turbine...
I was impressed… but then I get impressed easily. There are two stories about how the falls got its name, supposedly there was a trumpeter swan that hung around the area or there was an explorer with the last name “Swan” that discovered the falls. No one knows for sure.
Riding up the hill I decide to stop in one of the half a dozen turnouts to take a picture of the canyon looking south. Which seemed to be a good idea till I gave the bike some gas to leave and all I could do was spin in the gravel. It was steep enough in that gravel with the trailer that I couldn’t seem to get enough traction to get going. So I spun my way out of the gravel till I got out on to the pavement. (whew…) When I got to the top I stopped and took another pic of the canyon before I headed out.
South of Kuna
Looking west from the Bonneville view point
When I got up there I found a nice little view point that
commemorates the spot where in 18-something-er-other, a one Capt. Bonneville came over this hill and exclaimed “Les Bois, Les Bois!”, meaning the trees, the trees. And so now we have the name “Boise”. Apparently this guy mapped out most of southern Idaho and part of Utah. This is why you have Bonneville dam, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Bonneville Power and other things named after this fellow. I thought it was rather interesting. The view was really nice, you could see for a long ways. And a big plus was being able to listen the freeway about five miles away. (ahem…)
I headed back down the access road and stopped at the stop sign. Sat there for a couple of minutes trying to decide if I wanted to turn left and go see what was up the Blacks Creek road or head for Idaho City. I sat there tapping my fingers on the grip for a couple minutes. Finally deciding to turn the handlebars right and head back out onto the freeway.
After zooming along with the freeway traffic for a few miles I jumped off at the Hwy 21 exit. I thought this would be a good time to get gas but the only station that I saw was an Albertsons Quick Stop and it was really busy. I was glad to get my gas and get the heck out of there. I was sure getting the odd looks for pulling a trailer. Or at least I ‘think’ that is what the looks were about. I took on about 3 and a half gallons and had gone 120 miles so far. So that means I was getting about 35mpg. I’m guessing if I was cruising at a constant rate of speed I might be able to do better. With the yellow trailer I got about the same but on that trip I did more highway at about 66 mph. So I’m amazed that they could be so close when they are such different shapes and the yellow one was about 40 lbs lighter loaded with the same gear.
I cruised up Hwy 21 the area above the Diversion Dam was smelling pretty rank. The water level had been lowered recently and the whole canyon was smelling like dead fish or something. Dead something anyway. I was glad when I zoomed up the hill to the top of the Lucky Peak Reservoir Dam. Farther north, when I crossed the bridge over the upper part of the reservoir you could look down and that it was nearly empty. Well in that area at least.
I had been watching for a good time to use up my one way ticket to Spokane. But the weather had to be just right. The purpose for the trip was to retrieve my Wing and trailer which had spent the winter in Ron’s garage. And I was tired of dealing with LDPMS (Long Distance Parked Motorcycle Syndrome)(sigh…) and I was sure that Ron was wanting to gain some space back in his shop. I knew this cuz he mentioned it fairly often…(just kidding…)
The weather during the first part of March was fairly nice here in southern Idaho, making the syndrome even worse. It was not too terribly bad in Spookaloo either. But in between was semi-wintery. Not very good motorcycling weather by any means. I had been opening up Accuweather four or five times all at once, on the ‘ol kaput-compute, so that I could click between the pages and get the long range forcast for several different locations from here to Spokane all at once. I didn’t use NOAA cuz it wouldn’t forcast more than five days out even though I knew the accuracy was questionable beyond that. So I would sit here and click between the cities each day and trying to decide if I was going to go for it or not.
Finally the first of last week( the 8th) the forcast in Pendleton, Meacham, Baker City and Spokane wasn’t looking too bad for last Sunday (the 14rh). Actually it was looking pretty good for Monday (the 15th). Sunny but a bit cool on Sunday. So I looked on the Southwest site and the only flight that wasn’t sold out on Saturday was the afternoon flight. The only problem was that I would have to get there via Seattle (you gotta be kidding…). And change planes there to boot.(you really gotta be kidding…) So I looked at Sundays schedule and began waffling whether or not to wait till Sunday to fly. That would be a direct flight, and moocho better. (little spanish lingo there…)
Ron and I were trading cell calls about the weather up to this point and he was lobbying hard for me to come on Saturday, we could go for a little day ride on Sunday. (After church of course…)(ahem…) Finally I gave in since I would be looking forward to a nice spirited ride through the Palouse countryside. (ahem…again…) Never mind that I would be heading for the Boise Airport about 2:30pm and not arriving in Spokane till like 7pm. (sheesh…)
I got to the airport a little early so I had time to read my new Rider magazine, while waiting for the plane to arrive. It got there, we got on, got a seat, everything was fine. A guy sat down next to me who turned out to be a manager or owner or something like that, of Auto Liquidators in Spokane. He had just come from an auto auction in California. Turned out he was a dirt guy. Meaning he rode dirt bikes for fun. Owned a KTM even. So we talked motorcycles all the way to Seattle. It was great fun. I did mention to him that I wanted to get rid of my 71 Super Beetle. He said he knew some V-Dub guys that might be interested so he took my number and I thought “ya sure, whatever”. The second half of the trip we got separated and I ended up having to sit between two delightful young ladies. Ya, a teenager and a twenty something that was expecting her second. So I proceeded to strongly urge the teen to take the rider course cuz she her phone would be ringing off the wall…er off the table, (I guess they aren’t on the wall anymore are they…) with calls from all the guys that thought she was so cool cuz she rode. Don’t know if I talked her into it or not…
Timing is everything… Ron was driving up Sunset hill as I was walking down through the Spokane Concourse to the luggage thingy. Then as I was walking toward the door with my bags he was driving up next to the building and I walked out and threw the bags in the back and hopped in. It was like we rehearsed it. Amazing… We cruised to his house and Joann whipped up a nice dinner for me while watching a good movie. Then it was off to bed with dreams of six-cylinders howling in my head and sparks flying from under the foot boards on a curvy road. (ahhh….)
Sunday dawned at a cool 27 degrees. We went out and Ron started a fire in the firebox while I proceeded to wipe off a winters worth of dust. We laughed at the cold as we donned our cold weather gear. And Joann laughed at us as she muttered that we were crazy. (Hey, it was going to warm up later…) We cruised over to church and I enjoyed talking with friends that I hadn’t seen in four months. It was a good day. Later we grabbed “Dan, the Black Wing Man” since he just happened to ride his 1800 there. Funny how that happens. Later a consensus was formed that lunch at Colfax was a good idea. So we cruised out of town on Hwy 27, one of our favorites. Man it felt good to be on the bike slicing through the curves at a spirited pace! (well, as spirited as a wing can get anyway…) Colfax came too quickly for me as we profiled in front of the store windows, glancing at our reflections. (Hey, we all do it…) My favorite Burger joint was closed so we back tracked and settled for the local Arbys. Oh well, the ride was what it was all about. We zigzaged back to Spokane, through the thriving metropolis’ of Endicott, St.John and even Malden. It was a great ride. We cruised back into Spokane and said our farewells to Dan, turned toward the house for a relaxing evening.
Monday morning dawned about eight degrees warmer. We once again went out to the shop and started a fire. Checked the trailer over and polish it up some. I had to move some things in there to get some more weight right and make room for one of my bags that I had brought along. While waiting for it to warm up a bit we went over to a friends to help with a new refrig that he had gotten. But some more parts was needed to hook it up and by then it had warmed up to the point that I was getting ancey to get on the road. So we went back to the house and rolled the bike and trailer out and hooked them up. We said our “see you laters” and I rolled toward the edge of town, but before I did I had to make detour by the old house just to take a look. Yep, still there… Then over to Yokee’s (actually it’s Yoke’s Food Store) to get some of my favorite salsa that is not available in southern Idaho. While I was loading my six jars into the trunk an older gentlemen rolled by on his motorized chair. We had a good conversation about my little caboose. Then it was time to get going.
By now the temp had risen to the point that I was heating up in all my gear. I thought man I could have left earlier. The bike felt good and the trailer hardly made itself known as I cruised out of town on the interstate. Ya, I know, I should have taken the scenic route down through Idaho but there was still a fair amount snow around McCall and alot of sand on the road in that area. So I decided to hit the freeway.
It felt good to kick it up to about 73, turn on some tunes and sit back and relax. The miles rolled past quickly as I turned south onto 395. Then I started to notice how quickly the gas gauge was dropping. So I tried to calculate how many miles it was to the Hwy 182 junction. And how many gallons I had at a certain point on the gas gauge. After 9 years of riding this bike you would think I would know this by now. Then I started thinking ” you know whats the point of pushing it, trying to get a full distance out of each tank”. So I did the relaxing thing and pulled into the station at the Hwy 26 junction and topped it off. I figured out I was getting 30mpg and I took on 3.5 gallons so it would have been getting kinda close when I got down there. Thats ok I’ll have to stop one extra time for gas before getting to Caldwell.
When I got to the Hwy 182 junction I turned east which then turns into Hwy 12. At the junction I took Hwy 730 south and cruised down the river. After a while I came upon the Hwy 37 junction. I had always wanted to travel that route to see what it was like but never did. Now was my chance. It curves through a small valley and then rises out into the wheat fields north of Pendleton. A nice little ride through there.
I rolled into Pendleton on the west side of town. I thought “well I’ll just turn left here and go down to the little junction in town and turn south and get on the freeway. I was wanting to get gas again at the Casino just before Cabbage hill. Well as it turned out they were doing some major road construction in town and I couldn’t turn right where I wanted to and got detoured down into town and around the side streets in order to get turned back in the right direction. Then I was headed what I thought was south again I somehow missed the route I wanted and ended up back on the west edge of town where I had just come from. Good Grief Charlie Brown! I was heating up again since it had to be in 60s. I thought about stopping and shedding some gear, then I thought “no its probably going to be cold on the Blues so I better not”. So I continued west and got gas at the Shell, THEN got on the freeway at the first interchange on the west side to turn east again. (sheesh…)
I cruised up Cabbage at a blazing 55mph since I was getting a little wiggle in the curves. Partially because I didn’t really have the trailer loaded correctly and there were grooves in the pavement. As I decended into La Grande a westerly wind kicked up. I had a hard time hearing my MP3 with wind rattling my faceshield and ducking my head down behind the windshield wasn’t too comfortable for long periods of time. And I really needed to stop and redo my earplugs but I kept thinking I would stop down the road. Which didn’t happen till Baker City where I got gas again.
After the fill up I pulled out a new set of earplugs that would work better only to find once I got going that the wind had died down some so it didn’t matter so much. So riding that leg was much more enjoyable. The drivers once again said they hadn’t seen any cops since Ontario so I kicked it up a bit and cruised on home.
Pulling up in front of my house I angled it and opened the garage door then backed the trailer right in perfectly. It was beautiful, I almost shed a tear. (well ok, not really…)
So now I’ve got the bike down here and now I can begin enjoying the roads and riding with the CMA chapter down here.
Jim is now longer “Jim the Bikeless” now its “Jim the Bike Happy!”… No, not Jim the Happy Biker, that would be too cheesey….
I knew it was going to be cold when I stumbled out of bed and started to get dressed with intent of fighting cold temps. Today is the Run for the Son and Motorcycle Awareness Day rolled into one. A good day of riding if the weather would just cooperate. I checked the thermometer and it showed 38 degrees outside. Better put on all of my cold weather gear and then some. After my obligatory two cups of tea and some breakfast I zipped, buttoned, and tied up myself as well as I could. Hoping to stay warm for a very long time. For some reason I assumed it would warm up outside in a few hours. Boy was I wrong…
I roll out the bike out of the garage and let it warm up while I finished putting on the rest of my gear. Ok I’m ready to battle the elements. I cruised eastward on I-84 toward Boise to where the CMA chapter, R Wheels R His, were going to meet to do the ride.
Then afterward my plan was to cruise up to Sandy Point to join a few hundred, sometimes a thousand, other riders for the 2010 Motorcyce Awareness Day Ride. Riders from all over the region meet there the first weekend of May for a BIG ride to the Capitol building in Boise escorted by eight motorcycle cops. Major dignitaries are to speak about motorcycle safety and the awareness of motorists being aware of motorcyclists who may or may not be aware.
After topping off my tank in Eagle, I roll into the lot where we are to meet a few CMAers have already gathered and are dancing around trying to stay warm. Well maybe it was more like shifting from one foot to the other, but they sure weren’t standing still. Other riders roll in, but some were only there to see us off as they were heading for the park to begin setting up for the BIG BBQ. Then at 9:00am on the button five Goldwings, Two Yamahas, one Shadow, and one Harley roll out of the lot. Two of the riders were the Tri-State CMA Area Reps Greg and Shannon Leichliter, on their matching YELLOW Goldwings. One of the Yamahas was a POW/MIA member that was going to ride along. But then as we approached the edge of town he peeled off. I don’t know if it was too cold for him or what.
We rolled out town on Hwy 55 in a nice tight formation with Tom the Road Captain in front and Brian the Co-Road Captain in back. As we rolled up and over Horse Bend hill those of us who had thermometers and were eyeballing them hoping that those numbers would start rising soon. Not sure where Horseshoe Bend got its name, maybe someone bent an actual horse shoe in half there one time or something. But I think it has more to do with the pattern of the river that flows through town. I should find out some day, I’ll put that on my ‘to do’ list.
We turn left onto Hwy 52 what I think is called the Black Canyon highway. We sweep through the curves enjoying the ride until I notice a brown stain in the middle of the lane. I get on the radio and ask “that brown isn’t what I think it is, is it?” Tom comes back and says “no, I think its dried mud…” (ya, right….)
we approach the thriving metropolis of Emmett and the temperature did finally rise about five degrees to about 45. We stopped at the Chevron for a break and to socialize for about fifteen minutes. The break did help me to warm up as the cold was creeping into my toes and fingers. Then Tom said it was time to go but I was a little slow getting my helmet and gloves on so I was the last one to be ready to roll. I hate it when that happens. I like to be ready…(ahem…).
In order to make it an even 100 miles, which is what the Run for the Son is supposed to be, Tom led us out west on Hwy 52, 16 miles where we did a U-turn. Retracing our steps and continuing back to Boise on Hwy 16.
Thankfully we all made it through the light where it intersects Hwy 44. Boy we really looked cool making that turn all together.
Continuing into Boise and through downtown we made it through all but one light. Thankfully we regrouped just a little farther down the road. Thats about the time we heard another voice on the radio. It was another soon to be CMA member with a Yellow 1800. Turned out that he was going on up to Sandy Point Park as well so I let him lead me up there while the others turned off Warm Springs Ave. to the park. The city of Boise had done alot of changing to the route so it was quite a shock to see how different it was. I was amazed to see all the buildings along the old highway and a new high school too. The old town, she just ain’t what she used to be.
We cruised right on up to the park in no time since it wasn’t all that far. Memories flooded back in as we rode down the entrance road. Except back then we didn’t have to contend with speed bumps, a couple of which I hit too fast giving me a good jar. Ok,ok I’ll slow down… Greeting us at the entrance gate there a few bikers each holding a clip board and pen. Apparently we had to sign in for liability reasons, or something like that.
There were motorcycles and motorcyclists everywhere. We slowly cruised through the parking area while we were checked out by the bikers and we were checking them out. Wow, sure alot of V-twins here.
We found a spot to back in against the curb and dismounted to relax. That’s when I got meet my temporary Road Captain face to face. And as usual I’m really having a hard time remembering his name. I think it was ‘Sam’ but I’m not sure. He introduced me to another rider and we started talking. While carrying on an animated conversation another rider close by sitting on his Yamaha 250F, street and trail bike. He wore a green high visibility jacket so you couldn’t miss him. Somehow we involved him in our discussion. We were all bikers no matter what we rode.
So we stood around and talked for a while until it got close to the appointed time (1:00pm) and everyone got geared up and started their engines and moved toward the staging position. Which meant we all moved slowly in a line over on the entrance road of the park where it intersects with the highway. And of course all, or most of the v-twins were continually revving their engines. This is done, apparently, to keep them running. I cannot see any other reason for this phenomenon. Maybe v-twins don’t idle well or something…(chuckle…)
I, on the other hand had to keep checking my tach to see if mine was running since I couldn’t hear it over the v-twins. About ten State Motor Officers riding Honda ST1300s and one Suzuki V-Strom were to escort us into town and were parked down at the entrance as well. Never seen a Police V-Strom before.
This is where we parked again, shut off our engines, for what I’m not sure maybe it was to wait for the “appointed time”. Then after about five minutes we noticed the riders at the front of the line were mounting up and starting their engines. So we did like wise. They, with the revving, me, with my tach…(sigh…)
Then in a few moments a thousand v-twins roared out onto the highway. I didn’t roar, I thrummed…
Out on the road the giant snake of motorcycles swelled and heaved trying to find its rhythm as we putted along at about thirty miles an hour. When we crossed the river somehow the snake stretched out and the speed rose to a spooky 45mph. The police was blocking intersections as we roared along into town. Motorists were in awe at shear size of the snake, actually they were cussing us cuz they couldn’t get turned across the lane.
The parade cruised down Federal Way while the throngs of spectators watched from their vehicles, parked all crooked where they came to a screeching halt to watch this amazing spectacle. Well ok maybe it more like two or three spectators at a time, but it seemed like alot. I had hung my camera around my neck so that each time we were coasting along I would hold up the camera and push the button. The only problem with that Mr. GREEN JACKET had somehow gotten in front of me and was dominating all my pictures. (arrrrg!…)
As we turned down Federal Way I got a good picture of all the bikes stretched out for maybe three miles, ok maybe two miles. Whatever it was it look like a long ways up there. The parade seemed to go on forever in front of me and behind me. As we rolled past the train depot and down the hill on Capitol Blvd I got on the radio and said “well the public is sure aware of us now”. And someone else said “probably more ticked off than anything else…” They roared, I thrummed, on toward the Capitol with all the intersections closed for us. It was great! Then we were directed to a parking spot in front of the Capitol. We took over the street in front plus several parking lots nearby.
Then everyone walked over in front of the steps and waited for the speeches to start. There was a guy that played a song on his harmonica and then played the Star Spangled Banner. They read a proclamation from Governor proclaiming May Motorcycle Awareness month. Then the coordinator for the Idaho Motorcycle Safety Group, the official name I don’t remember. And there was another speech about safety from someone that I don’t remember either. After which they did the 50/50 drawing, so those who had tickets had to wait till the end to see if they won.
I stood there and took a number of pictures then finally decided that I would wander over to the bbq. There was already alot of people there eating when I got there. So I sauntered over, paid my money, and sat down to enjoy a good burger. I had a good time talking to new people about motorcycling in Idaho. Later I walked around and admired the motorcycles. One trike was of particular interest to everyone because the body work was covering up the engine. Turned out it was the chapter president from the Snake River Valley Christian Cruisers who had built it. It was the front end of a Chevy Citation. He had built a trike front end on the front of that using the original hood and fenders and all that front end stuff.
All in all it was a good day for riding, even if it was a little cool…
As I rolled eastward the sun was rising over the mountains, a big yellow ball right in my face, I says to myself, “self?, you should have departed earlier…”. I had put some tape on my visor to block the sun but I had put it on too high. So I have to tilt my head down even more which results in a crick in my neck and I’m still not seeing well. I’m not a happy camper. I’m thinking “well this is rather dangerous…”.
One thing about going for a ride on a weekday you have to contend with the ‘going to work’ crowd. Lots of traffic heading into Boise and the sun is right there, blinding me. I wanted to ride the Stanley Loop, as I call it. Friends and I used ride the loop in a clockwise manner way back in the seventies. Today I had this brilliant idea to ride the loop ‘counter clockwise’, well that meant riding with the rush hour right into the sun. So I’m berating myself for not departing earlier. The reason I didn’t get in too much of a hurry is cuz the thermometer was sitting in the mid fortys. And it felt downright cold just to walk outside. And being a wimp I didn’t want to get a chill.
I did the best I could navigating through the maddening crowds trying to get to work. I think they were just jealous cuz they have work and I get to ride my Wing all day. Actually I would have been working if the propane business hadn’t had a slow week. Finally I’m cruising out the east side of Boise and picking it up to 76 mph since the limit is 75. But I’m still getting passed. (sheesh….) At Mountain Home I get off the Interstate at Exit 95 and then turn left. At 120 miles on this tank I stopped at the Pilot to top it off then I won’t have to think about it later.
Just beyond the Pilot someone or some organization had parked a tank in an open area next to the highway. It was parked on a nice cement pad. So I stopped and took a picture of the Wing next to it. Kind of amazing I thought. It had a paint job like it was from Desert Storm or something. I looked around for a while then proceeded on down the highway and noticed I was gaining elevation. I cruised past some rock formations called Castle Rocks with Aspen trees all around and I’m thinking “I don’t remember this…”. The leaves on the trees were changing colors so it looked very scenic. No, I didn’t stop and get a picture. I had just passed a car and wanted to stay ahead of him. Dumb reason I guess, I should have stopped anyway.
As I topped out on the grade there was a sign that said the elevation was 5200 feet. Wow! You’d never guess. This is where the highway makes a beeline straight east. I also didn’t remember how far it was across this section to Fairfield, Blaine, and the Highway 20/75 junction where I will turn north toward Sun Valley. All the cars were rolling pretty fast across there but I set the cruise at five over. Don’t want to push it too much. I roll past homes out in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. Which in reality aren’t too far from Fairfield. And I’m thinking why would anyone want to live all the way out here. But to each his own I guess. Finally I roll through the thriving metopolis of Fairfield and Blaine, then it wasn’t too far after that I’m looking at a ‘Stop Ahead’ sign. For some reason I was thinking there was a town at this junction. So much for memory.
I turn left and am rolling down the road albeit a little slower since the speed limit is 55 along here. I realize that my speedometer is sticking. I could tap on it and the needle would fall back to where it should read correctly. I thought “oh great, this should be fun” and I was right, it wasn’t. As I slowed for the town of Bellevue the needle stayed on 55 till I would tap on the face of the speedo. So through Bellevue and Hailey and finally Sun Valley I had to continually tap on the speedo to get it quit sticking. I thought just my luck I would get stopped cuz it wasn’t reading right and I was going too fast. (good grief…)
I rolled into what I thought was Sun Valley, pulled up to one light and there was sign pointing right that said “Sun Valley”. And I’m thinking so do I turn right to continue on Hwy 75 or go straight. So as the light changed I decided that I could roll on straight and see what I find. I could always turn around. I rolled on and finally did see a faded Hwy 75 sign. Sheesh, you’d think they would sign this better. Guess I’m expecting too much. As I continue on north I continue to tap,tap,tap on the speedo then suddenly the left speaker grill/cover goes flying off. I thought “what in the heck is this?” then I thought,”I sure hope no one comes by and runs over it before I get back there as I am slamming on the brakes and turning around. Thankfully there was a wide spot to park while I run out in the middle of the highway to retrieve it. So I quickly snap it back into its proper place and I’m on my way. I’m holding up the camera that I had hung around my neck and taking pics of the surrounding countryside as I ride along. Very scenic.
My speedo seems to be working better and I hadn’t had to tap so much. Suddenly the grill pops off again! Arrrrg! So this time I again slam on the brakes and wheel around but this time there is no wide spot so park. So I precariously stop next to a bridge where it is a little wider at the fog line and jump off and run forty yards or so back to get it once again. I get back to the bike huffing and puffing and decide that I could fix this later, so I toss it into the trunk. Not going to do that again. It was then that I decided to shed some layers and put on my lighter gloves. The day was heating up…
The ride up the Galena summit was really fun but I just had to stop and take a few pics. The road was great and the curves were great. It was just great. A Fedex van passed by while I was off the bike and I thought “oh great, I’ll be behind him now”. It was only a couple of minutes later I continued on, but I never saw him again. He must have been really cruising. At the top I think the sign said 6400 feet or something like that, I forget. Down around a couple of corners I stumbled on a nice pull outthat overlooks the whole valley. Apparently the state decided to build a nice paved view point with side walks with information placards(which weren’t up yet) and all. I was looking for a place to eat my sandwich I had brought along so I thought this would work well. The view was inspiring.
After I downed my sandwich and a can of pop I was cleaning off the multitude of bugs that had committed suicide on my windsheild. A couple pulled up in a little pickup and started a conversation. They had been camping at Red Fish Lake and it had been 27 degrees that morning. That was one reason why I had started the route counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. Because I knew that the passes would be real cold early. This way by the time I got to them, things would have warmed up nicely. I was standing there taking pics when I heard a v-twin coming over the top of the pass so I held up my camera to see if I could get his picture as he zoomed past. Turned out to be a Ducati sport bike. I got the shot but he was a little small in the frame. Later as I rolled down the hill I stopped to read a Historical Site sign and here he came again from the other direction. I got a shot of him again, not very good though. As I continued off the hill I turned to look back and saw a whole hill side of color as the trees were changing. Quickly checking my mirrors I came to a screeching halt to turn and take a pic of the hill side. I think it was worth it.
Later, continuing on, I’m watching my gas gauge dropping like a rock, well maybe not that bad, but it was getting down there. I was wishing for a mileage sign to tell how far it was to Stanley where I was planning to fill up. I figured the gas would be about four dollars a gallon. It sure seemed like I was covering alot ground and not seeing any human activity. I had wheeled past Sawtooth City which looked like it had gas. At least there were pumps out there. Not sure if they were working or not. Now I’m wondering if I should have stopped there to fill up. I had been through here back in ’98 on my way south with another couple as we headed for the National CMA Rally in Ogden. But I didn’t remember it being so far between Stanley and the pass.
Finally I see buildings in distance. And not anytime too soon either as I wheeled around the corner of the junction and into gas station. I was the only vehicle at the pumps right then. I was shocked to see 85 octane gas. I guess that all the regular was 87. After I pumping in my 4 and half gallons of gas,(ok, it wasn’t that low…) I walked toward the building intending to get some cookies, hopefully some Grandma’s cookies. There was a lady sitting outside smoking a cigarette. As I approached she rose, putting her cig out, I realized she was the person in charge. I mentioned it was kinda slow and she said “oh it comes in spurts…” “All the tourists went home…” I said. They didn’t have my favorite peanut butter cookie. I was dissappointed, I got something else. Everybody should sell Grandma’s. I almost bought a small can of spray lube thinking that I could spray down the speedo and maybe fix my sticking problem. But I thought it was a little expensive for what it was so I didn’t. As I was walking out a couple of Harleys pulled in to gas. One of the riders said hello as I passed and I acknowledged him and said “nice day for a ride…” He said it was pretty cool up at Challis this morning. He wanted to know how far it was to Boise, but I had forgotten. (like everything else on this trip…)
We mounted up, started our gleaming steeds, the Harleys going one way and me going the other. While I was gassing another couple of Harleys pulled in but didn’t stop. As they were putting past I noticed they had BC plates. Long way from home eh?(little Canadian lingo there….) I pulled out and headed toward Boise forgetting to get any pics of Stanley for this blog. Oh well, think of a little rustic town and you will get the picture. When I got a few miles out of town I noticed in the distance that the BC Harleys had pulled over on the left and one of the riders was crossing the highway. Realizing the gal was going to take a picture I slowed and held my camera up to take one of them. She grinned real big as I silently glided past. I kicked it up to sixty seven or so since the limit was sixty five forgetting til later that the speedo was working fine now. (sigh…) With big mountains on both sides mile after mile the highway runs fairly straight. It could get really boring if it weren’t for the mountains.
I did pass one rental motorhome though. After a while, not too sure how far, I get into the curves and finally see a Historical Site sign over my shoulder I grab the brakes and turn around to see what it says. Behind it is a stunning mountainous view. The sign told about a guy that was called Grandjean and had a little area named after him. I had always heard about something called “GrandJean” but didn’t know what it meant. Now I know…
I was about to leave after getting a picture when that same rental motorhome passed and I thought I’d better wait so that I’m not following him down through the curves. The highway was dropping fast downhill toward a river valley. So after a few minutes I headed out, it was only a little while and I caught up to him just as we both rounded a corner to a passing zone. I just cracked the throttle and let the 1800s 120 horsepower carry me around. Boy that felt good! The only thing that bothered me was the State of Idaho decided to put low speed limits on the curviest sections, and it was really ticking me off. I am able to go around the corners well above what it was posted. I was trying to be a good boy, really I was.(ahem…) This took down past where the fire of 1989 was. The sign said that in spots it was so hot the top layer of dirt was scorched and they didn’t know when the little bushes would come back. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it. There was alot foliage on the hills. Even the trees were about five feet tall. So it was coming back. It depressed me because I remembered riding up here when it was full of trees. Made me wonder how many years it would be before it would be back to what it was. Not in my lifetime I’m sure.
Soon I wheeled into Lowman past the closed gas station. Across the bridge and past a lodge built of logs, which was where a restaurant and gift shop used to be. Back in ’78, my friend Clint on his KZ1000 and me on my ’77 Wing, would see how fast we could get up here from Boise to eat breakfast. We thought we were fairly fast till one day we could barely keep up with an empty logging truck. (oh the days of youth…) The road from here turns even more twisty and FUN til you ultimately top out at the pass. There were a couple of turn outs that we used to stop at and take a break at. I stopped at one about a third the way up that I thought might be the one and ate my cookie (not Gramdma’s) and the other pop that I had brought along. Up the hill farther toward the top of the pass there is one spot that I thought I remembered but it just didn’t look the same. A victim of the big fire I guess.
While I was taking my break that same motorhome lumbered past and I thought “oh great, I better wait a long time now, I’ll catch up to him too quick…”. So I sat there for quite a while. Then when I heard another truck coming up the hill I decided to hurry and get my gear on and head out. No, it wasn’t too far that I caught up with Mr.Rental. But after a few corners he pulled over and let me by. I tooted my horn and gave him a wave as I cruised past. Then a few corners later I came upon a straight stretch that I could have passed him easily. I was lovin those curves as I made my way up over the top of the pass.
It was stretching into late afternoon as I made my way down past Idaho City. I came upon some construction, if you can call it that, on a bridge. There ended up being three bridges that were being worked on and I stopped three different times. I came around one corner only to find the flagger standing in the shade on the opposite side of the road. I almost didn’t stop. He kind of halfway held up his stop sign so I assumed that he wanted me to stop. Then sauntered over to compliment me on my bike. I said “thanks, its alot of fun…” He said he had a bike too till he crashed it. I could only just imagine how that story went. He says something on his little two-way radio then steps back and says ok. Then I motor off down the road. Guess I should have gotten his picture.
The ride from there back into Boise was uneventful except I was disgusted that they still had the 35mph limit where they had replaced a bridge close to the Lucky Peak Resovoir turn off. There was a couple of guys replacing chain link along the side of the highway. (Good Grief!….) 380 miles later I rolled into my driveway, bugs all over the front of the bike. It disgusted me so much that I immediately got a wet rag and washed them off. icky… Other than rush hour it was a good day ride…
I had been shopping for a GL1800 for a while on Ebay and Craigslist for a while now. Driving Viv crazy talking about it. I drove past the local used motorcycle dealer that had recently taken up residence in the old Harley dealership building, which you could see from the freeway. They called themselves “Discount Motorsports” and only sold used motorcycles, nothing else. What a novel idea.
On Craigslist I had seen a yellow ’01 Wing (23,000) and matching American Legend cargo trailer. It was listed under the city o”Meridian”. Then I drove past this dealer and saw this same bike and trailer sitting outside. I thought I would swing by and take a gander. It looked pretty good. The paint seemed to be in good shape for the most part. The front of the trailer box had a few chips from highway use. It had highway pegs and obiviously a trailer hitch and a couple of small chrome trim pieces, but no backrest. The tires seemed to be in pretty good shape. I also been checking a Charcoal ’07 in Oregon that only had 5000 miles on it but no accessories and a bigger price tag. I had been looking on ebay too and she was encouraging me to get something local and not pay for shipping or spending alot to go get it. Plus you could actually see what you were getting.
While I was standing there four other guys came and looked at it as well. I thought “Man thats alot of Yellow!”. I also thought it wouldn’t last long. I told the salesman that I would return the next morning, Saturday, and talk trade. I went home and told Viv about it. She had the usual, “thats nice…” look on her face. Well Saturday came and we got busy doing other things and I never made it down there. I thought that it was long gone by then. The next Friday I was driving past the same dealership and lo and behold that same bike was sitting there. I couldn’t believe it was still there. I’m thinking, ‘Man thats alot of yellow…” I know, I said that once. I went home and told Viv it was still there and so on Saturday morning she said ‘lets go look at it just to see if thats something you would want.’ “But we’re not buying anyting…” (right…)
So later in the afternoon we mounted up on the ‘ol 93 (109,000 miles) so that we could take the yellow ’01 for a test ride. Not before stopping for gas and filling the tank. We got down there and the manager was there but not the same salesman. He said alot of people had looked at it but couldn’t get financing. He wanted to know if we wanted to unhook the trailer and I said no. I knew I wouldn’t feel it back there anyway. So we took off down the freeway and I’m thinking ‘I could get used to this…’ The power and handling was amazing! I was wishing I could get it on a twisty road. But I knew it would be great. It felt like 7/8 of a GL1500 with about a third more power. Or at least a third more than what I had been riding. Thankfully our headsets plugged right in so that Viv and I could discuss it while riding. She was liking it, I was liking it. I was amazed at the whole feel of it. The stereo sounded alot better than the other one. It felt so good I was thinking “I could get used to yellow…” You would look at it and just think WOW!
We got back and talked a deal then decided that we needed to go home and discuss it some more. Viv definnetly liked this color than the other charcoal one I had been considering. When I got back on the 1500 I was amazed at the difference. I thought “this is really a big bike!”… the difference was astounding. We got home and talked about it some more, deciding to go for it I suddenly realized the day was getting away from us. I still needed to get all the little stuff out of the ’93 before I could take it down there. Plus take the pig tail for the charger off the battery. I grabbed a couple of small boxes and started unloading all the little pockets that had various stuff in them that I had thought I might need someday. And there was alot of stuff in there! Then we almost forgot the title before we left the house only arriving to the dealer an hour before they were to close. When we got there they were starting to roll bikes that parked outside inside.
Big Yellow was sitting there waiting for us. It felt so weird doing this. We made a nice circle in the lot and pulled up next to it and laid our helmets and jackets on the seat of “Yellow”. Then the guy jumped on mine to pull it into the building. It sure felt weird watching someone else wheel it away for the last time. I thought, “well thats it…”. After 70,000 miles of alot of good times the end had come. But I don’t get attached to my vehicles… (just kidding )
Then I turned and smiled at my new (to me) bike. The matching trailer gleeming in the hot sun. I thought “WOW!” with a big smile. Good by Red, Hello Yellow…. In the end I decided to trade the 93, I just didn’t want to go through all the hassle of selling it on my own. I thought he was pretty fair on the trade in price considering the mileage.
When we pulled away from there it felt really weird being on Big Yellow after being RED all these years. Viv did agree to get a new YELLOW helmet too. The one she has been wearing is about twenty years old. She wants something that has same graphics as my HJC.
For now I will wear my red jacket and helmet.
Then we proceeded over to my daughter and son-in-laws place to show it off. They had friends over and were shocked at ALL THE YELLOW! So my grandson proceeded to play with all the buttons and actually program in my favorite radio stations. He is 18 months old. Well actually with a little help from his mom.
Then we rode over and showed my 89 year old Dad who was wowed and then over to my sister and bro-in-laws place. They were also shocked by ALL THE YELLOW! I did notice when stopping a stop lights people would point and smile. So I guess that I am noticed alot more than before. Which is a good thing eh? Maybe I should get a personalized plate that says “Smile”.