3rd Annual Ben Kilik Memorial Ride
Packing and planning for the Great West tour! Leaving tomorrow at 0800.
Well we didn't quite leave at 0800. It's now 12:00 pm. Oops. Heading out very shortly!
Finally got on the road around 1pm. Pretty hot in Las Vegas but within an hour up the road on I15 it's noticably cooler. There's quite a few bikers on the road and they all look like they're doing some distance. Saw a license plate that said, "ARSENIC." Gay.
We stopped in Mesquite, NV for lunch at Mia's Mexican Restaurant. I pulled the GPS and my phone out of the map section of the tank bag. It was so hot I almost couldn't hold it. I'll stash it inside when it's sunny. Anyway,looked like a nice, strip mall type of joint. Our good impressions were instantly squelched by the very, in your face, piss/overflowing toilet smell first thing when we walked through the door. I stumbled briefly but quickly acclalmat. The place looked ok and we got a booth. Ordered the enchilada and Christine got the chile relleno. Great service and the food was good and cheap. Some people that showed up way after us ordered some beers and they left at the same time we did. We wondered if they couldn't take the septic ambience.
We wanted to find a Kmart to get a tarp and a camping burner. I'm so impressed with the google maps voice recognition. I said, "Kmart" into my phone and lo and behold it showed one up the road in St. George. We get there and get a tarp. Christine finished up while I went to Albertson's across the way to get our dinner stuff. We're going to cook salmon, tuna and fauxtatoes made with cauliflower. I get to the checkout and this lady and her 4 year old is buying 5 boxes of fruit loops. Then she has at least 100 coupons. The lady at the register next to me has the same situation. I'll be here forever. Then another register opens. Success!
We go through Hurricane , UT towards Zion on SR9.. The road is still under construction from the last time we were here but we're through it before long. We go through Rockville and Springdale and finally through the park. They're tearing up a large piece of the road through Zion and it's real treacherous. The bike and trailer is challenging enough as it is and I'm hyper paranoid about riding on gravel since our wreck last fall in CO.
The park is gorgeous and it's a great time of day. Around 5 or so. All the colors are so intense! We carry on toward Bryce and decide we'll stay at the Ruby Inn again. The hot tub is calling! We lost an hour coming into mountain time and by the time we get set up we only have 1/2 hour to swim. We set up camp quickly and we marinated in the tub till the guys come and kick us out at 10..
Set up our stuff, lit the fire and started cooking. The stars are just unreal! We play with the telescope for awhile. It's chilly here. Probably in the upper 40's. Tomorrow up to Moab.
Varmint Of The Day: Jackalope/Watership Down sized hare that ran in front of us around Orderville, UT on US 89. Turkey drum sized thighs got him across quickly considering he was 20 feet in front of us.
It was really tough sleeping last night because it was so cold. Couldn't have been much passed the upper 30's. Christine was frozen to the bone. I was able to sleep somewhat and we both woke up around 9. Chrisitine heard wild donkeys.
While Christine showered, I started packing. It's a beautiful day and when she returns I go and shower. The showers are very kick ass. A guy in one of the stalls lets out a solid, 3-4 second beef.
After Christine's thorough and highly organizd trailer packing, we decided to zip through Bryce Canyon real quick. We get to the gate and there are about 6 Harley/Superposer in full, freshly pressed biker costumes and a red mustang chase vehicle. They're having some very lengthy conversation with the ranger. So long in fact, he finally turns his green "I'm open" light off. I'm starting to get pissed and it seems obvious they're foreign tourists. After at least 10 minutes we get going again. The ranger apologizes for the wait and I ask him what was up. He said they're a bunch of Brits and they all bought season passes.
We stop at the 2nd overlook and park next to a very new looking Harley. We go check out the view and the Brits are ogling over this FDNY themed hog next to us. Then they noticed the picture of Ben in drag on the side of the trailer. It's funny watching them admire Americana. We leave wishing we would've gotten a picture of them staring at the trailer.
Got back on on hwy 12 towards Escalante. We stop at Tropic Ditch to check out a trail. There's a Harley dude in full costume sitting on his bike in the lot. His cover was solid until I said, "Hi. How ya doin?" He answered in a thick, eastern European accent, "Thanks. How are you?" Funny.
We continued on 12. It's a fantastic view and the weather is perfect. Around a curve, a hawk swoops towards us. He's was so close that I saw his ballsack.
Finally got to Escalante and stopped at Cowboy's Blues restaurant. Nice little roadside burger joint. The service was painful but when our hamburgers showed up they turned out to be great. I had the ultimate. As in Ultimate Heart Clogger. Burger topped with polish sausage. Christine had the vampire vaporizing garlic burger. It had at least half a small container of minced garlic. Karen, the waitress, is from Newport Beach and her and her husband retired to Escalante 5 years ago. They are riders and she recommended some good stops.
We carried to one great overlook after another and made horrible time. At one point, I climbed up a rock. The view was insane, however, when I got back down I couldn't find the keys. After not finding them and climbing up and down the rock, panic began to ensue. While I was thinking about how I would hotwire the bike, this lady found them behind the trailer. Whew! There's a hole in my jacket pocket.
Rode passed Devils Backbone. The road is getting pretty challenging and at one point you're riding a ridge with huge, no chance of survival should you drive off the edge on either side, shoulders. I'm genuinely scared to look and so is Christine.
We get passed boulder and back into Dixie National Forest. It's so high up and looking out you see what looks like a dry sea of color, low mesas and canyon. There's lots of ash type trees. A deer very casually walks across the road.
We arrive at Teasdale, UT and get gas. On my way in to get an energy drink, I hold the door open for this guy. He just walks right passed and through my space without a word. What a dick. They have a cool shirt that says, "I survived hwy 12." It certainly is one of the great rides!
We take a right on 24 and head through Capital Reef National Park. This is one of the coolest roads I've ever ridden through. Christine mentions that I say that about everywhere I go but this one really is hyper-spectacular! Low twisties with a stream running along side. Huge rock walls on both sides.
After passing through we haul ass towards Hanksville. The scenery is ever changing and I'm impressed with the diversity of the landscape we've seen in just 100 miles or so. We talk about how old everything is.
At Hanksville we stop so Christine can make a Legends call. It's a bust and we head towards I70 and Green River.
At Green River we stop and get gas. After filling up I move the rig down next to this station wagon with 2 chicks in it. The one girl asks, "Can I take a picture of your trailer?" I say, "I'm going to take a picture of you taking a picture of my trailer." People seem to like the Ben in drag photo. I think it's great.
I ask the clerk in the gas station if there's a Walmart and she says no. I ask if there's a Kmart or anything and she, very bitchily says, "No. There's nothing."
We jump on I70 towards Moab. We're going to try to camp in Arches. It's 27miles to the park and as we make a left into the park entrance there's a couple Harley guys in their costumes waiting to go left. The one guy ignores us totally and the other smile a very pedophile grin. We get to the gate. The campground is full.
We uturn and head to Moab. It's very touristy and painfully white. It's about 6:30pm and we decide we'll just get a hotel. Well, after driving the length of it all and checking at least 5 different places we discover they're all booked solid. The few that do have vacancy are way expensive. $89 for a Motel 6? No. Right as we're about to leave, this couple pulls up on a Goldwing pulling a trailer. I ask the guy how it's going. He says,"Fine, if we could ever find a place to stay." Christine mentions that there's camping down the road. The dude asks his wife if she wants to camp. She doesn't seem like she wants to.
We both leave at the same time and notice they drive passed the Slick Rock Campground. We pull in and find a spot. It's real commericial and everybody is on top of each other. It's our only option. We unhook and Christine sets up camp while I go into town for some chow.
We sit up and write this blog in the laundry room where there is power. Huge, fat cat that's been in a few good fights hangs around. Crickets that are as loud as Charo.
Varmints Of The Day: Hawk, Lots of cute prairie dogs, very casual deer. Could've been good eating.
Even though I had ear plugs and my sleep mask on there was no hope in sleeping past 7am or so. Like sleeping in a Fedex terminal. The campground is loaded with huge diesel trucks all pulling trailer fulls of dirt bikes, rock crawling jeeps and atv's of every variety. Compounding our sleep woes is the speed bump that is right in front of our tent, maybe 5 feet away. Everybody is eager to hit the trail and when we finally get up around 8:30 the place is abandoned.
The shower was decent and as we got close to packing up a guy wearing a BMW hat and pulling some dirt bikes came by to ask how we llike pulling the trailer. He said he met a guy pulling a trailer and the guy asked him if he would give him a ride in his truck to the PO with his trailer stuff to ship back home. He didn't like pulling it and said if he would do that he'd give him the trailer. He said he and his wife were wondering if they should start pulling it. I told him all about how we enjoy hauling everything we can think of.. He said he switched to the "darkside" and bought a Heritage Classic and used to ride a GS1200.
The guy at the Motel 6 who recommended Slick Rock Campground said it was $9 yet when we left to pay is was $26. Nice.
We got gas at the Chevron. Some Harley guy in his costume pulled up next to us and completely ignored me. Poor guy. He was this worn out looking guy with leather skin/melanoma candidate with faded green, made by his inbred, retarded cellmate with a filed down toothbrush handle tattoos that said "M#oudmf" I think. It was hard to tell. He also had some images of a sdkahsdhkj and a $#disds#fcnwor. Found a couple cool Moab stickers. "Draggin The Line" was playing inside the gas station. I commented that it's a cool song and the clerk, between breaks singing along said, "That's a GREAT song!"
We head towards Arches National Park. It's 10:30 or so and we're going to burn through some of it before Christine has her Legends conference call at 1:30. The road up into the park is nerve racking but really gorgeous. At the top there's a great view of the Moab Fault. We stop at the Courthouse Towers and take some pics. We drive about halfway through the park and on our way back we find a good spot to throw some Ben ashes. I toss some into the 25mph winds and they instantly meld into the scenery. Good Travels Ben!
There's lots of bikes and Rvs. It's neat to see the same scenery from the other side. As we start down the huge switchbacks out of the park the wind is getting more intense. We pull into the visitor center for some postcards. There's a bunch of bikes and several pulling trailers. I pull up to a guy and his wife on a Goldwing with a real nice, matching trailer. I say hello and he gives me a, I don't give a shit about you, "Hi." I'm sure he's dissapointed his big "motorcycle trip with wife that's losing interest in me to rekindle our relationship:" isn't working. We stop for a pic outside the visitor center. Inside, they have a great selection of postcards.
On our way out we see a guy and his wife on a Goldwing pulling a Bunkhouse camper. We talk about that for awhile. They're from Kentucky and on their way back. They had to skip Yellowstone because the weather was horrible. Hopefully it'll be better when we're there.
We jump on hwy 191 and start the 27 miles to I70 west towards Green River. We're going to stop there for lunch so Christine can make her Legends call. The wind is billowing NNE at 30mph. Riding is a real bitch. Especially with the big rigs coming the opposite direction.
We hit the interstate and the wind is absolute murder. Kicking the shit out of us from the left with gusts that have to be 50ish. There are several adrenaline filled moments when it seems like we're going to literally fly off the road. At times the bike is tracking with a very real 20 degree lean into the wind. This sucks.
We pull into Green River around 1pm and stop for lunch at the West Winds Restaurant. We're covered in grit from the billowing dust. I have mortar-like snot and Christine's spray sunblock has vulcanized her skin. There's a Goldwing trike pullling a trailer and a couple modern trike things with steering wheels. Christine wants one. We go in and order the salad bar and soup. It's chicken rice and is decent with a slight hay flavor.. Our waitress, Donna, has a son who's a driller. Her husband was a driller too. There's lots of them around here and the guy in front of us is a truck driver from E. Texas. He and Donna chat awhile about drillers, welding and horses. We all talk about water buffalo for a sec. Donna tells a story about how 6 escaped from this guys ranch over and over. Finally he told the locals to just go ahead shoot them. Just make sure you eat them. The trucker gets up and say's in a drawl, "I'm going to go take a siesta." Donna replies, "Have a good dream." He chuckles.
Christine returns from her conference call and we split. On our way out of Green River we stop at the PO to drop off some postcards. It's still really windy. We get on I70 for a few miles. We see a couple Goldwingers on the side of the road waiting it out and an RV on the other side doing the same.We get on 191 towards Price. For awhile we have the tailwind (giggity) for quite a ways but then it changes. About 5 miles outside of Wellington it's so windy I hit the hazards and drive on the shoulder. It's genuinely scary. The trucks and tourists fly by. There's wicked lightning happening to the west.
We stop in Wellington for gas. There's a couple bikers and one couple is on an older Goldwing pulling a cargo carrier/homemade trailer. They wave. All the riders seem to be aware of the collective challenge. Christine gets a bag of ice. After she restocks the cooler, the ice bag gets sucked out of trash can and gets wisked away in the wind. I can't believe how fast it floats away. Like a little UFO, it's vanishes instantly.
We're heading into Price and trying to find 191 North. The shitty GPS routes us all over the place and I'm getting really pissed. Finally, we get to the 191N. Of course, the GPS routed us 1/4 mile passed 191 near the Carbon Power Plant. I try to stage a picture but the camera batteries are dead. I put new ones in a run across the very busy 4 lane hwy. I'm on the other side and forgot the visegrips to clamp the camera to the sign post. Christine flings them across the road. I set it up and the "new" batteries are dead. They were leftovers from the wedding. No picture.
We turn around and make the left onto hwy 191 passed the Carbon Power Plant. This is a pretty canyon road and we drive passed the Castle Gate Cemetery. Seems a strange place for a cemetary. The road meanders for a long time through very pretty canyon towards the Uinta National Forest. There's a stream running along and we talk about how cool it would be to camp there. It's getting colder as we go. Eventually we hit the summit and 9130 ft. The weather is looking mega gloomy and we put on some more clothes and take some pics.
Passed the summit, we enter the Ashley National Forest. We get down the mountain and the road weaves between the mountains. It's so quiet and ethereal with hardly any wind. Christine comments how it's the perfect place for a banished kingdom. You can so envision a castle built into the mountain side.
Lightning is kicking to the west and several huge, rogue raindrops fall. Each one is like a shotglass full. One drop hits my crotch and it feels like my entire groin is soaked. We get passed the canyonesque part of the road and it turns north. All of a sudden the shitty wind starts pounding us again. We're getting close to the town of Duchesne and I make several Kenny Duchesne jokes. Christine groans.
From Duchesne to Roosevelt the weather is really sucking. Windy as hell and here and there rain. We're back to pitching the bike into the wind. The lightining is really intense. Huge, reduce you to ashes, bolts. A "Central Utah Chapter" Harley guy runs along with us awhile.
Finally we get to Vernal and start looking for a hotel. We settle on the Econolodge on the north edge of town. There's several sport tourer (BMW, ST) guys from Alberta staying here. It's a pretty shitty day to be riding. There's a bunch of oil drilling guys here too. The lot is full of trucks that are covered in mud.
We walk down to the 711. On the way, we see this big tanker truck with the passenger sticking this hose thing out the window. Turn out this is a city crew going along watering the 10 zillion flower pots that line the main road. Somebody has a budget surplus! We joke about how this must be the only town in the country with such frivolty still being funded. At the 711, there's some videogames for sale. One is called "Eat Lead." It reminds me of the ridiculously over exaggerated pictures Ben would laugh about on his GI Joe stuff.
After dicking with the wifi forever, i finally go up to the front desk. Shem, the manager, explains that there's 4 routers throughout the property and is very concerned that their wifi works properly. He comes down to the room to troubleshoot Christine's laptop. The storm seems to have passed. It's nice to watch some cable TV.
Critter Of The Day: Some very fast, field mouse looking thing along the canyon section of 191.
"The Joy Is In The Journey"
Slept great at the Econolodge "Downtown." Everybody split really early and I didn't hear any of them. A refreshing change,especially for a shitholish type of hotel. It was the cleaning lady vacuuming that actually woke me up.
Called for a late checkout and got out around 10:30. We were both on the verge of death from hunger. I had to strap Christine to the bike with ratchet straps. She was so weak. Stopped at the first place we saw: the 711 Ranch Restaurant.
Parked on the street way next to the curb because of the road angle. The bike, suspension jacked to the hilt, wouldn't lean nicely on the sidestand otherwise. Strolled down the Americanaesque sidewalk like newlyweds to the cafe. We walked in and waited briefly. The place was maybe half full. There was a tree throught the floor and elk head on the wall. The long, braided waitress took our order. They don't do breakfast and every lunch and dinner item is fried fish or fried meat. Christine got the BCT (Bacon, cheese, tomato with hearty veggie soup) and I got the chicken cordon bleu. Her muscular soup showed up first and shortly before the point of frusteration, the main course. The place is getting really crowded. Everybody is very fat and white. Lots of drilling guys. Some huge fat, older manager types and grungy, thin because they're young types. The crowd and ambience really illustrated the demographic. My cordon bleu was so not what I was expecting. I only ordered it because it looked like the lightest, but still filling, item on the lunch menu. In reality, it was a bun with a small frisbee sized, deep fried, chicken tender, ham and mayo (or something). Nothing like an atom bomb meal first thing in the morning. Christine's was equally ton like. Yes, we'd get a better success rate at the chains but, while often shitty, there's no rival to the charcter of the mom and pops. The place is completely full now and we wait forever for the check. Finally, the braid chick comes with the check and we get the hell out.
Headed out to the Kmart on the west side of town. This shithead cuts us off from the left lane and pulls into a store on the right. I'm dumbfounded on how someone could be so prickish.Walking into the Kmart, there are some young, 10-12ish girls goofing off on the kiddie rides. One girl says to the other something like, "No shit dumbass!" Christine says she never talked like that when she was that age. Did I? she asks. "Fuck yea, " I reply. Inside we shop for a hefty, lowtemp sleeping bag and a small burner. The few people that are there all have ill behaved young kids. When we check out, there's a lady with 4 boys and they're all buying stuff with 3lbs of change. Her and the clerk look like a couple 8 year olds counting 10 stacks of coins. In my head I'm bitching. Turns out it was all the different kids savings. It was kinda cute afterall.
Went to the local Harley/Honda/Everyotherbrand bike shop to find a chinstrap clasp for Christine's dark helmet. There are Harley costumeers all over. This fat, incompetent parts kid points us to the ratchet straps. Idiot. We leave. One costumeer is pulling an interesting, homemade, cargo carrier trailer.
At the post office, this older lady comes up and tells us there's a nice park nearby. I guess she thinks we here to see Vernal. NOT! She tells us about how the wind last night blew down a tree! Also, it's her and her husbands 18th Anniversary! The lady at the PO says have a nice ride when I leave.
191N out of Vernal goes past the Steinaker Resevoir and then up a great set of switchback into the Ashley National Forest. It's a gorgeous day and the overlooks are incredible. Eventually we head on down towards the Flaming Gorge National Recreatin Area. We stop at the dam and buy some postcards. The rest of the ride towards Green River, WY is filled with fantastic overllooks. The last 25 miles on 191N towards I80 starts to get really windy and chilly.We stop in Green River for gas.
After eating yesterdays 711 sandwich and watching a bird eat a piece of red licorice (which made me want to go get some), we head north on 191. The wind is getting huge from the left and it's cold. Christine has 5 layers and I have my shitty riding jacket over a flannel. We're heading for Jackson.
After about 60, ass kicking cold miles, I'm starting to think, "fuck this." I don't need to ask Christine as I'm jury sure she's thinking the same. It's really getting cold and the wind is slaughtering our mileage. The passing big rigs and their aftershock like wakes compound the trauma. I'm ready to skip Yellowstone, Beartooth and the other MT shit and head west. Christine obliges most readily. I feel totally defeated. Especially considering we were trying to get to the same exact place last year.
We get to Boulder, pop. 75 and get gas at the Phillips. It pretty much comprises the whole town. 12 miles later and frozen like a cooly pop, we pull into Pinedale, WY. We check every hotel. They all suck and we splurge at the elevatorless Best Western. Have a nice conversation with my mom, bring her up to speed and I walk down the road to get some beer at the liquor store. The clerk lady is listening to "Oh Mickey You're so Fine." I mention that I used to skate to that. She laughs and mentions she only listens to 80's and 90's music. On the walk back, the sunset is pretty. Twilight lasts till almost 10pm.
Very frusterating 2nd half of the ride today but aside from the physical suckiness, it was beautiful.
Nonhumans Of The Day: Deer, wild horses, prairie dog being chased by bird, bird eating licorice and tons more deer. Maybe 40. Lost count in WY.
Slept great on the king size, fluffy bed. Got up around 9 and hung out in the pool. There's a super chiseled, marine guy in the hot tub. The hot tub and pool are perfectly maintained.
Got packed up and rolled out around 11. Small coolent leak from the radiator drain. Fortunately, it only weeps when it gets cold, which it was last night.
We both wanted breakfast so we pulled up to the Wrangler Cafe across the street. Christine walks in with her helmet and pink sunglasses on. Apparently, everything stopped for a sec when she walked in and asked if they were still serving breakfast. "Nooooooooo", the lady replied in a long, drawn out, what planet are you from response. We head out on 191N and are instantly in no mans land, on the prowl for a diner.
The scenery really starts to pick up when we enter the Bridger-Teton National Forest and it's a perfect day to ride. Maybe 70 degrees and crystal clear with no breeze. We see a lot of deer.
South of Bondurant we stop at this cafe. They're not serving breakfast. I'm impressed with all the dandelions everywhere. This part of Wyoming kinda reminds me of WI but bigger. Very green, lots of cows and rolling mountains.
Passed Bondurant (where I make several "Ba Ba Ba. Ba Bondurant" jokes. Christine groans), traffic stops for road construction. We're sitting there for awhile and I finally crank up the cb and ask. There's a "scoop " (back hoe) parked in the middle. One guy speculates that maybe it's broke down. Turns out the driver was AWOL. We finally start moving and then the road turns to muddy gravel. It lasts only a couple miles and we're moving again.
We're riding along the Hoback River. We make several "I need my Ho back" jokes. It's a scene right out of a picture book; the river flowing right at the base of the mountain, huge, lush pines everywhere with a giant, blue sky. We stop at a turn out to throw some ashes into the river. I walk down one of the well worn paths towards the river and literally lose my breath for a second as I'm enveloped in piss smell. I'm thinking I wish it was from some huge, bullmoose but I'm certain it's human. In reality, it's a perfect roadside piss place.
I wallk down the steep embankment and toss some ashes in the river. It's very fast at this point and quite chilly. We get back on the road and wave goodbye to Ben flowing down the Hoback.
We talk a left on 26 at Hoback Jct. No restaurants here either. Where does everyone eat around here? The ride towards Aspen Jct. is just jawdropping. Big sweepers right along the Snake River. I think about Evel Knevel's botched rocket jump. Christine spots some baby moose.
In Aspen, we stop at the Nordic Inn. 3 ladies are sitting outside eating. I ask if they're open. "Yes", she replies. We take off all our gear and this server comes out and tells us they're closed. They tell us, "I think there' s a bakery that might have some sandwiches in town."
We drive not even I mile to the Chevron on the corner. There's a huge craft festival going on and a charming little restaurant called "Bello's Italian Grille." We walk in and are the only ones there.
This older hippie lady walks in and after awhile we start talking. She tells us how she's a bartender at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson, WY. We talk about the weather and she says it's supposed to be nice all weekend. She commutes 100 miles a day between Jackson and somewhere south of Aspen. She's been doing that for 9 years. Her name is Julie.
Christine ordered the steak paninni and I got the portabello. Christine's came with a cream of tomato/basil soup and mine had sweet potato fries with rosemary salt. I kinda wished we hadn't talked to Julie so much because I didn't get to enjoy the meal as much. She sold us on going to Jackson and Yellowstone. We're going.
We go into the park and stroll through the craft fair. It's another perfect, American summer day. We go on the swings and seesaw. I can't remember the last time i was on a seesaw! After awhile we saddle up and head back towards Jackson.
It's nice to see this section of 26 again but the other direction. There's a bunch of white water rafters. Reminds me of when we all went on the Green River back in the day. When I thought we were skipping Jackson I kept singing Johnny Cash' "I'm NOT going to Jackson." Now I'm singing, "We're going to Jackson." Christine groans.
We pull into town and it's very touristy. Looks charming and old westy and it's nice to be arriving at our destiniation so early. We decide we're going to get a hotel and spend the evening walking around.
We pull into the Rawhide Motel. There's a guy checking in at the same time on a maroon goldwing. His name is Sam and his wife is Kimberly. They're from Columbia, TN. We talk bike and TN stuff for awhile. He and Kimberly rode from Cody, WY yesterday and up the Beartooth Hwy. He said it was miserable. 80mph winds and at the top in was 0 degrees. Some rangers were up top and said they had to turn around because the road was iced and drifted over. He said when they got back to their hotel in Cody, the wind was so strong it knocked the bike over. I'm so glad we didn't even try to do it yesterday! He asks how I like pulling the trailer. Says he wants to get one.
After getting settled, we walk into town. There's some really great shops. At one fossil shop we admire these incredible pieces. One wall sized "fish" fossil is priced at $275,000! Pretty amazing. We pop into the Cowboy Bar. It's cute with saddles for barstools. We head back to the hotel to retool. I call my mom.
On our way to the Fire Festival we see the sheriff and 2 deputies on horses. They're very nice and stop for a picture. They must have to leave really early because we see them stopping for a lot of people on the way.
The Fire Festival is in the town square. There's these giant wood casks placed around the townsquare. I still haven't read what it's all about but there's a real Asian theme to it. All the food is Asian. Christine gets some chicken yakasoba. The only beers are microbrews and sake. They're pretty cheap too at $4 for a 16oz pour. Christine doesn't like the microbrews and I ask if they have anything like Miller Light. The 3 girls working all laugh. Christine is a little dissapointed and she chokes down some sake.
We walk around and people watch. It's very hippy and there are bicycles everywhere. Must be at least 3 thousand people or so. Christine comments how cool it is that almost none of the women have any makeup on. It's a cool scene but a little white heavy for me. I'm enjoying watching these kids riding unicycles in front of the stage. I see one kid who can't be more than 8 doing some great tricks. We start to play the "find a black dude" game. At the end of the night it was 3 1/2. One guy being not really black we determined .
This koto drum band starts playing on the stage. A hippie guy pulls up next to us with a Pabst Blue Ribbon. I ask him where he got it. "My fridge," he says.
We head over to the cowboy bar. $5 cover with some country band playing. No. We then go to a tavern across the way. They have $10 cover to see some Johnnny Cash impersonator called "Cashed Out." The guy says there's no regular bars around without a cover on a Fri. We finally walk to the Snake River Brewery. I can't believe how many bicycles are parked outside. Must be over a hundred. There's nothing on tap that Christine would like so we head back to the room.
We get back and chat with our biker neighbors. They're all hanging outside. I ask this guy, Jackie about his trailer. It's very similar to ours. He too, did the Beartooth Hwy a day or two prior and said it was misery. I'm really glad we didn't try it. He and his wife are going to Bryce and I tell him about hwy 12 and how gorgeous it is. He's eager to ride it.
Jackie comes to look at our trailer and he's impressed by how much room it has. We talk about the tires wearing unevenly and he suggests the tire pressure. I had no idea these little trailer tires were supposed to be inflated to 60psi! They're only at about 40 and the wear pattern is classic underinflation. Hadn't seen that in awhile. I'm eager to use the built in compressor in our little power pack. We talk about how my mom smashed into it and how it never came unhooked. I show him the crack that we fixed. I point to the picture of Ben. "That's my brother," I said, not thinking about him looking like a drag queen. Jackie almost instantly said, " Nice talking to you." and left. Christine and I would laugh about that a lot.
Spent the rest of the night sitting outside listening to this guy from Phoenix talk to Jackie about everything from politics to fishing. He was one of those guys who just talks storylike. Great day today!
Critters Of The Day: Moose, tons of deer, 1 prairie dog and 1 small bird that just missed a windshield sandwich.
Slept great at the Rawhide Motel. Got up around 9. While packing, the maintenence guy, Bill (originally from Pittsburg) asked where we were from in NV. I told him Las Vegas. He started talking about how he live there in 97'. Kind of reminded me of our friend Paul back in Myrtle Beach. Bill used to live there too for 5 years back in 2003. His game is video poker and he tells me to look for the power surges in the casinos. When that happens the slot machines will start to hit. He says he's researched it and it's true. Funny it doesn't quite explain why he's still living in his late 60's single wide working as a maintenence man. He tells me how winter time is the big time in Jackson and that the cost of living is real high. Mostly rich people living there.
It's a gorgeous day. Low 70's with huge, puffy clouds.
We ask Dinah, the hotel manager, about a breakfast place and she sends us down the road to The Virginian. It's a country type of place and it's pretty crowded when we walk in. We get a nice spot in the corner and instantly the service is pretty slow. I look around and notice the place has cleared out really quick. I ordered "KC's Omellette" and Christine got "The Ranch." Eggs, ham veggie mishmash. The waitress forgot my coke until the food came and Christine's toast was wrong (white versus wheat). The food was very hearty though. Giant chunks of veggies and ham. Just what we'd been looking for for the last couple days. As we're leaving, our biker neighbors Sam and Kimberly pull up. They ask how the place is and we tell them it's reallly good. Kimberly, who has lots of makeup and cleavage almost to her waist, says she's a vegetarian and that it's been real hard on this trip. We talk about how it's such a meatfest out west and I share the cordon bleu story from Vernal. They laugh.
We go through town and take the left turn onto 191 towards Grand Teton. We see a couple of the zillion dollar log cabins Bill, the maintenence man told me about. We come around a bend and there and the Grand Tetons are right there!. We keep going, trying to find the perfect turnout for a picture and after a few miles we find the perfect one: Glacier View.
We walk to the info area and ask a nice Indian couple (dots) to take our picture. We're sitting there trying to fathom what we're looking at. I'm thinking about the few hikes I've done and am trying to imagine climbing what I'm looking at. Right then this young guy standing next to us comments that his friend and 2 others is up there right now. It's a 3 day hike to the summit and one of the most arduous in the world. We're looking through the binoculars, as if we could ever see anybody. We have a great time talking to Kevin, who's really knowledgable about hiking and the whole area. Great to meet you man!
We get to the gate at Grand Teton National Park. The road through the park is slow and twisty with dense trees lining both sides. We stop at Colter Bay for gas. Christine and I make a guess as to how much it'll be. I say $4.25/gal and she says $3.75. Suprisingly, even though we're in a national park, it's $2.99 which is the going rate.
When I return from the bathroom there's a bumblebee attached to my jacket sleeve. Christine is somewhat startled but then we realize his wings are broke. It's sad the way he's clinging on. I try to blow him off but he won't budge. I grab a stick and put him on a tree branch.
Somehow I thought we were in Yellowstone. I've noticed with the park pass I don't even read the signs. We stop for a pic at the very awe inspiring Jackson Lake. Absolute boaters paradise!
At the top of the park we make a left into the south entrance at Yellowstone. I say hello to the swedish, bespecaled looking girl. She asks how we're doing. "Great!" I tell her. "We you should. You're at Yellowstone!" she replies. I don't know why but I find it just a little too smart-assish. Normally, I would really like that.
The roads are curvy and lots of up and down. I'm really suprised by how decimated this part of the park is from the fires. I'm trying to imagine it all. We joke about how it should be called "Yellowstick" because that's all you see is the dead trees sticking out of the ground. We stop at an overlook next to the Snake River and I walk out to the edge of a rock and toss some ashes. The whole place looks like it's been clear cut. Christine demands me to come back. It's a doozy of a fall.
We meander on for many more miles to Yellowstone Lodge and Old Faithful. We see a couple Kawasaki Voyagers, an 86' and a 95'. We chit chat for awhile and the guy is really interested in our Venture. They're from Bozeman which is 160 miles from here. The guy on the blue bike doesn't feel good and they don't think they're going to make back in one day.
We go into what I thought was the lodge and get some postcards. It's about 4:40pm and Old Faithful is set to blow at 5:15. We head on out to the viewing area.
The seats are starting to fill up and we're waiting. 5:15 comes and goes and everyone is getting antsy. We hear this kid a few rows back:
"In case you haven't noticed, this is very boring for us." We laugh.
Park ranger comes and tells me I have to be on the boardwalk (I was on the edge).
Old Faithful finally blows. The crowd oohs and aahs and, even though it's still going, the crowd can tell he's peaked and starts leaving. We head over to the lodge.
The lodge is packed with tons of people. I drop off a couple postcards and we head to the store to get some food for camping. We get chicken thighs and some potatoes. We get on the road heading north and hoping we'll miss the storm.
We fall in with a large group of riders and the ride up to Madison is gorgeous. Fly fisherman all dot the river. We make our left into Madison Campground and it's full. Christine goes over to the park ranger to ask about others. Every campground in the park is full. We head towards the west exit.
After about 7 miles it's starting to rain. We see the large group of riders we were with earlier pulled over putting their rain gear on. It's not too bad just yet. We're more concerned with the new, 15 degree sleeping bag strapped to the top of the trailer. We go a few more miles. Now it's getting bad. We pull over and unstrap everything, get our raingear out and repack the sleeping bag. The big group rides passed and all honk.
Of course, as soon as we get the gear on it clears up. We get to West Yellowstone, MT and get gas. It's a very touristy old west looking place. We debate staying here. There's some forest camping around here somewhere, we learned from the ranger. We stop by a local rec area but it says "no camping." We could totally camp here but skip it and head out on hwy 20.
Next thing we're in ID. See a couple campgrounds but they're all full! I'm starting to get pissed. Eventually come to Henry Lake State Park. I had actually thought we'd camp here. No suprise, it's RV "camping" only. We drive in to check it out. It would've sucked anyway. No trees whatsoever. Right on the lake which is pretty but it's geared towards boaters/fishing.
We keep going passing little campgrounds here and there. They're all full. Now it's starting to get dark and the next thing we know we're out of the mountains and it looks like Wisconsin again! What the hell?
We ride on and on looking for somewhere to stay. We pass a guys farm and he has a "come on in and get ass raped" looking sign that says, "Dry camping $5." Yeah right.
The sunset is pretty and a real neat thing we see is the Tetons way off in the distance. There's no mistaking them. Almost hard to believe we're no on the other side!
We stop in Rexburg to try to stay at the Motel 8. We wander around a little. Could be cool. When we pull in, it turns out their booked. The guy says every hotel in town is booked. We head towards Idaho Falls.
It's night now and I'm very impressed with the HID headlight I installed. It really lights up the road and the signs totally pop!
We get to the featurless Motel 6. Check in and walk to the road looking for some grub. Everything is closed except the McDonald's attached to a gas station. I go in to the gas station and Christine goes to the McD's. I buy some postcards and beef jerky. The mullet laden, big boned clerk lady says, "You're not from Idaho are you?" No, I say.
There's a bunch 10-11 year old boys with a couple moms. One kid almost walks right into me and very politely says, "excuse me." I'm impressed with his manners but then suprised. It's a Ben sighting! He's got braces, glasses and these long, lanky features. It was a nice thing especially when the night totally didn't end up the way I wanted it to.
Got a couple burgers and headed back to the hotel. Laid out.
Animals Of The Day: Deer, buffalo, bee, chipmunk, 5+ Skunk (stiffed),coyote,mormons.
Alarm sounded around 9. Kind of a loud hotel. Door closings were huge and vault like. Voices carry really clearly.Got out around 11am.Walked down the drive to Obrady's Family Resaurant.
Obrady's is an old school, diner type. Everybody's local. Walk in and the hostess just looks at me. She say's sit where we want. Our waitress shows up. She's about 55. Well worn, thin, sunken eyes and bark like teeth. Thousands of shades from even grey. Service is good. Christine requests her western omellette be scambled up with the hash browns. The waitress pauses, looks at her insanely and says maybe. She'll come back and tell her if no. Dumbfoundedly, we wonder what the big deal is. Tip throttle narrowing. The crowd is interesting. Everybody is huge, farmer types. One guy has this classic, cartoon like underbite. His chum has a huge, 3X Sam Elliot mustache. Food shows up and is huge! Christine's scramble is enough for 3. My "Mountaineer" omellette ("locals favorite" with biscuits and gray, is at least 3 servings. It's hugely filling and we box at least 1lb of food. Service was really on.
Perfectly friendly hotel lady after dropping off some postcards in the outbox.
Filled up at Stinky's where we got the burgers and things from the night before. Saw a decent 73-74 mustang. Mediocre black paint and side pipes. Sounded strong. At least a 351.
It's a nice day. No jacket and sunny. Long, drawn out interstate. We see a sign for the Idaho Potato Museum. We jump off Blackfoot and head through town. Get to the museum and it's closed. Looks pretty cool too. Take some pics. Guy on the way out has huge, color changing RV.
Stop for gas in Rupert, ID. 4 16ish girls outside sitting at a table. They see the trailer and 1 girl takes a picture. We get some postcards. Huge hay truck. Couple guys in huge, diesel truck w/2 dirt bikes and huge 5th wheel.
Get back on the highway and it's 2 lanes, seperated by secured pylons. This guy in a white sedan crossed the center line about 100 feet in front of us. Took out one of the dividers and scared the shit out me so bad. He almost immediately corrected. My gut actually folded over. Didn't help that I'd had 3 diet cokes, 2 cups of coffee and an energy drink.
About 20 miles down the road the winds start kicking. Scenery is picking up. Getting back into the mountains and canyons.
Stop at Mountain Home, ID. Pilot is packed. Some outdoorsy guy is sitting by his Suburu Legacy which is pumpside. He's not doing anything and I pull up right on his bumper. I ask him if he's done. He asks me if he should move. I tell him if he knows what's good for him, I might spare him his life. He obliges readily. I find a dime on the ground.
I fill up and as I pull away to park for a sec, Christine's helmet blows off the cooler. The wind is howling! I pulll into a trailer spot. I go into the store and in the guys restroom there's these 2 10-12 year old guys in shorts with long hair peeing in the urinals. I think for a sec maybe I walked into the wrong restroom. Then I remember the urinals. Weird..
Later, this older douchebottle parks right in front of me, disenabling me from pulling out directly. Not a big deal really but rude when there's gajillions of equally close to the store parking spaces. We pull out between them and another car. Christine pulls out her pink .38 and shoots his tires. The mans wife freaks out and poops her pants.
Mega headwind going down I84. Running around 60. Speed limit is 75 but I'm impressed that nobody is going over 70-75. I've actually noticed that this whole trip. It's interesting that if you pretty much take the limits off of speed (speed limit 75= 80-85 realistically), everyone kind of settles in. We're not going to gain anything and the mileage tapers off really fast in a strong headwind.
Make a wrong turn in Caldwell on 20/26. Trying to get to Ontario. Major, bitching looking storm coming up on us. Turn around back towards I84W. Get off at Ontario State Rec area looking for Owyee State park or something. Never find it. Get back on I84. Get off at Farewell Bend SP. Get some brew at the gas station.
Farewell Bend is nice but a little too pruned. We take a pass through and decide we're not crazy about it. Almost plow this kid on his bike over. He's riding down the middle of the road.
We head back and get on this road that might lead to where Christine saw these tents on the river. It's gravel and we go for about 1/2 mile and turn around. We get on I84 up towards Baker City.
The mountainns in OR are really different. Modest, treeless and perfectly green. They look like a scrunched up blanket. I84 follows train tracks and the Burnt River. We see a lot of cool scenery. We pass an abandoned mining factory (or something). It would be great to squat there.
There's lots of construction on I84 and the lines are constantly going down to 1. Very curvy. Maybe one of the coolest interstates I've ever been on. The sky is getting really dark and ominous We're running up into another storm.
Now it's cold, dark and super gloomy. We talk about how it looks like it should be pouring. I'm very suprised we're still dry. About 7 miles from Baker City, 4 Harley riders come blasting past. They're all newer bikes and all the guys have the full compliment of authentic, Harley garb. They wave. The roads are wet at this point and it looks like the sky could open up anytime.
Pull into the Oregon Trail Motel. Nice, yesteryear type, mom&pop place. They have ferrets, a turtle and iguanna in the lobby. Looks like the lady's kids did the decorating. Had to hotwire the space heater.
Critters Of The Day: Horses, stockyards of milk cows, various roadkill (skunk, possum, racoon, cat, etc).
The Oregon Trail Motel was pretty quiet until about 8 when Les Shwabs Tire Service across the street cranked up. Impact wrenches and air compressors aplenty. Got up and decided to go running. It was overcast and cool but you could see it was clearer to the west. You can really sense the history in Baker City. All the buildings are really old. Feels like the place has been here forever. I'm doing sprints today and I'm impressed how fast I cover 2 blocks. There's some guys with a ladder doing something out side their storefront. They kind of look at me weird when I come running down the sidewalk as fast as I can. It's fun.
I walk the last mile or so through the neighborhoods. It's so green here and everything smells great. Seems there's different things growing at every house.
Get back to the hotel and try to open the pool gate with my room key. The very nice lady say, "The pool's closed hon." I groan a little and she says she'll open it. It's locked because the pump "blew out." Not heated but it's not too cold. I do a few laps. It's an old school, 8 foot deep end. The motel owner, who is very accomodating, says,"if you were really smart you'd go down to the corner there and turn on the sauna." Nice.
Put the smelling salts under Christine's nose and we get packed up and out around 11. We head over to the adjacent Oregon Trail Cafe and order our complimentary breakfast. It's the classic American diner. I ordered the biscuits and gravy and Christine got the eggs, sausage and hashbrowns with toast. We're both very impressed how big the food is. The waitress is like a bee. She refills our drinks probably 6 tiimes. Some working guys walk in. The one guy tracks in mud and they sit in the corner. Looks like they come here all the time.
On our way out we stop to get gas at the Chevron. There's a kid at the pump who swipes the card and hands me the nozzle. OR has that same retarded, "attendent must pump gas" law the NJ does. For bikes though, they hand you the pump. I ask the guy what's up with that. He says it OR's way of creating jobs. I ask him if I'm supposed to tip him. He says no but we give him $1 for the directions to the Oregon Trail Museum.
We drive through town towards the museum. I show Christine where all I ran. There it is on the corner. Big building that just says "MUSEUM." We go in and pay $6 apiece.
We're looking around at a lot of neat Baker City stuff when we realize this is the Baker City Heritage Museum. Huh? It used to be a natatorium (indoor swimming pool) until 1942 or so when they converted for the war effort. There's a lot of very interesting things and some great pictures of Baker City and some other neighboring towns that are now gone. The ballroom upstairs is completely intact and filled with era furniture. There's a couple ladies with 3 boys, maybe 9-10 years old. They're running all over the place taking pictures of everything. While they're mildly annoying, we both comment how it's cool that they're so excited about a museum. We get some postcards in the gift shop.
We head out on hwy 7 towards Sumpter. It's still overcast but you can see it's getting nicer. It's good riding temperature. Maybe 70 or so.
The ride through the Umatilla National Forest is beautiful. Pines, curves and ups and downs everywhere. We're on the lookout of critters.
Passed Bates, at the junction for 26, we stop at this lone cafe. They have a sign outside that says "Huckleberry Ice Cream." We've been wondering about Huckleberrys for awhile. Inside, it's a cute, old west type restaurant with bar and gift shop on the other side. We get the ice cream in a wafflecone and a 3+ foot slim jim. There's a BMW guy with his wife/girlfriend talking with a bicyclist. The bicyclist is very talkative.
The BMW guy is riding a f650 and is packed to the hilt. They're from Vancouver. He says it seems a bit much, 2 up fully laden on a 650 but the bike hauls them just fine. I'm very impressed. They take off and we finish the cone. A couple SSG's walk out. There's a lone gas pump.
Passed Prairie City and catch up with the BMW guy. They stopped for coffee in Prairie City he tells us at a construction stop. The guy holding the stop sign reminds me of Ben (if he had wicked gross teeth and smoked). W
We stop at an overlook near the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Area. Strawberry Mt looks like it goes straight to the sky. Looks even bigger than the Tetons even though it's only 9k feet.
Pass through John Day where I make a million jokes about how it's my day.
Go through Dayville. See a couple bikes at the only gas station. Very tiny town.
Go through the Battle Snake Gorge. There's a river Not sure if it's the John Day River. Nice place to throw some ashes. It's very scenic.
We're rolling along and suddenly I notice we're getting low on gas. I don't want to run out like last fall. Especially out here. We keep going and going. I'm expecting to see a town somewhere. We're down to 1 fuel bar. There's a long, downhill approach into Mitchell. I hold the clutch in and we glide for several miles.
Roll into Mitchell. It's a very small, old westy, mountain town. Maybe pop. 100. There's a couple unmanned gas pumps with 3 huge tanks sitting behind. It looks very deliverance like. We try to figure out how this works. Christine goes into the convenience store to inquire. The lady says it's $4/gallon and she'll have to call the guy to come over and turn the pump on. I actually saw him outside earlier carrying a guitar.
He finally walks over to the pump. He's this bubba looking dude with thick glasses, overalls, 10 thousand year old Caterpillar hat and rotten, chiclet teeth. He tells me it's $5/gallon. I know I'm getting raped and just give him $15 for 3 measley gallons. We head out and talk about the fisting we just recieved.
We get to Prineville and get some real gas at the Shell. Christine walks over to the Rite Aid. Inside, I ask this lady how the Prineville Res. Rec Area is. She says to go to Jasper Point. It's totally awesome and that she goes there all the time. I walk out and who should I see standing right in front of me filling up his truck with biggest, shit eating grin: the bubba dude from Mitchell.
He must've felt guilty. I didn't say a word and he says, "Gotta get gas somewhere. I'm headed in the other direction." He goes in and buys 2 packs of Marlboro Reds. I'm sure with my $15 dollars too.
We head down to Jasper Point. It's a totally awesome view and very windy road. Set up and site 19. I go and get 2 huge bundles of wood from the camp host. He's a nice guy and when I return his wheelbarrow he hand me my $1 change and says,"Ther you go young man. You have a nice time. Don't burn the place down."
We stoke a nice fire and grill chicken and potatoes. It's a perfect night. .
Critters Of The Day: Horses, cows, dead racoons.
These finch sounding birds starting going ape shit around 0630. Then the kids started playing in the lake. I faded in and out. It was good rest. Got up around 8 and washed our dirtys in the tub. Tried to do a taught line with 100' of rope for the clothes line. Ended up doing the old super granny. Sun is kicking yet it's cool. Mid-upper 60's.
Heat up the leftovers from Obrady's 2 days ago on the burner. It's even better now! Christine subtley reanimates around 10. I'm doing some typing and these chipmunks are running all over. They're very domesticated and cute. I go take a shower around 11:30.
While Christine's shower was luke warm, mine, on the right, was piping hot. The 10 person sized shower was completely full of steam when i left.
Rolled out around 12:45. Got a bag of ice from the camp host while Christine recycled/seperated our trash. The camphost lady is "envious" of me because we're riding. She has a huge nose. bout the size of a raquetball. Length AND width. She's from S. CA and used to ride a lot.2400 miles/month to/from work.She's at least in her 60's now. Said she always wished she would've taken a road trip. I tell her how awesome it is. She say's "Have a great time" and we split.
Make a wrong turn out of the park and end up right along side the lake. It's a boaters paradise. Do a uturn and meaner back up the super tight, 10mph curves back to Prineville.
Ride out on 26 towards Redmond. Typical, all American town with a big banner spanning the street advertising a rodeo this weekend. Take a left on 97 towards Bend.
The road to Bend is pretty dull. Relatively flat and straight. Pull into Bend and decide to drive through town. It's got a real modern feel and there's a lot of sidewalk cafes filled with cool, white people. One chick has fire red hair. Lot of really neat, old houses. We talk about how if we lived here we would buy an old fixer upper. Get gas at the shell where the pump attendent checks on me several times. Christine gets a life water a diet Dr. Pepper.
The ride out of Bend is uneventful. Straight, mild hills. Looks like lots of logging going on around here. Pull into Chemult for gas a sandwich.
This huge attendent comes over and explains the pump to me. I ask him how far Crescent City, CA is. He gets on his radio and asks his co-workers. No one responds. He tells us how to get to Crater Lake.
Christine walks over to the cafe next door with the open sign on. Of course, they're closed.
An older guy on a Honda Shadow walks over and says he used to have 3 Ventures. A 84',87' and a 90'. He and his wife did over 130k on them. He says when she turned 65 she didn't want to ride anymore. Now his sons ride Ventures. He's coming back from a trip with his friend from N. CA. He tells us to take 89 to 49 which is the old Gold Rush road. Very nice cahtting with him. His name is Dennis.
Get a $5 foot long from Subway. They're out of everything it seems. Decide we're going to camp at Crater Lake. Go to the bathroom. There's this tall, older trucker. Jeans, boots, slicked back hair, glasses and beard. He's in the urinal next to me. Not that I was looking but the guy had this iguana sized penis and when he gave it the shake after peeing, I swear it looked like he was wrestling the thing. He didn't wash his hands.
Outside, there's a middle eastern looking guy wearing sunglasses, tshirt, jeans and sandals sitting on the curb looking at the bike.
"This your bike?", he says. Yes, I tell him. He has incredibly white teeth. I'm wondering if he's going to ask me for money. He asks where in NV we're from. He says he wants to get a bike and asks if I ever read "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance." I tell him yes. He's on page 130. I mention how I didn't like how heady it got in the middle. He agrees and says he liked the first 1/3 much better.
We go down the road and make the right onto 138 to Crater Lake. It is a very long, straight road. It's weird how far down the road you can see. We turn into the park and then uturn. We figure we'll go get some food for tonight first and come back. I missed the turn to 220 thinking Diamond Lake was a town where we could get some food. Next thing I know, we're way down the road passed Toketee Falls. I'm bummed because we're way off and I don't want to back track. I don't know if we'd have enough gas to get there anyway. We keep going. The scenery is awesome, however, and we're going down in elevation. Suddenly, it's very dense green and a lot of the trees are covered in moss. It's jungle like. We ride pass the best looking campground I've ever seen called Boulder Flat.
I'm so bummed. The nearest town is Roseburg 45 someodd miles away. I whine "if we could just find a store!"
Right as I said that we round a curve and here's this little store that says "Store" on the sign. Inside they have basic groceries and such. I get gas at the lone, 70's style pump. The owners helper girl accompanies me. She's early 20 something. I ask her if she's ever rafted down the river. She says no. She doesn't have time but someday she will. We get some pork chops, onion and some garlic pasta.
I'm really jazzed that we can camp at Boulder Flat and we head back the 5 miles to the campground. It'sright on the N. Umpqua river and there's only 3 other people here. Very intimate, among the trees with the river rushing passed. It is the best campsite I've ever seen and it's a gorgeous night. Mosquitos are a little heavy but not too bad with bugspray. There's lots of deadwood and I gather a ton of it.
I try to take a dip in the river. It is freezing! I mean the kind where your feet and legs start hurting bad. I get out.
Our neighbors, Darrell and Barbara, walk by with a huge german shepherd and some little, pissy froo froo dog. The shepherd has blood lines back to wwII era guard dogs. Turns out Darrell is a hardcore rider. He tells me how he rode to Alaska last year on his Vstrom. Interesting he's on a Vstrom. Earlier I was telling Christine how popular they must be because we've seen a bunch of guys riding them on this trip. The guys stories are great and we talk for at least 20 minutes. He's done Ironbutts and ridden all over the place but his Alaska story is just riveting. Turn out their son-in-law is a helicopter pilot in the army. He's a w2 and currently in Iraq. Their daughter is at Ft. Riley, KS. We mention that was one of our options. Barbara says her daughter loves it.
We get a kick ass fire going and our led xmas lights are strung up. We cook up all the grub. I actually fall asleep in front of the fire but get a 2nd wind and zone until about 2am. What a great change of plans today.
Varmints Of The Day: Cute little chipmunks, black birds with bright orange spots, deer, some huge fish in the river.
Woke up around 8. Christine had taken the tarp off the tent so we can see straight out into the river. What a beautiful morning. So quiet with nothing but the river in the background. It was perfect sleeping.
Got up and did some dishes and packed up a little. Set the shower bag in the sun. Saw a commercial rafting group go down river. Probably 7 or so in each raft with their guide hauling ass, piloting ahead. Looks fun.
Went to gently wake Christine up. Pulled the plug on the air mattress and it went flat instantly. I was leary of the shower bag heating up in the minimal susnshine but was suprised how warm the frigid river water had become. While Christine reanimated herself, I showered. Wasn't a whole lot of water left and it was a little cold for her anyway. We get on the road around 12:30pm. I change back into my shorts. It's warm and beautiful today.
The ride out on 138 is awesome. Gorgeous, curvy forest roads. Motorcylce heaven! Christine is in Jackie Stewart mode backseat driving. Things smooth out after Glide. It looks like WI but bigger. Huge, rolling hills filled in with farm land. We jump on I5 south. We talk about how to pronounce Idleyld Park.
I5, as far as the slab goes, is a blast. It's pretty intense passing the trucks on the close quartered, inside lane. They're crawling running on the shoulder going up and hitting 75-80 going down. It's like a huge racetrack. Fun to ride on. We stop at Grant's Pass.
Go to Della's Restarurant at Grant's Pass. Full crew of landscapers (white) working. Their 3-4 (collective) trimmers are all roaring away. It's actually really annoying. Especially just getting off the road. Inside, bad wave jazz is playing. I feel like I'm in an elevator. There's maybe 1 other person eating and he leaves shortly after we arrive.
I order the Taco Omellette and Christine gets chile and a side of hashbrowns. Service is a little slow. Chow finally shows up. Looks good. Chili is really good. Save the breads and head towards the Walmart.
Of course, I missed the road. Drove 3 miles out of the way, pulled over and did uey. Got to Grant's Pass Pkwy and pulled into the Walmart. Got a bunch of chow and stuff. Bought a Nikon D5000 a try. No sales tax in OR. The ladies say it's a great camera and break the boxes down real neatly so it'll pack better. If it sucks we'll return it in vegas.
Get some gas out the outskirts of town. See a real cool, hippyfied vw bus. Chick thanks me when I tell her I like her van.
Some good looking camping along 199. The towns all seem pretty touristy. Near the border, the roads start getting twisty again. We cross into CA.
We're immediately going through an Agriculter Inspection Station. The lady asks where we're from. Do we have any cherries or firewood? No, I tell her but we do have a bag of anthrax, several rocket launches and 23 strains of Matab Virus. We head on.
In the Smith River Nat. Rec Area the roads start to get really tight and curvy. Some parts seem like the Dragon. There's turn outs all over and we use them. Several bikers. Awesome bike roads and in good shape. Eventually, it starts to get really cool. We pull over and I change my clothes. Some serious fire here recently.
We get into Redwoods Nat. Park. Clouds are hovering above the trees and there's a great spook factor. Rolling through these dark, humongous trees in the cold, gloomy evening. Wild. We stop for a pic. I set the cam up but with only 10 seconds, it's hard sometimes to make the run back to the shot. I get a good one. This girl asks if I would like her to take a pic. Sure.
Get throught the mountains and blast down 101 for a spell. About 50 something and overcast. We pull into Crescent City and head towards the coast. It's kind of a worn out looking beach town. Kind of gang looking. We get to the park on the coast and take some pics. There' s young family with a dog walking around.
Roll back to town and scour the hotels. Pull into The Penny Saver Inn. 3 hoodlum looking guys hanging out in the front smoking. Drive over to room 115. After parking, I try to lift the trailer and slide it over, closer to the curb. When I lift, the tounge weight knocks the bike over. Wow do I feel like a shithead. At least this bike falls well. The highway foot rests catch it.
Pool isn't heated very well.
Critters Of The Day: Huge, black and white butterflies (1 tragically murdered to death), small deer, usual horses and cows.
The fat, white chick next door is a permanent resident here at the Penny Saver Inn.. Her and her loser friends are up at 8am laughing and carrying on. Loud as hell. It's pretty frusterating. I get up around 9 to do some laundry.
I'm walking down this druggy, worn out looking town. This burnout wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses walks passed me. It's overcast and chilly. The 101 Laundromat is close but I can't seem to find it. I consult google maps. I'm walking, looking at the map. It should be right here, I think. I turn around and it's behind me. Walked right passed it.
Nice facility albeit a bit pricey. $2.75 per wash load. I spend $15 or so. There's a guy working on one of the machines. I go across to Dutch Bros. for a cup of joe.
The young, CA type kid calls me "man" at least 5 times. He's cool and out of guilt, I toss 50 cents in his tip bucket.
The laundry is practically done. I text Christine back and forth. The dryers finished in 16-17 minutes. Nice compared to the crappy Motel 6 in Idaho Falls.
On my way back, I see the cowboy, burnout dude walking the other way down the road. He passes a cardboard sign on a telephone pole and slaps it.
Back at the hotel we get packing. The shower totally sucks. This place is a real shithole. The neighbors are coming and going. Shouldn't they be working? Roll out around 11 and stop at The Apple Peddler restaurant.
The waitress is 40 something and kinda reminds me of a female David Lee Roth. She forgets our drink order and gets it on the 2nd go around. I had the Southern Breakfast. Biscuits and gravy with eggs on top. Christine had mashed potatoes and a side of ham. It was mediocre. Mine was prettty great. She asks where we're from. I tell her Las Vegas. "Right on!" she says and tell me how much she loves it and used to go a lot when she live in Orange County.
We get out on 101S. Drive passed what looks like the last gas station and uturn back for fuel. Don't want to chance it. Epecially today. It's cold. Bunch of dual sport guys at the Chevron.
101 meanders through the Redwood Nat. Forest. The roads are twisty but a little wet. It's very gloomy and creepy. As we get coastal around Eureka, the scenery reminds me of Charleston. It's neat to be by the coast again. Stop at a shithole gasstation called the Patriot. After pumping, I go in and get the key for the bathroom from this indian (dots) lady who is dressed and looks like she came straight out of a "What does an Indian lady look like?" childrens book. I go into the interrogation style toilet and change into my long johns. Christine recommended them this morning but of course, I didn't listen. It's cold.
As we head further south and inland, the weather gets much nicer. Sunny and warm. The roads are fast. There's a bunch of old cars out and about. Some kind of hotrod thing going on. We pull off at the Humboldt Redwoods overlook.There's a bicyclist there and I ask him how many miles he does a day. He's a bit prickish and says, "it depends." Well doesn't almost everything I wonder? 50 or so he says. Sometimes 70. A GS guy and his friend ride through.
We go throught the Humboldt Redwoods. It's just like out of a movie. These huge trees canopying the whole road. Completely mindblowing. On the other side is a neat, bigfoot themed giftshop. We pull up right next to this Harley poser. He's with his girlfriend. I say hello and he totally ignores me.
It's a fun little shop and we browse for awhile. Get some postcards and outside, near the portajohns, I go back and change out of my longjohns. I notice the chainsaw guys work area is loaded with trophies. He took 1st place in 2006 and 2007 for speed carving at some big competition in MN.
Down the road is the Famous One Log Home. I swear I saw this at the Lake County Fair when I was a kid. It costs $1. I get a cup of joe. The house is real interesting.
At Leggett we take a right to go to the Chandler Tree where we can drive through it. We stop for gas at this old school gas station. The guy is very nice. Too bad the rest of this very small town is totally out of business. Janice's Diner looked like it was a cool place.
We turn into the Chandler Tree. It's gravel and treacherous. We get to the gate $5! We almost skip it but bikes are only $3. OK. We drive through. Everybody stops for a photo. This biker asks if we'd like our pic taken. The camera is packed so we decline. Get out and take a left onto hwy 1.
At the onset, there's a sign tight curves next 22 miles. Boy is that an understatement! These roads are as tight as The Dragons Tail with drop offs 3 times as far! It's truly nerve wracking at times. Christine is over it within 3 miles. I'm suprised how few people are out here. It's motorcycle paradise! It goes on forever and there are many 10 mph, almost locked steering turns. After a long time it comes out to a breathtaking overlook on the coast. It's cold and gloomy again.
We're blasting along the coast. This is the coolest road I've ever been on. Quaint, cottage type houses, overlooks, green farm land, huge drop offs to the ocean. It's unreal! We pass several campgrounds. It'd be great to camp but it is cold!
The lady inside is super nice and she lets her 3ish son punch the numbers in on the CC machine. I ask her about the fogginess. She says that's how it is all summer. Winter is when it's really nice. I'm very suprised! I had no idea it was so miserable here in the summer. We unhook and go out around town looking for somewhere to eat. This is a cute place.
We get down to one of the inlets. There's a huge fishing industry here and several dockside type restaurants. We pull into Cpt. Flints.
Unfortunately, Cpt Flints was the biggest ripoff ever. It was totally Myrtle Beach like! All they had was fried everything. We ordered the Shrimp Louie and the Artichoke Shrimp. It was basically baby shrimp with iceburg lettuce. The other was an artichoke, hollowed out and filled with the same baby shrimp. Served with bread and thousand island dressing. Total cost = $34. We agree it was the worst bang for the buck.
We leave totall dissapointed and go to CVS for some cigars. There's a couple guys on Vstroms. I ask the one guy how he likes it. He likes it a lot. He has all the nice gear and asks if we know of a hardware store or something. He forgot to pack his clear glasses. His faceshield is smoked. I tell him I don't know. His buddy suggests some light sunglasses. '
As we walk in and they drive off, Christine mentions she could have given him hers. I thought the same thing that I could've given him mine. After all, ours were $1 apiece. Then I think about it. No. That guy was loaded and there's not many bugs out anyway. I've driven many miles with no eye protection when I needed to. Additionally, he has a fairing he can hide behind. Inside we see some very light sunglasses. Per his buddy's suggestion he totally could've used those.
We stop in the liquor store. There's a guy getting a ticket. The cop is 20 feet away from his huge, suburban cop truck. It's running with the windows down. I comment to Christine how easy it would be to jump in and split.
There's an ad inside for cords of firewood. $225 for a cord of oak. "Endless supply available." The lady tells us how great it burns.
We stop at one of the beach access spots and walk down. It's so another planet. There's a couple people milling about. The water is freezing! Try to get some macro pics of the flowers.
Get back to the hotel and mess with the new camera. Not going so good.
Critters Of The Day: Dead duck, dead deer, random dogs, ugly, weathered seagulls.
Quasi gloomy day today at the Ocean Side Inn. Got out around 11 and went scouting a breakfast joint.
Took a left on Laurel and parked in a "Motorcycle Parking Only" spot. Sweet! There's a couple shady looking dudes just hanging around. On the corner there's this grungy looking, drugged, 40 something with sunglass. He says something like, "Better'n death" or dead or ?? We walk passed towards Eggheads Restaurant.
We get in and there's a short wait.The whole place has this Wizard Of Oz theme. I decide to go back and move the bike closer. I don't trust the many shitheads that seem to be meandering about aimlessly.
I order the Dungeoness Crab Omellette and Christine gets a muffin somethingorother. It's pricey but I'm eager to try it. Our waiter is the little mexican dude who's really nice and on top of it. There's a couple young guys next to us that are hiking. They have huge backpacks. The food is really good. A little scant on quantity. I ask where the bathroom is and the waiter says, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road!" It goes through the kitchen and around the parking lot to this shed looking building. Weird. I get there and there's someone in there.
We head out on 1. Within 5 miles this bitch pulls out doing a left within 100 feet of us. I flipped her the biggest bird I could with my gloved hand. Man does that piss me off! Traffic is getting thicker and all the roads are very tight and curvy. Within another 5-10 miles there's this major asshole running right on our ass. I give her the "back off" sign and she totally ignores me. I finally pull over to let her pass and she blares her horn. I flip her off as big as I can. She immediately runs up and starts tailgating the Prius in front of us. She races around it and goes left on hwy 20.
It's just unbelievable how diverse the PCH is. Farmland, coastal highway, forests. It's just an awesome ride.
Around Point Arena we come across this old cemetery. We pull in and walk around. Lot of old graves here. I sprinkle some of Ben's ashes next to the Johnsons.
Just north of Ft Ross there's a camper topped Dodge Ram on it's side. It's in a treacherous spot right around a blind curve. There's a guy in a Jetta in front of us. We're going to be here a sec. The wrecker is already there and the 30 something CHIP asks us how we're liking the ride. It's sunny and warm now. A log truck comes around the corner and slams on his brakes as the cop waves him down. It was close.
This very CA looking midlifer starts chatting with us. He says, "I'd offer you a glass of wine if it were legal." The cop doesn't say anything and then he adds, "it's not open of course." The CA guy is really interested in the whole motorcycle thing. He says how neat it is. "I've got the windows rolled down all the way to kinda get the same feeling," he says. Christine and I laugh about that later. He's a lawyer and his daughter just graduated Stanford business school. She's riding her bike with her friends along the PCH. They're staying at this little lodge down the road. They get the camper righted and we're the first to go. Traffic is way backed up on both sides.
Having a great time. This road is the best. Getting gloomy again and we head through some very WI looking farmland and come across this little town called Tomales.
We're both starving and we stop at this little cafe. We get the tuna salad sandwich and the roast lamb. There's a couple from San Francisco on a Shadow. The guy says he's jealous of the trailer. I tell them how cool it is to haul so much stuff. The lady says, "is Burning Man your last stop?" We laugh. I ask her when that is. August she says.
Back on the road the sun is coming out again. We pass by Inverness and the whole Point Reyes thing. Stop to see where we are at Stinson Beach. Get around the corner and jump on the 101 towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Wow!
We drive up to the overlook. The bridge is completely covered in fog. What a sight! Although I must admit, it's not nearly as big as I thought it would be. There's a bunch of people taking pics including some Germans on rental bikes. They ask me to take their pic. This one person does what seems like a 5-7 minute, 5000 point turnabout. They just can't seem to get it.
We head on down and over the bridge. It's about as tall as the Ravenel in Charleston but quite a bit longer. There's big walking paths on both sides. We get to the toll on the other side. $9!!!!!
We cut through San Fran. It's very gloomy but the city itself is very cool. We drive up the absolutely insane hills. It feels like the whole bike is going to flip over. What a trip! Cut through Chinatown and get back on 1. The weather totally sucks now. Foggy, wet and cold.
We drive and drive, hoping the weather will get nice. I wanted to camp in Half Moon Bay. Of course, that's out now. It's 8pm something, wet and cold. We never see the park anyway. Go through Pescadero and Davenport. No hotels.
Suddenly, we see the moon behind the fog and the whole system ends. It's dreamy and we pull over for a pic. Finally get to Santa Cruz. Nice town and we get a room at the Mission Inn.
Nate, the fron desk guy is really cool. He upgrades our room to a jacuzzi tub. The whole room is the size of a studio apt. We chill out in the hottub and get warm again.
We've seen tons of Vanagons on this trip. More than any other single vehicle. I'll bet we're up to 40 so far.
Slept great at the Mission Inn. Got up around 9 and went down to the hottub. Very nice. Got a late checkout and were out by 11:20.
Headed down 1 and decided to drive down to the peir and look for a diner.. Nice looking yard sale going on. Spot at least 4 more Vanagons. Pass along the peir and don't see much. Drive back to 1.
Discover Jeffirey's Restaurant. Park around back. 3 loser looking mexican dudes walk by. We walk around the restaurant twice. I pullled on the door but thought it was locked the 1st time. Sit down and am immediately itrigued by this downs kid talking with this older man.
We order from the grumpy waitress. I order the Florentine omellette and Chrisitine gets joe's skillet. There's some hippy dudes ringing jingle bells and some water bowl thing. It's pretty annoying and fortunately, they leave shortly thereafter. After a very long prayer given by the downs kids, the older guy asks him what he want to do for his future. "I want to be a model," he says.
A lady who reminds me of my aunt Dot comes in with her daughter and 2 young guys.
Food arrives but is devoid of salt. I never use salt but today I did. Despite this, it was pretty good.
The waitress was pretty lame and didn't tally the order. The check out lady is kinda pissed and goes and gets her to tally it. She in turn gets one of the managers to check us out.
Back at the bike, this adorable 2 something litte mexican kid comes running towards us. His brother comes out of the flower shop and picks him up. They're laughing.
PCH is real busy, 4 laner here. Lots of traffic. Widdles down to 1 lane and we're out in farm country again. Lots of people picking strawberries. We stop at a road side produce stand. Prices are actually pretty steep but they have small baskets of strawberries for $1.30. We get a basket and have a couple before we leave. They are the best strawberries I've ever had. Huge and super sweet.
Come around the bend and head into downtown Monterey. Turn right on Alverado and parked in front of the "Dance Lounge." Walked over to Hellam's Tobacco. Nice shop and the lady suggests a couple good looking cigars. She charges me .25 to fill my lighter and tells me all this stuff about triple filtered butane and how to make sure I buy the good stuff. Alrighty then
Go across the street to get some barets at Walgreens. There's a young guy in a trench coat with a young chick. He gets some mini cigars and the lady cards him. He pulls out his military ID. Looks like navy. Later, we pass him again. An old GTO goes buy and Christine and I ooh and ahh. I hear the squid talking about how his dad restored an old Boss 429 Mustang years ago.
We walk down towards the art fest that's going on near the wharf. Stop at a gift shop and get some post cards. The chick inside is kinda bitchy.
The art fest is small and there's a guy playing guitar. He's good and has a great sounding PA. I buy Christine a fork necklace.
Stop in this italian place and get a cup of their "italian roast." It's thousands of degrees.
Get back to the bike and head out. See the sign for 17 mile drive. I'd thought I'd seen the route for the "poor man's" 17 mile drive the night before but suddenly, here we are at the fee gate. It's $9.50 and we both agree there's no way we're paying that. The thick accent, mexican attendent says motorcycles aren't allowed. They passed an ordinance 20 years ago. "WELL FUCK YOU!" we both say as we leave (not to his face).
We both steam about that for awhile. Now I'm really turned off about the place. I hate snob towns.
Heading back down 1, the sun comes out. Hooray! There's lots of bikes (and bicyclists) on the road. We stop at an overlook.
Around Big Sur we see a gas station and bakery that looks nice. I drive passed when Christine mentions the sign that said, "last gas for 40 miles." While we're probably OK I figure why risk it and uturn back. We play the guessing game of how much will the gas be? I guess $4.29. Christine says $3.89. We're both wrong. We pull up to 4, crowded pumps. $4.59! Yikes! Good thing we only take 2 gallons or so.
This movie star looking chick pulls up in some yuppie,suv thing covered in dirt. She seems to know the attendent. I hear him say she gets the locals discount. Funny. Her tags are from AZ.
Stopped at a fantastic overlook and found a well worn trail to the piss area. Met a guy from Carmel who does a lot of riding. He talks and talks about all the places he's been.. He rides a GS. The guy introduces his brother, Terry. He's trying to get him to get a bike. I tell him our story and he seems totally uninterested. After they leave, I decide this is a nice spot to spread some ashes. We head out towards Hurst Castle.
It's getting cold again and we stop to put on some warmer duds.
Come around this curve and there's this deer coming down the near perpendicular mountain side. Not sure what I'm seeing for a sec. He walks into the middle of the road, pauses for a sec to look at us and continues across where he jumps over the edge! I can't believe what I just saw! Surely, they're adapted for such maneuvers but it just looked so insane! If that were me I'm sure I would be instant crab food. I ask Christine at least 3 times, "Did I just see that?" She confirms.
North of San Simeon, we find a great pulloff right next to the ocean. This is a great place to throw some ashes into the sea. I hike out on the rock and am really impressed with how intimidating the pacific is when you get up close. It's a nice moment as the wind take the ashes away, the sun going down behind me. Really special. A huge group of Harley Riders go by.
We zip passed Hurst Castle and come up on the elephant seal viewing area. We uturn and go back. Looking for a place to park, we drive passed the 10 or so Harleys that passed us earlier. I notice a chase van with a guy leaning up on it. He waves and I realize it's another tour. Later, I see that they're all germans.
The elephant seals are a total trip! It's so cool that you can get right up near them and even cooler that they don't seem to be bothered by all the people ogling over them. It's hilarious to watch them spar for literally 10 seconds, stop for a 30 second nap and start all over. I can relate to you guys!
Get to Cambria and get gas. Nice little gift shop. Going to take 41 towards Atascadero. It's cold.
Get to Morro Bay and pull into the state park. Of course, the campground is full. At the offramp for 41 we see a Motel 6. We decide to get a room. It's too cold and late to think about trying to find a campsite.
What a hellhole. No fridge, microwave. The beds are literally against the wall. Oh well. Drive down to the beach and check out the huge rock. The sun is going down.
Go into town and find a neat pizza joint. We order the pesto garlic. I play the pinball machine and my mom calls. We chat for awhile and the pizza takes an eternity to arrive. There's a jam band across the street. They have a good mix and excellent sounding PA.
Saw at least 15 Vanagons today.
Critters Of The Day: elephant seals, insane, hopefully still alive deer.
Last Day. Booo!
Motel 6 is crawling with mismanaged kids. Like dogs hollowing in the middle of the night, I can (more than clearly) hear 3 kids crying at 3 very distinct locations. Why do people have these kids? Oh, right. Accidents. It looks sunny, which is very refreshing.
A biker passes by on 41 east and is tapping on his head. What does that mean? Christine ask about the headlight. Forgot to turn it on.
We head out on 41 east. About 3 miles into it this cop is in the middle of the road. He pulls into the oncoming lane facing us and starts driving really slowly in reverse. We stop and as he keeps driving really slowly in reverse we're wondering what the hell he's doing. Turns out there was construction and it was one lane for a spell. Nice directing rookie.
We drive passed Cerro Alto Campground. This is where I wanted us to camp last night. We drive through just to take a peek. It's really nice and now I'm really disappointed we stayed at such a hellhole hotel on our last night. It's a lot warmer here too! Oh well.
Stop at a church just before Saint Ynez rd to change out of our warm clothes. We both have sweatshirts on under our jackets and our broiling.
Turn onto Saint Ynez looking for Pete and Mary's old house. We find Devon Ct but there's no 4555. Just 7500-7600 something. Take a pic. Go to the old house and take a pic in front of it. This is a nice neighborhood. Head out and stop at the County Touch Cafe.
Nice, cozy little joint. I order the Victor omellette and Christine gets the skillet. It shows up and the lady brings their homemade salsa. It is stellar! Great food. Maybe the best breakfast of the whole trip. The salsa is particularly mindblowing and really makes the meal.
Get on the road toward 41 out of town. It's really warm now. Probably upper 90's. The road out is very rural and curvy. A group of Harley riders are behind us. I drive kinda fast and Christine gets pissed.
We pass through the James Dean Memorial Junction and we both wonder if that's where his wreck was. We get onto 46 and everybody is driving like a dick. People passing with not even 1/4 mile clearance. I flip at least 1 person off. I notice the high pitched horn is cutting out after 1 second or so. I used it several times.
We stop at Blackhill's Corner, west of Lost Hills. We gas up and take a hydration break. There's all this James Dean stuff inside. "East of Eden" fudge factory is inside. Looks like the place is barely hanging on. Too bad. It's cute. I further sense their doom when we go a measely 2-3 miles up the road and there's 10 huge gas station/travel centers right at the jct with I5.
Head down I5 and get off on 58 east. After a bit we come across zillions of oil pumping donkeys. They literally go as far as you can see. It's a Chevron pumping station or something. I think about how one day these wall all be museum pieces.
Lots of different things being grown all around.Avocados and other things.Acres and acres of trees. Another farm is herbs. We pass the Frito Lay plant. Be cool to take a tour.
On the east side of Bakersfield we stop at the shell for gas and a shade break. It's getting hotter and the sun is brutal. A white guy pulls up in a Scion XB kicking some hiphop really loud. His plate almost says "HOMO." The ladies inside are bitches and the toilet is out of order.
Turn on hwy 99 S. At the corner field, there's a white sign that says, "Tom Cloud slept here." I make my Highlander "Tom Cloud of The Clan McCloud" joke. Christine lets out a tigress sized groan. She reaches around and Sumo smashes my larynx. After 2 weeks of my master comedy and the pounding heat, she's starting to crack.
Couple mile into it, Chrisitne sees a billboard that just says, "BEN=$." The $ being a moneybag. Neat. Bring it on Ben!
We're going down 5 and I'm wondering where the hell we are. The GPS is in the bag so it doesn't fry. I missed the turn for 58.
We're blasting down 5 up to the Tejon Pass. It's a very long climb and there's several car, trucks etc pulled over. The bike temp climbs towards the red. We pull into the rest area and check out the map. Totally missed it. As we leave, a guy walks up and says, "sweet setup." I tell him thanks. He says, "Have a good ride." Don't feel like talking and we roll.
Get off at 138 east. Goes on forever. Straight and flat. There's a cop stopping traffic 25 miles into it. We see a bunch (15 or so) of bikers turn off. I wonder if that's the detour and then realize they're driving behind a camera truck. Then I see all the support trucks etc. A shoot of some sort. We talk about why they would have to come this far out and what it costs to rent cops. Pretty dull out here.
Reach CA 14 north towards Mojave. This is a real nice, fast 4 laner for awhile. Run along side a mile long train. Stop in Mojave for gas. There's a couple of posers. One guy in full recline looks like he's napping. Dork, I know you're not even close. One's not going to sleep on his parked motorcycle anymore than they would standing on a ladder or sitting in a dentists' chair. His loverlike cohort walks out in his cowboy hat and gives me the tough guy nod. If I were the sensei in his "How to Be Cool" class, I would have kicked him in the balls and taint.
There's some weird, rocket testing shit going on out here. Several big installations of testing site looking stuff. Borax plant passed Boron. Space center place with tons of huge jets. I wonder if it's one of those plane graveyards?
Finally get to Barstow and stop at the Velero. I make several "Volare" jokes. Christine is too cooked to groan. It's really hot.
Get gas and sit on the curb awhile. Christine feels shitty and she melts into the pavement up to her knees. Real heatstoke weather. Mostly it's the sun that's the ass kicker. In the shade it's kind of like the polar ice caps and my fingers turn purple from the cold. The attendent inside suggests I amputate my feet. I tell him, "No way Jose'!"
This black dude is cranking his car endlessly. The battery is starting to fade. It won't start. He's right near the pump. I feel bad but later realize he's just out of gas. Not sure why he tried so hard to start it to move it 2 feet closer to the pump.
White Rangerover pulls up with 2 frat looking, rich blonds. 2 white dudes get out and give them hugs goodbye. Rich USC kids coming back from Vegas. See them turn toward LA and notice one of her fancy HID lights is out. I'm sure they all need a facepunch and elastic ripping wedgy. Finish off the pizza from last night. That shit was great!
We're both very impressed with how much traffice there is on I15 south. All the LA people heading out. It backs up a long way!
We're hauling ass with a nice tailwind.
The sunset is pretty and we stop in Baker for gas. I'm standing on the pegs to stretch. I shove my ass in Christine's face. Several people check us out when we pull into the Shell. I soak my shirt and Christine soaks her scarf. It feels freezing putting it on but highly cooling. 10 minutes down the road, it's bone dry.
Stop at the brake check area to try a pic of the moon. It's really pretty as it crawls over the mountain horizon. Big.
Smooth sailing into Vegas. Left lane is closed up by Rancho/95 exit and everybody is all jacked up. Nobody knows what they're doing. Aggressively exit.
Roll in around 10:15. House doesn't stink like I though they would. There's a stiffed pidgeon in the front yard being devoured by bugs and another that's moved into the corner by the door. He looks like he's going to croak. There's shit all over. Later, I see that he's moved again. One way or another, he's out of here tomorrow.
Bike ran great the whole time. Lost 2 of the already replaced, stainless screws for the cb panel within the 1st 100 miles. I was continually worried about the clutch cylinder. Especially after the failure last year. It was fine. Lever's a little sloppy but that can be tweaked. High winds would hit jiggle the lever slop and kill the cruise control. Ex manifold leak somewhere in front is getting louder and is pronounced now. Backfiring on cylinder 3 (i think) at idle very regular. Mileage was 35-37. One time we were over 40 . Ending mileage was 76177.
The new HID light is kick ass! Remembering to fire it seperate (for life's sake) didn't happen a couple times. Boy do the road signs (and all the reflective stuff) pop! When we got off on the Rancho exit, i could see these road workers, in all their reflectivity grande',clear as day from 1/4 mile. It looked like weird animation. Additionally, my prototype 5w led running lights are bright as shit at night. I think I'd like to put 10 watters in each side. The beam pattern is a lot wider.
Starter clutch gears would crash into each other from time to time. I haven't been in there yet but it's been doing that since we've had it and it's routine on Harleys. Others say it's a horrific sign. It's an ugly noise.
Popping noise in the headset started back when we got into the warm weather. CB hasn't been picking up shit since Utah. Some loose wire sounding noise only on the FM when going fast has dug itself in.
Great, way noticable difference in handling, was getting the tounge weight off the trailer. Still ever present and a bitch over slow bump/ditches, it pulls so much better. It was heavy too. I'd say at least 400.
At one point today on 41, while trying to ditch the Harleys and running hot, the motor knocked a little, which I've never heard before. I did load her up pretty hard though.
The Venture is such a workhorse of a bike and she worked very hard on this trip. So many very intense climbs. I love the V4! Passed a semi on 46 near Lost Hills. Rolling about 55, I dropped to 4 and hammered it about 2/3 throttle. Fully laden, we passed him doing 80 within 1/4 mile. I have to respect the machine on an almost human level. Especially after consistently taking us and all our tons of shit so far. What a beast!
Had many a great daydream about the Boxer Diesel Streamliner I want to build. I want to do it so bad, I was thinking today about using my GI Bill to study mechanical engineering and welding. Aside from being a great testament to diesel power (it would do biodeisel as well), it would absolutely haul ass and hit 50 mpg easy. It would be huge. Easily 1000lbs but cruising at 100mpg turning 3k and pulling the heaviest trailer.. The tank is going to say, "Diesel Baby." It would be incredible to have it done by the 10th Annual.
I want to do 30 Ben Kilik Memorial Rides. One for each year he lived. That should put us at around 70ish. By then we'll probably be ready to move to a trike (or worse). I will spread the last of his ashes on the last one. I found it pretty heavy to have an event that takes us into old age.
Good travels Ben! Till next year and beyond!