Trip Summary (kinda)

End of trip Summary and Notes

June 15- July 13, 2012

I would do it again if I had the chance.  The weather was not perfect, but I could not expect a month of perfect weather.  There are just too many highlights to put them in the summary.  Just read back through the blog.

Paid Camping: 14 Night-, Highest $28, Lowest $5

Motels: 6 Nights- Highest $110 for ½ room, Lowest $43 for ½ a room

Free Camping: 6 nights

Travel On Motorcycle: 10190 Miles,-Unpaved 1989 Miles

Travel On Ferry: 521 Miles

Travel On Foot:  49 Miles

Total Miles Traveled : 10760 Miles

Longest Day: 780 Miles

Shortest Day: 8 Miles

Gas Prices: Highest $8.08 per Gallon in BC, lowest $3.29 in Kansas

Motorcycle Problems beyond maintenance and normal wear and tear: 1- Stator was replaced.

After covering 10760 miles and approximately 1989 miles of those on none paved roads/trails, traveling by ferry and walking some, I would only change a few things.

Clothing:

  • I would take wicking pants that the legs zip on and off rather than both cotton blue jeans and cotton shorts.
  • I would take socks that wick rather than plain cotton socks.  The winter socks worked well (fleece lined wool).
  • I would take a pair of comfortable easy on/off walking shoes.  I only had my boots. These would work so much better around the campground and to the shower.

Food and Cooking:

  • I would carry less food.  When covering so much ground, you will pass a place that sells food somewhere along the way.
  • Mechanical water filter system I would not take. ( I would get chemical, much smaller)

Items I would not take again:

  • Inverter
  • As much cash. Almost all places take Visa or Mastercard. I would still take cash, just a smaller amount.
  • Winter coat, I used my riding gear so much, I never needed a winter coat.

Items I did not use but would still take:

  • 2nd camera – pictures are very important to me
  • Winter base layer – some other riders around me used theirs
  • Jet boil stove – I used someone else’s that was already out and going rather than mine.

Items I would like to change, but the change is not necessary:

  • Lens on camera.  It would be nice to have one lens to cover the full range rather than switching back and forth.  I missed a couple of shots while trying to get the correct lens on.
  • Heated jacket or vest.  I could layer up and stay warm, but when riding the distances the temperature changes and I would have to stop and unlayer and layer.  Turning a knob off and on is a lot easier.
  • Heated glove liners or heated gloves.  The heated grips worked most of the time, but there were a couple of times my fingers got very cold in the rain/snow mixture coming down.
  • Smaller sleeping bag and smaller sleeping pad when rolled up. Ones more suited for backpacking would work nicely. This way I could get them in one dry bag rather than 2 dry bags.
  • Riding gear that have the rain gear built on the outside.  This way  I wouldn’t have to stop and put it on ride a ways and then stop and take it off.

The motorcycle:

  • Possibly different tires.  Hiendau K60 outperformed the Anakee I had on. Both traction in gravel/dirt and tire life. The Hiendau also have good traction on the road.  Down side is the noise they produce.
  • I would go back to the stock 15 tooth front sprocket.  The 16 tooth was nice in the plains, but the 15 would work better in the mountains.
  • I would still carry a spare chain and master link.  I used them on this trip.
  • I would buy a big can of chain lube that I like before leaving, I couldn’t find what I wanted along the way.

The Biggest change if it was possible would be to take my wife with me. But she would not be comfortable on the motorcycle for that long, so that is I change that would not be possible.  Maybe someday I will take the trip again in an Jeep Wrangle or something similar with my wife.

Trip into the Night, now that the Motorcycle is Fixed

July 12-13, 2012

I woke up in the motel this morning with high hopes that my motorcycle would be fixed today and I could be on my way again.  My original plan would have put me home this afternoon, but I built in a couple of extra days in case something like this happened.

Since I had walked to the dealership and picked up my dirty clothes yesterday, I decided to do laundry this morning.  It  is early and no one is using the machines.  I only have one load, and really it is about ½ a load.  On this trip, I have found out how little one really needs.  Not Wants.

I get a call from another ADV rider that offers me his camper to stay in if I am still there tonight.  I thank him and hope to not be here.

After the laundry is done, I check out of the motel room but have them store all my bags.  I don’t want to carry them to the dealership.  I take off walking for the dealership.  At a little before noon I get a call that my bike is fixed and ready to go.  I am only 2 blocks away.  That is good timing.  I get there and it is not ready to go, the owner thought is should be washed before I get it back.  I wait for them to finish the job.  They cleaned it very nice.  It has more power, I think I had been having problems for a couple of days, since it was losing power since the desert in Wyoming.  I had thought it was because I was raising in altitude, but I guess it was the lack of electrical.

I head back to motel to pick up my gear.  It is all loaded and I head out.  I decide to continue to Hwy 50 to go across.  I continue south to Pueblo and then get on 50 and head east.

It is 2 pm and the temperature is 100 F.  I stop in some little town and get some more water.  I continue on the scenery is dry, almost like the desert, but not quite.  Most of the abandon building are stucco and very thick walls.  There are a lot of old vehicles from the past, it appears that nothing rusts away here.  It is very dry.  There is a few cows and some horses.  The fields are irrigated.

I stop in Holly CO, almost to the Kansas Line.  I get gas, then I fill myself up at Porkys Palace.  They have an open face cheese burger that is smothered in homemade green chili sauce that is just incredibly good.  It is one of those things that tastes go good, but you know it will get you later.  I would recommend it to anyone that likes semi hot spicy food.  It was absolutely delicious.  As I come out of Porkys, I see a bunch of bikes across the street at the gas station.  I find out that one of them is in trouble, the fuel injection is not working on it.  I can’t help, so I talk a while and move on down the road.

I cross into Kansas and everything is getting greener the farther east I go.  I pass by many road side vegetable stands.  There are large vegetable fields, of course they are irrigated.  As I keep going I see many cattle feed lots.  You can smell them long before you see them.  At about dark, I pass through a huge windmill farm.  It is about 10 miles long and I would guess 5 or 6 miles wide.  Of course it is windy, but not real strong.  Now that it is dark, I can’t really see what is off the road.  The sky is dark, partly cloudy and there is no moon out.  This is good, with it being dark, there will not be as much animal movement, hence no deer in the road.  I only saw 3 deer and 1 coyote all the way across Kansas.

I stop for gas for the bike and water for me a couple of times.  I am getting tired and I am about to Emporia. .  I am so close to home I don’t want to stop.  It is less than 2 hours to home.  I stop and the Flying J for about 25 minutes even though I don’t need gas.  I get a couple of Jalapeno hot dog to help me wake up.  It was that or find a place to set up the tent. If they didn’t wake me up, I was going to camp here.  But they did the trick.  I continue on into the darkness.  The road is wet  north of Burlington and there is lighting off the west just a little ways.  I am thinking I might get wet.  But it doesn’t rain on me.

I pull into the house at just a smidgen before 3 am.  I lost an hour somewhere.  I had figured around 1:30 to 2:00 am.  It must have been going from Mountain to Central Time Zone.  I am happily  greeted by my loving wife and 2 rowdy dogs.  I will unload the bike later.

From time to time I will miss the road, but It is good to be home again.

A little walk for laundry and Meet-Greet in Manitou Springs

July 11, 2012

I woke up in a hotel room this morning.  I didn’t sleep as well as normal.  I don’t know if it was the bed vs the ground pad or me wanting to get home and being stuck waiting on my bike to get repaired.  The  weather is nice, sunny and cool.

A little before 9am I get a call from Josa at  Rocky Mountain Cycle.  They have looked at the bike and the problem is the Stator.  It is ordered by next day air and should arrive between 9 and 10 am tomorrow.  That means I could be on my way tomorrow afternoon again (july 12).

There is not much to do when you are stuck in a motel except watch TV.  I haven’t been doing that for the last month so I see no reason to start now. I wonder around the motel and find that they have a laundry mat.  My dirty clothes is in my panniers on my bike at the dealership.

I decide a little walk will not hurt me.  The dealership is only 4 or 5 miles away.  I take off walking. I go past Peterson air force base.  I watch different jets coming into it.  I can’t see the landing strip so I can’t watch them land.  As I continue along, I have to walk on the shoulder of the 4 lane highway to cross a stream of some kind.  It could be a irrigation channel or maybe a creek.  The rest of the time I can walk along a path or road (dirt and gravel) that is beside the interstate highway.  I get to cross a dry stream bed.  When I get thirsty there is a 7-11 just up a little ways and I stop in for water.  But I also get 2 hotdogs, a bag of chips and a small Icee for only $0.89.  It appears they are having a birthday party.  How can I refuse an 89 cent lunch.  I finally get to dealership and get my laundry, then start back.

I get a little sunburn on my legs.  I know I must be quite the site to see.  I am carrying 4 small dry bags and a pair of jeans down the side of the road.  I am wearing a tee shirt, shorts and combat boots.  This is not what you are used to seeing walking down the sidewalk.  I got a lot of honks and waves along the short trip.

In the morning I had posted on posted on advrider forum that I was stuck in Colorado Springs.  Mac responded and offered to give me a ride to a meeting of the CO Springs front ridge riders.  I accepted.  He showed up to pick me up about 5:45 pm, in his dodge pickup.  We went to Savellis Pizza place in Manitou Springs.  There were 17 riders present and most had road their bike there, but one brought the fire engine (he was still on call).  A new person brought the Vermin bike.  It is rather well known in these parts and it is very unique. It has been around since the 70s with various owners adding there touch to it.  The throttle works on both sets of handlebars.  After the meet and greet, I went back to the motel.  I had a good time and the calzones are big and taste great. I brought ½ mine back to the motel.

I have had a couple of offers from riders I don’t know that will let me stay at their place with my tent or in their camper if I have to stay another night.  I will take them up on it, if the bike doesn’t get fixed tomorrow.

Bike Breaks Down, Trip Home Delayed

July 10, 2012

I slept well last night.  Rupos (a 2 year old great daine) only woke me a couple of times last night when he would nudge me.  He is a rather large dog.  I went with Steve to get some tire spoons so I could change the rear tire.  I got one used for cheap.  I think I could have made it home, but if I run into rain, it would be unsafe.  So I changed the rear tire.  I looked at the Moto Guzzi and it was sweeeeet.  But a bit pricy for me since my bike is paid off.  I had lunch and said bye to Steve.  He was a great host, feeding me 2 meals, letting me sleep at his house and use his garage.

I decided that I wanted to go back home on Hwy 50, after I looked at several routes.  And it turns out I was lucky to choose that route, because it kept me in cities.  This is important, because the bike quit running.  In Colorado Springs the electrical warning came on and it quit as I was trying to get to a dealership.  I called Rocky Mountain Cycle and they brought a trailer to pick up my bike.  But it was late in the day and they were unable to diagnose it today.  It is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  If it is the stator, it will have to be ordered in and that will be another day.  The stators are known to go out on these bikes but normally not this soon. I think I may go over budget because of this problem.

The dealership took me to the closest campground, but they did not allow tents or you had to rent a RV space which they charge $69 per night for.  So then Ahren the driver took me to a motel.  I ask the price and it was $99 per night, then I explained my situation and they gave me the government discount (I am a county employee), It was only $69 per night. I am grateful to the hostess at Comfort Inn.  In this case the motel is the same price as the campground.

Something strange I thought was this is the first time I have watched TV since June 14th.  I always had to much I wanted to do or I was talking with some new found acquaintance

Sorry no new pictures.  I could have taken some of the street in Colorado Springs where the bike quit, but I was mainly on the interstate on the front range and the scenery in normal to me. Farmland, cities, populated areas, not great mountains or forest or deserts to see.

Watch out for Elk,

July 9, 2012

Today I got up with the sun this morning.  It was a little chilly, 45 F.  But sunny with a mist over the stream.  I packed and left Yellowstone.  I reached Teton National park and was a little hungry so I stopped in a gas station convenience store.  Nothing looked good and the carrots I had on the bike just didn’t do it for me.  There was a restaurant there so I stepped inside.  I food was a little pricey for the lower 48, but not as expensive as I had been seeing up in BC.  So I decided to eat there.  I had 2 eggs, with a trout fillet, home style potatoes and a biscuit.  Of course lots of coffee.  It was very tasty.  At breakfast I talk with a bicyclist who is riding the Continital Divide.  He thinks it will take him 36 days to complete.  He is spending about $100 a day for food.  Bicycling takes a lot of calories.  He said that he has had more trouble with aggressive cattle and cars than wild animals.

Early in the morning while there were still few cars I see an elk in the road, and had to dodge it. I continued down the southwest side of Yellowstone to the South exit into Teton Nation Park.  There was a beautiful waterfall along the way with mist rising form it. The Teton Mountain Range is lit by the sun and the mist is burning off.  Not much haze so the scenery was absolutely wonderful.

As I turn East the scenery changes slowly from mountains and forest to high plains to high desert. Some mule deer are eating the fresh cut hay in an area that got irrigated in the high plains.  It seems strange to irragate for hay, but your animals need it.  And this is a drought according to several of the local people I talked with.  They can’t irrigate much because they didn’t get the snow pack this winter and they haven’t got the rain this summer.

As I travel through the desert, I pull off to take a picture and speak with another bicyclist.  Him and his sister are traveling from Oregon to West Virginia in 88 days.  His wife and his sister’s husband didn’t want to do the trip. He is 69 years old and bought his first house this year.  He is a teacher at a private school in Boston, and has always lived on campus, but is now preparing to retire and needs a place to live.

I also see a herd of Pronghorn Antelope gathered around a small amount of water in what looks to have been a shallow lake at one time.  It reminds me of pictures I have seen of the animals gathered around the watering hole in Africa.  It is dry here. Nothing is green, the dry sage brush is the closest to green, the grass is totally brown or blond.  Except around the rare stream or waterhole, which will have green plants along its edge. I also saw 2 dead cows in 2 different places, nowhere near a water hole that I could see.  Apparently they didn’t find water.  Both were dried up with the skin stretched tight to the bones.

As I continue to travel, it changes back from high desert to high plains again. And finally from high plains to mountains covered in forests.  It is all green and has rained by the time I get to Steve’s house in Fort Collins CO.

I stopped at the “Fork in the Road” for gas and a item on their menu caught my eye.  So I tried a Jalapeno cream cheese sub sandwich.  It was very tasty.  I might try to make them at home.

I arrive at Steve’s house and he is in the garden pulling weeds, there have been quite a few grow since he left June 15th for Alaska.  I get my phone and activate it, then call Karen, the weather has cooled to the high 90s back home.  Tonight I  will stay at Steve’s place and tomorrow I will change rear tires.  The rear tire would probably make it home, but it would be very close and if I would get rain, it would not be safe.

And I got one more day without being rained on.  The temperature started at about 45 F and the high was around 90 F.  It jumped up and down between the high 70s F and the 90s F as I travelled today.  It was from totally clear to heavy thunderstorm overcast.  It was a perfect day to ride.

Here is all the pictures for today.

Gravel to a Ghost Town and finish in Yellowstone

July 8, 2012

The camera worked today, almost.  The autofocus is now not working.

It was sunny this morning when I got up at 7:30.  I said goodbye to Steve and we went our separate ways.  I found  a sign that said Garnet was only 14 miles it is a ghost town in Montana.  I decided to go see it.  It was ok, just a bunch of abandon building that someone takes care off.  However the road was a blast.  I followed it until the detour sign.  Then I went around the sign and followed it up to the ghost town.  Some of the climbs where 25% grade, and the trail was half washed out at one point, It was only 4 foot wide there.  Two of the switch backs where really sharp and I could not have made them in a jeep without back up a couple of times.  You would not want to do it in a car.  Coming down I took the other path and it was much easier.   I

I made my way back to I-90 at Drumand.  They were having a parade and rodeo.  I sat and watch the parade because the only way to the Highway was the parade route.  After the parade I was on my way again.

The motorcycle was making a strange sound.  I pulled over and ended up changing the chain.  Problem solved, no more noise.  I had several people stop to make sure I was OK, they were all hauling or riding motorcycles.  This was at a truck stop at 289 and 90.

With the motorcycle running good again, I headed for Yellowstone.  I run up a river valley most of the way.  The valley was green, but the rest was dry.  They where watering to get hay.  I entered Yellowstone park and the sights brought back fond memories and made me miss Karen even more.  We were here together some years back.  I stopped and took some pictures along the way. The camera is not auto focusing now.  I have to manually focus.

I run the side of Yellowstone that has a lot of hot places, and not to many animals.  Today I saw Elk and Mule Deer.  The young mule deer was still in velvet. I also saw a lot of squirrels today.

The weather did not rain on me, but it came close.  As I was closing the Continental Divide it was wet and the temperature dropped from 88 F to 49 F.  I almost stopped to put on the liner in my jacket.  But  the road dropped down and I warmed up again.

I pulled into Lewis Lake Campground in Yellowstone.  I met another rider from Colorado. His name is Shawn.  He is on a BMW 1200R on street tires.  He just got the bike 4 days ago and is trying it out.  He thinks he needs more aggressive tires.  We shared a camp site.  We are under a high fire conditions, so no campfire tonight.

It is getting close to bed time.  I need to put my food in a bear box and throw away the trash.  Then I will crawl into the tent for the night.

Here are all the pictures I took today.

I get lost and stay in a Teepee

July 7, 2012

I saw 4 deer, 1 black bear, and a gray fox today and several eagles.  At one point, it sprinkled a little bit, but no rain.

The ride today was interesting.  No hurry, so some shortcuts were tried.  Most did not work out, but saw some interesting country and talked to several people fly fishing.  The roads we did take where twisty.  I did about 20 miles of gravel today.

I run down a valley on Hwy 200 in Montana.  It followed the river and was beautiful.  But my CF card got corrupted and I lost all the pictures for today and yesterday.  I hate CF cards, this is the second time this trip.  I think I might need a new camera body that uses SD cards.

Traffic in western Idaho was terrible.  Everyone trying to get to the lake.  The heat didn’t help, but I stopped at a roadside fruit stand.  I got some Rainer Cherries.  They are really juicy and sweet.

I am stopping at Exstroms Stage  Station Campground for the night.  I am sleeping in a Teepee.  The cost was almost the same as a tent site.  This campground has showers.  I will sleep with the sounds of the stream just a few hundred feet away. It is quite a nice campground and I would recommend it.  They even have a restaurant on site. I would recommend this campground to any family type campers.

3 days without rain, It was in the high 40s when I got up and it got to 95 F today.

My route has changed, because I have to go to Fort Collins CO to pick up my replacement phone on Monday.  It is being shipped to Steve’s house.  I called on his phone this morning and got the replacement sent.  I had to have an address I could get to and when I could get to it.

I need to adjust the chain and it is getting dark, so I am going to go do that now.