Well 2 of our 4 days here have been working days, but the other 2 have been fun. The big attraction at Glacier is the “Road to the Sun”. It is a big deal and it is every bit as wonderful as the marketing hype sets it up to be. Here are a few pics.
Tons of traffic, so thats a bit of a downer, but the road is normally open for only a few months every year due to snow. All in all it was worth it.
Our other day of playing here was a full day fishing trip. We went with a really great guide who works with one of the 2 services that can fish the North Fork of the Flathead River. This was nice since this part of the river is the boundary for the Park it really is about as protected as it can be. They only run about 1 -2 trips a week down this river to keep the pressure as low as possible on the fish. We both caught a Montana Grand Slam (West Slope Cutthroat, Rainbow, CutBow and Whitefish). West Slope Cutthroats are almost gone thanks to man. With the introduction of non native species like the Rainbow hybridization of the West Slope Cutthroat has become the real problem. The North Fork of Glacier is one of the last hold outs that holds non-hybridized West Slope Cutthroats. G caught the first big fish of the day a 2 lbs. 18 in. West Slope Cutthroat.
We ended up catching about 30 fish and all varieties. The biggest one we hooked was a 24 in Rainbow and we caught several 16-18 in CutBows, Rainbows and Cutthroats. And Yes we even caught Whitefish to complete the Slam.
We had a great time here in Montana. Now we are off to Northern Tier High Adventure base for a week of work before we head home.
Its funny when you work as hard and long as Jeff does it really takes him a long time to finally reach the point he can unwind a bit and not watch the clock constantly. He is always worried about who is doing what, and making sure all our clients are getting the same attention even though he is not there. It has been really great that he had got so many good people around him now. With the like of Karyn, Chaz, Raj and Mark holding the Fort down and all the others who support them I think he has finally hit a point of relaxation. Normally we are up and on the road at dawn, and today was the same, but the reason was not the normal one. Today we had to get to Salt Lake City for 2 things, 1 to get the bike some new shoes and such, and 2 to go see our final Rush show of the Clockwork Angels tour. When we left KSV (Ketcham / Sun Valley) it was cool only in the lower 50s but we knew if we were going to get to SLC we had to hit the road early and hard. The drive down the mountains was very nice and our first stop was in a small town ShoShone, Id. We found a cute diner and grabbed a nice breakfast, talked to some of the locals about the history of the area and then motored on. The rest of the morning was just riding, nothing but riding. We made SLC a little after lunch, had to run by the UPS center to pickup some will call packages we had waiting on us before we went to the BMW shop in Sandy, UT. Was a typical BMW shop that sells other stuff, but the staff was less than friendly. Regardless we needed a new tire and the 6K mile service done before we went any further. So we tossed them the keys, went next door and rented a car from Enterprise and headed to our hotel. Turns out there was some huge convention going on so we had to go about 20 miles south to Orem to find a room. Ironically it was right across the street from the Utah Lakes Council for the BSA. We got checked in finally went and got some dinner, then on the way back to the hotel saw this sweet scooter shop so we stopped in and chatted and looked at their stuff. Thankfully nothing we really needed but it was fun to browse. Later that night we headed back up to SLC to head to the concert, it was a great show and a really nice way to end “our” Clockwork Angels tour. Got home late of course so we slept in a bit.
Next morning we got up and did laundry, oh boy but after 2 weeks figured it was time. Called the shop they said the bike would be ready right after lunch so we piddled and shipped some stuff home to lighten the load on the bike, or make room for more things to buy LOL. Finally got the bike at 1:30 and got on the road on our way to Jackson, Wyoming. Was a long ride 6+ hrs and getting such a late start put pressure on us to make miles up quickly. It was a hot day upper 90′s and much to our displeasure the winds had picked up to a nice brisk 30+ mph. This made for a long ride, but thankfully we got into Jackson about 8pm safe and sound. We stayed at a “Rustic” place, not so rustic however. It was a nice resort on the edge of a creek so we took a walk, got some dinner and then crashed.
Today we are turning north heading up through the Grand Tetons into Yellowstone for 1 night. Traffic is horrible…
No real news other than we survived all the tourists who are not watching for motorcycles and made it to Yellowstone. We rode over to the West Thumb Geysers so we could get some pictures. Spent a little over an hour there and then decided to make the lower park loop up through Hayden’s valley then back down to Norris, then over to Old Faithful before packing it in at our lodge in Grant Village. Somewhere between Hayden and Norris we noticed a Huge Plume of Steam in the distance. Turns out is was Steamboat Geyser, one of the tallest Geysers, but also rarest to see explode. It shoots super high and it only happens every so often, in this case it has been 8 yrs. http://www.today.com/travel/yellowstones-steamboat-geyser-erupts-first-time-more-8-years-6C10825031
After a nice dinner we took a walk on the beach of yellowstone lake and then called it quits.
We got a late start Monday morning after a long night of rocking out we needed the extra sleep. We decided to ride the Columbia River gorge as we started our slow migration back to the east. The morning was warm and humid and very cloudy. The CRG (Columbia River Gorge) is quite spectacular and the weather seemed kind of perfect for the Northwest so we didn’t complain. We got a nice 4 hours of riding in before we had to grab the big slab to gain some ground. We had hoped to get to Baker City so we could spend the next day wandering through the southern mountains of Idaho. One of the few places on the west coast we have spent little to no time in. The day turned very hot and we were soon missing the 70′s and over cast. It had been replaced by Full on Sun, no clouds and upper 90′s to low 100′s. UGH…. But being warm weather tolerant we handled it well. We stopped often, drank tons of water and made it all the way to the Oregon / Idaho border. Unfortunately there was no restaurant within walking distance of the hotel so we just decided to diet. We had a hard time unwinding from the days travels so I was up early like 4am Pacific doing some work for the BSA. Once G got up around 9 we started packing up for the days adventure.
The day got off slow as we had to run another 45 minutes of Big Slab to get to Boise, our jumping off point for the days adventure. Heading north out of Boise we found ourselves running up the Payette River. The landscape was very grassy, not a lot of trees as I was kind of expecting. After 45 miles or so the Payette split and we took the road of the South Fork into the national forest. This was a great drive, not a lot of traffic and other than a few construction sections road we really quiet sweet. The bad thing was the day was hot upper 80′s and oddly humid for such an arid region. We followed the river up till it turned north where we then picked up another river. This river was named Deadwood and it head up through a section of Idaho that is famous for a huge forest fire back in 1989. There were several historical markers and such along the route. We stopped by one just to read what all the hubbub was about. Once we got back on the bike we entered the area of the fire, and even though that was 24+ years ago the scars are still quite visible on the landscape. We stopped a few miles down the road, and had a quick bite at the Sourdough Lodge. Ok lunch, but really not much that was good for us LOL. After that the road turned a bit more north heading up to Stanley which is in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountain range. When they called them Sawtooth they really got it right. Extremely jagged peaks… G has some great pics and I will get them up as soon as possible. We decided the day was getting away from us so we headed south towards Sun Valley / Ketcham. WOW what a groovy town, hence “into the Sun” . We packed it in for the night, got an amazing meal at the Pioneer Saloon. Turns out that saying about someone being the Real McCoy comes from a guy who grew up here. Colonel Tim McCoy, AKA the Real McCoy. Lots of great town stories we spent some time in the local ski museum which was very interesting. All in all this is a place we will be coming back to. Plus the trout fishing is supposed to be amazing… Oh yeah and the skiing isn’t bad either
Epilogue… G wanted me to mention the reggae music that is playing out our hotel window. Turns out there is local thing going on tonight.
Well when we last spoke we had just arrived in Fort Bragg, Ca. We had a lovely room on the beach and the weather was cold and damp. But turns out that is perfect weather for our friends Gary and Charlotte. They are native Northern Ca folks so the cold and damp works great for them. On the other hand G and I are more warm weather folks and to be honest didn’t bring enough gear for 50′s and rain. But we made the best of it. The company was great and the riding was very nice to boot.
On Day 9 we got off to a late start not leaving Fort Bragg till about Lunch. Which again is really unusual for G and I, but when you ride with others you have to take into consideration everyones needs and wants. So it really was no big deal to get some extra sleep, and G enjoyed her time on the coast taking tons of pics. When we did leave we headed north towards Eureka. But to get there the PCH turns inland to join the 101. The route over to the 101 was awesome. Hundreds of twisty turns. And yes we even managed to drag a peg, or in this case we actually managed to scrap the center stand I got the bike really laid over and loaded up at the same time. Got some amazing pics and video. But unfortunately the hotel we are at has been somewhat a disaster when it comes to internet, or even power. But that is later in this tale. Once we hit the 101 the Temps hit 105+ and our friends began to melt. So we got moving and got back to the coast as quickly as possible. It actually hit 107 for a brief period of time, but by the time we got to Eureka it was back in the 60′s. We stopped at a local brewery, I have come to realize this is Gary’s favorite part of traveling is sampling the local brew pubs . After he had a pint and we had some food we moved on up the coast to Trinidad and checked into our quaint rustic cabin for the night. Now our cabin a few nights ago was rustic, but this one was a whole new level of rustic. But is was perfect. It was placed in a huge Redwood Grove so was really cool and damp. Just what you want when it is 50′s outside LOL. So yes back to our friends temperate zone. But it was great. Got a good nights sleep, said our farewells as we were heading north and they were heading back south.
Got up early and it the road as fast as we could. Didn’t even bother to shower as I mentioned the cabin was rustic LOL. We headed up to Crescent City grabbed some breakfast. It was a Cold and Foggy morning so really nothing to look at, but the road was twisty. So we decided to take the safer route and head inland. Once we got to Grants Pass the temps were in the 80′s, perfect for G and I and we caught the big slab north to Portland. In Oregon there are not a lot of north / south routes other than the interstate or the coast line. So we had to use the big slab, which we hate. But it was scenic so it made it better. We drug into Portland a little after 7, got off the bike and got some food. Well I think you could call it food, though it was questionable. Got a goods night rest and figured we would walk to breakfast in the morning and then figure the rest of the day out after that.
Dawn came to find us in a hotel with no power. So first no internet, now no power and yes this was a nice hotel so there really was no excuse. The power ended up being out almost all day so the place got warm, and there was no hot water to shower and it had been off so long that all the doors and emergency exit signs had lost their power so it was cave dark in this place. Got to love Marriott, and no they are not going to make any adjustments to the bill. Last time I am staying with them. Finally at lunch G and I got out to grab some lunch and wander around some of the older sections of town. Our initial impression of Portland had left much to be desired, but the lunch drive got this town at least back to a break even point with us.
Now we are getting cleaned up for tonights Show and will be turning back east 1st thing in the morning.
Well the good news is we are on the PCH this morning after a pleasant ride yesterday. The bad news is internet and phone service is very poor. This means no pics or video today, but I will add them once I get to Portland and get better service.
We hit the road early 5:30ish and blazed down the Interstate to Fairfield, CA. About 150 miles of big slab, but had to be done to meet up with our friends for breakfast. Running Interstates in Cali is always a trip in itself. As typical once we got to Sacramento we hit a traffic jam. But here in Cali Motorcycles get to “Legally” split lanes. So sure enough I put the bike on the dotted line between the left lane and the lane to the right of us and off we went. Saved us an hour I would bet. Got to love Cali for that one law alone.
Anyways we hopped off the big slab in Fairfield and hit one of our favorite roads through the Wooden Valley region, then up and over the mountains into Napa Valley. Got some great video and will get it up as soon as internet permits. Once we got into Napa we caught the Silverado Express and blazed a trail up to Calistoga, a true hippy through back town. Hooked up with Gary and Charlotte and went to our favorite breakfast dive and spent a few minutes just catching up while we ate.
We left Calistoga about an hour later heading towards the Coast. We tool the 128 all the way out to Mendocino. It was a great ride, except the 102 degrees we hit in the Boonville valley area. Man we went from 80′s to 100′s to 60′s in a 90 minute window LOL. Regardless the fog had moved in on the coast and it was cooler than we had expected so we stopped in Mendocino took a few minutes off the bike before we moved on to Fort Bragg, our final destination.
Once we hit Fort Bragg traffic picked up, but we got to our ocean side motel and got checked in. I had to do some IT work for Gary’s friend up here so we hoofed it over to a 2nd motel when I spent some time diagnosing a windows 7 hardware issue. Oh the things we do for free room and board LOL. As the night progressed we found a really groovy bistro grabbed some food and hoofed it back 3 miles to the hotel to a long over due night of sleep.
Thats all for yesterday I will try and get pics up, but check out Instagram link as some of the camera photo’s have probably made it up by now.
Well think this picture will give you some idea of where our day started.
For those of you who have not traveled this road it is very long and very lonely. When you pass this sign it is 160 miles to the next town. Gas up and hope all goes well. It is a very lonely place but it is also very mysterious. Here is another pic G got while flying at 85 mph of a rain pool that had formed from the prior nights storms.
When you reach the north end of ET highway you end up in a little town named Tonopah, NV. We stopped grabbed some fuel with only 6 miles left in our tank. Whew that was close. From there it is almost as lonely heading on west.
Our route today was going to take us across one of our favorite roads, CA-120. This road is really just one of those marvels for motorcycles. It is 5 miles of serious DIPS and then follows up with 5 miles of hill climb twists, with another 10 miles of forest road twists and dips.
From there we turned north up US395 and took the CA89 pass road over to Lake Tahoe. Taking tomorrow off to do some work, but going to crash in style so I can get some good Hi-Speed internet access.
Here is a pick for our Good buddy Chaz and his future dream car
And finally we arrive. As you can imagine G is much happier with these accomodations vs the prior nights cabin
Next day will take us over to PCH where we will meet up with 2 of our best riding friends.
Now I am sure some of you are wondering what is Shunpiking (Shun-Pike-Ing). This term comes from the old days when English lords would charge travelers a toll to cross their lands. At the border of their lands they would have Pikes in place and once you paid your toll then they would Turn the Pike and let you cross their lands. Hence the term we have today Turnpike comes from this practice. During at time travelers would do their best to avoid, or Shun these routes. These people became known as ShunPikers. Now in today’s world its more commonly used in the fashion of those persons who search out routes that are only traveled by those people who live on them.
The last 2 days have been covered with a few very nice ShunPiker roads.
Today we started one the western edge of Capital Reef National Park. There is a great route that takes you south through the Dixie National Forest down across the Grand Staircase and then onto Bryce Canyon.
This is a great road and we drove it today. We probably only saw 3 or 4 other cars all morning. I have some great video I will post later.
Once we got to Bryce we headed up to another seldom visited National Park, Cedar Breaks. Stunning is all I can say… Check Out G’s Instagram page for more pics.
After there we dogged a rain shower and then headed off into the Vast Great Basin. Lots of Road and virtually no travelers.
Well today was a typical day of testing your ability to ride, both physically and mentally. The day started out quiet lovely nice comfortable 60′s lots of sun and no wind. We took a different route today up in to Colorado heading across Wolf Creek Pass west towards Durango and points beyond. The first half of the day was absolutely one for the books. Great weather, little to no traffic, etc…
But once we hit Durango and took the westerly route towards Cortez we could see our luck was about to change. Now rain does not bother us a whole lot. We can get wet and live just fine. If it is going to rain for hours we stop and put on the rain gear, but this looked to be one of those 30 minutes variety monsoonal showers and we were going to skirt the edge of it anyways. So we tempted fate… So here is where it got interesting. First rain started, just a nice steady downpour, but then the temps dropped from 80s, to 70s, to 60s, to 50s, to OMG 43. Yep now we are soaking wet and it is 43 degrees. Oh but wait mother nature had one more surprise to throw our way. All of a sudden I started seeing large quarter size pieces of hail. 1 then a few, then a few dozen, then an all out hail storm. It was like someone was throwing rocks at us at 80 mph. It does not matter how much gear you have on it HURTS. This went on for 15 minutes with both of us yelping and shaking it off and just wishing for it to end.
Finally it did, we pulled over to get some gas and to shake off the injuries. Thankfully it was mostly just bruising, but still not pleasant. We got back on the bike soaking wet but at least now the temps started going in a good direction. We soon found ourselves in a nice balmy 80′s. As we left Cortez we took a back road “G Road”. Yep thats the real name of it. It wanders down a nice canyon heading into the indian reservation. After about 45 minutes you come out of the canyon and your up on the Navajo / Ute plateau. The only issue was now it was 100+ ugh. Freezing to frying pan…
We another 4 hrs in 100+ temps and ended up on the Western edge of Capital Reef National Park. It was an amazing ride, even if it was hotter than hell.
We are now calling it quits and will hit the road in the morning for the next leg.
Well where do I start. I had this post written in my head till about 60 miles outside of Taos.
As always I guess the best place to start is at the beginning…
We got off to an early morning start, nice cup of tea at Starbucks and Roswell was soon behind us. We took one of our favorite roads heading west towards a little town called Hondo. The clouds were really low as we left Roswell so really had no idea what the weather was going to be. But once we cleared the first ridge line the skies were bright and blue with just a few puffy white clouds. The ride from Hondo over the Lincoln Forest was great got some decent video along the way with our new Hero3 camera. (Will try and edit it down later and post). We then turned north towards Las Vegas, no not the Las Vegas, but the on in New Mexico. It was a wonderful ride. Perfect temps and little to no wind. Really could not have been a better day, which by the way was the original title for this post.
From LV we decided to take a new route over the high mtn pass into Taos. The first 25 miles were great but once we got past Mora we could see the ominous skies on the western side of the mountains. Even though we are in New Mexico we are still crossing over the southern tip of the Rockies and weather can always be tricky. So with the obvious weather heading our way we stopped and put on our rain gear.
Good thing we did as not more than 2 miles down the road it got wet and nasty. Now if that had been all of it I would have still left the title alone. But next thing you know we are coming around a corner to a herd of cattle standing in the road. Yikes… Got the bike slowed down and navigated a path through the herd. Cows are not very bright and a lot of them are fed by people who ride ATV’s and Motorbikes so they have a tendency to come running at you and want to follow you. Thankfully they did not /whew.
Now you would think thats enough and I am sure your wondering what does “Is It July” have to do with any of this. Well a few more miles down the road I noticed the mercury started dropping from 70s-60s-50s-40s…Wholly smokes what is the WHITE STUFF in the road and all over the hill sides. Yep you guessed it Freaking SNOW… Its July didn’t anyone tell mother nature LOL
Now we have ridden a many a mile in the snow, light snow, wet snow, even full on blizzards. The difference is your mentally expecting it so you don’t freak out. But in JULY… Lets get real its not like we are in Montana or something. Good news is we instinctively adapted and pushed on. Now 1 hour later and after a warm shower I can say we have arrived in Taos.
Tomorrow is a day off got to do some work so see ya on Sunday