I have not been to the Greenhorn highway all summer, the road to Bishops castle - its always fun railing the turns on that fast sweeper road, then the tighter stuff down to Wetmore. I met up with reddog in Woodland Park and we checked out the sky and thought well maybe we can go around Pikes Peak to a turn off at Twin Rocks and avoid the angry looking clouds sitting over Pikes Peak. We got lucky and missed most of the rain. Heading south on High Park road we saw a rare site, motorcycles holding up cars! We figured it was a new rider and sure enough it was a woman on a metric crusier and her husband not far behind riding 15 below the speed limit - of course in a section with no sight lines for at least a mile, we had to pass 3 cars and 2 bikes.
Reddog was saying over the blue tooth sena communicators they should pull off - but honestly I am sure she was so white knucked kung fu grip on the handle bars she probably had no idea there were cars behind her! I did not mind too much cause I know the road well and knew we were going to be into a passing zone soon enough.
Then over the back road to Cripple Creek we were soon on hwy 50 - Reddog was astonished at how bad they messed up that road with tar snakes, the hill down to the Arkansas River was so full of tar snakes it was like riding over a slip and slide water park as wide as the road. It was awful - sections we did over the years at a 100 plus are now very dangerous and not advisable to ride much over the speed limit if even that.
Lunch was a bacon cheese burger with weird maple syrup flavored bacon? It sort of ruined the burger which was very tasty but the maple syrup was just too much. Hit the spot though after we both peeled that stuff off. Then back on the road to Westcliff where we finally got some rain, just enough to clean the bugs off the visor. They dont call them the wet mountains for nothin!
Then soon we were pushing the speed up a bit and turned off on the Green Horn hwy at McKenzi Junction and then I rolled on the throttle and let her rip all the way to Bishops Castle - thats a very fun fast ride for 15 min or so of good stuff. There is more good twisties if you keep going but the best stuff is on the way to the Castle. Bigalow Divide its called is the best part.
Map of the video ride
We rode into Flornece and the heat on the temp gauge showed 100f, only in Colorado can you go from 65 to 100 in a matter of 12 mintues! We looked back at the wet mountains it was just covered with rain clouds, we hit it at the perfect time!
Every year for the last 9 years Reddog and I have done a run across the state of Colorado for an all day 500 plus mile ride. Usually its a ride to the Black Canyon and Back and its always right around fathers day - he gets a kitchen pass every year to go. This year was no exception, I invited a few other riders but life got in the way and it was just Bill and I again this time. We had to make a decision since half of the state of Colorado is currently engulfed in smoke from wildfires we had to figure out how we were going to do this.
This year we had to avoid the smoke from the Springer fire that was burning on the backside of 11 Mile Canyon so we just headed up hwy 24 and avoided the closed roads and all the smoke we could then looped over to Pagosa Springs and did the loop clockwise. I recently bought a set of blue tooth Sena communicators and well Bill wasn't too interested at first but warmed up to it after a 100 miles in and decided to give them a try. I bought a set so we clamped the thing on when we got to Gunnison and boom we were talking and riding and they performed very well, I had mine on the whole ride 11 hours and it worked great! I listened to music, spoke to Bill and pointed out road hazards when I lead and he the same, wow its so much easier to figure out whats going on when you can just push a button and start talking about what is going on!
I dont think we ran into a cop anywhere we usually expect them, and the ones we did see were marked well ahead by our two radar detectors, I could actually hear his detector go off since he has a speaker in his helmet so I could watch my flashing indicator and hear his. I have yet to figure out how to get the sound of my TPX radar to work with the Sena? Maybe somebody reading this has already solved that problem and can pass along the secret? His radar kept giving false laser signals every time the sun was behind us, we figured it was probably the sun reflecting in his rear view mirror and the way he had it mounted on his tank? Bill was getting annoyed with it not sure if he figured it out yet? Sena sells a bluetooth adaptor for inputs signals but its a bit pricy, I might have to go that route for the radar but I think I will wait a bit first.
As you can see from the pictures Bill was riding his 09 FZ1 and not his VTEC, he said he needs new clutch plates for the vfr before he can ride it, it was sort of an enigmatic ride on the FZ1 this time riding roads he is not as used too so he couldn't get his body position right for some of the tight sweepers we were riding, the wider bars and more upright position was giving him fits and he was inadvertently making steering inputs on the bars and making some turns unstable due to being in an uncomfortable position he said, we usually take the Canyon about 10 mph faster in some of the turns - well I charged a few corners too hot myself but all in all we always take it easy in the straits around 70-80mph and just dont slow down for the turns so its challenging but not a brake fest, just a pace type of ride - this road hwy 92 will bite you in the ass if you dont show a little respect, its a long way down to the bottom!
Bills FZ1 gets about the same gas range as the veefalo so we both tried to fill up at the bottom of Monarch Pass - but the gas pump was filling up so slow I barely got a gallon after 10 min, we gave up on it and decided to ride over to Gunnison and fill up there and get something to drink. There was a group of HD riders from Texas filling up also that we had passed and they pulled in after we had settled in a bit and I went over and talked to them, headed to the 4corners area they were in for a treat riding the Million Dollar highway -none of them had ever been on it before so I am sure they were about to be very pleased with their day!
It wasnt much longer we finally turned off onto hwy 92 and were on the Blue Mesa the Gunnison river below flowing into the Black Canyon, I love this road and was hoping that the chip seal they did last summer held up over the winter, it had indeed and was grippy and very good, a few spots I already knew about where the road had buckled from frost heave was still there and with the communicators I was able to point it out to Bill before we got there, so yea the Sena was great for that too. We had a safe but fun pace up the Canyon. I took video from the Damn up to about 3/4 of the way of the road to Hermit Point, cutting out the strait and boring parts.
Then it was a hot and fast ride to Paonia for some lunch and then we headed up McClure pass past the Paonia Lake area for some more video, this time we attached it to Bills bike but it shook like a leaf on a tree and the video card came out about 5 min into it and we missed the fast parts. There are some sweepers right after the lake that the veefalo just eats up, 60, 70, 90mph the bike just keeps creeping up in speed and eating up those tasty sweepers - many of my friends consider it thier favorite part of the ride, I sure as hell love that part all the way to the top of McClure pass on hwy 133. Too bad when it ends there is a mob of traffic and slab all they way from Carbondale to Aspen.
Lunch was pretty good in Paonia, just a mom and pop joint and a burger very tasty and great service, seems the only resturant in town and everybody including the town chief of police was there, it was funny a kid in a souped up ricer car was reving up his engine outside and the Chief got up out of his booth and went out and yelled at him BY NAME. Small town no doubt! The dude must have been 6 foot 8 and probably pushing 300lbs - Big dude I wouldnt test him!
Riding over to Aspen was tourture, it was hot and the traffic was thick, in town it was the worst, but we did see a few Aspen hotties on sidewalk, the scenery is great in Aspen in every aspect. Then we rode up Independence pass and got held up by a soldier in a Subaru who absolutely refused to use any number of the pulloffs as he drove just barely above the speed limit, the pass is very narrow and tight and lots of traffic coming down the other way so we just waited till the first opportunity, I was trying not to be disrespectful of the cagers all day but this guy was just not budging - first time we saw dotted line the RPMs maxed out and we were gone. Then was stopped at the top for a few shots and then back down we got in front of a VW golf what was not doing so bad following us, he would catch up on the super tight 10mph hairpins that drop off the side of the mountain and then we would be gone till the next one and finally he gave up chasing us down the mountain. It was actually very fun ride down this time, the bumps were smoother and they repaved some of the worst parts, the chip seal was in good shape on the Aspen side it was actually a fun ride over the pass. I cant complain other than the slab into Aspen it was a great ride all day long! We stopped one last time in Buena Vista for gas and I talked to a couple from Arizona riding together him on a KTM 990 and her on a Monster 650 they both seemed to be good riders. Must be nice to have a wife who can not only ride but keep up with you in the twisties! Super fun time - for those of you coming to the Summer Summit in August I can say that the Black Canyon is back up to standards!
Its been a long while since I rode with bill (Reddog) here in Colorado, usually its an email with two words lets ride and then we are off on some 3 day adventure across New Mexico and Arizona. Ok maybe not that casual but it did happen like that once! We have been riding together for going on 12 years now and wow I can believe all those small kids of his have already graduated high school and moved away? WTF happened to the time? Things move fast if your not paying attention, but one thing has been constant - riding season - we dont always ride together a lot but we always ride right around the beginning of the season and then one big ride for fathersday, I usually drag him on some 12 hour monstrosity to the Black Canyon and its an all day thing. This year we opened up with a ride to the top of Mount Evans a 14,000 foot peak with a paved road to the top of it and matter of fact its the highest paved road in the USA, at least it is billed that way - however Pikes Peak just finished paving that road to the top and it may now be the holder of that title so I dont know it depends. The Mt Evans road stops a bit short to the very top with a walking trail going all the way up another 200 feet up. At that elevation its a lung burner!
Anyway Reddog says he might meet me on the "blue one" huh? Blue one he says? What happened to the 02 vtec - so I show up and hes got a liter bike fz1 with brand new pilot road 3 tires mounted on it and a paper plate indicating its just been bought recently. I am wondering where is the vfr? Dont worry he says he still has it and is not going to get rid of it either! GOOD NEWS hes got multi bike syndrome now! Just like me, except his dirt bikes and now two street bikes out number mine quite a bit!
So off we go and up the road on hwy 67 we take it easy as long as we are in Teller county since he says he was busted a week before by a cop hiding by the painted rocks area and so we take it easy. I am not very fast on this road since its usually full of tar snakes and loose chip seal and the new pavement always has gravel in the corners cause pickup trucks with dually wheels cant seem to keep off the shoulder and always kick up gravel just as you are about to accellerate out of the apex of a good turn! Bam your sliding all over an riding off into a ditch (yup it happened to me 7 year ago on the old girl) SO now I wait till I can see out of the turn first before hitting it too hard up there, ALWAYS ALWAYS has gravel after the apex?
We roll past the stuff I hate and up Horsepower hill and he nails it, and so do and that little thing just walks away from me for a bit till I reel it in, wow it accelerates hard! Turns pretty good, so at the top we trade bikes and I take it down the bowl and down the strait into the town of Pine then up the mountain to Pine Junction into those great tight turns there, and 3 turns in it was like I had been riding it all summer and was hitting the turns hard as I do my own bike! Even faster since this thing is 150lbs lighter then the veefalo! Bill is disappearing in the mirrors like I did when I was behind him? Very easy bike to ride, somewhat small faring but adequate strait up and down seating position like a dirt bike, matter of fact I felt like I was on a short dirt bike! I kept looking to shift after already being in 6th gear though and it was a bit buzzy up top in the 10k rpm range but that is where most of the power was, not much torque down low, well relative to the vfr1200 anyway? So it must be the weight of the bike that lets it just accelerate so good on power roll ons? Or he was just kicking the gears down and then slamming the throttle open, while I was rolling on in 4th? I dont know? I like it, fun bike! Here are some pictures and a couple of videos from the ride
I really look forward to my summer trips, saving up and planning for the winter to get on the bike and roll across roads I have never been on or rarely get the chance to see. This past summer I took a trip to Northern California by way of Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada some 4000 miles on my vfr1200. This is the continuation of the trip left over from my last blog entry.
I had met with Radar, Didit, Fay, and Craig and we were starting out the day in Redmond Oregon, with our destination for the day to be a sleepy little place called Shady Cove where the rest of our party (Axle7, Tammy, and Jeff) was going to meet up with us. We headed west with a little bit of slab to Sisters Or, it was a very scenic bit of slab and out in the country a bit but very pretty. Didit lead us to this funky road called the McKenzi highway into a volcanic lava field that cut right into it ending with a very tight down hill section that was fun if a bit cautious since it had gravel strewn into all the right hand tight turns. Seems Oregon has its share of Yahoos to that cant keep their tires on the pavement and toss a bunch of dirt and gravel up into the road!
Didit was still having issues with his stator so he was riding without his headlight plugged in so we decided to stay off the main roads and go down some serious back roads to avoid getting stopped by the police. The Mckenzi highway was a bit narrow and the trees came right up to where the pavement stopped so I took it a bit cautiously till I could get a feel for the road, I turned on my camera a bit for some video.
So we had a great time rolling down the McKenzi Highway and we originally was going to head over to Eugene and then roll back to Crater Lake but instead we turned off at Rainbow and headed down this incredible road called Aufderheide Dr that skirted the edge of Cougar Reservoir - a fun road with deep long extended turns in and out of the hills that had me scraping pegs - Radar led the way and kept up a challenging pace - then it headed up the mountain side and into some shady tree lined back roads that just kept going on and on and on. I was having a blast, we saw some kind of wildcat cross the road on a rare strait section and then we stopped at the end to check out a neat little covered bridge in the village of Westfir Oregon. Then we rode another 5 miles to Oakridge and stopped for breakfast at some tiny little cafe called Mannings Cafe and had a very good breakfast. 2 hour already into our ride it was shaping up for a great day of riding - I got the tip to ride that Cougar lake road from http://www.oregonmotorcyclist.com/ - a great resource for the motorcyclist planning a trip into one of the best motorcycling states in the country.
So after that we had a hundred more miles or so of strait slab till we could enter Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake was a hoot, goofing off quite a bit we played around the park for a good hour or so then headed down the road to Shady Cove to meet the rest of us! Not much of a narrative this time but the photos speak for themselves
Continuing on in this blog entry with more of the story of last summers California PNW adventure! Its not often you meet people you just click with - and certainly this is rare with individuals but even more rare with a group. This close knit group of Canadians are just the best (well most vfrd people are the best) but something special cannot be denied! I just love riding motorcycles with these folks, I trust them and its always a blast - even when everything goes wrong! This time is no exception!
I finally made it to the sharp pointy place the french called Coeur d'Arlene. There is a sleepy little motel there called the Flamingo we seem to patronize as a group every time we pass through. My second time there they actually had a room for me this time. Complete with a fat cat that likes to jump up on your bed before it is touched by human hands to claim it as his! I am a cat person anyway so it does not bother me. Some cats act like dogs this is one of them!
So I was the first to get there, then Radar showed up with Fay on the back - then Didit rolled in with Craig in tow and we almost had a complete set of Canadians at that point - just missing Axle, Tammy and Jeff our Vancouver contingent, we would meet up with them in Oregon in two days!
My original plan was to ride with these guys for 3 days then head up to Canada for the meet going on up in Nelson that weekend, it was really ambitious for sure with 500 plus mile days in the middle to make it there and home! I dont know what I am thinking some times I bite off more then I can chew but things sometimes dont work out as planned and you just roll with the punches. I had a night planned at the McMinnimins hotel in Portland along the way too I was looking forward to another sample of that raspberry ale I liked so much when the PNW meet was in Troutdale the year before! OH well - when you plan too far ahead, something always gets fouled up! I sort of like the aspect about motorcycling of not knowing what to expect, sometimes I pull up lemons and sometimes I pull out sweet surprises from the hat.
We soon got on with this vacation get together by walking over to a restaurant a few blocks away and had a wonderful dinner as Didit smoozed his way into the heart and minds of the servers and wrangled up a nice patio table out front, we came a bit late it seemed and just about everybody in Idaho was in Couer d'Arlene to get dinner the same time we where. He charmed his way into getting us a great spot. We had a great dinner and we needed it since we were in for a long day of twisties from Idaho to Enterprise OR, to go ride the Old Spiral Highway and Then do Rattle Snake Grade, it was not too far but it turned out to be a strange adventure none the less.
Our first leg of the day was the ride around Couer d'Arlene Lake - a 20 mile twisty road that runs along the lake side. All I can say is its a great way to start a motorcycle ride. I set up my video camera under my headlight, I tied the tether cord to the attachment on the camera (good thing I took this precaution). Then rode about 100 feet as it fell off the mount and then dangled there for the entire length of the lake route. Damn luck! It was a fun ride though and we took it at a good clip! Didit and Radar switched up the lead and I followed for the most part because video is better with a subject in front to focus on, of course the subject turned out to be a shot of the front wheel as the camera dangled by a cord for 20 minutes! Jeez it would happen that way. Then we rolled down a pass behind a chemical hauler semi truck hell bent on not letting any of us pass. We waited patiently for what seemed like hours for a safe and legal spot to pass which turned out to be the end of the good stuff! Jeez 30mph in lonely twisties with a semi blocking us for 15 minutes was hell!
So it was still early and time for a bit of breakfast in Saint Maries Idaho, it wasnt bad at all - the company was better, lots of laughs.. Me just realizing my camera was dangling by a thread! So all the passing they did to get around me to get in the shot was all for nothin!
We had a bit of very nice country side to go through to get to the next major highway, still out in the sticks we had one pass coming out of Saint Maries that is really good with lots of sweepers. Usually it has too much traffic, I say usually since I have done it once before so I don't really know what I am talking about, so I expected much traffic on it and it WAS there just as I thought it would be! However its two lanes going uphill so I passed a ton of cages and trucks to get to open road and everybody followed suit.
Being that we were about 100 miles into the ride I should have filled up in Saint Maries! My bike only has a 4.8 gallon tank and I hate worrying about gas, but I did not do that - so I slowed it down a bit except one really good part on hwy 6 about 5 miles north of a blink town called Harvard Idaho, its a railer of about 2 miles, just hard right then hard left then hard right, very predictable but the turns are very very deep so you can sustain leaned over position for a long time the hard over to do it on the other side for a while, back and forth they just keep coming! Great little stretch of road going up the hillside, and lots of trees around you, a they have concrete rails up on both sides so it feels like your in tree tunnel just leaned over as fast as you can turn the bike back and forth. Jeez that is a fun road, and just a bit scary going down hill cause you can get into to it way too fast and then you have to brake so you have to brake carefully and not upset the suspension.
So we stopped for gas and then the fun started, Didit's bike would not start! Aww Jeez, I think we push started it and to the gas station down the road cause Didit needed a phone, or he needed a place where his phone worked in case he needed a tow. He filled up down the road and tried to start it again and nothin! The station had jumper cables so we jumped the bike started and then we unplugged his headlights and let it idle for about 20 minutes to charge the battery, they also had a multi meter they let us use - or maybe one of us had one? In any case the bike was charging without the headlights plugged in so Didit just left them unplugged, we would head to a dealership down the road!
First we found a motorsports shop in Moscow, but they pointed us to a Honda dealer over in Washington just across the state line 11 miles away in Pullman WA. It was there we found his RR connector was all burned up.
The dealer loaned us some wire, soldier, and a heat gun to try to fix it, which we did, but it did not solve the problem. So we said lets keep on going, the bike was running fine with no headlights so we pushed on after a short lunch at a bar next to the dealership. Next up we hit the Old Spiral Highway and had some fun going down it!
Didits bike was just barely limping along and it was clear we had not fixed it with the connector so he decided to call around for parts and ended up getting our very own Tightwad from vfrd to send him a new stator and RR overnight to the hotel we had booked in Eureka CA. I had planned to ride with them all to Eureka then head north - but it seems plans and rides never seem to work out exactly as expected. We had one more section to do that day and then spend the night in Enterprise Oregon one more good spot of riding on Rattle snake grade then we would roll into Enterprise for the night.
I spent most of the time looking in the mirror for a blue bike since we had no idea if the thing was going to make it, but it did! 2 days with a burned up stator phase, and no headlights. I think we tried to plug the lights back in and thats what killed the battery? So we left them unplugged till we could get the parts from Texas. Tightwad was a lifesaver!
We decided next time if there is a next time we stay in Enterprise we will check out the motel in town instead of the Best Western, the quality is there but not for the price?
So off we went after spending a frustrating 20 minutes waiting for a clerk to let us pump gas, Oregon has a stupid law about pumping your own gas, YOU CANT. Most the time they just let you anyway but they need to see if your doing it right first? 50 states in this country and each one is different! It is the law in Oregon that gas must be pumped by an attendant and there is no self serve! It freaked me out the first time I was there to see some dude stop me as I tried to pump my own gas, he noticed my Colorado plate so he did not go off on me - I am not used to being approached from behind and tapped on the shoulder pumping gas, I almost sprayed gas all over the guy cause he started the hell out of me. Thankfully I was expecting it this time around.
We headed out of town behind a circus it seemed, an entire trainload of rv's and cars lined up for a mile it seemed and we passed them one at a time along the long straits out of town. Didit and I swapped mp3 cards so we could listen to something new, his wife prepared a whole playlist of songs I had never heard before. It was interesting, mostly club dance or workout songs, lots of fast music that made me want to ride at 100mph all day long! I had to slow myself down on several occasions. Today we were headed for Redmond Oregon.
We just had to stop first in Elgin, I had to pee so bad I could not stand it, and every RV we passed flew by us as we hung out at the gas station there, oh well! We decided to make it a long stop and just relax and let them all get way way ahead! Which was a good thing since we did not see most of them again after that. So we sat down and talked and took pics in this tiny little place
I just plugged in Didits route into my gps without shaping the points any or looking at the route, he had originally had us headed down the interstate in La Grange but I did not see that and my map sent me right into town for a 15 minute stop and turn around and go back waste of time. He was not happy about that, but oh well - when we all use different gps units they don't always translate the same. So we got back on and then turned off to some podunk place called Ukiah Oregon, a dumpy little stop in the middle of nowhere - and we had to pump gas from an old style pump and pay cash to the kid in the wheel chair with no legs and only one working hand? That was a bit akward cause I did not know if he wanted help or if he was sort of one of those militant handicapped types that get all offended if you try to help? I just said f'it and let him do his thing an walked into the dumpy little store. From there on out the roads are really good, we took back road after backroad, and I was really feeling good with the bike and letting it get deeper and deeper into the turns as we went along. It was a good 2 hours more of riding before we stopped for lunch in Service Creek. It seems if you are a motorcylist riding along the John Day rider it is imperative to stop in Service Creek for lunch, the food is good and its a very relaxing place to be, if not a bit hot. I had no idea but the middle of Oregon is mostly high desert, and it gets very hot in the summer!
We still had about 100 or so miles to go and I needed gas - I was on fumes actually not far from Service Creek I was worried about running out but we pushed on all the way to Prineville and I still had half a gallon left in there and was not in any trouble, but I did stop and fill up the tank along the way with my spare gas can I had stored in the side bag, turns out I did not need it at all! Oh well better safe then sorry.
It was just another 30 minutes to Redmond - and there we fought over who (Didit, Craig, and I) about whos turn it was to sleep on the couch, (ME). I had the room all to myself in Couer d'Arlene so I got the couch this time.
We walked over to a great little restaurant down the road and had a great time - my steak was good Madalinas Grill is the name of the place it was just up the road from the Hotel. Another Best Western but this time much better value! Then Didit and I took in a movie from across the street, shoot I cant even remember what movie it was? There was a very nice Moto Guzzi sitting across from the theater.
So far the trip was turning out to be pretty good, as long as we left Didits bike headlights unplugged!
Last summers August adventure had already started, (see previous blog post) I had made my way to my uncles house in Boise after spending a restless night in Ogden UT, a place I am not so impressed with - being that it is the home of the IRS, or at least that is the place where I sent my tax returns? I was surprised at how pedestrian the place was - not nearly as nice as SLC just south of there, but not ugly by any means - its just the opposite of Colorado the mountains are on the east side! I am used to them facing the other way, but mountains none the less, I dont quite feel grounded without mountains within sight. After a ho hum meal at the restaurant next door, I decided to forgo any evening entertainment and just hit the sack and get up early and get to my uncles place in Boise, shoot I already wrote about that part - Albion Idaho - I should note the restaurant I like in Albion is called the Sagebrush Grill, I got it wrong about 20 times on my last blog post.
In any case I made to my Uncle Lonnies place and we spent a day together catching up with the goings on in the Mayo clan, him? ~ not so great just another one of the many many folks in the "land of the laid off" currently looking for work, hes an IT professional who formerly worked for the state of Idaho as a contractor, that's the worst part about contractors - the contracts run out. So we went over to his favorite bar and shot the breeze for several hours and I met most of buddies. It was nice hanging out with Lonnie, I have never really spent that much time with him before other then Christmas and Thanksgiving surrounded by everybody else in the family.
So the next day I had one more solo trip up to Coeur d'Alene. Thats a name I cannot spell to save my life. I always have to google it first! Coeur d'Alene, Coeur d"Alene - freaking frenchy names get me every time! Just like the Cache La Poudre in Colorado, just means lots of snow! They can make a turd sound good, or Grand Tetons - you can guess what that means! French place names always seem to resolve to something usual. Oh but NOT Coeur d'Alene, that was a name given to the local indian tribes by French fur traders and it means simply Heart of an Awl. Hey for once a name that has some thing a bit more interesting, it means "heart of an awl"? They found the locals to be shrewd traders apparently, but the indians they called themselves by the name the Schitsu'umsh which brings us back to stupid names again, it means (The people who are found here) aww jeez! I might as well be called "fat dude on a bike"!
So I found every twisty road that lies between Boise and Coeur d'Alene on the map and took it, I headed a bit backwards at first going up to Idaho City on hwy 21 a great twisty road that finds the tightest twisties just south of Lowman Idaho. The road is a bit bumpy and in need of repaving on spots, lots of repairs but I took it fast, catching and overtaking several bikes along the way RV's and what not, I was having a good time on that road - then I turned west at Lowman and headed along a river bank, winding along with even more cars and RV's - it was the weekend and it seems all of Boise turns out to go to the mountains - that road was too short and soon I was on hwy 55 heading north to McCall, a good road if it where not for all the traffic! Thats the main road north in Idaho so there really is no getting off it, just plug away - I found it useless to pass the cars since there was so much traffic up ahead I was just wasting energy, it was more then I could see, once out of the mountains and onto the high plains the highway department slapped up 30 mph signs all over the place for 40 miles as they chip sealed the road - of course not on the weekend so NO CONSTRUCTION CREWS OUT but the cops were - handing out tickets for speeding over 30! I just sat behind a car that had gotten fed up and took off, I hung back far enough to save myself if the cops should see and well a rabbit is a rabbit is a rabbit, let the coyotes get the first one out of the gate! It was like this all the way from the point I turned off to McCall, all 64 miles of crawling along at 30 miles per hour, I was going insane! Finally in McCall I pulled off for gas. At gas stations the Veefalo seems to be a draw with its beautiful lines or some say ugly lines!
I had to talk to every idiot who had never seen a bike before in their whole lives! Already irritated by the 2 hour ride up there - the obvious questions and idiotic warnings from total strangers about how "dangerous motorcycles are" - proved to be more than I could take. I retreated into my helmet and pretended I could not hear what they were saying to me. Hand gestures to my ear - just get back into your car woman and leave me the hell alone! Yea yea OK I will ride safe yea OK thanks - as I sat there waiting in line behind the next guy for a free pump, trying not to notice she just stuck a cell phone up to her ear as she drove off.
Some people don't understand that unsolicited advice to a motorcyclist is not welcome! Especially if your going to get in your car and drive off with a cell phone to your ear! I hit the Detour button on my GPS since McCall was a total parking lot at Noon on a summer Saturday, I found an offshoot road to the west and was so glad to be free of that nonsense! I was a bit exuberant when I found some twisty roads just west of town and got on the gas and started to dip the bike into the corner, just in time to hear my Radar detector go off and a sherrif flashed me with his lights as I went past at some twice the posted speed limit! OPPS I saw him begin to turn around but I rounded the next tight turn and got on it hard! HEH the sight of open road ahead sort of shot down my hopes of getting away but to my surprise NO SHERRIF was behind me now? I guess he gave up and did not want to do any paperwork, its one thing to hit it in tight twisties and another to try to get away on a strange road that is strait as far as I can see! I thought I was toast! Well that was good for a thrill and it certainly took the foul mood right out of me, a scare can do that for ya! I was happy to be alive and enjoying the open road again!
I pushed on up to Coure d'Alene at a better pace, I found a great road called Greer road, after Koosia pass I was really finding some nice roads now, Greer road Cavendish road all northern Idaho roads seem to be pretty good.
All in all it was a great day of riding minus that McCall Nonsense, I had a good day soloing, but I was ready to ride with friends, I made it to Coure d'Arlene in one peice and thats where I met Radar, Fay, Craig, and Didit. We were about to go on another great adventure in the summer of 2011.
Stay tuned next up - the Spiral Highway, stators, Rattle snake grade, Enterprise - ALL OF OREGON.
Every year I take at least two long out of state trips - usually associated with vfrd in some fashion or another, this last year 2011 was no exception. August is usually the time sombody organizes a PNW rally, usually in Canada or in Oregon - Superfunk, Choco, or Didit being the characters most involved with that in the last 3 years. I try to come when I can, time and money are the only thing holding me back, and usually those things are not so bad. I am thankful to have a decent job with lots of Personal Time (PTO) as they call it - I usually dont take time off for other things at all so it accrues rather generously for me for the most part, and I love my motorcycle adventures across the USA and Canada - perhaps in the future that will expand to other places as well, I have still a lot of the USA to explore, and Northern California was on that list for this trip.
I decided in this blog entry to just write about the "getting there" part and include the video above of the Old Spiral Highway to show you all why I wanted to go! The roads in the Pacific North West are simply superb - and along the way too. The company I keep is second to none - most of this is true about VFRD members I have met, but this group is special to me since we have one hell of a good time together.
I did all my usual getting ready to ride stuff, oil change, new tires, check over the bike, do any scheduled maintenance, and pack - then unpack and remove any crap I don't really need and then do it again, (because most of the time you don't need half the stuff you bring). I remember meeting a guy on an Aprillia a few years back, stock seat, full leathers, did not even bring a back pack, just stuffed some underwear under his seat and brought his phone - he borrowed my charger even - NOW THAT IS SPARTEN sport touring. I have not yet come to that - no I bring at least 3 changes of clothes, cameras, mini lap top, phone, extra gas - (veefalo she has such a small tank), walking shoes, and shaving kit - OH AND TOOLS. So well I have not made that jump just yet! However I have come along way! He was riding from Oregon to Laguna Seca with lots of places to get stuff along the way, me I usually have to travel across some great expanse to get to where I am going with hundreds of miles between gas stations.
Well anyway back to the story - I called my buddy Jack, a guy I met in the winter who rides a Connie 1998 vintage and hes a real character, perhaps not the fastest guy around but fun to hang out with for sure, and long in the tooth and gray as hair can get. I like him. He tells me meet up in Cripple Creek so we can take advantage of the $2 casino breakfast - Cripple Creek Colorado is about an hour away from my house in the mountains behind Pikes Peak and its a gambling town.
So Jack and I sit down and bullshit over ham and eggs and an orange juice from a can (hey it was $2!) and then we take off toward hwy 50 to go ride the Black Canyon. Its an easy day, nice and sunny and a bit hot actually, Jack is riding close enough and I am not pushing it so we are having a good time, up and over Monarch Pass - its a good thing we were going slow cause a rare state patrol officer was on the pass in full patrol mode. My radar went off just as I had slowed down to get behind a car, I was ready to pass at the first opportunity so I got lucky. I did not say I was riding like a saint, I just said I was not riding as fast as I normally do, I had a bit of fun going up and down the pass. The thought of Jack behind me rolling along kept me from really burning it up and perhaps getting a ticket, I am not used to seeing State Patrol on the pass, usually they are in the plains down below and close to Gunnison.
We stopped in Gunnison for a sample of brew at the Gunnison Brewery (eww not so good) and a bite to eat and took off cause it was so so to not so good! Cant say I enjoyed that meal but Jack kept me entertained as usual with his stories. Hes got a lot of them and they are pretty good ones, the dude knows motorcycles thats for sure. Then we hit the Black Canyon and had an awful time there too cause well they just chip sealed the damn thing and left all this loose chip all over the place and so it was more like a dirt bike ride then a sport ride. Oh well we decided to forgo the Grand Mesa when we got to the stop at the half way point and just turn around and make up some time, the road was not much fun in that condition and to keep on going at that pace would have had us in Grand Junction at 9pm. The first 3 miles of the Canyon were good but after that NO.
So we just slabbed it from the Black Canyon on over to Grand Junction, we found a cheap motel and Jack talked the guy into $25 bucks apiece, and it was worth about that HEH. Oh who cares I slept good, and we went and got a great steak at wwpeppers, it was incredible - my boss told me about that place and it was worth the $$!
Cheap room = good meal money!
Then we walked over to the local brewery and had some excellent beers and talked up the sassy bartender, she was a hoot. Jack was in his element, funny as usual.
In the Morning we took off early, I split with Jack and headed to Utah, I decided to make a morning trip into the Colorado National Monument right there on the west side of Grand Junction
I thought I had gotten there early enough not to pay but they got me on the other side! Then speeding over the Interstate to get off and do Douglas Pass at incredible speed, I was having fun, but boy there was a lot of cars on it? One every minute it seemed but no cops! Most going the other way, so I did not have to pass too many cars. Into Utah I grabbed some lunch in Vernal and enjoyed the stuff on the walls, some really nice guns on display. Then I took off over the Flaming Gorge and had some fun riding up and down that, its really pretty the sand stone rocks and the cool blue water.
I shot over the pass and around that road all mired in RV's and Harleys. Shot past so fast those RV's with that big 12k cc engine pounding out the miles one by one - passing was just a matter of rolling on the throttle in 6th gear even up hill it was more then enough torque to get around those RV beasts, but the HD took a shift down to do that. It is mostly slab from then on, until I got to the Sawatch mountains, I was rolling into Mountain View Wyoming, just in the Utah notch there coming in and out of Utah, you got to go through Wyoming a bit - anyway the Radar was blasting so I slowed it down to a crawl and sure enough the local sherrif deputy was sitting in a ditch were you cant see him and hitting everything - he pulled out and followed me till I pulled in for gas and and just wanted to see the bike. Turns out he owns a 2006 vfr and wanted to see the new one, never heard of vfrd though? Jeez the word is not spreading! I dont think he is an internet type of guy anyway.
So I pushed on over I-80 into Utah again and turned off Evaston to go ride the Sawatch. I took no pictures from here on to Ogden UT cause I was pushing for time and really really enjoyed coming down why 39 it is a fun road in the mountains east of Salt Lake, mostly nice sweepers and good chip seal. I like chip seal when its done right - its grippy as all get out when done right.
Ogden is not my favorite place, big bad uncle sams bankers work there and its sort of just a strip mall with no so great resturants, well I haven't found any yet to put it more accurately, I found a decent motel and camped out for the night. I was on my way to Boise, and to spend a day with my Uncle Lonnie there, but on the way I would stop in Albion Idaho to my favorite resturant in Idaho - the Sage Brush Inn
It was a slow day so the owner came over and sat with me for a half an hour and shot the breeze very nice guy and he told me about this place called the city of rocks about 10 miles south of Albion I should go an visit, it is a rock climbers dream, world class climbers come from all over the world to scale the rocks there he said so I went and took a look!
It was mostly hard packed dirt road - that is untill I climbed out of the park and into the valley below then it was chipped rock spread out over hard packed dirt road and slippery and slidy for 20 miles. I had a death grip on the bars cause it would slide out way too easy - but after 10 miles I relaxed and got used to the loose feeling a bit but damn dont let off the gas or use the brakes cause then you were tank slapping your way though 2 inches of loose rocks! I was glad to be back on the interstate after that and just cruised up to Boise and there my I met my uncle at his door, he let me in and we spent a good day catching up on things. The next part I will continue later, the ride to meet my Canadian riding buddies!
I was itching for another out of state ride, the NY ride was going on around the same time up in the Catskills but boy I just could not swing that much time off it takes 4 days just to get there reasonably and no way I am gonna ride interstate the whole way out there! I decided I wanted to ride the Ozarks again. So I contacted a bunch of vfrd people who live relatively close to the Ozarks and a few who live close to me and low and behold found out that a bunch of Texans lead by Dutchintercepter where already going. Turns out they were all from around the Tyler Texas area and have known each other for years. I have known and ridden with Dutch for a few years myself so I asked if I could tag along. "Sure" he said and soon I was on my way to Arkansas.
It was a bit of a gamble since I would work the night before leaving, I asked my boss if I could leave at 4am so I could get in a nap and he agreed it was OK, so I would be somewhat awake. I found out from an email list that one of my favorite musicians was playing in Lawrence KS so I bought tickets and headed for Lawrence Thursday morning, I skipped my nap and headed strait for KS in the pre dawn moonlight. I was excited I would get the chance to see Pat Metheny play again - I have seen him once before in Denver 15 years ago and was delighted. I was going to head into Oklahoma and pick up gswanson and then head to the Ozarks but the Pat Mentheny gig was too tempting. Lawrence KS is the home of KU the Jayhawks and its not too far from Topeka KS where Lee2002 lives and he asked me more then once to come and stay with him. I thought a good deal about it but did not think it was fair to show up at 3 in the afternoon and then go strait to bed for 3 hours! So I headed to a motel in Lawrence and did exactly that. The trip out to Lawrence was rather windy and well crazy. I was blowing gusts of 50 mph in Colorado as the sun came up, and cold about 40 degrees on the plains near Kit Carson Colorado I was freaking cold I ended up stopping to put on a layer of clothes under my transit suit and thicker gloves.
Colorado was the worst part since the road was 2 lanes and bumpy, bumpy and windy is a sucky combination and will it plays havoc with your gas mileage! 130 miles and my tank gage was flashing already! Good thing there was a solitary gas pump in Kit Carson, I filled it up and was rather amazed at the amount of traffic there was at 4 and 5 am in the morning on the way of of Colorado springs, lines of cars rolling into the Shriver air base and into Colorado Springs it was crazy, folks live out in the sticks and a whole bunch of them, commuting every day from out there must be a real chore!
I made my way strait east to Oakley KS for another fill up since well the wind was still blowing 30mph but more steady and not so gusty and the smooth interstate made for a much nicer ride to be honest, the wind wasn't so bad anymore and I could cruise and listen to music for the rest of the day. Only my ear buds stopped working! Jeez, I pulled them out and stuck in foam ear plugs and boy everything got quiet and serene - even the 30 mph wind was quiet and I just cruised down the interstate with 50 miles more per tank then I got in Colorado! All damn day long the wind was relentless! I stopped again in Hays for a burger at a steak burger place called Freddie's good stuff! I like that place, not so much Hays but the burger made for a nice meal. Then I put my head down and settled in for the rest of the ride, the further east I went the less windy it got, so much so that each town would get a little less brown and a little more green, more trees popped up and the moisture in air became noticeable, still windy mind you it did not go away but it wasn't killing me anymore!
I could see signs up for places like Abilene KS - good place to live and have a career? What? OK good for you Abilene, I suppose it goes along with the Abortion is a sin signs on hwy 50 - Kansas is a conflicted state, strait up bible thumping fire and brimstone side by side with heartland hospitality? I guess the further west and windier it gets the crazier it is! By the time I made Topeka I waved at Lee thinking "well hello sorry I will see you come next summer summit", I really wanted him to come along on the trip but hes only go so much time off and family matters pressed the weekend out. So I rolled into Lawrence on some back road to avoid the toll on I-70 and had to stop for a crazy accident , a car had gone off the road and over an embankment cops everywhere! I finally rolled into the hotel and got my key then laid down and set the alarm for 6pm and dosed off for a nap, up for 24 hours is not good! But I think I could have rode another 300 miles if there were some twisties to keep me awake!
I woke up and headed for the Theater and was surprised to see Lee standing on the corner waving at me to park his bike next to his! Wow I did and walked up to him in disbelief I was not expecting to see him there? He chastised me for not staying at his place and I explained myself and well it worked out - turns out Lawrence has a first rate brewpub its right next door to the Liberty Hall theater where Pat was playing so we stopped in and got a brew and talked for a bit, Lee just sort of had a little did not even have a drink really handed me his beer after I finished mine, he had to go to work at 11pm so he was just being nice. I was glad he stopped over, way way out of his way to come meet me. Lawrence is a nice place, and there was a very large group of folks at the show, it was amazing, I said goodbye to Lee and walked in sat down and 2 seconds later Pat came out and started playing a whole list of my favorites and a few new ones, just a duet and a scaled down version of his Orchestron, a one man band computerized synthesizer that he did some amazing music with. Just him his guitar and a bass player, and the Orchestron. He is a very gifted musician. He even played my favorite tune of his.
Great show and afterward I walked next door and sampled another beer from the Free State Brewery again, and listened to the local conversation about meth labs from a biker dude out on the patio, bantering back and forth with a lady about the state of the justice system and drug policy in the USA. In any case I had enough and went back and finished off the night with a big mac and fell asleep with the tv on back at the hotel.
Up early in the morning surprised to see the parking lot mostly empty - boy these Kansas people get up early in the morning! I took off south and looked for back roads into Missouri apparently another vfrd member from Kansas saw the veefalo as she headed out of Lawrence while he was on his way to work at KU, Huskysooner saw me leaving and pm'ed me asking if that was really me! YUP! I met him a few years ago at Lees Kansas meet in Topeka.
I stopped in Baldwin City KS for breakfast knowing I was gonna be alright speeding when I left cause just about every cop in the county was having coffee in the restaurant in the next room over from mine, I had some eggs and listened to the locals joke - some guy comes in he says "hello darling" to the lady at the table next to mine and she says "well if you call me darling what do you call your wife"? He says back "old bag"! Then he says "maybe thats why I have been married four times"?
Like I said all the cops were still drinking coffee so I made my escape from Kansas in a big hurry doing some good time on the back roads trying for Harrissonville MO - but somehow I got ahead of myself and had already turned off just blindly following the gps route I made the night before and passed right through it without even knowing it! I was gonna look for a new set of ear buds since my singing to myself was getting tiresome! That area of Missouri is a bit flat, but allot of trees and the further east you go the more the roads get like roller coasters, not many turns just a lot of undulating up and down and some of it quite dramatic you can catch some air if you are going fast! And I was - and I did! Thrills come cheap on a motorcycle! I just kept on going and going and going then I turned on a familiar road I have been one 3 times before or so I thought I did? I ended up taking a frontage road and not the main road and had to double back, strange place called Tightwad MO! Lakes around there are nice, and further up the road I missed the turn, and ended up going through Warsaw a couple of times cause I missed the right turn on hwy 65. Then I turned off that road again onto hwy 7 another road I know from before - this one still is a roller coaster but it has some turns in it. Unfortunately the locals like to think they can race you when you get behind them and proceed to make their vehicles go faster then they are capable of safely driving! Dude in a beat up Chevy pickup tried to hold me off as long as he could and the oncoming traffic is the only reason I waited patiently behind him as he drover over the double yellow a number of times and then onto the dirt shoulder in the right turns, what an idiot. I saw a dotted line and clear lane and was past him so fast he had no idea - then he disappeared in the mirrors just as fast!
I stopped in Lebanon MO at the walmart and was back in business with tunes when I picked up some JVC mushroom buds, the fit just right and isolate the sound just as good as the foam earplugs I was using, best of all my rendition of "landslide" by Fleetwood Mac in my head was finally over - why do I torture myself with the same tune over and over again, who knew you can make that song last 3 hours if you sing it half assed half remembered lyrics and made up lyrics to fill in the parts I did not remember! Thank goodness for walmart!
Well I have had just about enough of the up and down roller coaster shit of Missouri and well almost 1 mile into Arkansas the road started to turn RIGHT AND THEN LEFT - oh yea I forgot what that was! TURNS THESE ARE TURNS and good ones too! I turned off at hwy 178 to follow along Bull Shoals Damn and ran smack into a nightmare of traffic? I don't know why all the businesses were closed and 80% of the buildings were shuttered? It was depressing but I did get to see the Bull Shoals Damn! I am sorry for the bad pics the camera was set to low resolution quite by accident.
The road got interesting after I got past the lake, and the traffic thinned down, I got behind a caddy of all things that was keeping a very good pace in the turns, I got around him soon enough and he stayed with me a bit until the turns got tighter and tighter then I was gone, and there was Yellville up ahead - I pulled into the Carlton Motel and saw a bunch of bikes from Dutch's Tyler Texas group and talked with the guys, then about an hour later Gswanson pulled in with 2lthr (Gary and Steve) and then Dutch himself pulled in on a KLR? I see he tells me hes parting out the black viffer cause he cant deal with all the electrical issues and wont sell it outright cause he does not want to pass that mess on to somebody else? Rumor has it hes gonna pick up Gswansons old Betty? Gary got a RWB vtec last year but still has his 5th gen in the garage. Its already black!
Then here comes flavadave and his girl on the back 2up, we walked over to the bbq joint down the road and had some grub. Dutch joined us, it was good, the food in Yellville is OK but not great, but the BBQ was the right price (CHEAP).
The next day the Texas crew took off onto destinations their own and I had prepared a route for the viffer group, down the fast sweepers on MO 14 and over to Push Mountain for an early morning romp - we actually ended up behind one of the Texas guys Dutch's buddy on his Bandit, he lead us up to Push mountain and said he was just going to run it a few times and go back. I was rocking it pretty good on the veefalo when all of a sudden a fast moving red blur went by and I could swear it was another vfr1200! sure enough it was but he did not stop. Everybody thought I had turned around and was coming back since I was leading and got ahead just 2 of use alone for a while me and Steve.
Then we headed over to North Fork and took in the sights at the North Fork Damn
Then we settled in to some great roads all day long for 350 or so miles of Ozark bliss! I call it the Ozark lullaby since some of the roads just sweep back in forth like a waltz, and you just get a great rhythm going, then we came up on hwy 16 and then the fun started it was more challenging and technical, I did not remember it being so much fun I love that road, one of my favorites and I think I like it best of all of them personally, Pulled in for a stop at Pelsor and then we hit hwy 123 as seen in the video above, those pirates would not get out of the way! I had to pass the whole group on a long bowl between two hills with a mile long passing lane at full speed, full speed cause the lead pirate tried to speed up his HD to hold me off? I guess 110 hp and 170hp v4 is a big mismatch! He got small in the mirrors too! The only thing in them anymore after the next few turns was 3 vfrs behind me they all made it safe around the pirates!
Douche bags on Harley's think they own the road? Why not just let the faster bikes pass and be done with it? Jeez? Back to the motel and more food at the café down the road it wasn't bad - it was a buffet! Then beer and sleep! Most of the Texas crew was already back so it was an all night party and BS session! Good folks these Tyler riders, most of them are on two wheeled Texans a bigger site then vfrd and they all know each other!
The next day I found out that the pirates were a small percentage of the Harley's in Arkansas that weekend - Blues Bikes and BBQ was in Fayetteville for the weekend rally some 10000 cruisers in the Western Ozarks - good thing they limit themselves to 200 miles or less cause we were far enough east to avoid them for the most part except that group on hwy 123, its a famous road and is featured on most sites and motorcycle maps as a destination, the 10mph hairpins on Mount Judea are the attraction. I personally like the sweepers better especially when there are no Pirates on them!
Too bad we had to go west past that bunch of vagabonds! I decided to head into Oklahoma with Gary and Steve the next morning and stay in OKC with Gary - hes always such a good host. We took 100 across, and I made a route full of back roads and side trips off the main drags and for the most part we missed the horde! But it added an hour or two to our ride some 500 miles back to OKC! I lead from Yellville into Oklahoma and then Gary took over from there, and took me past Tinkiller Lake and cool side track with hills and turns in Oklahoma I was not expecting, good to know! Then 200 miles of strait boring road into Edmond, then Steve cut out for home and Gary and I made our way to his house and I got a great home cooked meal of beef stroganoff - Garys wife Cathy is a great cook, and a dog lover, they have so many dogs I cant remember how many there are, she liked the tee shirt I was wearing of my local brewpub cause it has a picture of a Lab on front! Laughing Lab the beer is called and so I told her when I got home I would get her one and send it in the mail!
Gary had to work in the morning and always commutes on the bike when the weather allows so we were up before sunrise and I was off on the road myself back to Colorado, and sure enough the further west I got the more the wind started blowing soon it was like Kansas all over again! I headed across the Pan handle and that bumpy mess - budump..badump..budump..bang (a big pot hole) badump.. for about 2 hours strait! I was relieved to be back across the boarder and into Colorado but the very south eastern tip of it, meaning another 2 hours to go at least. I found a road that skirts along the Comanche National Grasslands into into the Northern tip of Pinion Canyon and enjoyed a western change of scenery after 6 hours of plains plains and more plains, but then I was back onto the plains when I came out of it.
I stopped in Rocky Ford for a cold drink and was sitting in the shade by the side of the gas station, on a milk crate when an old Hispanic man came up and walked past, then a few minutes later he came out of the store and stopped to talk to me.
He says "did you see that couple arguing at the gas pump"? Me "No sir"? He says " the woman was yelling at him.. its your baby I know it is yours"! Then he says "the guy was yelling back.. its not mine.. no its not"! Then he hits me again "the woman yelled and said I know for a fact its yours...the other 3 I am not so sure about"?
He completely blind sided me with a joke and so I must have laughed for an hour strait! Old fart sucked me in, and got me! What a way to end an out of state ride.... come back home to jokes!
I began with a strip down of the basic plastic removal around 3am in the morning, I work nights anyway and well it is a quiet time for me with no interruptions from nosy family members! That took no time at all I am getting pretty good at removing the plastic.
Yes you have to remove all that just to get to the front spark plugs, lucky they use high mileage iridium spark plugs with a 30k lifetime so you are going to have to inspect the valves before hand before you have to replace them - I did that and they all looked fine. I had all of my exhaust valves just out of spec those are the rocker roller set, and one of the bucket under shim intakes was loose but still in spec. Just as I figured the roller rocker design would be more apt to be out of spec then the bucket under shims would be, just like the CRX dirt bikes! Its a simple elegant design, less rolling mass with only one cam shaft and the cam chain does not need a huge bend in it for a powerful cam chain tensioner this design uses a spring loaded bow tensioner instead of a massive punch design like the vtecs use.
There are two marks on the timing cover I suppose its easier then the 4 I had on the old girl, you watch the cam shaft on the rear set for direction ques as you turn it to make sure the engine is in top dead center for the cylinder your inspecting all marked out in the manual but the manual has very small pictures for the cam shaft positions so its hard to read. I managed it though. They have 3 measurements for the Valve Clearance
Exhaust Valves have a roller rocker design with a roller on one end and a screw driver and lock nut on the other with a square head for the driver. They were all out of spec all of them!
The manual has two sets of measurements for the exhaust side
Valve side with the lock nut 0.03 + or - 0,02 mm or (0.012 + or - 0.001 inches) Roller side 0.21 + or - 0.02 mm or (0.008 + or - 0.001 inches) my gap strips were in listed in both but came stepped up in inch sizes so I use the inch listings
Intake side is the shim under bucket design
0.16 + or - 0.003 or (0.006 + or - 0.001 inches) on one was loose at .007 but still in tolerance and most likely to go tight as it wears.
Veefalo and Pikes Peak South face of Pikes Peak
Facebook can be a pain sometimes but for the most part it seems to bring people together, a guy I knew from work Dave C I friended on FB and I have been keeping tabs on whats going on with him in the last few months. He is working at a new job now and life for him has been a bit rough as of late, lots of drama, he just wants to start over somewhere else but he is stuck for the moment due to circumstances and sometimes the only respite is a motorcycle ride! Motorcycles can do that ya know, make everything better. I am talking about a 6 hour escape from your troubles and a fresh breath of Colorado Mountain air, and a few fun curves to boot. Anyway I asked Dave last week if he wanted to join in on a failed ride I was planning that never came to life. So yesterday he writes me back finally and says what are you doing today? Next thing I know I am meeting him at a gas station along the way to our destination. Its no big trek today just a popular loop among Colorado Springs and Pueblo riders the Bishops Castle run, we added in a second destination Victor-Cripple Creek too and made a big 230 mile loop out of it. Lots of stops and lunch at Texas Creek Diner.
Dave meets me at the gas station and hes got on a mesh jacket and helmet but then hes got on shorts and tennis shoes? I am a bit uncomfortable with this and tell him that, knowing that if he tries to follow me at my speed in that getup he could end up rashed up pretty bad, but he assures me hes going his pace and well hes a full grown man and its his life not mine! So we ride!
Bishops Castle Dave next to his bike
Some road work has us riding up and over some weird bumps at weird angles on hwy 50 its a bit unnerving with the diamond cut grooves too but we make it to Florence and turn off along the route to Hard Scrabble. The weather is sunny and freaking hot! My Transit suit is a bit stuffy but a pull on the main zipper vents it enough to get comfy again. Familiar roads sometimes are a welcome site and I often forget how good the roads are just a few hours from my home. Dave and I talked about that at lunch. What would I give the roads in Colorado on a scale of one to ten? I came up with an 8 out of 10, cause well it is a bit of slab to get to the good stuff, and its a bit short good the good stuff, lots of traffic sometimes and the road conditions seem to be in a constant state of disrepair, bumpy front heaved passes mostly. Beauty is...well its Colorado its unprecedented how pretty it is in the mountains, but 8 out 10 is awesome. I have yet to find a 10 but 9.5 I have (tmac roads) some Oregon roads were great, some California roads, Ozarks all 8 or above. Idaho cant forget Idaho! Oh well I digress here.
The ride to Bishops Castle is clear NO traffic at all! I was awesome and Dave rode his own pace so I wicked it up on the good stuff and waited for him on the straits. He rides a 650 vtwin Hysong. A budget bike for sure but not bad at all and hes got a two brothers pipe on it that sounds incredible. The bike is based on the sv650 by Suzuki and in fact Hysong contracted with Suzuki to make SV motors so the bike is an awful lot like the SV, not at lite as the sv but there are so many similarities its almost a carbon copy. The brakes are not as good the suspension is not as good but adequate. Upside down forks and the they are massive, heavy wheels though but Dave says that those who opted for lighter wheels found the suspension just could not compensate, in need of re-valving and springs I am sure if you go with lighter wheels.
Hes taken good care of that bike and it looks just like it did when he first got it, with some new parts on it, color matched rk chain is a nice touch. Its sounds awesome too but the Veefalo just leaves it in the dust! Passing cars is a bit of a problem for Dave, so I just wait at turn offs or on the straits. He just doesn't have the get up and go I do! I pulled off after gassing up along hwy 69 cause there is a bend in the road there that is a great picture stop, matter of fact its been noticed by allot of motorcycle magazines too.
Gibbs Peak Colorado 69 - this stretch of road has been featured in a more then a few motorcycle magazines
We rolled on out of the Castle and headed for westcliff and then got some gas and then rolled down to Texas Creek for lunch, the place was packed with tourist. Dave was telling me a story about hwy 50 and tourist. Apparently a couple of tourist were playing you cant pass me on the opposite lane, and one tried to pass while the lead car sped up - just as he was coming the opposite way. He had to stop, literally stop his bike and jam it against the guard rail cause the passing car was head on both stopped in the highway 5 feet away - middle fingers flying he said! HEH wow! Too close for me!
7 min video from the Castle to the McKenzie Junction
Lunch was very good a smothered green burrito I utterly gobbled it up in a few minutes, nothing to eat all day long I was seriously hungry by the time we got to the Café. I love that little joint, they put out bird feeders and humming birds feed just a few feet from you behind the big glass window.
I lead most of the way and took Dave the back way to see the south side of Pikes Peak, up over High Park road into Cripple Creek it was fun riding up the pass into Cripple Creek but he got stuck a few times behind cars, they move just fast enough to make it difficult to pass but not fast enough to care about staying put. Open road I always want open road! I waited at the overlook and watched him make his way past them finally and up the pass, Into Cripple Creek and over to Victor the road was full of traffic and a few Deer on the side of the road really slowed me down from there on.
Pikes Peak Hwy 81 near Goldfield CO
After this pic stop it gets back onto the main hwy to Divide from Cripple Creek, and as usual since Cripple creek is a gambling town there is allot of traffic, I was picking them off 2-3 at a time but Dave was content to stay where he was, I rather enjoyed a bit of open road on the twisty parts and got in some good turns before we had hit the slab on hwy 24. Its a slab fest all they way down to Colorado springs from there Ute pass was a bust too semi tractors and slow cars we just crawled down it - not to mention its patrolled by the state allot too. I waved to Dave goodbye and well a good 6 hours on the bike spent for my last day off of the week. It felt good to ride. Thank goodness for Facebook cause I would have just sat at home if I had not got that message. I don't much like riding alone anymore, well at least in Colorado.
Most of the time I have known him Reddog and I have taken off on a run to the Black Canyon around fathers day, now that hes got an empty nest it seems we were on again for our annual 500 miler to the Black Canyon. This year we did it counter clockwise and headed up to Independence pass. I invited a number of folks but only three of us made it. Millertm my old buddy from work who now lives in New Mexico came up for the ride and to spend some time with his Dad who lives on the other side of Colorado Springs from me. Of course Reddog and I also.
Breakfast at the Hungry Bear Woodland Park
My server I work with her sister
I met Mark (Millertm otherwise known as Mr Dude to the folks at work) and we had a scrumptious breakfast Eggs Benedict for me with Hollandaise sauce on top of ham eggs on a bed of toasted English muffins. It was good but rich very rich I finished it off in good style I don't normally eat breakfast but I was hungry. I work with a lady who sister works at the Hungry Bear and she always lambastes me for not stopping at the Hungry Bear when I am in Woodland Park.
We had an uneventful ride up hwy 24 just some construction a the top near Wilkerson Pass nothing too crazy - lead duties switched up quite a bit everybody lead today and it was great it just sort of happened. The construction bunched up a huge line of cars and we had to endure the slow pace all the way down Wilkerson Pass to the flat valley below then we blasted them 2 at a time till we had open road. We stopped in Buena Vista for some Gas then again in Twin Lakes to pile on a few layers for the ride up Independence Pass its at 11k in elevation and already in Twin Lakes it was 50 degrees Bill said his temp gage was at 32f at the top. Mark lead the whole way up to the top and down. Bumpy but for the most part the pass was very clean it was nice.
Twin Lakes nice little village
Twin Lakes Lake to the east
Funny Sign Twin Lakes General Store
Millertime La Plata Peak in the background
Then I got waved ahead in Aspen, no stopping in Aspen and then we slabbed it over to Carbondale for gas and some lunch it took us a long time to get over to Aspen over the pass and we did stop at the top
32 degrees at the top freaking cold up there
Aspen to the west
Reddog with the mountains in view
Millertm and Reddog at the top of Independence Pass
Independence Pass looking South
We saw a few cops but none of them took any interest in us thank goodness, lunch was good Bill wanted to find a new place this year so we decided on Carbondale and it did not disappoint
Lunch In Carbondale
Red Rock Diner cool little joint in Carbondale CO
Fat and Happy I was ready to rail McClure pass and the sweepers at the bottom to Paonia Reservoir they have a great road along the lake its nice and tight I was enjoying the pace and I had found a nice rhythm. Lots of gas stops cause Mark and I have small gas tanks. We could have gone further but the stops were welcome and it staved off any butt aches. It was funny cause I thought I was being a bit too cautious about my gas mileage but I was averaging 43mpg! It was a nice pace anyway but in the station at Crawford we saw a long line of cruisers pass on the way to the Black Canyon and I said to Bill "hey looks like we will have to pass some rolling pylons" we hung out longer and had something to drink hoping to get some distance between us and them but sure enough as we rolled to the start of the Black Canyon we caught them so I pulled off and put on my contour camera and we waited again. It was a good ride right up to Hermit Point where it really starts to get good them BAM smack into fresh chip seal! It was packed down but lots of loose chip floating around still and not swept off? So we pulled into the over look at Hermit Point and took pictures.
Hermit Point taken with my droid
San Juan Range
San Juan Range
Marrow Point Reservoir on the Gunnison River
Hermit Point Hwy 92 on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Reddog at Hermit Point
Lots of bikes at Hermit Point too bad it was all new chip seal for the next 8 miles loose chip seal
Hermit Point look at the paint shine on my veefalo
We must have passed this goldwing 5 times stop start go again
Hermit Point taken with my droid
We caught and passed a Goldwing then we would stop and he would pass us, all the way from Carbondale we must have passed that guy 5 times! We waved and he was always good about letting us through.
So Bill takes off into the loose chip seal and I am following Mark and we are both going slow so Bill gets ahead one turn, then 2 then soon hes a good half mile ahead and a dot, then he disappears. Then the chip seal clears and Mark is still in chip seal mode a bit so I passed him and railed the twisties trying to catch Bill, 8 miles of trying I finally catch him at the very end only cause he had slowed down. Man that was fun! I really enjoyed the Canyon even though they ruined 8 miles of it with half done chip seal, and too bad to cause there was a huge pile on the side of the road at the end too so its not done yet, maybe I will visit again in August but not till then its just a bit dangerous on that loose stuff. They should at minimum at least sweep the loose stuff, Ideal would be another layer of tar over the top but thats expensive. I hope they sweep it at least! Chip seal in the rain is great though!
Hwy 92 in the process of chip sealing the entire length of the good stuff - might wait a couple of months to run this again
Blue Mesa Damn
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Then we slabbed it over to Gunnison and had a few turns along the Blue Mesa that were fun, we were saving a run up Monarch Pass. Mark and I switched bikes up to Monarch cause he wanted to ride the veefalo - his bandit has an upgraded suspension and I had ridden it before, much tighter then before and more compliant, lots of power but the veefalo is faster and well just better in my opinion but I am biased, I am really starting to love my bike.
Well anyway Mark got tired of getting passed by me and thought that if he got way ahead on Monarch he could hold us off, but Bill and I had other ideas and well it turned into a squid fest up the pass sort of half ass-ed racing, half pace since we were not really pinning the throttle much but it was a bit stupid. I had hella fun myself but thats me, I love to rail Monarch pass Bill said we were morons or some such thing when we stopped at the bottom "F'n crazy" he said. With a big smile! He has been trying to change his ways and well he got sucked into that. So we split off at Salida and Reddog went home to Woodland Park and Mark and I stopped for a steak at Quncys in Salida. I have been wanting to try this place forever but never had the chance and it did not disappoint it was great.
Steaks in Salida! it was very good
Dinner at Quincy's Salida Colorado we rode for 12 hrs 7am to 7pm when I got home
Then Mark lead us home and slowed the pace way down cause was getting to be critter time, and we found them for sure. Deer on the side of the road, when the sun gets low in the sky the deer start moving and often times right into the road. It was relaxed but smart and Mark has much better eye site then me so he lead. Great Ride, Videos to follow later.
Jack on his 98 Connie
So last Monday I was out riding my Cannondale road bike with the intent of getting in a few miles to improve my fitness, and well it being May in Colorado there was was a May shower however it was was white and it was COLD! I had already done 20 miles and needed to get out of the snow, so I petaled the mile or so up Tejon and opened the door to Bristol Brewery the local Colorado springs brew pub - I love craft brewers and love Bristol cause its my home town brewery.
So I went in and found the place empty nobody there, not even the bar keep who was helping with some bottling, so I just sit at the counter and try to catch my breath take off my backpack and gear and in walks this older fella with a southern accent and he sits right next to me and starts talking. We get to sipping on a nice pils they just released and out comes the word motorcycle and it was over! I liked this guy - his name was Jack and what was supposed to be a short get out of the snow shower detour turned into a 2 hour discussion on motorcycles and what not, then we started seeing the place fill up and soon it was packed, US army personnel picking up kegs, and they were selling growers strait out of the box! We got to looking and decided that these Bristol growlers just did not look too distinctive at all, not after seeing a fella come in with this fancy nice grower from the Tommy Knockers complete with pewter handle and ceramic lid! We asked the guy where he got it and soon Jack hatched a plan to combine our love of motorcycles with our desire to get one of those fancy Growers. A few phone calls later and I had my old buddy Reddog and his wife in on the idea too! Well at least the ride part!
Yup my growler situation needed an upgrade
Tommy Knockers Growler imported from Germany
Bill and Analise 2 up Reddog on the forum - stopped on Squaw Pass
Mr Jack McDaniels on his new to him 98 Connie
Tommy Knockers a big dining room not sure why I took this pic
Bill and Analise on Squaw Pass
Growler Run My veefalo on the Squaw Pass
Jack was telling me about this hwy he wanted to ride 105 near Idaho Springs and I of course can not remember a number to save my life so I start checking my Droid for this hidden hwy 105 and it turns out to be Squaw pass, I know it very well and some of you members who came to the Summer summit two years ago do too! So we rode up that puppy, and took a few pictures at the top of Juniper pass where the mountains are in clear view. It was such a nice day, lots of Bicyclist out riding the pass too, I don't think I am in quite good enough shape to do that - or at least survive it intact! A few more months riding around without snow on my two Cannondales will cure that . But for today it was a motorcycle ride. We sat in Tommy Knockers some 2 hours after leaving Woodland Park sipping on a low alcohol Porter for me which tasted very good, I am so proud to live in a state with such a fine tradition for brewing, its a real treat.
Lunch was scrumptious I had a hot pastrami sandwich on Rye and a half pint of Porter it was nice, and a couple of sodas. The place was packed too since it was Saturday. Reddog and Annalise decided they were gonna head over to Central City and gamble a bit after lunch so we split off and Jack and I headed back since I was on hour 17 of wide awake, I got off work 7am took a vitamin and headed up Ute pass to meet everybody so at this point I was starting to feel sleepy. I thought well the only cure is to find the twisties and have at it! Which always works for me so I took Jack on every twisty road I could find between Idaho Springs and Connifer! I was enjoying it right up to the point to where we were on the good part of High Point Drive (Pleasant Park Road) - its a twisty switchback pass with a 300 yard climb up the mountain, it was full of gravel in all the corners and it became clear why when the Honda Passport in front of me was trying to gap me by crossing all the way over the double yellow on every left turn and then riding two wheels into the dirt shoulder on all the right hand turns! No wonder there was so much crap in the road these people cant stay in the lane, the sad part is that this clown in the Honda lived at the top of the pass and I am sure he thinks hes a great driver cause he was able to hold us sad motorcyclist off with that spectacle of crappy driving! It was sad! I am just glad nobody was riding the other way when he was all the way into the oncoming lane. I wasn't even really trying to push the guy I actually rolled off several time just to leave a big gap between us just in case he busted over the guard rail I could stop and help! What an Idiot. I hope they get a sweeper up there this summer cause it is a mess, might was well be a dirt road!
Any way at Connifer I asked Jack to take over lead and he rode a good pace on down the hill, but we got stuck behind a row of Harley's near Woodland park and pace slowed down dramatically it lulled me to sleep the slow pace and the undulating road, I needed some more challenging twisties to keep me awake so I told Jack that I wasn't going to stop just bomb home before I fell asleep. I was pretty tired by the time we made it to Woodland park and the ride down Ute pass to home was just awful so many cars that I was just a passenger it seemed.
Probably the most photographed mountains in Colorado Maroon Bells National Monument near Aspen Colorado
I found a great photo of this spot at work and was admiring it when a coworker friend of mine asked me if I had taken the picture, she said that it just fascinated her. I tried to explain to her just how the picture did not do it justice because the two 14k peaks just tower over everything so the perspective is never quite right in a picture.
Maroon Bells Aspen Colorado borrowed this picture from work
map.jpg this is the map from Independence Pass to the Monument
The route we took for the day trip
Stop In Twin Lakes
Heading Up Independence Pass
La Plata Peak Waits around the corner
Maroon Creek Road
One Right Turn to awesomeness
Maroon Bells just tower over everything
The Path to the parking lot along Maroon Lake.JPG
I was just thinking of the several trips up and down Maroon Creek Road I have taken over the years, its always like visiting a foreign country to me cause its so incredible - there is a ranch at the bottom of the road that usually is covered in Dandilions so the meadow is just full of this pretty yellow Dandilion Patch and the owner lets Llamas run in the meadow but they like to sun themselves on top of an old shed along the side of the road so you get this pastorial feel before you meet the magesisty of the Rockies and its just a wonderful expierience for a day trip, stop at Maguires Sandwitch shop in Aspen on the way and get a great hoogie before you go up to the monument
Lunch Stop Aspen awsome sandwitches
Shaniko Oregon Maddog and his y2k 800
Maddog and I spent a day riding across eastern Oregon on the way to the pacific north west meet, he rides a nice yellow 2000 vfr800 in a well used stich. He told me tales of how he spent an entire summer on that bike touring the usa, living in a tent and enjoying the vagabond motorcyclist life. He can definitly ride it well and seems to be able to accelerate at a pace I cant. Here is some video footage I took out of the Town of Fossil on the way to Antelope, up and over Prindle Pass on the Shaniko-Fossil highway .
I took a day off from work and also from my bicycle training to take out the Veefalo one last time before the weather turns ugly, supposed to snow the rest of the week and possibly start sticking to the ground along the Colorado Front Range. I took a leisurely pace up hwy 105 toward Morrison and got reacquainted with the bike since its been over a month since I took any sort of twisties on it at all, hwy 105 is a scenic ride along the front range between Denver and Colorado Springs, its mostly easy fast sweepers and lite traffic so its a favorite road of mine when going north. Then I have to negotiate a bit of traffic near Highlands ranch and up hwy 470 into the mountains. I decided to take the Morrison Exit and try either Lookout Mountain or head up Golden Gate Canyon - this time it was Lookout Mountain, I was sort of making it up on the fly as I went along. Lookout Mountain is my old bicycling haunt from my days while I was working at Coors, its a killer ride and all uphill - I don't think I could do it today If I had to, not quite there yet! I saw a whole bunch of riders doing it though and wished I was in shape enough to be there doing it as well. 30 more lbs and I will be able to do it! On this day I would do it on the Veefalo instead.
I took a video from the gateway to the top at the Lookout Mountain State Park, getting past riders, the guy in the green jacket actually pretty much astounded me with how far he had gotten in the short time it took me to set up my camera, some 3 miles at least and up to the gateway from the turn off at hwy 6! Amazing I thought. I took the first two turns slow then got more comfortable as I went up further, till I was doing well, I made some gearing mistakes and took the tight 15mph marked hairpins in the wrong gear so I lugged it a bit on one or two. Still enjoyed it though and then got off at the top and hiked over a rock outcropping for an overview of the road for the pictures below.
Lookout Mountain - Golden Colorado
Lookout Mountain Park top of the mountain
From there I headed up interstate 70 to Idaho Springs for a beer at the Tommy-knockers brewery, I was the only customer in the joint - slow day for them so they treated me like a king! I got a nice tour of the place sort of impromptu, they made me a nice Pastrami sandwich on rye and with the brown ale it was fantastic. I must say the beer is much better there than in the bottles - its always good at the brewery. I am glad I stopped
Tommy-knockers Brewpub Idaho Springs
Idaho Springs Colorado
Mashtuns and fermenters
Rows of fermenters
I finished my lunch and since the road to Mount Evans is right there I headed up Squaw pass hoping to get in some nice pictures I wasn't expecting what I found, ICE IN ALL THE SHADY PARTS
Icy patches on Squaw Pass definitely taking it easy on that road
There were some section where the ice covered the whole road for 300 yards or so I had to roll through it with my legs out to help keep the bike from sliding and falling over, I took it real slow. A Ford pickup was right behind me so I pulled over to let him pass but the guy was going slower then even I was so I pressed on - in places where I could see I just cut over to the oncoming lane and out of the ice where the sun was shining on the road more, but some places there was not alternative so I just had to go slow, good thing it wasn't slick but rather they tossed some gravel over the worst parts so I had some traction!
I did stop for pictures in all the best spots
Echo Lake at Mount Evans showing off my new plate
Elephant Butte Park and Denver
Veefalo on Squaw Pass
My route A is home B is Tommy-knockers
Latest Veefalo mod
I have been wanting to get a "vfrd" plate for my vfr for years, but the old girl she was fine with the orginal plate, the Veefalo on the other hand was a group effort and it would be a very nice touch to get a plate that says "vfrd" on it since that is where it came from
I havent ridden the bike for over a month, just to work since it needs new tires. I got maybe one good long ride left in her rear tire. I have a new set in the shed ready to go for Texasmac 2011! Mostly been riding my Cannondale roadbike these days trying to lose wieght. After riding around for 4 days with a bunch of in shape and healthy Canadians I found out when I got home my over exuberant diet had costed me - wieghing in at over 245 lbs the most ever! Since then I am down to 225lbs but I think that was from my tooth! Just kidding, that was my Halloween costume I went as a Jack-o-lantern.
Lots going on for the bike next year, a fork upgrade hopfully and new tires, then its just ride ride ride and with me in shape and hopfully down to my goal of 195lbs by May I will be riding it much better too.
The S Curves On The Green Horn Highway Bishops Castle Run
I tried to get a ride together to do this run as a group ride, slipping clutches, and bad planning on my part forced it to become a solo run. I hopped on the Veefalo and headed south. I have always loved the Greenhorn Hwy and its fast sweepers and the big S turn shown in the teaser above, its a staple ride for me and about a 4 hour run if I want to do it there and back. I kept seeing this ST1300 all day long. I stopped in Flornece to gas up and as I was pulling out there he was on a red ST1300. I waved and headed for Bishops Castle, then after taking a rest at the castle I set up my camera for the videobelow and sure enough the ST pulled in as I was leaving.
I ended up heading into Westcliff and the long way around to Walsenburg. From there a short hop over to La Veta and again I set up my camera and low and behold who showed up behind me - that ST again. He stayed pretty close behind me all the way up Cucharas Pass and rode that ST like a pro! Good rider whoever he was! He waved as he went by at the top of the pass. Me I was just gonna turn around and get some lunch at the Dog Bar in Cuchara, CO; but not before running the pass a few more times.
Showing off the Leo Vince
Veefalo at the intersection of Cordova Pass and Cucharas Pass
Teddys Peak At the turn off for Cordova Pass
Sangre De Christo Range
Crestone Needle Veefalo in the Foreground
MOOO MOOO Silver Park Colorado
all in all about 350 miles total - I spent about 2 hours at the dog bar talking with the locals and having a good time.
San Francisco De Asis Taos New Mexico
I sort of slapped together a ride down to New Mexico to catch a ride with Vanion and the New Mexico riders to hit the Gila Monster once again. This would be my third time on that road, the Deals Gap of New Mexico as it were, not quite but darned close. The only drawback is its practically in OLD MEXICO and so a ton of slab on the way down there. I took a 4 day route, one down, one for the ride, a rest day at my sisters house in Santa Fe, and finally the ride home. I told my boss I intended to ride down right after work and get some sleep when I get into Albuquerque. He thinks I am nuts for doing these crazy rides but he always comes to me for advice about what good scenic roads to take in Colorado so he thinks I am on to something. In any case he was kind enough to let me have a couple days of personal time and off I went. I took the interstate into Walsenburg, a town of which I have never much liked, it always seemed a place of which to endure going thru on the way to my real destination, you have to go through it to get to hwy 160 and over La Veta Pass. Hwy 160 is probably one of the most patrolled hwys in the whole state, simply cause its go so many different counties it goes through and its one of the State Patrol training areas - so speeding on it has its risks, usually La Veta Pass is clear but the San Luis Valley and further West near Pagosa Springs is always a speed trap - just every thing west of Alamosa count it as a speed trap. I usually avoid it when ever possible hwy 50 is much more scenic to me. However when heading to Santa Fe to see my sister I often take it cause the interstate is a serious bore. Turn off 160 and down into San Luis the oldest town in Colorado and the name sake of the valley for which it is named for, its a small town steeped in Hispanic history, once part of Mexico you can bet every body there knows everybody's business!
The ride into New Mexico from Questa New Mexico is pretty, it is much different than Colorado more arid and desert like, and it has lots of Indian Reservations along the way. New Mexico is a very spiritual land with traditions that go back a millennium in some places. Taos Pueblo for example has been occupied destroyed and rebuilt always with native Indians living on it for over a thousand years. Thats what you call Pre Columbian! Now enough with the history lesson - since I don't really know what the hell I am talking about - just regurgitating quotes from my broother In law Billy so I will try not to bore you too much. Yea I learned a thing or two from the man. I was always impressed with how much Hispanic and Indian culture has shaped the state of New Mexico, there are places in Colorado that are as well but it has been washed over and pretty much erased by later history, most of it settled in in the last 200 years. I am just used to being part of a small minority on Colorado where as Hispanics are the majority there and their influence is everywhere. One could say I am conflicted being half Caucasian and half Hispanic, and never having learned to speak Spanish I often get strange looks by people when I tell them that I don't speak Spanish. Well I don't! My daddy is as white as a snowflake and my mom pretty much forgot all the Spanish she learned with she was a kid. My aunts and uncles are all fluent but much older than my mother and she was raised in foster homes so she lost touch with the language at an early age. My sister on the other hand is blond and blue eyed and she speaks it much much better than I could ever - she is after all a genius when it comes to language and academia.
So on with the ride, I made the mistake of riding right into Taos right into the mess of tourist and got pinned behind a mass of cars on the main strip, the ride into New Mexico from this point on was to become a life or death struggle it seemed as every rice jockey in a celica and what ever cheap ass compact car was out to take the 5 inches of pavement right in front of me. No signals, no thats for losers! These people meant business I need to turn now and I can so here I come move or else! Shoot I just SIPDE'ed the hell out of Taos, and Espanola, Pojaque, Santa Fe all the way into Rio Rancho cause it was non stop for 200 miles. Aggressive as hell and every body was out for themselves! I saw a couple two up on a gold wing and being not from here I decided to let them take the lead and see how they negotiated it - the word is Aggressive, tailgate, and pass at every opportunity is what they did! Daylight for two car lengths they took it - no matter if there was traffic ahead as far as you can see they took it. Me I followed cause at this point it was the only thing keeping me awake. Shoot even an Ambulance in Espanola almost took me out with a left hand turn right in front of me - idiots no signal - I slowed down and started to pull aside as this was a 4 lane split down the middle with a no mans land in between the Ambulance driver failed to signal and just jerked the wheel left right in front of me till I had to come from 30 mph in a 55 to a dead stop to avoid getting hit. Jebus he went right over the median and turned left right into me? I was dumbfounded it was like he was looking to cause and accident for something to do? I mean over the bump on the median over the dirt mound and down the bump and right INTO ME! I thought I was safe but NO! then he took off down a dirt road and disappeared as I check to see if I had wet myself!
Just a half hour before coming into Rio Grande Canyon past Taos I was heading around a corner - saw a semi tractor trailer on the side of the road on the other side, and he pulled out right in front of me too, I had to stop for him too dead stop, passed him as soon as I could! NO yield no stop and look just here I come stop or get hit! IDIOT and he was a commercial professional driver? Never before had I had this much trouble driving in New Mexico, it did not help that I was on no sleep since 4pm the night before. 18 hrs into it I was WIDE AWAKE let me tell you! I was so glad to make to my buddy Marks house - relieved actually to be off that bike and away from that carnage!
Mark (I call him MrDude cause he says Dude allot) he goes by Millrtm on the forum, he put me up for the night, they just moved there about 6 weeks ago from Colorado - working at Intel. It had been 3 years since I had seen his family and his kids grew almost towered over me, his oldest for sure. Mark is pretty tall himself. Nice family and his two oldest boys are very articulate, well mannered and good kids. I watched them play halo for a while then just dosed off after an hour. They have a hectic schedule and lots of boxes to put away from the move.
Early Morning Meet-up in Albuquerque
I woke up at 6am on the dot and showered up, Mark too - we put on our gear, pumped up the tires and headed out for the meeting place across town. Vanion, Echo, Zia Rider and Sal where already there waiting for us. So we had a few refreshments, kicked tires and caught up a little bit. Vanion lead us out of town, then he did something funny he waved me on by? Huh? Ok I guess I am taking lead - I did have the only Radar Detector, it was a long 200 miles to go and one stop at Socorro to pick up Blythe. I just let a few faster cars and even a bus play rabbit up ahead speed up to match speed and keep some distance - if I got a hit on the radar I would slow down and let the rabbit get eaten! One more stop for gas past T or C (Williamsburg) I think it was called and finally we got off the darned interstate and headed west on hwy 152, more slab for about 10 miles till we hit the foot hills and into Hillsboro, nice sweepers there before Hillsboro actually some of the best turns of the whole ride (insert omen here) ! Then Iead some more to Kingston and stopped to let Vanion take up a position to take pictures and he did.
Lined up ready to hit the Gila Monster
I don't know how I got suckered into leading but I pretty much lead the entire ride, I don't mind I am used to leading rides but man it was 500 miles of it! I guess I got spoiled in Troutdale I did not have to lead at all maybe one day thats it! So I took some video of the best parts of the Gila Monster, I was disappointed with the road since its condition had taken a turn for the worse since I last road it, pot holes, and crumbling edges, gravel washed out in places due to heavy rains and CHIP SEAL! OMG we ran right into 40 miles of fresh chip seal - piles of loose chip, no doubt about it was came at the wrong time! Maybe a week before we would have missed all this stuff, but we did not so it was slow going all the way into Silver City from the top of Emory pass, we did have a little bit of good stuff, up to Emory Pass
Top Of Emory Pass
Rest Stop Emory Pass
So for the most part the Gila monster was a bust, Blythe must have been peeing his pants cause he was worried about the little bit of sand in the corners then smack 40 miles of loose chip seal! If he was worried then he must have kung foo grip on the bars now! It sucked thats all I could say I even followed a pack of Harleys and let them take the lead just so I could relax a little bit. I was ready for some lunch and so we stopped at a barn place that is a steakhouse, I have always stopped there but this time the food was really good! I enjoyed it and all the company. Interesting people sitting across from me getting to know them, Mr Dude he sort of has this detached sensibility about him, a military thing he sort of analyzes things and comments on them - lots of comparative talk and sometimes he goes a bit overboard comparing this or that. Colorado to New Mexico a bit too much - I like both myself for what they are. I remember at some point along the ride I heard "Colorado Smallerado" and though oh well Mr Dude strikes again! He does that to everybody! I cant count on my hands and feet the number of times I heard about the specs of this bike or that bike compared to a vfr! I just tune it out, now with the Bandit he had the advantage in the engine department, but not so much anymore! The Veefalo don't handle so good as my old bike so I lost a bit on him there and he can keep up pretty good in the sweepers but the tight stuff the vfr 1200 is still better, and no more big Bandit engine advantage no more! Compare that Mark! heh - I will probably hear about it now! I know I know you modded the bandit - took out the butterfly's secondaries, added a full header, on pipe, fuel injection mapping and all that.
It was a bit more slab then about a 50 miles into the ride after lunch the road got very good, on the way into Reserve was probably the best part of the whole ride, we went up and down a very good pass with some nice sweeper that I was really digging, me and Mark just sort of took off on and had some fun! Even after Reserve there was more good stuff but we had to split off with Blythe there so we stopped at the cross roads at his turn off and took some pics
Gas One At A Time Reserve New Mexico
Rest Stop Reserve New Mexico the last 40 miles were superb
Stop at the Cross Roads Blythe was leaving us after this point
Veefalo leads the way
Perfect day for riding not too hot not too cold sunshine all day long
The rest of the ride was interesting too out on the western plains of New Mexico and into the Malapias National Monument area definitely some pretty country, if a bit bumpy and roller coaster like - it was a challenge and more traffic now, the closer we came to interstate 40, then one more stop for a butt rest till we could stop again for gas and then we headed off our separate ways! It was an epic ride and a good one even if the Gila was a bust, all I can say is next summer with new chip seal it will be a real treat for the unsuspecting motorcyclist if they do it right!
La Ventana Arch
Millertm looks at the other bikes
San Francisco De Asis
Source: Gila Monster Run
The Canadian Crew and Me at the lookout on the Old Spiral Highway
As another riding season begins to draw to a close I can look back at it with a smile and think "good times" - just right not too much not too little. I feel like Goldilocks in riding leathers testing the seats of other peoples motorcycles. Most people I ride with on my trips live an awful long ways away from me, a days ride if not more, so its not often I see them just corresponding here on vfrd. Its always a pleasure to see them again and usually the ride together becomes an epic adventure and once again I am happy to be riding with friends. I have always been a bit aloof but I have never been so much the loner that I shy away from people. The consummate average Joe, so average that my own mother called me "Charlie Brown" ever since I was a little child, Charlie Brown had friends. At my time in life reaching middle age friends are not so easy to come by, you meet them at work, at church (if your the pious type), and places but mostly they are just acquaintances.
It is as a motorcyclist I have found the most friends, not just with vfrd but long before that, I have always found a bond with people who find themselves at home on two wheels with a motor between their legs, people who don't think its crazy to do that! People like myself, and that is the key. As profoundly different as we are in life, by race, religion, culture, nationality I can honestly say motorcyclist are "people like me". I find an awful lot of comfort in that - since that spirit of kinship doesn't come so easy, not for me, the loner "Charlie Brown". So when I go to a vfrd rally in Troutdale Oregon and meet a few new people and come to know them, then reunite with vfrd members again its an honest friendship I find very rewarding. It is the reason I really created this website, out of a selfish need to find people like me. So it goes a very special riding season draws to a close and I am once again planning for next year!
Lake McDonald Glacier National Park
It was the the end of the PNW meet in Troutdale and we had split up - half of us on the way to Canada and the rest of us on our way to Glacier National Park. Radar, Radars-rider, and I would ride one more day together to go and visit Montana. We took a rather out of the way route from Idaho to Montana or so we thought, my gps was constantly trying to route me off what it thought was a dirt road, up to Thompson Pass I was getting confused as to where to turn off or if just to keep going? We were sort of playing it by ear, Radar had never been to Glacier before so he let me lead. We got off the interstate as soon as we could and turned on this back road and it was shaping up to be a nice road that mirrored a nice creek, lots of fishermen wading in the stream and a generally picturesque place to behold. Soon a turn came and went and the sign said Thompson Pass so I turned around and took it. Thats when it got to get interesting since the surface took a turn for the worst. Like it had not been resurfaced in years, bumpy and up and down wavy roller coaster type things going on, I thought perhaps the gps was right we might be heading for a dirt road right into Deliverance. I was very surprised when we rolled up behind the longest stack of cars, Harley's, and RV's I had ever seen. The road had no straits long enough to start picking them off one by one so we just sat behind them all for mile after mile till we came to a village in Prichard Idaho, where some sort of festival was going on. It was all very confusing. Where were they going since we could see none of them turning off and why so many all bunched together. I saw an opportunity after the village to pass them all at once and I took it with Radar in tow right behind me. No real traffic behind that mass of locust and none past them either? It remains a mystery where that caravan came from and where they were going?
Then Thompson pass came along for a few miles of great twisties on the Idaho side and a few more on the Montana side but a bit bumpy on the shady side of the mountains. It was turning out to be one of those great roads - you don't really enjoy it till its almost over? Then you realize "hey that was good"! Too bad that it was all slab from there on out, along with 15 miles of road torn down to the dirt. You would think a car with 4 flat square tires could handle it better then a bike but nope they all want to go 15 miles an hour on dirt? One guy even went so far as to bob and weave around so much that I though he might have blown a tire, he was only looking for the smoothest part of the road - again at 15 mph - Radar and I found a bit of daylight and passed him at 40 and showed him the correct way to smooth out an easy dirt road - go faster! Somehow we were soon at Flathead lake and rolling our way into Kalispell but I turned off and totally missed the entire town, good thing since I don't much care for that place so much. Radar had reservations at an RV park that had a motel, cabins and even teepee's to stay at! I got a little apartment off on the edge of the property and they had a room in the motel. We took a break and washed up then headed to Hungary Horse for a meal and some awesome Huckleberry pie!
Radar And Fay early in the morning up Glacier National Park
Going To The Sun Road
Logan Pass on Going to the Sun Road
Short Delays Mt Logan
We made it through the park between storms
The next morning we bundled up expecting cold rain but somehow managed to ride between two storms - all the way into and out of the park. It was early so we did not have to pay, the ranger at the gate did not even acknowledge we where even there, sitting there like fools waiting for somebody to take our money till a cager passed through without paying and so we followed. It was even rude - totally ignored us! Oh well its was much cheaper this way!
At the end of the park is where I would have to say goodbye once again to radar and his lovely traveling companion Fay, they were on their way to Saskatoon and me I was gonna try to make it to Cody Wyoming. In the Indian country on the Montana Plains is got to be where the name "Big Sky Country" comes from since it is very much so. I was rolling south to Helena and racking up the miles one by one at a pace that if it was not Montana might land me in Jail. Stopping for lunch in Choteau I found a wonderful café that had some of the best food of the whole trip, Biscuits and Gravy and real gravy! Good stuff!
Brunch In Choteau The food here is excellent
The rest of the day was slab to nth degree, nice sweepers on interstate into Helena then an awful 2 lane road hwy 287 on the way to the interstate heading east to Red Lodge. I was planning to make over Bear Tooth Pass by nightfall but I was taking too much time, a huge fire along the highway at Columbus almost choked me to death with smoke so I got off the interstate there and went a back way into Red Lodge, it was also under construction and down to the dirt base so I was going along even slower then I would have. Then smack right into a rain storm I finally pulled into Red Lodge and looked for a motel! I found one on south side of town and I am glad I did cause it was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Harley Davidson's parked side by side the whole parking lot, two large groups of motorcyclist had pulled in also to get out of the rain. One group from Boise and the other from Queensland Australia - talk about an epic trip. I was hardly able to swing my leg off the bike before a nice Aussie was handing me a beer and a braut and inviting me to come have dinner with them at the BBQ - and I did and it was great! Lovely people these Australians the the Boise group too, all different walks of life, age, fathers, sons, wives and old friends. I was like I landed into a second rally in Red Lodge!
Out of the rain - at the Red Lodge Inn two groups of Harley Davidson's also stopped to get out of the rain
Australian HD riders they cooked burgers steaks and dogs for everybody - with beer for everybody it was like a mini rally in the Red Lodge Parking Lot we had a great time
I drank so much beer I got a headache cause every time I finished one somebody was handing me another! We stayed up till the moon rose and the stars of the Montana sky were so bright we could see well enough to stumble to our rooms. Oh boy did I have a good time! I woke up to the sound of roaring Harley's and the entire bunch had gotten up early to head over the pass together. I has semi packed already so I just showered up and put the bags back on the VFR in an empty parking lot. I gave my key back to the owners, a nice couple who just bought the place and renovated it, trying to make a go at being innkeepers, I must say they sure were great hosts, shuttling us to the grocer for burgers and making beer runs for us all night long. Good people I hope they are successful in their business. If ever in Red Lodge make sure to stay at the Red Lodge Inn on the south end of town, new red paint and brick parking lot.
Red Lodge Inn
811 S Broadway Ave, Red Lodge, Montana 59068
I got on my bike and headed for the pass 20 minutes later and to my amazement I caught them all at the base - of course I passed them and waved as I went by, I had a long 700 mile day ahead of me yet to go. Stopping a few times for pictures till they almost caught up again and off I went, it was incredibly cold at the top of Bear Tooth Pass the digital thermometer on the dash said 32F! My hands were frozen with the lite summer gloves even with the grip heaters on high!
it was 30f at the top my hands were numb
Bear Tooth Pass Panoramic
Bear Tooth Pass it was 30f at the top my hands were numb
The ride to Chief Joseph is always fun, 80 mph sweepers and then some nice 20mph switchbacks on the way up to the top, I was again alone.
Battleship Rock at the bottom of the Chief Joseph Highway
Chief Joseph Highway Wyoming
Chief Joseph Outsmarted the US Army In those mountains
A few more curves before the slab starts
I stopped for breakfast in Cody and wondered out loud what was I thinking? No way could I have made it here by night fall then just about then a guy rolled up on a Honda Shadow no helmet and an earring in his ear like Sinbad and a bandanna on his head. He gets off and says hello, he tells me he and his friend rode strait from Detroit to Cody Wyoming in one shot, and instantly made me feel like the ultimate pussy! He said he was hopped up on cigarettes and coffee and that it had become some sort of how long can you go competition between them and no way would he have done that alone! I thought he was a nut, especially since it was all interstate, I would be frozen on a fetal position if I was him! Dude good luck get some sleep now!
So off I went to cross Wyoming and I took the most boring path possible but the fastest, although wind river gorge was nice it too turned into a construction nightmare with a pace car and the, whole crawl a snails pace for and half an hour scene! Economic recovery DOT style, fix all the roads all the way down to magma now? We need fresh magma, hot molten rock to build this road on! ?!
OK so the rest of the day sucked - end of story! but I did 700 miles on the veefalo - no bandanna or earing but not bad! I rewarded myself 50 miles to go with an ice cream in Sedalia! It was a great vacation!
I got an email from Dawn, the Matriarch of that fine bunch of Austrailians I met in Red Lodge - I was happy to hear from her.
Dawn Page & crew Dawn sent me this photo via email from thier adventure in the USA - as is thier fashion they invited the owner of the hotel into the shot - very good people.
Two guys from work Motorcycle enthusiast
My old boss Nate had just been recently reassigned to my shift again after working days for a year, and we got together to go for a little dual sport ride. Half forest service roads and half pavement. Nate invited another one of the guys a supervisor from day shift and the three of us headed out up Rampart Range Road for some teeth chattering washboard dirt road riding. Mostly easy to moderate riding, some sections definitly unimproved but nothing we couldnt handle. I have been on some much more challenging trail than this but it was a bit hairy in spots.
Heading up Rampart Range is like jumping stait into cold water - right away its a climb and washboard rained out tight curves (by sportbike standards anyway) - not so much for a dirt bike, its an easy road lots of cars. We decided to keep Monolo between us since he said his bike had cut out on him on the way to the Starbucks where we met. Whatever it was must have shook out on Rampart range cause he never had an issue again. Nate said that he was very impressed riding behind the big beemer cause it seems like its just riding along a paved road, while his DR350 was sliding and bucking in the washboard turns.
Me too the piggy was bouncing around since I had the suspension set up for street riding mostly but not so bad. I am not a fast dirt bike rider by any means, not at all. You can say I am really slow, but I usually dont get stuck, just plug along at my own pace. I was not riding so fast keeping Monolo in my mirror but I could barely make out Nates headlight so I focused on Monolos bike.
I was gassing it hard on the wash board parts to smooth out the 4 inch ruts and ride over the top of them when a deer popped out right in front of me and thought better of it and backed back into the bushes, I just about pissed myself on that one! I put a larger front brake disc on this thing a year ago cause the brake was weak and now its pretty good but not THAT good! Then a few more turns and some kids on a red neon were power sliding into a turn on the way down right into me so I headed for the very edge of the road and they missed me by a few feet. Nate said they were completely sideways when they went by him like rally racers or somthing. Woodland park kids out on the road. I was using alot of the road up till then but decided I was getting close too close to town to be doing that anymore.
Then up in Woodland Park we topped up the DR cause his tank is small and headed for Painted rocks, another easy but steeper road. This one has some challenges mostly long sand bars in the bowls of the road, deep ones that you just have to keep it steady on, the Piggy is built for that stuff but I am not! I hate how the front end goes loose in the deep sand! I climbed a steep hill and looked in my mirror and no Monolo? Oh shoot I hope sombody did not go down in that sand back there, nope Monolos licence plate came off! Nate broke out a zip tie and all was good! Then a bit more pavement at Westcreek to Deckers and we went right by a couple of cops who where sitting there with radar pointing at us. I was going 50 indicated on a 45 mph road, we all went by and no cops followed us. Man lots of police presence on CO 67 from Westcreek and past Deckers at the foot of Horse Power Hill. I counted 3! Lots of cops for a backroad to not very much - I must admit the road has gotten busier with more traffic this year then I have seen before. In any case I know where they are patrolling now.
We stopped at Deckers and had a break the DR seat was staring to wear on Nate, I then told them that the easy parts were over and now it was gonna get into more moderate roads, unimproved passes and a few water crossings, you know the brochure GS picture type water crossings. Off we went and I got lost once and missed the turn for Stony Creek Pass, so we ended up by Cheeseman lake which is completely closed off now, no access at all? OK so we turned of and this was the longest section of the day all the way to Wellington lake it was unimproved and narrow, deep ruts but still a road. I was suprised Monolo handled it in stride and the big bike was doing very well. I am impressed too! good bike! Still easy by trail bike standards but now its a jeep road, a car could do it but very slow! I mean we passed a camper with a 4x4 camping on the side, if he can make it - all dirt no rocks. Then I knew I was on the right road when the first water crossing came up, a puddle really about a foot deep. We all went through it well - then about 10 minutes later the second one and this time Monolo hit a rock in the creek and he must have shifted his bike into neutral cause it stalled on the way out of the creek. He started it back up and off we went, I think the guys were liking this part the best! Challenging but not too crazy! Fun mostly, and then the road got easy again and went on into some very nice scenery the Aspens are already yellowing up in the mountains, a few weeks and they will be bare! Luch at the cut throat was good but they have a problem with flies that I found disgusting. I dont like flies in resturants especially that many! Food was great though as usual. Then we decided to just take pavement all the way back cause the ride was going on longer than expected, and I got to supermoto some tight curves on the way from Pine Junction to Pine! fun stuff at 70 mph! All and all a good ride!
Nate and Monolo Monolo has never done a dual sport ride before
Thats me in front of Pikes Peak I look like a dork
Our rides GS1250 XR650 DR350
The Old Spiral Highway at Lewiston Idaho on the WA/ID border
The PNW 2010 was a great event, I really liked the venue, others did not as much. Two days $158 for the historic hotel wasnt so bad, no TV no Airconditioning was the only draw back but to be able to walk downstairs and get a growler of Ruby Ale was really a huge plus. I got very used to the Edgefield Inn Brew in a hurry! Dinners were good, the company was great, and the bed was so comfy I did not toss or turn at all just out like a lightbulb. Maddog and I pulled into the parking lot and there were already vfr's in the parking lot.
Sparrow The first vfr I saw at the pnw 2010 meet
McMenamins Edgefield Inn
We had our fly by hosted by Didit and Choco gave us some route suggestions, I had not planned to ride on Saturday but TimandCass talked me into it and I said give me an hour to shower and get my gear on - (OK DIDIT hour and a half) and we were off. I had no idea I was holding up 10 people? Sorry about that guys I thought it was just gonna be a few of us! So Tim took us into the great Columbia River Gorge and it was awsome, never been there and never seen how spectacular it is before. America just keeps it commin! No shortage of wonderful motorcycling in the place!
Veefer800Canuke Claims His Piece Of The Veefalo the front valve cap
Pacific North West Meet 2010 Columbia River Gorge on the historic scenic Hwy 30
CassandTim takes us down Historic Hwy 30 Scenes from the Vista house of the Columbia River Gorge
Vista House On Historic Hwy 30
Multnomah Falls On the East Crown Point Highway
Rest Stop at Multnomah falls
The Porsche Museum in Mosier
It was here we stopped in Mosier to visit the Ice cream shop and Porsche Museum - a cool little roadside joint that is a tourist delight, great way to spend the day, then off to the famous Rowena Curves for some twisties. Tim gives us a few pointer about where its dangerous, and shares a story about a local rider who for some reason got into a scrape with a bycylist who thought that petals own the road and not motorcycles? The way I understood it the bicyclist pushed the motorcyclist off his bike while riding, for me it sounded like the motorcyclist was riding aggresivley and tried to pass the guy in a turn? I dont know about you but in a turn is no place to pass on the street especially a tight gravel strewn one such as the ones in Rowena so who is right who is wrong? Beats me I wasnt there and its all hear say so - anyway I was freaked about gravel in the turns so I just played it safe on the way down and took it slow, then rode it up a bit faster. I took a video of it below if you care to watch in HD or non hd (click the hd button to turn it off)
The Fameous Rowena Curves hwy 30 from Moiser to Rowena
The vista at Mayer State Park just next to the Rowena Curves
VFR's we all assaulted the Rowena Curves one by one
I was definitly feeling the lag of riding 3 x 400 miles days so soon after working a 12 hour night shift. So After riding the Rowena Curves I told everybody I was heading back on the interstate to the hotel - I had noticed that the Gorge had formed a funnel effect on the wind and it was getting very very windy along the highway. One good thing about being socked in with overcast clouds, at least the wind is not so bad then? So I said goodby and headed west on the interstate. Wow pretty scenery along the interstate even but boy interstate riding sucks! I had no idea I was so far out at this point thinking it would be a half an hour or so to get back - wrong I was a good 70 miles in at this point and I had to just sit there and grind out he windy windy miles! Some jackass in a rice burner with a coffie can for an exaust blasted past me and shoved his car past me with maybe a foot of room to spare? Then he sat there in front of me at 55mph? So of course I backed off and got into the slow lane but rv afer rv after semi trailer forced me back behind him till I found some daylight and took off at 70mph - the posted speed limit! Rice burner did not like that and got like 3 feet behind me for about 2 miles till I had enough of that too. Then I thought I would see what a 1200 vfr could do on the interstate when you roll on the trottle. lets just say rice burner became very small in the mirrors till I ran up behind a semi, then I worked in between and around them and the mirror got very small again. Turn off in Troutdale and waited for like 10 mintues for a flunky to come pour my gas? Jebus I hate that stupid Oregon Gas bullshit! What a stupid law!
I was getting hungry and I needed cash so I pulled into the safeway atm and saw a chinese resturant - its been months since I had chinese so I grabed some take out and put it in the top back and went back to the hotel for some lunch and an afternoon nap. Yes General Tao and Ruby Ale go together very well! Lights out and well I did not wake up till the vfrd get together was over. Darn it! I was really tired!
I asked my friends Radar and Did it what was on the menu for the way home and it sounded very good so I attached a line to the back of Didit and hauled along with the Canadians into Idaho for two more days of great riding. We rode some interstate again and then turned off on the only bridge for miles across the Columbia, and into Washington. We took some remote back roads into Bickleton where they say is the oldest Saloon in Washington? Is it Washington or Oregon I have no idea I was just following along and enjoying the hell out of myself.
The Oldest Saloon In Oregon
Then we had to slow it down cause some of us were running on fumes all they way along the north side of the Columbia into Payson were we found an unattended gas station - no frills to say the least, but it had real gas! No Flunky to pump it either for you leaving you standing there for 5 minutes waiting to get served. It was the complete opposite of Oregon so yea I guess Bikleton is in Washington! I remember seeing Jeff and Axle 7 wizz past the rest of us on the sweepers of hwy 142 up the pass and seeing those two 2 up was like watching art in motion they looked so smooth together. I had witnessed this once before a couple on the Cherehola skyway holding off Baileyrock at the orginal fall meet - that was on a Kawaski with a liter engine so I must say to ride that that together on an 800 with a bad shock well its some darned good riding! HEH I am not that fast - I am not sorry about it either good stuff Derric and Tammy look great on that "Tamgerine" color vfr!
The only gas for 50 miles an unattended gas stop in Paterson WA
Lunch in Umatilla at a mexican roadside resturant was awsome, wasnt expecting good mexican food so far north, it was like back home in the southwest - a tex mex type resturant for sure. Lots of food and almost too much, well it was too much actually. They treated us good. Then off into the amber waves of grain of Eastern Oregon again, on some more back roads.
The Moon over Enterprise Oregon
It was an awsome day of riding and the next day was even better - we found a great road up to Lewston that opened up into a huge canyon and well it was a little hairy comming into it cause it looked like gravel all over the road in the trees but as soon as we rounded the turns into that canyon it got very very good.
The day had only been an hour into it and we had already found some good stuff! A bit of slab from here into Lewsiston to ride the Old Spiral Hwy - a motorcycle destination mecca itself. I took more video there
The Old Spiral Highway
The Canadian Crew and Me at the lookout on the Old Sprial Highway
Axle7 Solo's the Spiral Highway
Then we found some more great roads to go up after that, a great sweeper road just would appear out of nowhere and challenge you for a half an hour or so then scenery then into Coeure D'Alene we found a tight tight twisty road hwy 97 that hugged along the lake for 20 miles, it was deals gap tight and it plumb wore me out! I was done and rolled off a bit and let Jeff and Didit go on ahead - And I just slowed down and looked at the pretty houses and boats along the lake. 30 mph turn followed by 20 mph turn followed by 15mph turn all at 60mph just wore me out after 11 miles or so. Big bike I got here takes some muscle to do that stuff for 20 miles on mile 300 for the day. I just needed a rest so I took it. I always ride my own ride anyway so I dont much care if you pass or get on ahead, some days I am the guy who gets away some times I am the slow poke, sometimes in the same day its just sport touring with friends - tis all good!
Tammy shows of her Muscles hamming it up
They all had resevations at the motel already and it was all booked up so I had to go get a place a few blocks away and we walked to the resturant - blue moon brewery and it was good, spicy too and I was smitten with the waitress she was captivating to me! Oh well Apricot ale was good and the company was awsome, Tammy was cracking me up the whole night she was really allot of fun! No she is not shy! HEH Good times good riding I was having the best vacation I have had in a long time! The next day half of us would split off for Montana and the other half up North!
Pacific North West Meet 2010 Columbia River Gorge on the historic scenic Hwy 30
I spent the night before the meet in Boise at my Uncles place - he fed me steaks and diet Dr Pepper. It was nice to catch up with him again since I maybe see him once a year during the holidays. It was a cook it yourself deal which is perfect since I like to cook my own steaks - that way nobody can take the blame for it being over cooked or raw but me. It was a smidgen too raw on one side too. Oh well, my old man called him and told him I was supposed to be there Sunday instead of Monday so him and his girlfriend went all out - and then I called him from Jackson to tell him I was gonna be there on Monday, JUST LIKE I SAID I WOULD in the message I left him the week before. Dad got it all wrong. Oh well the steak was in the fridge and booze in the pantry - which I stayed well away from. I am a shitty drunk, especially on the hard stuff.
It was alright we watched the Jets and Giants on Monday night football playing in the new shared stadium in New Jersey - how does that figure? Is a rename in order the New Jersey Jets vs the New Jersey Giants? Heh we had a good laugh at that one - since both of us are really Broncos fans anyway and half assed fans at that.
So he wakes up at 5am with his casual western work wear for his job as a computer programmer for the State of Idaho - he wont own a computer at home since he has to type on one all day long he hates them! I can see why he likes it there in Boise its a nice place, lots to do, good roads, small town but not too small, outdoorsy and very friendly people. I have yet to meet an unfriendly Idahoan yet! I am sure there are some and they are probably originally not from there.
I call up Maddog who PMed me about riding out to Troutdale together earlier in the week, I called the guy since he left me a few messages wondering what was going on, and we decide to meet in the morning at the rest stop along the interstate at the state border in Ontario OR. So I pulled out of Boise around 7am and headed west on the long strait road to the interstate - on State Street it was a 15 mile long road to the interstate and it was busy the whole 15 miles. I should have gone south and got on the interstate soon but I did not have on my magic traffic goggles - so how was I supposed to know? Then of course as always when your on a schedule the interstate absolutely must have a 15 mile long road construction project going on that shuffles traffic all to one side of the highway. Nothing like seeing the country side behind an 18 wheeler smoking diesel fuel. I get there at 8am on the frickin dot and no Maddog? Ok so I wait he said 8-8:30? Then 8:45 rolls along and I say well 5 more minutes then I am leaving - and here comes a yellow 5th gen with a guy on it in the most faded stich I have ever seen! He could win that aerostich contest they have at the ugly boring rally they have. Hes got on some soft bags and top bag - and hes all of 130lbs if that. I am thinking hes got at least 150lbs less haulin than I - I hope I can keep up. Then he says "I am slow" Yea I have heard that before and ....NOT!
Off we go into Oregon and as soon as we hit Vale we had to roll our clocks back 20 years to a time when gas was pumped by an attendant at the gas stations. Where the insides where lined with wood paneling and nothing was labeld - no rows of fancy drink coolers - no fancy neon signs - or multi flavor soda dispensers - I really felt like I had stepped into a time machine in some of those places he took me. On some of the stops we had to get off the highway and drive into the town behind some back alley and find the only gas station for 30 miles. If he hadn't of known it was there I would have never found it. Maddog, he says we will fill up at every stop cause you never know when these back country places will be open. Eastern Oregon is about as rural as it gets. I can only think its a product of the state law that requires a gas station attendant to be present to pump your gas. It negates the all night - pay at the pump - do it yourself thing thats for sure and if Bubba is sick today well I guess you just close down for the day leaving a community undeserved for its gas needs! Oh well the Gov-a-mint knows best eh? Shoot, I had to get used to waiting in line for gas in Oregon - all I can say is IT SUCKS! Half the time they just said "go ahead man"! After waiting for 5 minutes to get his attention. Nope I did not see any female attendants - not sure if that is a law too. I did meet allot of anti gov-a-mint folks in Oregon though and well no wonder! Like I said IT SUCKS! Let freedom ring and let us pump the darned gas please!
Maddog suffering from the Oregon Heat shedding a layer
Service Creek Café
Dilapidated Barn viewed from t he Service Creek Café
So we headed out from Vale and made our way to Unity and I tested this "I am slow" declaration he made, in some tasty sweepers and NOPE - DOES NOT HOLD WATER! I calculated it in my head and found that 1) those chicken strips he had on in Ontario have somehow mysteriously disappeared in the last 100 miles and 2) he seems to be able to accelerate at a very steep rate compared to me? I had to conclude at this point that Maddog was full of shit! He ain't slow! It was like Shamu trying to catch up to Dani Padrosa! I mean look at the guy he cant be much bigger than Dani Pedrosa!
So I figured I was feeling good about the bike the day before when I was railing it solo, but when your riding with other riders all that changes and the doubt creeps in along with some anticipation of whats to come especially if your riding with somebody you don't know. Its only natural to want to keep up - but having put on more then my share of miles on a vfr I think I can honestly say "F that" to myself and go at my own pace. If its fast enough then good, if not well I am sure they will wait for me at the next turn. There were a couple of times Maddog stepped away and I let him go cause I was liking the roads. Sometimes you get caught up and don't look around to see all the good stuff your missing - wow this was some pretty country in Eastern Oregon. I like how they make roads that follow rivers and creeks, its a natural rhythm to the road it just flows like the water does. Maddog pulled off at Unity and told about this great country road 20 we were going to take at Bates and take it all the way up to Long Creek. He said watch out for the cattle grates, but he mentioned nothing about the clods of dirt all over the road, we soon were on it and I found I could just keep it in 4th gear most the time and modulate the throttle well enough to power out of the sweepers, deep ones that make you lean more at the end and they just kept a coming! I was having a blast on that road, keeping him close this time I was in my element. I put my foot down on the chip seal and sure enough it was solid and no loose stuff, it was time to rip it. Pretty soon though the road stopped the chip seal and it looked a bit glassy in the shade, I know its just an optical illusion but for me it was enough to slow it down a bit. It also had some tar snakes on the north side so I let Maddog go again. I can't count the number of times I just had an odd feeling about a road and slowed down only to find my ridding buddy on the side of the road! Too many times I don't know this road but I know whats good and whats not, tar snakes are not good! So yea I slowed down.
We rode for a few hundred more miles and then the heat started in on us, Maddog had to peal off some layers and then I saw I was dealing with a very lite rider in front of me. I thought this darned 1200 cant keep up? Whats going on..oh hes not very big thats why! And he doesn't have much packed with him either. Ok 400 cc's is not that much of an advantage in this situation especially when the bike sort of limits the power in the lower gears too.
Toward mid day I felt I could keep up - and he wanted me to lead but my gps was all goofy - telling me to turn on dirt roads and pointing me in the wrong direction, I ended up just shutting off the route cause it had recalculated it all, then reloading it to fix the errors. Not happy with this replacement zumo garmin sent me, its a lemon. It takes 15 minutes to draw the maps - always shuts off for no reason and wont power back up. Darned thing, I got tired of fiddling with it. So I just let him lead. I usually lead all the time at home, mostly actually with my buds. Some of my buds prefer to lead its all good I don't care. I don't mind leading if I know where to go. I tend to use the rear brake allot so it bugs some people before entering turns, a habit of dirt biking It involuntary mostly I don't even think about it, and I don't jam the brakes just lightly put my foot on it and thats it. I usually just unplug my rear brake light sensor so it don't bother people, they say to me "your brake lights on but your speeding up"? Yea I know! I wouldn't do it if I could train myself out of it. Thats just the way I ride, 300,000 plus miles and I am habituated.
Shaniko Oregon Maddog and I were standing in the lawn sprinkler cooling off
Mt Hood snapped a quick pic from the road
One more gas stop in Spray then we hit some of the best turns of the whole day, just west of spray there was a good pass and then at Antelope a very tight twisty section that I was able to record with my contour hd camera.
There were great roads all in that section of road, up until mount hood then we slabbed it into Troutdale, I took the lead for the last 100 or so miles into town since I had a radar detector. I saw a few cops and they lit me up, I slowed down in time and kept on going. It was a good day or riding.
The Sawtooth Mountains Stanley Idaho
Continuing on from my last blog entry - I spent the night in Waldon Colorado - then early in the morning I packed up and headed out on the veefalo north. I just blindly followed my GPS that for some reason had switched to automatic route recalculation which sent me over the pass into Laramie. I had it figured out just about the time I found some really great sweepers on the Wyoming side - I decided not to turn back but rather to find out just how far this rabbit hole would go! I was enjoying the 30mph marked turns at double that speed and it was rather chilly so I only hit the good ones in the sun and not so fast in the shade. I dont ride too well when I am cold. I suppose a racing career for an overwieght 45 year old is out of the question so I will just stick to touring and writing in my blog and keep my night job.
Sheep Mountain Waldon Colorado
Balloons in Waldon 7am - 45 degrees out - still cool air perfect balloon weather
So having figured it out that I had basically added 50 miles to my route with this stupid zumo reprogram job. I figured I needed to gas up in Laramie and grab some cash at the wells fargo ATM since I was already in town. Which sent me to an interesting gas station - tackle shop - gun store - candy store - resturant where the owner had fish bait and chewing tobbacco on the same shelf. Helpful though he pointed me in the right direction to the wells fargo with detailed directions right down to the shape of the windows in the Taco Bell next door. Right by the Wyoming Cowboys stadium he said. Sure enough there it was. Then 100 or so plus miles of super slab on I-80 to Rawlins. It was here I discovered my bike was covered with oil encrusted dirt pellets all over the forks, swingarm, and radiator. So in Rawlins I cut over to a car wash to get that crap off, and the 1/4 inch high pile of dead bugs on the windshield.
Rawlins is the sort of place I like to just pass through, if it were not for the gas situation I would have! It did get me off the interstate and that dueling semi nonsense for the last hour or so - they always seem to look in the mirror and see me comming then try to pass each other before I get there - nope - snails dont make for good racing! So I would have to haul it down to below the posted speed limit and wait behind the chain of cages that also are stuck behind this 18 wheeler fiasco - interstates might be the fastest way to cross the USA but they sure are a pain in the ass on a motorcycle.
I turned off for more slab, but this time it was 2 lane slab for another 150 miles till I hit the edge of Dubios Wyoming where the scenery took a turn for the better. Here it started to get interesting - I should have stopped for more pictures cause the whole way from Dubios to Jackson was very scenic. Too bad the highway department thought different. Togwatte pass was all tore up to the dirt and bumpy as hell since it was being repaved. It was all tore up for a good 15 miles and after that there was mud all over the brand new pavement. All the way into the Grand Tetons National Forest. Turning the corner and cresting the hill and seeing my first sight of the Grand Tetons was amazing, it took my breath away it was so spectacular!
Dubois Wyoming pretty little town
Grand Teton Range impressive sight
Veefalo at Grand Tetons
Jacksons Hole Wyoming
I was going to try to make it to Idaho City but it was getting late and the sun was about to go down so I found a place to stay in Jackson, it was expensive so I did not splurge on food opting instead for a burger at the DQ and an ice cream. I walked over to the Cowboy bar and looked at the strange wood fixtures - mutant wood with what looked like wood tumors all over it and saddles for bar stools. I had a bottle of beer and walked around downtown Jackson. It reminded me alot of Durango where I went to school. Only a bit smaller. Its a tourist trap too in the summer time.
I got up early and headed out, I had a room just below my bike so I could just lift my bags up onto the pavement and not have to carry them so far. I wound my way over Teton Pass passing scores of cars 5 at a time which was easy since the grade was 10% so they were barely moving 30mph at most. I had a little of the pass to myself just in time to catch a whole nother line of cars and pass them too. It was too busy to really do anything fun. Lots of traffic heading over to the Tetons and up into Yellowstone. I was glad to get off the main highway and over to Pine Creek Road where I had it all to myself. I really enjoyed the 50 miles of that road - and stopped for breakfast at a little run down joint run by a mother daughter team. The lady behind the grill looked just like my great aunt Jenny I am sure I made her uncomfortable they way I was squinting to see if it was really my grandmas little sister - and the daughter - she was very pretty too. Good food and plenty of it, pork chops eggs and homemade salsa. The daughter was a good conversationalist if a bit unnattentive as a waitress, Mom though set her strait a few times, "get the coffie honey" she said, and "bring those plates back here" gentle but firm. She seemed more annyoned at having to finish up the night shifts work than being a waitress. Aw but the food was special.
Starting toward the pass to Idaho
Balloons on the Tetons
Angus Cafe Swan Valley Good breakfast but he outside is a little run down Swan Valley Idaho
Swan Valley Idaho
From here it got slabby again and into the city of Idaho Falls I ran into a 10 mile length of constuction with crazy 4 inch pot holes that I had to aviod. The car infront of me was going so slow I had to back off way back to get a good idea when the next pot hole was comming to avoid it. The cars behind me where no comfort!
From there I gassed up in the boring town of Idaho Falls - note to self any town in the west out on the planes with the word "falls" in it is probably a sink hole! On my way into Atomic City Idaho I passed Harely Davidson after Harley Davidson after Harley Davidson. They seem to think that a 115 cubic inch HD can hold off a 1200 vfr? Not even close! I would pass with a simple 6th gear roll on and be done with them in a hurry. This thing cruises at 100mph while they struggle at it. Try twice the rpms and more HP its not much of a match, add in turns and its all over! I might see you on the way back.
So I looked up some maps and headed up north a bit to hit the Salmon River roads stopping again in Arco to gas up since I have no idea where the gas stations are gonna be. It seemed prudent andnd once again in Challis since this was a back way or so I thought going along the Salmon. Nope it was busy, busy with all sorts of anglers fly fishing the river and driving along the twisty road. It was fun and fast. Then the canyon opened up and I saw the Sawtooth Mountain range for my first time and it Rivals the Grand Tetons in scope if not as sharp but massive, I stopped to take a pic.
The Sawtooth Mountains Stanley Idaho
Then I turned on what I thought was going to be the best road of the day and it was strait as an arrow, so my Uncle Told me! For a good 20 miles it was strait then slowly it started to get a kink here and there, then after 40 miles it was getting better and better, pretty soon I was enjoying it alot. Passing everything in range I was having fun on the fast sweepers, it was all good chip seal the kind that is done right and not loose anymore - not scrapped off by snow plows either just good chip seal. Its grippy and confidence inspiring.
The at Lowman Idaho I turned a corner and the temperature went up 20 degrees and I started to sweat and then all of a sudden - whammo - tight tight twisty - deals gap of the west road! My Uncle had not set me wrong!~ I am glad he pointed this road out on the map to me at Christmas - this is some good stuff here! Wow I was not so sure about this bike up till now and I just leaned forward and gassed it smooth and let her rip and bump and lean and pitch. Flicking the bike side to side just like as if I was on the old girl. I think it was this road that made me think that I do have a good bike! A bike I can ride now, I was riding it well and it was responding well. I was happy with the veefalo all at once and completely focused on this road. I was having fun railing it and it was responding like it was too! Wow moments like this are a real treat, its not always you feel like your one with your bike or that its just an extention of your will, it was handling and turning like it was a sport bike! OH Harley guys try and follow me now!
I looked down at my gas gauge - uhh oOHH its blinking! Aw shoot, 15 miles to Idaho City.. will I make it? The road started down hill and switch back after switch back melted away with ease, a little slower down hill I am still enjoying myself but trying to conserve gas. Then sweepers again till I saw what looked like a small village and a gas station on the side. I pumped 4.2 gallons and went over 150 miles, that last gas stop in Challis all they had was ethonol blend and I dont think I filled it to the rim, just topped up. I was really reving the pants off the bike for the most of 75 miles - and another 40 along the Salmon river. I really ran that section hard.
I think your brother is all over my windshield
Stange looking Zebra beetles in Idaho City they where everywhere - never seen bugs like them before? Cool looking especially when in flight. I stopped and fueled up and fueled up my belly with some Red Bull Cola and an Ice cream. I was only 50 miles to my Uncles place and was really happy with the bike! I feel like I broke an invisable barrier on that day!