I don't know where to begin, it was such an epic in the making. A full year of planning, routes to be scrutinized, people to contact, motels to reserve. I still am not sure what to make of it, bittersweet as it was I will start from the beginning.
There where originally three of us planning to do this, here we all are in the picture below ready to go - HispanicSlammer (myself), Motoman (Dan gixxer), and Colosprvfr (Craig) we stopped to get a before pic and after we then climbed on the bikes. Then Craig thumbs the starter and "click" nothing - an hour goes by, fairings removed and we all come to the conclusion the stator is shot and well thats the sad part - Craig stays behind! Bummer major freaking bummer! hes got perhaps 32k on the bike and has never had a problem, well one problem his thermostat got stuck open once before. Hes on the phone ordering parts next day but of course after talking with him we determine hes not gonna make it on the viffer, there is always his Shadow but he wants to rail just like we do. So Dan and I continue on. I replaced my RR just in case, 30k or so on mine and well no need to take chances. I got a Signal Dynamics led voltmeter that was acting up on the last ride - taking no chances I replace the RR before the trip, fresh mobile one oil, new chain, new Pilot Powers, gave everything the once over I made sure I was good to go. Craig said his battery went dead the week before - I wish I had known about that, cause we would have run the problem down and fixed it pronto.
All ready to go! Little did we know!
Well shoot - thats the bitter part - a good friend was unable to make the trip. Dan and Craig are rather close so he was bummed to no end. So we hit the highway on familiar roads om Colorado. While in Salida It seemed my bike was overloaded, I don't know why I should have dumped the extra gear I brought for us to sleep on - an air mattress for the odd man out in the double room, and othr extra gear. The Givi bags where a bit heavy and I wasn't used to it, on the high speed sweepers of HWY 50. So in Salida we stopped for lunch at this rustic looking place in on the main drag and wow. All I can say is "Wow" they grow them pretty in Salida, our waitress that is, she was a knockout! It was a sign of things to come, all our servers were just pretty as could be on this entire trip. We were soon heading over Monarch Pass, my first real test of the bike with this load on it. She wobbled a bit and it was rather unsettling so I added a click of rebound on the shock and it cleaned up a bit. We decided to run the Black Canyon and make sure - you gotta run the Black Canyon while in Colorado its required by state law! Hwy 92 treated us to some fine twisties and I was very comfy with the load by now, I was scrubbed up to the edge on the Pilot Powers, the back tire anyway.
My signal dynamics volt meter was flashing red at the Utah state line, which had me alarmed - miles away from anything - wtf I just replaced the RR - not my stator too! I also had a mini mulit meter with me and well that was showing 13.5 volts so I was fine, I guess my SD led voltmeter is a POS! Damn can I find an on board voltmeter that actually works correctly? Dan said just unplug it and ignore the darned thing for now.
We rolled into Monticello UT around about 10pm and every thing was closed, the East Indian fellow at the desk of our motel said so, so it was chips and dip from the gas station for dinner, and 4% beer - they had "Gammys" (Polygamy Porter from the Wasatch brewery) a Lovely Utah local brew. We had discovered "Gammys", as we call them, on our last trip to UT. It was last summer on a road trip to Miller Motor sports park, we actually sampled it at the brewery in Park City. Its strong stuff man! The pool was closed so we just passed out in our room that night. The next morning up late we headed down to Blanding and over to the Bicentennial Hwy to cross the UT desert.
Glen Canyon National Monument at the entryway
Utah Heat easily 100 degrees, my 2 liter camel bladder was empty already
Glen Canyon bridge over the Colorado River
Bridge over the Colorado
Crossing the bridge
Midday we were rolling into Fry Canyon, a name which undoubtedly means something, it was freaking hot, I had my lunch tote cooler with me in my Givi and I was dipping my bandanna into the ice water and then wrapping it around my neck, it only lasted for about ten minutes before it was bone dry.
Glen Canyon a bit blurry
Fry Canyon the gage said 110f
Fry Canyon the further you ride the closer the walls get
Hollow mountain convenience store Hanksville UT
The hole in the wall store in Hanksville was a welcome sight, still 100 degrees there it was nice and cool in the mountain. I stocked up on Gatorade for the cooler and they kindly offered to fill my tote with more ice. Nice folks at the Hollow Mountain store. We saw a strange two seater car that ran on diesel, it was a division of Mercedes that makes it - it had Ontario plates - it must get better gas mileage than our bikes. Capital Reef National Park was just up ahead.
lots of dirt in UT
Entering Capital Reef National Park Near Torry UT
Capital Reef NP is free along the Bicentennial Highway
Domes for which the park is named for
There seemed to be a whole fleet of these Cruise America.com RV's on the road, we saw a ton of them, one of them held us off in the turns at Capital Reef - every time we went around a right hand turn this RV was spewing piss water out a spigot on the left side of the RV. I wasn't about to pass this guy and get sprayed on!! After many miles and several gags, we finally found an opening and passed after which we gave the guy a rather unfavorable hand gesture as we did.
Torry Ut, we stopped for a Burger at some road side stand in town, cute girls and interesting burger choices. I had a bacon burger and Dan had a fiesta burger he rather enjoyed. I can't remember the name of the place but it was good enough to mention. Torry UT it was the only place in town. From here we headed up the Pass on Hwy 12 into the mountains and I was on a tear, I seared the tires a bit going as fast as I was and it got a bit sketchy as the turns seemed to be bumpy in places. Soon we were at the Escalate Grand Staircase, a mesmerizing canyon of desert vegetation and sheer drops that can certainly be deadly if you go off the road
Near Torry the rocks turn red
Hwy 12 Escalate Staircase high above from the road
Steep grades and sharp curves next 4 miles
Dan gives the Grand Staircase a thumbs up
Awesome scope of it all Escalante Grand Staircase
We had already been to Bryce Canyon on our last trip so - being that it was Wed we thought we would have a nice easy ride over to Zion - nope it was bumper to bumper going into Bryce Canyon, so we skipped it, thank goodness it was on the other side of the road, we had a quarter of the traffic heading out. Some Harley Davidson low sided and started a prairie fire at the turn off hwy 12 it was an unusual site. He was pulling one of those small trailers and must have lost control by running the trailer off the road in the turn. On to Zion we went.
ZION NATIONAL PARK
The entrance fee for motorcycles is $12 bucks - rather steep I thought but it was worth it, I decided to turn on the video camera and shoot the sights on video
Zion National Park Dan and I pull off for a picture stop
Zion National Park smoke from a fire burring in the north side of the park
The setting sun on Zion National Park
Zion National Park
It was around 9pm pacfic when we rolled into Saint George, a fairly mid sized city and the place was on fire, an entire hillside was engulfed in smoke, it was 100 degrees out in the twilight and we were hot. We checked into the motel 6 and promptly jumped into the pool too cool off, there we found an that an entire touring buss of French students was there. They had a curious habit of hanging all their clothes out on the railing of the second floor? It was certainly hot enough to keep them dry! It seemed the entire second floor was full of laundry. We found a little taco shop in town and had some Carne Asada Tacos for dinner in the dark.
Slab Slab and More Slab this was almost torture, hot and slabby Nevada must not have much by way of twisties and certainly its second to Kansas in unbearable slab! Windy too, poor Dan was getting a neck ache from the wind.
Welcome To Nevada it should say welcome to slab
More forest fires Right on the Nevada Border
The Brothel is now closed
Our first view of the Sierras we were in 3 states in one day that day
Westgard Pass it might as well be a roller coaster, you can easily catch some major air on some of the whoops. Trust me there is a road there.
Westgard Pass tore up my tire 15mph hairpins, ten foot whoops, and tight sweepers - I had no clue what gear I should be in! CA Hwy 168 to Big Pine
The highlight of the day was definitely Gilbert/Westgaurd Pass into Big Pine California, it made up for all that Nevada Slab. There are some rather depressing sites along the way too, Goldfield, and Tonopah are a couple of stops I would rather miss as they seemed to scream in desperation - "help us we are poor". As soon as we crossed into California the speed limit dropped but the road got much more interesting. Gilbert pass is chock full of 15 mph hairpins and a bit of dirt in the turns, and Westgard pass is simply a roller coaster with no rails. It is like somebody paved a dirt bike trail and didn't bother to flatten out the whoops. We entered a bit more slab up to Mammoth Lakes for the night, a nice COOL mountain/ski town - had some pizza and walked up to a beer tavern where I discovered a wonder German brew called Spaten. I am on the hunt for Spaten now!! What was strange was that it seemed that every body was rather unattractive there! HEH not a babe to be seen for miles, save one the teen girl we saw - but way way too young. Dan was a fish out of water! No babes or PUFFIES as he calls them.
Lunch at some foo foo place in Mammoth lakes - they had chili dogs so I ate that - it tore me up! Sad to say it did. So we gassed up and hit the road, over to June Lake and through there, no pictures but trust me its pretty. Then over to Tioga Pass
Tioga Pass Gateway to Yosemite
Tioga Pass 6 sport bikes tore it up right before we did
Lembert Dome we did not stop
Bridalveil falls closer
We headed south out of Yosemite cause the map looked squiggly but it was bumpy and had way too much traffic we endured it though all they way too, Madera into the central breadbasket of California, seems everything grows there. The smells were wonderful. Gorgeous Hispanic Girls walking the streets of Madera wow, I think Dan wanted to stop - he has a weakness for Hispanic Girls. I kept on going to Gilroy, there the road opened up into a three lane freeway and some guy on a Cruiser passed us doing 100plus, I let him go till the traffic started to back up going up a steep hill, naturally passing everything in site I tried to catch up to the cruiser but he schooled us the rest of the way, I finally caught the guy where the road split off 5 miles later - on his Roadstar! Wow these California boys can ride! The road into Gilroy was jammed packed on the other side, backed up for 5 or more miles it must have been excruciating for those motorist. Bad way to commute home for sure! Gilroy was our home base for the whole Laguna Seca Weekend and the Motel 8 was nice. But yet again everything closed up at 9pm! ON a SATURDAY??
LAGUNA SECA WEEKEND
It was abuzz with activity, Dan wanted to hit Big Sur first so we went part way down the Pacific Coast Highway before we hit the track.
PCH Point Lobos State Reserve
Jake Zemkes bike
Ben's number one plate
Corbin's 1098r smuggler
I have no clue what Jelly Belly has to do with motorcycles b They make an energy jelly bean now!
Cannery Row Its out of focus but thats the way it was
Nicky Hayden qualifying coming out of turn 3 - 130mph in 300 yards!!
The Andretti Hairpin - turn 3
Casey Stoner & Miguel Duhamel qualifying
hs bls At Cannery Row
CBR 1000 w/ vfr400 sss
We met Rob veefer800Canuke and his riding partner Craig (CanadianCraig) - lots of Craig's on this trip - Rob hes Canadian EH and sos Craig EH Tits!! HEH Them two are a riot, it wasn't long before Craig steered us to the Beer tent where we watched the babes and the qualifying in relative comfort sipping on Nevada Pale Ale, I saw a Spaten Umbrella and got all excited for a brew but alas they did not have it. It was there I saw a goddess, she was magnificent, and Taken! Damn lucky guy too, she was all over him - he a sort of tall middle aged and not too good looking guy, it gave me hope!! Jebus that guy must have some money!
We rolled over to Cannery Row to see the craziness there and met up with Busy Little Shop at Bubba Gumps for dinner, it was a mad house, the place was a zoo but Larry managed to get us all comped, too bad for you guys who showed up bit got discouraged with the crowd it was a great dinner, Larry is a sweet Gentile man and Mary is a great gal, they regaled us with stories of Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan and racing in general. What a great ending to a great day.
I just loop in both days since well tis much the same, the race was a bust, no Mexicans finished on the podium and we watched Nicky and Hopper tangle up right in front of us in turn 2. I got it on tape
The youngest Hayden brother had a great weekend though! We headed over to Carmel valley with Rob and Craig - and their tag along Lance (shoot I cant remember some Canadian guy they picked up on the road) he was a nice guy same age as Dan. And we had dinner together - the server was a hot hot red head girl who looked like a young Jane Fonda, man on man.
The Laguna Seca Pits
Camped out at Turn 2 Andretti Hairpin
Craig and Rob met us in Gilroy for a two days of riding up the coast, they made the ride much more fun. I lead with my Gps but managed to smack into the back of a Jaguar stopped into the middle of the road in Santa Cruz, I misjudged the width of my Givi bags and tagged the guys taillight. I got an earful from this guy - a transplant from New Zealand, he seemed to think we were locals cause he lit into me with an anti bike rant like you would not believe, I just listened and he calmed down. Thats what insurance is for right! I managed to keep her upright enough to get out of the way and do the right thing. It was over in less than a half an hour.
On to Alice's Restaurant for lunch! The ride was brisk, me being a bit more carefully now - the traffic was lite up there in the hills, and it was fun.
Hanging out at Alice's Restaurant Woodside California
A 19 something something Packard This Fella just drives up in it with his wife and two friends and parks it right there.
Bikes and food cant beat that
We had a good dinner - bought some swag and headed toward San Francisco where it cooled off even more with heavy fog, thank goodness I liked the cool fog over the heat for a change. I was actually wishing for a bit of rain the last two days too cool me down.
Rob inspects the old ww2 gun emplacements
This is sport touring California style
We followed the path that was layed out by a member here last month up into the hills above Salsalito and saw some awesome coast views, the road was almost all ours, Ridgecrest blvd its called. Wow that was great but it dumped us on the tightest bumpiest road in history Fairfax Bolinas Road, Jebus that was a nightmare!
The up the coast too Stewart's point, it was rolling sweepers and tight up and down turns all the way, we were smack in the middle of two or three large groups of bikes all riding the same direction. We ended up mixing together a bit, I enjoyed the pace the group in front of us made. Too bad one had an accident and went down hard a few minutes in front of us, a woman we saw at the gas station near Point Reyes Station. She had blood all over her face, but several people stopped to attend to her, we stopped too but determined we were just in the way at this point and moved on to Stewart's Point.
Here is where we met Skaggs Springs road, the highlight of my trip - Larry (BLS) told me in Cannery Row that this was a must ride road, and he said to me" it starts out a little leprechaun road" whatever that means but he was right, "then it turns into a race track with everything in between" wow gotta ride that eh! Me now a full on Canadian speaking idiot EH! I cant help it I just pick these things up as I go 'EH'!
I must say that CanadianCraig was a good sport here cause his bike was running like crap ever since we left Gilroy it was just guzzling gas and idling rough - his big ZEDEX12 was not liking these tight tree lined California roads. He said he was more into high speed sweepers, I don't know but the back end of Skaggs springs road was all high speed sweepers, - the old ZED was running 98 miles on 4.5 gallons of gas!! OUCH! I will keep my viffer thank you!
CanukeCraig, Motoman, Veefer800canuke Viewing Point Reyes
veffer800canuke does a wheelie
skaggs springs road
It was getting late so we decided to grab some gas and grub in Gyserville where some giant of a guy came up to Dan and said "Trick bike - and Oakland colors too" He must have been a bit slow cause he sounded like it. I said to Dan "don't tell him we are Broncos fans"!! His silver Gixxers is indeed Raiders colors yea! That lug really liked it too! Our Canadian friends kept quiet so as to not spark an awkward conversation. He was all instinctual and not much thought behind that huge face of his, he was a bit scary we just headed into the restaurant. Craig needed a smoke to calm down cause his Zed was pissing him off something fierce, but he gets a cigarette a bit of rest hes just as jovial as can be after that! Too bad cause Skaggs Springs road was definitely a great road.
Now it was dark and well I cant see too well into the dark so Rob took the lead, thanks Rob - he started up hwy 20 to Fort Bragg right as the sun went down and little did I know I was going to be riding a Deals Gap in the dark! HOLY moly it was tight! I just focused on Rob, who was pulling a few lengths on me now, he was smoking it up pretty good here. Me I just had to look ahead and not get tunnel vision watching him - I finally calmed down - but then Rob would speed up more and I was right back into the kung foo grip mode on the handle bars. Damn I suck in the dark! Rob said he loved it - we pulled into this shit hole called the Seabird Lodge where they women at the desk did not trust us bikers. she almost shut the window on Robs hand thinking he was trying to break into their office - Grandmas both! EWW the place was definitely not worth $122 bucks a night! NO WAY, of course everything was already closed as predicted. Fort Bragg sucks. It was a huge day 400 miles
In the morning we decided to forget the coast highway, way too many cars, way too many small towns to slow us down so we decided to retrace our route to Willits and head up the 101 instead - on our way to Oregon.
The second ride on this road revealed it was not so tight as Deals Gap but rather fun though I got some good footage.
Giant Redwoods near Rio Dell
Wild Flowers growing wild on the side of the highway
Here it got foggy and a bit cold as we headed up into Oregon, the Redwoods were spectacular and we headed east a bit to get out of the fog on hwy 36. I enjoyed this road a lot and well I just took off a bit when it headed up a mountain side and sort of left the guys behind, I was in my element and let it all hang out. So much so I killed my rear tire, smoked it till it could not grip anymore at the level it was just the previous day. It was off in a big way. Rob took over lead duties into the Trinity Lake area and my tire just started slipping on the tight right handers, I had to back her down quite a bit as it just would not grip. Craig saw this and mentioned it to me that I was having a hard time at this point, he could see me slipping ever so much in the tight ones, I was dragging brakes to scrub off speed and not get dropped by Rob to no avail. My poor old tire was done! Too much weight too much speed = dead tire! It was blistering hot when I checked in on Hwy 36 - we stopped for lunch in Callahan and that gave it a rest, enough that it stopped slipping but I lost all confidence in it. It was way down to the wear bars too.
I had planned on this and sent a new tire to Flailer, our host for the night a month back, he had it waiting in his garage for me that night. In the morning I slipped out to a local bike shop and had a new tire mounted, wow I really cut it close!
Flailer (Craig YEA ANOTHER ONE) was a great host, he opened up his house to four weary travelers and provided food, fun and the clothes washing, a nice spread ( his girl made cookies too) wow it was great, and hes got a nice house. Its for sale too if anybody is looking for house in Medford OR?? Thanks Craig I was so appreciative I gave him My Craig's extra tire to keep, The guy who's stator died on day one. He said he loves Pilot Powers. That morning we suited up and Craig showed us the way up to Crater Lake via some back roads, lots of yahoos seem to drive these things cause there was gravel in all the good turns! He sort of dropped me as I was not too keen on that being so far from home.
Stopped at the Natural Bridge veefer800canuke (rob), CanadianCraig (Craig), and Flailer (Craig)
Flailer said he timed it all for us we arrive just as two kayaks put in at the natural bridge to do the rapids there.
The river exits an ancient lava tube
Further up the river You can see the water enter the lava tube
Hells Engineers Now playing at the dugout diner on hwy 20 - one half mile east of Emporia street, $4 cover
Crater Lake check out the hawk
Deep Blue water over a 1000' deep
This fella snook into our group 1987 vfr700 - I cant remember his name - Shane from Seattle I think.
Flailer said he arranged the Kayak exhibition before hand for our entertainment, it was almost 3pm when we made it up to Crater lake and Dan and I still had to make Winnamucca that night, we said goodbye to everybody and headed out on hwy 140, Craig said it was a drone so I was expecting slab - we found it but also found some nice sweepers and the coolest desert sunset in history wow it was fantastic. Then night fell, and Dan ran out of gas 40 miles from Winnamucca - I had to go on ahead and get a gas can and some gas for him, he was out in the desert for 45 minutes while I went for fuel. He motioned he needed something the town back - I thought he wanted to stop for a drink - thats the hand signal for drink to me! OH well we worked it out - no big deal but the guy at the gas station in Winnamucca NV pissed me off, "how you gonna do that"? he says - Watch me and mind your own business, I had it secured and I was gone!
Dan and I were treated to a spectacular desert sunset hwy 140 on the OR NV border
Not many on this road
Sunsets and rainbows
Even the moon made and appearance
Typical rainstorm one minute
Fiery apparition the next The longer we stayed the more spectacular it got
There was one interesting thing about hwy 140 we had lunch/dinner in Lakeview then headed into the desert where there is a 1000foot wall we had to ride up, it was a long way down and no guard rails but twisty! very interesting in the middle of nowhere, you can see it on the map it just cuts a 90 degree right and then another 90 left at the top very close to the OR/NV border
The next day was all slab, the motel in Winnamucca had no AC so we suffered - I made a stink and so we got a free night, that is about it for a report other than ELKO has lots of pretty women, we had a sandwich at the local sandwich shop and did the math 2 women for every guy!! its a suburban oasis in the Nevada Desert with Women to spare apparently! Oh the Salt Flats were boring! But strangely pretty. I-80 all day!
SALT LAKE CITY
Our timing sucked - we hit the city right at rush hour and got stuck in a traffic jam, the great local steakhouse the motel clerk told us about was closed for vacation so we had a nice dinner at a chain steakhouse, Lone-star Steakhouse, we asked for some dark beer and the waiter told us about this local porter every body likes "GAMMYS" Dan wanted to go to the source in Park City but not me a Gammy is a Gammy - he shows up with this huge goblet of Polygamy Porter and I drink it up, the real stuff too not 4% and proceed to get a bit typsy. I promised I would go with Dan to Park City but woah that Gammy did me in, we got to the motel and the sky opens up and starts pouring like cats and dogs. I Park City was out, more bad timing, I passed out on the bed.
We decided to head up the Canyon to Ruth's dinner for lunch - the biscuits are free and scrumptious, I love that place!
Best Breakfast in Utah Ruth's Diner in Emigration Canyon
It seemed the night before the rains really did a number on the roads, washing sand and gravel into the turns, we had to take it at 6/10ths to stay safe, and they were rather bumpy too, the switch backs were tight tight and bumpy. It wasn't till we headed up into the Wasatch forest that it cleared up and were railing turns yet again, hwy 39 to Woodriff is a nice road.
Wasatch National Forest UT hwy 39
A bit more slab on interstate 80 and soon were were on the road to the Flaming Gorge, where it was raining again. I filmed it but haven't compiled the movie yet
Motoman takes in the view
Bridge at the Flaming Gorge
Green River Reservoir Flaming Gorge
8 percent grade I was railing these switchbacks - that is until I spotted the police cruiser up ahead in the next turn - sounds like time for a picture stop.
Flaming Gorge area
Steinaker State Park 5 miles west of Vernal UT
vfr bathed in sunset
Two days in a row we where treated to a great sunset
It seems UT closes at 9pm on Fridays too! Vernal all but shut down, we stopped at a local brew pub for dinner but the kitchen was closed, so we sampled a brew and went across the street to the Roadhouse café, special was prime rib $19, the food was good but the service was awesome, this young gal was right on top of things, Dan says it was only because it was closing time but never did I feel rushed, and she was sweet as pie. I was stuffed and passed out again at the motel.
The ride home was well nice, I took no pictures and we had a nice lunch in Steamboat springs, but then Dan wanted to go shopping for his woman, I asked him when did you get your sex change operation? Joking that I hate shopping, he ignored me an shopped like woman for a good hour! OMG I almost left, shoot he could find his way from home surely! Just as I was about to go he shows up with all this shit he wants me to pack into my bags!! JEBUS he must have dropped his purse - I already had all is Laguna Seca swag in my bags and his two extra gammys - no way I am full - stuff in in your back pack! he did and we were off to rail Gore pass, wow it was just repaved and it was smooth I LOVED IT triple digit baby! then over Hoosier pass and home where the rain finally came, and boy did it and full two hours of rain!