Dust. Wind. DUDE!
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Underachievement Nexus of the Universe
Inpet goes West, cont'd
OK, where was I--oh yeah, I was heading West in search of America. Just like John Steinbeck, only I was on a bike. Without Charley. Not much money, either. And I didn't make it to California. Nor did I write a best-selling book about my experiences. But hey, other than that, I was just like Steinbeck. I'll just keep telling myself that.
I remember being told as a little kid that if you were to go swimming in the Great Salt Lake, you couldn't possibly drown because the salinity was so intense, you'd just float like a cork. I didn't really believe that, plus I'd always wanted to see this lake for myself, so I checked it out. Yep, it's true, ya float on top of the water just like you were wearing a life vest. Not only that, but the water really stinks, it has a distinct briny, putrefying smell that will have ya heading for the nearest freshwater showers most ricky-tick, which they thoughtfully provide right next to the swimming areas. Ya gotta hand it to those Mormons, they're pragmatic like that. Still not ready to convert though. Anyhow, I also rode out to Antelope Island, my plan was to camp out there but the campground was full. (Of Mormons.) (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Love ya, Baldy!) So I enjoyed the sunset out there and skedaddled off to the Wasatch NF.
I visited a total of 19 National Parks and Monuments. Camped out in a bunch of 'em. The Tetons were memorable, I met the cutest little lady park ranger I've ever seen at a fireside park ranger presentation. And naturally the Tetons themselves were breathtaking. Did y'all know that Tetons means titties in French? It's twue, it's twue!
Enjoyed one of the best meals I've ever had in Yellowstone; the fella at the campsite next to me saw me preparing my Ramen noodle dinner, felt sorry for me, and brought over some freshly caught grilled trout. And a cold Budweiser. I don't care what anybody sez about Budweiser, that was one of the best beers I've ever tasted. And the trout--well, it was enough to give ya a mouth orgasm.
Crossed the Continental Divide a coupla times--this particular time was in Yellowstone. Of course I had to go see all the usual stuff all the tourists to Yellowstone go to see--Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, herds of wild buffalo, Mammoth Hot Springs--and it all lived up to, and even exceeded, my high expectations:
Crossed over into Idaho, just to see what it was like. A lot like WY and MT, at least in that northeastern corner. Beautiful country. A lotta people don't realize that Yellowstone NP is comprised of land in 3 different states, and Idaho is one of them. Ya just don't think "Idaho" when ya think "Yellowstone," or at least I didn't. But now I do.
In '96 there were no daytime speed limits on certain stretches of Montana highways. Naturally, I had to see what this was all about. My conclusions are as follows: a heavily-loaded, poorly-suspended pig of a bike like an XS11 makes for somewhat unsatisfying top-speed runs, especially when ya take into account the aerodynamics created by the huge Plexi-3 windscreen and canvas saddlebags, bobbing away merrily in the draft. It was interesting tho, in a been there, done that, didn't-get-the-speeding-ticket kinda way. It woulda been really fun to blast by the po-po doin a buck and change, but there were no po-po to be found. Where are they when ya need 'em?
I ate lunch at a cafe there in Silver Gate, and was enjoyin my sammich when I heard the sound of hooves clip-clopping down the street. It made me curious, so I got up and looked out the screen door, and saw a full-grown moose walking down the street. "A moose, a moose!" I cried out excitedly, and the waitress walked over, looked outside, nodded her head, then stared at me like I was Bat Shit Crazy. Hey, what can I say--it'd be a real oddity to have Bullwinkle walkin down the street where I come from. Ya ain't in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. I believe that's Granite Peak behind me there. Yeah I had my rainsuit on, because I was so frikken cold; it was prolly 50-some-odd degrees right here, and that was the high. In midsummer. Imagine that.
Naturally I had to see Devil's Tower, I had wanted to see it ever since I saw Close Encounters as a little kid. Lotsa people were up there climbing it--not random dipwads, mind you, skilled people. Adeptizoids. It made for good spectating, and I ain't even into spectator sports.
The Black Hills of S. Dakota made for stunningly good riding, and the roads were surprisingly lightly-travelled. I say "surprisingly" because the Sturgis rally was kicking off, and I thought the roads would be packed with slow-ass Harley riders, but such was not the case. (They came over on the ADVtrailer.) I pulled into the parking lot at Mt. Rushmore and met Monte Warne, owner of Boss Hoss Cycles in Dyersburg TN. He rode out there from TN on one of his Chevy-V8-powered behemoths, and much to my surprise he was a friendly, down-to-earth guy, and asked me about my trip, all the while not laughing at my raggedy old bike with the duffel bags bungeed to the seat.
Naturally I had to see and experience the spectacle that is Sturgis. I don't know quite what to think about what I saw there, but I will say this: the female flesh that was on display (and there was a lot of it, in sheer quantity if not quality) was enough to make a man take a vow of celibacy. Those girls be lovin them some tater tots, and I ain't lyin. If yer the kinda guy that likes middle-aged, full-figured, white-trashy women with no shame or modesty, then Sturgis might well be just yer ticket. As for me, I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt, and won't be returning. I met a BMW rider on Main Street and asked him if I or my JapCrap bike would get messed with, and he took one look at my bike and said, naw man, they won't mess with you, because yer a rider. And ya know what? Nobody messed with me. True story.
Headed over to Badlands NP, which was pretty nearly deserted. A big change from the crowded hustle and bustle of Sturgis. Found out that they called this place "Bad Lands" because they were so bad to cross with a horse and wagon. I always thought it was because the place was so inhospitable. Although, I gotta tell ya, the area is is quite inhospitable.
More's coming, when I get a round tuit. In the meantime, check out this gazoonie who was riding his motorcylce and got his pic in The Hopewell News:
Everything I really needed to know, I learned in Schneider School.
Official Organizer of the ADVrider Sandbox Hooligans Anti-FEE Movement
Quoth the Photojournalist: Am I gonna be the one that's gonna set them straight? Look at me--WRONG!
ineptizoid screwed with this post 09-06-2013 at 09:35 PM