CJ had been in communication with his friend Jeff who had been traveling with him till he had some mechanical issues. It was his his fuel pump or chain or rear brake or something. Details were vague. The short story was that Jeff slept in a baseball field in Wyoming or something and was not going to get to Idaho Falls in time to depart with us. He would try to meet up with us down the road someplace. We all had the same GPS files, so we knew where we would be each day.
So at 8:00am sharp (Questor likes to be punctual) we were packed, geared up, and ready to depart.
Here's CJ smiling as usual, ready to get started.
And here's my Super Happy Super Enduro.
I'd been prepping this bike for months, getting everything ready for this trip. Eric at Wolfman Luggage had been working on a new luggage system, and I was lucky enough to be the product tester.
[EDIT - since Eric just released the details on the new bag system I can now talk about it. I was sworn to secrecy before..
In short, the new Colorado Rockies Saddle bag system
is everything I've ever wanted in luggage. It's as big as your traditional "hard luggage" but it's made of 1000 Denier nylon that is sewn. No more welded seams to worry about. It attaches to the bike with many 1" nylon straps and big METAL cam straps. NO more $0.05 plastic fastex snaps being the only thing that holds all your gear to the bike. Inside the big roll top nylon bag is another roll top nylon bag, but this one is seam sealed and waterproof. So the exterior bags deal with the abrasion and offer the strength, and the inner bag offers the waterproofness and the ability to remove it and be portable around camp. These bags are big enough to carry all the stuff you need for a multi-week trip and attach so securely and carry the weight so low, that you hardly realize you have 50 to 60 pounds of camping equipment, tools and spare parts with you. And this is important. You don't want to be worried about your luggage when you're hammering up a rubble filled hillside at 40 mph. So thanks Mr. Wolfman - you nailed it!!!]
Everything looks good. Let's get this party started!
Click link for soundtrack...
First stop, fill the bikes with 10+ gallons of fuel.
It's a long way to the next town...
And we make sure they get the "real" stuff.
Once fueled up, we hit the road, headed West across the empty spaces towards Mc Call, ID.
The big volcanic buttes in the distance.
In Arco, we stop to check out the Nuclear Submarine...
And the container that holds Nuclear Waste.
Then it's back on the road, headed to some of the really empty places west of Arco.
We leave the pavement, and take a dirt shortcut over the pass to the next valley.
We stop to stretch out legs and find out where Jeff is while we still have cell reception.
The Super Enduro is happy and ready to keep going.
Gosh, I seem to have a lot of stuff on this bike, considering most of this trip will be on dirt roads and trails... but I can't think of anything that isn't essential. But 10 gallons of fuel, and 2.5 gallons of water weighs a lot.
CJ's load is almost as big as mine.
Anyway, we find out that Jeff is moving again. He's not sure what was wrong but his bike is moving again. It could have been water in the fuel, or a clogged fuel filter, but he's moving fast to catch up with us.
We fire up the bikes and head towards Stanley, ID.
On the other side of the ridge, we follow the Snake River.
It had been a really hot and Dry summer, and there had been many forest fires. I'd been following the reports, and I knew we may have to do a detour, but soon we came to a roadblock.
So we turned off the bikes and found out what was going on.
The road was closed due to the forest fire, but they were letting people go through if they followed the pilot car. So we waited and talked to the other folks who were waiting.
I checked out this sweet Corvette.
Soon we were allowed to pass, and headed towards the fire.
It was huge. We could see the smoke for miles away.
We got through, and could see the fire from another angle.
We stopped to get some lunch, and parked the bikes at the restaurant.
(Kinda classy picture...)
While we fed, CJ got a call from Jeff.
He was back where the road block was, and was having trouble again.
Quick! We've got to save him!
So, risking our own lives, we head back into the forest fire area.
We find Jeff, and he's moving again, so we turn around and follow him out to safety...
Helicopters are being used to put out the fire.
I took this picture while moving... Not bad!
(I'm pretty good at this. You try taking a picture of a helicopter above you while riding a motorcycle in a forest fire...)
Soon we are back in Stanley, and I meet Jeff for the first time.
Poor Jeff. He's exhausted and emotionally beat.
He's been battling mechanical issues for two days and had ridden 1500 miles. Apparently, last night he rode till he was falling asleep on the bike and just laid down on the grass somewhere in the side of the road and wend to sleep. Then the temperature dropped into the 20's and he froze all night. Welcome to 6,000 foot elevations.
Jeff had also been having some problems with his rear wheel. It was rubbing on the brake, and the chain was having issues.
Upon closer inspection we realized his rear sprocket had been put on wrong at the last motorcycle shop he had stopped at to have it worked on.
So we take the wheel off, and put it back together correctly.
This was the scene.
Three KTM's at a gas station, working on the bikes...
But hey. It's a motorcycle trip. It happens.
But while the rear wheel was on out of alignment, some significant damage had been done to the rear brake. Fortunately, Jeff knew someone in McCall who had a 950, and we hatched a plan to "borrow" his rear brake assembly.
So we made our way to McCall.
The original route though the National Forest was not possible due to the forest fire, so we had to take a long detour.
On the way out of town we saw the smoke jumper's camp.
and as we rode, we could see how big this fire actually was.
The detour was pavement, but it was still scenic.
It was getting late and I was getting tired, and we still had a ways to go.
The sun was setting in the West, and it was starting to get cold.
But eventually we made it to Jeff's friends house.
Seeing how late it was, and how tired we were, we went to town for dinner.
I was thinking about pizza, but these guys were too classy for that. We went to "the Bistro".
I'm on the Miller Beer budget, but when in McCall...
Small portions of tasty food.
We sat outside, ate food, and had a really enjoyable evening, talking with friends.
Later that evening we went back to Jeff's friend's house, and Jeff talked his friend into letting him have the rear brake assembly of his KTM 950...
I was exhausted, and by 11:00pm, I fell asleep in a warm cozy bed.
Stats for the day:
366 miles. Moving Average 54.0 mph
Moving TIme 6:47. Stopped 4:42 Total 11:29.