This was truly an awesome trip and I'd do it again in a moment! Some of my favorite moments were:
1. Blasting across some great roads after leaving Lima, MT (The local restaurant had outstanding homemade pies, by the way). I hadn't imagined that it would be possible to go that fast on a dirt road and feel comfortable about it!
2. Dirt road in ID(?)-- I think it was by Henrys Lake. We missed the turnoff at first and had to back track. It was a little one lane dirt road with steadily degrading surface--lots of potholes and water. L2L had gone past me and I enjoyed watching him looking for obstacles to bounce off of. Reminded me of a mogul skier. This stretch would have caused me to panic about two days earlier--now I was enjoying picking a path through the holes. The only concern was a herd of cattle that blocked the road for a while. The bull had to be in a bad mood from smacking his equipment against all of the berms and ridges in the road. And I make it a habit to never get into a fight with anything that has balls bigger than my head!
3. Visiting Squirrel, Idaho (I have a geocache in the area) and riding up Ashton Flagg Ranch Road. This one had all the guys shaking their heads--which was half the fun. I'd always wanted to explore that road before, but couldn't persuade my usual riding partner to explore it on an R1100RT (probably a good thing).
4. Somewhere in NV. After I had split up with the group for the return home, I had repeated problems with overheating. (As a side note, this was probably due to an air bubble at the top of the engine by the upper coolant bleed screw). I spent a fair amount of time pulling over to let the engine cool off. As I was motoring along, I looked over into the fast lane to see an SUV riding along side me. A small kid was waving from the passenger seat, but the driver was tossing me the bird! This did not seem to be a good thing--someone who wanted to harrass a rider in the middle of nowhere. So I stayed in the slow lane and kept to myself. Didn't need any trouble vs a 4000lb vehicle only armed with a Leatherman and a bottle of coolant! In a few moments I was forced to pull over again due to the engine temperature light. When I looked ahead, my friends in the SUV had pulled over and were backing up toward me.... Oh great!!! When the driver-side door opened, much to my surprise, I wasn't confronted by a 300lb guy in a dirty tee-shirt and a come-hither expression. Instead it was an attractive young lady who asked me "Is everything alright?" Turns out it was Mrs. Lone*Star! She had been giving me the salute (Advrider sticker on L saddlebag), but I had no idea that it was a friendly hello instead of the usual highway pleasantries. She mentioned that she hoped that someone would pull over to help her hubby if he was caught in similar circumstances. A short chat and a bottle of ice cold water and we were both back on our respective ways. This lady is a queen and a big thanks again to her and AFekete for my roadside assistance sticker!