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Old 08-06-2013, 09:25 AM   #91
rebelpacket OP
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Originally Posted by HiSPL View Post
Ouch, I hope the rider is ok. Very glad the dog is ok. Was not me, though the crash above was my worst nightmare. Jackson is a great place for it to happen. If it happened in the Great Basin, there isn't much of anything (or anyone) there.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:26 AM   #92
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With a 2-to-1 ratio of Dogs to Humans, Ovando is our kind of town. Its small, smaller even than what self-appointed "small town people" might consider small. As is typical with most small Montana towns, the people are the nicest you'll ever meet.



Great write up. Good memories - Ovando Mt. was a productive elk hunting area during my tenure at the U of Mt.

Glad they still appreciate the armed citizen.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:29 AM   #93
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Thanks for your kind words GypsyWriter! Glad you are enjoying the report, and I hope you can get out there on your 1150GS with your pooch!

Lola has absolutely fallen right into the trip. She's got progressively worsening hips, and at home she occasionally yelps when she gets up, or jumps down from things.

I was really worried that long days in the sidecar would take their toll on her. However, she really seemed to love travelling day-to-day, and she hasn't yelped about her hips since. Almost like the trip had ADDED years to her life.

Who knew? Take your dog for a sweet adventure, and they'll get better!

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Originally Posted by GypsyWriter View Post
I really am loving this RR. When I get back home from Canada, I have two brand new shocks waiting for my 1150GS rig that will hopefully make off road riding better. This is exactly the kind of trip I got my sidecar for, to bring the pup and for long jaunts into the wild.

Lola really is a gorgeous dog and I love the little heart-shaped patch on her butt. Our old Rott had the same thing, great dogs. She taking well to the trip? (Or "took" since I think the ride is done)
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:42 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by rebelpacket View Post
Thanks for your kind words GypsyWriter! Glad you are enjoying the report, and I hope you can get out there on your 1150GS with your pooch!

Lola has absolutely fallen right into the trip. She's got progressively worsening hips, and at home she occasionally yelps when she gets up, or jumps down from things.

I was really worried that long days in the sidecar would take their toll on her. However, she really seemed to love travelling day-to-day, and she hasn't yelped about her hips since. Almost like the trip had ADDED years to her life.

Who knew? Take your dog for a sweet adventure, and they'll get better!
So wait, there are 2 different ADV'ers traveling from Canadia to Mexico in sidecars with dogs on the great divide right now?

Glad you are OK RP!
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:13 AM   #95
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thanks for the very detailed descriptions on how to make a screenshot, but I was mostly referring to the source of his maps/the software he's taking the screenshots from
I'm using Garmin Basecamp on my Mac. I have the 100K Garmin Topo US maps loaded, which is also what I have loaded into my 60CSx.
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:52 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by h2o_snow View Post
Great write up. Good memories - Ovando Mt. was a productive elk hunting area during my tenure at the U of Mt.

Glad they still appreciate the armed citizen.
Grizzlies? Pffft. Go Bobcats! (actually, I don't really like football either way, I just like to keep the whole missoula-bozeman rivalry going).

Ovando looks like it would be a good place for Elk hunting. Lot of long distance shots though!
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Old 08-06-2013, 11:14 PM   #97
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Day 10



True to the warning label on last nights meal, I was up very early for an evacuation notice. The sun was just peeking over the eastern hill as I ran/walked to the campground outhouse.



By the time I was done in the outhouse, the sun was painting a wall of light on the western hill that was steadily advancing on our campsite. I decided to run through some maintenance checks on the Ural, in the cool morning air (once suggested as the best time, by Robert Pirsig). The air filter was pretty dirty already, so I oiled a replacement and swapped it out. The valves hadn’t moved at all, which I took as a good sign that the Windmill MK-III wasn’t letting any dust through.



Lola (who partially cleaned out the Taco Soup bowl last night) also had some morning business to attend to. She’s polite enough to wander way out to the edges of the woods when she goes.



Considering all three of us once raced motorcycles at some time in our life, its safe to say that we are all somewhat competitive. Wayne and Zina had decided earlier that it was ridiculous that I could get packed up before they had finished rolling up their tent. I told them that two people meant twice as much gear, but they would hear none of it. The subtle challenge of who could pack up camp quickest had begun.



South out of Rimini, the road winds a bit, and then levels out on top. Mostly gravel surfaces, with some chunky spots where spring runoff or heavy rain storms had washed away portions of the road.



The rain also brought some pretty colors along the road. When in bloom, just a handful of these in places can really transform the landscape.



Once you get to the “top” near Winters Camp on Basin Creek Road, you descend about 3000 vertical feet into the actual town of Basin. Its a narrow winding road, with a good amount of recreational quad and logging traffic. Its best not to act out your Paris-Dakar fantasies here, no matter ho much the road beckons you. The lower portion of the road was freshly graded, which meant more slides and smiles from the Ural/Dog team.



The access road along I-15 into Butte is in serviceable shape. Despite the whooped-out areas (likely local quad traffic), and some pretty big puddles, it was still much more fun than spending all that time on the highway. The speed at which one travels does not always improve the quality of the same trip.



Every report has to have a shot of this 1911 “Tunnel No. 9″ in it. Here’s one with a Ural. Yes, I honked the horn when I went through it as well. Tradition you know.



We rode into Butte the rest of the way via highway. Thankfully it was mostly downhill, so I could maintain somewhat acceptable speeds. Zina and Wayne wanted to get a new tube to replace the pinch flat in Whitefish, and I wanted to visit my buddy Matt at his tattoo shop down the road.



Matt runs Spadeball Ink Tattoo in Butte. In addition to being a great person and a very creative artist, he loves dogs too. Since he runs his own shop, he’s a pretty busy guy. It was really special to chat with him even for 10 minutes. He’s done several pieces on me, and they are all excellent.



With fuel and mechanical needs met, it was time to satiate the growling demons in our guts. Great Harvest Bread Co was founded in Montana and makes some pretty burly sandwiches. Sadly they have no outdoor seating, but a temporarily shaded back wall would do just fine in a pinch.



While eating our meals, Lola again was accosted for pets. These kids were very interested in the sidecar, and describing their own dirt-bikes and experiences. I was starting to feel bad for Simon; Lola is stealing all his thunder!



We picked up Moose Creek Road in Deerlodge national forest just before the old Pipestone Pass on Rt 2. It is an absolutely beautiful road, with the southwestern Montana views I was accustomed to from my time in Bozeman.



The partly-cloudy skies provided temporary pockets of air-conditioning. While the heat wasn’t overbearing, it crept up quickly whenever the sun was bearing straight down on us. Finding one of those dark, cloud-shaded patches of road was a good a reason to stop and take a photo as any.



Rounding the bend, I saw a black and white blur jump up from the road, and run to the side. When I slowed and stopped, this happy guy came running up. I offered the dog water and food, neither of which he was particularly interested in. Instead, he wanted some shade.



The dog seemed pretty sure of himself, and not in any distress. I figured it was a working dog, or a farm dog. He must have just wanted to get away for awhile. He didn’t pick a bad spot to hang out at either; The view is incredible.

While passing through Divide, MT. a bunch of guys outside a bus waved me down. “Our friends broke down a couple miles down the road! You need to take us down there!” A portly, bearded guy in suspenders shouted excitedly. I looked over at their 70′s era bus, towing a camper. “Can’t you guys just drive down there and pick them up?” I asked. Without answering they said “We can watch your dog for you”. I blinked and said nothing. “Just tell them that we are here in Divide, ok?” Confused, I agreed and took off just as Zina and Wayne rolled up behind me.



I found the van with New York plates on it, a mile and a half up the road. When I pulled in, there was a bunch of people inside with the back doors open. One girl was studiously sniffing something in a rag, while another sprung forth from the pile of clothing and equipment in the back. The other occupants didn’t really look up or notice my presence at all.

I told her about the group of guys in the bus. There was more talk about me leaving Lola to take one of them back to the other group. Again, I blinked and said nothing. “Its only about a mile back, its not far”. I started the Ural and rode on. I could only assume this was a group of travelers on their way back from the Rainbow Gathering in Dillon this year.

Maybe I should have given one of them a ride back there, and filled my karma points for the day. After assessing their situation though; a flat spare tire, and a bald tire that blew out on the van; it was clear that they hadn’t given much thought to tire wear on a cross-country trip. I’m willing to help anyone, as long as they are willing to help themselves first. Peace and Love will get you only so far, gas and tires get you the rest of the way.



We turned off Rt 43 onto Wise River Polaris Road. Its a paved deal, that winds slowly at first through the valleys and drainages of Beaverhead national forest. Further down, the bends and grades get sharper, topping out just under 8,000 feet. Between the grades and the curves, the Ural stayed in 2nd gear for most of the ride up. The way down the other side was a different story, and we finally caught up with Wayne and Zina.



Polaris road dumped us out onto Rt 278, that we rode down into Bannack. Dark, moisture-laden clouds stitched a patchwork across the valley sky, and we decided it was high-time to find someplace to camp. Setting up a tent in the rain is a miserable job, that simply ends up soaking all your camping gear by the time you are done anyways.



We stopped into Bannack state park to inquire about camping. Its a preserved ghost town from Montana’s territorial past. It would have been a great place to camp for the night, if their camping fee was not so high. While the campsite was nice, the three of us deemed it was not worthy of $27 dollars, and we’d be best to push on. Consulting the MT Gazetteer I brought with me, we saw two public camp spots just 10 miles down the road at Clark Canyon Reservoir.



Here we found a beautiful view of the reservoir, a pump water well, bathrooms, and even a three-sided shelter with picnic tables for us to use. The best part? Free.



Zina and Wayne made our second communal dinner. Tortellini, pasta sauce, and various canned vegetables with some dinner rolls. Nobody could accuse us of not eating relatively healthy on this trip. While canned vegetables are only marginally better than the traditional road diet of cheeseburgers and beer, they are still better. I did dishes while Wayne and Zina offloaded videos, photos and GPS tracks to their laptop.



As things quieted down over dinner and we started revisiting portions of the day with each other. Suddenly it was if some force in the universe flipped a switch marked “Release horde of ravenous blood-sucking insects”. I don’t know what kind of bugs these are, but what distinguished them in my mind, was the manner in which they attacked us.



They storm up above your head in formation, building a critical mass. The disconcerting droning noise builds as hundreds of little wings beat furiously 3-4 feet above your head. And then one at a time, continuously and as if on musical time, they dive-bomb onto you in force with an orchestrated attack.

When we finally surrendered and retreated into our tents, they continued the attack! Paying no mind to the nylon that separated them from our sleeping flesh, they hurtled their tiny exoskeletons into the roof of the tent. At one point it sounded like rain. Tonight would be a bad night to accidentally leave a zipper open.

Days Mileage: 182 miles
Total Mileage: 1,688 miles
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:10 AM   #98
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Great report!

I'd say you made out well with that nice free lakeside accommodations!
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:58 AM   #99
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Day 11



Eleven days on the road meant sleep was no longer a problem. I had lost any anxiety about the Ural, Lola, or myself for the trip. My thought process was very simple and uncluttered. Unpack, eat, sleep, repack and ride. See new things and meet new people. Pretty small todo list for each day.



While not as ruthless as the previous evening, the formation dive-bombing insects were still out, in good numbers. I had a theory that they were tracking their targets by height and body heat. My white-man fire confirmed my theory when they all hung high and away over the flames.



My signal fire brought over a couple more doggy friends for Lola and Simon too. Much butt sniffing and posturing commenced. Simon concluded that the black lab was a male, and immediately started humping it.



The morning skies were very overcast. Doesn’t make for the best pictures, but does make for cool, enjoyable riding. The threat of rain was omnipresent of course, but with good roads all the way into Idaho, we expected to really lay out some good miles today.



It was a really great morning. The roads were fantastic and the Ural was running strong, pulling easily up and down the roller coaster roads in third gear. After I rolled over some mild washboard, I heard a faint “clangclangclangclang”. I looked down, and saw my muffler swinging wildly in the breeze.



I was immediately angry with myself. I told myself several times before leaving: “Alex, you should put some more gusseting on that hanger, make it stronger”. Every time, I found some excuse or reason not to, and its led me right to this point. Some zip-ties and bailing wire seemed to hold it relatively well, so I gently motored off to find Wayne and Zina.



Wayne inspected the temporary repair and said “Well, lets see how far we can go”, and sent me off in front. It was hard to figure out what speed would work best. Too slow, and the bike was pitching and bucking all over the place. Too fast, the few sparse hits were made all that much worse.



It didn’t matter anyway. I got 7-10 minutes down the road before the bodge-job failed. Wayne pulled out some hose clamps, and we started working on another rig job.



Some hose-clamps, zip-ties, bailing wire and duct tape for good measure. It wasn’t rock solid, but it seemed to hold well. Lima, MT wasn’t more than 40-50 miles away, so help was a distant ship, fading into the horizon.



When it broke again 20 minutes down the road, I started to get angry with myself. “Should have given those hippies a ride” I told myself. The universe had just slapped me upside the head with a lesson in humility. Don’t look down on those you deem unprepared; Or the universe will show you just how unprepared you are.

I’m holding up the whole crew, just because I need to go back to welding school. I pulled the muffler off and mounted it securely in one of the spare tires. Lola and I would just have to make a big entrance into Lima.



Sweet baby jesus this is loud. Even at 1/4 throttle, my ears hurt. I don’t know how the open-pipe harley guys do it. If it wasn’t for all the midnight fly-bys they treat us to at home, I’d consider giving them a badge of honor for dealing with that level of noise for so long. Its exhausting!



I asked the cashier at the Exxon station if she knew any welders in town. Did she ever. Not only did she know all their names, but she had their numbers memorized. She called two, but both were out for lunch. She called Klint third, and told me to head on over, that he was with a client and outside.



I pulled up to Klint’s Auto Shop, and three big dogs ran up to meet us. This was a good sign. After Klint finished chatting with his other customer, I introduced myself and gave him the gist of the problem. He immediately rolled out the job he was working on, and told me to bring it in. He wasted no time grinding out and fixing my inadequate reinforcements.



Klint did a bang-up job on it, welding every joint with a steady bead, and re-enforcing it with some scrap he had lying around. He told me there was no charge, but I made him take some money anyways. Its a gut-wrenching experience when your motorcycle is broken. Its even more embarrassing when its a part YOU fabricated for the bike.



I insisted (ok, I didn’t have to twist his arm too hard) Klint take the Ural for a quick spin. Lola decided she wanted to ride along with him too, for the full experience. He came back with an ear-to-ear grin. “Boy, that really is something different!”. Klint, thank you so much for helping us out!



Great roads out of Lima, with only a few rocky, washed out portions. The line of sight on the roads out here is so far, that you can most anything from a long way off. Lola is always distressed by the sight of cattle near the sidecar, and barks rapidly to clear them off. Despite the weight and intelligence difference, they usually get the message and go trotting along.



As bad as the overcast skies made the photos, you wouldn’t find any of us complaining. The temperature was perfect, and the occasional showers dampened the dirt and kept most of the dust down.



We’d be dodging pockets of rain ever since we left Lima, so Zina and Wayne put rain jackets on. They worked flawlessly. Every time I saw them on the side of the road jerking rain gear on, it was guaranteed not to rain on us.



Just as we are gearing up to head off again, Zina honked. “Hey dude, I think your rear is flat”. Well, some days you are the newspaper, and some days you are the fly. No big deal though, and it only took me a handful of minutes to swap wheels out (another really luxurious feature on the Ural).



I definitely could have picked worse places to have a flat. Really gorgeous, open scenery with low colorful skies.



Onward we rode towards Idaho. The roads got a little rougher for the Ural, with large clusters of potholes that we couldn’t avoid. Finally, we reached the border and the CD marker. Montana is a big state; I once saw “High wide and handsome” on a t-shirt, and the description stuck with me.



Still, excitement builds as the mountains grow sharper and larger through the horizon. Idaho is a beautiful, undervalued state (in my opinion), with lots to explore.



We rode into Henry’s Fork, ID off 20, looking for a place to camp for the night. After getting turned around, or met with staggering prices of up to 30$ per tent, it finally started raining. That sealed the deal, and our efforts shifted to finding lodging for the night.



After looking at a few other options that all turned out to be either closed, or full, we ended up here, at the Mack’s Inn Resort. Wayne went in and got us a cabin for the night while we stood outside oblivious to the rain, already savoring our first hot shower of the trip.



It was a very nice, clean and cozy cabin. We got busy unpacking and setting up shop. Simon passed out on the bed, and Lola crashed on the floor. As if on cue, the minute we finished unloading the bikes, the rain stopped and for the first time that day… the sun came out.



I still had work to do though, and needed to fix the flat I picked up earlier. Wayne came out to help speed the painful process.



Whoop there it is. Pretty small, I’m guessing a horse-tack dug up from a grader.



But the fun didn’t end there. My spare wheel was still running a half-worn Duro 308 (street) tire. I thought it’d be good to use on the return trip. Now, I decided that a knobby spare would be much more valuable. So I changed that tire as well.



All those bicep curls with tire irons had made me hungry. Just down the road a quarter of a mile was a lit neon sign broadcasting “Pizza-Cafe”. Seeing as the Ural is the only motorcycle with the cargo wide enough for a pizza box, it was my job to scope it out. We got the large Supreme pizza, and three salads.

We demolished the pizza, which was everything I had dreamed it would be. Zina and Wayne took the bed, while Lola and I grabbed the floor. Unfortunately for Zina, both Wayne and I snore. She popped her earplugs in, and I think I saw her tie some pillows over her head for good measure.

Days Mileage: 150 miles
Total Mileage: 1,838 miles
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:54 AM   #100
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Great adventure! You're making my miss my '02 Ural even more! Safe travels and I look forward to your next report!!
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:17 AM   #101
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As a fellow Ural owner and dog lover.....Hank and I are in for this one. Great report.

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Old 08-07-2013, 12:52 PM   #102
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I told her about the group of guys in the bus. There was more talk about me leaving Lola to take one of them back to the other group. Again, I blinked and said nothing. “Its only about a mile back, its not far”. I started the Ural and rode on. I could only assume this was a group of travelers on their way back from the Rainbow Gathering in Dillon this year.

Maybe I should have given one of them a ride back there, and filled my karma points for the day. After assessing their situation though; a flat spare tire, and a bald tire that blew out on the van; it was clear that they hadn’t given much thought to tire wear on a cross-country trip. I’m willing to help anyone, as long as they are willing to help themselves first. Peace and Love will get you only so far, gas and tires get you the rest of the way.
Not to worry. Karma debt only extends so far. Look at it as another "long strange trip" w/piss poor planning but probably just fine for most of the happy campers.

The Rainbows left a huge mess of garbage last time they were here in potatoland - early 2000's??? I have no issues with hippies dosing and dancing in the woods except when it impacts the land and other users.
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So I'm packing my bags for the Misty Mountains
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:08 PM   #103
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Im in.....
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:58 PM   #104
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This picture is messing with my brain. What's causing that strange mountain shadow?
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:16 PM   #105
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This picture is messing with my brain. What's causing that strange mountain shadow?

Ural Good Vibes?
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