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Old 07-25-2008, 10:40 AM   #1
kaptinkaos OP
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Calgary to Grand Canyon & Back - 4300 miles in 10.5 days!

Heya all!

After a bout of needing to work a lot and finally getting to my scheduled days off I am finally heading out this afternoon on a trip to the Grand Canyon via Montana, Wyoming and Utah. The return route will be Arizona to New Mexico to Colorado to South Dakota to Wyoming and Montana. Hopefully I'll get to post a few pics here along the way for your enjoyment. It'll be 4000 miles of fun and it's just two of us going. I'll be on my 07 Dak and my buddy will be on his 08 KLR. Wish us luck and look for a more thorough write up in about 12 days. Cheers!

KK aka Joe

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Old 07-25-2008, 01:36 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great trip -- looking forward to your report.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:33 PM   #3
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Good luck! sounds like an awesome trip !! take lots of pics to show us

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Old 08-04-2008, 05:05 PM   #4
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Hey all! Finally back home. I will be doing a day by day detailed write up of the last 11 days and 6930 km (app. 4300 miles). First... I need some Corona's and a shower and maybe a sleep in my own bed, lol!

All I can say for right now is the things couldn't have been sweeter!

Here's a teaser...

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Old 08-04-2008, 05:13 PM   #5
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I'm looking forward to your report. I just came back from a trip through most of those spots. Zion is the best Nat park I've camped in. Great hikes and scenery. Friendly folk too. I just had one wife along on that trip though so I stood out like a bit of an odd ball in south Utah
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:27 PM   #6
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I can't wait to see your photos. I recently rode from Arizona to Canada. Maybe we did some of the same roads? I think ZION NP is the best NP in the US. I've been to most in the west.
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:23 PM   #7
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Ok... July 25th, D-Day.

I put a good couple of months of route prep and bike prep into this trip. I knew what to expect more or less as I have been to almost all of these areas camping before. I was not going solo this time though. A good friend and trail riding buddy was going to come with me this time! Yippe! No more talking to myself like a crazy man, LOL!

Here's my battleship of choice for this ride.

And the two of us geared and ready to go!

And my odometer before we set out.

After the start pics we were off and running to the border at Glacier National Park at about 14:30. Kelly had to work till about noon and we hadn't even planned on leaving till Saturday morning so this Friday afternoon start was just a bonus for us. We firgured we'd get a few miles in and try to get ahead of our schedule... It was a doozie after all, lol!

It was a short rip from SW Calgary to the Chief Mountain crossing. We rode Hwy 2 south to High River and then worked our way west to Pincher Creek via some back roads and then south to Chief Mountain on Hwy 6. We crossed the border and Hwy 6 became Hwy 17 till we hit Hwy 89 and followed it south to St. Mary's KOA. The KOA was much like every other. Nice people, good services, $28 a night for a tent site (this was before I had my member # so take 10% off that if you are). A supper was already had in High River of A&W so we got a six pack and some wood and chilled out.

A picture from afar of Glacier National Park.

Here's the uneventful border crossing.

And the first night's stay in the St. Mary's KOA

Day one started and ended with no problems. Weather was great, riding company was fantastic as this was the first trip I've ever done with someone else and all was shaping up to be the beginning of an epic ride!

I'd ridden mostly trails (McLean and Waiporous stuff) with Kelly before and knew him to be a really stand-up guy. This trip has firmly set that into my mind, lol! He's ALMOST as stubborn as I am, just as honest and definitely a person who I'd now call a great friend of mine. He was a very well chosen riding partner for this trip, the first of many I hope, as we have the same brain wave length and are almost always on the same page with each other about almost everything.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:27 PM   #8
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:42 PM   #9
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Day 2, Saturday July 26th

After a spectacular head-sized portion of pancakes served at the little stall right in the KOA we packed up and headed out around 08:30-09:00. The young feller that was flippin' pancakes was the same one that flipped our burgers the night before, lol! He even had the Ipod going and asked us what we wanted to listen to while we waited. We said, "Anything" and he picked Pink Floyd... Do we really look that old??? LOL!

Packed and ready for the REAL first day... lol!

We got on the road (Hwy 89) and headed south to take the long way down and around Glacier National Park. We had the most excellent time with the twisties and passing hawgs! What a beautiful morning although it was a bit chilly through some of the lower, shady spots. We didn't do "The Road to the Sun" because I thought we'd hit it on the way back not. We did get to see this though...

LOTS of twisties, yippee!!!

And Goat Lick Pass

And yes, there was an actual goat there, haha!

Stopped for fuel in Hungry Horse and met a few people from I think one of the ladies said her husbands name was "DirtRider"???

Heading out of Hungry Horse we were pleasantly surprised by Swan Lake. The temp had progressively climbed and us, being from the cold north, were needing a bit of a cool off, lol!

Swan Lake and the girls

And some lunch at Seeley Lake

Then we kept truckin' through some very wonderful smelly old growth forest still on Hwy 83.

Ok... It really was getting time for a cool down so Kelly popped off his lid and in he went! This is at Salmon Lake.

And a really cool twisted up tree!

We were back on the road again and it soon became evident that the KLR was doing it's best impression of a two-stroke... I was following Kelly for a while *cough cough* and just had to ask him what his oil situation was. We ended up making a bee-line for Helena to get some oil for the thirsty green giant and also a throttle rocker similar to mine for Kelly. Best $9 I ever spent for a farkle on my bike! We jumped onto Hwy 200 and then Hwy 141 and onto US 12.

Here's me trying to dodge the smog cloud... *snicker*

And after cresting the pass that leads into Helena.

And the Helena bike shop. Thanks go out to those guys... They stayed open just 5 minutes late enough for us to grab some oil and the throttle rocker. I also left my gloves in there and a guy brought them out to me before leaving the shop and locking up... Really great store and a beautiful city. I was extra happy to have finally made my way back to Helena!

We'd now fallen a bit behind in our journey, but no worries! It's a holiday after all, isn't it??? We had wanted to make it to Big Sky that night, but it looked like Bozeman and a KOA there were the best bet. We decided to try to find some grub and as I was still in smog avoidance mode and in the lead I pulled into an out of the way bar... This place was AWESOME!!! Great food, cute waitress and friendly people that just gawked at our bikes and asked us, "Where in the Sam Hell's you boy's goin'?"

What a burger!!!

Back on the road for the short hop from Toster to Bozeman now and we got to the KOA JUST before dark. Great campground and really nice setup!

We made an instant friend that night... We called him Red-Neck Randy as he was head to toe Nascar gear and shoved a beer in our hands before we even exchanged names or shut the bikes off... LOL! He really was a cool dude and honestly? I think he just needed to get away from the nag in the tent... Poor guy! We chatted with him till about 1am and finally packed it in.

Day two turned out to be a good idea of what this trip really was all about. Do, or not do. Kelly was faced with his first adversity with the oil problem. He knew it burned a bit, but this was the first time she'd been run this hard day after day. He picked up his lip and bared down on the problem and rolled with it. For the most part, it was laughs, good scenery, good smells, good food and certainly turning into an adventure.

Stay tuned for day 3!
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:51 PM   #10
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Day 3, Sunday July 27th

Well... The night before was a bit of a late one with a few beers mixed in, lol! It was thanks to our next door buddy, Red-neck Randy. He was definitely a funny and cool guy, but he sure did like his beer! (We did too, haha!) We packed up and hit the road about 08:30-09:00.

Out of Bozeman, MT we hopped back onto Hwy 191 and started south towards the West Yellowstone entrace. We were going to do the first of two Yellowstone passes and were trying to make Old Faithful to see an eruption. I had no idea what the eruption schedule was, but we decided to just wing it and see when we got there.

Some beautiful valleys and passes on this highway. I highly recommend it.

We had stopped for fuel before heading into the park so it was one less thing to worry about while we were in there. Here's a pic of the girls at the gate.

Traffic really wasn't bad at all in the park and we made pretty good time on the tight roads in there. 45mph is the speed limit, but I'm sure we kept it to around 55-65mph.

As I had seen this park about 15 yrs ago when the fires were raging (way too smokey to even really make anything out) it was nice to be back and see it as a grown man and enjoy it for what it is. The damage from the fire was still very evident and will take a lot more time for mother nature to repair it all. The park is still very beautiful, very aromatic and was a definite must for our trip. It was the second of the MANY parks we hit on this trip.

You can still see some of the old burn in this photo.

Well, our tummies were rumbling now and we had officially crossed into a new state now so we stopped in the town of West Yellowstone were we discovered a line-up that would rival any Tim Hortons in the McDonalds there, lol! We said screw it and decided to look for a sit down place. We also needed more oil for the two-stroke Kelly was riding *snicker* so we hit up Motorhed in West Yellowstone before breakfast.

Motorhed - Really cool little bike shop with tons of stickers and gear and odds and ends. (And oil for KLR's... HAHA)

For food we just went next door from the bike shop to a place called The Outpost. Awesome little place with a REALLY hearty breakfast for a reasonable price.

We checked out the museum across the street and then got back on the road.

We arrived shortly at Old Faithful and parked amidst the sea of chrome with our own sense of style, lol!

And low and behold!!! As we're approaching Old Faithful... She goes off!!!

After the show we quickly turned and hit the gift shop to avoid the hoards of people. We found some park stickers and an older couple touring on a big dresser chatted us up in the cafeteria. I was fondly reminded of the hospitality and friendliness of total strangers basically the world over. I travel all over for work in the oilfield and it's the same when travelling on a scooter... only much better! The bikes and gear are always the topic of discussion, lol! I did find one other thing in the gift shop... I was gettin' lonely so I picked up a stray bear for the rest of the ride.

After that we hit the Grand Loop south for a while longer and really had a blast with the twisties. Musta passed about $1,000,000 worth of hawgs in there too, lol! We found this little waterfall for a stop and a quick photo op.

I also figured out that my shield made for some pretty darn cool pics!

Still miles and miles of this unfortunately...

But there's also this!!! Tetons and Jackson Lake!!!

We made an ice cream stop as were getting warm in the slower speeds of the Tetons park and also filled up once more. We also found our park sticker for the Tetons there. After that we continued on to Jackson (or Jackson Hole as I know it from my childhood). I absolutely LOVE this place and it will always be a spot that I will visit if I'm in the area. Fantastic little town and I can only relate it to being similar to a Canmore, AB from 10 yrs agao. Very cool place.

Once again we found ourselves in delightful twisties!!!

We stopped at a place called Hoback Creek on the side of the highway for a photo cause we were just having altogether too much fun now, lol!

We eventually hit some flatter land with some hotter temps.

Us Canadians are not used to that heat, but I'd been here before. I knew what to expect. I also work in the Texas/Arkansas/Oklahoma area every spring/summer and know the heat. Kelly had no idea though... He is a friggin' trooper though! I know he suffered in the heat more than I, but I hardly ever heard a peep out of him about it. Like I said... The two of us are pretty bull-headed, lol! I could see Kelly dropping back more frequently and further too...

So I found the best thing for the situation... Farson's ICE CREAM!!! Who doesn't like ice cream anyway!?!?! This turned out to be the beginning of a daily to multi-daily affair with the frozen milk variety, lol!

Check out the size of that cone!!!

"Bear" and I had a hot chocolate and a smoke, lol...

That was definitely a good pick-me-up and we got back on the road to knock out the last few miles to Rock Springs. It was windy from what I recall... lol!!! Anyone who's ridden 191 into Rock Springs will know what I'm laughing about...

We also crossed our 1000 mile point on the way into Rock Springs, yippee!!!

I wish I'd had this photo for the "Negative Space" photo competition...

Our site at the Rock Springs KOA had a few things left to be desired... But we were dropping tired. After a quick supper at Applebees (Note to self... Kelly won't eat it if it's got mayo on it, lol) it was time to crash out. We'd made up the miles missed by the day before getting stuff in Helena and we were back on track! It was a good tired and a great sleep. Too bad that wasn't a few blades of grass here though...

The nice woman that worked at the KOA made up for the lack of grass though... I still wonder if that was her daughter or not... Hmmm...

Stay tuned for day four!!!
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:07 PM   #11
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Day 4, Monday July 28th

We woke up pretty early and I had a nagging question of Kelly that morning. I asked him if he'd put a switch in for his lights so he could shut of the daytime running side. He looked at me like I was crazy so I told him he a light out, lol! I grabbed some tools out of my pannier and went at it and had the fairing off and light out in about 5 minutes. A quick rip to Wally World and $9.47, 10 minutes and three bolts later I had it back together before Kelly got back from his morning pitstop at the washroom. Lol, he gigled and said he was glad he brought his BMW mechanic along, lol!

We were then all set and ready to head out.

We jumped onto Hwy 530 and took the long way west and around Flaming Gorge. This was another national park I'd visited as a kid only this time I'd be on the other side. The highway was beautiful and Flaming Gorge turned out to be a gem in the rough!

The girls posing pretty for the camera. (No, I didn't always hide the KLR, I took pics from both sides and I just happen to think this one looks better, HAHA!)

And a wonderful (but WASH-BOARDY!!!) dirt road we found that led us right into the resevoir. We were even flanked by some Antelope kicking up more dust than we were! Those buggers haul A$$!

I was still for the most part in smog-avoidance mode, but I gave Kelly the reigns through these twisties. MAN was this EVER fun!!!

We got off the highway and found this awesome photo op too!

All the memories of these parks always came flooding back to times when I was much younger... 15 yrs or more ago. I'd see something that I recognized just like this rock formation and I'd be grinning from ear to ear! These areas actually were the inspiration for me to do what I do now... I always liked rocks and bikes more than anything else because of the trip I had taken through here. I figured I'd become3 a geologist... What better way to make enough money to ride whatever and whenever???

If you look closely at this one you can see the Blue Power Ranger in there somewhere... (Inside joke... Kelly will laugh!)

We got going again and boy am I ever glad I scheduled that side of the park... What a fun ride and AWESOME scenery!

Even a bit of hooliganism at the "Interpretive Sign"...

We then crossed over into Utah... Out of the arid desert and into old growth forest!!! Wtf!?!?! What an incredible climb and descent though, lol! We passed about $1,000,000 worth of Jag's going up and had a blast coming down. We stopped for a break to reflect and have a breather.

Kelly was so pumped that there was this much fun to be had on slab that when I pulled over he was yelling and doing fist pumps for about 10 minutes, lol!!! I told him that's half the fun of having a DUAL sport. You can't just ride trails all the time or else you should have a DIRT bike, lol! The jag's repassed us while we were stopped and waved and honked in salute to our defiance of altitude, haha!

We came down out of the forest and were suddenly back in the semi arid desert again. WOW... Our first real blast of heat coming into Vernal. We were back on Hwy 191 after a quick breakfast/lunch at the JB's there.

We skipped Dinosaur National Park as we'd already used up our allotted spare time for the morning and got truckin' on Hwy 191 south again. We were on our way to Price.

I really do love these shield shots... Almost like a spaceman...

We again had some INCREDIBLE twisties to play in on our way to Price... Some serious altitude climbs too!

Ariving in price we hit up a gas station for fuel and water and ice cream. We also tried out the water on our shirts to act as a natural air conditioner. That was definitely one of the keys to us keeping cool on this trip. Keep the gear on... just keep it wet underneath. It was heating up more and more and we were finding new ways to deal with it.

It was getting a bit flatter now...

We seemed to have fallen behind a bit this day... I had wanted to take the old dirt Hwy 72 through Whipup and Loa, but time was not on our side. We instead hopped onto the I70 through Richfield and Joseph. After Joseph we jumped back onto my beloved Hwy 89!!! Yippee! More twisites and fun!

First some pics of I70

And now a few from Hwy 89! We had to stop for a smoke and some vent closing before however... It was pretty dang windy again!

Then we arrived in Panguitch... This town holds fond memories for me and the Main Street Market even has my name in it, lol! Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon were now so close I could taste it!!!

Te first glimpse of Red Canyon...

And FINALLY!!! We had achieved our first major goal... RED ROCKS!!! Red Canyon is absolutely AWESOME at sunset!

Like a moment out of Rocky!

And probably the best over-the-shoulder sunset pic I have ever seen... (tooting my own horn there, lol)

We arrived in at Ruby's late and set up in the dark. No biggy! We had some Miller Lite! I cooked up some boil-in-bag Pasta Primivera and Kelly baked up a can of beans. He wasn't hungry, but I forced some pasta into him before he crashed out. He was grateful I did so in the morning.

All in all... Another awesome day of riding. There were a few changes made to the flight path to gain some time to get to our goal, but nothing serious. We were still sticking to our trip for the most part. Today was a very high day for me... The one thing I wanted to achieve was Red Canyon... It's a pretty special place to me. Everything else after this was pure bonus and it would only add more to my happy feeling!

Stay tuned for day 5!!!

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Old 08-09-2008, 05:07 PM   #12
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Nice job! We did ride some of the same roads. The Rock Springs KOA looked more like an RV park, and was full when I got there after dark. The La Quinta was nicer.

Keep it coming!
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:58 PM   #13
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Great report. thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:45 PM   #14
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Day 5, Tuesday July 29

What a great place to wake up in... No crazy noise too early, just the right temperature and some hotties walking their dogs around the campground... Perfect. We did have a little trouble getting "Bear" up as he was dippin' in the sauce till the wee hours that night, LOL!

He seemed fine after he got his morning NOS though,

We packed up quick and headed back out to Red Canyon to visit the "Rock Shop" and some of the gift stores. These places held sentimental value for me and we were going to hit them first and then do Bryce Canyon. This was the first real chance of some no-helmet highway work... It really feels weird, lol! (The pork chops were my "play-off beard for this trip, lol!)

Red Canyon is spectacular first thing in the morning.

And Kelly was having a blast which really did make my day... I have to admit that there was a tiny part of me that thought he might not like the trip I had planned... Turns out it was just paranoia and he really did have a great time.

We also stopped at the Bryce Canyon trading post for some bandanna's and stickers, yippee!

Kelly must have been revitalized by my boil-in-the-bag cooking last night cause he sure was rippin' up the ditches that morning, hahaha!

And then we were off to the actual park itself.

I can honestly say from my travels to other countries far away and the amazing things I've seen from Mt. Fuji to Waiamea Canyon, Kaua'i... Bryce Canyon is one of the natural wonders that everyone should put on their "to do before I die" lists... This is my second time there and it still made me speechless...

Bryce Point

Natural Bridge

Inspiration Point... I do NOT wonder why they called it that.

After Bryce Canyon we hit the road and high tailed it south on Hwy 89 again down to Orderville... Theme of the day was "Kaos in Orderville", LOL! I saw this little rock shop and my name being the same and me being a geologist dictated that I stop in to check the lapidary wares.

We were on our way to our second park of the day, Zion! We decided to try to get ahead of the heat as we knew it was only going to get worse for us. We stopped in a little cafe for some grub and ice cream. This place was seriously one of the best eats we had all trip.

Check out the look on Kelly's face... He is PRICELESS sometimes, hahaha!

After the eats we hauled A$$ to Zion.

Even found a bit of "offroad"... Does 3 ft off the road count??? (It's a national park and I didn't know what I could get away with so I decided not to push it... it did make a cool pic though, )

And we soon found the incredible purple-red roads we both remembered from our childhoods. These roads EAT tires in this heat though...

Some more spaceman shots...

And the famous tunnels there!

We go to play on some of the dozens of hairpins and switchbacks...

And found some INCREDIBLE photo ops!!!

We eventually got out of Zion, however, and it was rather anti-climactic for me... Bryce was the biggy for me, but Zion was the real deal for Kelly. We got through the park, turned south at La Verkin and went to Hurricane for fuel. We also found our beloved stickers for our trip to Zion. After Hurricane we jumped onto the old Hwy 59 to take us to the North Rim...

Now things become less detailed for me... We went through Colorado City... Way cool! But the HEAT!!! Us Canadiana boys were getting our A$$ES kicked in ernest now! We made a stop in Fredonia, AZ as we realized it was time for cold water and a dousing of the shirts. While in the store I found THIS!!! SCORE!

Kelly... What a trooper! Guys got 20 yrs on me almost and he was still going strong! SUPER TROOPER!

And he sure was stoked up after Zion and some fresh cold water. I was soon in my "make-a-mile/listen-to-ipod" mode and I had to really make sure I was listening to my body for water and stops as time started to lose meaning in the +40C weather... Middle of July? Sure, let's do it! Who's idea was this again... Dammit... it was mine...

We did find some good twisties to keep us alert though.

Things improved greatly when we gained some altitude however. The vegetation came back and the temps dropped to a more reasonable +30C

Kelly was so revitalized by the twisties and cool air he was in "recliner mode"!!!

And then we saw the sign!!! THIRD national park of the day!!!

This park road was AWESOME!!! I know, I know... Slap my wrist for stretching the speed limit, but in Canada 20 over isn't that bad! The twisties were BEGGING me to run my girl hard.

And then we arrived shortly after the light had been the best... It was still an incredible view... and I again heard almost dead silence from Kelly. I know what the first time I saw it was like. It's humbling.

Well... The sun was going down and we still didn't have a site booked so we decided to get at it. It was my bright idea to skip that step in order to see the canyon first... Bad decision, or so I thought after we couldn't get a site at the rim. They told us to try DeMotte up the road about 8 miles so we hoofed it back there only to discover the gas station close by was closed and we were short on grub... The SUPER nice lady at the gas station popped out and asked us if we were out of gas and I shook my head and shut my bike off for a minute. She told us the national forest campground was full and now I REALLY though I'd fcuked up...

Nice Lady : What are you going to do now?
Me : Well, I'm gonna set my bloody tent up right in the middle of that field over there and wait for a ranger to give me a ticket cause I'm dog tired and it's getting dark.
Nice Lady : No no no... That's not illegal here. This is all national forest, you can camp basically anywhere! BUT... If I were you... I'd go a mile up the road here, take a left on the dirt road called 611 and follow it right to the North Rim and you can camp right on the edge for free and with no one else around.

ME : *Slack-jawed incomprehension... slowly turning to sh!t-eating grin... morphing into joyous laughter and the feeling that everything really DOES turn out for the best* Thank you very much!

Nice Lady : Come see me at 07:30... I'll get you guys filled up with breakfast, gas and coffee. Have a great night!

So... Moral of the story here... We either had PHENOMENAL luck, or there really are a lot of nice people out there. I think it was a mix of both. Anyway, we saddled up and headed to the rim! We got to the end of that road and she wasn't lying... What a view! Gathered a bunch of wood, set up our tents, made another batch of my famous boil-in-the-bag (Vegetable Lasagna this time) and another can of beans and we were more content that night I think than any other of the trip... It was a little windy, but nothing serious. The morning after this would more than make up for it.

Stay tuned for day 6!

kaptinkaos screwed with this post 08-09-2008 at 08:55 PM
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:24 AM   #15
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Great report so far! I was very curious (and extremely envious) how you'd make out on your trip after I talked to you in the MEC parking lot the morning you guys left ( I was the guy with the cane, riding the red Yamaha Majesty).

Looking forward to seeing the rest!

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