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Old 09-05-2008, 10:59 PM   #1
John Joel Glanton OP
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Texas to Idaho-Washington-Oregon-Utah and Back

So I decided to ride to Idaho. I have been there twice in a cage and liked the place. That was 7 and 10 years ago. Time to go back. I have a very narrow window to get this done because of work and grad school. If I don’t get this done in the next 12 days, it’s not going to happen this year. This is it. The trip I have been planning for and bugging Idahoans on motorcycle forums about for nearly a year.

Day One:
Early in the morning. I get everything loaded and leave. I am giddy. Butterlies. Today is the day! About 2 miles from the house, I smell something burning. Turn right to go top off the tank and I notice that my rear brake pedal goes all the way down. No rear brake. Something really stinks now. I stop at the gas station, get off, and see that my bike is on fire. When I put the rear spacer on my Strom, I did not put the rear brake line back exactly in the slot and it moved over and was touching the exhaust pipe. The rubber brake line is literally on fire. Brake fluid is everywhere. I rush inside the gas station, get some water, come out, and extinguish the fire. I then ride home thinking that it’s over. This thing is not going to happen.

Spend the next couple of hours calling every motorcycle shop in DFW looking for a rear brake line. No one has it. Finally, the guys at Cycle Center of Denton say they will fabricate one for me. I get back on the bike, ride carefully for about 45 minutes in heavy rush hour traffic and get to Denton, Texas. They make me a brake line in about two hours and the grand total cost is about $120. One of those heavy duty braided steel cable jobs. Sweet. They have saved my vacation and this trip. Props. Love. http://www.cyclecenterofdenton.com/service.asp

I load the bike up and head out. This part of the trip sucks. This stretch of highway is one of the most boring in the State of Texas. Hot. Flat. Dry. Mind numbing. The ipod helps. The cheap AM/FM radio I bought at Fry’s electronics quits at Wichita Falls even with new batteries. I make it to Amarillo and the sky darkens. Giant, black clouds sweep over the highway.



As I approach Dumas, the black sky above uses a power washer on me. The wind is brutal. Tractor trailers are leaning over. The rain stings even through my Olympia jacket. As I pull into Dumas, the rain stops but the clouds are enormous and the wind gets worse. I try to press on but one gust of wind literally almost blows me over. All of the trucks are stopping. I realized that this might get seriously bad and decide to stop for the night. Get a hotel room. They let me park under the awning.

Day Two:
We’re gonna make up time today! I move. Quickly. From Dumas, Texas, to Grand Junction, Colorado, all is normal.



Nice to be back in Colorado. I enter Utah and finally stop for gas in Green River, just off the highway. There, I see a couple of men with about 8 women who are all wearing “prairie dresses” and I believe that I am looking at actual FLDS polygamists. Just like the ones in Eldorado, Texas, and on the HBO show, “Big Love.” I am intrigued but keep my distance. No photos were taken but I admit the rude thought crossed my mind.

I ask several (three) people about the quality of the road on Hwy 6 which is a shortcut from US-70 over to US-15 near Provo. These people all assure me that it is a wide, safe highway and that lots of 18 wheelers use it to get to Salt Lake City. I ask about deer and if it’s the kind of road where lots of deer get hit at night. They tell me that it’s safe and there are very few deer there because of the traffic and the towns along the way. I later learn that all of this is a horrible lie and that these people were clearly trying to kill me.



It starts out nice but Hwy 6 later turns into a hellish experience as it gets dark. I have clearly miscalculated. It’s too damned late and I should have stopped a long time ago. Now I have to press on because I can tell I am in a mountain pass and there is nowhere to stop. This is a very busy road filled with many vehicles, especially 18 wheelers. I pray that all of the reflective tape on my bike is helping and I don’t care that I look like super-geek with this flashing red light on the back of my helmet. Twisty. Turny. Signs everywhere warning about deer crossing. I stop counting deer carcasses when I nearly roll over the 14th body. This is serious. There is no room for error. Cars are right on my tail. The trucks are using their jake brakes. People are changing lanes without signaling. It takes every ounce of my skill and mental abilities to ride through the canyon and the flashing yellow lights mounted on the hundreds if not thousands of orange traffic barrels.

I make it into the Provo area and stop at a Motel 6. I am beyond exhausted. A guy pulls up in a Subaru Forester with Washington plates and bicycles on the roof. I recognize his car from the hell ride. He was right there with me for about 20 miles. He gets out and comes straight up to me and says with a perfect Fast Times at Ridgemont High Spicoli voice, “Man! That was INTENSE! I can’t believe you rode through all those deer!”


I ask, “Did you see deer in there?” He says, “DUDE there were hundreds of them! I almost hit several of them. They were running all over the road!”

I get queasy. I feel sick now because I never saw a live deer and I was actively scanning the whole time. Washington Spicoli says, “Dude, you have some STONES! You’re a heckuva freakin’ rider, man! That glow-in-the dark stuff on your bike is really bright too. I bet yer glad you had that stuff in that canyon, Buddy!” The hours of prep work where I had carefully stenciled and covered sections of my bike with black and red 3M reflective tape have clearly paid off.





Never again. I will never ride in the dark again. Too far for too long today. Over 840 miles according to the odometer.
I get a room. It is the worst hotel stay of my life. They put me upstairs in the smoking section. There is a haze of cigarette and marijuana smoke in the hallway. Demented humans stop their partying only so they can scream and yell and run up and down the hallway all night long. There are tufts of pubic hair in the bathtub where someone went buck wild with a personal trimmer. The A/C does not work. I finally pass out.

Day Three:

When he asks how my stay was, I politely tell the clerk the truth. I act like a gentleman about it and expect nothing. To my everlasting surprise, he apologizes and without my asking, gives me a full refund. He admits that the crowd was horribly unruly and that the police had to be called several times. We shake hands.

I continue north through Salt Lake City and on to Idaho. It is still brutally hot. Every time I stop for gas, I literally soak my jacket and even myself with any available water hose. I also fill my pockets with ice. This is a wonderful way to stay cool. However, when you are filling your jacket pockets with ice, some people think you are crazy and will actually step away from you with a weird look on their faces.

Here's my first pic in Idaho. IIRC, this was taken just outside of Hammett, Idaho. Stopped here to cool off under this irrigation sprinkler. I just parked the bike, got off, and walked over there and stood under the water. This pic is deceiving because that stream of water at the pipe is huge.




Boise is a nice town. If someone was to cross Austin and Alpine (both in Texas), I think it would look a lot like Boise both in size and geography. I check out Boise for a while, buy some Jack Daniels, and head north on Hwy 55. It starts to cool off finally. Made camp at the Swinging Bridge campsite. First campsite in Idaho. First night’s sleep in Idaho. I have made it!







The river close to my campsite. I went to sleep with the sound of the rushing waters.


My campsite is to the right of this road. The river is to the left. Lots of traffic during the day and none at night.


Everything you need for dinner.


Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef and a good book.


Building a fire


Three fingers of Jack later...


I slept well that night to the sound of the rushing river. It was much cooler up here in the mountains.

Day Four:

I headed north on Highway 55 towards Cascade, Idaho. This was beautiful country. I rode along the Payette River on a winding, twisting road. I'm sorry but I didn't stop to get too many pics here.



After the winding part of the road, it straightened out and opened up into a huge, green valley that was covered in grass. Mountains were all around me. I rode into Cascade and found a place to eat breakfast. After a giant breakfast of bacon and eggs, I filled up all of my water bottles and the Camelbak with their water hose. Then, I decided to ride the dirt road that goes around the Cascade Reservoir.



Just before it turns to dirt and you cross the cattle guard:


Dirt road on the NW side of the Cascade Reservoir. If you look at the other side of the lake just behind the large tree on the left, that's where the two previous pics were taken from.


The road was in excellent shape in most parts with a few large round stones here and there. There were some nice homes and some modest homes scattered around the lake. I passed a guy on a small dirtbike and a few kids on mountain bikes. We all waved.

I continued all the way around the lake and hooked back up with Hwy 55 and headed towards McCall.
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John Joel Glanton screwed with this post 09-06-2008 at 01:35 AM
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:25 PM   #2
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Entering McCall, Idaho. I show you this because when I stopped for gas, a couple of rough-looking boys with some Siberian Husky's in the back of their truck were getting gas next to me. We talked for a while and they told me that the dogs were bona fide sled dogs. They said that in the winter, the buildings you see here are completely covered in snow. Everyone gets around by snowmobile or dog sled. For the record, I did see several snowmobile shops on the way into town. I asked if people get DWI's on snowmobiles and they said, "Oh yeah! Lots of that up here in the winter."

Imagine snow up to the roof line of these buildings.


Downtown McCall, Idaho.


Riding North out of McCall. The country is starting to flatten out a little bit again.


I continue north on Hwy 95 towards Grangeville. I'm following the Salmon River. It get's very hot again and everything starts to take on a burned looked. Here's the Strom parked next to the Salmon River. Note the many people in the raft.


Another shot from a different angle:





I rode on along the river and at the bottom of the canyon. It was extremely hot again. I drank water constantly but the heat was really starting to get to me and that river was starting to look very tempting. I began to look for a place to pull off and swim. Finally, I found one. There was a small park complete with campsites and a boat ramp. I parked under a tree and stripped down to my skivvies.

Note the motocross socks hanging in the tree to dry out:


This is the actual spot where I went swimming. The water was incredibly cold and the current was fast! The water also had a lot of sediment and sand in it. I had to swim hard just to stay in place. After swimming around and getting some muscles working again, I finally got geared back up and headed towards Grangeville again.



Some more pics of the country on the way to Grangeville:




Wise men say....only fools rush in....


I had picked up a bunch of points of interest (POI's) from a GPS site. One of them that intrigued me was "The World's Largest Beagle." I didn't have any other information about it other than the GPS waypoint.



I rode into Cottonwood and followed the GPS to the spot but it wasn't there. No giant beagle. No dog. Nothing. I made a few circles trying to find it and then gave up and headed on out of town with the intention of making it to Lewiston to spend the night. As I was leaving town, I found this...



This is an actual Bed and Breakfast. It's the world's largest beagle and you can spend the night inside of it. Turns out the place has developed a sort of cult following and people come from all over the world to stay in this thing.

The man who built it is an older man and he runs a fair business there. He said that it took him about four years to build this thing and that ever since then, he and his wife have been riding high. This was one of those occasions where I got the chance to really talk to someone on this trip. We had a very rich conversation about the geography, lifestyle, and people of the area. The man seemed very seasoned and he asked a lot of questions about me and my life. It was a true pleasure to speak with this man and I feel like I'm a better person for having met him. He let me use his water hose to soak myself again and then I took off for Lewiston.

My plan was to camp at the Hell's Gate State Park just outside of Lewiston. I rode across the Camas Prairie and enjoyed the wheat fields while I tried to forget how hot it was becoming again.

Just outside of Lewiston, Idaho.


Sneaking in the back door...


As I entered Lewiston, the temperature was 108 degrees F. This heat was killing me. Every time I stopped for a stop sign or traffic light, I almost started to overheat even though my jacket was mesh. This was tough. I decided that I didn't feel like camping in 108 degrees. I was going to find a cheap motel. Now. After locating said cheap motel, I settled into my room and cranked that A/C full blast. I felt like a wimp but I just didn't care. Even after all the water I had been drinking, I was still slightly dehydrated. After getting cleaned up and rehydrated, I stepped outside only to see an older man unloading a BMW R 1200 RT right next to my bike. He was still wearing his riding gear and he had that sunburned visor face just like I did. We talked for only a minute or two when he asked me where I was going. I told him I was going to walk down the street for a burger and a beer. He said that he would like to join me as soon as he could get cleaned up. This was gonna be cool.

More to come...
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Old 09-06-2008, 03:08 AM   #3
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I walked down the street to Effie's Tavern where I had a beer and waited on my new buddy. He finally came in looking slightly refreshed and complaining about the heat the same as I had been. He said that he had heard it was 100 degrees in Portland, Oregon, and that apparently, a few high temp records had been broken in the Pacific Northwest.

It turned out that we had a lot in common. I'm a police officer for a large city in DFW and he was retired California Highway Patrol. After 30 years of service, he had finally retired and now lives between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. He was on his way home after having traveled all over New England on his RT. It was great to talk bikes and travel with someone who also on the road.

After a big meal and a few beers, we wandered down Main Street into one of the local watering holes. Over the course of the next few hours, we shared a lot of stories, talked about bikes and bike-related stuff, and had a few drinks. We went on our own little walking pub tour and hit three different places. The last place was having a karaoke night and both of us ended up singing (separately). It was a great time. The candid conversations we had gave me a chance to see what I can look forward to when I get to be his age. We walked at least a 1/4 miles or more back to our motel and called it a night.

Day Five:

I had another giant American breakfast at a waffle place on Main Street in Lewiston. Then, I rode around town and got a really good look at the place. Even collected a few info sheets from some houses that were for sale. Finally, I turned north again and went looking for the Old Sprial Highway.

I took this pic about half way up...


My Strom overlooking Lewiston. IMO, Stroms always look better from this side than the other. I think it's that "lean."


I met these two Yamaha guys at the top. They had ridden there that same morning from a Seattle suburb. We exchanged cameras and took each other's pictures.


Me at the top of the hill.


The Yamaha guys were going east and I was going to Moscow. As I left Lewiston behind, the scenery changed again and I moved into the Palouse.


I love this part of Idaho. There's something very appealing about that combination of smooth hills and trees.



When I got to Moscow, I fell in love with the place all over again. I want to go live there. It's a busy college town with an incredible atmosphere. I again rode around in the neighborhoods and collected tons of info sheets on houses that were for sale. I even stopped and took some pics and video of various neighborhoods to show my wife. One thing that I really like was how many kids I saw just out and about. Lots of them were riding their bikes and skateboards. There were kids walking around in a way that I never see where I live. This place has a true small town feel to it while still being full of life.

I stopped to eat here and parked the Strom right there between the fence and the white sign. (This is not my pic. I stole this off the web.)



The food was good but I was the only person in there (odd time of day). I ended up talking to the owner about the town and the way of life in Moscow. This was another one of the great interactions I had on this trip. The owner was obviously very well educated and had a lot of insight about moving to a small town to escape the big city. He seemed very interested in my back story and we ended up having a tremendous conversation. A great place to eat with a great guy as the owner.

I didn't know where I was going to camp that night but I wanted to get somewhere close to Coeur d'Alene. I continued north but stopped along the way to take these pics:

Just outside of Moscow:


Checked out a dirt road along the way:


Starting to see evidence of the logging industry here. Lots of heavy equipment and trucks were around.


I found this place while hunting a campsite in the many parks around here. Not much luck though because they are all full or reserved.



St. Maries, Idaho. Incredible scenery. Water everywhere. The landscape had changed a little bit again.


What is this thing? It's a "Steam Donkey Engine," of course.




I kept moving and began to skirt Lake Coeur d'Alene.


Found this place while looking for a campsite:



Finally found a place to camp on the Kilarney Lake, Idaho. I had to ride down a couple miles of dirt road to get here. This place was almost deserted. There was a nice parking lot and a large hand pump for fresh water. I picked out a spot and set up camp:


Where I would be sleeping...




Lake Kilarney


When it got completely dark, I could see a campfire burning on that island.


Another dehydrated meal. This was surprisingly good beef stew. The cell phone was just serving as a wake up alarm. I couldn't get any reception at all...and you know what? I was glad.


Getting dark...


Video from my campsite:




It had been a good day.

More to come...
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John Joel Glanton screwed with this post 09-06-2008 at 04:22 AM
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Old 09-06-2008, 03:47 AM   #4
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I feel for yu riding through the heat. Seems the older I get the less I want to deal with it.
Very interesting country your running around in. Love my visits to the area in '04 chasing the Lewis/Clark trail and checking out the area.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us and waiting on the next installment.
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:23 AM   #5
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Nice ride!!

dood, you're lucky to be here telling us your story.. with the deer at night riding part... it's not worth the risk...

keep it comin'
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your trip with us You are in my home back there (although I live in DFW like you now). I grew up in Uniontown, which is just another little farm town centered between Lewiston, Moscow, and Pullman. That scenic turnout on the Lewiston hill where you took pics was one of our "inspiration points" in high school....

I'm actually making the same run later this month, but will be taking a little more time and only 3-400 miles a day.
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Old 09-06-2008, 03:51 PM   #7
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A great report,one who is worthreading it twice.Wait for the rest,thanks...
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:54 PM   #8
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Big thanks to everyone for the replies. I'm glad to know someone likes it.

Day Six:

I got up and packed all my gear back on the bike. A few observations on this: I simply brought too much stuff. I had committed the cardinal sin common to many expeditions and missions...I tried to plan for every contingency and bring gear appropriate for all of them. The GIVI bags were packed full and the waterproof bags were stuffed to their limit. I had originally planned to head over to the East and ride a dirt road along the St. Joe River but the bike just seemed to heavy for it. I had considered trying it anyway and was actually going to do it. An ominous and dark feeling began to come over me and over the course of the next few hours as I headed towards the St. Joe River, the feeling became stronger. I have learned over the years from hard personal experience that one should listen to that "little voice" that tells you to stop. There are numerous motorcycle travelers, adventurers, military guys, cops, and firefighters who know this to be true. Ron Ayers specifically mentions this in one of his books on long distance riding. I listened to that feeling and started looking for a different destination. When I did this, that foreboding feeling of imminent doom evaporated immediately. Maybe I was being a giant weenie. Maybe I had just saved my own life. Who knows?

Anyway, let's skip ahead now. I went into Coeur d'Alene where I had breakfast at a Denny's restaurant. I would later learn that it was the same Denny's where Joseph Edward Duncan III, the horrible child murderer and rapist had been caught. (Sorry to bring the party down)

On a lighter note, Coeur d'Alene was very pretty and filled with ultra rich, beautiful people walking the sidewalks in downtown. In some respects, that part of it reminded me of a PNW version of Aspen. However, in all fairness, there were other neighborhoods that were very middle class and even a few that were solidly working-class blue-collar in nature. The mental image that some have of Coeur d'Alene as a watery playground for rich people is not entirely accurate.

I rode around Coeur d'Alene for a while and then skipped over to Spokane, Washington. Spokane was nice but it seemed like any other city to me. It was busy with lots of traffic. No offense to Spokanites but this was not what I was looking for on this ride. Maybe some other time. I went back east for a little bit and then turned south. I intended to follow the eastern edges of Washington and Oregon before stopping in Pendleton, Oregon for the night.

The far Eastern edge of Washington, headed south. This is the "Palouse" country again. The Nez Perce Indians bred the Appaloosa horse here and over in Idaho in and around the Moscow area. Great place for that. Another random shot taken from the saddle. It may not look impressive here but it was truly incredible to ride through this.




Patriotic barn in Latah, WA


I realized that I had only ridden about 10 total miles of dirt on this trip thus far. I had passed on a long dirt ride because of that bad feeling I mentioned earlier. I decided it was time to ride some dirt. I used my Garmin 2610 to locate some dirt roads. With no knowledge of where it would end up, I found a dirt road next to a farm house. This country is just pure beautiful. I normally don't get excited about fields but for whatever reason, I love this area. Maybe it's the gentle undulation of the land. Maybe it's because it makes me feel peaceful and small as I blend in with the gentle curves.

In this pic, I'm about to ride a smooth roller coaster of dirt for miles and miles. This was a true pleasure for quite a while. Look at those tracks in the middle of the road!


I followed this road and others like it for about 20 miles. It was a wonderful feeling to stand up on the pegs and crest the top of a hill, see the world around me, and then descend quickly back down among the crops. A gentle rain started to fall and I worried a little bit about it all turning to mud. Nothing came of it though. The road was a light powder of dust with a firm foundation underneath. At least that's how it felt.

Here's where I came out. By the looks of the road, most of the rain just missed me but it sure cooled things off.


Palouse, WA. Note the temperature drop.


I continued south to Pullman, Washington, where I did another scouting mission. It's another college town and it shares a lot with Moscow, Idaho. No pics on this, I'm afraid. After scouting the town, I turned towards Walla Walla with the intention of passing through quickly and making it to Pendleton. As I moved back out onto the prairie, I started running short on gas. The wind picked up and it was hard riding. I finally found a middle-of-nowhere place to get some gas. This was a farm/ranch store that reminded me of my own childhood in far southwest Texas.

No gas for 50 miles in any direction. Had to get it here. Note the flag. It was windy!


I didn't stop for too many pics after this and just tried to make some time. Even after all these miles, the maps can be deceiving. It was actually a long ways to where I was going and I had set my mind on making Pendleton.


One view of downtown Pendleton.


After another very long day in the saddle, I was looking for an air-conditioned place to get a stiff drink. That looks like a good possibility. This is the historic Rainbow Cafe. It's the oldest business in Pendleton and it's been open for 123 years.


Me drinking a Jack and Coke at the Rainbow. This place was bad-@$$. It has a very old-school feel to it. Like you just walked into bar from the 1940's. Plenty of people in here. Got a businessman in a suit to take my picture at the bar.

Road-weary goober with a super-bright neon sign behind him:


Where I ate dinner and drank a lot of good Oregon Pale Ale. Doesn't look like much from the outside but this was a packed steakhouse with a wait. The bar was almost empty so they put me in there and I had a tremendous meal and got to talk to some locals while doing so.


Another neon sign in downtown Pendleton, Oregon.


A seedy place but fun nevertheless. Lots of locals in there. Most of them were very nice.


This place had some character but it also had a pole right in the middle of the dance floor. It was on bearings and was very heavy duty. Now, this place is not one "those" kind of places but people would run out on the floor and take a spin on it just for laughs.

Here's a local firefighter girl. She seemed pretty tough.


Me spinning on the big pole they had. Don't know why. Note shirttail indicating rapid rotation.


There were lots of neon signs in this town which I like. They really give a place a neat feel. One last pic of the Rainbow on my way back to my hotel room:


What a great day...I had seen some beautiful country, finally rode some dirt, and had a great time with the locals in a small but busy town. I went to sleep that night feeling happy, relaxed and at peace.

Ok...no more bar or town pics. Stand by for some cool video and pics from Idaho and New Mexico...and lots of dirt pics in Utah.
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:43 AM   #9
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Day Seven:

I was really beginning to hate myself for having brought so much stuff. It was irritating to have to pack stuff that I knew I didn't need. I finally got everything back together and got going.

Oregon is one of only two states where people are not allowed to pump their own gas. As I pulled into a gas station, a young American Indian who was covered in tattoos came out to the pump. I asked him if he would have to pump the gas for me if I could do it myself. "Oh, I never pump gas into bikes, man. I just have to stand here and make sure you do it right." We talked for a bit while I pumped the gas and then I hit the road.

I tried to make some quick time back into Idaho. I stopped at the Boise KTM dealership to get some more chain lube. I had been religiously lubing my chain at the end of every day and needed to get some more. I sat on a 990 Adventure and noticed that the stock KTM bars felt exactly like the bars I had installed on my Strom. The seat height felt almost identical as well. However, the seat was not as comfortable as the Suzuki gel seat on my Strom. I ate a personal pan pizza at the Pizza Hut just down the street from the KTM dealership and then hit the road again.

I rolled into Twin Falls, Idaho, and decided to stop to see the river and the bridge there.




A monument to Evel Knievel. He tried that rocket bike jump over the Snake River about 2 miles from here.





With my back to the bridge, looking down the river bottom...



Two little videos that I shot:




I went over the rock wall and walked right up to the edge for this one:




After Twin Falls, I pushed hard for Utah.


A few hours of pavement travel had me wanting some more dirt road action. While still northwest of Salt Lake City, I started looking for dirt. I can't take anymore highway. The GPS shows this dirt road going for miles. Two guys in a pickup told me that this road goes on for at least 20 miles.


That yellow sign states the area inside that fence is a private hunting preserve and it expressly forbids trespassing.








Looking back to where to I had just come from...







They looked a lot cooler when they were standing at "attention," staring at me when I first pulled up. These horses have shoes on and were calm when I approached them. Typical ranch quarter horses. One thing that really hit me hard was how quiet everything was. After all that highway noise, it was just me and these horses standing here in silence. A light breeze across the grass, a little blowing from the horses at first, and then just quiet calmness.



I grew up on a working ranch down in the Big Bend of Texas before my family moved to Garland in the 1980's. I have a lot of experience with horses and even taught horseback riding in college. When I got back on the Strom, I was feeling very peaceful and without realizing it, reached down with my left hand and patted the gas tank just like I used to pat my horse's neck. It was a completely unconcious movement and it surprised me. The strange thing was that I suddenly realized that I truly was feeling the same affection for my bike that I used to feel for my horse. This may seem very foolish to some people but I suspect a few of you will understand the feeling. Call it anthropmorphizing, or perhaps equine-pomorphorzing but I couldn't help it.


There's some kind of terraces or canals in the distance there.




I'm seeing all kinds of signs about "Promontory Point" and my hazy memory of Western History reminded me that this area was important to early Mormon settlers.


As you can see in the pic above, the shadows were getting long. The sun would be down soon and I was still out here on these dirt roads without a firm idea of where I really was. I figured that if I didn't find a place to stay, I would just find a place to camp. As I kept riding though, I found some pavement again and saw some signs pointing towards Ogden.

I also found this strange place. That pipeline path coming over the hill is wider than any freeway. There's lots of govt-style buildings behind the giant berm in the foreground. Looks like they build rockets or something like that here.




There's some Area 51 stuff going on here, maaan!



Snapped this pic and took off fast before security forces arrived.


I'm on the Northern edge of the Great Salt Lake here and headed East towards Ogden. These salt deposits are everywhere.


I started to see some signs of civilization again. For whatever reason, I had this feeling that I had "pulled a fast one" on the whole world. Not sure why. Maybe it was riding the dirt. Maybe it was just temporary insanity. Whatever the reason, I suddenly felt very good and very happy. I gave out a little whoop, cranked the throttle, and zipped past the few houses and horse pens alongside the road. Life was good.

More to come...
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John Joel Glanton screwed with this post 09-07-2008 at 09:11 AM
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Old 09-07-2008, 10:39 AM   #10
John Joel Glanton OP
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Day Eight:

I got up early and tried to beat the traffic through SLC. Traffic was still fairly busy on the freeway. Once again, I am glad I am wearing this lime-yellow Olympia jacket and these bright orange Klim pants. I may look like a clown but people can SEE me. Safety has become a lot more important to me these days. With a wife, family, house payment, and an actual career, I'm more worried about living than I am about fashion while riding a bike. I am convinced that this lime-yellow jacket has served me well so far.

After making it through the traffic and the greater SLC area, I finally get back to some scenery again. This is my first picture of the day after spending the night in Ogden. This the Utah landscape southeast of SLC. Leaving the city and headed back to the country.


More Utah landscape. Some of this reminds me of the Big Bend in West Texas.


Headed into Moab. Rocks are turning redder by the minute. The heat has returned in full force. It's incredibly hot.


Moab, Utah, was packed full of tourists. In the Wendy's I heard Japanese, French, and German being spoken by three separate families. I really wanted to take my time and see the parks but I was supposed to be staying with a friend in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, so I had a time crunch today. I would like to come back here some time though.

I left Moab and zipped down the highway towards Colorado. Here are the rest of the pics that I took in Utah:











Check out the person standing inside the arch:




I kept traveling east through Utah and into Colorado. In Cortez, I learned that my friend's house had burned down in Texas and that he had been forced to go home to deal with that. I would not be staying in Pagosa Springs after all. I continued until I got tired and finally stopped in Durango, Colorado. This was another town I wanted to scout out for possible relocation in the future.

Durango was also absolutely full of tourists. The Econo-Lodge wanted $150 for one night. I finally found a cheap motel quite a ways from downtown. One of those old-school motor hotels from the 1950's. As I went into my room, I saw a group of four 20-something punks sitting outside the room next to mine. They were all wearing their flat-billed trucker caps at angles along with "Full Contact Fighter" clothing and other NHB/MMA t-shirts. The thing is, they were all, all of them, smoking and the one I identified as having the most attitude had a little bit of a belly on him. I'm not a world class fighter but I have some experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA and I have been thrashed on the mat by some world class fighters. I knew these guys were posers and not the real deal. They had a couple of mouthy girls with them who were also wearing MMA t-shirts. I nodded to the group and acknowledged their presence as I unloaded my bike. They nodded back and became very quiet and just watched as I unloaded the bike. I didn't like the feeling and got the sense that these guys were trouble. They were traveling in an SUV with Arizona plates. They stayed silent and simply sat there watching me, smoking their cigarettes as I locked the bike up with my cable and two padlocks.

My evening in Durango was nice. They have a trolley there and I rode it into downtown where I had a great spicky pork tenderloin at The Ore House Restaurant. A tremendous meal with some locally brewed lager. I rode the trolley back to the motel and went to sleep.

In the morning, I saw a crumpled up cigarette pack sitting on the seat of my Strom. There was unburned tobacco sprinkled all over the bike and there were literally dozens of cigarette butts on the ground. The cigaretts butts were arranged around the bike in what was clearly a deliberate pattern. Now, I'm a cop but it didn't take a master detective to figure out that the brand of cigarette on and around my bike were the same brand as the ones that littered the ground directly in front of the punks' room. There was also several beer cans, bottles, and plastic cups all over the ground in front of their room. They didn't even have the common decency to put their empties in the trash can that was right next to their door.

My first thoughts were for the welfare of my bike. I checked it thoroughly to make sure that they hadn't damaged it any way. I spent about 10 minutes going over it with a fine-toothed comb. It appeared that the bike was undamaged. I was still extremely angry about this blatantly disrespectful act. The more I thought about it, the madder I got.

I seriously considered knocking on their door and ordering them to get out there to clean that stuff off my bike. I stood in the parking lot with my .45 pistol concealed under my jacket in the back of my waistband for a while and considered my options. So here's the thing...as angry as I was (and I was HOT)...was this worth going to war over? No. So what if I did wake them up and it went bad? What if they jumped me or did something that would force me into using force or displaying a weapon? Was I ready to get into a shooting over this? No. Was I ready to jeopardize my entire career and life over this? No. Even if I was "in the right," was I ready to stand trial in Durango for some fracas that I instigated and which was not necesary? No. What they had done was disrespectful and worthy of a whipping. Still, they had not actually damaged the bike itself. There was no criminal offense here. Now, if I knocked on their door and stuck a gun in their faces, THAT would be a criminal offense. Even if all I did was tell them to remove their trash from my bike and they did something that would give me a valid reason to use force against them, I would still be in the wrong because I would be the one starting the confrontation. If there HAD been any damage to my bike, I would have called Durango PD and let them come roust those punks out of bed. In the end, reason and logic won out over my anger and ego. There was no profit or good outcome to be had here. I loaded up, put their cigarette pack on the hood of their SUV, and left town.

I didn't stop until I was in New Mexico. This is a mountain pass North of Taos.


It's nice and cool up here among the Aspens.




More of Northern New Mexico...


I came down out of the mountains and back down onto the hot, arid floor below. I saw this strangely colored art this art gallery in the middle of nowhere. That face is George Bush's.


As I was riding across the flat ground on my way to Taos, I found this deep canyon with another impressive bridge across it.









I wonder how the pioneers made it across this canyon?


Another little video from a bridge






Saw this BMW in downtown Taos. Note the ADV sticker on the right case/pannier.


This couple is from Arkansas. I asked permission to take their picture. The man posts on the Adventure Rider website but I can't remember his username.


Taos was nice but very busy. It wasn't as hot as most of the other places I had been though. I stopped for some gas and realized how filthy the rear tire/wheel had become. This is what a few thousand miles of road grime and excess chain lube looks like. I went out of my way to keep that chain well lubed every night before I went to sleep. There's an enormous amount of caked-on dirt on the wheel.


Now, I know better than to clean my chain with a pressure washer. I went into the car wash behind the gas station and was careful not to blast my chain or my sproket too hard. I kept a good distance from them and didn't direct any forceful spray onto either of them. The tire and wheel were another matter though. Even after this cleaning, there was still plenty of lube on the chain. Note the reflective tape on the swingarm. It's only showing up because of the camera's flash.



I found a smaller road south out of Taos and got rained on almost immediately. It's raining just a couple of hundred yards down the road.


Mountains south of Taos. I'm headed south and trying to make it to Amarillo by nightfall.


Heading south still. The views are tremendous. This was some phenomenal riding with lots of sweepers and twisties. Note the highway down below.


I rode on into Santa Rosa when and spotted a bad storm ahead. I was caught out in the open and noticed that there were other storms brewing around me. I decided to push hard for Tucumcari and try to get through it. This video was taken about 10 minutes before I got beaten by hard rain and harder winds; and that was only on the edge of the storm. The whole sky turned black as I headed for Tucumcari. About 30 minutes after I got there, the storm caught me and put on a massive lightning show right over my hotel room. I cut it close here. This video does not do this scene justice.




I got through the edge of the storm and put the hammer down. It was getting dark and there was no way I was going to make it to Amarillo. The storm was serious and it was right behind me. Riding at about 90 mph, I was literally outrunning the storm but I knew it was only a matter of time before it caught up with me. There were two other storms on either side of me and all of them were full of lightning. I made it Tucumcari and got a nice hotel room for very cheap. For about $25, I got a room that was a nice as any other I had been in during this trip. I parked the Strom under the overhang and up on the sidewalk. As lightning lit up the sky above me, I realized how lucky I was to have made it Tucumcari and get out of the storm.



As a point of reference, this is what the sky looked like outside of my hotel room with no lightning...


Here's what it looked like WITH lightning...




I ate dinner at a family-style diner next door to the hotel and enjoyed the old-school Route 66 neon signs that light up the town. I wish that stuff would make a come-back.

Well, this pretty much ends the ride report. Those of you who have ridden that stretch from Tucumcari to Dallas know that there's not much to show. The next morning, I got up and rode through the brutal heat all the way home.

There were several places from this trip that I want to get back to. I know that some of you maybe saying, "Why didn't he stop there? Why didn't he go see XYZ park or ABC attraction?" I feel the same way but this trip wasn't just about seeing the sites and getting away; it was also about getting eyes on several communities that I have been reading about and thinking about as possible places to move to someday. I think I used the V-Strom for what it was meant for...mostly highway with some mild dirt riding. There's some places I saw along the way that I want to ride on my DRZ400S. I feel like I accomplished the goals of this trip and was able to unwind along the way at a couple of campfires at the same time. I met some nice people, saw some good, sights, and covered a lot of ground (4,420 miles total). The Strom needs an oil change. This trip WAS my oil change.

Hope you liked it. Take care. I'll be happy to answer any questions.
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John Joel Glanton screwed with this post 09-07-2008 at 04:27 PM
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:37 PM   #11
MikJogg
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,i need an oil change too...


Greetings MJ
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Old 09-07-2008, 04:01 PM   #12
John Joel Glanton OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikJogg
,i need an oil change too...


Greetings MJ
I know what you mean! It's only been about a month since I got back from this trip and I'm already itching to leave on another one. Real life can really bite sometimes. Things are simple out on the road.

I am honored that someone from so far away has read my report. Thanks for sticking with me!
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Old 09-07-2008, 04:49 PM   #13
achesley
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Very neat trip report and great pictures. I know about missing places that people bring up. I always say I keep reasons to go back and if I saw everything the first time I would not need to return. ;') .
Thanks for taking the time to share.
Oh , you're right about prices in the Colorado tourist towns, and other tourist town for that fact. Often I walk out of places asking even 125 for the night. I generally start looking for a motel about 4PM for this reason.
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