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Old 05-17-2009, 09:02 PM   #91
Douf OP
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Day 10: Iskut to Cache Creek







We're alive! The three of us awoke to a surprisingly tranquil morning in the otherwise sinister surroundings of Iskut's motor Lodge. Thankfully, no ominous playing of banjos had been detected during the twilight hours and consequently - judging by the relatively pain free manner in which the members of our group shuffled around the cabin as we prosecuted the details of daybreak's familiar preparations - no one had unwittingly become an unwilling victim of any locally deviant behavior. In fact, as far as I could tell, based on current evidence, the only local animal sacrifice of any kind during the last twelve hours had been for the sake of our dinner's
nutritional requirements.



However, the nature of our departure from the previous evening's enigmatic surroundings certainly incorporated one extremely desirable attribute which - in stark contrast to whatever fanciful elaboration my fertile imagination may have concocted in reference to the Inn's questionable facilities - addressed an all too real concern which inevitably manifested itself at every pause in our journey: namely, starting the KTM; which by the grace of the bikes' current position, at the top of a small incline, would mercifully be attempted without resorting to the potential futility of cajoling the beast into life by virtue of the painful uncertainty resulting from it's own inbuilt starting procedure.



Happily, a few downhill yards later after simultaneously selecting second gear, releasing the clutch, leaping energetically onto the rear of its' saddle (while making a deliberate effort to hold the throttle firmly closed - 950 owners unfamiliar with the details of this unfortunately sometimes necessary escapade: take note), my occasionally unwilling traveling partner heartily burst into an authoritative rumble courtesy of its' FMF underseat exhaust and, after a brief period coming up to temperature, was eager to tackle a further stretch of delightful mileage along British Columbia's perennially inspiring Cassiar Highway.

Our route continued generally southwards direction with the same overall ambiance as had been experienced yesterday: that is to say, indescribably beautiful scenery coupled with a highly entertaining combination of gravel/dirt/blacktop from which to observe the grandeur surroundings as we traveled along. Compromising our viewing pleasure to a certain extent was the sporadic presence of a light drizzle which - literally and psychologically contrived to put a slight dampener on the proceedings. A couple hours later though, when we made a stop for breakfast, the rain had all but stopped.



And breakfast you say? Yes indeed: we were all extremely self indulgent at The Lodge in the remote settlement of Bell II where we made our stop and, upon entering the establishment, discovered a rather wonderful and certainly quite expansive breakfast buffet which - given our the unpredictable frequency of this trip's nourishment breaks was certainly a sight for sore eyes. Both the buffet and the Lodge in which it sat were certainly a welcome surprise for these three road weary travelers and, in complete contrast to last night's rustically humble surroundings, the building in front of which we were now parked looked similar the type of structure one might expect to find at an upscale ski resort, while the selection of food on offer inside appeared positively gourmet.

Bell II is located 110 miles south of Iskut on Hwy 37 in British Columbia's north-west Stewart/Cassiar Region and the settlement is named unimaginatively after the 2nd river crossing of the Bell-Irving River over Hwy 37. According to my research, The Lodge, built in the mid 1970's, was historically run as a service station in conjunction with some short term accommodation offerings. Later in the 1980's it added a small café and the team of mechanics at the service station were run by a husband-and-wife team. During the severe wintertime, unsurprisingly many travelers were welcomed with a warm coffee, soup and a place to rest, since like most other food/rest stops in this isolated area, you're not exactly spoiled for choice.



I certainly had more than a meager bowl of soup and a solitary cup of coffee on my mind though, as my vacant intestinal tract and I engaged the buffet and prepared to do battle. And presently, judging by the carpet's newly threadbare path, that impressively had been produced in only a fairly short period of eagerly repeated refills from that altar of all things stodgy and grease laden, Gary and Joe were of a similar mindset also. Predictably, some considerable time later, at the very moment I was attempting to test the tearing strength of Aeorstich's finest Kevlar/Goretex jacket material with the excessive volume of my freshly overloaded stomach, all three of us - apparently in a similar state of nutritional discomfort, conceded defeat to this calorie laden smorgasbord, payed the bill and - in glutinous unison - waddled out into the parking lot.



I suspect at this point in the proceedings, given our current collective state of overloaded discomfort, the preferred option would have probably involved reserving a couple of the Lodge's rooms for a few more hours worth of rest/(in)digestion before continuing the discomfort of our stomach pounding progress. It's a road trip though, and there's mileage to cover dammit, so off we go! Indeed as I have continuously stressed the significance of consistent momentum to the mileage goals of this trip, I would reasonably expect that reading painfully through this entire account from the beginning may well have resulted in the reader being somewhat mystified as to why today's breakfast stop had apparently been so leisurely. The answer in reality is a combination of two things: the current state of our schedule and Gary's mindset. Planning for unforeseen circumstances had resulted in two day's worth of schedule cushion (per Gary's original 1K/day for 12 days idea), which we imagined would be used up somewhere in Alaska. However, although weather conditions transpired to scupper the majority of our plans in the region, the corresponding mileage requirements had also been lessened, consequently reducing the necessity to cover quite as much daily ground. So for instance, if a total mileage of 800 per day rather than 1000 became acceptable, assuming the same overall daily time on the road, a 60mph total average would allow over three hours of extra eating, screwing around and/or socializing. Now, given the wealth of schedule riches currently remaining at our disposal, one might surmise that the home leg might reasonably take a more leisurely path; our collective plan did not make such a conclusion however, as this is where Gary's mindset came into play. Amazingly, for someone who loves long distance riding so much, Gary tends to get very homesick, and consequently, once we'd made it to the Arctic Circle, his preferred approach was to head down the Cassair Highway taking as little time as possible and then attempt to make a bee-line straight back across the U.S. to MA (even taking interstates as much as possible). I hadn't really considered the implications of this situation beforehand, but since I hadn't done any two-wheeled travel in the entire North West section of the U.S. previously, and getting home with maybe two day's worth of hard won kitchen pass unused was definitely a proposition that I didn't find particularly appetizing. However, my rear tire was starting to look extremely marginal, so I decided to hedge my bets until the likelihood of finding a (not particularly common) 18" replacement was investigated further.


Before leaving the parking lot of the Lodge however, we briefly chatted to a couple of folks who'd tackled an Alaskan trip back in the 60's when the route was all dirt and not nearly so commercialized as it is now (and of course, it's still mostly undeveloped these days in most parts). Listening to the details of their stories, once again I was struck with how benign our current adventure was compared to the experiences that many of our more hardy predecessors have endured.



Eventually, as the road surface became predominantly paved, while the the incidence of significant human settlement became more regular, even though our current environment was still far removed from main street U.S.A., the feeling that we were slowly returning to the type of surroundings familiar to our everyday lives gradually became more pronounced; which of course combined to impart a mixture of both relief and regret in the confused depths of my subconscious. Presently however, refueling necessities dictated a temporary pause in the proceedings and, pulling into a convenient gas station we were greeted by the sight of a charter bus, whose passengers were also enjoying the delights of a rest stop. Dismounting from the bikes, I surmised by listening to the accents of the other travelers that this was likely a group with origins in parts of Europe responsible for the existence of the GS and maybe even the KTM. A number of older, but apparently fairly well preserved European men were milling around and, as the three of us strode purposefully about the facility, efficiently taking care of refueling and maintenance necessities in all our dust covered glory, the glances of obvious admiration we received from the group left no doubt in my mind as to the type of transport many of them would have ideally preferred to leave on. Stood there in its' equally grubby majesty, the KTM certainly radiated an imposing presence that the other two machines found difficult to match, and I secretly suspected that I knew full well which mount the old timers were really lusting after. However, as we prepared to leave the facility,in front of what by now was quite a sizable group of would-be bus escapees, one press on the starter button of my schizophrenic race bred darling was more than enough to pull the plug on the pool of potential KTM owners. Whatever the combination of internal mischief conspiring to create the usual symphony of mechanical mayhem had, on this occasion managed to orchestrate an aurally displeasing opus of thus far unequaled proportions and, as the beast thankfully burst into life (so at least I didn't have to suffer the ignominy of push starting it) I noticed many of the hitherto admiring spectators grimace in disgust. If there were indeed future owners in that crowd, I expect the share prices of BMW and Suzuki took a significant jump on completion of their vacation.



Ultimately, after further mileage through progressively more developed territory, today's adventure was concluded at Cache Creek where, even given our protracted break at Bell II's breakfast trough, a total distance of over 820 miles had been covered during the course of the day and, as far as I'm aware, me and the KTM had at least managed to avoid putting the regularity of any more pacemakers in jeopardy.

Douf

Douf screwed with this post 05-18-2009 at 06:28 AM
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:52 PM   #92
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I'm enjoying the show.... please continue.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:01 PM   #93
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Day 11 (Part one): Cache Creek, BC - U.S. Border at Porthill, ID







Hi y'all! We're in the southern reaches of British Columbia and we're riding through a freakin' desert! You know, I suspect the arduous nature of this schedule is actually starting to affect all three of us, because Gary and Joe are actually affirming whatever hallucinations are spinning around in the confused depths of my current perception of reality. As is often the case on a journey like this one, just when the day's proceedings look like they'll play out predictably, something like this environmental anomaly comes along to shake things up a little. Familiar terrain had indeed greeted us during today's initial mileage, with a continuation of the endless evergreen mountainous landscape one would typically expect in this part of Canada. However as we began to make an initial approach towards the U.S. border region at around 150 miles and just over two hours into the journey, the scenery's predominant aura became more Southern California than Southern Canada, resplendent in the colorful palette of the desert's arid panorama. Corresponding temperature increases consistent with the visual evidence of our surprisingly new environment soon had us all thinking more along the lines of heavily vented riding gear, rather than the hitherto familiar defenses of electric vests and waterproof oversuits. Without any prior research, the whole surreal landscape was indeed extremely surprising to say the least.



Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada

However, before confirming that whatever current observations I was making in regard to our surroundings really were an authentic representation of the actual landscape in this locale, I was slightly suspicious of the possibility that maybe I was hallucinating, merely as a result of oxygen starvation caused by the Chinese fire drill that had accompanied the predawn resurrection of my ubiquitous KTM and its' somewhat less than pervasive desire to move anywhere under its' own steam. On this particular morning, there was good news and there was bad news. First, the good: the excruciating aural commotion normally accompanying the ignition sequence's unbearable mechanical pandemonium was mercifully absent. The bad: Apart from a few unenthusiastic clicks as it half-heartedly attempted to spin the starter, the battery was - for all intents and purposes - dead! Not to worry though: as a preemptive measure in the recurring battle of wits that had come embody my daily quest for continued progress, at the conclusion of yesterday's sojourn, precious had been parked on a slight incline. In this particular man versus bike skirmish however, she wasn't intending to go down without a fight, and consequently responded to my vigorous but futile efforts at imparting motion, with an apathetic splutter from the motor, followed by a short obstinate skid and finally, at the bottom of the hill, my thoroughbred princess came to a halt with a defiant shrug, as her rebellious display culminated with a digging in of proverbial heels in a stubbornly insubmissive fashion. Time to bring in the cavalry then; presently my two traveling companions were recruited unenthusiastically away from the specifics of their own preparatory routine, being deployed either side of my stationary nugget of indifference and, after a brief confrontation in which the three of us directed a few carefully considered profane phrases of blasphemy at my vision of orange petulance, she finally consented to burble reluctantly into life. For an added bonus, Gary and Joe even managed to supplement the delights of a caffeinated head rush with a couple of quick sprints up the road. 'You're very welcome, guys!' And, as an aside, since Gary had recently retired his 100+K Concours for the comforts of the V-Strom, I confess that I caught myself wondering whether that high mileage Kawasaki had - in its' entire existence - conspired to cause quite as much frustration as we had experienced on just this single trip at the hands of you-know-who? No prizes for guessing the answer to that one, I suspect.



Anyway, as I had started to describe - before being predictably sidetracked by the recalcitrance of my mechanized test of character - our current surroundings were certainly astonishing in the context of what I had stereotypically expected to find in this vicinity, and presently the unlikely sight of Osoyoos ratcheted up the desert strange factor a couple of notches further. This arid zone is the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert which extends from Mexico all the way into the southern reaches of Canada. Apparently, it is biologically classified as Canada's only desert because of the unique flora and fauna that call the area home. In particular, enjoying Canada's driest climate, Osoyoos bills itself as Desert Wine Country, and for what it's worth it was named in 1995 as Canada’s prettiest little town. :ymca It has the lowest rainfall, the highest temperatures, and the warmest lakes. Osoyoos is also located in the middle of the Southern Okanagan wine country, where they like to think that their wines match any from France to California. Who'd a thunk it: Canadian wine! What next? Civilized border guards?!



Now that's more like it! Back to the kind of BC I was expecting

Descending into the valley which contains the settlement, the traveler is greeted by a large shimmering lake, at the center of which sits the town itself. The main thoroughfare actually bisects the watery expanse and appears almost as though it sits on a man made construction. I was struck with a distinctly Mediterranean impression as we motored past the lakeside shops and restaurants of the town's center but, almost before we'd left the commercialized section of the settlement, the road began a spectacularly sharp climb up into the mountains to the east, switch-backing its' enthralling way into the upper elevations of the hills. And, did I mention it was still farkin' hot?!



Living dangerously - Precious stopped on some level ground

According to my research, Osoyoos is situated on the east-west Crowsnest Highway with a significant ascent out of the Okanagan Valley in either direction. The eastbound section begins with a 12 mile switchback up the flank of the Okanagan Highland with a 2200ft rise into the mining and ranching region of Anarchist Mountain, which is part of the Boundary Country (the stretch of rising highway is also referred to as Anarchist Mountain). Highway 3 westbound leads to Keremeos and the Similkameen Valley via Richter Pass. Both of these routes (and especially the eastbound stretch) are exceptionally entertaining even in a purely riding sense, but their desirability is significantly enhanced by the stunning views available at many locations thereon. Definitely worth a look if you're ever in the area.



............and the horse you came in on!

Subsequently, heading out of Osoyoos, we headed in a generally easterly direction just north of the U.S. border on Canada's Highway three, passing through Grand Forks, Castlegar and Salmo before closing in on the U.S. border crossing at Porthill, ID. With spectacular roads such as these, it was certainly with a sense of regret in my mind that we were finally leaving Canada. Once we had passed from the arid scenery that characterized the Sonoran Desert, more traditionally imagined vegetation returned and for the last Canadian mileage of our journey, the mountain roads were once again lined by a densely populated compliment of evergreen lumber.



Ultimately, with a cluster of official buildings appearing in the distance, the prospect of another tenuous border crossing approached. However, this being a crossing into the U.S., naturally the whole thing went without a hitch since, apart from a brief period of small talk, where the officials - out of pure curiosity - quizzed us about the details of our trip, all our paperwork was efficiently processed and in a matter of mere moments (especially compared to the bureaucratic
fustercluck that our Canadian cousins are apparently so insistent upon), we were all shortly permitted back over the border into Idaho.



U.S. Border Patrol = Great - didn't even have to get off the bike to have my cavity checked.



Gary +.........well, you know the drill by now.

Douf

Douf screwed with this post 05-21-2009 at 05:56 AM
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:10 PM   #94
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Day 11 (Part 2): Porthill, Id to Choteau, Mt.



'GARY!.....GARY!' For anyone who's interested, I've got plenty more of these with our hero - in classic Madonna fashion - Striking a pose.



'Bite me, you Canadian Mothersuckers' In a final poetic gesture to the border patrol Nazis, Joe mixes half a bottle of primo Tequila into his Gatorade - shot the worm too.



Signs: 2 - Gary: 0. The lad is definitely slipping, down the home stretch.

After the requisite - and by now entirely predictable - period of border area sign photography, our journey into Idaho begin which, although brief, was completed with a minor sense of personal satisfaction, since this became the first occasion on which I had rolled a wheel within the state. Before really getting even the smallest taste of what the state had to offer though, our route soon detoured in Montana, where - after making a quick photographic record of the signage at the state line of course - we began heading in an easterly direction towards the state's Glacier National Park.



Actually he was so taken with the quality of this one that he spent ages paying homage - Joe and I eventually had to drag his reluctant ass away from there.



......and then we rode through Kansas



As our journey neared the westerly entrance to the park at Great Falls, another climatic feature conspired to completely contradict whatever preconceived notion I held about the area. In this case I'm talking about the unbearable heat. Not having set foot in Montana prior to this particular trip, the only appreciation I really had for the area - apart from a vague knowledge of beautiful mountainous scenery and a concerning prevalence of Grizzly Bears (along with a laundry list of other threatening beasties) - revolved around the penchant of our local meteorological experts to wax lyrical over the incredibly cold temperatures, which every winter often appeared to set the performance bar for our national level of icy misery. In absolute contrast though, temperature readings on the high street's bank thermometer in Great Falls were an eye popping 106F! and I caught myself wondering why the hell anyone would even consider living in an area that delivers such brutal extremes (answer: the scenery, maybe?).



I can't remember why, but we took it fairly easy through the park's curves



Even with my less than stellar photography, you get the idea.



Stopping briefly for gas and refreshments, the intense heat was absolutely unbearable, which served to accentuate our collective desire for an expedient refueling exercise in order to execute a quick departure into the surrounding mountains and more importantly their mercifully cooler environment. However, after an exhausting day of (for the majority of the time) riding in similarly sweltering circumstances, there was little physical co-operation to complement whatever thoughts of urgency existed, with the consequently lethargic body language of our group reflecting a sense of apathy more than anything else. ultimately though, even our sloth-like rate of advancement eventually delivered us successfully to the location of Glacier National Park's western entrance and - possibly more importantly for some of our number - the imposing presence of an incredibly nice sign, which definitely seemed to instill a good deal more enthusiasm than the recent gas stop.



More spectacular scenery in the park



Plenty of decent slopes to bump start Precious on too.



Some considerable time later after predictably exhausting a digital darkroom's worth of shot's on the damned sign, a quick lap of the park itself was completed with only three more pictures to show for the entire experience. Well no, not really! In fact for once our progress through the scenic part of the adventure was thankfully at a sufficiently relaxed pace to permit the collection of a considerable amount of snaps (although given my less than painstaking photographic skills, there probably still weren't too many worth committing permanently to the hard drive). In all truthfulness, I'm sure our extensive Glacier Park photo cache was more a reflection of the pedestrian pace dictated by the presence of all the other tourists - along with the inevitably draconian national park speed limits of course.



Unbelievable scenery.........blah, blah, blah



I'm glad they put that bollard there - otherwise I'd have been completely oblivious to the danger.



Anyway, for those reading this that unbelievably aren't familiar with the Park's Going To The Sun Road, it's unquestionably one of the the greatest scenic delights that I've ever experienced - bar none, and the highest praise that I can personally heap upon it - given my intense dislike of trawling along within the claustrophobic confines of any of these overly regulated tourist traps - is that it's one of the few national park roads I would ever consider revisiting (preferably before opening time of course!)



Hey, I finally got a picture of Joe's good side.



More spectacular.....blah, blah, blah



Exiting the park at around dinner time, there was still some traveling to be done, which subsequently - terrain wise - involved a transition from the stunning mountainous terrain of the park to flatter territory as we headed southwest. Descending from the park though, there remained some sporadically interesting routes still to be covered, but ultimately as dusk fell, the presence of the area's livestock consequently had the three of us rethinking our priorities. Ultimately then, as fatigue from the day's efforts combined with one too many close calls with our four legged neighbors, thoughts of mere survival took precedence over any further progress and consequently, spotting a suitable looking lodging facility around the location of Chotaeu, we decided to call it a night.



All this in one park.



Definitely worth a visit, if you were in any doubt.



Douf

Douf screwed with this post 05-23-2009 at 08:45 PM
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:22 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Douf
my thoroughbred princess came to a halt with a defiant shrug, as her rebellious display culminated with a digging in of proverbial heels in a stubbornly insubmissive fashion.


I have definantly had my share of mechanical malfeasance. Fantastic RR. Thanks for taking the time. Back to lurk mode...
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:02 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by staticmouse
[/color]

I have definantly had my share of mechanical malfeasance. Fantastic RR. Thanks for taking the time. Back to lurk mode...
Thanks for reading - and if you're enjoying the maintenance opportunities, you can certainly rest assured that precious throws another tantrum or two before this one's over.

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Old 05-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #97
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If this had been a solo trip, you could have called it "Douf and the art of profane KTM maintence".

I've enjoyed this a great deal and look forward to the next installment.
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:07 PM   #98
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Dude, you have a unique way of saying that your bike has issues! You must have spent your lunch money on English classes.

Nice report - continue on...
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:21 PM   #99
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The process of changing the oil was ridiculous and the starting ritual ...wow ... Still the bike loooks bad ass.

Enjoying the report. Keep it coming.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #100
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If this had been a solo trip, you could have called it "Douf and the art of profane KTM maintence".

I've enjoyed this a great deal and look forward to the next installment.

Well.......maybe that's what I'll call the rest of this tawdry little adventure, as the next installment certainly sends it off in that direction; and obviously with the majority of a cross country journey still to cover, it probably goes without saying that the inherent reliability of my little orange princess, while indeed generating a certain amount of self-contemplation and enlightenment, did not bring about any of this apparent mental renaissance in what I would even remotely consider to be a Zen-like fashion. In fact I'd say my mental state remained about as far from Zen as it's possible to get.


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Old 05-23-2009, 10:23 PM   #101
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Dude, you have a unique way of saying that your bike has issues! You must have spent your lunch money on English classes.

Nice report - continue on...
After calmly explaining to the orange object of my derision for about the 50th time (in a frustrated fit of spanner throwing rage ) what an absolutely ill-conceived, poorly executed, inconsistently manufactured piece of s%^t she appeared to be, it started to get old; and like a mechanically inclined Simon Cowell, unimaginatively trotting out the same tired old phrases of contempt - they started to loose their effect. So if nothing else, I do strive to add some originality to each successive insult.

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Old 05-23-2009, 10:29 PM   #102
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And Then There Was One.

Day 12: Choteau MT - Bondurant WY. (first part)







'Yes sir, we have one in stock
' and with those few words, fate dealt our hands for the remainder of this journey. As I had mentioned previously, Gary's overwhelming desire to return home as quickly as possible had the two Massachusetts area trip attendees on a fast track back to the east coast, courtesy of I-90 east out of Montana and whatever subsequent interstate routes presented the shortest, fastest way back .



On the other hand, I had decided that with five potential travel days still remaining, plenty of mileage was still left in this particular odyssey - both literally and philosophically - and surely more excitement remained than could likely be extracted be merely plonking my reluctant tail unimaginatively on the closest home bound interstate? However, playing a more than significant part in any decision was my back tire and it's tread - or lack thereof - which at this stage, in the absence of a suitable replacement, looked extremely questionable for even - with both fingers tightly crossed and rabbit's foot regularly squeezed - a carefully ridden, relatively forgiving, interstate dominated shortest route home. And as I had mentioned previously, with the KTM requiring (in predictable fashion) a less than readily available 18" rear, my successful procurement of a suitable journey extender was certainly not a foregone conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.



The Lewis And Clark National Forest

So, with all these quite different possible scenarios swimming around in my head, we all awoke and packed at our usual predawn hour (Gary really was in a hurry to get home ), finally pointing our bikes out onto the road in a generally south easterly direction after grabbing from the hotel breakfast buffet what had the potential to be the last communal, hastily consumed, twilight meal of the trip.



.............and, predictably

With the rising of the sun and our transition into the high plains of Eastern Montana, compared to Glacier Parks' endless spectacular vistas, significantly less in the way of visual drama was evident in this mornings' immediate surroundings; although to remind us of our recently concluded Alaskan portion of this adventure, we did manage to become ensnared in the unwelcome clutches of one more construction zone - just for old times' sake. Ultimately though, our route intersected the interstate where - as agreed - I would attempt to call ahead (information once again courtesy of the electronic marvel that is GPS navigation) to a dealership, in the hope of locating a rear tire. If nothing suitable could be located however, my plan B involved limping back eastwards with the other two as far as possible, all the while making subsequent tire sourcing attempts at other significant population center along the route. Fortunately though, after a couple of unsuccessful inquiries, Hi-Tech Motorsports in Billings confirmed that they not only had a suitable tire in stock, but also that it could be mounted while I waited.



Yes, we do love a good construction zone - one more for the road.

And with that small twist of fate, at a couple of exits further eastward, our journey together was brought to a fairly abrupt conclusion. Gary and Joe had both been great traveling companions; up to this stage, we had managed to complete a very ambitious and quite taxing journey without any significant disagreements, which I though was quite an accomplishment in itself. The level of planing that Gary had put into this whole escapade was quite impressive too and I was (and am) extremely grateful for all his efforts - once again: thank you, sir! I must admit, as we stood there exchanging our brief farewells, I wondered if traveling alone would be quite the formality that I was optimistically picturing in my mind, since before this imminent opportunity, the ride up to Rochelle at the start of the trip represented my greatest solo accomplishment to date. (FWIW the 'brief farewell' is supposedly another Ironbutt idiosyncrasy - although in reality I'm sure we dragged ours out a little too long for the ceremony to be categorized faithfully in that light)



Joe - perhaps finally coming to terms with that enigmatic tail pack

So it was then, with a sense of sadness as my friends departed, that I motored indifferently up the from the exit and onto the adjacent access road where - in a short distance - I located the premises of my would-be tire purveyors: High Tech Motorsports.



Not strictly per Ironbutt regulations, but we endeavored to be as brief as possible.

As an aside, - either they must have been in a hell of a hurry or that ride home was even more excruciatingly boring than any of us had imagined, since after taking photos of our I-90 goodbye in the middle of Montana, the next picture in Joe's photo archive shows him standing next to the sign (naturally) at the Rhode Island state line!



'.......and with nothing else to see, I rode straight back home to Rhode Island - The End'



'.......and with nothing else to see, I rode straight back home to Massachusetts - The End'



'..........sorry! Actually I did get a rather excellent picture of the Rhode Island sign when I dropped off Joe'

After checking that a suitable tire was indeed available, I removed the rear wheel from my only remaining traveling companion and rolled it carefully inside, where it was taken away to receive its' new rear boot. Since the normally bright orange paintwork on my steed (along with just about every other visible cycle part) was by this stage cloaked in a thick coating of road grime, I took the opportunity to clean off the worst of it while waiting for the return of my rear wheel (the dealership was nice enough to supply some cleaning necessities for this task).



Pretty sure that wasn't IB approved either - and in case there's any doubt as to my tire requirements: check it

However, since mounting of the tire took longer than my haphazard cleaning attempts, at the conclusion of my impromptu spit and shine endeavors, thoughts turned to the remainder of the trip and the form it would take. Now, if I remember correctly I'd postulated the possibility of this particular plan to Gary and Joe before we'd gone our separate ways but, sat there in the bike shop and looking at the maps, after doing a few quick mileage calculations I made my decision. Concluding that this particular detour wouldn't add an unrealistic distance to an already considerable voyage, I decided that, rather than taking my usual windswept (and incredibly tedious) route back east across I-70 through Kansas, a more poetic end to this trip would take me back towards Georgia via a more southerly route which, despite having the potential to be no more inspiring than the dreaded Kansas wind blast, was at least to me, a less familiar track. The key point to this particular detour however, involved riding south from my current location ultimately to tag the Mexican border somewhere in either New Mexico or Texas. This sudden addition added a renewed impetus to my remaining journey since, in addition to what I thought was a rather excellent way to put an exclamation point on the whole trip, it would give me an opportunity to briefly explore some of, what for me was the currently uncharted territory of New Mexico and Western Texas. Eagerly looking over the maps in anticipation of all the unfamiliar places I was potentially about to visit, it was with a marked sense of impatience that I sat in the shop and waited for my wheel.

Douf

Douf screwed with this post 05-23-2009 at 11:13 PM
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Old 05-24-2009, 08:16 PM   #103
Douf OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoli
The process of changing the oil was ridiculous and the starting ritual ...wow ... Still the bike looks bad ass.

Enjoying the report. Keep it coming.

Sorry for the lack of update today, but precious and I spent some quality time together. Anyway, I thought you may appreciate a shot of the water pump shaft replacement (coolant flush) in progress. Don't worry though it's only required every 10-15K and, if you'd like a detailed explanation of this trivial procedure, check out the rather excellent:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...en#post3738750



....and for fans of her obvious beauty, here are a couple as she normally looks







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Old 05-25-2009, 04:25 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douf

Sorry for the lack of update today, but precious and I spent some quality time together. Anyway, I thought you may appreciate a shot of the water pump shaft replacement (coolant flush) in progress. Don't worry though it's only required every 10-15K and, if you'd like a detailed explanation of this trivial procedure, check out the rather excellent:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...en#post3738750
You've GOT to be shitting me.

I'll NEVER complain again about doing anything to my FJR1300. I read over that entire procedure and that's borderline insane. Hats off to the inmate who wrote that.

I wouldn't have made it past step 2 before getting on the horn to the KTM dealer to schedule a service visit.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:33 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Meltdown
You've GOT to be shitting me.
I'll NEVER complain again about doing anything to my FJR1300. I read over that entire procedure and that's borderline insane.
Actually, he left out my favorite part of the entire procedure (which I'll post when I get to my pdf of the manual at work - otherwise you'll never believe me). When refilling the bike with coolant, KTM calls for the front wheel to be lifted 50cm (approx 20") off the ground. After considering the futility of how to even attempt that, in a moment of rare insight I concluded that it could be quite easily accomplished by just rolling the front wheel up onto a trailer - ought to be about right.

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