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Old 07-01-2009, 05:11 PM   #151
Fireman1000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grad
Chad - Flip flops and motorcycle boots are all one needs in life.
Amen!
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:44 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by CRSpeedy

One question for Val: My girlfriend and I would love to do a similar (although shorter) trip in the future, but I worry about how enjoyable it will be for her to ride on the back for extended lengths of time. Do you have any tips / suggestions you've picked up along the way for keeping the ride enjoyable and entertaining? We both got a good laugh out of the photo of you working on a crossword puzzle in California. Have you had any problems with your back getting sore?
I'm a happy (female) passenger on long trips, and I will just add to what Grad said.
-We have an ipod for music, and we almost always try to take a scenic route instead of boring interstate. I really enjoy the scenery along the way, and I can listen to music as we ride.
-A backrest is really important. It will add greatly to the passenger's comfort and security. (I also do back exercises/pilates every morning before we get on the bike, to stretch out my back muscles).
-I get one of the side cases for my stuff, but it all has to fit in there. We have Micatech cases, so it's not that difficult to fit everything in.
-I do most of the trip planning for our trips, figuring out the route, possible stops, and interesting places to see. I think that makes the trip better for me, because I've invested time into making it an interesting trip.
-There are a lot of travel-worthy clothes that are available, so you don't have to feel like all you have to wear (off the bike) is your riding gear!

P.S. Grad -- great pictures and trip report!
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:39 PM   #153
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Greg- I'm riding solo after Val flies out of Denver. Working my way down through Oklahoma to New Orleans.


Day 26 - 15 miles in Stanley, ID

When you are on the road for as long as we have been, you need some time to reset and take a break from the saddle. Today was one of those days, and it was very nice.

Once again we had perfect weather...after sleeping until 10 we opened the door to be greeted by brilliant sunshine and temps in the high 60s.



We had no agenda for the day, no place we needed to be, and no mileage that needed to be satisfied. First: breakfast. A trip across the parking lot to the store took care of that, with a box of cereal, milk and coffee rounding out our breakfast necessities. Afterwards we sat down next to the river, enjoying the sound and cool breeze rolling off of it. This little fella came over and said "hi" to us.




We finally decided to go do some horseback riding. It would be a fun and natural way to enjoy the superb natural surroundings of the area, though it probably wasn't the best way to rest our butts.

The two hours of riding were a lot of fun, it was a leisurely ride up some trails and onto a crest where we could really take in the Sawtooth Mountains. The horses were quite tame but had their quirks. Val had the "special" horse named Elmer that never really had much of a clue about what was going on. My horse, "Gypsy," had a bit of flatulence that was terribly pronounced when at a trot or gallop. Val thought it was very funny, except when she was downwind.

Here are some shots from our time on the trails:















After our adventures on the trail, we headed back to the cabin to sit on the porch. Val picked up a book and I did a few work-related things and then did a little reading of my own. Across the river and on the hillside, there was a herd of elk grazing in the green grass. There's nothing like sitting outside and sipping a beer, so I continued by tradition of purchasing unknown, local brews...going with Moose Drool out of Montana. We still haven't seen a moose, so maybe this will bring us luck (as long as it isn't in the road immediately in front of our path.





For those that haven't read Ghost Rider and enjoy motorcycle travel, it should be on your short list. It is the story of Neil Peart (the drummer and lyricist of the band Rush) and the epic ride he goes on after his wife and daughter unexpectedly passed away. It is very well written (as you would expect from a lyricist) and really makes you want to go out and explore. I hadn't picked it up since the long flight back from Australia, back when I had no sense about what this trip would be like and the places I would see. It was really ironic to start back in on the book when Neil was crossing through Oregon, riding the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway, and heading through Boise into the Sawtooth Mountains (and staying in Sky Valley, which is just down the road from Stanley). It's funny because I feel even more connected with this book now that I have ridden the same roads and seen the same things.

Considering I started drinking beer at 4:00 in the afternoon, we had some limited options for dinner. Obviously we couldn't ride anywhere, and we had already eaten at the place across the street. Solution? Over to Jerry's Store for hot dogs and marshmallows.


We once again watched a beautiful sunset, and of course I had to take some photos. These are the same mountains from yesterday, but I cropped things a bit differently for today's pic.



And here's one with the moon up over the mountains. A bit noisy, but a 15 second exposure with the little sensor on the G7 is asking a lot



Tomorrow we will head out for Idaho Falls to stay with an old friend from Easttnriders. I should have a new rear tire waiting for me, plus I am going to change the oil and check the valves.

Grad screwed with this post 07-01-2009 at 10:15 PM
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:15 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by Grad
Airdrive - Just checked the gas station across the parking lot and they didn't have it. I will keep my eyes peeled for it though!
Obviously a second rate gas station, if they didn't carry St. Chapelle Johannisberg Riesling from the world renown wine country of Caldwell, Idaho! I certainly wouldn't trust the gasoline they sell.

Incredible pictures, well written.
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Old 07-02-2009, 03:14 AM   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grad
Greg- I'm riding solo after Val flies out of Denver. Working my way down through Oklahoma to New Orleans.
thanks for the reply
wish i had the time to meet you there and ride back
be safe
we'll look forward to your posts during that "phase" of your adventure

be safe, please
thanks, once again, for this terrific thread
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:34 AM   #156
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Moose drool is some good stuff mate! Great ride report so far, loving it. Hope you get into Montana and enjoy it! If you swing past Bozeman, MT, drop in and some of us bozeman-ites would be happy to buy you and your wife a beer, or three. :)
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Old 07-02-2009, 05:13 PM   #157
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can't wait for the next post
thanks for taking us along on your journey
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:38 PM   #158
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Day 27 - 217 miles to Idaho Falls, ID

We weren't in a real hurry this morning because we didn't need to be in Idaho Falls until late in the afternoon. So, we slept late, ate some breakfast on the porch, then lazily packed up the bike in anticipation of our ride out of the mountains. We were sad to say goodbye to Stanley...it is such a beautiful and relaxing place. But we still have a lot of incredible things to see, so it was time to move on.

Down the road and away from our cabin we rode


The beginning of our day included some gorgeous riding and scenery






and the curves were a lot of fun


We stopped in Ketchum for lunch. This is a cool little town, but a little trendy. Still, our lunch was quite good and we liked all of the shops and surroundings.


We ate at the Burger Grill, which was quite nice. I had a cheeseburger with sauteed onions and au jus on the side, while Val went with a lobster bisque and a turkey avocado sandwich.


Not long out of Ketchum, the mountains got a little smaller and the road got a little straighter


Soon we were stopped for our first of two lengthy delays today. For some ridiculous reason, when they chip seal the roads in Idaho they have a pilot car lead everyone back and forth. The kicker is, they might be chip sealing a spot in the road, but then they have 2 miles of open road on either side of the crew, with the cars lining up outside of this radius. So you end up sitting on the side of the road FOREVER while the pilot car leads a line of cars for 4 miles while the road crews are chip sealing about 100 yards of the roadway. It made absolutely no sense to us, and it was really pissing off everybody else in these lines.


We got moving again, coming upon the Craters of the Moon National Monument. This is a massive lava field, formed from fissures in the earth's surface. The last eruption was 2000 years ago, but apparently it is due for another one at any time. You can see the black lava piling up to the right of the road. This is totally natural, even though it looks like a dump truck just dropped a load of rocks off to the shoulder.


A closeup of the lava rocks


A storm was brewing, so we headed on


But then we were stopped for our second very lengthy delay. You can see the storm is catching up to us.


It did make for a nice contrast to the desert flowers


Finally we make it through the chip sealing from hell, and meet up with Steve who leads us on in to his place in Idaho Falls.


Steve and Alison have a very nice place on a hillside, overlooking the desert and mountains. To respect their privacy, I won't post a lot of pics, but I can tell you that Steve has some VERY nice toys of the motorized variety.


We got to work right away. I drained the oil and changed the filter, then pulled off the rear wheel


This was the first time I have seen a No Mar tire changer in action, and I was impressed.


We weren't able to balance it because of the less than standard design of the GS wheel, so we will take it in to a car tire shop tomorrow to get it balanced. After getting the tire mounted, we headed off to a great dinner. Steve is a nuclear engineer, so it was fascinating to hear some of the stories about the projects he has or is working on.

Tomorrow I am going to wake up early and check the valves, although I suspect they are just fine because the bike has been running very smoothly. After the tire is balanced, I'll fill it up with oil and we are off to Yellowstone!
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:59 PM   #159
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Day 28 - 170 miles to Yellowstone

Today was a great day. I woke up pretty early and pulled the valve covers, checking the clearances and confirming that they are indeed still in spec (they haven't needed adjustment for 24,000 miles now). After buttoning her back up, we took the rear tire down to a local car tire place to get it balanced. At first they wouldn't do it, but I convinced them to give it a try and they were pretty surprised to find that the rim fits perfectly on a Hunter balancing machine (used to balance car tires after mounting). The guy didn't even charge me, so that was a good start to the day. After a quick resupply at Wally World, Steve drove me back to his house. A huge thanks to Steve and Melissa for all of the help and hospitality. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with you guys!

Soon we were packed up and ready to hit the road. It would be a short drive up to Yellowstone, so we decided to explore a more scenic route recommended to us by Steve.

On the way north, we caught a glimpse of the western side of the Tetons. Tomorrow we will be checking out the eastern side.


We picked up a little side road out of Ashton. It was nice and twisty with some very pretty views


Soon we were at Upper Mesa Falls, a beautiful 116 foot high waterfall


Getting back on the road towards Yellowstone, we found the skies darkening ahead. That is the only problem with this area of the country, it seems like it storms virtually every day. We found this out the hard way a bit later on


With storms strafing the valley and lighting hitting the mountain tops, we pulled off for some gas and a break to let things clear up.


The skies started to show a bit of blue again, so we motored on towards Yellowstone


A short while later, we crossed into our 16th state of the tour


We were catching up to the storm, but fortunately our campsite was just up the road


With our home away from home set up, we decided to go check out Old Faithful. It was 4 in the afternoon at this point, but it gets dark so late here that we still had another 5 hours of daylight


A few miles later and we were entering Yellowstone


Within a few miles we spotted a big bald eagle, sitting above his nest. This picture isn't very good, but the eagle was a really cool welcome to the park


Elk were everywhere




We both really like Yellowstone. Even though it was a Friday afternoon, traffic was relatively light and we did not get held up much at all


This is a big park. From our campsite it was 38 miles, one way, to get to Old Faithful


We saw a LOT of fly fishermen during our ride


There are geothermal features throughout the park, and on this cool day the steam emanating from them was quite pronounced


We finally arrived at Old Faithful. There were a few people there


Old Faithful erupts every hour to hour and a half, so we were lucky that we only had to wait 10 minutes or so. The overcast skies made it very difficult to photograph the white steam and water coming from the geyser. This was the best I could do.


After the eruption, we did the necessary tourist stuff at the gift shop and then started back towards our campsite. The geothermals were really steaming at this point


And we saw the bison for the first time. They appear to be shedding their winter coats


In this photo, you can see the darkening skies up ahead. This would be our last shot of the ride, because shortly after it was taken the skies opened up on us. We had left our pants liners at the tent, so we got pretty cold, pretty fast. Thank God we only had 15 miles to go at this point.


Finally, here is yours truly spending entirely too much money on a hotel room in Jackson Hole tomorrow evening. That's ok though, because after a long day of exploring Yellowstone and the Tetons, we will fully embrace a hot shower and nice bed.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:25 AM   #160
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another wonderful installation
thanks
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:07 AM   #161
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great pictures of a beautiful area. The only thing I've ever found bad about Yellowstone is putting up with the terrible driving and consideration of the tourist. Love the Tetons. So amazing just sticking out like that.
Thanks for taking us along with you. Keep it coming.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:52 PM   #162
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Looks like you missed the other half of Stanley. Upper Stanley has a couple of good restaraunts and really good pizza. Was up there for a week camping just few days before you. You have passed through our fine area during a span of strange weather. Wettest in years. Ride safe on the rest of your journey, following it daily.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:23 PM   #163
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Day 29 - 160 miles to Jackson Hole, WY

I was awake at 6:00 this morning, listening to a variety of birds welcome the rising sun. Due to yesterday's rains, there was a low bank of fog that had settled upon the area. Everything outside of the tent was wet, but fortunately we had packed most of our gear inside the tent vestibule.

We were heading down the road a little while later, crossing into Wyoming as soon as we entered the park. I was expecting a large crowd on this holiday weekend, but we had the place almost to ourselves. Yep, it was shocking because all you hear about is how bad the traffic is in Yellowstone. The roads were virtually clear for us the entire day.



The bald eagle from the previous day was still perched high in a tree, surveying his domain


The scenery in Yellowstone is varied and stunning. This early in the morning, there was a lot of low lying fog near the bodies of water


This bull elk was absolutely enormous.


Here are a few more shots of the natural beauty of Yellowstone








We stopped at the Mud Volcanoes section of the park, where muddy geothermals release hot sulfur into the air






Lake Yellowstone was particularly stunning








It was a perfect place to eat some lunch


After some grub, we were once again heading through the park


The skies began to darken and we thought that it was going to be a repeat of the previous day. Fortunately we stayed dry as we exited Yellowstone


A short while later we were in Grand Tetons National Park. These mountains were absolutely spectacular


Probably my favorite mountain range, so far


Many of them were shrouded by rain clouds, giving them an ominous feel


The road put us very close to them, adding to their grandeur


We got within 20 miles of Jackson Hole and the skies started getting very dark and brooding. Lightning was striking just to the east of the road, and there was not much protection available. I checked the GPS and found a road that eased away from the storm clouds. It ended up taking us right into Jackson Hole, but not before turning into a muddy unpaved surface for many miles.


It did meander through some pretty countryside


A little bit later we found ourselves in downtown Jackson Hole. We spent more on this hotel than at any other point in our trip, but we wanted to enjoy the 4th of July and explore Jackson Hole. We were within 2 blocks of the main square, and the fireworks were launched off the mountain just above the sign.


Jackson Hole is a cool, if a bit spendy, town.


That's a lot of antlers!


Val enjoyed the shopping


After a good dinner at the Silver Dollar Saloon, we enjoyed some fireworks from the motel parking lot while sipping some Teton Ale (a local brew, of course). We hung out with some Harley guys that are also staying at the hotel. They were friendly and we shared a lot of stories, but they definitely were trying to convince me that a Harley is what I need. I just told them that I want a garage full of bikes.


It was a great day and a hell of a way to spend the 4th of July. Tomorrow we will sleep late and then start making our way south, perhaps to the Flaming Gorge area.
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:33 AM   #164
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We hung out with some Harley guys that are also staying at the hotel. They were friendly and we shared a lot of stories, but they definitely were trying to convince me that a Harley is what I need. I just told them that I want a garage full of bikes.

Did you tell them about the neat shortcut to Yellowstone?
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I wonder where that road goes?
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Old 07-05-2009, 05:18 AM   #165
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Awesome RR anf Pics.... One of the best !
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