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Old 07-10-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
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50 Red Bulls & A Pig on a Rocket

Hello All

Two year mostly lurker here and finally after reading till my eyes bled I got geared up enough to make a trip. Thought I would start contributing some after all I have learned and will start with a ride report.

Late last year I caught the ADV bug and started researching bikes. I rode small dirt bikes as a kid and had a Seca during college that I rode locally, mostly to get the good parking spaces on campuses and to cut costs. I considered and read on just about every bike discussed here, followed the debates closely and finally settled on a Wee....well, actually two. I thought I would get my wife into riding with me and found a set of bikes with low miles (like 2-3k) fully decked with more than I would have ever put on them (pics to come). I flew to Minneapolis late last fall and my brother and I rode them home to Montana missing the 1000K/24hr feat by only a few miles after poor planning. Too bad I didnt get to ride much last fall, snow comes early here in Montana.

Having all winter to think about a trip I was ready to to Key West to Alaska by spring. It seems my zeal was not shared by my wife and what I thought would be a month trip turned quickly into 7 days. Shortly after getting the bikes home in the fall we found out we were expecting, so, no ridey for wifey.

The abbreviated plan then was to do a northwest circuit. We would leave Bozeman and head to Calgary, see Banff, Jasper, and head West to Victoria, south on 101 and back east to MT. No hotels, no real milestones other than being home on a certain day. I would be riding my 2006 Wee and my brother his (dare I say it) Heritage Softail.

Bikes.

There is a whole lot I like about my bike and very little I dont. Probably the case with most of us here, but, I was fortunate to buy this set up for travel. Huge Givi cases, highway pegs on the crash bars, Russel saddle, back support, etc.. Both bikes are set up the same but the faster red one is mine. A couple of things worth noting. First, on the good advice of an inmate here I bought a Garmin 2720 for next to 100$ on ebay. Great device and certainly saved my ass several times. Pure pleasure to use. Also, the tool tube idea is great though I have my tools packed elsewhere so fill the space with other necessities . If you can believe it this full bottle of vodka actually returned with us from the trip....not to say we did not relax after riding.
















Gear.

Spending most of my time wrapped up in some outdoor pursuit I appreciate good gear. Also, with the wealth of info on this forum its pretty easy to find reports, see pics, and settle on a plan. Some will say I took way too much shit, they would probably be right but I can tell you that I used it all and most of it I really appreciated having at one point or another. Here is what I took:




Bourbon in good quantities was packed in sealable bottles. Camping gear, tool bags, clothes, camp towel, lantern, headlamp, camelback bladder, drink mix, mac book air, jet boil for morning coffee, camp chair, and 24 can polar bear cooler. Seems like a lot of shit, but like I said it packed well with room to spare and I used it all. I was surprised to find my brother got like amounts of shit on his harley, of course I carried the grand cache of red bull and other fluids and a few other bits but he had to lug that big motor and all that crome afterall. I couldnt expect him to carry more and his power buffer . Giving Harley guys shit is fun (if you know em well).

Day 1 next. Bozeman to real freakin close to Calgary via a real un-harley like road (we avoided the city).
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:39 PM   #2
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Looks like you're well prepped!

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Old 07-10-2009, 09:12 PM   #3
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Day 1

The first day came and after some last minute preps and family goodbyes Sean and I met in Belgrade for gas. Our plan was to jet out of Montana as fast as possible thinking that we ride here all the time and we wanted to get into new country asap. We would take super slab north to Great Falls and stay on interstate until we got south of Calgary where we would turn strait West and finally get on to seeing some things. I knew there were some provincial parks southwest of Calgary but info I found on the internet was somewhat confusing....so, the plan was to ride and hope we found a good place to camp south of Canmore.

Coffee, Redbull, fresh coat of Gold Bond, ready to go




Planned route for the day. We talked about going through Glacier but given our limited time and ability to get up there over a weekend we decided to bite the bullet and make tracks.



The interstate north through MT is long, and boring. We finially cruised into the border check station and after assuring a nice agent we had no arms and minimal cash, tobacco, and alcohol we spent half an hour with a very grumpy dude in immigration. I never remember having to do this last I was in Canada, but this time we had to park and wait to get checked in.



Back on the road, I guess neither of us had anything in the computer worth denying us access for.



Somewhere south of Calgary I punched in "Kananaskis" into the GPS to head West and avoid the city. I follow directions pretty well and soon we were off the super slab and onto and very nice two lane rural road. Sights were beautiful, passed a rural airport, farms, cruising and looking at looming mountains to take us out of the plains. The ride was looking up, the air cooled down, things seemed perfect.

Then, with little warning we hit gravel. At first, it was packed dirt road and was fine, then gradually it turned into 2-3-4 inch tracks of deep gravel requiring pretty much constant attention to stay rubber side down. You know at some point 5 miles ago it would have made sense to turn around, and, the road might actually get worse. But, having invested the time so far and the scenery getting quite stunning we stuck it out. At one point we stopped to confer and all Sean said was "Were going to call this Wades shortcut". Looking at my GPS I see we have about another 10 miles to get to another road. We were currently on a "pink" road and going to intersect a "red" road so I was hoping that meant back to blacktop. Of course it could have meant the new road would be worse but we cruised on.

Boondocking Harley


Screaming Wee



We found blacktop again and stopped for a RedBull to regroup and pick our next route. We were approached by a couple of dudes heading for a fishing trip that looked back up the road we came down (it turned into quite a grade) and they were pretty amazed we came across it. "You took that road ehhh"....."Jeez, I bet that was aboooot all you wanted, ehhhh"...."Ehhh, you guys arent from around here ehhhh".

Nice mountain two lanes all the way to camp. According to my GPS we were close to Kananaskis and the sun was getting low so we decided to find a place to camp. Almost right away a provincial campground came up with maybe 3 of the 30 spaces filled and right next to a glacial river. Nice. Sean won the competition in setting up his tent so got the first burbon and make sure to do a little whiskey jig while I was finishing my nightly preps.



In total, 500+ miles for the day and one adventure. The area we were camped in was absolutely amazing and I somewhat regret now that we rode through without doing some exploring. Oh well, more to see and tomorrow would bring Banff and more. Dinner of good beef jerky, bourbon, and almonds.

Next post Day 2. Kananaskis to Banff to Revelstoke
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:26 PM   #4
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RedBulls?

I should add to the intro and day one text that Sean and I like the occasional RedBull (really, occasionally) and reminded each other to buy some for our coolers prior to the trip. They are so damn expensive at gas stops it makes some sense to pack them. Turns out we both bought an entire case each since Costco had a sale so we were pretty flush with them until halfway through the trip.

They are great at rest breaks, 4am duck hunting too.

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Old 07-11-2009, 07:46 PM   #5
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Day 2

Day 2 held promise now that we were in the mountains and had quite a bit of two lane to look forward to. The ride through Kananaskis was among the best of the trip, we got out early and saw all of 2-3 cars the entire ride north to Canmore. If I could do any section of this entire trip again it would be this road.

Here is us blasting by:


Kananaskis scenery




Plan for the day


In truth, this map is a reflection of what we ended up doing, not necessarily what we planned. The original plan had us going through Jasper and then southwest but we had seen enough mountains by the time we got through Banff and were ready to head to the ocean. It was a trade off, we either make the ride to Jasper or get extra time on the coast...since were pretty land-locked in MT we decided to go for the coast.

I personally found Banff to be quite beautiful but the town itself seemed to lack character. It was busy, touristy, a bit too commercial. I much prefer those small towns you happen on to traveling that have unique characteristics not found elsewhere. It was good to see, but, I would'nt put it high on my list for a return.

We made it


Some nice sights though...Banff Fairmont Springs




On a search for breakfast....we walked around 6 blocks 5 times to find breakfast that was not coffee and a muffin. We wanted real food this morning.....


One exceptional quality of Banff is the hot springs....worth 7bucks for a shower and soak and fresh gold bond.



Breakfast...check. Hot soak.....check. Fuel.....check. We headed out of Banff and made a quick stop at Lake Louse.



I have to wonder how many times this exact picture has been posted here on ADV. I know when I was planning this trip and searched "Banff" of "Jasper" I saw it quite a few times. Oh well, I'll add to the count. It was pretty, but there were literally 1000's of people there with cameras and again so commercial feeling I would not rank it as an "I'll be back soon". We walked up, took 2 pics, looked at each other and said, "OK, we saw it" and hit the road.

We hit the road not sure how far we would make it before dark but it turned out Revelstoke was it. The KOA is nice enough, we paid for our trampled patch of grass, pitched the tents, and called it a day.

Next post, Revelstoke to Friday Harbor (San Juans) and the first night of poached sleep.

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Old 07-11-2009, 07:55 PM   #6
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Laugh

Looking Good!
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:14 PM   #7
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Day 3

Revelstoke to Friday Harbor

I have mixed feelings about KOAs in general. Here in MT we have the luxury of camping in lots of nice places that usually don't include other people unless by choice. KOAs seem to be the Holiday Inn of camping and are generally WAY too social for me....campsites within farting distance.....lots of noise....etc.. I always marvel at the hordes that drive 15 miles with their 5th wheels to spend a week in this environment, I suppose its what your used to and maybe that connection with civilization is necessary. I'm not criticizing per se, just wondering what about that experience is so redeeming.

That said, KOAs certainly have their place for camping on trips like these. Riding till dark and needing to find a quick safe place to sleep is worth the lack of isolation. More planning and knowing the country better could probably circumvent this, but spontaneity would suffer too. Also, there is no doubt that showers are an added benefit.

Anyway, we woke on Day 3 ready for more riding. I had no idea what the country ahead looked like and found out we quickly left the mountains and cool air and entered hot, dry foothills. It got hot too, at least for me.

We rode most of the day through scorching sage brush type country and stopped midday at a park to rest and cool off.


A couple things to note about this pic. First, the camp chairs were quite handy the entire trip and it was nice to set them up in the shade and relax for a while. These chairs were reviewed and recommended here on ADV:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...ighlight=chair

The chairs were fairly cheap, I think 35$ or so and we used them heavily. I plan on buying 2 more for family use.

Second, the PolarBear cooler was great. Not only did we pack plenty of fluids, but as the ice melted we had a ready supply of ice water to soak bandannas in and wrap around our necks. I found the 24 can size fit quite well behind me since I was riding single. This was another item recommended here on ADV and was well worth the price.

Last, on a recent business trip I was cruising through the Minneapolis airport and walked through Brookstone. They had this very thin travel speaker that hooks to an ipod and looked just the ticket for traveling. Packs very small, sounds good, and uses 3AAA batteries that last 3-4 days for frequent use. We made use of it many times to groove to some tunes setting up camp or chilling.



We screwed around long enough in Kamloops and decided it was time to hit the road. We found hwy 1 and had to turn around to get a picture of Jackass Mtn Summit. I thought it was fitting that the jackass on the Harley was in this pic.


The ride kept getting hotter. It was so tempting to shed some gear, but I stayed ATGATT and just kept stopping to dip ice water out of the cooler.


We road for several hours and decided to stop and have a late lunch and figure out a plan for when to stop. The place had some good bar food and shortly after stopping we noticed that a bunch of bikers were showing up, likely after a poker ride or some such. By the time we left my Wee was surrounded by Harleys so I had to give the ADV solute.


Looking at the maps, we made a rash decision to try to make the last ferry at Anacortes WA. This would mean going back trough the border to the US at Sumas and we were currently in Chilliwack. We would have 85 miles to go, a border crossing, and who knows what else to get on the last ferry.

We rode like hell and made it with 10 minutes to spare. The lady at the booth asked me where we were headed....I replied "Where can we go". Since there are a number of routes this particular ferry was only going to Friday Harbor and no other islands nor Sydney. So, Friday Harbor we come. Good thing they let bikes on first so we paid and rode to the head of the line. Never having taken a bike on a ferry it was an interesting experience.



The ferry ride was very nice, about an hour. Cool sea air and a spectacular sunset. Our anticipation was peaking as we passed islands and came to Friday Harbor.


By the time we unloaded there was not much light left and the island was packed wall-to-wall with people there to watch 4th of July fireworks. Downtown was crazy. Fortunately we met another biker on the ferry that let us follow him to near a county campground although he was a bit dubious that we would find camping on the holiday this late in the evening. He offered to let us pitch tents in his yard if we couldn't find camping and gave us OK directions the we both must have missed critical parts.

We rode to the county campground and spoke with a very stern lady that assured us that we were out of luck and the island was patrolled heavily for people trying to "poach" camping by pulling off in parks or other areas. We left without a clue as to where we would stay the night and could not find the nice dudes house that offered his yard.

We rode to town and had a beer and crabcake to consider out situation. Then, I recalled a fire station on the back road to the campground and suggested we ride back and dive behind out of sight to stay the night. Of course stealth camping is a bit easier without the 3 mile rumble of Harley pipes, but as it turned out we made it and no one was the wiser. We found the place and rolled out sleeping bags behind it with no tents in case we did get rousted in the night by the law.

Sean had 100% DEET left over from a South America trip that we liberally applied before turning in.

PIcs of campsite in the morning...not much but at least we were rested.



Next post, Friday Harbor to Victoria
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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Day 4

Friday Harbor to Victoria

Our "poached" camping spot worked out pretty well and the DEET did a good job keeping the nasties away. Not wanting to hang around any longer than necessary, we rolled up our sleeping bags and pads (did I say how much I like the OR Exped Downmat?), packed up and looked for a place to have some morning coffee. Down and road a bit was the Lime Kiln Point State Park that was deserted at that time of day. We unpacked the JetBoil and headed down the trail to find a spot for coffee and a powerbar and watch the ocean for a bit.


What a great place to have some morning joe. We sat on a table there and wated sea otters, porposes, and boats cruise by at low tide. Down below there were some very cool tidepools with plenty of critters not found in Montana. You can barely see it, but the big starfish on the left had a mussell that was about to meet Jesus.


We rode back into town to check on the ferry schedule and see when we could head over to B.C. via Sidney. It would be afternoon, so we had time to ride the island during the daylight and hang out in town for a bit. We took the loop around San Juan Island and found the ride to be quite pleasant. Canopies of trees, parks, ocean views mixed with small farms. We rounded one bend and standing there was an honest-to-goodness camel. No, not a alpaca or other spitting beast, but a real 2-toed camel. Sorry no pics, just a hand wave from Sean saying "Did you see that!". Around the next corner we passed a sight not to be missed and deserving of some mention on a ride report title.

A PIG ON A ROCKET


We should have rode up and asked the owner about some history here. I mean, who would put a pig on a rocket? Does he like pigs or not? At least the pig was patriotic and had an ego with those cool shades. We didnt see any other pigs around nor smelled any real ones so it remains a mystery why this pig was staged so.

Heading back into town we were pleased to find Friday Harbor was motorcycle friendly. Riding around several blocks looking for a parking space (on steep hills) we spied "motorcycle only" parking and took advantage of a central spot.


Walking up the street, we had a great pancake breakfast at the firehouse and spied a DeLorean fixed up with a "flux capacitor"......the island was full of colorful people and it would have been interesting to meet the owner.


One of the coolest things about a port town is walking the docks and checking out the boats......all the way from fishing trawlers that look barely seaworthy to yaghts so posh you have to wonder where people get all that $. We found a sign pic worthy down at a seafood vendor:


Last stop waiting for our ferry was crabcakes at Firdays Crabhouse. This deserves a bit of explaining.....I had been hearing of nigh on 1000 miles how good these crabcakes are. Seems Sean had been here years ago and spent the better part of a day drinking beer and eating crabcakes and he swore they were the best anywhere. We ordered a pitcher, some oysters off the BBQ, and some crabcakes to test whether time would change his impression. They did not disappoint and I would have to agree that Fridays crabcakes are the best I have had. Sorry no pics.




Heading to Victoria today


We boarded the ferry heading for B.C. and got comfortable on the front deck for a 90 minute ride.


Another Harley was on board with an appropriate sticker.


Who needs to spend 100$ on a whale watching tour when you can see them from the ferry!




We got into Sidney and headed for the KOA slightly northwest of Victoria. We checked in, pitched tents, had a swim in their pool, and decided to head into Victoria to check out the night life. Having not ridden all that far this day we were ready to take in the city and wanted mostly to check out the freaks and weirdos that frequent the harbor area. Turns out we were too late and most of the freaks had gone to bed , but there were some buskers about playing good bluegrass and jazz so all was not lost. We took in the sights including the Fairmont Empress:




......and finially found ourselves at a really wacko bar called "Big Bad Johns" in the Strathcoma Hotel. Seems this place is themed "The Original Hillbilly Bar" and is plastered inside with crazy stuff, panties, bras, and they play lots of old country music (which was OK by me). Most of the patrons were young hipsters that appeared quite out of place but having a good time playing Hillbilly for a night.

Here is a pic from their website showing some of the inside (mine didnt turn out).


And Sean walking out when we coulnt stand it anymore, I'm either getting to old for "theme" bars or just was not grooving that night because the place was a bit over the top....



We saddled up and headed back to the KOA for the night.

Next post Victoria to Port Angeles and as far down 101 as we could get.

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Old 07-14-2009, 10:42 AM   #9
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Day 5

Today were heading from Victoria to Port Angeles and as far down 101 as we make it to dark.


We struck camp and with Ipods charged we headed back to Victoria to assess the ferry schedule. Turns out was had to wait until 3pm to board so we had most of the day to hang out in Victoria. Having seen what we wanted to the night before, we had breadfast and walked around a while prior to heading back to the ferry and waiting with the bikes. There were about 7 bikes waiting to board, among them was a fellow ADV'er (John I think from Ottowa?....post up if you find this) riding a nice Beemer and going solo after his ride partners had some mechanical issues along the way. This ferry was a bit smaller and required the bikes to be tied to railings once boarded.

On the way out of the harbor we saw a sign for the "Home of Canada's Pacific Naval Fleet" and looked anxiously for some imposing war ships of our warlike northern friends .


We rounded the corner and caught sight of their flagship. Now I'm not one to judge, but if I was a voting Canadian I would elect to update the military a bit (although I bet one of those 8 pounders could take out a marauding shrimp boat) .


No offense meant to Canadians, just having some fun. In truth, we found all of the Canadians we met on our trip to be friendly to a fault. The night we camped in Victoria our neighbors wouldnt hear of not feeding us from their BBQ and prior to that I had one gentleman spent 30 minutes trying to make sure we could get to where we were going. I asked him for some simple directions and he pulled out 3 different books of maps, went into a store to get their phone book, and made quite sure we were set before he left.



We arrived at Port Angeles found 101 and headed south arriving in Forks WA to slight drizzle and looking for food. We stopped, ate, and by the time we were done the rain was going full bore. A hotel room was looking like a good idea so we walked to the two hotels that were close and checked for availability. The first had nothing left except for themed rooms from the books and movie "Twilight". Now Sean and I had heard of Twilight, but I suppose unless your a 13 year old girl a Twilight theme room is not high on your list. Seems the vampire series is set in this town so there was quite a bit of advertising around.

The next hotel had a room and the price was right so we gave up camping for one night and slept inside.

Next post Forks to Spokane
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:42 AM   #10
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Day 6

Forks WA to Spokane



Today would be a long day as we needed to make up some time and head east. The ride down 101 was great, as many of you know twisty 2 lane that paralles the ocean much of the way. We actually intend to do all of 101 at some point, but it may be like the TAT in that we have to do it in parts.

Sean earned the name "tinkerbell" on this ride because he has a bell on his right footpeg that chimes when he is cornering too sharply and alerts him when he's about to throw sparks. Several times riding behind him I could hear tinkerbell going off despite having my helmet on and AD/DC going full bore through my helmet speakers. I wish we would have had more days just to do this road.





We soon passed a sign that advertised the largest Spruce tree in the world. Now I ask you, would you turn to look at such a tree? I mean, its not the largest ball of twine (that would be something) but the largest of ANYTHING in the world is worth a look. It was a hell of a tree!


Later down the road we found a cool waterfall that was flowing pretty good with the recent and constant rain. Why does standing next to a waterfall always make you need to pee?


Tree looking builds a powerful hunger and we found a very cool small diner/store in the small town of Quinault. They were out of buscuits but offered to pour sausage gravy over hash browns which was one hell of an idea. Sean said, "Throw an egg on there too...". Damn, best meal of the trip.


I might just ride strait back there for that breakfast again.


The only real problem with this place is that their RedBulls are made for Hobbitts or Leprechauns that inhabit the rainforrest.



But, the place had character and great signs....here are a couple....





We reluctantly left town and got back on 101 heading south in the rain. Both of our gear held up pretty well, although a better pair of waterproof boots appears to be in my future.


We would soon be leaving the coast heading east so we needed a couple of ocean pics.



We pulled off in another spot and I had a powerful urge to ride on the beach with my 2000# fully loaded (mostly) street bike. Wade: "Do you think I can make it out to that point"....Sean: "You don't have a hair on your a** if you dont ride out there.." Wade: "Are you daring me"...Sean "I've seen 10 year old girls ride bigger bikes on worse conditions".


Could you stand up to those kinds of threats to your manhood? Sean gave me one more "Sissy" before I hit the throttle.



It was an ominous sign when I see seagulls and buzzards overhead, my front tire started digging in and more throttle was not working. Seems my fully loaded Wee will never be a good "beach bike".







Getting back on the road we passed this sign and had to turn around and capture it for posterity. How many jokes can you make out of this?



Running out of time we headed east, took our lives in our hands getting on the interstate south of Seattle as 6 lanes of traffic got backed up, and settled in for long miles back across Wasington. Fueling up Sean left is favorite gloves on a gas pump as we road off. Upon backtracking a nice couple pointed the gloves out to another dude on a motorcycle who gladly claimed them as his .

After covering most of the miles from 101 to Spokane we needed a break and Hobbit RedBulls would not suffice. We ran out of stock some time ago and had to go back to the well.



About 20 miles from Spokane with the sun setting we followed signs for camping and found a good spot next to a lake. We rode up to the office, got a bag of ice for evening cocktails, and paid the owner for the campsite. We set up our last camp among quacking ducks, Eagles music from campers next door, and DEET addled mosquitoes.



Next post Spokane to Bozeman (Home)

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:06 AM   #11
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Last Day: Spokane to Bozeman

What a great trip. We got up and had jetboil coffee for the last time on this trip and felt certain trepedation that our trip was ending. I think one of the best ways to capture the fun of traveling by scooter and trips such as these is that they are very intense. By intense I mean the number and quality of experiences had while riding seem so much greater than other forms of travel.

We hit the interstate anticipating getting home by late afternoon. Only one stop of significance on the long slab towards Bozeman......Lincolns Silver Dollar Bar/Casion/Tourist trap in Haugan MT. Driving this road with the family I have passed this place many times and always thought about stopping but never did. This time we stopped to check it out and it turned out to be worth the time. They have over 50,000 silver dollars tacked to the wall of this place.....pretty interesting to see.


For 1$, you can get your own silver dollar tacked on the wall along with your name and other text (limited). So, for posterity, Sean and I bought 2 spaces and memorialized our trip for as long as this place stands. They write out a postcard of your text and give you numbers so you can look them up later. Our silver dollar numbers are 54,188 and 54, 189 was titled "Hill Tour '09-50 Red Bull-Pig on Rocket".


Planning our next trip and the ride reports here will prove valuable as always, thanks for reading .
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50 Red Bulls and a Pig on a Rocket
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:45 AM   #12
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defense of twin riders

Now as my brother and I are riding on this adventure it gave way to making a person ponder the finer things in life. Mostly around riding and who does what, where, when, on what, and for how many cookies. Yes, I as well have been a lurker here for some time and have read many times over the issues between Harley riders and ADV riders.
Can't we all just get along?

Now as I have read, our ride is somewhat weak in regards to length but working stiffs only have so much time off and wifes/ girlfriends expect some of it to be spent with them..... Dont know why?? What started out as a 12 day trip, quickly turned into 61/2...

Advice to be found is within this site concerning gear. Read and study gear and for god's sake spend the money for good stuff. UnderArmour is expensive for a reason... its that good. The Exped mat is that good, jetboils are that good..... and the best thing a rider can have? Gold Bonds Powder, can make a hot day riding in hell, less annoying Thriftyness also has its advantages tho, a 19 bucker tripod from walmart was worth its small size, expanded to 48" and allowed both of us to be in more pics... and the new HD cameras... WOW

Till next time around... watch for the movie to be out soon...
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Old 07-20-2009, 03:16 PM   #13
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I think the pig on a rocket might have something to do with the Pig War between the US and Canada back in 1859.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War

Good RR..

Thanks
Mike
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:54 PM   #14
MTDuke OP
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Mobi,

Great observation. I bet your right......actually we stopped at a park that explained this a bit but I didn't think about it until your post.
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