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Old 10-05-2010, 11:10 AM   #16
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Day 8 (Las Vegas, NV > Marina, CA)

Day 8
Las Vegas > Pacific!

I knew I should have walked home earlier last night as my Las Vegas exploration gave me much less time to rest at the Motel. After 4 ½ hours of sleep, I repacked the bike and set off into the dawn.

Leaving Las Vegas, I made sure to take the obligatory picture of the sign but had a hell of a time with the lighting etc.


Cresting over the hill to Lake Meade, the colors of the desert offset the blues and oranges of the morning sunrise making for some wonderful photos.


I rode over Hoover Dam, took some photos of the engineering marvel considering the many workers who died in its construction.






A boat was sitting here near the entrance.




Backtracking through Las Vegas, I chose to forego the two hour detour to Death Valley in favor of a more direct route to the Pacific through the Mojave Desert, the Golden Hills and fruit country.







The temps warmed but remained mild in the 80’s the entire trip across California.

This large solar array out in the desert near Edwards AFB


Wind Turbines spinning high heading into the Golden Hills


Hello ME



And into the Golden Hills


Absoloutely stunning environment!


I saw my first Dust Devil! They are hard to photograph without a background...




The smells of the hills and grass changed as I rode into the heavily irrigated fruit growing lands around Bakersfield. Almonds, apples, peaches and Strawberries lined the roadside as far as the eye could see. Migrant workers labored under umbrellas, their vans and pick up trucks lining the roadside.




Flower Plantations




Large trucks loaded with produce crates or filled with heaping loads of raw almonds scattered to and fro slowly down the highway.


They were only slightly faster than the flatbed trailers hauling port-johns to the worksites. Miles of farms and irrigation canals blended into the wine-growing lands of rustic wineries and rolling hills.



The multitude of romantic sounding cellars and silver streamers glimmering in the warm breeze made me wish for a convertible and a penchant for wine tasting, neither of which I possessed.




This hill appears to be shaded by a cloud but is actually recieving full sun. The various darker planted crops provide the illusion.


Moving on, I turn on Hwy 46, excited that this road will take me to the big sea, my goal, The Pacific Ocean. I will forever remember the time I first laid eyes on the Pacific Ocean. Its fogs rolling on to the coast while the temperature dropped 20 degrees from the inland warmth.


With a slight chill, I descend to the sea and point north on California 1 for Big Sur and points unknown. The sea to my left, I have finally made it.


At the first opportunity, I turn in to a beach access, park the bike, and walk to the waters edge.


I MADE IT!!!


Stepping on the wet sand and letting the crashing waves wash over my boots, I soak in the rich sea smells and touch the salty water.


Ahhh…the sea.




Returning to the bike, I add a wool layer and put on heavier gloves then take of north. I thick fogs make enjoying the view difficult but its density comes and goes, rolling like the rises and falls of the coastal road.



Passing Hearst Castle, I stop to view the Elephant Seals on the beach and chat with another V-Strom owner. He gives me advice on places to see up North of San Francisco and reports of a beautiful campsite in a Redwood grove up the Russian River. He asks where I am going. To this, I reply fondly “I don’t know”.






The views are breathtaking and I stop often for pictures.




Kites along the beach.




I meet an Israeli couple who take my picture with a beautiful concrete bridge poking through the fog bathed in warm sunlight.
\

I take theirs in turn and then, as a gesture of international kindness, give away two of my prized Fruita, UT peaches. What goes around comes around.

New Wallpaper




Passing through Big Sur, I see my first Redwood trees riding through the enveloping lush forests. The campgrounds at every state park have “FULL” written in bold letters on their entrance signboards. This guy doesn't hassle me but sure makes me nervous...





The sinking sun at Bixby Canyon Bridge makes for some great photos. I am a big fan of Jack Kerouac’s writings and his novel Big Sur is one of my favorites. I made a point to ascend the dusty gravel ridge up behind the bridge but the lack of time and daylight kept me from exploring down to the private property at its base.


I notice a surfer on the beach below playing catch with his dog on the sandy shore and wonder what it would be like to relax and live here.


As I continue north toward Monterey, the road twists along the rocky cliffs then becomes more urban and eventually a freeway after passing Carmel.

Now this signs a first!


I grow weary of finding a cheap place to camp. Soon, on my right, I spy the concrete depot and loading dock remnants of an Army base through gaps in the rusted chain fence. Exiting at Imgin Rd, I ride through the soft sandy roads of a construction site and begin looking for a place to camp. I park under some trees and scope out the area. There are large construction drainage tubes, 9 feet in diameter lying side by side. The bike rolls in with ease and I stop the engine and put down the kick stand. What a neat little spot!


Little did I know it was actually a time-warp portal!


Just kidding

This will be my home for the night and the price is right. Using the last of my propane fuel, I make rice and tuna while researching the area on my phone. I am camped in a tube at the former site of U.S. Army Fort Ord, an active training base during WW-II and home to a military beach resort for R&R. Comparing old aerial images of the base with the google satellite photography, I can make out the outlines of former barracks and industrial buildings at my current camping spot. I finish my modest meal, roll out my sleeping bag covered with a poncho and fall fast asleep to the sounds of crickets, shore birds and the ticking cooling of my motorcycle engine behind my head.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:18 AM   #17
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Wow!!! Great writeup. This is exactly what I would love to be doing. You're making me want a V-Strom really bad.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:34 AM   #18
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Day 9 (Marina, CA > Russian River Rt.116, CA)

Day 9
Marina, CA > Russian River (Rt. 116)

After spending a tent-free evening in my drainage tube, I awoke to a thick 6AM Pacific fog. The foot of my sleeping bag was partially wet with dew, though the poncho did a swell job of keeping it mostly dry. I hastily packed my gear and set off into the foggy morning air heading north up CA1. Visibility fell dramatically to 30ft by the time I got a few miles onto the 70mph freeway. I continued at 50mph calmly reserved that a multi-car pileup or any accident would come much sooner than I could react. Deadly consequences could ensue but that’s life. I would eventually get passed by a semi and follow his tail lights at a distance, red orbs fading in and out of the grey fog. Fortunately, the fog lifted near the strawberry and artichoke fields of Salina. Pickers were out already earning their family’s wages in the green flat fields.



The temperature hovers in the mid 40’s but the high humidity and constant shore winds make it feel much cooler. Brrrr.


CritterII Lurking in the weeds


I choose to stop and warm up with a cup of coffee in Half Moon Bay. I pass on the Starbucks and McDonalds and turn off CA1 toward the historic downtown. I immediately see a coffee sign and turn into a little shopping center to “Raman’s Chai and Coffee – Best Chai in the World”. Raman, a Hari Krishna, is slow to rise and take my order, a different welcomed pace, a kind warm smile. His vast menu of drinks takes me a while and I only order a medium coffee yet later regret not trying his Chai Tea. I tell him of my trip and he enthusiastically follows my story then provides further advice of sights to see in San Francisco.


His son Raj, a school teacher, shows up and we talk about my trip and his travels for the better part of an hour. Before my departure, he introduces me to his loyal morning customer base huddled around a table discussing philosophy, lifestyle and local news items.


Once more, I tell my story and hand out my blog card. They are a wise and generous group, wishing me a safe journey on my way north.

Back on the road, the air is warmer and temps continually rise as I pull closer to San Francisco.


Traffic thickens and I try out some lane splitting. With my wide cases, it only works sometimes but mostly I sit in traffic watching svelte naked sport bikes split past and to the front of the lights.


Alcatraz in the distance


I roll down to the piers on the bay then up for a ride on Lombard St, passing a marooned tour bus grounded at the front bumper and rear exhaust digging into the asphalt, its Asian passengers milling about the sidewalk.



Lombard St. is a hoot and I ride it mostly one handed, heavy on the rear brake, taking photos as the traffic inches its way down. Yeehaw!






Quite steep!


View looking up after I made my way down safely.


I check out Haight Ashbury and while riding, receive an email response from Miss Rivka. She will be at her booth in the Point Reyes Farmer’s Market until 1PM. I key it in to the GPS and have almost exactly that amount of time to make my way there.


Move it!!!


Steep Hills



This Aston Martin followed me over the bridge. Cool car.




I was behind a KTM and some other adventure bike.


I cut to the Golden Gate Bridge and park for a picture...

San Francisco in the distance across the bay.






then head for Point Reyes up the twisty CA1 behind a line of the slowest cars on earth. Gahhh!


A frequented beach for the Los Angelinos


Eventually I pass the cue and arrive at the market just in time to meet the famous Darth Peach of ADVRider.com.


More beautiful in person than photographs, I introduce myself and taste some of her complex and unique varieties of jam. I select some interesting flavors such as Peppered Pomegranate and Jalapeno Garlic for fellow inmates back in the Shenandoah Valley.


I help her pack up the stand and enjoy her genuine personality and wit. She offers to show me around some of the area this afternoon and I graciously accept. While she returns home to get her Tiger, I stroll around Point Reyes for an hour then suit up when she returns.



I follow her to the Point Reyes Seashore and the views through my helmet look like snapshots from her Ride Report as she negotiates the sometimes rough road through ranch land and down toward the ocean. She frequently points out the view of Tamales Bay to the right and the foggy Pacific to the left.





Our valley tag mascot, RatFink, sneaks a ride on DP's Tiger


The one and only


She waves me by and I take photos descending the grass lined ridge seeming to drop precariously into the sea.




The fog lifts for a bit allowing a glimpse of the blue waves shimmering in the sun.










We park and take a walk up to a subterranean structure on a point, resting to watch the Tule Elk across the ridge.

They emit high pitched mating calls I recognize from National Geographic TV but have never heard in person.


Tomales Bay


I always wondered how she got some of those shots. Bend it like beckham...nope bend it like DP




After a while of enjoying the peaceful scenery, discussing various motorcycle topics and watching the migrating Elk, we gear up and make our way back out to CA1 headed north.






She breaks for the Post Office in Tomales Bay while I wave goodbye and continue north.


My intended camp at Jackson State Forest is too far to travel this late in the day so I continue with no particular place in mind.


Each alcove and parking area has obvious signs declaring stiff fines for camping. Soon I come across a sign for the Russian River and recall what the V-Strom rider said yesterday while stopped at the Elephant Seals. I continue upstream and enjoy the warmth of the protected inland climate. I encounter a line of stopped traffic and sit and wait for a concert to empty. The traffic does not budge for 5 minutes so I turn around and begin looking for a place to stealth camp just off the highway.

On the left is a path for the power lines with enough tree cover to hide my bike and tent from passing traffic. I set up a temporary shelter of my poncho strung to the rear rack and lay out the sleeping bag. Alongside my shelter are rows of local Pacific Blackberry bushes so I walk around picking handfuls and enjoying their sweet taste and hairy base different from our eastern variety.


Soon the sun sets and I crawl into my makeshift shelter on the ground and quickly fall asleep.

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:43 PM   #19
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Great Ride Report

Enjoyed taking the virtual trip with you tonight. The pictures are amazing and poetic writing style always entertaining.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:11 PM   #20
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great ride, great report. really liking this one.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:16 PM   #21
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Thumb I'm Friggin'...

SPEECHLESS! Like iDave said....EPIC

The pics, the prose, the fortitude/opportunity/ability to do something like this...yeah, I'm jealous!

(B-Rad aka 'Mo' from the Three Stooges here) Thoroughly enjoyed meeting and riding with ya, man...hit me up if you are going SW next time!



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Old 10-05-2010, 08:17 PM   #22
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Very nice. You are to be congradulated!
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:53 PM   #23
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great report and great photos....
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:08 PM   #24
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Very nice job indeed! Great photos and writing. Thank you for taking the time to take us along.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:32 AM   #25
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Day 10 (Russian River, CA > Daniel Smith NF, CA)

Day 10
Russian River > Daniel Smith National Forest

At 6:15, I quietly packed my belongings; a wet sleeping bag and poncho fresh with dew, and set forth into the cool damp morning air. I rode down Rt161 back to CA1 and the sea fog greeted me with a hazy present. Temps fell once out of the Russian River Valley hovering in the mid 40’s all morning. I rode 15 miles then stopped and put on my heated vest and gloves in addition to placing my camera on the USB charger off my 12V socket. Forced to trust my GPS for upcoming turns, I downshifted early for the slow radius curves like a rookie pilot learning IFR flying. I was hungry but had run out of propane fuel in my drainage tube shelter so Oatmeal or Coffee was temporarily out of question.


The fog cleared for a moment crossing this river and I took advantage of the sunny warmth to snap a photo.


I was alerted of upcoming seaside towns when “SPEED ZONE” signs materialized out of the dense fog. Fast asleep under warm beds behind drawn shutters, they seemed deserted this early waiting for the fog to clear and Sunday church services to begin. The many inns and expensive campgrounds were full with cars. Energetic surfers donned wet suits at fog obscured scenic vistas beside CA1, their eyes scanning the dark sea counting the lapping waves.

The fog developed a cover of small droplets on my windscreen through which I gazed. When looking away from the screen, the drops were still in my vision and languished much like the feeling of looking at a bright light then looking away. It was time for a rest stop break and a cup of coffee. I roll into a small town and park beside two Harleys out front of Moody’s Organic Coffee Shop. I pay for a medium cup and settle in to the internet café seating space to write the remainder of last evening’s journal.


Casually eavesdropping on local patrons discourse of housework and building permits, I scribble on my pad, check my email and sip my hot coffee. A young couple seated in the outdoor patio are busy surveying my bike and stickers so I wrap up my journal entry and exit the warmth of the café. Silas rides a 2-stroke 250cc dirt bike and has always dreamed of buying an adventure touring bike to ride to Alaska. We discuss the merits of my VStrom vs others and he gives me advice on tracking down a propane canister for my stove. I roll up to Fort Bragg and begrudgingly spend $7.50 for a $4 propane bottle at an Outdoor Store then continue north into the fog.


This location was featured in a popular "Amazing Roads" email. I had to stop and take my own photos


I snap a few flower photos along the way and before I know it, the fog lightens and the sun is soon shining through in brilliant morning warmth.





Turning away from the coast, temperatures rise 20 degrees as I climb the twisty carless road into the dark Redwood forest.



The technical twists and turns of this section of CA1 are as good as the Tail of the Dragon and I scrape a peg a few times. Within the 15mi till its ends at Hwy 101, I pass two sport bikes tearing up the twisties.




I follow signs for the “drive thru tree” and pay my $3 to drive in and park at the Chandler Tree.

This is the gravel road into the small park.




Now that is an old tree!

While here, I remove my thermal under layers, heated vest and lube my chain.

Taking a rest in a comfy chair


A mile down the road, I stop at The Peg House store/music venue for a sticker. Airing out my sleeping bag in the 80F temps and direct sun, I ask the clerk about route information heading north and he gives me a free map of the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic secondary road through the Redwood Groves.


Never seen one...have you?




The Living Chimney Tree which you can go inside.




The impressive virgin growth Redwoods leave me in awe. I struggle to comprehend their extraordinary scale and age as the road twists among them, reflective markers identifying commonly hit trees on the Ave.




Some sense of scale...wow!


I grab a cup of coffee at the visitor center and savor it over a walk through the quiet canopy shaded grove across the street. The struggling beams of sunlight dance over iridescent green ferns dotting the needle strewn floor.


Tree Hugger!


The hiking trail goes THROUGH this tree


I continue along the Ave for another 15 miles then reluctantly rejoin Hwy 101 for Eureka.


Temperature falls to the lower 60’s as I approach the coast and the Humboldt Bay greets me with a light wind and the dense scent of the salty sea.




I pass through Eureka looking for a North Coast Brewery but fail to find it in passing. Oh well…having eaten little today, I don’t have the stomach for a beer.


Riding takes little energy and I typically snack on fruit and nuts rather than meals weighing my gut and lightening my wallet. Rolling into Arcata, I pass a Honda Superhawk rider pulled over by the CHP, his buddies waiting on the overpass above. I quickly check my speed, 50 in a 55, I’m safe.

The remainder of the ride up 101 is a freeway or fast two lane.



I pass over the Salmon and Kalamath Rivers then take a rest top at Misty Woods when I spy Babe the Blue Ox and a talking Paul Bunyan.


As I remove my helmet, I hear him speaking to the awe-struck children at his feet. “Alright kids, at 4:30 everyday I have to meditate to cleanse my thoughts and body. I will see you all in the morning.” Click. Something tells me that this NorCal hippy voice of the modern Paul Bunyan strikes a fraudulent diversion from his axe wielding, virgin growth slicing persona.

Insert "Blue Balls" joke



I snap a photo then continue north to Elk Valley and say goodbye to the Pacific with a sad wave.




I will see it again, for this I am certain. Passing through Redwood State and National Park, it shifts into the Six Rivers National Forest.



I decide to skip the $10 SparkPlug Motorcycle Campground in favor of a naked bath in the cold East Fork of the Smith River.




Air Dry!


A dinner of Rice with Picante sauce, coffee, snickers and a pipe of Cavendish help me to relax in the final light of the day. I write this day’s journal then retire to my hammock only slightly awoken by passing trucks on the nearby road.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:43 AM   #26
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Day 11 (Smith Recreation Area, CA > Burns, OR)

Day 11
Smith Recreation Area, CA > Burns, OR

I slept cool in the Hammock, only waking at 2:30 to reinflate my leaking air mattress. My alarm sounds at 6, I push the snooze button on the brilliant screen delaying the chill of rolling out until 6:30. I twisted through the canyons of the Smith River, through a tunnel, and soon I crossed over the Oregon state line as the sun struggled above the nearby peaks.


I attempted to fill up in Obrien, Oregon but the gas station was not yet open. This old Plymouth police car sat outside.


I snapped a pic of the Sunrise over a fog shrouded lake then continued to the next town for fuel.


The station attendant came over to help me which I thought was rather strange until I realized that they pump your fuel here in OR. I don’t really like that so I pumped my own, unsure whether to give him a tip or not. In Grant Pass, I stopped for coffee, resupplied groceries and cleaned and lubed my chain. After repacking, I worked along the Rogue River to Gold Rush, OR. The road to Crater Lake followed the Rogue River through a more arid climate than the coastal pines I had slept in the night before. Soon, I was riding down straight roads through a National Forest of towering planted pines for 50mi until arriving at Crater Lake.

I stopped at the visitor center and jumped off the bike as a group of husband and wife Harley Riders were taking a group photo. Eager to redeem myself for the ill-returned photo at the “Welcome to Colorado” sign, they accepted my offer to photograph them. I poked through the gift store, chatted with a fellow motorcyclist inside then finally rode up the twisty entrance to the West Rim Road. The elevation around 7’500ft, the flora transitioned to struggling low flowers, spindly brush and many pine amongst the rocky landscape. When I first laid eyes upon the azure blue lake, my jaw literally dropped.


It is quite a sight from 1000 feet above looking down on Wizard Island and the ripples of the cool pure waters. The tour boat wake was mesmorizing.


I snapped some photos while stopping along the rim route and snacking on granola bars acquired during my morning stop.


These docile chipmunks are fat from their tourist-fed diet.


Self portrait courtesy of my right pannier





On one overlook, I met a young Swede on a DR200 purchased in Colorado, riding a three week tour through Canada then back through Nevada and Utah to CO. A very cool guy, I exchanged a card for the pleasure of signing his helmet covered in Sharpie well wishes from passing friends and travelers. It turns out he is on ADVRider.com…small world.


I descend from the former imploded volcano to a smoky forest fire wafting hazy smoke down the straight highway. I


turn toward the marsh lands and smell my first Buffalo, an earthy pleasant smell quite unlike cattle or pigs. They graze in large herds beside the highway. It is a shame we killed so many in our pioneering past.




Low on gas through the Winema National Forest, I keep the speed at a constant 50mph drone and play around on the GPS looking for the nearest gas stop.


It is not looking good, they are all in the opposite direction I am travelling by 50+ mi.


I approach the small town of Silver Lake and notice the Water Tower sticking high above the town.

(seen to the right here in this picture)

There may be gas here…fingers crossed I roll in to town and spy a single pump service station 247 miles into my 5.8gal tank.

I fill up, have a Snickers and plug in “Helena, MT” to the GPS unit then set out east across the Great Basin. In Christmas, OR, I run into a group of ADVRider folks on BMWs riding a mostly dirt route through this high desert country. One snaps my photo before I depart with a friendly wave. I pass on the water from a blue handled well between the gas pumps.


I crest its easternmost limit before camping beside Hwy 2- in the dry grasses of an Oregon autumn.


Irrigation allows some lucky farmers to harvest grasses and hay.


Biggest haystack I have ever seen!


Say...who is driving this motorcycle!?



A few b&w shots of the area




The tribes we killed.


Just before setting up camp, I stop to mark the end of the Great Basin.


I better find a camping spot. The sun is fading fast.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:49 AM   #27
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Day 11 (continued)

The parched soil beneath my tires spreads and cracks as I attempt to put down the kickstand in the sandy surface, eventually settling on a promising clump of grass.




Unknown bird calls pierce the dusk air while temperatures dip with the setting sun.


I make coffee, eat a chocolate granola and snickers then get in my tent, camouflaged beside the bike, both under a sand gray rain fly blending with the tan grasses.

A day of relaxation, laundry, oil changes and family in Helena is mighty attractive after tomorrows 500mi push east.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:12 AM   #28
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Day 12 (Hwy20, OR > Helena, MT)

Day 12
Hwy 20, OR > Helena, MT

Thunderstorms rolled through just south of me after I was snug in my hidden home beside the highway. I was awoken often by passing double-hitched semi trailers and the brilliant flashes of lightening accompanying the deep rumble of high desert thunder. I rose around 5:15AM, clumsily packed the tent and gear, then set off into the still darkness of predawn, stars shimmering in the heavens.

I watched the sun’s glow illuminate the horizon and reflect warm colors on the inky river winding beside the roadway.


Cresting the rise, I took a snapshot of the morning clouds then continued down into the fertile irrigated crop lands of eastern Oregon.


I stop for gas in Vale and note the many murals and painted historical scenes on turn of the century buildings in this stop on the Oregon Trail.






I continue into the fertile onion and potato growing fields of eastern Oregon soon coming to the confluence of the Weiser and great Snake River at the border town of Weiser, ID.



Ontario eh?




Crossing the river.



A cup of coffee brings a morning chat with a local farmer outside a McDonalds while I lube my chain. His inquiries take longer than I wanted to stop but I enjoy the company and advice for things to see on my trip through Idaho. The warmth of the low crop lands begins to fade as I wind my way up the topography with many 4000ft passes and rises usually descending back into desert and pasture land.




I turn around and snap a shot of the signpost marking the 45th Parallel, halfway between the North Pole and Equator.




After some time, I rise into a National Forest and take in the rich smells of pine, the recently passed rainstorm moisture evaporating from the roadway and nutritious forest floor.


Each turn offers views of white and blue rapids contrasting against the greenish yellow Aspens sporadically brightening up the morning scene.


Cold rivers flow from their headwaters down into the Salmon River cascading for miles beside the roadway.





White Bird Pass had a huge elevation gain and steep grades. If ever you travel this way, make sure to take the old road up by turning in Hells Canyon. I saw its beautiful twists stretch out beside me and wished I had chosen that route instead.




Each small town’s snail-slow 25mph speed zone warrants respect while I snap pics to keep occupied and remember the sights and architecture.


Kooskia


Grangeville, ID






Within no time, I turn onto Hwy 12 toward Montana pausing to photograph the road sign reading “Winding Road Next 99 Miles”.


I aim upstream slowly closing the 80miles toward Lolo Pass at the ID/MT border.




Nice place to stay a while...

The weather warms and I stop at a picturesque beach beside the road to cook a lunch of rice and tuna while dipping my feet in the gold-flecked shallows of the cool river.




Oops


Back on the road


This scenic 50mph route closely keeps with the river, workings its course along the very route that Lewis and Clark forged hundreds of years before. For me, this road and exploration into wilderness is just as personally momentous and grand.

The scenery, fishing (judging by the many parked trucks) and potential for outdoor enjoyment in Idaho is extensive. Continuing against the river upstream, the temperatures slowly dip while the river’s width narrows.


A little early in the season for these guys though.

Soon I am chilly and up at 7-8000 ft through Lolo Pass into Montana.







I hit some construction stops on the Montana side but the 70mph speed limit takes me swiftly through my first windscreen cleansing rain showers approaching Missoula, MT. I call family and check in.




They are following my spot and my aunt announces a spaghetti dinner will be waiting when I arrive!

Missoula and the storm I passed:




Off to war...


Slab'n it


Chasing this dark storm which just dumped on Helena with heavy winds and hail...

Two hours on the interstate and an hour on a two lane over MacDonald Pass and I descend to Helena following the dark clouds of a retreating severe storm.


I arrive and quickly shower away the days of grit then sit down to the wonderful company of my family and a home cooked meal.


EXACTLY




My uncle offers me a locally brewed beer and I taste the crisp delicious “Moose Drool” Brown Ale, my first beer of the entire trip.


After relaxing around the house, I am given a night time driving tour around Helena followed by a stop at a downtown bar for a local IPA brewed a few stores over in the same building.

I show pictures and discuss my trip then we return home, change and sleep in a warm clean bed.

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Old 10-06-2010, 07:23 AM   #29
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Day 13 -Resting in Helena

Day 13
Rest Day in Helena

I sincerely enjoy the soundest sleep of the trip and wake around 7 for coffee. We go out for an AM breakfast at a neat local earthy café.

I treat them to a breakfast. My uncle has Huevos Rancheros and my aunt, Oatmeal, while I enjoy a huge whole wheat pancake.

After our filling breakfast, we drive to the nearby motorcycle shop and I buy an oil filter before returning home for more coffee and conversation. Around noon, they drop me off downtown and I walk around taking many photos and exploring some of the local shops along the pedestrian mall.








I saw my first bear!



Never seen Ramen like that


Cool Mural.

The Cathedral is impressive and built with gold rush money.







A stop at the library has me chatting with the librarians hosting coffee and cookies in the lobby in exchange for completing a survey. A young woman my age overheads and begins asking me a few questions. It turns out she is a local news reporter for CBS and asks to interview me for her blog. I go outside the library where she attaches a microphone to my sweater and begins her 10 minute interview about me, my trip and my goals. I regrettably fail to take a picture of her, perhaps out of respect or shyness, and we exchange cards before bidding goodbye. I drink my coffee and hike to the historic fire tower overlooking town for some more photos.




After exploring more shops, I meet my uncle and aunt then continue to the outdoor patio of a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch.



I enjoy a delicious cup of seafood chowder and share half of my aunt’s succulent chicken sandwich.


After lunch, we get oil then go over to the ranch of a family friend outside of the north end of Helena. Darryl has two horses, many acres and an antique and new Mustang in the garage parked beside four wheelers and a BMW R1150RT with less than 10k mi. He offers me space and tools allowing me to accomplish my oil change in less than an hour. At 5’600 mi into the trip, I am a bit late on my service interval and the black used oil reflects that.


We enjoy a beer on the patio overlooking his ranch and Helena in the distance.




His kind wife, Carina, invites us to stay for burgers and we spend the evening relaxing telling stories and swapping advice on riding and local sights.




Darryl gives me a map and nice route for tomorrows trip to Yellowstone then follows it up with a slideshow presentation on his 60” HD TV of a recent trip. After many thanks and handshakes, I leave a cloud of dust riding 60mph into the darkness of the sage lined dirt road back to town. I use the washer and dryer to do a much needed load of laundry…mmmm clean clothes! I retire to bed around midnight then poke around the internet on my phone until 1:00AM before falling asleep.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:37 AM   #30
FOXedupONE
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Nice!

So you got 1 ticket?
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