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Old 10-06-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
threadkiller OP
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A Man Needs the Highway



I've stared at a calendar for ten years wondering when I would find the time to take a ride out west. I'd had plans to do the TAT for the two years prior, but had to bail due to other commitments. It is completely against my character to be tied down for any length of time. I need to wander, to get lost and be without a place to sleep. I needed to quit planning and just get on a bike one day. So I decided to ride to Glacier National Park.

Taking a trip of this magnitude, especially for a first timer, required some planning. One must consider his inexperience and that some due diligence is in order. I selected my '93 Honda Nighthawk 750 for it's legendary reliability. Preparation consisted of new tires and an oil change. I also put on a new chain and sprockets a while back and bought a $7 Atlas at Wal Mart. No one has ever accused me of being a good planner.

Monday night, I made the order for new tires. OEM Dunlop K505's. They arrived about 6:30 Wednesday evening. Thursday morning, after the paint mostly dried on my homemade luggage rack, I bolted it on. Then strapped down all my stuff and rode west. Pretty simple plan, huh? The interstate got me to Paducah. From there, it was all highway, crossing the tip of Illinois and entering Missouri. Flat farmland, straight roads as far as I could see. Motorcycle hell. I stopped by Lamberts in Sikeston for the “throwed rolls experience”. They sat me down by myself at a bar type setup with a pitcher-sized glass of water and fully ignored me. This cost me about $15. I won't be back.

So I cruised on through the bootheel of MO while my Schuberth helmet was killing brain cells. Four thousand miles in this helmet and it still wasn't broken in. Six hours in and I was beginning to regret leaving on this trip. Too much stuff on my mind! I had to clear it up. Finally I rode into Doniphan where the roads scrub the sidewalls of your tires. Eventually, I dropped south towards Mountain Home, AR. Onward to Bull Shoals-White River state park for a campsite. Fantastic location and a deal to boot! I definitely recommend this place. I also recommend a bike that dodges deer effectively because you WILL need it.

My “stuff” includes a tent, sleeping bag, Thermarest, and clothes. Two pair of jeans, one pair of fishing pants with zip-off legs, one long-sleeve and one short-sleeve cotton t-shirt, one synthetic t-shirt, three pair of synthetic socks, three pair of synthetic boxers, a sweatshirt, and a set of Polartec longhandles. And a ballcap. And tools. And a laptop which I wrapped in the spare pair of jeans to protect it. You may see what appears to be a GPS on my handlebars. If I were to hand you the device, you would NOT be able to find the letters “GPS” anywhere on it. And for good reason! It suuuucked. But I eventually found out that it has a clock and it eats batteries, so there's that...



















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Old 10-06-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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You're doin' good. Keep it coming !
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:20 PM   #3
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Nice, been waiting for this one!

I really like your writing style, tk.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:30 PM   #4
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Ok. I tried throwing some rolls at the first post to see if more would appear. Nothing yet. Rolls with butter?
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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In like flynn
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:14 PM   #6
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I forgot to pack a pillow. The sweatshirt I rolled up worked ok, but didn't have the “give” of the real thing. Laying in the tent, staring at the roof, I was still having second thoughts about this trip. Did I do enough planning or was leaving suddenly going to work out? I didn't even tell any of my family I was leaving until the bike was packed and warming up in the driveway. And of course, I didn't know when I would be back.

I broke camp and headed west. Highway 62 between Mountain Home and Bentonville is as fine a road as I'd ridden so far. But you better have a good reason to head west out of there because it's nothing but farmland and nodding donkeys for days.

This trip was about seeing Glacier, mostly. But I also wanted to explore a few possible career options. So I headed to OK to talk to someone, anyone, about the oilfield. We don't have any of that in TN. I shot the bull with a few different oilfield guys at various truckstops and determined that it probably wasn't a career I'm well-suited for. One guy said that to “make it” in the oilfield, I'd have to know what it's like to take a man's life and then do about 15-20 in the pen. I thought he was kidding but he never cracked a smile.

I didn't pass an oilfield truck the rest of the day.

Wound up in Jet, OK at Great Salt Plains State Park. It took awhile to find a suitable campground. I rode all over the place, even stopping at the park ranger's house to inquire. No one was home, so I continued alone and clueless. Eventually, I crossed a river and saw some RV's on the left. The campground was barely maintained. It sits along the tailwater with seagulls squawking nonstop. The water is brown and foamy, and looked like it needed a health advisory. I was the only person in the tent section, and it was at this point that I really considered turning around and heading back home. My helmet was crushing my skull. I was on a 20 year old bike that I'd bought four months ago. Plus, I was 800 miles from home and if I had any trouble, I wouldn't be able to call because I didn't have any cell phone coverage in the middle of nowhere. And I was ripe for trouble. The whole deal seemed like a huge risk. Fortunately, another voice said “Screw it! Sometimes a man's just gotta ride!”

I listened to this voice.


A morning shot taken in the town of Bull Shoals, AR.


Gas in Garfield, AR.








There were two owls in my camping area. I watched them for several minutes and then realized I should be getting pictures. As soon as I got the camera, one flew off. The lighting sucked and so did the camera. But "pics make it happen", or so they say. hehe
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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Roll on buddy. You are becoming a hero to many men ( women)

How many of us wished we could do the same, take off, no plan, just a general idea.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #8
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Keep the story coming.
I would be going through the same thing if it were me.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:18 PM   #9
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You know the Glacier National park is closed do to the government shutdown, right? Still lots to see out there, though.
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikertrash View Post
You know the Glacier National park is closed do to the government shutdown, right? Still lots to see out there, though.

But the golf course at the air force base is open for the president.

Id go around any gates or such at Glacier.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:22 AM   #11
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And woke up in the rain. But I stayed dry and the rain soon passed. Looking west, I could see another wall of water headed my way so I quickly loaded up and headed north. Had a few bouts with passing showers, but my $20 rain gear sufficed and I got breakfast in Pratt, KS. Nice town. Saw a couple ADVriders at a gas stop, too. They didn't stick around to chat.

Kansas interests me. I'm a geology and geography nut who also happens to be a farm boy. Seeing new places, new terrain, and different cultures is many of the reasons I ride. Heck, I even enjoy seeing different farming practices. I'm a bit of an introvert, but I do like to converse with people who I share something in common with. And Lord knows a farmer will talk your ear off. I answered ten questions about my bike and my trip for every question I asked about a new tractor or soil management practice.

Seeing new places from cars disconnects me from the environment. The smells and sounds are integral to the entire experience. Kansas is all right by me. Unfortunately, I'm not articulate enough to deliver smells and sounds with the written word, so you'll just have to go see for yourself.

Nebraska was where the ride would really start. I know I left home three days ago but my curiosity and sense of adventure was just now getting it's legs. Nebraska was virgin territory to me, and fortunately it gets better the further north you go. I considered the Sandhills some of the best scenery up to this point.

The changing of the seasons was more apparent the further north I rode. Waterfowl were on their annual migration and many of the potholes in the Sandhills were providing them a rest stop. I couldn't help relating their journey in some way to mine. I'm in the process of making a new life, doing what I can with what I have availed to me. And so are they. But they have it figured out. Heck, they do this every year. I wonder if they ever have second thoughts.

My route was north on 183 to Ansley, then west on 2. I remember seeing an older BMW with saddlebags parked in someone's yard. It was wearing a “for sale” sign. I'd be lying if I said I didn't make a mental note of it. Gosh, I worry too much!

McDonalds was a savior many times on this trip for they have free Wifi which allowed me to find campgrounds and other pertinent things. Broken Bow has a Mcdonalds with Wifi, cheap eats, and if you could wait half an hour, the cute cashier would have her dealer bring a little something extra by. I opted for the Chicken McNuggets and passed on the pharmaceuticals. Damn, she lacked good sense. Still, I DID order the McNuggets. Maybe that says something about me. I don't know.

I was going to make the Nebraska National Forest my home for the night, but read on ADVrider about a hotel in Halsey that was reasonably priced and clean. It was a deal if by “deal” you mean a nightmare. The place was clean, the bed was comfortable, and it was in a safe spot with a restaurant across the street. That same street intersected with the busiest fucking train track in North America about 100 feet away. Every eight minutes, all night long. For $51. I should've bought the drugs when I had the chance. Maybe then I would've gotten to sleep.











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Old 10-08-2013, 06:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandalscout View Post
Nice, been waiting for this one!

I really like your writing style, tk.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drdubb View Post
Roll on buddy. You are becoming a hero to many men ( women)

How many of us wished we could do the same, take off, no plan, just a general idea.
The ability to take off with no plans comes at a price!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikertrash View Post
You know the Glacier National park is closed do to the government shutdown, right? Still lots to see out there, though.
Yeah, this ride happened in August/September of this year.



I know the writing and pictures are dull right now, but it get's better once I hit the mountains. Stay tuned!
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:07 AM   #13
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good stuff, keep it coming
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:17 AM   #14
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How does one subscribe to a thread? I'm interested in this one.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:09 AM   #15
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Great ride report, looking forward to your progress. Please also keep us up-to-date on the performance of your Nighthawk 750... as I want to do something similar with my Nighthawk, but a Canadian edition.
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