Here is the whole trip in chronological order as it began on July 4, 2010.
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Archive for August, 2010
Here is the whole trip in chronological order as it began on July 4, 2010.
It was having a similar feeling as I had the previous year when I left the Pow Wow in Montana. Sturgis was a highlight and it was time to head East. However I was still determined to stay off the Interstate Highways for a while. But before I could head North and get off the Interstate I had to take a look at the Badlands.
There was a whole family of Turkeys at this one spot. This mama was checking out some of the little ones that were on an adjacent cliff.
A couple of serious photographers were setting up their cameras on tripods to photograph this range. (click to enlarge)
I was staying in St.Pierre some 150 miles away this night and the sun was already setting. I had some night driving ahead and I was pretty beat from Sturgis. You don’t get a lot of sleep at Sturgis.
The next day it was due east on Route 14. A South Dakota straightaway. I hit rain for the second time this entire trip and it wasn’t bad at all. I bumped into a guy at a gas station that stayed in Sturgis another night to see Guns and Roses. He said Axl didn’t come on until after 2AM and people were throwing beer cans at the stage. Then I saw a sign that said Home of Laura Ingalls. I knew the name from “Little House on the Prarie” but I didn’t know she was an actual person. Below is the house that “Pa” built.
In another town called Sleepy Eye there was a Del Monte factory. They would push the corn around with bulldozers toward these staircase conveyor belts. Then the corn rolls up the stairs and inside for processing.
Crossing the Mississippi is always bittersweet coming back east. It’s exciting to be headed home after 6 weeks on the road. But knowing I’m leaving behind all the amazing things I’ve seen leaves me feeling a little empty.
Empty is how this house was once feeling. Then one day on 4/24/95 a 55 ton boulder became dislodged from the cliff 400 feet above the house and plowed into the living room.
The rock remains planted firmly in this house at 440 North Shore Drive, Fountain City, WI. For the suggested admission of $1 to be deposited in this toolbox you can enter the home and have a look around.
You enter through the kitchen where the lady who lived there was standing when the boulder invaded her bedroom next door. This monster bashed through the fake brick exterior and it remains as it was when it came to rest.
This house below was not hit by a rock. It is weathered by years of neglect.
I had to head south at some point. If I continue east at this latitude I would run into Lake Michigan. So I decided the best route south would be highway 35 along the Mississippi.
Samuel Clemens could write a sequel had he still been around. Life on the Mississppi still has a very different vibe than that to the East or West of the mighty river.
As I moved away from the river I entered farmland. A few Amish buggies passed me by along the side of the road.
I spent the night in a down called Dickyville, WI. As I was looking for some food the night before I saw this strange sight next to a church. It’s called the Dickyville Grotto. A serious of shrines built by a Catholic Priest in the 1920’s occupy the side and back of this church.
It is built with all types of stone, shells, ceramics, and glass. Some of the round stone knobs were meant to be used for gear shift knobs but were donated for use at the shrine by Henry Ford.
It’s like a Gaudi meets Mosaic Man.
Later I rolled through Galena, IL. It was the home of Ulysses S. Grant.
From his home high on a hill you could look out over this well preserved town of Gelena.
This small log cabin was moved to this spot, but it was still pretty cool. That’s Grant’s house in the background.
Lesson: Don’t open a gas station in Amish country.
I saw a flash of the sunset as I passed this abandoned house. So I turned around to take a photo of both.
The following day I hopped on the Interstate. It was time to go home.
I really had no idea what to expect from Sturgis. I decided to stay at the Buffalo Chip Campground because that’s where all the awesome shows were. This first night I arrived Bob Dylan was opening for Kid Rock. I rode through town on the way to the Chip. Bikes everywhere! It was packed. I had been told you can cut through the neighborhood to get around the mayhem. But the real mayhem is at the Buffalo Chip and surrounding campgrounds and the only way to get there is through town. There were as many bikers winding their way through the neighborhood as there were on the main road. It was nuts and I was totally digging it. No matter which route you take you are funneled into the one road that goes to all the campsites. After about 2 miles one approaches the action. There is a new place on the left. They have some big bands playing there too. On the right is the Full Throttle Saloon site followed by the Legendary Buffalo Chip.
I pulled in, registered and went looking for a place to pitch my tent. I pulled up to what looked like a good spot and introduced myself to my would be neighbors. They were a real nice group from Washington, Dave, Kelly, Diana and Wog. They offered me a beer before I even got my tent set up. They had a canopy tent which is a nice piece of equipment at a campsite with no shade.
We were sitting around talking before the show when my other neighbor came over and introduced himself. He was Randy from Texas. A self proclaimed Good Ol’ Boy with wonderfully colorful descriptions on matters of daily life. He stands 6 foot 4 easy and is very funny as he tells stories with ease while every once in a while interrupted with a “well anyway”, and then he continues in a long Texas singing kind of talk.
I rode around the campsite to get my bearings strait. It is quite a scene. In some areas are campers as far as you can see. In other areas tents, cars and bikes. I had a look at the stage area as it was filling up. Inside are all the vendors and a grocery store. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The first night we were going to see Bob Dylan and Kid Rock. I was excited to be here and walked all over the place with a smile on my face. Sturgis is a fun place to be. I only had my small camera this night. I went back to the campsite to get my big camera, but a dweeb at the gate said Kid Rock doesn’t allow those types of cameras. Geek. I probably could have tried another gate, but I just brought the camera back to the tent.
The show was great. I missed the end of the show because I went back for my camera to give it another try, but people were exiting as I was returning. I had no sense of time and didn’t really care. I was having fun. I got stepped on while taking this shot below. I didn’t have a tripod, so I had my head under a bush trying to balance the camera on the ground when,”UGH” this dude steps on me. Later I was walking around and this guy next to me said something about being lost. I say, “Yeah this place is nuts!” He says, “I know, I just stepped on a guy back there.” I didn’t tell him it was me.
During the day you can ride your bike right into the stage area. At night they have a cut off time as to when you can bring your bike into a show.
Words and pictures can’t describe the buzz you get from being here at Sturgis, but I’ll try to let some pictures do the talking.
This car was all banged up from the previous years’ hail storm.
Here is Mikey from American Choppers. He and his brother were out there promoting the new show.
Then Mötley Crüe rocked the place.
Some of the campers brought their own stripper poles.
The day after Mötley Crüe, Randy my big Texan neighbor, offered to show me around a bit. We rode out to the Broken Spoke Campsite with a drive thru bar.
Randy treated me to a bike wash. Bonnie was filthy.
Then we rode down the Spearfish Canyon before returning for Ozzy.
All of the shows were great. I had a blast at Sturgis. I will definitely be back!
At about 4 in the morning I saw a bunch of cops come flying into the campsite. I walked over to see what was going on. I heard people yelling, “Over here, Over here” to the cops as they passed. When I got there I saw a girl had been run over while in her sleeping bag. She was pulled up into the wheel well. The guys from the truck were saying the parking break slipped. I heard someone else say they saw two guys jumped out of the truck. It was horrid to see her stuck up there screaming. The fire Department came and lifted the truck. They slipped a board under the girl and removed her. A helicopter came to take her to the hospital. The next day I asked around and was told the girl was OK. She only had some slipped discs and was going to be fine. I took this after she was removed. It didn’t seem right to take a photo before that.
I left Sturgis with a bang as I fired off this 1929 Thompson machine gun.
Hey! I’m still here. It’s been a while since my last post. It’s not easy to have adventures and keep up with this site at the same time. Besides, my laptop’s battery only lasts about 5 minutes. So if I am not plugged in somewhere, I can’t check out my photos. So let’s continue the journey.
I wanted to cross the Lolo Pass. I had heard about it. Apparently it is a big deal with bikers. But I have to tell you, after riding all over this country a few times I wasn’t all that impressed. It’s a nice enough ride along a river, but it’s very much like any other ride along a river except that it lands you in Montana.
On the way I met a couple guys on Gold Wings at the Lolo Lodge while stopping for gas. They were headed for Sturgis. Each of these guys bought these used Gold Wings for less than $6000. One of them came with a trailer from which we enjoyed a beer as we talked. They convinced me I had to go to Sturgis, but there were things I still wanted to see in West. I’ve also had a concern which needed to be dealt with. My rear tire was almost down to the threads. I needed a new tire. I knew the one I was riding on was not going to get me home. I got a hotel in Missoula and tracked down some motorcycle shops. No one I spoke to carried the Metzlers that I was riding. I was determined to get a new tire before leaving town, so I rode around to different shops. One motorcycle garage I had spoken to by phone the day before never opened. The Triumph dealer has a beef with Metzler and won’t carry them. He wasn’t very helpful eitiher, he told me they were fully booked (though there seemed to be nothing going on there at all). He was a grouch and he’s the only Triumph dealer in all of Montana. Then I went to the BMW dealer down the street. They didn’t have the Metzlers either but they really were booked with work. I could see the packed garage. They did howver have a Dunlop tire that would fit my rim and the guy up front Dean made about 5 or 6 calls to different places until he found someone who could install it for me back in Lolo. So I bought the tire, tied to the back of the bike and headed to Lolo. I can’t believe I didn’t take a shot of that! But here is Bonnie on the rack at Lolo Cycleworks. The guy there Steve took care of it on the spot at a reasonable price.
After getting the bike fixed it was getting kind of late to ride very far. I wanted to camp out somewhere and one of my favorite spots was less than two hundred miles away along what is called the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway. It is also home of Crystal Park where I have dug up crystals the past couple years. So this place and Vegas are spots I’ve returned to on all three trips.
I even got the same camping spot I had last year. Here are a couple pieces of wood I cut last year with my awesome folding saw.
With such an abundance of fire wood you can can have lots of fun dancing by the fire all night long.
Fun with flashlights too.
I really like it here. In the morning I found a guest climbing around on my bike. I often find little foot prints. Sometimes not so little foot prints. But this time I caught the little guy with the camera.
Then I was walking to get some water when I saw this mama bird sitting on a stump. I think she thought she was camouflaged as this big hen would not move even though I got very close.
I packed up camp and went to dig up some crystals before continuing the ride. I got a few decent crystals, but I think I had a better booty last year. Below is some of the farm land near Polaris when you first turn onto the byway.
Just before getting back to the highway the weather looked bad. I stopped for a bit to assess the situation. There was a group of mares across the road. Some with newborns and some still pregnant. This mother was nudging her little one to keep her walking about.
Eventually the little gal plopped down for a rest.
There were other people pulled over at this intersection too. One guy pulled up to the corner on a mint vintage Honda CB 750. He was there to get picked up by a trailer. I heard him telling the other guy how it’s not a good day to ride. Not a matter of choice for me. One older gentleman pulled up on a bicycle from the direction I was headed. He said the weather looked bad but I wouldn’t get wet. He and his wife were alternating bicycling and driving. When I say alternating, I mean he bicycled to this spot. His wife drove. Now it was his turn to take the car as she took off on her bicycle. His name was Dave, he was a tough old codger from Scotland. As his wife road off, he told me his first road trip ever was on the back of a Bonnie from Scotland to Wales. He said it was awful, “it was pissing rain the whole time.” He recommended many roads to me as he had traveled much of the West. Many of them will have to wait for another road trip. For me, it was time to wind my way east after a slight southern bound detour.
I decided I had to see Yellowstone again. I thought it would have to be a choice between Yellowstone or Sturgis but I decided I could swing both of them into the mix. The weather was gloomy but I hadn’t been rained on for 35 days now and I began to think the clouds just got out of my way. Yellowstone would prove me wrong. Very wrong! Things started out OK as I stopped by Mammoth Springs.
As I was walking away I noticed this baby buffalo head image in one of the trees which attempted to live in this hostile environment. Bizarre!
Then it happened. The clouds obscured the sun and the sky quickly turned black. The rain came down hard. This was the first time I needed my rain gear since I left home 35 days ago. BAM! Then hail! The winds began gusting something fierce and people were slowing down to the point where my face shield was constantly fogged. I was trying these Seal Skinz gloves I got from the International Motorcycle Show. They sucked. Maybe my hands were dry. But the outermost layer of these gloves hold so much water that your hands freeze in mildly cold temperatures. Then there was a 40 minute wait for a one lane construction area. I just sat there and got soaked. The weather was so severe no one was stopping at any of the sites within the park. By the time I got to the Old Faithful Lodge I was miserable. Cold and wet. I went inside to get some hot coffee and warm up a bit. Fortunately the rain was letting up now, but I had made a reservation at an historic hotel in Greybull, WY and I was deep still within Yellowstone.
When I rode through Cody, WY the sun was sinking low. It looked like some night driving was ahead for me. This concerned me because I had ridden in this area 2 years ago and it was the ride with the strongest persistent winds I have ever experienced.
It was almost 10PM when I arrived in Greybull. I checked in and was told there was only one place to eat that might still be open. I quickly rode over to Lisa’s for a steak with pepper sauce. Steak au poivre anywhere else. It was delicious and the staff was very friendly. I was also introduced to Fat Tire beer. Good brew. Then I got a good nights sleep on a comfy old bed at the Hotel Greybull.
This is the lobby of the hotel where I went for breakfast. One guy with long hair and a cowboy hat was telling joke after joke. Many he made up as he went along. After he left the owner told us he used to be an actor in some Westerns. He was even in a John Wayne movie. He said this guy’s wife had died of cancer, he moved to Greybull and gave up acting. Actually in the framed photo on the table below is the owner on the left and the actor on the right.
From Greybull it was on to Sturgis. I booked two nights at the Buffalo Chip Campground. I had to stop for more one lane construction in a quaint little town called Ten Sleep.
Construction stops are commonplace these days. Lots of construction going on all over the States. As I waited, two guys on Harleys pulled up behind me blaring 70’s rock. They were all decked out in leather and were in good spirits having just left the bar down the street. Once we got going they passed me by. I tried keeping up with them but they were flying. I did manage to keep them in sight after passing a few cars. We were crossing the Rockies and these guys were zipping above 85MPH. I saw one of the guy’s hat blow off. I thought about stopping for it, but he didn’t seem to care so why should I. They ended up pulling over for some reason. When I stopped for gas at the first town past the Rockies they showed up. We got to talking again. They said a cop had lit up the lights as he passed them up in the mountains. I saw that cop and was concerned myself but I didn’t get flashed. The one guy, Rusty went inside to get some beers. The other guy (don’t remember his name) started asking about guns. This happens a lot. He said he is not into guns but Rusty’s probably carrying. Rusty is an ex cop. Then Rusty came out of the store complaining that they don’t sell beer. So he got a Coke instead which he mixed with some Jim Beam from his saddle bag before they continued. A girl who said she is a flagger at a nearby construction site warned us of the on-ramp to the Interstate. She said it is sandy and a biker had gone down earlier and broke his leg. She said it’s best go West one exit then turn around and go East (actually she said “I’d prefer if you’d go…” which I thought odd). We all took off together, but it seemed those two guys didn’t understand the chick. They turned down the road which said 80 East. I kept going. Later after looping around I was headed toward South Dakota when I saw the two of them exiting headed West on an off ramp. Oh well, later dudes. I was on a mission. I was going to STURGIS!
Wow, it seems like ages ago that I was in Frisco. I probably should have stayed at Nicky B’s, but I headed North and got a room. The next morning I stopped at a Walmart for supplies. When I was walking out I saw two old dudes checking out the bike. One of them was excited. He hadn’t seen a Triumph in a long time. We talked for a while then I introduced myself, “I’m Pat.” The excited guy said, “I’m Tom.” I said, “I know. I really liked your show.” It was Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers.
Tom had a 650 Bonnie back in the ‘good old days’ as he called them. I should have gotten a photo with him, but the Hirschfeld will have to do. Here is a more recent photo of Tom receiving an award from Steve Martin.
From there I hit the coast. It was rather cold and the clouds were hugging the coast making it even colder. These cows didn’t seem to mind as the enjoyed their prime real estate.
I found a nice campsite right off the coast and enjoyed some of the local beverage as I chilled in my hammock.
Actually they were already here. Below is Fort Ross, a Russian settlement during the 1800’s on the California coast.
This guy is a weapons expert at Fort Ross. He showed me how they loaded and fired these old rifles. The man loves to talk. You could keep him going all day.
This is the cove where the Russian settlement would dock their ships.
This is a dead Russian duck.
These blue jays are always the first to pick at a campsite once the people leave.
This is the Sea Ranch Chapel. It was created for individual prayer and meditation.
The clouds were lifting a bit at this point.
I pitched tent under these redwoods. This is at a private campsite. The one in the Redwood Forest was filled. A couple from Sacramento, Rudy and Dana invited me to have dinner with them. After many a truck stop sandwich for dinner it was nice to have some grilled fish.
In the redwood forest you have to kick back and have a good look at the monsters.
And maybe fly around a bit.
There are bigger Redwoods further North but of the 3 roads headed East in northern California, I had already traversed the other two. So I skipped the BIG Redwoods (that I visited last year), and took the very twisty Route 36 inland.
I turned on Route 3 and headed North. I was in dire need of gas. Fortunately there was a pump here in Douglas City, (population 60).
I crossed into Oregon and saw this guy enjoying a place called Colliding Rivers.
Then I found a great campsite. As I was pitching my tent I could hear bagpipes playing in the direction of the river. I went to investigate and found this guy, Cliff, playing away.
There were a number of these bug shells around the river. The shell are like you find when the locust transforms. But I can’t imagine what the thing looks like now. It’s big. Like 2 inches long! Big for a bug.
There was more snow here than last year. I decided to recline on a snowbank for this shot.
I stopped, hoping to photograph this vulture sitting on a fence post in front of the flag mural, but he was camera shy. What a wing span.
Clearwater Falls was between the crater and the campsite.
When I returned from the crater my neighbor was hammered. He has been on the road since May bouncing around from campsite to campsite. He said he had been living with his daughter but that didn’t work out. This guy was a Vietnam Vet, a former air traffic controller, and a former Vegas pit boss. He had Paris Hilton vomit story which was cool.
The camp host Jake, said the tree to the right (in the photo below) is one of the oldest trees in all of Oregon.
Believe it or not, this is a two lane road. It was confirmed early in the ride when an unyielding pick up truck passed in the opposite direction.
Besides being narrow the road was filled with debris, like trees…
…and falling rocks.
Along Route 242 I passed miles of lava beds.
This fire near Sisters, OR was getting out of control. By the following day you were not able to see any blue from the same spot as it grew to over 4000 acres.
The Painted Hills. I love this place. I have to pack it up for now. I’ll write more when I get a chance.