This was a 39 day trip for me, most of it was spent riding from one location to another, but I’m only going to summarize most of the days and lump them together. I’ve talked about this trip a few times now and have come to the conclusion that there just isn’t anyway for me to really impart just how epic, wonderful, amazing, and grand everything that we saw was. The pictures we took are great, but they really don’t do any of the scenery justice.
I was behind on prep before the trip started; I don’t know how that happened when I’d been planning this trip for over 6 months. I had Jim come over and go through most of my gear to help me figure out if there was stuff I should be leaving behind. He managed to help me narrow down the tools a great deal and thin out a number of other things. This was a good thing since I was out of room for them. I did discover he packs twice the amount of clothes that I did… see not all guys pack light. 😛
I was satisfied with how the bike was packed by the time I left. The only thing not in the image below was the two one gallon gas cans that went into the TourTech brackets on the front of each of the panniers.
I also go the tool box mount on the bike between the left pannier and the bike so it was somewhat hidden. You could only see it when you looked at the bike from the back, and it looked like a power outlet. Nice way to hide things on the bike. The picture above is what the bike looked like for the entire trip, fully loaded up. When I weighed out the boxes with all the gear it came out to just under 98 lbs. The list of what I packed is here: Packing List. I ended up sending home from Anchorage, my off bike shoes, tee shirt, extra under armor and cotton socks. I picked 3 more pairs of smart wool socks, and shirts to replace them. I actually used everything I packed with the exception of tools and spares, but those are things I would take with me again. So the list I believe is pretty solid.
Before I get into how the trip started, I’ll just say now it didn’t get off to the best start. I shattered a brand new Ipod nano as I was walking out of the garage first thing in the morning, followed by leaving, ear buds at home, along with dumping a full glass of water all over Jaime at lunch on the first day, there was issues with logging into work, screwing up things at work, than fixing the things I’d screwed up, getting pulled over, issues with bear spray, and bike issues. I was thinking that was going to happen on Days 1 and 2 it kind of wondering just how the rest of the trip was going to go…. I was really thinking at the time it might be best to cancel the trip and give it up then, before it got any worse.
The first two days of the trip were spent in Utah. It’s usually hot, but not this time, I ended up using my heated hear coming into Salt Lake when we had to ride through two really have thunderstorms. It was still pretty for most of the ride. Heather met me at my place, we rode to pick up Jaime and the others at her place.
Loaded and ready to head out
Heather made it and is readjusting things before we head to pick up Jaime and the others.
Finally everyone shows up and is ready to head off to Goosenecks for our first night of camping… or at least that was the plan.
However, we ended up here in Farmington. Now I love Brian (the really tall guy), as he’s been a great friend/sponsor for years now, but could have gone without spending so much time him this day. On the way there, we discovered that Karin’s taillight had stopped working, we taped it up just outside of Chama, rode to Farmington to Speedin Motorsports were I knew that Brian and crew would be able to fix it. They did but it took a couple of hours to dismantle the bike sodder some new connections, add more wire, and make it so that it wouldn’t come apart again. By the time all that was done, it made the whole setting up camp thing rather hard to do, since we would be getting there in the dark. So we opted for a hotel close to where they wanted to have dinner that night.
When we rolled into the parking lot for dinner at 8:30 that night, little did I know that was going to be pretty much the way this entire trip was going to go, really long days, with really late dinner stops, if we ate dinner at all.
Then again, I don’t really mind drinking my dinner….
We did manage to get off to a decent start in the am, by 8 we had the bikes ready to roll. I only mention this, as it would be the earliest we got moving for the entire trip. I’m not a morning person, as luck would have neither is Jaime.
See this would have been a great place to camp last night! We left Heather at Goosenecks, she was starting her ride off to New Foundland,
Jaime and I headed off to Moki Dugway to ride our first section of dirt road. Once at the top, I had the brilliant idea to head to the lookout for some pictures, I remembered the road being more hard packed, but about 50 feet down the road, I hit some deepish sand. I told her on the Sena, that this might not be the best idea I’d had for awhile. It was about 20 feet later that I hit the REALLY deep powdery sand, the bike got really out of shape, I gave it bit more throttle and sat back some more, it straightened up, but then it just got worse and I went down in the sand the bike slid for a couple of feet. No worries, Jaime go it all on the GoPro. Well, she had it on video, but she’s having issues finding the video of it, maybe it got lost with the video of me in Dawson after having a bit too much to drink one night. One can hope.
The bike once we got it back up. I was really happy to have those H&B upper crash bars on the bike, they got bent, but they saved the tank from any damage. The bike wasn’t happy about it. The check engine light was on once I we got the bike up and restarted. It stayed on for 3 restarts of the bike and than went off. I’m sure it had to do with the tip over sensor. At least that is what I was hoping it was. It didn’t come back on so I figured it was all good.
The section of sand/powder that I fell down in… Yeah, for getting the first (hopefully the only) crash out of the way. 😛
After the excitement, we decided to just head straight to SLC so we could crash for the night at Mike and Lindsay’s. However, our excitement for the day wasn’t over, thanks to Jaime’s great idea of seeing how closely our cruise controls matched. What speed did she pick for the test? 85mph, Did my common sense kick in? No. Course not. Did this test end well? No, course not. Just how did it end? With me getting pulled over by a Utah trooper of course, there are no pictures of this… I didn’t get a performance award, my version of why I didn’t get a ticket and Jaime’s are different, and we are just going to leave it at that. However, the officer did thank both of us for wearing all of our safety gear, unlike a biker they had scraped off the pavement earlier in the day. His wording not mine.
I was just happy to not get a ticket, as we pulled away, I was starting to question the wisdom of having the Sena being paired. Since I had Jaime, giving me grief about not even being out of his sight and my already speeding… For the record, I wasn’t according to the GPS and by the speedo on the bike I was only 2 mph over. The next two days of being always being under the speed limit kinda bugged crap outta me, but she got over whatever it was and was back to her usual speedy self by the third day.
We had a great morning riding some fun twisty roads out of SLC with TMC and Lindsay, Mike, as usual had to show me some great gadget for cleaning and lubing chains. He then gave it to us since we were going to be do a great deal more of that than he was for the next month. He’s just an amazing, smart, talented, funny, and generous guy; I’ve met the best people because of motorcycles. Only getting over to see him once or twice a year just isn’t enough. He’s helped me a great deal over the past years with my racing. I’m just going let him keep thinking that he’s still faster than me on the race track….
BTW: That’s him directly behind me in this picture.
Back to the ride report…
Our next stop was Stanley ID. We met up with another inmate there I want to say his name was Grizzly, but I’m not sure that was right. He was riding a BMW but wearing a Triumph jacket I didn’t think that was allowed. We stayed at Motel there so I could log into work that night. Part of the deal I made so I could get all this time off was that I would take my work computer with me and I would log in to get some things done while I was gone since I’m the only one who know how to do them. It’s nice job security. Even with the time in the hot springs I still managed to get about 5 hours of work done.
There was no way we were going to get lost on this trip… Just sayin.
Along the way we’d make sure that Jaime learned how to work her Sena, GPS, and her bike computers.
But does that mean I can tell you where every picture was taken? Not a chance! Lol.
However this one was up at Flathead lake, which is where we FINALLY did some camping. Not a bad view for the night, eh?
This was the site of the bear spray incident.
Let’s just say I now know how to use it, and so does Jaime, she also now knows how it tastes too.
The next day we cleaned up the chains on the bikes, and used the grease ninja that Mike gave use, this was the first time that Jaime had taken her bike off the center stand by herself with it fully loaded… it didn’t quite go as planned.
It might have been the first drop of the trip, but it wasn’t the last.
Don’t let the pictures fool you this was our last day of sunshine, from here until the 3rd day in Anchorage it rained almost non-stop. We did have sections of no rain, with little bits of teasing bursts of sunshine, but it really did rain every day for 8 days. Overall not a bad average, for a 40 day vacation, but I was feeling a bit water logged on the second day. From here we made a mad dash up to Shuswap in Canada, we stayed at a really cute camp ground with cabins. The people who ran it were just awesome to us; they let us use their dryer so that we didn’t have to put on wet stuff the next day.
This would be the day my Jet Boil die a horrible death at the hands or tires of a Semi truck… No pictures it was just too horrible to see it all flattened out like that. The replacement jet boil would be brightly colored so that it wouldn’t get left on the muffler of the bike. I just can’t figure out how it stayed there for >200 miles before it fell off. I think it was a subconscious thing; I had wanted to buy a new stove, for this trip but couldn’t justify it since the one I had worked just fine. This new one has much better simmer control it’s also much cuter too.
Just before the Jet Boil died….. I’m not sure how I missed it still sitting on the muffler when we stopped here for lunch.
However, finding the replacement in Prince George in the pissing rain was horrible, but I’ve gotten a head of myself. Our next stop was in Prince George, we crashed in on a poor unsuspecting inmate who kindly offered his yard, but ended letting us stay in his house due to the rain.
Kelly was super kind to let us take over his house with such short notice not to mention his dogs are just too adorable! We headed out the next day in search of a jet boil, who knew it would take 3 hours and that we would tour the entire city… Next time I head to Canada, I’m going to see about getting a better data plan for my phone. So I don’t have to guess, the location of things or bad directions from people who work in the stores that don’t have what I’m looking for.
My view of Jaime for like 95% of the trip…
Those sunglasses died a bit later, they were uncomfortable. This picture is a great example as to why Jaime has a picture of me taking scissors to my bangs in a rest area.
From Prince George it was a long day up Stewart. We still made pretty good time and inspite of a the road being closed for an hour we still made it into Stewart before 11pm.
We figured if we took a picture of the map, we’d be able to remember where we were when the low blood sugar kicked in.
Speaking of low blood sugar…. I believe it was outside of Prince George one of the times that we had been riding for like 10 hours, in the rain, I was cold, on the tired side, and I was coming up on the side of hangry. (ya know… hungry to the point of starting to get irrationally angry about silly things.) I was pissy that Jaime kept talking about being hungry and how she wanted a steak. We rode past a place that looked like a decent steak house.. and by that I mean. A nice looking building that said it was a restaurant.
So I snapped that we are were going to stop there so I didn’t have to listen to her anymore. We turned around, worked our way back to it on some back streets, I pulled into the parking lot that was basically empty. For what ever reason I pulled up next to the only car there and promptly grabbed my front brake… Now, you should know happens when you do that while turning a really tight turn, right? You fall over! That is exactly what I did. Right next to that parked car, I was lucky that I missed that damn car by about an inch…
Jaime pulled up and sat there looking at me, like I had two heads and then asked me how I could be standing there when there wasn’t enough room between the bike and the car. I still don’t know how I missed the car. Or why I was in that spot to begin with. Jaime wisely choose not to take any pictures of the bike on the ground and just helped me pick it up. We went in to eat and while waiting for our food saw the guy who owned the car leave. He didn’t seem to notice the bikes at all. I was glad to see that. Drop #2 Not that there was any counting going on…
Jaime didn’t get her steak as the only steak on the menu was steak and bacon poutine. So that’s what I had for dinner. It was really tasty! If you haven’t heard of poutine, it’s kind of a comfort food made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy, that has a number of variations. This was Jaime’s introduction to Poutine, she wasn’t brave enough to try it… boy did she miss out. It was about 3/4 of the way into dinner that she made the comment about me being more like myself and that I needed to not let the it (whatever it was, take your pick –> hunger, tired, or being cold) go so long next time. Jaime doesn’t think that I should tell anyone about this, that we should stick to the great scenery, sights, and interesting people along the way, I’m not so sure about that. As this was one of things that I’m still laughing about when I think about the trip. As well as one of the things that I don’t need a picture to jog my memory about. So why not share it?
The tires I’d never heard of before I bought this bike were actually great and holding up really well. I think I’ll be using them more in the future.
We stopped for more pictures along the way, the rain was on and off, most of the time I was actually happy to see the rain, as it kept the blood sucking mosquitoes off me.
The guy the trike showed us his bear pictures once we got into Stewart, we didn’t see a single bear and hadn’t seen any wildlife until this road. On the way down we saw two bald eagles. Jaime was starting to get upset by the lack of wildlife. I’ll just tell you now, it doesn’t get any better for Jaime, either. Lol.
You’ve gotta love a hotel that has motorcycle parking up on the sidewalk.
They also had some great art, kind of like the painted ponies that we have around Santa Fe. I loved these two bears!
I had been looking forward to getting my fill of seafood on this trip, but we were too early for this local stop.
Instead we checked out the docks and a local gift shop where I picked up some fudge so I could feed it to Jaime when her blood sugar got low and she got grumpy, or when I was getting grumpy. I also picked up a new hat for when we were camping, that night at Flathead Lake reminded me that I needed one when I was cold while camping.
The one way border crossing was interesting, I have to say this guy was a great deal nicer than the first one. I’m sure the guy at the first border crossing was an okay guy, but he was easily spooked and not very friendly. He acted like I had tried to stab him when I grabbed the window to keep from falling over with my bike. They really need to make sure the areas in front of those windows are level and not slanted, I went to put the kickstand down, pull my helmet off, after handing him my passport, and the bike started to tip over I grabbed the window and my helmet. He leaped back knocked his chair over and then got rather snotty. He took my passport and told me to go wait under the carport around the corner for someone to come talk to me. I figured I was hosed and that they were going to tear my bike apart, but a nice lady came out and handed me my passport after about 15 minutes. This second guy was nice and funny, he wanted to know why we were in such a hurry to get through Canada?
It’s pretty, but at the time it was really wet…