Sunday, August 18, 2013

Riders of the Scurry

  So anyway, it is now a warm sunny Sunday afternoon in San Francisco and the apartment is a mess.  I did the minimum Friday in order to get to Saturday market.  Got home yesterday and collapsed.  Have slept in three hours shifts since then.  But I wanted to get to this before my recollections fade into the coming fog of time passing.
  There is a lot that I didn't cover in the daily posts.  Enough to let you know we were okay and having an adventure.  Here are a few things I want to add:
1)  It is remarkable to me that in all that riding, in all those states, on all those back roads, we did not encounter a single traffic accident.  Not even a minor come together.  Especially since Montana erects a cross at every traffic fatality in the state.  And there were plenty of crosses.  One in particular had a least 15 little crosses mounted a larger one.  Must have been a bus accident.  We were being watched over.  Thanks Aunt Ruth!
2)  Sturgis.  The grandaddy of all Harley Davidson gatherings.  It regularly draws hundreds of thousands of bikers to this little town in South Dakota.  I didn't refer to it because we weren't going and everyone we met asked if we were going.  We always explained that we were on a different ride.  And honestly, I think we had more roads to ourselves because of Sturgis.  Saw the most numbers of bikers coming through Yellowstone.
3) Our National Parks are a treasure that we need to support and protect.  Some of the ways logging and mineral mining is done would break your heart.  Not saying we shouldn't harvest our natural resources, just needs to done correctly with respect for the planet.
4)  Back roads and small towns are the places to visit.  Walmart and the like have put huge pressure on smaller businesses and restaurants.  Met some delightful people that way.  Ask for local recommendations.
5)  We are getting older.  Found out that a little extra comfort goes a long way towards making motorcycle travel easier.  Springing for better hotel accommodations can be a life saver.
6)  I am grateful for the opportunity to ride this great land.  Knowing that I have the love and support of so many family and friends made it all possible.  THANK YOU.
7)  To Dad, Pa and Biker, I have treasured our time on the road together.  Will take to my urn this experience. I love and respect each of you.  I lift my glass to ya'll.  Cheers.

Once again: the Riders of the Scurry

Dad (Michael)

Pa (Marc)
Biker (Mike)
LabRat (Kelly)

Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm a cowboy. On a steel horse I ride. And I am wanted........Farewell to Beaux Hemoth

There's no place like home

 Woke up around 5 this morning, about the same time I need to be up for market tomorrow.  Dad and Pa sent me a message around 7 that they were up as well.  I have been in my own room the last several nights, sometimes adjoining theirs so we have a suite.  Not last night in the "Fair" Western in Red Bluff.  Certainly couldn't call it a "Best" Western.  No A/C in the halls nor yogurt in the breakfast room.  We have justified the extra expense of Best Western due to the discounts for AAA, HOG, Seniors and the breakfast being included.  Some have been better than others.  Met a Jewish family of ten who were out of Seattle, touring some of the country.  They really liked Dad's shirt.  I'll post a pic that will explain their amusement.  The father said that he would really like to have a motorcycle to which his wife replied, no way!  They were a jolly bunch.  Sweet.
  So anyway..... we ate, packed and took out of Red Bluff and rode an hour or so before stopping to fuel up for the final push home.  We were on I-5 rolling through the vast agricultural valley north of Sacramento.  Beautiful sunny, warm morning.  I was listening to my movie trailer play list when the track from "Band of Brothers" came on.  Burst into tears of joy.  Scenery, music, riding with my biker family.  I had to remind myself to hold it together as clearly this was going to be an emotional day.
  Made the transition onto I-80 and all the road signs were very familiar as we were now around freeways we try to avoid on our Sunday rides.  Made a pee stop at the last rest area before home.  We sort of lingered, trying to stretch the time out.  Wanted to be home but didn't want the ride to stop.  After we sang, "San Francisco", off we went.  Down I-80, onto the Bay Bridge and then exited to Treasure Island for the final group shot.  Lined the bikes up and commandeered a guy standing there to take the pic.  He had a nice camera, took a couple of his own.  Gave him my email address.  We'll see if he comes through.  He took some with Dad's camera.  And then it was done.  I had a little sobbing jag.  They made it a truly epic ride and we will forever share the experience.  Biker Mike too even though he had split off in Spokane.  His was a great contribution, both by his long, tall presence and his sense of humor.  He and I roomed together before he split.  We often found a bar to have a beer together.  I was his shortish wingman.
  We got back on the Bay Bridge together and then went our separate ways.  Got to the house, quickly unloaded and took Beaux Hemoth back to the Dubbelju Motorcycle Rentals.  Babbled on to the folks there about the ride.  They didn't bat an eye that I had rolled up so many miles on the RK.  I highly recommend them.  They gave me my Triumph back and off I went.  It felt like a scooter compared to what I had been riding.  And now I am home, doing laundry after getting groceries.  Market tomorrow.  Same scene but I am a changed actor.  Isn't that what having adventures is all about?
  Remember to check back in the next week for the wrap-up post.  I need some time to process.
Nothing but love for ya'll.

It's been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise.  I consider it a challenge and I ain't gonna lose.

Made traveling Jews laugh, front


Giving Beaux a goodbye kiss

oh, the mileage of it all

Mikey the mechanic at Dubbelju reacts to my mileage

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Transit: Oregon/California Red dawn to Red Bluff

  So, we were up earlier than usual.  Partly because we can feel the end of the ride coming and partly because there was some possibility that we could hit Crater Lake National Park and Lassen National Park today.  We knew it would be a stretch as they are 4 1/2 hours apart and we would then have to find a place to stay the night and get back San Francisco tomorrow in the afternoon.
  We got on the road a little before nine and headed for Crater Lake, a 50 mile ride through volcanic piney woods.  The air was smokey from fires in southern Oregon that were pushed our way by the prevailing winds.  Got to the park entrance and took pictures to document getting into our sixth park of the trip.
  Rode on into the park and climbed up the crater rim.  From the top you can see the deep lake that fills the crater.  I am always awed by Crater Lake.  One of many volcanoes in the area.  Took some pics, hit the visitor center and rode back down.  Left the park and pointed the bikes toward Klamath Falls. 
  We planned to have lunch there, fuel up and decide if we could make Lassen today.  I guess I should share that I have lost my voice.  I sort of croak now.  We ate at a Subway and talked, well they talked, I croaked about the situation.  The decision was made to head for home, we had run out of time.  It was an ambitious goal to get to that many parks in so short a time.  If we had a month we could have.......
  After the damn GPS sent us around in circles in downtown Klamath Falls, I finally started following the actual highway signs and got us out of town on 97 toward Weed CA. where we were to pick up I-5 super slab, south bound.  Rode for an hour so until we stopped for some water (it was over 90 degrees) at a scenic pull out at the base of Mt. Shasta.  Took some pictures and had ours taken by a lovely lady from Idaho.  Rode on to Weed.  It was tempting to make a run for home right then as we had a smidge over two hundred fifty miles to San Francisco.  I think we were smart to agree that it was unrealistic to try it.  Got ahold of Best Western (our new Motel 6), made a reservation the one in Red Bluff, CA. and rode for an hour until we got there late afternoon.  Checked in, got some supper (Sea Bass), toasted the last night of the ride and now have called it a day.
  Stay tuned.  Will make the last ride post and then do the wrap post in the days to come, so don't give up just yet, if you haven't already in which case this sentence is useless.

red dawn




Band on the run

Mt. Shasta kith, kith


Red Bluff

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Transit: Washington/Orgeon King of the Road, King

Paradise Valley

  Woke to a beautiful yet overcast morning in Paradise Valley WA.  Marc's parents had to leave early so we were on own getting up and going.  Took awhile as we are slower in mornings now.  The days on the road exact a price.  That said, the rewards can be, well, rewarding.  Today was a case in point.
  We have avoided super slab freeways and interstates.  Today we had to use it to get to Highway 20 outside Salem OR.  That was going to be our route to LaPine OR for our next hotel.  Been a luxury to be able to email ahead for a hotel reservation.  Lots of tech on this ride.  GPS, iPhones, iPads, laptops and the like.  Indispensable tools.
  So anyway....we left Marc's folks, stopped for breakfast and headed for the I-5 entrance ramp.  Pretty heavy traffic all morning. Got to a rest area and stopped.  Met some riders with the Patriot Guard on their way to a soldier's funeral.  Sad.  I took the lead for the first time this trip.  Kept grinding out the miles until the signs pointed to Rt. 20.
  Made our transition onto Rt 20.  Two lane blacktop running through a couple small towns.  Stopped for lunch about 3 at a cafe in Sweet Home, OR.  (one of my favorite town names from this ride, Sweet Home, OR and George, WA.)  I had a BLT and had to pay an extra 50 cents for whole wheat toast.
  So off we go and started toward the mountains on Rt. 20, the Santiam Scenic Byway.  Lots of wonderful twisting road up the mountain.  Really have the hang of leaning Beaux way over and scrapping the floorboards.  Michael commented on me learning to ride the Harley like a sport bike.  I just thought I using Beaux's, umm, potential.  So much fun.  Got to the pass and was greeted with the cone shape of a volcano directly ahead.  The Sisters rise up from high desert.  Lots of lava fields and burned out forest.  Surreal landscape.  Never been in this part of Oregon.  Great stuff.  The lava fields gave way to piney woods just like North Carolina.
  Got to LaPine, checked in and went for supper at a good mexican place.  Not usually very hard finding decent food when you are off in back country.  Still plenty of local places to eat.  We've only eaten at a Subway twice.  A new record low.
  Gotta hit the hay, folks.  Only two more days of travel.  Don't wanna stop.  Too busy riding to take many pics.


Best Western Hotels like us to park out front.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Purple Rainier

  Had a good nights rest.  Sprung for a good hotel last night with a comfy bed, breakfast included.  Sweet!  Got on the road around 10:30.  We had a lot planned for the day and needed to get the I-90 part out of the way, about 120 miles.  Crossed lots of hay fields.  We have seen a lot of hay being put up this trip, it is August after all.  The Columbia River cuts a deep gorge in the plain.  The bridge crossing it is impressive.
  Got into Yakima around noon.  Stopped for gas and a sub for lunch.  Met a guy from East Tennessee who was out visiting his son who in the military.  He had brought the son's motorcycle from Tennessee in a pick-up.  Funny, I could tell he was home folk from across the station without even seeing he license plates.
  From Yakima, we got on Highway 12 and headed for the White Pass Scenic Byway.  Great two land road climbing up into Cascades.  Lovely lake to our left for a way until we climbed well above it.  Topped the pass and before us was Mt Rainier.  After a long descent, we entered Mt Rainier National Park.  Decided to make the climb up to the visitors center just under the glacier.  Up around 6600 feet.  We have spent a lot of time at altitude this trip.  Love being up in the mountains.  Did some beholding and made our way back down.  Stopped for gas and headed out for Marc's parents place in Mossyrock, Washington.  Ramona and Tony welcomed us into their lovely home.  Ramona served up some stuffed shells, salad and bread.  Her grandparents are from Southwest Virginia.  We are most likely related.  Good folks for sure.
  Again, note that this trip is about finding great riding in and close to National Parks.  Photo ops are only when stopped for fuel, food and other business.

Good morning Washington

(wanted to) go jump in the lake

Like we don't ALL the time

Yuk, What is that?


Running out of adjectives

Dad and Pa get their lean on

Yea, we're bad

Who's that in the window?  Tony, Marc and Ramona

Monday, August 12, 2013

Transit: Montana/Idaho/Washington And then there were three.

  The day began early as Biker wanted to get his bike fixed so he could leave with us.  He got out around 8:30 and was there with the dealer opened.  Meanwhile, Dad, Pa and I took time packing while we waited to hear from Biker.  Got a chance to check in with my big sister in TN.
  Biker called about 10:30 saying the bike was done and he was headed back to the hotel.  Once he arrived and loaded his bike, we got underway around 11AM.
  Decided to take Rt 2 from Western Montana, all the way across Idaho and into Washington.  Lovely two lane road through hay fields and forests.  Big timber country.  Lot of log hauling going on.  2 runs along a couple rivers.  Don't recall their names.  I was enjoying the experience more than paying attention to place names.  I was really having fun.  I feel at peace when i have the helmet on and in the saddle.  Any tension or stress  falls away and I am one with road (did I write that?).  True enough though.
  So anyway....  later in the day we hit road construction.  Some rough going in gravel.  But Beaux and I were as one,  greeted the challenge. and prevailed!  LOL
  We stopped for lunch in Libby Idaho.  Chatted with a couple from Marin county who had a cabin up here.  He likes to fish.
  Then through more construction.  Biker and I got separated from Dad and Pa  in the middle of it.  Found them later in the afternoon outside of Spokane WA.  We knew all along the Biker was going to split off from us and visit friends in Seattle and Portland.  The rest of us are headed for Marc's parents close to Mt. Rainier.  I don't like good byes.  But we did say good bye to Biker.  Funny that we caught up with him 20 minutes later in Spokane proper.  When we got to I-90, we finally saw the last of each other.  Sad to see him go.
  Now we are three.  Pressed on through Spokane rush hour traffic and pounded out another 60 miles to Ritzville WA.  Got a couple of rooms at a Best Western (10% discount for Harley riders, one of the perks of Harley Davidson cult membership).
  Not many pictures today.  Was too taken with ride to remember to take many.  Makes me want to get one of those GoPro cameras that mount to your helmet.  Here are the few I took and one Michael took.  Too bad we don't have any of us and the bikes!
  Tomorrow Mt Rainier. Our fifth park.
Cheers ya'll

Field Trip

Side by Side and not into the wind

Last shot of the four of us

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday in the Park with Glaciers

 We are at that time of a long tour that getting started in the mornings seems to take forever.  Fatigue begins to slow us down.  One thing or another pops up to delay getting on the road.
  Started today taking Biker to get his bike from the dealer.  Ever doubled a 6'8" man on the back of a 750lb motorcycle?  I did pretty well with it.  So anyway......  A hose had decayed and that was causing the fuel smell.  After I was stung by a wasp, We bolted for the hotel to gather Michael and Marc.  Once gathered, we set out for Glacier to ride the Going to the Sun Road.  A bucket list ride for most motorcyclists.  Just out of Kalispell, Michael pulled over because a bolt had fallen out of his helmet face shield.  Fixed it with a zip tie and we were off again.  Damn wasp sting bothered me all day but certainly didn't diminish the thrills of the day.
  It being a Sunday, the line at the entrance was longish and we waited 15 minutes or so.  Stopped for some pictures just past the entrance.  The road runs along Logan Lake before starting to climb.  A bit of construction slowed the traffic plus we got behind one of those wonderful but slow pokey red buses full of tourists.  Biker was struggling because his bike was now throwing exhaust fumes in his face the whole way.  Unpleasant for him to say the least.
  The climb up to Logan's Pass (6600ft) was breathtaking, not because of the fumes but from the vistas.  Won't even try to describe it.  I'll let the pics do that.  Very happy to see the glaciers before they are gone.  Sad.
  Lunch after we descended.  Decided to not climb back up and over the pass again.  Instead  we took the long way round back to Kalispell some 120 miles.  Again stumbled on wonderful undulating two lane roads.  Almost as much fun as the climb earlier.  Biker was able to breathe better because we were up to speed and the wind helped clear the air.  He will have to deal with it tomorrow and may end up staying in Kalispell another day.  Michael, Marc and I will have to carry on with out him.  He was going to split off from us in Spokane anyway.  Been a real pleasure getting to know and riding with him.
  Went to a casino down the street for supper.  Fine half rack of ribs.  Oh yea.  Another tremendous day on the road.  So loving this.
  Gotta pack tonight and we are off again tomorrow for the next leg of the trip.
Carry on regardless.....



Biker catches a breather


glacier with falls

Logan's Pass