Have Helmet, Will Travel: The Northwest Passage Day 11

United States Travel Blog

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I woke up in Idaho still on Pacific Time and ready to head east. As I started packing the bike, Rich walked up to chat. Remember Rich, he’s the one riding with two of his buddies that he lent bikes to and met his son last night. We were heading in the same direction but different schedules. I shook hands with the crew and watched them ride off. I rode to the Nez Perce National Historic Park visitor’s center (three National Park stamp stop) and walked around a bit learning about the Lewis and Clark expedition and about the Nez Perce tribe.

Nez Perce National Historic Park.

Ready to ride the Lewis and Clark Trail.

Now it was riding along the Clearwater River and the L & C trail. Nice morning, little traffic and fun roads. I did stop for a snack and watched the anglers for a bit.

Break time.

I had been climbing the grade towards the Lolo Pass for a while when I realized it was break time. As I munched on a power bar and replenished my liquids some bicyclist rode up, there were two different groups. One was some elderly folks heading to Florida, talk about endurance. We chatted and then they headed out. Shortly after a individual rode up and we talked about destinations and he to was headed to VA, Yorktown. We gave each other well wishes before I rolled out. Nice folks and I respect their rides and efforts. This is the second time I spent time with bicycle folks and it was most enjoyable.

Heading towards the pass.

Visit with Bicyclist.

Later I stopped for gas and ran into Rich and his posse. They were just leaving and in high spirits. I did see them one more time in Missoula, their stop for the night. Somehow I passed them without seeing them. They rode up behind me and we did our final wave. Speaking about waves, have you ever noticed when you are on a long trip alone and you haven’t seen another bike in a while and when you do see another bike coming alone and obviously on a trip, when you wave you both linger with the hand out, like you don’t want to say goodbye yet.

Rich and his Posse, he owns all four bikes, Rich is on your left with the Tiger, his son on the T100, his buddies on the 1150RT and the K75RT.

Final shot in Idaho.

I made it to Whitefish, Montana today, nice ride and great visits with a different group of folks. Tomorrow I will head to Glacier National Park even thou most of it is still closed due to snow.

The Mission Mountains, MT.

Still snowing.

Flathead Lake, the signs here are unique, they are in Flathead and English.

Nice Bike!!

Miles and smiles 360, (579 Km) now on Mountain Time.

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
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I headed out to the Big Sky and east on the High-Line as they call US-2 in these parts, not much scenery but I took a shot of the Bear Paw foothills. I also came across a few miles of rough road, the state tore up US-2 all at once for resurfacing.

Bear Paw Foothills, Big Sky.

US-2 Big Sky.

I stopped in the town Saco for a break and found some interesting history. The town had refurbished an old Clack service station to be used as a rest stop for weary Route 2 travelers. H. Earl Clack had a string of these stations stretching across the High-Line of Montana. Clack was one of the first stations to use the flat roof design along with the circle canopy over the pumps. In the 1950’s Husky Oil acquired Clack assets. This example is one few remaining in the state.

H. Earl Clack Station, Saco, MT.

Pay-N-Save Store, Saco, MT.

Big Dome Hotel, Saco, MT.

It was on to North Dakota and now I only have one state left to visit, Alaska. On the way I stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, this is part of the Northern Badlands. There were a couple of buffalo roaming around but I kept a wide berth.

Welcome to North Dakota, only one state left!

North Dakota rest stop.

Welcome to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Teddy's Park.

Leaving Teddy's Park.

Nice Bike!!!

After leaving the park, it was south to a strange four lane road called an Interstate, it has been a while since I saw one of these creatures. I made it to Bismarck for the evening and will head further south and east in the morning.

It was a 537 mile (864 km) day.

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

So I had a great night’s sleep, time to unpack and take care of maintenance.

The day started off great, I will be home tonight! Always good to get home after a long ride. I headed east on I-64 to make time and rolled into IN.

Welcome to Indiana.

I stopped at a rest area for my morning break and John rode up on his Honda Interceptor. He was headed to Kentucky, he loved riding the Interstate and stopping at every rest area to chat up anyone interested in bikes.

John's Bike.

I headed out and rolled through Kentucky and lots of construction on both sides of KY and WV border. That slowed me down a bit, I really dislike construction zones.

Welcome to Kentucky.

So it was on to home getting in around 9:30, long day and it felt good being here. I may be at breakfast in Paint bank but I know a lot of you will be at the Bluegrass Book Bank Campout. So I’ll see you on the road, I have an extra month at home so time start planning another ride or two.

Nice Bike!!!

Home sweet Home.

It was a 670 mile (1078 km) day and home it is.

Final Route 6905 Miles (11112 km).

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

Okay, here you go.

The day started off with warm weather and a ride down the Pony Express Trail. The four number roads in Nebraska have a speed limit of 65 MPH (105 KPH) with no traffic, perfect way to see the country side.

Good Morning Nebraska.

I rode into Kansas and couldn’t find much different in the landscape but it was still nice, open roads and good weather.

Welcome to Kansas.

Nebraska landscape.

Kansas landscape.

Since I have been to all of the continental US States, I decided to stop at the center and feel the power. Nice little piece of nowhere at the end of KS191 near Lebanon, KS. I did share my snack with a bunny hopper before heading south to Lebanon and slowly turning east towards home on US24.

Smack dab in the middle.

Bunny hopper.

Nice Bike!!!

As I rode through Cawker City, KS I spotted the world’s largest ball of twine. So I circled the block to stop and check it out (No U-Turns on US24). A lot of work, I think if the guy had a bike it wouldn’t have happened.

The big ball.

As I entered Missouri I rolled into the visitor’s center for my free map and saw the Chiefs stadium, mighty impressive.

KC Chiefs Playground.

But now it was time to make miles, so onto the slab and into Illinois for the evening. I did make one last rest stop and you can see the shadows were getting long. I’m spending the night in Mt. Vernon, IL.

Long shadows.

Nice day, 704 miles (1133 km), I think I like doing this.

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
As I left Bismarck, ND this morning I found I was still following the Lewis & Clark Trail along the Missouri. I chose Hwy 1804 to ride, it is a lesser road, little to no traffic and 65 MPH (105 kph) speed limit. Great way to make time, it wasn’t long before I found myself in South Dakota, the scenery didn’t change much but the road situation remained the same. Some time in SD I found I was on the Outlaw Trail and there were no longer signs for the L & C Trail. So I took the safety loop off of the hammer and kept an eye out.

North Dakota Morning.

Pleasant Surprise 77777!

South Dakota Doesn't Look Much Different.

South Dakota Break.

Not Much Around.

Soon I found my self entering Nebraska, the scenery still look pretty much the same, not much variation from these three states. I didn’t have a National Park along the way so it was just blasting down the back roads until I reached Grand Island where I am spending the night.

Welcome to Nebraska.

Landscape Still Looking The Same.

My thoughts are beginning to start the fast haul home. I was going to keep on secondary roads but I decided I would like to sleep in my own bed soon. So sometime tomorrow I will cross I-70 and slowly turn east, then twist the throttle towards home.

Nice Bike!!!

Total Miles 537, (864 km) Fun In The Sun!

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
Looks like the foot of snow (305mm) on the Blue Mountains have rerouted me. The Cascades only had a few inches (mm), but I had planned on crossing the Blues. I almost rode back to Crater Lake because the skies were clear but the report said the roads were icy. As I was packing the bike a real biker started chatting with me. He was from Idaho and rode a lot of the roads he was suggesting during bicycle races. He sent me across the state on US-20 towards Ontario and then North to Baker City.

A glance back at the Cascades.

The High Desert.

Have we been getting a raw deal? Actually most of OR has 10% Ethanol.

As I arrived at the motel I saw a sign for ‘Hells Canyon Bike Rally’. I inquired at the office and they informed me that it was this coming weekend, lucky for me. As most of you know I ride alone 87.6% of the time and I do not like big crowds. Wearing my new Beemers & More t-shirt I was asked if I was there to set up for the rally.

Welcome Bikers.

During check in I was talking with a guy who told me two motorcyclist had gotten stuck on the upper passes in the Blues, same passes I had planned on. They were rescued by a passing motorist.

The Blue Mountains.

I arrived early enough to head out to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Nice place, I wondered about the museum and read of the hardships the early pioneers endured along the Oregon Trail. I was also able to walk the trail, interesting to say the least.

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

The actual Oregon Trail.

Nice Bike

Total rolling today 375 Miles. (603 km)

Tomorrow, Hells Canyon and points northeast.
Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
The day started with rain, I looked out the window and said oh well, you can’t have every sunny day, you need to let someone else have one. So I packed my gear and put on wet gear in good spirits. It wasn’t too bad just a bit chilly, time for grip heat. As I turned onto CO141, the rain let up, this route was suggested to me by Max at MotoHaus. It was a damp but nice ride. I only had to pass one car the whole 141 route, a RFD vehicle. The temperature did drop every time I was above 7000 feet (2134 M), so I had to use High heated grips, first bike I’ve owned with them, I like. 141 is a great road, little or no traffic and a clean up kept road, try it, you’ll like it.

Colorado 141.

The CO141 Route.

Last stop in Colorado, along the Deloris River.

I reached CO90 and started my trek west, I hadn’t seen a gas station since I left Grand Junction and I know I was using up a bit. So when I reached US 191 in Utah I had to ride north to the nearest gas in Spanish Trail. Once I topped off I headed to Canyonlands National Park, by the way, no gas out this way, good thing I filled up. Nice road into the park, again, no traffic. I came upon a sign for Newspaper Rock so a quick stop was had. Then into the park, I stopped in the visitors center and asked about a quick tour. He told me to take a gravel road to Cave Spring and do the .5 mile/.8 km hike. Then he looked out at the bike and said to take another dirt road to Elephant Hill. Then he said beyond the parking lot at Elephant hill it becomes a jeep trail and I would have to meet Jason’s standards to ride it. If you your bike is bigger than this, you can’t go on this ride.

The road to Canyonlands.

Newspaper Rock.

Welcome to Canyonlands.

First Trail Stop.

Trail Ladder.

Trail Cairn.

Canyonlands Shots.

Back Roads Canyonlands.

Gentlemens Water Crossing.

It Was A Fun Ride.

After leaving the park I found I didn’t have time to make it to Natural Bridges NP before closing. So I rode south to Mexican Hat for the night. Upon arriving I didn’t see any suitable digs and it was still light out. So off to Page, AZ, this turned out to be a long ride and the shadows were very long by the time I made it.

Long Shadows, Navajo Land

The Days Last Shot.

I am now safe and secure for the night. Tomorrow will be Grand Canyon and points west.

Total Miles 533. 858 Km 

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum.
I spent the night in Whitefish, great town, relaxing and a good place to start your Glacier National Park tour. It was a nice ride to the park passing through some nice roads and the town of Dead Horse. I arrived at the park and was taking my welcome to the park picture, when two young ladies pulled up and offered to take my picture in exchange for theirs next to the sign. Nice girls and just having a great time.

Road to Glacier NP.

Welcome to Glacier NP.

Test shot after dropping the camera, good thing it bounced off of my boot.

I headed into the park and was told I could only ride in 16 miles (26 km) of the 50 mile (80 km) Going To The Sun Highway. To me it was better than bypassing a great park. I rode along and saw a lot of great sights, I know my pictures do not do justice but I try to portray as best I can.

Heading in.

Lake McDonald.

McDonald Creek.

Glacier National Park.

End of the road.

Red Car Tours.

Snack Break.

Nice Bike!

After leaving the park I started my head east. I stopped for a shot at the Continental Divide and a shot of East Glacier that is located in the Blackfoot Reservation.

Continental Divide, all down hill from here.

East Glacier National Park.

Last look back.

Coming Attractions.

After that it was riding across the Northern Plains and stopping in the last town of any significant on US-2 before North Dakota, Havre. I inquired about the town name from a local while having supper. It is pronounced ‘Have Her’, named after two men fighting over a saloon girl, one finally said ‘Have Her’, and there you go. As you know a lot of towns out west have histories like this.

They are great and they are plain.

Well folks another day done, tomorrow I should be in the Dakotas.

It was a 300 mile day (483 km), feeling great!

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

After stopping back in at Beemers & More and meeting the owner Steve. I set up shipping of a couple items I no longer needed. I chatted with the guys a bit but sunlight was burning and I had miles to go.

Beemers & more Motorcycle Works

Ready to head out.

On my way out of town I stopped in at MotoHaus Coffee and met Max. Max and Angela have a great shop www.motohauscoffee.com plus Max is a Beemer man. I shared some time with Max and a customer on a RT that I forgot his name. We talked bikes and rides along with some suggestions from Max that I may add. If you ever out in Ft. Collins stop in and chat over coffee, by the way the coffee was great.

MotoHaus Coffee & yours truly

Max Mackey.

The Shop.

From MotoHaus I headed west towards Estes Park on a route that Gary suggested. It was a great ride and bought me into Estes Park from the north near the Stanley Hotel famous for the movie “The Shining”. I didn’t have time to tour but a quick stop was had.


It was on to Rocky Mountain National Park next, I stopped at the visitor center for a park stamp and info. No gas service in the park so I had to ride a couple miles back into Estes Park for fuel. Better safe than sorry, I think I would have been playing it close and I haven’t had time to give this one the reserve ride to find out how far she will go.

Rocky Mountain National Park Visitors Center.

AS I entered the park it started to rain slightly but nothing serious. Now for the critters, there were bunches of Elk right after you enter the park but no place to stop and too many cages in the way. I kept going and the rain turned to snow, still light so no problem, it did appear I missed the heavy rain because the roads were wet. Some of the snow banks were higher than me but the temps were not bad. I did use this opportunity to try the heated grips while wearing a pair of gloves with Outlast, they worked great. I did end up seeing more Elk, some Deer and some Moose, no Bighorns.


Trail Ridge Road.

12150 Feet, 3703 Meters.

As I left the park I hopped on I-70 for a quick bit and remembered why I have hardly any Interstate riding on this tour. I got off on exit 216 and headed up Loveland Pass, much more better then the tunnel on I-70. Nice switchbacks and a clean fun road.

Loveland Pass, 3654 Meters.

The Pass.

From the top.

From the pass I rode by Arapaho Basin sky area, it was still open. A-Basin is one of the smaller resorts that I skied when I was doing the downhill thing. It is surrounded by the big name resorts that have condos and such, but they were all closed. I ended up on Colorado Rt. 9 heading south to US24. CO9 is a nice two lane through some great passes but it finally flattens out in the valley but gives you time to open it up to get some air flowing.

Colorado Route 9 and US 24.

I headed east on US24 towards Manitou Springs for the night. Upon arriving I had plenty of sunlight so I rode over to the Garden of the Gods. This was a park I spent many a day in when I was young. At the main entrance they have the formation called the Kissing Camels. In the sixties they let us climb the rocks at our own risk. I don’t remember anyone suing the state for allowing this, not sure now.

Kissing Camels.

Garden of the Gods.

Climbing Rocks.

Nice Bike!

So it’s another day done, tomorrow it’s up Pikes Peak, 14110 feet, 4301 meters. That should make a great ride.

Total miles rode today 333, 536 km.


Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

Well Day 00 is done. First of all I missed my flight but Northwest was more than helpful and got me on a Delta flight arriving in Denver a few hours later. This also gave me a First Class upgrade so all was more than well. After getting on the shuttle I received a call from Gary Exner from the Ducati ST list inviting me to supper. So I was set for the evening.

I made it to Ft. Collins and Matthew Peters from Beemers & more Motorcycle Works picked me up. We headed to the shop and I found the bike ready to roll, Matthew had topped off the tank and did a quick ride around to make sure all was well. He was also very generous letting me work on the bike at the shop. I had to add a couple of plugs for the GPS and electric tank bag plus the straps for the tank bag. It took a bit over an hour and I was rolling out the door. I can’t say enough about Beemers & More, if your out that way stop in and say hi, they just became a Aprilia and Piagio dealer also.

After finishing up the mods I snapped a few photos before heading to the Comfort Inn, Beemers & More has a discount rate there, so might as well use it.

All Packed.

Ready To Roll.

Good Company.

More Good Company.

I called Gary and him and his wife Mary had fixed up a picnic supper. I arrived and they were ready to roll, sorry no pictures I left my camera in the room. The ride was great, nice little shakedown through Thompson Canyon to Cedar Cove for a most excellent picnic supper. The three bikes rolled out and we made our way back towards town and said our goodbyes at a gas station along the way in. I really do appreciate the hospitality I was given and it starts the tour on top.

The Shakedown Ride 57 miles.

Bed Time.
Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
After two missed attempts, 2006: Ducati ST2 too late in the season, October and snow, 2007: Ducati ST4 too early in the season, May not open yet, 2008: BMW R100GS, June just right.

It was a great day of riding. I started off heading south back into Navaho Land and to the Vermillion Cliffs. What a way to start the morning, it was still cool and little traffic.

Morning, Navajo Land.

Vermillion Cliffs.

After climbing the cliffs I meandered west to the North Rim turn off. It was above 8700 feet (2652 m) and a bit cool, but not enough to layer. The ride in to the park was nice and relaxing, still too early for lots of traffic. I hiked one of the trails to an overlook and it was a fantastic sight.

Check This One Off Of The List!

I headed out with plans to make Boulder City, I spoke with Austin Blessard the night before and he thought he might make it there. So it was back down to the lower plains of Arizona where the temperatures kept climbing.

Northwest Arizona and Southwest Utah.

I rode back up to Utah to hop on I-15 for the ride down to Nevada, now it was very hot and windy, rough time keeping the bike on the road, I sure could use a neck massage. I think I earned my Urban Adventure Rider wings on I-15, lots of construction, rough road, very windy and high speed traffic. It was wearing my nerves, so with joy I pulled off on to NV-169 into Lake Meade National Recreation Area. Now I would like to meet the person who decided to call this an NRA, there is nothing here and it is hot as hell. I exercised my right to bare arms, I had to remove my jacket or die. Any minute I expected to see Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner with a package from Acme.

Just Plain Hot.

That Ribbon Of Highway.

I survived the heat and rode up to Hoover Dam, I was too late for the visitor center but that was okay. Now I have seen the headwaters of the Colorado up to the big plug stopping it all. Soon you will not be able to cross the dam, they are in the midst of constructing a bypass bridge.

The Big Plug.

Nice Bike!

The Future.

I headed to the motel and when I turned my phone on there was a call from Austin. He came over and grabbed a room so we had pizza, kicked tires and told lies. It was great sharing the evening over beer and pizza talking about past and future rides. Tomorrow will be Death Valley and maybe a few route changes after sharing stories with Austin. Sorry Seth, no FF's (food fotos), I haven't ate anything worthy. Breakfast is the free motel crap, I have a liquid lunch and supper has been quick and off to bed.

Todays Route 427 Miles. 687 Km. 

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

Woke up this morning and dragged a comb across my head. What a day, how many times can I say that? As Jay Farrar sang “No one could dream a place like California”. I started off by heading into Yosemite National Park. I spent most of my day there riding the whole park. It was nice but being Sunday, the weekend folks were out in large numbers.

Heading out of Bishop.

Welcome to Yosemite.


Half Dome

Nice Bike!

Bridalveil Fall (620 feet)(189 meters) 

Ribbon Fall (1,612 feet)(491 meters) 

It was good to get out of the park and pick up speed. I left on CA-120, what a fantastic piece of highway. It runs down a valley that is a continuous twisty road, it was just a great ride, perfect way to cool off after the traffic in Yosemite.

California 120.

I started to head north and turned onto CA-4. Now this is where my day turned it to the most pleasant part I have had in a while. If you ever have a chance to ride CA-4 over Ebbettes Pass please do so. It is a great road with better scenery than I have viewed in a long time. Every time I thought it was coming to an end, it got better. If it wasn’t so late in the day I would have went back.

California 4!


2454 Meters.

Ebbettes Pass. (2661 m) 

Final shot of the day.

Map of CA-4.

So I am resting up in South Tahoe Lake and will continue north in the morning. One highlight in Angels Camp, I stopped for gas and this angel pulls up in a jeep, jumps out and heads right for me. She was in love with the GS and my trek. Great conversation, I hope she can find one and start her own trek soon.

Total Miles and smiles 383!!! 616 KM. 

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

Wow, what a way to start the day with an alternate route. I had a fantastic time riding to Hells Canyon Dam then riding the canyon along the Nez Perce Trail. The roads were twisty clean and fun. I kept changing about 2000 feet (610 m) up and down with temperatures rising and lowering as you changed. I was turning on and off the heated grips to keep up.

Goodbye Blues.

Heading towards Hells Canyon.

Hells Canyon.

At the dam I met three riders, Triumph Tiger, BMW K75RT and BMR R1150RT, Rich owned all three and was letting his buddies ride the BMW’s. We leaped frog our way through stops and met back in Lewiston, ID at the Fred Lion motel. It made for a fun ride and sharing beers and stories at the bar. Rich wrote a story for MOA last April about the Sante
Fe National Guard.

Hells Canyon Overlook.

On the road out of the Overlook.

Chief Joseph Valley.

Nice Bike!

Heading towards Washington.

Welcome to Washington!!

The road into Washington.

 Todays Route 390 miles. (627 km)


Tomorrow I plan to make my way towards Glacier NP in Montana.
Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth

I left out of Klamath Falls heading north along Upper Klamath Lake. The forecast had called for snow in the Cascades above 5000 feet (1524 meters) and I was headed there. Along the lake it was pretty cold, the heated grips were having a hard time keeping up.

Upper Klamath Lake.

It kept getting colder as I approached the park. There were signs stating that the north gate was closed and the only open road was to the Rim Village. I took a couple of shots heading in and rode straight to the rim. It was snowing and the area was in the clouds. I took a few more shots before heading to the visitors center to warm up and put on electrics.

Welcome to Crater Lake.

Looks Good To Me.

Valley along the way.

Heading to the rim.

The Rim.

Nice Bike!

Wizard Island.

There is a lake in there somewhere.

I spoke with a Ranger and he said the snow wasn’t as bad as predicted but it was still going to be cold today. He suggested when I left to ride west around the park then north and back to OR-97. The elevations were lower and the road twistier. Good enough for me.

Heading North.

The Great Northwet, it was wet in places.

When I returned to OR-97 it flattened out and was a real boring road. I didn’t get enough sleep last night and found myself nodding. So I would stop and walk around a bit, wake up and head out only to find myself tired again within thirty miles. So it was time to make an early day of it, I stopped in Bend Oregon after a short 200 mile (322 km) day. I still got a National Park in and I am glad I stopped.

200 mile day route.

I walked down the street to an Italian restaurant that was in an old church, nice supper and great atmosphere.
Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
I just walked down the road and had a steak dinner and a couple of Mammoth Brewing Companies dark ales at Whiskey Creek restaurant. Nice brew, I also talked with Dave W. and Bill S. on the phone, both pleasant conversations. The steak was good as was the ale so while I headed back I stopped to pick up a couple of beers for the room. When I was leaving the store a young woman (20’s?) said she liked my shoes. Now that’s a strange complement to an old dude, they are just Sperry Topsider boat sneakers. I thanked her and she gave me a Peace, Love reply. Now that did bring back memories because I grew up in that era. I returned the complement and walked off to a big smile and thank you, nice evening.

When I woke this morning I met with Austin, we again talked rides before we both set off on our own paths. It was great that we could meet up in the middle of no where and share rides and plans. Thanks, Austin for meeting and spending the evening.

MC Morning!

Austin & Jim.

Austin Suiting Up.

Austin Heading Out.

I headed to California and on to death valley.

Welcome To CA!

The Not Hollywood CA.

Now the valley, it was “Mad dog and English Man HOT!” But it was dry heat so I decided it was okay. I never knew what the temperature actually was but there were no clouds and did I tell you, it was hot. I decided to spend most of my day in Death Valley and had a blast (furnace), great place but I consider it a one time visit, so get all you can in on that visit.

Welcome To Death Valley.

Sea Level.

I stopped at the Bad Water Basin along with the Devils Golf Course. I met a couple from Italy at the golf course, we talked a bit and they live near Bologna not far from the Ducati factory. He has an Africa Twin and loved the GS.

The Valley.

But It's A Dry Heat!!!

Bad Water Basin.

My Lowest Point! -101 Meters. 

Devils Golf Course.

Artist Drive.

Up On Artist Drive.

The Artist Palette.

Nice Bike!

Last Look Back!

It was a 369 mile (594 Km) day with a lot of heat but nice roads.

After Death Valley I was a bit tired so I decided to stop in Bishop, CA for the night. Nice little town and it is only an hour or so to Yosemite National Park for tomorrows ride. Now it’s time for some hot tub and bed!
Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
Good morning! I decided that I didn’t want to go back into Nevada,  the state does nothing for me except the Great Basin NP. So it was up the west side of Lake Tahoe. Nice ride, a bit too many towns and I can see in the summer months it would be a pain in the butt to get through. But today it was a great ride up CA-89, little traffic and great views.

Lake Tahoe Morning.

I continued up CA-89 and saw a turn off for Donner Pass, I was tempted to head that way for maybe a Donner Dog or some other such delicacy. But I was on a time run to get to Klamath Falls before dark and it was going to be all back roads along with a National monument. The run up CA-89 was a treat, nice river runs as well as a few passes. I also rode along the Union Pacific rail line and saw a few neat trestles, too bad I didn’t have a chance to stop. One trestle circled around to climb a steep grade and another came out of a tunnel splitting into a ‘Y’ trestle, nice engineering. Lake Almanor was on the way with a nice veiw of Mount Shasta.

Lake Almanor.

California 139 towards the Lava Beds.

Nice Bike!

I chose the south entrance to the Lava Beds, Austin and I just spoke of this road a couple of days ago and it is how he described. “A fun old road with chewed up asphalt sections but nice scenery and a fun challenge.” The Lava Beds were nice and I did stop and look at a couple of small caves along with a back road ride. This was my last stop in California for this trip. I am in Klamath Falls, OR for the night and will continue north to Washington before taking a slight turn east for Idaho and Montana.

Welcome to Lava Beds National Monument.

Schonchin Butte.

Schonchin Flow.

Merrill Cave.

Back roads.

Devils Homestead Flow.

Welcome to Oregon, now I only have two states left to visit (ND & AK)!

Todays route 390 Miles. (628 Km) 

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
The morning was over cast and when I inquired at the front desk about weather, she said it was going to rain in Manitou and snow in the higher elevations. I said, well I better head out since I’m headed west and higher, as I walked away she had a worried look. So west it was and as I approached the Pikes Peak highway I started entering the lower clouds but I was determined to ride to the summit. The lady at the entrance gate gave me a couple of warnings but I told her no problem.

Let's Do It!

The ride up was great, no traffic and once I passed the 4 mile marker the skies cleared and it was a nice but getting cold ride. The heated grips again came in handy and I did have to use the high setting for a while. I finally got the GS in the dirt (gravel) and she handled fine, I think she is a keeper, I have to stop saying that about every bike I purchase.

First Dirt (Gravel).

Going Up?

I Think she likes dirt

After reaching the summit the temperature dropped to 26 F, -3.3 C. I was fine on the bike but once I stopped to take photo’s my hands got pretty durn cold. I was laughing to myself in the gift shop because people had rode the cog railroad up that has heated cars from Manitou had on shorts and flip flops. The gift shop was making a killing on hoodies and blankets. I have ridden the cog rail down when I was younger after climbing the Barr Trail.

Made It!!! 4301 meters 

How others do it.

The View.

On Top.

I rode back down following a cage who decided to get a case of I’m not going to let that bike catch me. He sped up and opened a gap on the gravel but I caught him on the pavement. I found him stopped in the middle of the lane looking at a Pika. I passed him and he tried to play catch up, loser. At the end of that section of pavement is a check hot brake station. I rolled up and talked to the brake check guy, he said that they don’t check bikes and wished me a good ride. I watched in my mirror as speedy guy showed up and got the pull over and wait signal. They make you wait for at least 30 minutes and conveniently placed a gift shop there. I rode away with a smile and a clear ride to the bottom.

Pika (not my photo).

I headed west to the Florissant Fossil Beds NM. They are renowned for their petrified redwoods. It appears Colorado had a climate similar to San Francisco in the dino days.

Florissant Fossil Beds NM.

Petrified Trees.

Now it was back on US 24 towards Buena Vista and beyond. It was windy and over cast but all in all not bad. As I approached Buena Vista I kept getting glimpse of the Collegiate Peaks, nice sight and I could see that it might be snowing up that way. As I headed north out of Buena Vista I found that Cottonwood Pass was closed, but that wasn’t much of a worry as I was headed to Independence Pass. I turned west onto Colorado 82 and about a mile in found that Independence Pass was closed, curses my planned ride was foiled.

Collegiate Peaks.

Independence Pass Closed.

A view of the pass I couldn't get to.

So back to US 24 and north towards I70. US 24 north turned out to be a great ride and I did crass Tennessee Pass. I also saw the head waters of the Arkansas and the Eagle rivers.

Tennessee Pass. 3177 meters 

Eagle River Valley.

The ride down.

I made it to I70 and decide to ride US 6 for a while as it ran parallel. That turned into a bummer, too many towns and not much scenery. But I did spot a covered bridge, be it modern and into a private community, so I didn't get to cross it.

Private Covered Bridge.

So I jumped onto the dreaded Interstate to make some time to Grand Junction. As I got on I70 there were snow plows on the side of the road waiting for bad weather, not a good omen. So I twisted the throttle and crossed my fingers. I only hit light rain but a lot of road spray, salt and dirt. I was happy to see my exit and rode to the Best Western for a night of bliss. The girl at the counter recommended Dos Hombres for supper. So I rode over for a steak burrito with Texas chili on top, the Texas chili had a four hot pepper rating. It was hot but not bad, it may be a bit hot for the non initiated. I also had a local draft called Farmers Ale, very tasty a semi dark ale that went down smooth. Upon leaving I saw a car wash and stopped to rinse off the salt and dirt spray before topping off for the night. I just finished a cigar a couple of Fat Tire Ales and it’s time to relax and plan tomorrows route, things do change and most time for the better in my book.

Done for the day.

So my day ended with 340 miles and smiles. 547Km 

Jim Moss IBA #8426 MOA #32559
No account saddle bum. I don't know you Cowboy and you don't know me.
Somewhere Directly Above The Center Of The Earth
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