Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hello There....

Home from the hospital and the work to recovery continues. It's improving, fortunately, thank goodness. It's time to kick-ass, take-names and move forward. On the top-side, I hope to be way, way better - if not back to normal - in about a month. The down-side is that I likely won't return to motorsickle riding until next year. Could be worse, I suppose. However, I just want to thanks to everyone for the help, support and understanding.



Saturday, August 4, 2018

Well, it has been an difficult two weeks

Unfortanely, I had a bad bike accident two weeks ago. My brain is trying to recover. In the meantime, i may try to post some random motorsickle photos. Hopefully, i will get there.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Getting Back to Things....

     Did a quick trip to the Blackhills with FM and fell behind on Christian's Tuk updates. Will get back on track with those soon enough. A couple of rants: why the fuck is everything in Sturgis/Blackhills called the "Ironhorse" blah blah blah  when referring to a motorcycle themed business? (hotel, restaurant, bar, t-shirt shop, etc....) Gawd, couldn't you have named your business something other than the most over-used motorcycle cliche? How about name your business, "I Simply Lack Imagination." Yeah, that would work.
     Rant No. 2: Any man who wears jeans with bedazzled back pockets shall be deducted 10,000 manhood points. Who wears these beside "bros" and desperate middle aged women? Also, over-stylized skull t-shirts will cost you 5,000 manhood points.

No. Don't do it.
 Meanwhile, here are a couple of picks from out there....

From the shop of Jerry Greer Engineering in Deadwood. They restore vintage Indians there.

Cool Indian Four out front of Jerry Greer Engineering on the streets of Deadwood.

Plenty of feral cows that freely roam the less traveled roads of the Blackhills. These bastards will stare you down.

   

Sunday, July 15, 2018

This Just In; The Latest from Tuk

Christian must have cell phone service today.....

July 15:
         This was a tough day. Ron remembered the 400 miles of hwy 4 from Watson Lake to Carmacks was paved. It was the first 50 miles or so, not counting the four miles of wet construction sand. Knowing that it was just a short section, it was kind of fun to practice the techniques I learned at DirtBikeTech.com, especially the part about lightening the front end when it threatens to wash out.
But after those 50 miles of pavement, it turned to dirt. Not bad dirt, but I thought it was just going to be for a few miles. Nope. After 25 miles we stopped to check if we were still on 4 ... and we were .. and the map shows it at gravel all the way to Furo.  About 280 miles of dirt, total. 75% of it was good hardpack;  we could do 45-50 mph, but once in a while there was a slick spot that we had to slow down for.
And it was remote. We saw maybe eight vehicles on that stretch of road. For comparison, 400 miles is the length of Montana. Or Red Wing to Sioux Falls and back. The main highway was on the other side of the mountains, so there was no reason for traffic to be on this road. The remoteness really made me homesick ... it would have awesome if I could have put the trip on hold and be home one day and then resume to trip. But nope, life doesn't work that way, so we just continued on.
Just before the halfway point (Ross River, where we fueled up) we passed a sign "the View - ADVRiders Welcome" (advriders.com is a motorcycle forum dedicated to off-pavement and remote riding). We turned off, rode up a short steep road and found a tiny 'resort' which has astounding views of the mountains. He has had guests from all over the world. We had a ways to go and couldn't stay, but he offered coffee and crackers and a spinach-like dip made from a local plant. If I'm in the area again this is a place to stop at.
After gassing up in tiny little Ros River we continued to Furo for dinner and then on to Camacks. The entire Hwy 4 was scenic, but the last 50 miles to Carmack were fantastic as the road hugged mountains on one side of the river. It was like a one-sided gorge. At ten pm we arrived at the hotel as the sun was setting, and even at midnight it was still light outside.

Apparently stealing signs from your hometown and leaving them in Alaska is a thing.



Our "mark" has been left for the Ages.

Helllooooooo? Is anyone out there?

The final frontier.

More Stuff From Out Thatta Way....

Pitchers and such from the Montana-Wyoming ride.....

A frame found by the roadside made for the perfect Kodak moment. Presumably, somewhere in Montana.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair. Warm smell of  colitas....

Evel gravesite in Butte, MT.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Son of More from Tuk

July 14:

     It was cold and wet in Hyder, and a little fog and a few clouds on the top of the mountains, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the views. Once out of the canyon we continued on hwy 37 north. The road went through some provincial parks packed with mountains ... we road for hours, about 400 miles, and the whole time we were surrounded by tall mountains, riding through one valley after another. There were a couple towns, very little traffic, on a road straight enough to support 100kph but curvey enough to be interesting. This is our fourth day riding through British Columbia ... the distances are staggering.
      We saw another black bear on the road and I turned my blinker on at him (BMW joke ....) ... he didn't care.
     In Dease Lake we got the most expensive fuel yet ... $165/100L, which works out to be $4.74/gal. At least I'm getting 42mpg.
     As we approached Watson Lake (our goal for the night) the terrain leveled out and we entered the Yukon Territory. yay! This is my first time here.
     It was cold and it threatened to rain, but a couple motels were charging $130 for mediocre rooms. I declined and we went to a $12 campsite where we proceeded to swat at many lazy mosquitoes. I had impregnated my long underwear, pants and fleece jacket with permethrin at home, and it was working very well, not a single bite on my legs arms or torso. My rain hat with netting over it prevented them from getting to my face (and they tried!) but it was my hands which were exposed. I did get a couple bites there, but thankfully Ron was attracting most of the them. Interestingly, the next day, the bites on my hands did not itch the next day .... so while the skeeters came out in high numbers equal to an average summer day in the Boundary Waters, they lacked speed and potency. But we still have another 1000 miles to head north. See what I mean about distances?
Since the skeeters made camping "not fun" we rolled into town for dinner and a beer. On our return, we broke out the Thermacell which, after 30 minutes, seemed to keep them at bay long enough to enjoy a beer. At abou 10pm, still in full daylight, we rolled into bed. And around 10:45 I heard a series of loud bangs ... either someone is a very bad shot or they are setting of fireworks, while it is still light out.





It's All About Tuk

More from on the road to Tuk.


July 11
     We've seen a little wildlife so far ... no bears or moose despite warnng signs, a couple large deer and lots and lots of ants . On my tent. Damnit. Luckily only a couple inside.
Leaving Cache Creek we finished up the dry canyon and ascended to the alpine prairie for many hundred miles. The temperature went down to 65F and the while not exactly flat, the terrain wasn't very interesting. The trees were much shorter. In many ways, it reminds me of northern Norway. Lots of wildflowers.
     A long ride later we stopped in Vanderhoof to get gas. The first station we stopped had no fuel, the one next door did, so we got in line. Then we looked for a hotel room as it promised to rain, but the weather report clamed otherwise, and 38 km down the road there was a free municipal campground.  Free is good, so off we went to Swan Lake.
     Sure enough it was free, but no water. Set up camp, swapped the three mosquitoes, ate a sandwich, went to sleep. And listened to the trains 30 yards away. One at 10pm, another two around 2am. Oh well, free is good.


July 12
     I hit two milestones today.
     The first was that this was my 'transition day'. That's the day of vacation which I no longer think much about work or my responsibilities at home (car and home maintenance, financial things etc). When I travel west this usually happens around Wyoming. It frees up my mind to think about family, friends, and where I am.
     The second is we made it to Alaska. Ok, it's only Hyder, the southernmost point one can drive to from the lower 48, but it's still Alaska, and its the first time I've been here.
     The ride along Hwy. 16 was more of the same as yesterday, with many trucks. Most of those continued to Prince Rupert, while we turned north Hwy. 37, noting the signs of no fuel for 180 km. And for once, my cell service was faltering. The ride was definitely more mountainous, and we had a strong headwind. But the show really started when we turned west on 37A towards Hyder. Those 40 miles were incredibly scenic, as it went down a canyon 2000 feet deep. Glaciers, waterfalls, a roaring river, and even a black bear on the road. But it was raining lightly. Darn.
     Ron was rushing to get to the post office to send a postcard but he didn't make it. The general store provided it for him instead. We ate at "The Bus" where an old lady served fish that her family fished - usually halibut and then some other stuff. The halibut fish and chips was excellent, probably the best I've had. We checked into the first hotel of the trip and am looking forward to riding the canyon back to Hwy 37 with better weather in the morning.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rain Out, My Ass

The plan called for driving up to Bauhaus Brew Labs in Mpls for the monthly vintage bike night. On the way up we drove through a frog-choker in Hastings. Lots of rain. Undaunted, we made it to Bauhaus where a  nice stander-by told us about three inches of rain fell in an hour. Yep, I'd believe it. Bike turn-out was understandably light but about a dozen bikes made it. Beer, as usual, was great, as was the food provided by Cafe Racer in Minneapolis. Will we make the next vintage bike night in August? Ya, you betcha.

Explaining the finer points of a 1927 Terro. It's French.

The Terro is a two-stroke 250

The Brave parked here after enduring torrents of rain.

Great place to swill beer.



Thursday, July 12, 2018

It's Thursday AM and So Much to Post

I almost forgot about this....

Bauhaus Brew Labs Vintage Bike Night. Great bikes, great beer, what's not to love?

Vintage Bike Night

Meanwhile, Back to Tuk......

From Christian's log...

 Day 3:
     Monday was a travel day, getting around Seattle and that whole morass. We tried to get through Rainier National Park but they wanted $25 each to ride through. No thanks, we'll take the long not scenic way. Noticed that one of the Touratech side case seam is splitting.

Day 4:
    I think ... I'm losing track. Which is good.
The day started wet cold and overcast. That just made oatmeal and coffee taste better. The showers were nasty, so no shower.
     Not less than a mile from the campround, we found a welder. Ken Orwin had shop next to his house, and was working feverishly on something. But he took the time to weld up the sidecase for us. Total time was about an hour, including removing it from the bike and filling it back up, for $60. I would heartily reccommend him, but I don't remember the name of the shop ...Just Weld It.. ? But his address is about 1411 lakewood road, Arlington WA.
So after that, we got on Hwy. 9 and rode north. It was a nice curvey road with a bit of traffic, and right before we passed through immigration we stopped for a last lunch and a tank of gas. And then immigration.
     After a number of questions about where I'm from and where I'm going and how I know Ron and if I was carrying weapons and ammo and ammo and ammo, they pulled us off to the side and we had to go inside. After 20 minutes they again asked about weapons and ammo (twice) and what we're bringing for protection. Bear Spray. No guns. Can they search the bikes? Sure ... and of course they find nothing and they said they usually expect to find Americans toting guns when they go north and motorcycles are eas to search. So we ride on.
     Once we get past Frazier Canyon the towns were pretty sparse. Technically we're in the Rocky Mountains but until Frazier they were tall steep and green, covered in a bazillion Christmas trees. But further north it became more arid, like a desert with sage. The moutains continued, now brown. I was very much enjoying the ride, despite the large number of 18-wheelers ... about half of the vehicles.
     In Cache Creek we found a nice campsite (Brookside) ordered a pizza and swatted skeeters before the therma-cell got working. And for the record ... TMobile, that red-headed stepchild of US cell providers, works beautifully here.





More From Out West

Somewhere along the Bear Tooth Highway, Montana-Wyoming.





Yes, they sometimes do use a giant ass snowblower in the summer on the Bear Tooth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Meanwhile, Out West....

Mark and Brett are doing a great ride through the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. Man, everyone's got a big trip 'cept me. booo hooo.



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tuk, Day 2

We got up early. The goal was to get packed and out of Portland today, being with little traffic. Ron had already prepped the 2007 BMW R1200GS I was going to use, with new swingarm gaitors and TKC80 tires. I added my heated liner plugin and phone holder, and proceeded to pack most of my crap somewhere on it. The bear vault and bear spray had already arrived and we proceeded to get Ron's new Sena and Inreach set up. By10AM we were on the road!

From Boring we set out on some local roads to get a feel that everything with the bikes were right, and stopped for lunch at the McMenimins Powerstation so I could get a bottle of Monkey Puzzle - whiskey with hops! Then a short jaunt along the historic Hwy.30 through the gorge. We got to see a lot of waterfalls from the seats of our motorcycle, and the gorge itself, but all the parking lots were full so we couldn't park and get photos. One truck had parked where they shouldn't and a wheel dropped off the shoulder and needed to be towed out, which caused a backup in traffic in the other direction. At Bridal Veil we had to leave the highway - the rest to the east was closed after the fire from last year (set by some stupid teeenager playing with fireworks in the woods.) Thus we took the interstate to Cascade Locks. On the way we passed Multnomah Falls and that parking lot was blocked off since it too was full. What good does it to live in the beautiful PNW if there are so many other people living there? Perhaps only the early birds get to enjoy it.

The Bridge of the Gods provided us a way to get over the Columbia River, then at Carson we went north on the Windy River highway. Its' hardly a highway ... a lot of fast sweepers, many tight sections of 5-6 30mph curves, awesome pavement and an Aerostich that suddenly flew open while I was standing. We stopped and managed to get it off - the zipper had failed. We spent about 30 minutes getting it back together ... Ron's sewing skills had us prying open the zipper pull and using pliers to get the teeth back together and then squeezing the pull shut again ... I was seriously thinking, if we an't fix this I'll need to ride quickly back to Portland and then find new riding gear tomorrow (Monday) or a repair shop. But we got it working ... and continued on our way.

The road up to the Windy Ridge lookout of Mt St Helens is a motorcycle destination in itself. The entire 19 mile of FR99 is beset with 20 mph curves and 2000-foot dropoffs with no gaurdrails. The pavement was perfect, except where it wasn't, where the unstable volcanic foundation had caused sunken grades and repairs where the road had fallen away in the past. The final ten miles of the road are in the blast zone, where the 1981 eruption had blown down the trees and covered everything in ash. In the 37 years since the eruption, very little has grown back because there are no nutrients in the ash to support muh vegetation. That means unblocked sightlines through corners, and of the area itself. This is the kind of road that is very difficult to photograph ... maybe a professional photographer can do it, but there aren't many pullouts to actually stop and get photos either. 

We were planning on taking the Norway Pass up to Randle to that was closed due to a washout so we backtracked to FR25 and found a campsite a few miles south of Randle. There was no water, so the rate was only $10 for the night. I rode to Randle to get water (and beer and ice) and we chilled for the evening. 




Monday, July 9, 2018

On the Road to Tuk

Our man Christian has left for a 3-plus week motorsickle ride to Tuk. (Learn more here: All Aouut Tuk but were afraid to ask ). When Wifi allows, he'll send pictures and notations of his travels which will be posted here. We'll try our best to be prompt.

Follow his route here:
Ride To Tuk Route

The bikes for the ride.

The scenery thus far.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

When It Don't Go As Planned

The goal yesterday was to put on some miles deep in SE Minnesota, specifically Houston County. (We love riding down that way.) On the outskirts of Winona, Sir Robert noticed a very pronounced wobble; a road side inspection found what appeared to be a metal knob of some kind (possibly from a dresser?) deeply embedded in his rather new tire. Fortunately, we were only a couple of miles from Winona and the local Fleet Farm for a plug kit and air. Unfortunately, the ride to Houston County was scuttled and the plug failed to hold twice because of the size of the hole. Finally, Rob had to abandon ship south of Lake City on Hwy.61. The upside: we were only 25 miles from home, so pick up on the trailer was nice and easy.

What the hell is this thing? 

Road side tire inspection along Hwy. 43 outside of Winona.

Well, aint that a nasty wound?

The Michelin Man provided moral support, if anything.

Loading it up on Hwy. 61. With other bikes ripping past, it was sorta like the Walk O' Shame with the bike on the trailer.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Amazon Is Everywhere

Sorta like Big Brother. Better watch out, Winston Smith.

Amazon delivers high atop the mountains




And from the Department of  Really, We Ain't Making this Shit Up, here is another great story.

Woman stabs husband and his motorsickle

Monday, June 25, 2018

Adventure Riding in Minnesota

'Twas a fine day of SE Minnesota gravel back roads with the Twin City Adventure Riders yesterday. Even the guy on the cruiser had fun. As usual, a good group of people to ride with and always someone new to meet. (Apologies, did not get a chance to shoot many pictures.)



Hello There....

Home from the hospital and the work to recovery continues. It's improving, fortunately, thank goodness. It's time to kick-ass, take-...