The Last Leg

I’m sitting here at work idly contemplating the fact that in a few short days, I will be embarking on the last leg of my cross-country meanderings… the first of what I hope will be many long distance summer excursions on the motorcycle. Sure, I’ve been on trips before, but they’ve all been under 1000 miles each way. This summer, I’ve got 9k down and 4k or so to go. My typical saturday ride, usually 5-6 hours or a few hundred miles… replaced by 12, 14, and 16 hour riding days; my 300’s replaced by legs that would, if I cared about the liscence plate, qualify me for an IBA cert had I not stopped so frequently for pictures from the saddle.

For the previous 3 months, I’ve led a dual life. For two weeks out of the month, I’ve been your more or less typical systems administrator…. I drive my car to work, spend time with my girlfriend, do my time in the office, and live a relatively mundane life. For the other two weeks, it’s been a world of winding roads, farms, mountains, valleys, elk, bison, and wolves. Half my time is sleeping under the stars, the other in hotels in town after town strung out along the highways and byways of this…. incredible… land the majority of us call home. It is as if there were two of me, the me of the body, and the me of the soul…. one trapped in the cage, one released from it to roam at will. The wolf runs fast and far…

In 5 days time, I meet the beginning of the end. I cross west over North Dakota, wind my way down through the Rockies, spend a few days wandering the parks in southern Utah, then after the Rush concert at Red Rocks, I’ll ride my last ride through -real- mountains for what may be another year… or more, if Tanzania comes calling.

What have I learned? What have I survived? How has my life been enriched by my travels? She asks me this frequently, but I have no answer. If there can be an answer to such a question. The answer I keep coming to is that when the time comes to summon the strength I gained, the peace I acheived, then the answer will be obvious.

Yet…. yet. In this downtime, this calm before the final storm, I know what is down the road. Monday morning, Aug 12th, I ride my GS back to work. a measly 75 minutes in the saddle. An empty, unladenned bike. Will I even have time to get comfortable? Will my engine even be warmed up? Will I even notice the passage of minutes instead of hours? Time will tell. Time… that thing which we all think we have, that we spend in our lives like it were pennies… a boring, day to day existence in which the only freedom you can really achieve is the choice of which toilet to use in which building.

So many hours, so many days, I listenned to the full, rich sound of my engine pulling myself and my gear up and down hills. The only truly boring days I have had were crossing the plains. Even then, the silence of one’s soul can be measured in revolutions per minute. The Soul’s salvation at the throttle’s twist.

Beware the Ides of Mark.

Will I be able to handle the return to Mundania, and re-integrate that other half of myself into normal life again? I can’t help but recall a line from Tombstone… “There is no normal life Wyatt, There’s just life.”

If only it didn’t have to end…

Routes updated

Switched part 4 up a bit (to ride beartooth again and take another crack at the tetons….) and added some more passes along the way (since they are so conveniently close!) and tossed the 4th Wolf destination into the mix… Wolf Park in Indiana.

All at the cost of 400 additional miles… bummer 🙂

Maps tacked onto the end of the existing ones. In case I change my mind. I won’t, though. I’m just like that…. only real trick? Making sure I am in time for Rush at Red Rocks… gonna be cutting it close…

Starting Part 3…

I’m going off route, going to do Lolo Pass and maybe head back into Glacier along the way and hit Logan Pass this time… will post once I get to Missoula.

Why, oh why…

..did I never, ever come here before now…. when I lived on the west coast? How come I have never heard of this place before ADV…

This place is AWESOME!

Man…. I almost… wish… the bike would break down or something. Damn BMW, sometimes a bike is perfect at the WRONG TIME! Just one more day….

Pictures? Yah, I got em. All… but… I’m only gonna put the best up, and I’m too tired to compare differences. _wOw_ what a place. I’m already in the right rythm of the weather here. I decided to camp in the Best Western tonight, after having ridden into and through Hell’s Canyon. here were only two problems… I was loaded up (flip-side: there was gravel, slow driving is a must! Load wins..) And I kept having to stop every few minutes for one breathtaking view after another. I felt like a hot shower after a long, fun ride on the bikes. I found a hot tub, a working WET sauna, and a heated pool. And a room on the front, facing the mountains.

Yes, of course my alarm is set for sunrise :=)

Pictures will illustrate at a slightly better time!


Just a quicky

Checking in from Dallas, Oregon. MacKenzie pass was closed to 20 foot snow drifts. Good ride otherwise, but bloody cold in the passes. Bit of rain, but weather in Bend was awesome… great pictures taken, more to come.

Advice is to ignore weather “possibilities’ and hit Hell’s Canyon, so I’m going along with the plan. At least I can point fingers if I go down:P

Will only be able to update a couple nmore times… in sandpoint, and in missoula. Unless someone put a cell phone tower in the middle of nowhere.

Round 2…

Looks like it’s time…. NorCal, Oregon Coast, Cascades, Columbia River Gorge, Hell’s Canyon, Sawtooth Mountains, Cabinet Mountains, and Glacier NP…. The transit days are over for the moment, the exploration begins!

I’m a bit apprehensive at this point about the possibility of rain in Hell’s Canyon. Mud and Annakee’s don’t really go together. We’ll see… but I’m ready to give it the old college try…

At any rate, my bags are packed, I’m ready to go… and on the way to the airport after work.



Back Improvement

Back feels much better today (barring waking up unmedicated) than it has since last week. I was starting to get worried about the trip back out, but looks okay. I do, however, have the trip to Duluth this upcoming week, which will neatly keep me out of the chiropractor’s office until Monday June 4th. Sure hope it continues to improve!

Don’t need any more outfitting, no more preps. I’m 100% good to go bikewise, minor repairs notwithstanding. I did make some minor changes to th packing system… one strap now removes the whole bag assemblage, and I also moved my pillow/backrest out of the way so I can make full use of the Bill Mayer saddle….

Can’t wait to get back to riding!

I saw some ride reports on Hell’s Canyon on ADVRider today. Looks like I have some fun ahead of me. Although I see one obvious thing… slow and safe will be best, as I am going solo. We’ll do our best to keep me out of trouble! Kind of disturbing to see snow still in the forecasts for the Rockies, Going to the Sun road still closed, and snow coverring some of the roads in Hell’s. I don’t know if I will be able to get a set of TKC’s on or not before I head into the Canyon. If so, great… if not, tough cookies, I’ll just have to be more careful…. and pray for “No Mud!” harder than I would ordinarily.

Well, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky/blessed so far with riding weather and conditions, so… I’ll just take it on faith and roll on schedule.



Much Sadness…

Well, back seemed to be doing a bit better so I thought I’d see if riding the K75 could help out a bit with limberness. So I ran down to Morton’s, grabbed a battery, and installed it this afternoon, then went for a ride to shake the cobwebs off.

Sad discovery #1: My back’s not ready for it yet…

Sad discovery #2: The K75 is like riding a moped after 22k miles on the GS.


Back Home Again….

Well, all is good and I’m back home. Well, mostly good. I dumped the bike over again by Grampa’s memorial…

…while trying to get a good shot of the bike and the memorial.

Since it was on the hillside, the kickstand was too high, and as soon as I got off the bike, the bike got off the vertical. Since noone was around to help, I had to right her myself. Fortunately, she was almost empty except for a quick Raley’s run (Where I managed to see both Gina and Mary, as well as get a chance to say “Hi!” and such… and Gina hasn’t heard squat about a 20-yr reunion) for sodas an near-beer for Logan’s dad whch was in the right side case. Well, my back didn’t survive that lift. So back to Doc Berman’s after work today.

Anyhow, after righting the bike, I got my picture and paid my respects. Oddly, there has been no signs of them doing anything to the field for Off. Jeff Mitchell, so I have no idea what is going with that.

As for the bike, crash bars yet again did their job, as did the Jesse bags. However, this time I got to sacrifice the hand guard bracket and right side mirror to the mysterious forces surrounding motorcyclism.

Logan’s place is looking awesome. Definite match of life to living.

The run up the coast from Malibu was awesome. I can’t believe I have never been on that stretch of road before, for all my living in California.

Santa Cruz was.. strained. I don’t think that place can hold on in its form for very long. There is an underlying tension there that is unmistakable…. the tension of the college crowd mixed with the remnants of the hippy/alternative crowd with the dowright street/barrio crowd that is half beach flats, half San Jose. Seems like all the mellower people have gone out to the hills. But downtown is… well, frankly, I think it looked better after the Quake.

Great to be back home, great to see Kirsten, and great to see Kitty. Can’t wait to get back on the road though… with a good back, of course.. and get on with the next part of the trip…. north coast to Glacier!

Well, I’m up way too early for work. Felt like I slept 9 hours, only slept 3… guess I’m up for the duration. Can’t seem to find my back brace, may have to go buy a new one… and keep it on the bike in case I need it.

PS… as a last note, I had a great time talking to Rocky Mayer,

and the new seat is AWESOME….

All pictures of above all subject to a bit of post-trip laziness :=)

Needless to say, though… after lots of this:

There was and remains lots of this:

Now if I could just keep my latest cool motorcycle accessory!