June 2017 Bike Trip
2017. Earlier in the year the company I worked for announced a
new vacation policy. Basically limiting the amount of vacation
that a person could carry over from year to year. So, had a
delemma. I had carried over into 2017 the maximum number of hours
I could accrue and was taking smaller vacations to just keep it near
max, which was 200 hours (Yeah, I know, rough problem to have.
But it's because there was a big project at work and I just
couldn't find the time to take off.). So, had what I carried over
the year before, and what I would earn this year. Thought about
it and decided to just take the whole month of June off.
Now the questions was, what to do?
First thought was to ride the motorcycles (Jessica and I) to
Alaska and back. But the more I looked into it, the more I
thought... meh... Do I want to get eaten by moquitos the size of
buzzards. I had already been to Alaska, thoug not on bike.
I also wondered if Jessica could do it, because there would be
lots of gravel, and her an gravel don't get along. Then I
thought, how about just go into Canada, get the passport stamped, cut
west, come out in Oregan or Washinton, etc.. Then I thought, if
I'm on the bike for a month, riding 300+ miles a day, I'm going to need
a vacation from my vacation... like I always do... lol...
plan formed. Take the first week and go to the Virgin Islands,
get some sun, sand, do some snorkeling, hiking, then come back and go
southwest; down to Kansas, cut acrossl Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, up
through Arizona, into CO to see my daughter and grand kids, then back
home. All back roads, of course. Sold.
Thursday June 15th
Get right into it. Mid day, somewhere in IL.
excitement started a couple hours after this photo. Dark sky
started rolling in, the winds started kicking up like I hadn't seen a
while. Stuff was blowing across the road. Jessica was
starting to slow down cause the wind was freaking her out. It
started raining and I was it was going to come down good. First
chance I got I turned on some kind of gravel road or drive and headed
for a treed area to get some shelter from the wind and rain. When
the front passed through we got out the rain gear and got back at it.
It was coming down pretty hard and at the next intersection I saw
a big warehouse, and not much else. I took a bet that it would
have an awning in back so I signaled and Jessica follewed me back and
around, and sure enough there was a big cannopy. We pulled under
it to wait it out.
A guy came out of the building, said he saw
us coming, and waved us to pull the bikes under. He had broom in
had and we talked to him for about 45 minutes as the storm blew over.
He was a big simple guy. Said he'd never been outside of
this small Illinois town we were near. He was a character, and
when we told him we were headed way out west, it put a smile on his
face and he was just jabbering away. After the storm passed we
shook hands, said good bye and continued.
We rode until just
before 7:00 pm. Everything was still wet so, it was motel time.
We got to a town and gas station and looked up the cheapest motel
I could find. I forget how much it was, $40... it was over
priced... There literally were no lites in the bathroom, though there
was an exposed heater in the ceiling... so we hurried to take showers
before it got dark, and the wiring in the place was pretty sketch, as
well as some of the people staying there. There was also
something sticky scattered on the rug... but, the bed looked clean
enough and if you just kept your shoes on when walking around... lol
Yeah, that birck wall and wiring are INSide the room... I think this was somewhere in MO.
Friday June 16th
made our way down to Arkansas and were around Lake Norfork by about
9:00 am. It was nice riding, in the 70's and cloudy for a while.
We were by Sam's Throne Campground by about noon. Which is along route 128. Amazing roads.
really remember now if it was before or after this stop, but we ended
up on a narrow two lane road that twisted up into the hills, and we
quickly found out that when it said 10-15 mph speed limit, they meant
it. You really could not take the switchbacks any faster than
that. Jessica blew a corner and ran into the oncoming lane before
she got the idea (luckily no cars), and I came into one corner way to
fast and had to stand it up and hit the breaks hard before leaning it
at the last minute. After that it was all smoth sailing.
We stopped after and just laughed about how much fun it was.
This might have been the stop because were were just grinning ear
to ear. In which case it would be a section of 123? No
shortage of nice twisty roads around there.
Saturday June 17th
should say that somewhere around here, temperatures really started
going up. Early morning was actually nice, just on the verge of
drizzling, but as the day cleared and we got further into Oklahoma the
temperature was hitting over 100 degrees, and humid.
As the state goes, the roads start out alright but after a while it's just straight roads with nothing much to see.
Sunday June 18th
about 9:00 am we were a the Texas border... A state I hadn't been to
yet. Again it started out overcast, but soon as the clouds
cleared the temperature shot up. We shot through just the
northern part of the state and for the most part, a whole lot of
nothing. At one point there was a lot of wind blowing around,
and all the red dirt was flying in the air. At some points it was
like driving through fog. But mostly it looked like we were on
Tell you what, there's some tumbleweed town in northern Texas... Felt like we stepped into a time warp...
the Martian sky. Guess the road must have flooded because there
were areas where this dust obvioulsy was cleared off by a bulldozer in
the lower sections.
Texas hill country?
As I recall it was actually chilly for the first time. But not to fear.. .the sun came back out again...
Did I mention there was no one out on the roads...
I recall, we were on this road and there was a detour saying closed
bridge several miles ahead. We were running low on gas and had to
decide which way to go. The detour would take us miles out of the
way. So, we took a chance and went for the bridge... instead of
closed bridge, we found a nice new bridge and a gas station not long
after that. We may have been in New Mexico by then.
Can't remember where we stayed, the night, but I know we didn't camp...
cause who wants to camp after you've been riding all day in 100+ degree
temperatures, sweating, and it's till 90's and humid.
Monday June 19th
We were back on the road before 9:00. And there is not much to see in New Mexico. Beautiful in it's isolation and baren land.
apparently it was too hot to keep your shirt on. I did finally
convince Jes that the better approach is to have a shirt but wet it for
cooling. She got the hand of it, and there was a lot more heat
coming. We were art the Arizona border around noon.
say though, the roads in Arizone are nicer than New Mexico.
Close to 5:00 that day we hit a really nice piece of road that wound
down into a vally and than back out. It was beautiful.
is taking selfies again...Hey, you want to speed it up, there's rain
coming. Actually the shade and some moistness was welcome, but as
we were riding back out of the valley, it got chilly and the wind was
really blowing hard. We moved along...
See that road just snaking down there along the river? S-weeeeet....
hot was it? Well, this is at 6:30 in the evening. Oh yeah... the
amount of heat coming off the bikes and just blowing past us was
staggering. Like riding into an oven. Lots of shirt wetting
kept us from overheating.
Again, considered it, but decided against sleeping in a hot tent. Needed some serious showers.
in all this riding we saw a place called I'll Do Motel... Yeah, in some
of these town, pretty much anything will do, just get me in an air
conditioned room... whew!
We ended up in a Motel 6 for the
night that happened to have an outdoor pool. Man, that felt good.
All day of heat and sweating and then into a relatively cold
Tuesday June 20th
is us about noon, trying to get some shade from the heat. Holly
cow! Turned out that this particular week that we were riding,
there was a record heat wave across the dessert southwest. One
thing difficult to find in Eastern Arizone is shade. Even when we soaked our shirts, within 15 minutes or less we were dry and heating up again.
day I do know where we stayed, in Prescott AZ, at Jes's cousin's.
We got there early afternnoon and immediately thought, this
traffick sucks. Stop and go, in the heat... could have been worse, but
needed some air flow! They lived in the hills and we followed the GPS
until it kind of didn't know where the address was... and we were
already on a dead end gravel road and ended up in someone's driveway.
Just as I was trying to figure it out, Jes's cousin comes in a
car. I guess they saw us coming up the road, because their house
was just a bit behind us, and then down and up a dirt road into
their driveway. From where we were, there was a little back down
hills and then a nasty right angle, that seemed like you were just
going to rid of the edge. Jessica went first, I got myself turned
around and then down the dirt road, then flat, then back up the hill,
and what did I see? Jessica had fallen over. The road was
steep and she would have been ok if she just went straight and to the
flat area in front of their drive, but she tried turning into it,
hit some gravel, stalled out, and over she went. I couldn't
really stop, so I just went to the flat area, got myself off as quickly
as I could and helped her lift up her bike, which was leaking
anti-freeze from the fill bottle. Well, she was ok, and the bike
was fine after I did another oil filter burp and put some more
anti-freeze in int. But, that's one way to make an entrance!
spent the day with them, and their three, minature doberman pinchers...
no they are not chiuaua's... they have longer legs....Honestly, it was
rough sleeping that night... we had a couple fans blowing on us in
their spare bedroom, but it barely cooled off over night, and on top of
that, it was really dry... it was a lot of tossing and turning.
But it was good to visit. Next day I did make sure that I rode
Jes's bike down and up the dirt road, so that we could get through the
day without having to do another oil filter burp.
Wednesday June 21st
Off to see one of the biggest holes in the earth... the Grand Canyon, South rim.
of the better times of the day was the few miles of 86A leading up to
Jerome. That is an awsome twisty piece of road. If you're
in the area, don't pass it up. Jerome itself is a town literally
on the side of a cliff... I mean there are narrow noads and
switchbacks, things are tight... I'm thinking of all the places to pick
and build a town. Apparently it'a big biker draw every year.
The town gets packed. And there's no gas station there, probably because you couldn't get a gas truck through it.
there it was Sedona and Flagstaff, which is such a tourist trap.
Actually the scenery reminded me a lot of Moab.
there was stuff on fire... I'm surpirsed there wasn't more, with all
the heat. Actually, a day or two later, Jes's cousin had to
evacuate their house because of fires back in Prescott theat were
threatening their house.
Well, we made it to the Grand Canyon! Ready for takeoff!
we were off, Northwest to Colorado. This was about 3:xx in the
afternoon, the height of the heat... We stopped at an Oasis at route 64
and 89, and I recall check ing the temperature, which showed 123
degrees. The excitement at the stop was Jessica loosing her key,
which happened to get swiped up with the garbage and into the trash...
Luckily she found it!
After eating and cooling off we took off
for Kayeta Mounument... not to see the monument, but stay at the
Wetherill Inn. More cold showers and relaxation... Nope, not a
whole lot of camping going on ths trip.
By the way, Kayeta Mounument is a rock, in the middle of nowhere, that apparently grew a town around it.
Thursday June 22nd
apparently a trip from Arizona into Colorado takes you into the World
Famous... four corner...Which is ... where four state
borders meet... well, close anyway.. and where there really is not much
to see... plus they want you to pay to get in and see nothing... So, we
just parked it by the side of the road and took some photos to prove we
stop at noting...
Hello.. any reception out here!... Actually I think there was...
then 1:30 in the afternoon, we get into Colorado and the world begins
to change... Cool air, green, and turbulant rivers... I love
Colorado... We spent a good half hour at this road side having a snack
and enjoying the sight and sound. I thnk I had a half day old,
dried up egg McMuffin I dug out of my bag... Yum...
After six day of progressively hotter and hotter temperatures, getting into the 70's was plain chilly, but felt so good.
As I recall, we got through Telluride that day, thought about finding a camp site then continued on to Montrose.
Friday June 23rd
of Montrose we took 50 out to 92. If 50 isn't nice enough, 92
seems like it just goes on forever... endless curves, amazing scenery,
you want to stop every mile and just take it all in.
I'd been through this area before, but it doesn't get old.
day we rode all the way to Meeker and ACTUALLY CAMPED just outside of
town! We were going to head out toward Boalder, but my daughter
wasn't home yet from a school retreat, so we basically just rode around
to kill a couple days. Rough job, I know... and it was all
sunshine and blue skies.. and NOT 125 degrees... Why no more
pics? Because my camera ran out of charge and I forgot to bring
my charging chord... sigh... I think the rest of these were from my
Found a nice
RV park that had some huge camp sites, showers, etc.. We were the only
tenters there. We had some food we had baught along the way
and had a feast.
Saturday June 24th
put it mildly, we froze our buns off that night. It got down to
just above 40, which doesn't seem that bad, but when you're body is
used to 100 degree days... brrrrrr... The cold woke us up, we got our
selves together and took off early, I think around 7:00. It was a
cold ride the few miles into town to have breakfast. I must have
downed about 8 cups of decaff coffee to get my body temperature back
up... wondering now why I didn't put my heated vest on... what was I an
idiot? We put them on AFTER the restaurant, that's for sure.
That day was pretty short. Rode from Meeker to Kremmling via 13 and 40.
night we stayed in Kremmling in what I found in Google maps as a local
hotel for $40. Can't beat the price, but actually that was
for a room with no bathroom, it was down the hall.. I paid the
extra $20 for the in room bathroom. Hotel Eastin. That was
something. The caretakers were an old woman and man that used
their life savings to buy this old hotel, which was once home to people
like Zane Gray, who was a famous a Western Author, our room
actually had a whole row of his books on the table. All the rooms
were themed and we were in the Zane Gray room. Other people also
stayed there like John Wayne. The work in the rooms was amazing.
She decorated and he fabricated and fixed. And these rooms
were just the size you would see in the old western movies. On
top of that, when we walk in it smells like cookes because, well, she's
baking cookies, so we got it fresh out of the oven because we arrived
relatively early. On top of that, the lobby was basically their
living room... in addition to cookies, there was a jigsaw puzzle on a
table that anyone could assist with, and the window sill, which
stretched the width of the room, was filled from one end to the other
with bobblehead dolls. Bobbleheads from all over the world, sent
to them by guests who had stayed there.
Look at the copyright...can't be used for "talking-picture purposes"...
If you're in the area, stay there.
Sunday June 25th
no hurry, and we needed to bide our time some more, so... we had run
into a couple bikers the day before at a stop just outside of town.
He said we have to go to Mount Evans. Ok then. We
went from Kremmling down through Winter Park (beautiful road) hit I-70
for a while, got off on 103 to head for Mount Evans. At the base
of the mountain it was just a mad house... traffic and parking lots
stacked up everywhere. Didn't help that it was a weekend.
We're like, ah... no... We took the road less traveled which was Squaw
Pass. Wow, what a way to finish up the trip... This road is
amazing. Endless curves and peaks out at just under 10,000 foot
Just south of Winter Park Resort... excellent place to go Snowboarding too!
That's near peak elevation. After that it was all down hill and more amazing road.
And we spend the next two days hanging around with my daughter, her husbands, and my grandkids.
On The Road Again, Wednesday 28th
to last years trip we had time, so we took back roads all the way from
CO to IL. So, aside from two sections of I-70 in CO, the whole
trip was backroads... the only way to do it...
The worse part of the trip was the heat and the resulting but rash I
got... I literally had blisters from the endless heat... It was not
I've made a small modd to my seat... White, so it doesn't get hot
sitting in the sun, and totally reshaped it to get me some more support
and less pressure points...
What's next? I think it's
time to venture ouside the border... and head down the America's... If
that works out, it's time for the rest of this world... Will I take the
Bandit? Not exactly a dual sport bike, and the fact that it
weighs 550 pounds unloaded doesn't bode well if I were to drop it with
gear and all, on some muddy gravel road... Might have to get
something more appropriate...