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Montana 2015 - A different look at it

WoodButcher

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Scott (M38A1) has a good ride report going and I may supplement that with pictures, but this one will probably be more words. Sorry about that, but I had lots of alone time in my helmet and want to capture some of the thoughts and emotions from the trip while they are fresh. Some of the more general ones I'd be interested if other travelers have notice them too.

So, I'm back in my office at work, 7:15am right now. A day early. I'll get to that later, but it was not because of problems, but just they way the schedule worked out. Getting home last night was great. Each time a friend peeled off along the way there was some sadness. I turned for home and waved goodbye to Snoopster about 7pm last night. The rest are still on the road, some will make it home tonight, others still wandering. This morning though, I woke up with a sense of melancholy. My rear end doesn't want another day on the bike nor dealing with the heat, but something inside wants to keep moving. I didn't get to the office with a feeling of despair, there is something comfortable about my desk and chair, but I already miss the group. Really miss the three guys that were chasing us. I kept thinking they'd catch up, but we got too far in front.

I finally understand comments I've heard from world travelers about adjusting to getting home. I wasn't gone that long this time, but am already regretting not making some route corrections and hitting more of Colorado on the way back. And second guessing some of the routing on the trip. Anyone else get home with that desire to still be wandering? Part of it was the people I was with, I think. No arguing, bickering. We fell comfortably into some roles. I did the initial routing, lead the riding for the first few days. Nadeem was excellent making calls and finding places for us to stay. Scott was the main camera guy and he and I hung together on scenic days. Debbie fit in well. I was a bit worried about having her along. I knew she could ride and knew she knew most of the guys, but I didn't know how one woman might change the dynamics of the group. From my opinion is was great. Lady like enough to keep the guys from totally devolving into a bunch of men in the woods, but still capable of some choice words when dropping her bike (sorry, had to mention that). Only happened once though. BTW, Erik, her right pannier bracket could use a little bending. :duck: Camilo was the rear guard. Those headlights on that K1600 are so easy to pick out way back there. Never worried about him making a pass, that this moves when you want it too. Donnie had the wildest trip. Headed up early for another rally, planned on meeting us enroute, which he did, but was having bike issues, headed home, realized the issue wasn't an issue so he manage to catch back up a day later. Thomas also met us enroute, after a client visit and a dirt road traversal of the Bridger National Forrest.

So out full group didn't get together until Jackson, WY on the third night. And we only rode together that morning for the first time. Then we split to 3 and 4. And we rode together a day later from Red Lodge to Billings. The rest of the time it was fragmented. Seems strange to say that and still feel like we were a good group, but it is true.

Okay. enough rambling for the morning. More this evening and I'll add pictures.
 
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......Debbie fit in well. I was a bit worried about having her along. I knew she could ride and knew she knew most of the guys, but I didn't know how one woman might change the dynamics of the group. From my opinion is was great. Lady like enough to keep the guys from totally devolving into a bunch of men in the woods, but still capable of some choice words when dropping her bike (sorry, had to mention that). Only happened once though. BTW, Erik, her right pannier bracket could use a little bending. :duck: .

Bike drops and unimproved roads are the only time I hear Deb lose it. I know it's surprising but she could make a sailor blush :duck: As for dropping the bike I told her 3 things. Glad she wasn't hurt. Glad the bike wasn't broke so bad the trip ends and It's a good thing she bought an Adventure bike. They are made to be dropped. I'm sure I can have that bracket bent back straightish in no time. ;-)

Glad yall had a good time. Sorry I missed it.
 

WoodButcher

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Part of Debbie's problem was set up. We got her rear preload adjusted the next day and that made a big difference. Before we did that she had to lean it to the right to get the side stand down. Which didn't work out well in the Walgreen's parking lot that sloped away to the right...with predictable results when it is already hard to touch on the level surface. She pulled in behind all of us and all I heard was the d-word three times then crunch and a couple more d-words. I turned around fast enough to see her roll and start to get up so I hit her kill switch since I figured she was fine and she was. As far as I know, that was the only time a bike hit the ground.

Debbie and I rode the last two and half days of the trip together and she was wonderful to be with both off and on the bike. I'm jealous of all you guys that ride with her on a regular basis. On the afternoon of the first day it was the two of us, she told me to quit waiting for good passing opportunities for the both of us and just ride. Her words were something like "I ride with Dave (Ouroboros) a lot so I am used to keeping up" So I let my inner Dave out of its cage and twisted the throttle. Passed as soon as I caught up to a car and upped the speed. She stuck right behind me. Then I started to make an outside pass on the double yellow when I saw a left turn lane. At that point I put my inner Dave back in cage and rode like I do when I'm by myself. That worked out much better for both of us. :rofl:
 
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M

mr-roboto

Rusty, I echo the same sentiments.

When the initial hugs are hugged out with one's wife, the stories told to friends and posted on online communities like TWTEX ( or ADV), and the motorcycle trip is truly over, many of us find that coming back home isn’t really as easy some times.

Our true home is being surrounded by the unknown. For me, having a scenic return route instead of a straight, "fastest" route tends to make the transition a bit easier for me. Sport touring is also very enjoyable with good riding synergy among friends of which you partook abundantly.

:sun:

Let's face it, the road is where we belong....sometimes.

And because of that, our gaze will always be on the horizon, looking, dreaming, and wishing for another opportunity to get away again....

RB
 

SpiritAtBay

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"your inner Dave" :rofl::rofl:

better for all if you keep that on a short leash!

re: melancholy and infinite sadness upon returning to the "real world".
Upon our (M38A1 and me) return from New Mexico, most of the folks who asked about the trip were non-riders (and maybe non-travelers?). I got many comments to the tune of, 'boy, bet you were glad to get back home' etc. "No", I'd reply, "I wanted to keep going. It ended too soon."

I can't help but think that the wandering spirit we feel today is but a faint echo of what 'real' explorers in ages past felt. (I'm thinking of ancient sea-faring folk, Vikings, the Conquistadors, etc.) What wander-lust Christopher Columbus must have had!


Looking forward to your pix as well. and more inner rambling.
 

WoodButcher

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Okay, hit the wall at work about 1pm. Just couldn't focus anymore. So I finished the day working from home and the change in venue helped. I've just finish culling and editing all my pictures and now my brain is numb. However, next update will have pictures. Some mighty fine ones too. Others are just snapshots to remember the trip or funny things that happened.

Poor Debbie though, she goofed by staying with Scott and I in Yellowstone. She ended up in more pictures than she planned on. Scott and I were shooting pictures of a bison in Yellowstone and I turned and saw Debbie looking off towards the hills and thought that might be a good shot. I guess Scott agreed because as she turned back around we both still had our cameras aimed at her waiting for the right moment. We got a funny look as she said "Really?" Unfortunately I didn't get sharp focus on that one, but we got a good laugh about it.

Waiting for the moment...

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The reaction:

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The laugh:

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So enough teasing Debbie. She was a good sport about it though.

Okay, a Grand Teton panorama to hold you all over until tomorrow. Click on the link to go straight to the full sized view. It is 5 20mp photos stitched together.

https://woodbutcher.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/BMW-MOA-Rally-in-Billings/i-2NmdCkW/0/O/IMD_0472-Pano.jpg

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cdc

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And I thought the bike drop was not going to be mentioned...
Wander what other secrets will pop-up!
:popcorn:
 

WoodButcher

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And I thought the bike drop was not going to be mentioned...
Wander what other secrets will pop-up!
:popcorn:
I've got nothing left on anybody else. Oh wait, there was that guy that had us running all over Colorado for a prescription. Or maybe that guy who thought he had a rear engine seal leak and rode all over Colorado and Wyoming to keep finding us.

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And I thought the bike drop was not going to be mentioned...

Wander what other secrets will pop-up!

:popcorn:

Yeah Camilo, I thought if there was no pics than it didn't happen. Let's not forget to always put your wallet or keys in the same pocket every time.

I realized that you really need to set up your tent with poles when searching for your original bike keys that may have been packed up in the tent. In the middle of setting it up I had an epiphany, could my keys be in my blue jeans ..... sure enough that's where they were.
 

WoodButcher

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So, I was just lying in bed trying to go to sleep and think I finally put a finger on why I'm more affected by this trip than normal. I apologize for getting philosophical, but I have a degree from a large university that says I'm qualified.

I remember our priest many years ago talking about the peaks and valleys of life. Some high point and some low, but we as we move forward it continues to change. Kind of a rhythm like a heart beating. If you didn't have the highs and lows then you have no heart beat. That lesson stuck with me, but evidently I wasn't practicing it. I've had some emotional events lately and just shook them off and tried to let them go. Nothing major, but they accumulate. Add to that the stress of planning this trip and I was actually a bit wound up and didn't realize it. The trip itself brought many highs. The company was great and the places we went and the things we did all built me up. Hence the issue, as I responded to the highs, I became aware of the lows. Not a bad thing, but just a nagging awareness. So that is why this morning I felt a general sadness. It was there all along, but I wasn't alive enough to notice. The trip woke me up again.

I can't begin to thank my friends who were along enough. They have thanked me for leading them, but apparently I was a beneficiary of the journey too. This borders on an over share, but don't let suppressing the bad things keep you from the good things. Embrace it all and live a full life.

And tomorrow I'll get to the fun part of the ride. Thanks for putting up with that.
 
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I've been on some 3-4 day rides over the years with groups. Those always ended with the git-home-itis braking up the group on the final leg. They were fun but ...
MY major rides were all solo- just turned out that way as I find breaks in my work when I'm least expecting them. In those times and on those rides, I've had great stretches of time to think in the ZEN of the ride. It is sobering to be such a distance from home and know the only person to depend on is yourself. I was not so much a loner as just doing my thing without consulting with the 'group'.
My last long-ride was 4 years back- 7,000 miles- 14 states. I'll take another one soon just to celebrate turning 65, I think.
Having gotten ALL the hard spots out of my ride, I never feel saddle sore. I stop for gas, swap foot positions, stand on the pegs and bounce, and use the throttle lock like a cruise control.
On that ride, I settled into the role of discrete observer, seated at a cafe counter, or my morning McD sausage biscuit, in the next town after breaking camp. Fly on the wall, sort of. I can talk to ANYONE, but mostly chose to fly under the radar.
I started the trip on a high note by attending a wedding, the only Texan to make the trip to Nebraska. All the ceremony was classic farm town stuff right down to the bonfire beer-bust between the guys, with a day long paint-ball war on 160 acres of corn field, ending with the girls crashing the party.
Out of Nebraska, I headed to the black hills and compared notes with some H-D riders on back roads in a slow drizzle. Finished off the day camping in a very remote campground with only 6 other people. Stayed up drinking coffee with a Washington D.C. Mom and her 3 young boys, headed for Denver to rendezvous with the Dad. Next day, I stopped on a lonely road that seemed to go straight to Canada, and thought of the Frost poem "Road not Taken". And took it. It dropped into the Missouri River valley and detoured here and there from the flooding that year. I more or less followed Lewis and Clark on into Montana, with a side run to Little Big Horn. Seeing that hillside and the markers of the bodies they chose not to move from where they fell in battle, I could almost hear the battle and the retreating cavalry scrambling up the hill only to be surrounded. The area is so stark and simple, just high grass and flowers- classic high plains, with the trees down along the Little Big Horn river. The flowers were ripe and the scent was overwhelming sweet.
I camped that night at a BLM site where Clarks contingent had camped in 1803. that's pretty much the way the ride progressed, a series of points in time that punctuated the solitude of three weeks on the road. High priced California campgrounds, a New York City traffic jamb (Yosemite), simple motels on roads going nowhere in particular (Nevada), a monsoon downpour huddled under the rainfly beside my bike in the Marconi cone of a high-power line (Kingman),and a final night listening to a niece questioning the demise of her 15-year marriage (Phoenix). And at roughly 11AM Mountain time, I gave a hug to her and pointed home. I doused myself with water to cool off at each gas stop, watched the sun go down this side of El Paso, took a bench rest of about 45 minutes in Fort Stockton at about 3 AM, or maybe it was Van Horn, and idled around the corner to my street at 9:45 AM that same day. I left the bike packed except for my canteen, and walked in the door. The SigOth sees me and says "Your Dog is missing you."
1034 miles in a day and I was feeling like I could have just kept going. But, what the ****, I'm in Austin. Might as well check the E-mails. The transition is sort of blurry. You know you're back at home. It's not jet-lag. It's just another faze of living. And my heart was somehow repaired, according to my cardiologist.
 
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WoodButcher

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Well, I can tell I'm back to almost normal now. I found where I hid my watch before the trip and set the time and date and wound it up. I didn't speed excessively in the car coming in this morning, but was tempted to pass on the double yellow on my one curvy road. Still haven't ridden the bike yet, but I will tomorrow.

And the real sign is that I haven't gotten to the real ride report :rofl: I'm slow getting that up normally, so I'm really back on track. However, all the pictures are processed. Well, expect for the flower ones, but this really isn't a flower crowd.
 
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My road trip this summer got an indefinite postponement for various reasons. Seeing Scott's thread and now yours brings back a flood of memories from my solo trip last summer. Y'all visited some of the same places with some that were different. Now I am yearning to find a dog sitter and go roaming.

Of course I still have to finish building my house first, and then there is the whole financial situation to improve upon. yada yada yada yada life goes on. Look forward to the rest of the story.
 

WoodButcher

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Oh good grief. Felt so normal today I took the wife to dinner. Down right domesticated again.

Time to start the real ride report. At the beginning. Camilo (CDC) and I were talking one day and I said I'm going to Montana to the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMWMOA) rally in Billings in July. This was many months ago. Christmas maybe. He says that is sounds interesting and he'd like to come. I've ridden with him before, so a small group sounds good. What could go wrong? Well, the curse of being an Admin/Moderator. That and I like to plan routes and know how to use a GPS fairly well. Somehow I end up leading big groups for just a local Pie Run. We did decide to keep it small though and until a month before we had it at four. Camilo, Nadeem (solorider), Donnie (dang it, what is his screen name?) and myself. I did some early route planning and we were going to take the long way there. Mix of camping and hotels. From Austin to Las Vegas, NM the first day to beat the heat. Then Colorado mountains, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. About 6 days to get to Billings. The route home was going to include Beartooth Highway, Chief Joseph Highway and a stop at Ten Sleep Brewery in Ten Sleep where former Austinite, Justin Smith (coolhand) and family live and he runs the brewery. Sounds perfect, eh?

Well, Then ThomasM pings me with some questions. He might be interested. NP, I've ridden with him a bunch and he fits in with this crowd just fine, but he isn't ready to commit. In fact, I figured it was 50/50 that he'd join. Then I get a text Debbie (snoopster) who says her group hasn't firmed up their plans and she'd like to join. The rest of the guys know her, except Thomas and he's on the fence anyway. My dad taught me to treat women right and besides she said "please". So I'm a sucker, she's in. And it was an easy decision and I'm glad she came. Debbie, read that with the sense of humor I hope I conveyed. Week before, my buddy and fellow TWT admin, Scott (m38a1) PM's me and says he could really use a get away from Austin. So now we are six, since Thomas still hasn't committed...and you guessed it, Thomas committed. Hmm, so much for a small group. However due to another rally and client commitments, Donnie was going to meet us in Colorado and Thomas in Yellowstone. So only five intrepid riders were going to launch from Austin and make the death march to Las Vegas the first day. Plans set, hotel reserved for the first night. Debbie, Camilo and Nadeem rode to Austin the Friday before we launched so we could leave early.

Dinner out the night before with the crew, my wife and two of Camilo's boys. Picture snagged from Camilo's Facebook.



So, anybody want to guess when we hit the first snag?
 
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I completely understand where you're coming from. And I think SpiritatBay said it well too.
I believe some of us have an "adventure spirit" in us, and had we been born centuries ago, we'd be warriors and explorers. I'm at home in the outdoors, well suited to being outside all day and sleeping on the ground doesn't bother me. Being detached from family and civilization also feels normal quickly for me, and getting back into "real life" takes me a day or so. :lol2:, but I guess eventually we gotta domesticate and pay the bills.
Good thoughts, and thanks for sharing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

WoodButcher

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Well, somewhere about lunchtime Camilo mentions that he forgot one of his prescriptions, but he called and the Walgreens in Las Vegas, NM will have it waiting for him. So, no problem, right? Yeah, we made good time to LV, checked into the hotel and headed for Walgreens. Then Debbie does the earlier mentioned tuck and roll when her downhill foot misses the ground. Then Camilo finds out the pharmacy part of the store closed a couple of hours before and he can't get his prescription until 10am the next morning. Well, that isn't going to happen. So, the next to cities of any size on our route are Taos and Pagosa Springs. PS doesn't have a Walgreens so that is out. Taos pharmacy doesn't open until 10am and it is only 61 miles as a crow files from LV. So that was out in my opinion. Time for our first route change. Durango instead of the Creede/Lake City side of the mountains. Oh, my first picture of the trip. Spank on Debbie's bike.

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Yes, he needs to tuck that tail in. Wife pointed that out. She needs to get her mind out of the gutter. :-)

Back on topic, off to Taos. Of course curvy mountain roads take longer that going as the crow flies. As we roll past the Walgreens in Taos, i notice it is 10:01am. No big deal, Camilo has the prescription set up in Durango so we keep rolling. Next stop is the bridge over the Rio Grande gorge.

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Our steeds for the trip:

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From there we continue west towards lunch in Chama, but we had some fun in some more mountains and had to stop for more pictures. Bike portraits, never can have too many of those.

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I asked her if she was smiling and she said yes. I'll take it on faith. :rofl:

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So on to Chama and lunch at my usual place, the Elk Horn restaurant. Camilo double checked the Walgreens in Durango, but the pharmacy wasn't answering. Ever get that sinking feeling in your gut? Yep, Nadeem called the front desk and the pharmacist had a family emergency and went home. :headbang: Well, just five minutes before that we had booked sites at the Ouray KOA. So we stuck with that plan instead of getting back on the main route. Off to Durango. As we pulled into town, Camilo says he wants to try the Walmart pharmacy. Yay, they can do it...in 30 minutes. We split up at that point and Scott, Debbie and I put on rain gear and head north. Yep, and we needed it right as we left Durango. We stop at the top of Molas Pass and I get a text from Donnie saying he has a rear seal leak and is turning back, trip over for him. Very sad to hear that, but it sounds bad. For some reason I didn't pull a camera out on Molas Pass. Scott and Debbie will have that covered. There were many pictures of Spank the monkey taken.

Apparently during Spank's photo shoot, Camilo and Nadeem passed us because they were checking into the KOA when we got there...with Donnie. Hey, thought you turned back? We, he had, but was far enough out in front that we met at the same place. He saw from our Spot tracking that we were headed there.

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Bike consultation:

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Nice campsite. Some of us went back into Ouray for a beer and a good dinner. Nadeem stayed back with Donnie to commiserate about his bike. That and some Jack Honey, which they did major damage to.

I'll pick up with the next day in my next post.
 

WoodButcher

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Okay, so morning brings a semi-lazy start. I've spent a lot of time over the years in Ouray and was just there a month ago. So we went into town for breakfast and coffee while the tents dried. Fed and loaded up, we said goodbye to Donnie as he headed off for Raton and his truck. We started north, basically a little more than a half day behind my original plan. However, we'd had fun getting there and were all in good health and spirits. Well, except for Donnie. We should have been camping in the Bridger-Teton national forest that night, but the campgrounds are first come, first served and there was no way we'd get there in time. In fact, I doubted we'd get close to that far. I set Green River/Rock Springs north of the Flaming Gorge as a good target. So, off like a herd of turtles we went. The run from Loma, just west of Grand Junction, to Rangely has a nice little pass you go through. Just plain fun. And as it turned out, the only fun road for the day.

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The crew on the pass:

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Thanks to a good breakfast, we kind of snacked all day on what we were carrying. At Rangely we headed west, dodging rain, towards Vernal. We hit Vernal around 4pm, gassed up then hit a Subway for a late lunch. It was right next to a hotel. Debbie commented that we wouldn't have to go far after eating. I was glad to hear that since I was about ready to stop too. This sentiment was echoed by others as we ate. Combined with good storms to the north of us in the Flaming Gorge area we decided to call it a day and save the scenery for a nice day.

There was an early morning shower that washed the bikes and then cleared out.

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Guess which bike had a cover:

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So, off we go...for a mile. Where's Camilo? Oh, left his wallet behind. So we waited.

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Turns out he only left it in his other pocket, not the hotel.

Then it was my turn. Lampf! message on the display. Usually just means low beam burned out, but thanks to soft connectors to the bulb it can sometimes work loose and generate heat. If not caught, melted wiring. In my case it only cooked half the socket with the connectors. A little crimping, slicing and dicing and back on the road. No issues for the rest of the trip.

The view of the Flaming Gorge is nice from the west side road. You come around a corner and there it is. Kind of like the deer I kept chasing off the road for everybody behind me. :eek2:

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And the gang, courtesy of a self timer and convenient rock.

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Nadeem worked the web on his phone in Rock Springs and found something with good reviews. It was a quirky place, but not bad.

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Tech means no conversation...

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Mirror fun:

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So, we realized that getting to the campsite was going to be dicy. I'd already told Thomas we'd be in one and he was on dirt roads heading that way to meet us. Nadeem worked the web again and found us two rooms in downtown Jackson for a reasonable rate. Specially since each would be split 3 ways. So, camping is scrubbed. I texted Thomas the hotel name and address and off we go over some very wide open country. Windy, wide open country. I have to inject that when I lead a group, I seldom go more than 5mph over the speed limit. I don't want to get anybody else in trouble. In the wind, we weren't doing that even. Debbie was getting moved around on her smaller bike so I just took it easy. Still we are going gps indicated speed instead of less accurate speedo.

So, gas time in the small town of Pinedale. I thought it would be a short stop, but Scott made a friend, people bought ice cream...I finally took off my helmet and sat down. Then this red GSA with a familiar jacket and helmet went by. Jokingly I said, "look its Donnie". Nadeem says, "Hey, that is Donnie!" Sure enough, he found us again. Turns out the rear seal leak was actually the result of oil in the airbox from a dirt nap the week before. :clap: So that night in Jackson was the first time we were all together.

Our $200 a night room:

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Okay, that was just the $500 a night place next door. :rofl:

Spank getting another picture.

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Actually they gave us covered parking right beneath our rooms.

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Okay, Carolyn, here's your truck.

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Don't cross, crazy people over here!

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Who taught her how to ride a horse? That might explain why her bike is facing the wrong way in the covered parking picture.

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Spent some time in this place and on the deck. Nice view of the square.

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The square:

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And us getting the standard tourist shot. Sans me, the photographer.

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The next few are just painting the town.

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And speaking of painting, this mural was right next to us. Since our creative juices had been properly lubricated, we had a little fun.

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And some street scenes

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I didn't check for Texas plates:

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Photo processing magic. Not very sharp, but the light was purple from the neon. Got is decent looking decent enough.

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And home for the night:

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Okay, enough for now. Next post is Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP. Will be picture heavy so take joy those that have struggled through my writing. Your turn is next. :lol2:
 

WoodButcher

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Okay, way overdue. Picking up in the morning in Jackson, WY. We head out as one group, but hit the last gas station on the way out of town. At that point we split into two groups. Both have the route and we are going around the east side of the park. Meet up at Canon Lodge (halfway up the east side) around lunch then meet again by the NW entrance and find a campground. There are several commercial and public ones in the area. Sounds simple, right? Yep, start laughing now. I won't call the groups the fast group and the slow group. Let's call them the photography group and the not-photography group. Since Scott and I each hauled way too much camera gear, we are in the former. Debbie flipped a mental coin and decided to hang back with us and see the parks. :lol2: First up was Grand Teton National Park. The Grand Tetons were named by some french trappers. Teton is apparently a french word for a certain eye catching part of the female anatomy. The mountains are nice, but I suspect the trappers had been without female companionship for too long.

Simple picture:

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If you want to see a monster version of that, five photos stitched together, click this link. Hope you have a big monitor.

https://woodbutcher.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/BMW-MOA-Rally-in-Billings/i-2NmdCkW/0/O/IMD_0472-Pano.jpg

Played a bit with HDR shots and relections

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A little reframing to add perspective:

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Lewis Falls in the park. Not a large fall, but pretty.

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And where is flows:

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And Bison time. I'm an old school guy. For most of the ride Debbie had been bringing up the rear so she could video and also have a comfortable distances. I asked her to move to the middle of the group and if (well, when) we went by close buffalo to stay on my side away from the buffalo. That way my big bike could shield her if things went south. Yep, that's the way I was raised. Or that's what I told her. My secret plan was to ditch my bike and while the buffalo had its way with it, I'd dive onto to the back of hers and escape to safety :duck: Okay, being serious though, a beast that big, close to us with only riding gear is a scary proposition. After seeing our first bison in a field, we stopped at a mud pit/geyser. We were warned by others that the bison up the road were rutting...in the road. :eek2: Hence the safety discussion amongst ourselves. Debbie has some helmet cam of it that I hope she'll add to the thread. More further on.


I hauled a 150-500mm lens with me for "just in case". First bison we saw fit the bill. Tore open the top box and rearranged to I could use it easier later in the day too.

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Kicking up some dust:

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Just wants a belly rub:

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Now I'm going to run a hundred yards towards that guy two hundred yards away and scare him. Yeah, right.

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The mud pot

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Bison all spread out

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This is looking back at the fun, but as we approached that area, cars were stopped, there were rangers trying to get the cars to keep moving (yea rangers) and a Park Ranger EMS vehicle :eek2: Dude in front of us stopped...just as a big male bison started kicking up dust and charging another one. They ran through the small herd scattering them. That'll get the adrenaline flowing, for us and them. That's what Debbie has on her helmet.

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This is a male and female. He kept trying to keep her from going back to the herd. Kind of reminds me of when I was single and went to bars. Not me of course, but as a keen observer of the human race, I'd seen that behavior before. :ponder:

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So, we finally got to the Canon Lodge visitor center. As we got some sandwiches from the general store, I texted the other group. Camilo answered that they were at the Terrace Grill. I saw a sign for the grill, so we sat outside to eat and then waited. After a bit we wandered over. It wasn't called the terrace grill. It was the Canon grill. Hmmm. My pea brain was starting to reach some bad conclusions. I ask Camilo where they were. He had to ask. Turns out there were all the way up at the NW entrance. Okay, I'm a flexible guy. Not what I expected, but since they are there they can search for a campground. So that is what I asked them to do. Unfortunately those were vague instructions and being the creative guys they are, they found a place...in Red Lodge. 3.5 hours away from both groups, over the Beartooth Highway, with rainstorms in the area, at 2:30pm in the afternoon. Oops, this leading from behind is not my forte, I guess.

Time to beat feet and the cameras got put away. We met them at the campground, about 15 minutes behind, I think. Based on the two stops (one over 20 minutes) we could have beat them. But then no marmot and chipmunk pictures.

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Scott taking his version of above. What was funny was that he kept trying to creep closer, hoping not to scare it. Meanwhile, 20 yards away some kids were hand feeding them :lol2:

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The crew at the Red Lodge KOA and our home away from home for a night.

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And provisions.

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WoodButcher

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Next up, The BMW rally and then off to Ten Sleep Wyoming and some beer and friends. Well, even better, friends that make beer. Good beer.
 

bwdmax

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Nice report we were in Yellowstone on a family vacation when ya'll came through.

I saw the big blue truck while eating ice cream at the Canyon store in the park.

talked to a lot of riders headed to the rally, I kept looking for TWT stickers but never saw ya'll.
 
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Those bison are immense critters. In Yellowstone one was browsing around right next to the road and sort of wandering the direction I was riding. Cars were slowing and just about stopping so I had a full plate keeping track of traffic in front, and especially traffic behind since I knew they were looking at the animal and not my bike. As I made it alongside the beast he pick up his pace to match mine and was watching the bike. His hump was higher than my helmet and I had no escape routes other than the shoulder on my side if he veered in on me. Spooky experience. He settled down and went back to a slow walk thankfully. From 25 feet away they are huge.
 
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I spent the last 2 weeks in Montana. Wish I'd been checking here. I heard about your trip yesterday when I stopped for the night at Ten Sleep. I spent a 5 days in West Glacier, 4 days near Missoula, 3 days at Red Lodge, and a night at Ten Sleep. Camped near Grand Lake CO now. The fire in Glacier by St. Mary started the day we checked into W. Glacier.
 

Jeff S

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Those bison are immense critters.
Indeed! I camped out at Caprock earlier this summer - woke early to get on the road before it got too hot, but got stuck in this traffic jam:

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Took about 20 minutes before they trotted off enough to let me squeeze through.

Rusty - thanks for posting the photos and ride log. I did a fair number of those same roads a couple years ago, and it's great to re-live that again though your write up!
 

WoodButcher

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I find it interesting how many folks have made the stop in Ten Sleep. Dirtryder was there a few days before we were.
 

WoodButcher

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Okay, let's see if I can wrap this up. This will be from the rally. It was less then an hour from Red Lodge to Billings and other than a little construction with dirt and mud, there was nothing interesting about the ride. Straight and flat.

We checked in and set up our tents in the back 40. All alone at the time. Half the group asked me why I picked the back 40 and the other half thanked me for staying away from the crowded infield. Yeah, I'm a bit anti-social sometimes. Or maybe just anti-crowds. For some reason I didn't take pictures of camp. So, on to the rally itself. If you needed tires for the trip home, you were covered.

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Pannier drum set:

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Debbie's new seat. Her old one was just a dished out stock seat. This was from Seat Concepts and is their low version. The foam was better than the stock. After a couple of hard days riding she said she had hoped for more, but it was better than what she had. I'll be interested to see what she thinks after a couple thousand miles.

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Okay, this fly was bugging me so I shot it. :lol2: Boredom in the late afternoon while drinking beer. :shrug:

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K1600's on display.

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Daniel and the Blonde was the band name. I'm guessing he's Daniel.

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UFO?

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Ah no, just a man with a toy.

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Interesting choice of campsites there Ron and Steve.

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Okay, that evening was a treat from a sunset point of view. We had a front blow through and before and after we had light bouncing off of clouds, cliffs and clouds again. I'll just post all. Some of these are towards the sun and some facing away.

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Okay, being silly with the monkey. Debbie's headlamp had a blue led so I tried to get a low light picture.

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Where we chose not to set up our tents.

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Didn't have the heart to tell him they weren't real.

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The GS and GSA bikes just keep getting more popular. The next series are from the practice sessions for the GS Giants competition. Nothing difficult on a full dirt bike, but do it on a big heavy bike and it gets interesting. There were several girls riding too.

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Next post will be Ten Sleep then I'll bring it all home after that one.
 

WoodButcher

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Okay. Here's one of my regrets from the trip. I didn't mind splitting up going through Yellowstone, but we ended up with conflicting goals/desires. Not a big deal. I had really hoped to visit Justin (coolhand) at his family brewery in Ten Sleep and most of us wanted to do that, but we had planned on hitting it on Saturday after two days at the rally. Unfortunately Justin was going to be away that day and if we were to catch him, that meant seeing him and his family on Friday. There was still stuff at the rally I wanted to see, but seeing an old friend was high on my list. So we had a discussion and decided to split up for a day or so and met up on the way south. Scott and I really wanted to see Justin. Thomas wanted to hit seminars. Nadeem had test rides on the brain. Donnie was having fun hanging out and visiting with other TWT folks up there. Camilo was up for one more day of the rally, but was torn about coming with us. Debbie decided to stick with Scott and I.

Tearing down our tents in the morning we got a hint of the weather we were going to have that day. Dry. Hot. Maybe windy. Basically not what I'd hoped for in Montana. But it was only a few hours down to Ten Sleep. We opted not to ride the Beartooth again so it was faster.

Hmm, nice buds.

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There was a lady there selling indian fry bread taco and nachos. She makes the fry bread from 30 year old sourdough culture. She also makes the corn tortillas for the chips herself. Along with all the veggies, except tomatoes. Her's weren't ripe yet. We had a couple of beers with them. Well, except Debbie, who doesn't drink much and especially not beer. It was a little warm inside, but fans helped.

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Here's a shot of Justin's dad's glasses on the back of a boat he is restoring.

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Justin took us and the his wife and kids up on top of the cliff over the brewery to get pictures of the sunset. Not a good sunset, but with two guys with cameras, you know pictures are going to get taken. I horned in on Scott doing family shots so this was from the side.

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This is Justin's brother with my long lens. He's about a 1/2 mile away, at dusk. High ISO so it is grainy, but I was impressed I got that. Oh, handheld too.

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That was him coming up the back way to see us. Safety third.

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A big panorama from the cliff:

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So, we had a little hill to climb getting out. Justin's 4wd truck took a couple of tries to make it. So he walked back down so Jodi wouldn't have to drive their fairly new Subaru up. Every bailed out of it and ran for cover.

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And the sequence coming up the hill. No problems in the sand.

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The next morning we hit the road. At every stop, we checked the other group's Spot trackers. They got a slower start then decided to ride the Beartooth highway and Chief Joseph highway. So we actually pulled away. In Rawlins, Wy, Scott decided to peel off after lunch and head to Denver to meet a friend. He would get back to Austin 3 day after we did. After lunch Debbie and I continued south. I covered the meeting of the minds about speeds, passing and my inner Dave in on of the first posts of this thread. This is where the fun started. We picked up the pace and made it to Glenwood Springs. Last time I was there it was easy to get a hotel. Obviously I was there during tourist season and I didn't know about the hot springs (Debbie, how about chipping in that picture you took?) So, we pull up in front of this cool motel/cabin place I'd stayed before (yep, didn't call ahead. Fatal flaw of mine) and no vacancy. So we started working the web. Debbie started calling places, then I did. My second or third call was to the Starlight Inn. Nestled right in among the chains. Sounded like it might be run down. Nice older lady with a German accent answered. "Do you have any rooms left?" "Yes, one" That's okay, two cheap rooms ideal, but we were getting desperate. "It is two beds?" "Yes, $189, one unit, two rooms, one bed in each, is that okay?" Heck yeah, that works. So I tell her we'll take it and she gets my name. We are only 5 minutes from there and headed right over. We get there and she tells us how lucky we were. She had three people in line wanting a room when I called and I just beat them.

And the room was really nice and modern.

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Decent mexican across the road where I had a large margarita, not bad, not great, but definitely had alcohol in it. After, Debbie suggested a walk. My suspicion is that she wanted me to get it out of my system, but she didn't say. She's polite that way. Anyway, we discovered the huge hot springs pool and watched the swimmers some and saw some neat parts of town. I didn't think to get any pictures. Not sure why. :shrug:

Here is Debbie's picture of the monster pool:

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So, this is one of the reasons I like staying in Glenwood Springs. The view to the south.

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Next, final fun road and the grind home.
 
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WoodButcher

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Our route south could go over Independence Pass or Tennessee Pass. We opted for Independence pass. We'd both done it before, but I like that area by Twin Lakes. We used to cross country ski in that are when I was in high school.

Stopping in Aspen for the videographer to get her camera in place.

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Yep, you read that right. For a change we weren't waiting for me or Scott to fiddle with a camera. And yes, somebody has some helmet cam footage that hasn't been posted. PM Snoopster if you want her to post it. :duck: Okay, don't do that, she still thinks I'm an okay person. :lol2:

Top of the pass, obligatory shot.

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Another pano:

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Ah ha, that monkey again.

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The road down:

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We got behind some slower cars and I was getting tired of passing cars and there were more oncoming ones. Good thing. The law enforcement types were working the Twin Lakes historic district. Not the last time on this trip we would get lucky with me getting lazy with the throttle.

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And I'm just about out of pictures. We ran into a bit of a snag in Colorado when the mount for one of my LED driving lights failed, but I was able to bolt the mount around the cross bar then during the ensuing rain/lightning delay we found zip ties in the Family Dollar and it is still secured that way now.

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What I don't have pictures of is the very inexpensive America's Best Value Inn in Santa Rosa. Now our first choice for road hotels. Rooms were $55 a night and I had a 55" flat screen tv in mine. Debbie's was smaller. Too bad not all the channels were good, but, hey, $55 for a clean, quiet room on the first floor with our bikes right outside.

I also don't have pictures of the brutal ride down through Lubbock towards Sweetwater, with a hot dry wind that we were leaned over in much of the time. Dealt with that all the way back to Austin. We were stopping every 70-90 miles for water and to cool off. There were times my bike got blown around so much I wasn't sure Debbie was going to keep her's on the road. She did though.

Oh yeah, the other guys. They didn't catch up. When we had lunch in Salida, I briefly considered heading west towards Gunnison and Lake City to hit the roads we missed on the way up. We were a day ahead of schedule and that would have let the other guys catch up. But a little time with the maps and looking at the weather radar and we realized we needed to stay moving south or we were going to get smacked by some ugly stuff. Just a minor regret not getting one more day in the mountains, but sometimes you have to be smart.
 

WoodButcher

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Wrap up. I started this thread all philosophical so I'll try and tie it back together.

I had a really good time. Most of us knew each other, and I'd ridden with all but Donnie. I liked the personalities in the group and everybody had something to contribute. I'd ride with any and all of them again. And faster too, thanks to Debbie retraining me. Blame her Camilo, next time we ride in Arkansas.

I've been back just over a week and no longer feel the urge to hit the road right away. I managed to keep losing weight on the trip instead of gaining. So I've kept those good eating habits going. I've started reading books again and walking away from watching the tv. I'm waking up very early, but rested so I'm in the office even earlier. Oh, one thing I noticed on the trip was that I was saying thank you to people more often than I normally do. That was because we seemed to help each other a lot. Simple things, grabbing water bottles, picking things up. In all the alone time I had in my helmet riding across Texas, I realized I don't thank my wife enough for all the things she does for me. So I apologized to her and have started to correct that. Just about brought her to tears when I told her. Just a minor sign I came home changed.

I will admit I'm making plans for next year's trip already. My daughter is at Duke University in North Carolina. I'm thinking a spring trip to say "Hi" then hit all the good roads in that area. Some time after spring break and before school gets out. Enjoy the weather and beat the heat. Wonder what will happen to me on that trip? Can't wait to see.

thanks for reading along.
 
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Well done! To all of y'all! It's funny how being away on a trip changes one's perspective.
Sounds like it was a great trip and a great experience shared. Thanks for the time putting it into words and pictures for us arm chair travelers!
 

jfink

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... We picked up the pace and made it to Glenwood Springs. Last time I was there it was easy to get a hotel. Obviously I was there during tourist season and I didn't know about the hot springs (Debbie, how about chipping in that picture you took?) ...

... So, this is one of the reasons I like staying in Glenwood Springs. The view to the south.

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...
Man, I love Glenwood. I lived there for 7 years back in the 70's. That is a picture of Lookout Mountain. There used to be a ski resort there, but the snow really was sporatic so it didn't make it. There is a four wheel drive road to the top, you can see it zig zagging up in the pictures. There used to be one that ran right up the middle. I made it up in my Scout but a friend rolled his jeep all the way down. Lucky he wasn't killed but he spent some time in the hospital. Ultimately, my boss refused to give me a raise after three years and told me there were three people in line waiting for my job, so I moved on. Wonderful place to live though.

Thank you for your ride report.
 
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cdc

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Wrap up. I started this thread all philosophical so I'll try and tie it back together.

I had a really good time. Most of us knew each other, and I'd ridden with all but Donnie. I liked the personalities in the group and everybody had something to contribute. I'd ride with any and all of them again. And faster too, thanks to Debbie retraining me
. Blame her Camilo, next time we ride in Arkansas.

I've been back just over a week and no longer feel the urge to hit the road right away. I managed to keep losing weight on the trip instead of gaining. So I've kept those good eating habits going. I've started reading books again and walking away from watching the tv. I'm waking up very early, but rested so I'm in the office even earlier. Oh, one thing I noticed on the trip was that I was saying thank you to people more often than I normally do. That was because we seemed to help each other a lot. Simple things, grabbing water bottles, picking things up. In all the alone time I had in my helmet riding across Texas, I realized I don't thank my wife enough for all the things she does for me. So I apologized to her and have started to correct that. Just about brought her to tears when I told her. Just a minor sign I came home changed.

I will admit I'm making plans for next year's trip already. My daughter is at Duke University in North Carolina. I'm thinking a spring trip to say "Hi" then hit all the good roads in that area. Some time after spring break and before school gets out. Enjoy the weather and beat the heat. Wonder what will happen to me on that trip? Can't wait to see.

thanks for reading along
.
I never complained about the pace . . . :trust:

By the way, great report from a great trip planner / lead.

Thank you!!
 
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