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Trippin' Connies 5: Glacial Express

Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
It’s that time of year again. The Connies have been fitted with new tires and filled with fresh oil. Routes and reservations have been made. It’s time to see some new sights, check several more states off the list, and get some fresh air. I love taking these trips, but I always leave with a heavy heart, especially this year being away from my daughter and pregnant wife. I can’t thank my wife enough for her understanding.


Day 1 - 7/27/2013 - Houston, TX to Salina, KS - 681 Miles


Houston, TX to Salina, KS - 681 miles – MAP LINK





When my alarm clock went off at 3:45 am I stumbled around the house as I woke up. As I began loading up the bike I heard what I thought was rain on the carport. It couldn’t be! I certainly don’t recall hearing anything about rain early this morning. But it was, and it soon turned into a downpour. What an awesome way to start a trip. I called dad to see if he was prepared to take off in the rain. I drug my feet taking off and did so when the rain slacked up.

Trip B is cleared for good measure and my bike has a bit over 36k miles to start with.
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I gassed up on the way to dad’s house, trying to get a feel for everything again. I literally had to knock the cobwebs off my bike in preparation for this trip. Since TC4 I had racked up a whopping 300 miles on my bike. A new tire combined with rain wasn’t my ideal way of getting back into the swing of things. I made it to dad’s house at 5:15. We had planned on 5, so considering the downpour we weren’t too far behind.

We took off and as soon as we entered I-45 we ran into another problem. I could no longer hear dad through my speakers. He had bought a brand new set of Sena headsets and this was their first test. I thought it was weird how I could no longer hear him when they were working fine up until entering the freeway. I started thinking about it and the only difference was I had put my helmet down and locked the chin bar in at that exact time. I unlocked the chin bar and immediately we could converse again. I had no idea what was going on, but the moment I would lock my helmet down I could no longer hear dad, but he could still hear me. So up until the first gas stop, I rode with the chin bar down, but not locked in. I joked that I’d just have to remember to snap it into position if I was going to crash. It was an uneasy feeling as I prefer to ride with my face fully protected.

The first gas stop was in Corsicana, TX. Luckily dad brought a tiny allen wrench so I started messing with the Sena on my helmet. My helmet was also brand new; I had picked up a HJC CL-Max II. It is a Bluetooth ready model and I had originally mounted the Sena right over the Bluetooth box. I decided to move it forward and inch or two and then we tested them out with my helmet locked down. It worked! I have absolutely NO idea why my speakers shut off in the original location, but the problem had been remedied so I wasn’t going to worry about it too much.

We made our way though Dallas without any problems and on into Oklahoma. Next gas stop was in Ardmore, OK. Gas station pictures suck, but I guess they’re better than nothing.
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Before leaving this stop, I put my Oakley sunglasses on, the same ones I wore all last year. 5 Miles down the road they were already killing me. They didn’t fit well with this helmet and created a nice pressure point right behind my ears. Halfway to the next gas stop I ended up pulling them off because I couldn’t take it anymore. I just went from one extreme to another. It was so bright outside and I had a clear face shield, so I was practically squinting the rest of the way.

As we were getting close to Oklahoma City we got into a construction zone and the barriers made the freeway really tight. I passed a truck on the left and when dad went to pass the truck started moving over into dad’s lane. He didn’t even have time to find his horn, just hollered “HEY!” as loud as he could and luckily the guy had his window rolled down. It startled the guy and he overcompensated, almost smashing his truck into the barrier on the other side. A close call though.

Next gas stop was in Tonkawa, OK. Not much to see around these parts.
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I figured I had two options with my vision. Either find a motorcycle shop and hope they had a tinted shield, or buy some new sunglasses. I went for the later at this stop. It turned out being the best $18 I’ve ever spent on a trip. I found some with soft/bendable sides, so they fit in my helmet perfectly. They were also polarized, which provided for some trippy effects at times.

With my new shades, I was feeling great for the final stretch of the day. It may have had something to do with Red Bull and Aleve as well. Neither one of us has ridden in Kansas before, so we colored in another one on the map.
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We pulled into Salina, KS late in the afternoon and decided not to do anything special for dinner. We walked over to Wendy’s and then had to make a quick trip to Walmart. Dad forgot a hat for the trip so he wanted to pick one up. He went with a local flavor.
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There were a ton of classic cars in town for a meet. Before going back to the room I walked around and grabbed a few shots.
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The rest of the night consisted of watching the UFC fights and dad hydrating.
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A couple notes for Day 1:
-Comfort Suites has some seriously comfortable beds.
-So far the new Sena headsets are not Trippin’ Connies approved. The batteries depleted with about 200 miles left in the day, so we had to plug them in while riding.
-Today was the most comfortable trip ever getting out of Texas. There was good cloud cover and it only got up into the mid 90s. Coming into Salina, KS it was actually a cool 73 degrees or so.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 2 - 7/28/2013 – Salina, KS to Douglas, WY - 652 Miles

Day 2 Map Link




I was up at 6 and could hear the rain hitting against the window. At least the guys at the front desk let us park the bikes under the cover for the night. We drug our feet again and ate the continental breakfast at 7. We had a nice window seat watching and contemplating the rain. The lady at the front desk in the morning pulled up the weather radar as we put on our rain suites. She said we’d probably have rain for 30-50 miles and then we’d be good. The crazy thing is I was dumb enough to believe her.

For the first 180 miles we went in and out of rain and heavy fog. Many times I had to slow way down because I couldn’t see 50 foot in front of the bike. The first need for gas on the day came at Oakley, KS. It was still foggy.
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Dad called me over to look at something. I call this one “the truth behind the hot dog machine.”
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We continued west on I-70 entering the Mountain Time Zone and then into Colorado. Rain on and off. The good news was that the temperature remained in the 50s for most of the day. The next gas stop was in Limon, CO.
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The next challenge was traversing Denver. Our route had us looping the outskirts on 470. I’m still not sure if 470 was a toll road or not. There were signs saying license plate tolls, but I have no idea how they worked because there were no toll plazas. Once we turned north on I-25 the traffic got thick. There were a ton of cars on the road, and it was slow going. We were going twice as fast as the southbound traffic, so at least we had that going for us. There were countless numbers of RVs and ski boats headed to Denver. Then we came upon another new state for us, Wyoming.
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We ended up stretching the next gas stop out to Cheyenne, WY. It looked as if we had just missed a big rodeo in town. I finally got a chance to peel off my rain gear and put my new shades back on.
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While at this gas stop, we took notice of a guy that pulled off the freeway with what appeared to be his child on the back. They were riding on a KLR650. It looked like they were trying to get something situated on the seat. A little way down the road we passed the KLR as they were pulled over beneath an overpass of the interstate. Another maybe 30 miles down the road we started to approach a storm. There was a perfectly placed “parking area” on the side of the interstate so we whipped in there to put the rain gear back on. No sooner did we get off the bikes did the KLR pull up behind us. We were shocked because we were doing 80-85mph so he had to have been pushing that KLR to be that close behind. He pulled over so his daughter (we assume) could put her rain gear on.
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The impending storm…
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And off they went, he said they were riding from Colorado Springs to Casper.
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We took off and it turned out to be just a short downpour. The rest of the trip to Douglas was uneventful. We pulled into the First Interstate Inn and let me just say it was no Comfort Suites. Dad checked us in while I took a hike across the road and up a driveway to try to get a picture of a huge rainbow. By the time I got to where I wanted the rainbow was basically gone. Those things move fast.
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Back at the hotel dad described the lady working in the office as “crusty.” Oh boy. The room was subpar, somewhat clean, and already inhabited by a few annoying flies. We went back into the office to find out where to eat and Crusty (which dad so accurately described so it was now her nickname) recommended a Mexican restaurant in town. As we rode to the restaurant we passed a couple brand new hotels. Doh! At least our place was cheap, which now started to make sense. We ended up taking Crusty’s recommendation and eating at La Costa. The food was decent, but the margaritas sucked.
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After dinner we stopped at a river because it looked like an interesting area. On the walk down to the water we realized it was the Platte River, cool because Platte is a family name on my mom’s side. There wasn’t much to look at down at the water’s edge because reeds were blocking most of the view.
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We walked back up to the bridge and looked around from there.
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On the walk back to the bikes we observed a little girl (in a non-creepy sort of way) with her two horses. It was crazy the way she so naturally took control of them. She hopped on one and took it for a couple of laps. A true little cowgirl, doing a little showing off.
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Back at the hotel a huge thunderstorm rolled in with the night darkness. There was a ton of lightning activity and the thunder boomed like nothing I’d ever heard before. I wanted to try to capture some of the strikes so I set up my tripod. This picture sums up the First Interstate Inn to me.
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I stood out in the parking lot until I literally got scared I was going to get struck by lightning. The strikes were blinding. It was creepy and beautiful all at the same time.
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Note: The Sena headset batteries did not run out on Day 2, maybe we were breaking them in.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 3 - 7/29/2013 – Douglas, WY to Red Lodge, MT - 380 Miles


Day 3 – MAP LINK





We were up at 6 am, local time. If there was a continental breakfast at the First Interstate Inn, we didn’t want any part of it. I do feel much better about the upcoming ride after checking my bike in the morning though. Haha.
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We were on the road by 7:15, looping back around to get on I-25. As soon as we took off I looked out into the field next to our hotel and there were at least 10 pronghorns grazing. One was literally right next to the fence where we were and I didn’t even look over there. I was pissed that I miss out on some photo opportunities.

After doing 2 days straight over 650 miles I planned today to be short mileage and more scenic. We headed west on I-25 to Casper and exited onto US 20. Before leaving Casper we filled up on gas, since we hadn’t the night before.

40 Miles west of town we passed a brown recreation sign. I couldn’t read it quick enough but dad said it read “****’s Half Acre.” The name alone had me intrigued so we u-turned and headed back to check it out. What we found was a pretty neat little piece of Wyoming. The only problem was everything was fenced off. I couldn’t get any decent pictures. But as we were walking around I found a spot big enough to sneak under, which I assume many others have also done.
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There wasn’t much to see from here until we reached Boysen Reservoir. We stopped at the north side of the lake, near the dam, to take little break. It was a beautiful little spot.
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I looked down the hill and could see black spots in the water. They appeared to be good-sized fish, but I wasn’t convinced. There was only one way to find out, and it involved a rock… or several of them.
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They were indeed fish, and big ones. Not sure of the species though.

We continued on US 20, now heading north, along the Bighorn River and passing through 3 tunnels along the way.
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The river led us to the town of Thermopolis where we filled up our tanks. Not only is it a really nice looking town, it’s fun to say. I wouldn’t mind coming back to that area some day.

We passed through Cody, WY and took WY 120 to the start of Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.
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Dad was inspired to do his best Chief Joseph impression.
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Just a couple miles into CJSH the weather started to threaten us again, so we pulled over to gear up.
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We stopped at a nice overlook area that was crowded with humans and chipmunks.
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The next stop for a break was at a scenic overlook at a bridge over a creek running below. I took a picture for a group of rough looking biker gang/club guys with their women here. Their camera, not mine. They had their fancy vests and braided facial hair. I think dad and I should wear tricked out leather vests. The “Dos Locos” has a nice ring to it.
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Taking our time along the CJSH I stopped again when Beartooth Mountain came into view.
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Did you see it? I doubt it. It was on the other side of the road and off in the distance.
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There are tons of these dudes cruising these parts.
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At the junction of CHSH and Beartooth Pass Highway (US 212) I snagged another picture of Beartooth Mountain. Before the trip I read somewhere that at this junction was about the best view of the mountain from paved roads.
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We headed east on Beartooth Pass Highway and I now know why it is touted as one of the best motorcycle roads in the country. I’m actually a bit shocked the area isn’t a National Park and charging for admission. It’s absolutely beautiful scenery. The first stop we made as we climbed in elevation was at Little Bear Lake.
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Right around the corner we ran into a construction zone.
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A guy in a truck came riding by telling everyone the wait would be about 20-30 minutes. We got off the bikes and waited it out. A truck in front of us offered the group ahead of us beer and they accepted. Funny, dad and I didn’t get offered anything. Then all of a sudden one of the guys fired up his bike and headed up a dirt trail. We stood there watching in confusion, trying to figure out what he was doing. We still don’t really know, but he climbed the hill all the way to the tree line in the picture below. The dirt trail was not smooth. We were just waiting for the guy to dump the bike. I assure you he was bottoming out the suspension on that Harley. A few minutes later he came back down. Maybe the beer ran right through him?
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We got going and the next stop we made was near the top of the pass, it was right at 11,000 ft. here. I liked this spot, as you can see from the amount of pictures.
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We stopped a little further up and it started to rain on us. It had also gotten pretty cold, into the lower 40s. I’m not sure why, but I made the decision not to put my rain gear on. I had hopes the rain wouldn’t be bad and would pass. It was a pretty stupid idea, considering I only had on mesh gear except for winter gloves, but it actually worked out.
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The rain was only light and went away pretty quick. I dodged a bullet. We finally hit the Montana border and were greeted with beautiful rainbow. Now that was a welcome.
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I couldn’t resist stopping just a little further up the road. Maybe it was because the scenery was so boring the two previous days, but I was slowing us to a crawl today.
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One last stop for the day was at a point that you could walk out too. There was a decent crowd there, so it deterred my picture taking. The place was called Rock Creek Vista.
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We cruised down the mountain and into Red Lodge, MT where we had to find the back way to our hotel due to the street being torn up on the front side. We were told the main water pipes in town were almost 100 years old and were made of wood. They were in the process of replacing them.
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The Yodeler Motel was a cool place to stay, they gave away stickers for goodness sake. The lady working the desk had a great attitude and recommended Foster & Logan’s Pub & Grill for dinner. It was a 4 or 5 block walk so we took off down Broadway Ave.
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I introduced dad to Moose Drool and he actually liked it. You can’t beat having a few from the tap in Montana. We both had buffalo burgers and I opted for bacon and ham on mine. My first buffalo burger, and it was delicious.
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The bank sign read 60 degrees on the walk back to the Yodeler and it felt great outside. I really liked what I saw of Red Lodge. It was a neat town, but it was packed with cruisers, not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, just a statement. Our room at the Yodeler was on the basement level. They had a place to wash off your bike, if you did that type of thing. They also provided towels to dry off bikes in the morning. Our room was equipped with a steam bath from decades ago. I gave it a shot and it was certainly a different experience. I’ve never been in steam so thick I couldn’t see my belly button. Not sure I felt any better after, but I tried it. Our room also didn’t have an A/C unit, just a window with a fan in it.

Today was hundreds of miles shorter than the two previous, but it was just as long due to all the stops, but those stops are what makes the trip more memorable.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 4 - 7/30/2013 – Red Lodge, MT to Kalispell, MT - 477 Miles


Day 4 – MAP LINK




We woke up at the usual 6 am and got rolling a little after 7. The only downside to the Yodeler was no breakfast, but that can be overlooked. We gassed up before leaving town and kept northeast on US 212 until we reached Laurel. Here we turned west on I-90 where we would spend a good part of the day. There wasn’t much to see this morning. The first stop we made was 180 miles after leaving the motel, in Bozeman, MT. It was good to get off the bikes and stretch the legs. But dad wanted to do more, he was ready to speak to a real estate agent and start looking for properties. The last stretch was the toughest on him thus far. His mind and body weren’t in it. I was worried how the rest of the day was going to go.
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We continued west on I-90 churning out the miles. As we were coming into Butte, a fox ran across the interstate in front of me. It was big and had really long legs, and no, it wasn’t a deer. It wasn’t a close call, but he made me hit my brakes and make sure he wasn’t going to run back across on me. The crazy thing was he was going from the rural side of the road to the urban side.


I planned on getting gas and stretching out when we exited I-90. Too bad there wasn’t a gas station there. We took US 12 to MT 141 and the miles kept going on, with no sign of gas. I needed to get off the bike so when I saw a lake I knew I would stop there. It shows to be Nevada Lake on the map.
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Another dose of liquid energy for dad…
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From here we continued on a slow pace. I knocked the speed down in an effort to get better mileage and make it to the next potential gas stop. It’s amazing what kind of mileage these bikes can get only going 65-70 mph. I only trust my GPS to a certain extent when it comes to gas stations. My maps haven't been updated… ever. At a little over 200 miles we reached a gas station at the intersection of MT 200 and MT 83.
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Heading north on MT 83 now, we followed along a chain of beautiful lakes. It was tough to see them because the trees were so thick. We made a stop at one of the smaller lakes in the chain, Summit Lake.
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Next stop was a bit up the road at Swan Lake. It’s the longest lake in Montana without a dam.
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We didn’t stop again until we filled up on gas after reaching our destination town of Kalispell. Coming into town, the temperature had reached the upper 80s. We were not far from the Canadian border and yet it was the hottest it had been since Texas/Oklahoma the first day. We made our way to the Kalispell Grand Hotel. We had made good time today, spending over 250 miles on the interstate. This historic hotel has been around for 101 years and would be our base camp for the next two nights. It was charming and our room was really nice and clean. Fresh baked cookies and popcorn in the afternoons are a nice touch.

The girl that checked us in recommended the Italian restaurant that was literally right next door. It was a nice place, but a little concerning when there was only one other table filled when we arrived. It was early, and the place was crowded when we left. The food was really good, but it was also probably the most I’ve ever spent on a motorcycle trip dinner. We left stuffed.
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Back at the hotel dad started flipping through the channels and stopped on some homemade documentary (that looked like it was filmed in 1988) about building a canoe. It started with chopping a tree down and it was basically like watching paint dry. But as time went on, it was interesting and we didn’t want to turn it off. We watched the whole hour. Jako built a working canoe with no modern day tools other than a hammer, hand drill, and hand saw. It was pretty awesome.

Later on I went outside to get some pictures of the hotel before going to bed.
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Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Those last two shots, how are you shooting such clear shots? F22? They are amazing.
Thanks, both are ISO 100, f/18 for 15 seconds.

The light "smear," as I would call it, around the hotel neon signs drives me crazy though. :doh: I could probably fix them with a lot of time.
 
M

mr-roboto

Kory,

You have take some really excellent pictures so far....professional level if I may say so. What type of camera are you using?

Btw, since you are near the Canadian border, any chance you might cross over and go up to Banff/Lake Louise? British Columbia is simply breathtaking. All you need is your American passport.

RB
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 5 - 7/31/2013 – Kalispell, MT to Kalispell, MT - 238 Miles


Day 5 – MAP LINK




We slept in just a tiny bit and then went downstairs to have breakfast in the hotel lobby. I wanted to stay at the same hotel for two nights so that we didn’t have to lug everything through the park. Today was about enjoying the main destination of our trip, Glacier National Park. We grabbed the necessities and made the 30-mile ride to the west entrance of the park.
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There was a line at the entrance, but it moved quickly. We got into traffic right away on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. We were moving about 5-10 mph as we climbed in elevation for a couple of miles. All I could think of was how long it was going to take for us to make the whole 50 miles through the park. The traffic jam was being caused by a large group of bicycle riders. It was difficult for cars to pass safely, but once everyone in front of us made it around we were able to at least go the speed limit. We made sure to clear the bikes and then made a quick stop.
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We stopped quite a bit, mostly my doing because I wanted to get pictures.
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I couldn’t resist a couple “Going-to-the-Sun” pictures.
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Another quick stop…
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And another…
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A little further down the road and another place to enjoy the scenery.
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One final stop before reaching Logan Pass...
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We finally reached Logan Pass, which is little past the halfway point of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The plan was for us to get off the bikes here and take a little hike out to the Hidden Lake overlook. We pulled into the somewhat crowded parking lot and made use of the close designated motorcycle parking area.

I had read that this hike was one of the most popular, but also one of the easiest of the good hikes in the park. It was one and a half miles to the overlook, piece of cake, right? Mistake #1 was getting my info from a hiking website. The guy probably does this stuff in his sleep. Mistake #2 was carrying way too much crap along with me. I took all my camera gear including tripod, full camelback, and snacks. Mistake #3 was being completely out of shape. And so we took off up the hill…
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The stairs kept coming and the weight I was carrying along with me was killing me. Every time we would crest part of the trail another hill would appear. When I stopped to take a picture it was really an attempt to catch my breath.
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When the trail finally flattened out, a crowd in front of us gathered around to watch a mountain goat and her kid. Momma paused for a moment and then rethought her path, going around a group of trees to avoid the crowd. I stayed back, loaded up my 80-200mm and waited for them to emerge.
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Almost there…
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We made it to the overlook and of course it was somewhat crowded. We went ahead and walked just a bit further and found a good place to stop and soak it all in.
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While we were there a couple more goats came to visit. There were also a bunch of Columbian ground squirrels running around begging for food.
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I took a few more shots, we snacked and recharged our batteries.
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The hike back to the bikes was much more enjoyable. It may have had something to do with heading downhill.
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On the way back down we caught up with the momma and kid on their descent. They were walking right down the path and people were moving out of their way.
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At one point the kid was rubbing its head against a post. It knocked over the post, startling the kid, and it took off running for momma. It cracked me up. About two-thirds of the way down they finally broke off from the trail.
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The only other animals we saw were a few marmots. Back at the parking lot it was now jam-packed. We stopped in at the visitor center to collect some stickers and souvenirs and then made our way out. I ended up stopping about every quarter of a mile. The views were magnificent, and I couldn’t resist stopping over and over.
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We finally got moving a bit and made another quick stop at a Goose Island viewpoint.
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Literally right around the corner we ran into a construction zone. Waiting here we talked to the best looking construction worker we’ve ever run across. Here’s dad wishing she was holding an umbrella instead of a stop sign…
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We exited the park and made the decision to head north to the border, just because. We were so close, we might as well make the run up US 89. It was a 40 mile detour, but what the hey.
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We went as far as we could, without having to answer questions or be subject to a cavity search, before turning around. Welcome to the United States of America.
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We ran back south on US 89. Now back south of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, US 89 was a nice and curvy road, just watch out for the cows. Also, this area is recovering from past wild fires. We turned onto MT 49 and this road was really twisty, but the road surface sucked, and to an extent, downright dangerous. We made a stop at an overlook of Lower Two Medicine Lake.
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From here we took US 2, looping around the bottom of the park. We got stuck riding through a long construction zone and were completely covered in dust by the time we got out of it. Towards the end of the day the song “O Canada” somehow turned into “O Kalispell.” The newly invented song would haunt our conversations for the entire trip home.

We gassed up in Columbia Falls and made our way back to the hotel. We were whooped and didn’t want anything fancy for dinner, so we walked down to the A&W, cheap and easy. The rest of the night we rested up for the next day. The weather forecast wasn’t looking good.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Kory,

You have take some really excellent pictures so far....professional level if I may say so. What type of camera are you using?

Btw, since you are near the Canadian border, any chance you might cross over and go up to Banff/Lake Louise? British Columbia is simply breathtaking. All you need is your American passport.

RB

Thanks! I used a Nikon D600 and various lenses I took along with me. The majority of the shots were taken with my wide angle Tokina 16-24mm f/2.8.

As you'll see above, we went to the border, but that was it. I have a passport, but dad doesn't, so I knew it wasn't going to happen. I've heard that area is gorgeous. Maybe one day...
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 6 - 8/01/2013 – Kalispell, MT to Pendleton, OR - 472 Miles


Day 6 – MAP LINK





We had breakfast at the hotel again before hitting the road. The forecast basically showed we would be in rain all day long. Luckily it wasn’t raining yet, but we suited up and prepared. From the hotel we took US 93 south to MT 82 and then south again on MT 35. MT 35 ran along the east side of Flathead Lake. It’s the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States. There was cherry farm after cherry farm along the road. I wanted to find a place to stop for some pictures, but I didn’t like any of the places we passed that had a lake view, so we kept moving on.

On the south side of the lake we joined back up with US 93 and soon after it began raining. We continued south on US 93 down to Missoula and ended up stopping for gas in Lolo, MT.
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There were a bunch of these types of rigs up north. Every time I would see one, all I could think of is how much I love my motor.
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A little over 30 miles later, we were entering yet another new state, Idaho. As you can see, the conditions still weren’t great. It was raining and we were trying to keep the fog on our face shields under control.
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I knew this sign was coming up and that I wanted a picture of it. This isn’t the way I hoped to see it though, through a drizzle and with slick roads.
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It was a great road with sweeper after sweeper, but the conditions were a bummer. I’m already slow, with twisty slick roads I’m even slower. But at the same time, if we didn’t keep a decent pace we were going to be riding until the sun went down. What the rain really did was kept me from stopping for pictures every 5 miles. We rode at least half of the road before there was a pocket in the rain and I was ready for a stretch. You can basically take the pictures below and imagine that for 100 miles, that was US 12 (Lolo Pass) through Idaho.
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I took a few pictures of some passersby and then I made dad ride by for a picture.
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We took off and it wasn’t far down the road that something caught my eye across the river. It was a bald eagle and what looked to be a few juveniles. It wasn’t raining at the time so I told dad I was going to turn around. Since they were across the river I thought I might have a shot at getting some pictures of them. We looped back and as we slowly pulled up the mature bald eagle took off and started flying down the river. We rode alongside it for about 200 yards before it flew up and landed in a tree. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. We found a spot to turn back around and the eagle too off again and this time I lost track of it. No pictures, but it will live in my memory bank forever.

Close to the Washington border we stopped for a break at Lewis-Clark Canoe Camp State Park. “These grounds have been inhabited for thousands of years by the Nez Perce people, but are best known as the place where the Lewis and Clark Corps Of Discovery worked with the Nez Perce to carve the canoes that took them to the Pacific Ocean in 1805.” After watching the canoe building show the other night, we now have some idea of the effort it may have taken to build those canoes. I peeled off my rain gear here hoping we had finally broken the rain.
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Sniper shot of dad…
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Coming into Lewiston, my GPS got confused and I ended up taking a wrong turn onto US 95 north. After getting back on track we ended up avoiding the town and crossing over into Washington on the north side of the Snake River. I missed the sign so we had to U-turn and come back to it. It wasn’t a great spot to stop. There wasn’t much of a shoulder and it was a pretty busy road.
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I mentioned we had missed most of the town because we were now running low on gas and there weren’t any stations on our path. We stretched the gas out farther than I ever have to almost 240 miles before seeing a station in Pomeroy, WA. While we were here several combine harvesters rolled in to refuel. Those things were huge and not quiet.
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A lady walking out of the store asked if we wanted a picture so dad handed her his camera and here’s the result.
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I know Kansas is famous for wheat fields, but I really don’t recall seeing any as we traveled through there. The southeast corner of Washington, on the other hand, is nothing but wheat fields.
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Wheat fields as far as dad could see…
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There had to have been a Victory motorcycle rally in the area, there were tons of them on the roads around here. In Walla Walla we took WA 125 south and soon after we were at the border with Oregon.
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The road turned into OR 11 and we finished off the day riding into Pendleton, OR. After we checked into the Best Western we walked over to Shari’s and had breakfast for dinner, since it was just like a Denny’s. We were able to get free pie for dinner for staying at the Best Western, but we were so full neither one of us took up the offer. Back at the hotel I relaxed in the hot tub for a bit before going back to the room and crashing out.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 7 - 8/02/2013 – Pendleton, OR to Price, UT - 674 Miles


Day 7 – MAP LINK




I wish I could sit here and say that we got to ride all kinds of great roads on the way home, but that just wasn’t the case. We made a huge sacrifice this year to ride US 12 through Idaho and finish coloring in the Western states, knowing the last 3 days of riding would be long and boring, mostly filled with interstate. When you’re going from Pendleton, OR to Houston, TX in 3 days, there isn’t much time to have fun.

The hotel had some power issues over night so we didn’t get the best night sleep. There was a 3-hour period that the AC wasn’t working. Breakfast at the hotel and off we went. It was in the 50s and felt nice and cool for a little while.

There’s a short section of I-84 that is actually reminiscent of HWY 55 in the Texas hill country. And after that mile, things got much less interesting, but it still wasn’t too bad while in Oregon. We entered back into Idaho and Mountain Time. Bumping the speed back up we were getting much worse gas mileage. The first stop we made to fill up was in Baker City, OR. Where we exited, there was a Shell that was filled with people and a Sinclair that was relatively empty. I opted for the Sinclair and of course it was not pay at the pump. They actually had a guy walking around giving people little tickets to take to the cashier inside when you were done. I’ve never even seen a setup like this in my lifetime.
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This is by far the dirtiest our bikes have ever gotten on a trip. I don’t think my exhaust will ever look the same.
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It sounded like a good place to stop, so we stretched the next gas stop out to Bliss, ID. Dad was happy to be off the bike, even if it was just for a short period of time.
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As soon as we got into Utah the wind picked up. Riding in wind sure keeps me awake, but it wears my body out. The next break was in Tremonton, UT. Finding shade was a priority as the sun was now beating down on us.
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It seemed like we spent the next several hours trying to get through Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas. We did get a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake while riding south on I-15 and I was content with that. We stayed on the HOV lane every second we could, but even it slowed down to a crawl at some spots. On the north side of town it wasn’t too bad, but traffic was much worse on the south side. Dad’s temperature gauge was reading right at 100.

We finally exited the interstate for the day and headed southeast on US 6. It was a good change of pace. 30 Miles later I pulled over for a break, just to rest. We had been on the bikes for a long time because of the traffic in Salt Lake City. The rest stop we took a break at had some history about the railroad system in Utah and the west.
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On the way back to our bikes dad noticed a BMW GS that had just pulled up actually had a TX plate. We struck up a conversation with them and it turns out they are from Katy, TX. They were on their way to visit their daughter in Salt Lake City. They were a really nice couple and we ended up talking to them for about 20 minutes.
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We took off and headed for our hotel in Price, UT. Another rainbow appeared as we rode down US 6. Of course, by the time I found a decent place to stop it was barely visible.
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Storms were looming in the distance so we were hoping we could make it before they hit. We rolled into Price after 8 pm Mountain Time, filled up on gas, and headed for the Best Western. There wasn’t too much food wise in sight, so we walked down in the direction of the Subway and McDonalds. Before we got there, we saw Sherald’s. As you can see from the picture below, it’s a shack, but we decided to give them our money instead of the other places.
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We picked up some burgers and onion rings and as we were walking back to the hotel it started to sprinkle. Back at the room we watched the lightning storm outside and the X-Games inside as we ate.

Today was brutal, and the next two are going to be even worse. We just want to be back home at this point.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 8 - 8/03/2013 –Price, UT to Tucumcari, NM - 674 Miles


Day 8 – MAP LINK




After breakfast at the hotel we hit the road around 7:15. We ran down to I-70 and headed east. I wanted so badly to go all the to UT 128 and run south in the canyon along the Colorado River. It’s such a great ride, but would take too much time. Instead we took US 191 to Moab. It was busy around Moab, which is to be expected.

We continued on US 191 and made a gas stop in Monticello. After we filled up, we pulled our bikes to the side of the station.
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A van pulling a U-Haul trailer stopped in and I swear 35 people got out of the van. Dad ended up asking one lady where they were from. She didn’t speak English so she called her daughter over. They were from France and doing a tour from L.A. then through several national parks in Utah, Las Vegas, and finally San Francisco. She was fun to talk to and very sweet. Dad insisted on a picture, but I wasn’t sure my wife would like it…
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In Monticello we took US 491 south all the way to I-40 with only a stop for a picture of Shiprock from a distance.
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In Gallup, NM we stopped for another gas break. We talked to the guy who owned the Goldwing trike in the background of the picture below. He was stuck there with a rear end problem, the bike, not the guy. I also talked to a guy about my age on a BMW GS1150 who was on his way home to San Francisco after visiting some family in Wisconsin.
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Heading down I-40 was boring and hot. After getting through Albuquerque we stopped for the final fill-up of the day in Moriarty.
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It got a bit windy after leaving here, but we powered through it doing our usual 85 mph. As we arrived and rode through Tucumcari to our hotel it looked like a ghost town. We beat the storms to the Motel Safari. It’s a nice historic Route 66 place and I’d recommend it if you’re in the area. It was built in 1959 and nicely remodeled, but it was missing a few modern amenities, like a vent in the bathroom and fridge. There was a covered area right by our room that we were able to park our bikes under for the night.
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It was another long day in the saddle, right around 12 hours. Neither one of us wanted to get back on the bikes or walk anywhere for dinner, so we had a pizza delivered. There was another big lightning storm outside. I wanted to get some pictures but it was raining a bit too much and the wind was blowing strong. It wasn’t to be, so we went to sleep early because we were going to get up really early the next day.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Day 9 - 8/04/2013 – Tucumcari, NM to Houston, TX – 706 Miles


Day 9 – MAP LINK




We were still in Mountain Time so we were going to lose an hour in a hurry today. I ended up setting the alarm for 4 a.m. Mountain Time. We got going pretty quick and were on the move before the sun came up.
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We crossed into Texas as the sun was rising. At almost 80 miles into the day we stopped for gas in Vega, TX.
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175 Miles later it was starting to really heat up outside as we made a stop in Quanah. It looks like dad was wondering what in the world I was doing. He was probably thinking that quite a bit when I was walking around with my camera.
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During the next stretch of 150 miles I was in full sweat mode. Decatur was the next chosen place to try to find some shade along with getting gas.
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I surely hadn’t missed the humidity for the last week. Sweating for hours on end isn’t my idea of fun, but I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Another 150 miles and we were ready for a stop in Fairfield. Dad was enjoying the heat… not.
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In the Conroe area my Sena battery died. We pulled over to plug both of our headsets in. The weather started to look funky in the distance and when my wife called she said we might get some rain before getting home. As we rode through The Woodlands we made the decision to take the Hardy Toll Road home. We didn’t want to deal with the traffic on I-45 and I hate how narrow the lanes are. It was a good choice as we practically had the road to ourselves as we finished off the trip. We also missed the rain, but it would have been welcome instead of the heat we had to deal with.

It was great to see my wife and daughter again. I swear my daughter’s vocabulary doubled while I was gone. The thing that sucked was that I had to go back to work the next morning. Dad didn’t have that problem.
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Now for the totals of the trip… I didn’t even break 90 mph for the whole trip. I was actually shocked at that. Instead of sitting in my cube at work this past week for 40-45 hours, I sat on my bike for about 80 hours. We came in right over 5,000 miles for the entire trip and my Connie now has over 41k miles on it.
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Thanks for following along!




.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
4,622
Location
Jennings,La.
Kory, Great pictures of great places. Thanks for sharing. Last year I did Beartooth and ended up getting there kinda wierd like. I was up in Glacier and really headed for Washington and the coast. Talking with a guy on an old Harley Bagger, He asked if I had been on Beartooth. Told him no but had been on Chief Joseph a time or two. Then he asked if I had done the Pacific Coast yet. I told him from Canada to Mexico and just doing a return trip. He then told me the game plan changer. " You need to do Beartooth and at our age, we don't know if we are gonna be able to ride again next year." I headed South.
Thanks for all the time and work you put into the pictures, and, for taking us along with you and your dad into some of my favorite country.
Oh , This year, headed to California on the Bandit, I had a deer encounter North of McDonald Observatory and missed the deer but crashed the bike and my body abit. But, healing the body and the bike is fixed.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,219
Location
Far East DFW
Another great episode. Where to next year? :D

I absolutely hate it when the trip is over and it's time to head home. Those seem like the longest miles...and they seem to go by slower and slower the closer you get to home. One day I need to plan a nice circular route with the last day having something to do on it that keeps it part of the trip. Haven't figured out how to pull that off yet.

I tell you though, I hate that Dallas is so far from these wonderful places, but hey...at least we are four hours closer to them than Houston! :D
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,446
Location
Houston, TX
Kory, Great pictures of great places. Thanks for sharing. Last year I did Beartooth and ended up getting there kinda wierd like. I was up in Glacier and really headed for Washington and the coast. Talking with a guy on an old Harley Bagger, He asked if I had been on Beartooth. Told him no but had been on Chief Joseph a time or two. Then he asked if I had done the Pacific Coast yet. I told him from Canada to Mexico and just doing a return trip. He then told me the game plan changer. " You need to do Beartooth and at our age, we don't know if we are gonna be able to ride again next year." I headed South.
Thanks for all the time and work you put into the pictures, and, for taking us along with you and your dad into some of my favorite country.
Oh , This year, headed to California on the Bandit, I had a deer encounter North of McDonald Observatory and missed the deer but crashed the bike and my body abit. But, healing the body and the bike is fixed.
One of these days I'm going to have to take a ride with no real destination in mind and a lot of time. I'm just not the kind of person to not plan everything out, so it would be a challenge for me. So many times you run upon locals that tell you to go ride so-and-so road. It would be nice to actually do that. We never can because if we did, we'd never make our destination for the night.

I didn't know you had crashed this year, I'm glad you're ok given the situation.

Another great episode. Where to next year? :D

I absolutely hate it when the trip is over and it's time to head home. Those seem like the longest miles...and they seem to go by slower and slower the closer you get to home. One day I need to plan a nice circular route with the last day having something to do on it that keeps it part of the trip. Haven't figured out how to pull that off yet.

I tell you though, I hate that Dallas is so far from these wonderful places, but hey...at least we are four hours closer to them than Houston! :D
That 4 hours makes a big difference too. :doh:

Next year, not sure. I'm thinking maybe the Dakotas, Black Hills, Mount Rushmore. Maybe combining it with the Millville MX round, but who really knows at this point.

Great pics, enjoyed your report.... thanks for posting!
Thanks, glad you liked it.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
548
Location
Sanger, TX
Great report and some great pics! Years to come you are going to treasure the trip and pics with your dad.

Had my eye on a Connie here lately and you are definitely helping me out!

Thanks!
 
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