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Trippin' Connies 7: Rushing More to Catch a Dinosaur

Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
First Name
Kory
Last Name
Burleson
The plan for this year’s trip was to check off Nebraska, South and North Dakota from the states ridden list. With that in mind, I’ve wanted to do a ride through the Black Hills including Mt. Rushmore. Also, I stumbled on a website years ago where this guy said that this one spot in Dinosaur National Monument was one of the best views in the country. That has stuck with me and I’ve been waiting to include this little spot in a trip since then, and this was the year. The Flaming Gorge was just a bonus.

This year’s trip took place over a month ago. I’m just now getting around to doing the write-up. Hopefully it will be worth the wait, but please be patient with me as I put it together. ☺

Day 1 - 6/22/2015 - Houston, TX to Salina, KS - 682 Miles

Houston, TX to Salina, KS - 682 miles – MAP LINK



I actually put 200 miles or so on my bike since last year’s trip, which is better than the 0 the prior year, but still not good. I decided to change both tires, even though they still had plenty of tread on them. I’d rather find a good deal on a set and change them instead of worrying if they would make it home, a small expense for peace of mind. Dad already had a fresh rear tire on after the final stretch puncture he suffered last year. His decision was to continue to run the same front tire from last year. Oddly enough, this didn’t concern him, but his battery did. Sensing that his battery could give out at any moment, like mine did 2 years ago, he ordered a replacement. But, instead of just replacing it, he’d just lug it around the whole trip as a spare for us.

My Connie has 45,610 miles on her and all of my trip data has been reset for the trip.
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We always like to get an early start on the first day. 1) It usually includes somewhat large mileage. 2) We’re leaving on a Monday, so trying to avoid traffic is key. 3) We rush to get out of Texas before the heat really sets in. With this in mind, I set my alarm for 4 am and left the house right around 5. I filled up on the way to my dad’s house and he was ready to go when I got there. We took off from dad’s house at 5:25 and set sail north on I-45. About 180 miles later we stopped for the first gas break of the day in Corsicana, TX. While here, I cashed in some winning lotto tickets from Christmas that I recently located. I think they were good for a whopping $14.
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We made it through Dallas without any issues and continued north, now on I-35. We crossed over the Red River and into Oklahoma. North of Ardmore we were detoured onto the southbound side of the Interstate due to the construction from a recent rockslide. Another 180 miles had passed and it was time for the next gas stop in Davis, OK. Because of the mapping on my PCIII, I get worse gas mileage than dad, so putting the bike on the center stand to squeeze every ounce of gas possible into my Connie is necessary.
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While we were breaking, dad said something like, “hey, what’s that on your tire?” Uh-oh. We had barely made it out of Texas and tire problems already. From the rear angle, it didn’t look that bad. From the side, it looked bad, at least to me. The good news was it wasn’t leaking any air as far as I could tell. We decided to just keep rolling and monitor it as we went.
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I put my gauge display on the tire pressure monitoring system and off we went. Once I got up to speed it showed that I was running at a healthy 42 psi on the front and rear. My eyes were almost glued to the screen hoping not to see it suddenly drop. I kept wondering where the puncture had happened. For all I know it could have been a mile from my house or a mile before we hit the last gas station.

The last gas stop of the day was another 180 miles later in Tonkawa, OK. My tire was still holding air just fine. I had to get a picture of dad’s “entrance pass” from our unforgettable trip up Mt. Evans from 4 years ago. It’s been hanging on for many miles now, but it looks like it isn’t going to make it much further.
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The last 150 miles of the day were HOT! There was an incredible difference in temperature and comfort in just have a simple cloud blocking the sun. Dad said he doesn’t remember a time when he’s ever been hotter on a bike. For some reason I didn’t feel terribly bad. I was constantly chugging water from my CamelBak, which couldn’t have hurt the situation.

We rolled into the Comfort Inn & Suites in Salina, KS right after 4:30. Did I mention it was HOT?! One of the ladies working the front desk was outside at the time and said how she loved bikes and always wanted one. She encouraged us right away to keep our bikes under the cover for the night, which we were going to ask anyway. She also said it was 102 degrees today. We unpacked our bikes and when we came back outside dad’s nifty temperature gauge showed a number we’ve never seen on it before.
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We headed across the Interstate and feasted at Logan’s Roadhouse. I had a Sam Adams brewski sirloin with onion strips on top with a sweet potato and a lemon shandy beer to wash it all down.
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After dinner I dropped by Walmart to stock up on some 5 Hour Energy for myself and picked up some baby powder for dad, which he had left at home.

This is what I found when I got out of the shower. As you can see from the picture below, dad was worn out. Note the time. The first day and my throttle hand was already really bothering me. A little pain the in butt and shoulders, but my right hand/thumb were by far the worst. It was an early night for both of us.
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Day 2 we check two new states of the list.
 

Duke

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Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
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Location
The Woodlands & Woden, TX
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Duke
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Dixon
Took you long enough to get this up. You teased us about this in your posts a couple of weeks ago...

I am grabbing my pop corn and looking forward to this!

*edit: Man day 1 and already have body aches... this might be the makings of a challenging trip. I stayed at the same hotel in Salina a few weeks ago when I was on my road trip with my Mom & Dad.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
First Name
Kory
Last Name
Burleson
Took you long enough to get this up. You teased us about this in your posts a couple of weeks ago...

I am grabbing my pop corn and looking forward to this!

*edit: Man day 1 and already have body aches... this might be the makings of a challenging trip. I stayed at the same hotel in Salina a few weeks ago when I was on my road trip with my Mom & Dad.
Make sure it's synthetic popcorn, made to last for a while.

As for the Comfort Inn, it is one of our favorites. Nothing fancy, but nice and comfy beds. This is our second time there.

This was the most painful trip for me... body wise. I seem to be struggling with some circulation issues. Maybe I'm just getting old. I don't know how dad does it. :lol2: :mrgreen:
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,258
Location
Far East DFW
Yay! I look forward to the Trippin Connies every year! :D

If your throttle hand is bothering you, maybe next year should be Trippin FJR's. Get you some cruise control. :D
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
First Name
Kory
Last Name
Burleson
Yay! I look forward to the Trippin Connies every year! :D

If your throttle hand is bothering you, maybe next year should be Trippin FJR's. Get you some cruise control. :D
I'd certainly do that, if Yamaha wanted to sponsor us. :mrgreen:

I've got a Throttlemeister and try to use it often, but it just doesn't seem like enough. I'm going to have to try to do some things different next year though, I just don't think an FJR will be one of them. :lol2:
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
First Name
Kory
Last Name
Burleson
Day 2 - 6/23/2015 – Salina, KS to Custer, SD - 620 Miles

Salina, KS to Custer, SD - 620 miles – MAP LINK


We woke up around 6 am, but I felt refreshed. 9 hours of sleep does that for me, I can’t remember the last time I got that. We ate breakfast at the hotel and packed up the bikes. While I was loading mine up a guy came over to chat. He used to ride an old school Connie 1k in his police department. He was saying how much he would have loved the new version. He asked where we were headed and I told him South Dakota, North Dakota and looping back down through Utah and Colorado. He said he his son lives and is going to school in North Dakota. I said how we would just be ridding through the tip of it and there was nothing to see there, right? He responded with the joke there is that if your dog runs away, you’d still be able to see him 2 days later, just further away… because there’s nothing there.
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Before we got going dad had his usual cocktail.
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We were on the road by 7 and continued north on I-135, which turned into US 81 after crossing over I-70. We spaced on gassing up the night before so I told dad we’d just fill up when needed this morning. By the time we turned west on US 24 my gas gauge was flashing. I was assuming there would be a station at the intersection, but there wasn’t. We rode on and didn’t see a station until Beloit, KS, some 63 miles into the morning. I was starting to sweat it because I was already over 210 miles on this tank. I filled my 5.8-gallon tank up with 5.781 gallons of premium.
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Shortly after filling up we ran into or first construction stop of the trip.
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At the same time dad got a call from mom so they chatted.
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The day was perfect. The temperature was in the 70s and there was a blanket of clouds covering us. We were in wheat country with gently rolling hills. Nothing spectacular but it was great riding. The road surface was perfect, like we were riding on a racetrack. Out of Beloit we took KS 9 to US 281 to KS 9. As we were going north on US 281 the sun was poking through the clouds leaving some amazing light rays shining down. I’ve always wanted a picture like that. Right as I was about to pull over I looked down at my GPS and was about to miss a turn back onto KS 9. I made the turn and missed my shot, oh well. At Glade we took US 183 north and made our way to a new state.
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Everything was going smoothly until just north of Holdrege, NE. There was construction that detoured us off the US highway and sent us a couple miles down some dirt country roads running through farms. Parts of the road were super soft and parts were hard-packed. It was easy to stay on the hard-pack until a semi would come blazing the opposite direction. We got past it and didn’t loose too much time overall.

Shortly after we hit I-80 and headed west. Here I-80 runs along the mighty Platte River, which was well out of its banks at the time. It was time for a gas stop by the time we reached Lexington, NE. Dad was going to “powder up” at this stop, except he couldn’t find the baby powder I had bought him not 18 hours before. We figure he left it back at the hotel. Gas and a bit of potassium…
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Somewhere along the interstate I looked over to a fence line running beside it saw a large bird. Sitting right there on a post was a maturing bald eagle. I couldn’t believe it was just sitting right there in plane sight, not 25 yards from the interstate.

After blasting down the interstate for 120 miles we exited at Ogallala, where I promptly took a wrong turn after going over a bridge. My GPS and I were not on the same page but I figured it out quickly. We made our way US 26 and continued on. Somewhere along the way I spotted an advertisement for Carhenge. We discussed it and decided if we didn’t have to go too far out of the way, we’d definitely stop there. Neither one of us had ever heard of it before.

As we approached Bridgeport, NE we were right at 200 miles on the gas gauge and my display was already flashing at me. I passed a Sinclair gas station on the left, almost pulling in, but I realized there was a concrete pad where the pumps were but all rocks up to that point. No thanks. I kept going north and dad checked the GPS. He realized the next station was a good distance away, but there were some options back in the town of Bridgeport. We did a u-turn and headed into town. As we were taking a break after filling up a Sheriff pulled up and I asked her if she knew where Carhenge was. She said it was in the next town north of there, Alliance, and once we got to the town they had signs leading the way. I asked her if it was worth the stop, and she said “honestly, no, but that’s just me. It’s just some cars stacked on top of each other and there’s a toilet out there.” She had me at toilet, I thought that could be interesting.
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We cruised up US 385 and once we hit Alliance we began the Carhenge detour. We rode through town and then headed north on County Road 59, following the signs. And now I present you Carhenge and the surrounding area in all its glory.
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Odd thing was, I didn’t find a toilet out there like the Sheriff had mentioned. Oh well. We took off from there and less than a mile up the road there was some sort of setup with a flatbed trailer, hay, and toilet. This must have been what she was talking about, but I blew right by it.

About this time mom called dad and they talked for a bit. I was looking for a road to cut back over to US 385 on and my GPS kept suggesting dual-track dirt roads. No thanks, not on the Connie. Dad hit the button on his Sena and all the sudden I had mom in my helmet too. Up to this point, we had no idea that we could all talk to each other. Pretty interesting. Mom then gave us directions on how to get back to US 385 and told us to take 7E/Dodge Road. It worked like a charm. The total Carhenge detour only added about 5-10 miles to the day and 30 minutes.

Continuing north the scenery turned from farmland and plains to a beautiful little forest as the road ran through Chadron State Park. It was really nice, but didn’t last long and soon we were back out in the plains. Not long after we were checking off a new state. At the state line we talked to a group of people in a Tahoe that were traveling from Spring, TX.
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South Dakota was looking a lot like Nebraska to start with, but it didn’t take too long to change. As we rode into Hot Springs we were basically entering the Black Hills. Instead of continuing on US 385 straight to Custer, I noticed a nice little curvy road that basically ran parallel to it. Of course I routed the GPS to take us on this highway 87. It was fantastic!
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Soon we were introduced to our first buffalo. They’re very interesting creatures and BIG. I was actually missing having my DSLR and long lens at this moment, but that was a decision I made for this trip.
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There was one section where there were several buffalo laying a foot off the side of the road. They were so close! We pulled over for a second, just to look at the fly covered mammals. Along the road dad spotted a coyote that I missed. There was lots of wildlife along 87. At the US 16 junction we took a left and made our way to Custer, and our hotel, the Bavarian Inn. We settled in and had a couple of warm cookies they had ready for arrivals. I was craving a buffalo burger at this point, so the lady suggested Sage Creek Grille in town. It sounded good so we made our way down there. She said the town basically shuts down at 8pm, so we rushed.
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We both had buffalo burgers and they hit the spot. I like to try to drink local beers wherever we go, and they had a local IPA. We both got Crow Peak IPA (out of Spearfish, SD) and it was decent to me, but dad couldn’t stand it… so he chugged it and ordered a domestic. LOL
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Custer is a nice little town, it reminds me of Fredericksburg. On the way back to the hotel we filled up the bikes so they were ready to go for the next day. I had ideas of staying up late and doing a little stargazing, but the shower and bed beckoned me. We fell asleep to watching the College World Series and I think the sun was still up. That would be a theme for this trip.

The Day 3 plan is to explore the Black Hills.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
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11,225
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Arlington
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Tim
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Shelfer
I visited Nebraska & SD years ago, but in a van & trailer. I'd love to get back up there on a bike someday. Great story. Keep it coming.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
First Name
Kory
Last Name
Burleson
Day 3 - 6/24/2015 – Custer, SD to Custer, SD - 241 Miles

Custer, SD to Custer, SD - 241 miles – MAP LINK



The Bavarian Inn in Custer, SD was our base for the Black Hills. This allowed us to lose some weight off our bikes and enjoy a nice ride for the day, returning there later. I was up at 5:30 local time and wide awake, not able to go back to sleep. I guess that’s what happens when I go to bed before 10. But , we had also gained an hour yesterday and now within Mountain Time. Dad said it had rained quite a bit last night and there was a good bit of thunder and lightning. Guess who had no idea and slept right thought it, that’s right, me. I had to look out the window because I didn’t even believe him. Sure enough, everything was soaking wet.

We waited until 7 to have breakfast at the hotel and got rolling around 7:45. We headed back down to US 16 and took HWY 89 north. It was a nice little ride but things got serious once we hooked back up to HWY 87. First, we took a left and road a stretch that looked great on the map. It took us through a tunnel…
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And then multiple switchbacks.
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After the good part was over we did a u-turn and did it all over again, continuing on HWY 87 and then making a small detour to check out the beautiful Sylvan Lake. There were chairs set up for what appeared to be a wedding and I couldn’t think of a better backdrop for an event.
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We paid the toll to continue to ride on HWY 87, now aka Needles Highway. I want to say it was $10 per person. Well worth it though, and we stopped several times along the way to enjoy the sights. The first stop was the Needles Eye Tunnel location.
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Also there was the actual Needles Eye.
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A couple corners later there was a really nice overlook.
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A few miles up there were more wild rock formations. This was the Cathedral Spires location.
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There was a little picnic area with a hole in the rock that we stopped quickly at.
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We rode HWY 87 all the way back down to US 16 and headed east. I believe it was somewhere around the Custer State Park Lodge that we ran upon some buffalo that were making their way down the road.
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We rounded the corner and there were what seemed like 100 buffalo in a field and across the road. Cars were at a standstill as the buffalo did what they wanted, some doing literal standoffs with cars, noses right up to their bumpers. We slowly made our way through the cars and buffalo but at one section a group started running across right in front of us. They made sure that they made everyone aware who was boss. And I can’t lie, I was intimidated being right next to them, knowing if they wanted to they could run me right over.
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As we were now running north on US 16 we got our first glimpse of Mt. Rushmore. Just trust me, it’s out there in the distance.
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US 16 is an absolute must ride. It’s everything you want in a motorcycle road, the only downside is there’s a bit of traffic due to Mt. Rushmore in the area. There’s a section where the road splits and it’s a single lane road through the forest before it joins back together. Then there’s the multiple 360-degree turns where the road loops back under itself. There weren’t good spots to pull over at these locations, so we continued to ride on. My tire was still holding good air, 40 psi now and that was mostly just because of the cooler temperature and slower speeds. The problem is, I’m thinking about it constantly. Every single right hand turn I’m wondering if everything is going to be ok under me. I’m sure I overthought it, but I couldn’t help myself.

The closer we got to Mt. Rushmore the better views we got. The crazy thing is every tunnel we would go though, you could clearly see Mt. Rushmore through the other side of the tunnel, like they planned it that way, which I’m sure they did.
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After taking a left on HWY 244 we arrived at Mt. Rushmore shortly thereafter. It was already mid-day and traffic was high. There was a line at the entrance although it didn’t take too long to get in. We made our way into one of the parking garages and then out to explore. I lugged my tripod and my 10-stop ND filter out there to see what I could come up with, some different takes on a classic. These were all 5-10 second exposures.
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And of course a couple of iPhone selfies…
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We stayed there for a little while and then picked up some souvenirs. From there we went north on US 16 and then US 385 all the way up to Deadwood. There was major road construction in town and it took us a good while to get though there.

Out of Deadwood we took US ALT 14 to I-90 and into Sturgis.
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We were due for a gas stop and break so we did that while in Sturgis. While at the gas station, my wife called freaking out a bit because my Glimpse location showed that I was at the hospital, across the street from the gas station. My sister-in-law tipped her off, but it was just a false alarm. We were just getting gas. As we pulled up, this couple was actually reversed and the female was riding the bike as the guy was in the sidecar.
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The guy at the station gave us some Bugs B Gone with our purchase and I thought that was a nice gesture.
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We were resting and all the sudden a storm rolled in really quick. We took shelter under the pump cover. A lady who worked at the station was freaking out about her car because they have been getting a ton of hailstorms and this one was supposed to be.
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We didn’t get any hail thankfully, but waited until the lightning slowed down. We geared up in our rain suits and took off. By the time we left it was barely raining, just hot and steamy. We rode through town and jumped back on I-90 this time heading towards Spearfish. We exited I-90 and entered the Spearfish canyon on US ALT 14, now heading south. We made a stop at Bridal Veil Falls, which is right along the road. I couldn’t wait to peel off my rain suit as it was now bright and sunny.
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I talked to a couple there who had gone through Spearfish earlier and apparently the same storm we waited out in Sturgis dumped a ton of hail in Spearfish. She showed me a picture of I-90 covered in white from the hail. We had lucked out. While I was taking pictures dad make a Kawasaki friend who was admiring and asking questions about our Connies. Just pull the trigger already, man. This lucky guy is a local.
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The ride through the canyon was great. It’s hard to beat any road that follows the curves of a river. In Cheyenne Crossing we took US 85 west and crossed over into Wyoming. We pulled over at the Salt Creek Overlook and admired the view.
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In Newcastle we headed back east on US 16, which took us back into Custer. There was a great section of 16 that was near Jewel Cave National Monument. The area had been struck by a fire a while back, but was now recovering. After getting back to our hotel, we decided on the Buglin’ Bull for dinner. They had their own brews and I ordered up the Nut Brown Ale. Dad, after last night’s fiasco with the IPA, stuck to a domestic. We each had a cup of buffalo chili that our waiter, Carlos, was gracious enough to throw in for us, and the special of the night, which was a huge pork chop. Neither one of us would normally get a pork chop, but it sounded good at the moment.
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We filled up again at the same station and headed back to the hotel. It was still early, so I decided to make the 5-mile trip up to the Crazy Horse monument. I tried talking dad into it, but he decided to relax in the room. After paying the $5 fee, I went into the visitor center first. It was more like a Native American museum. There was tons of artifacts, pictures, etc. to look at. I didn’t look at anything with great detail, just made my way through the large facility fairly quickly. If you’re into Native American history, this is a definite must see.
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There was a 1/300 scale model of the, hopefully one day, final product.
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Back outside, there was an option to pay an extra fee to ride up to the carving, but I chose to stay back and take a few pictures from the parking lot area. I played around with long exposure/HDR combos for a while until I decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel.
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By the time I got back dad was already in bed, so I went ahead and showered and watched Virginia wrap up the CWS. He asked what I thought of the Crazy Horse monument and I told him I really liked it and that he missed out. But, I said we would be going right by it in the morning, so he’d be able to at least see it from US 16. Another storm was rolling in as we fell asleep around 10 pm.

Day 4 the plan was to explore the Badlands, check the final central state off the list, North Dakota, and make our way into Montana.
 
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Awesome timing! A few of us are headed up there in a few weeks so this ride report will be great intel for us. You always seem to find the most kick butt places to visit while on your trip. I can't wait to read the rest of it!
 
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Awesome timing! A few of us are headed up there in a few weeks so this ride report will be great intel for us. You always seem to find the most kick butt places to visit while on your trip. I can't wait to read the rest of it!
Thanks, Bill. I literally spend all year thinking about it after the last trip ends. I've got lots of ideas for next year already. :trust:

Hope you enjoy your upcoming trip!
 

Duke

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Thanks for the pics of the Crazy Horse visitors center. I have ridden the same roads you were on half a dozen times over the years and have never stopped in at Crazy Horse. I feel like I was there with you, nice work documenting the place.

The long exposures at Rushmore is a nice touch, and very creative. That truly does give a sense of the "mood" of the place.

Keep it coming!!!
 
Joined
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Thanks for the pics of the Crazy Horse visitors center. I have ridden the same roads you were on half a dozen times over the years and have never stopped in at Crazy Horse. I feel like I was there with you, nice work documenting the place.

The long exposures at Rushmore is a nice touch, and very creative. That truly does give a sense of the "mood" of the place.

Keep it coming!!!
:thumb:

As for Rushmore, the place was crawling with people, so I figured I'd try to do something a little bit different, at least see if I could make all the people in my photos more interesting in the frame.

I'll have the next installment finished up and posted tonight.
 
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Day 4 - 6/24/2015 – Custer, SD to Miles City, MT- 482 Miles

Custer, SD to Miles City, MT - 482 miles – MAP LINK



I was up again at 5:30. It had rained good overnight, but at least had stopped by the time we got up. We decided to skip out on the breakfast at the hotel since it didn’t start until 7. We had loaded up the bikes and taken off before then.
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Not 2 miles up US 16 the fog was so thick we had to really slow down. Unfortunately this also meant dad had zero chance of seeing the Crazy Horse monument. It was so thick you couldn’t even see the entrance station that was right off the road. Guess he should have come with me last night!

Once we broke the fog we picked up the pace taking US 16 all the way to Rapid City. We took the new bypass around town and then HWY 44 east to avoid doubling up on the same section of I-90 in the same day. We blasted down 44 at a good clip. We were basically the only ones on it and we made good time. The closer we got to the Badlands National Park the more interesting the scenery got. Turning off on HWY 377 took us to the park entrance.
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At the entrance I made dad go first so he could get us both in. Last year I had bought him the Senior Pass and the ranger told us it would get him and a guest into any National Park/Monument. The lady here told dad that he was good, but I’d have to pay. Once he told her what the other ranger had said, she just said that was fine and we went on. Now that I look at it online, the original person did tell us incorrectly. It only allows for one motorcycle’s entrance. At least now I know.

We rode up to what I thought was the visitor center, but it turned out that was next door and we were at the Cedar Pass Lodge. The lodge had everything I wanted though, which were stickers and a gift for my daughters. We left there and took off on our ride through the park on HWY 240, stopping at many of the pull-offs and overlooks. I hope you’re in the mood for pictures, I took many through the park.
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I had a good idea of what the Badlands looked like, but I didn’t expect there to be so much greenery in the areas surrounding the mounds. I’m assuming this could be contributed to all the rain the area has been experiencing this year, much more than usual.

From the stop we climbed up to higher ground.
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The next stop was at the White River Valley Overlook. I was starting to get really enjoy the Badlands. It was different than anything I’d ever seen before. The layers and texture of the landscape are beautiful and the views were impressive. A bit of cloud cover rolled in right on time and acted as a perfect soft box.
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At this overlook I tried to do some panoramic shoots within my camera, but it proved to be very difficult without a tripod. I ended up taking a bunch of regular shots and hoping to stitch them together back at home with the new version of Adobe Lightroom. I was absolutely blown away by the technology in the new LR for this. I can’t even tell where it stitched the photos. A few tweaks and I couldn’t be happier. The first is a 2 shot pano. To view and even larger version, click here.
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And here is an 8 shot pano from the same spot. To view and even larger version, click here.
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We next stopped at Panorama Point.
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Here’s a 2 shot pano from there. To view and even larger version, click here.
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In between here and the next stop, we came across the first bighorn sheep we’d ever seen on a trip.
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The next place we stopped was at the Conata Basin Overlook. We got our first glimpse of the yellow mounds that looked unreal.
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This is a 9 shot pano from there.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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We rode down through the beautiful basin. It seriously felt like we were on a different planet. There was one vibrant green section on the top of one of the mounds across the basin and we joked that it looked like the 18th hole on some ridiculous golf course.

Our final stop in the Badlands National Park was the Pinnacles Overlook. This one was pretty crowded as it was now later in the morning and this was the first overlook coming from the north entrance.
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There were about 15 bighorn sheep sitting on a ledge across they way. It looked like they were enjoying their view of the silly humans. A young one was on our side and it was incredible to watch it effortlessly scale right down the side of the cliff. Said bighorn sheep can be seen on the right of the picture below.
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If you squint really hard with a magnifying glass you can see the other sheep across the way in this picture.
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This is a 9 shot pano from the last overlook.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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As you can see from the above pictures, the weather started looking threatening, and that’s the way we were headed. Riding north out of the park on HWY 240 the advertisements for homemade donuts worked. I was starving. The place was at a gas station right at the intersection with I-90 in Wall, SD. After filling up with gas, I filled up with donuts. As soon as I brought them outside it started sprinkling, but at the time it never amount to more than that. Donuts were good, but would have been fresh maybe 3 hours prior.
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Next up was an 80-mile interstate blast from Wall to Sturgis. We threw on our rain suits and took off. There’s something about Sturgis and rain with us. This time as we rode into town it was pouring on us. We rode down Junction Ave. and took a right on HWY 79. 79 Turns to the north and is a nice ride through the high plains. Well, it was nice after we finally cleared the rain. The sky was dumping rain on us and we had to ride well below the speed limit at times due to visibility.

We used HWY 168 to transfer over to US 85. I wish we could have stayed on 79 though because there was less traffic and the road surface was actually better. US 85 also brought us a couple of construction stops. One was pretty quick.
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And the next one took longer.
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Dad loves construction. Haha…
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We were getting out in the middle of nowhere and I was in need of gas. It always seems to go a bit quicker when you’re running 85-90 for miles and miles on end. Luckily a little dot on the map called Buffalo, SD had some gas. I had to give a card so they could turn the pumps on so I ended up filling up dad’s bike as well with the same pump to save efforts.
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After filling up and just hanging out to let our bodies rest a gentleman in an F-150 pulled up. He came over to chat for a minute and said I hope you guys aren’t going to Bowman. I had no idea where that was, but asked if that was north of Buffalo and he said yes, it was in North Dakota. A quick check of my GPS revealed that was exactly where we were headed. He said there as a huge storm there he had just gone through that was dumping golf ball sized hail. He had a genuine look of concern on his face for us. We decided to move forward hoping that the storm had cleared there and we’d miss it. I wondered what hail with full gear on would be like. There wasn’t even bush to crawl underneath in this part of the country.


Before we reached Bowman, we had to collect evidence of entering North Dakota. Dad offered up to take a picture for a traveling couple.
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Unfortunately the storm was still in Bowman. Fortunately the hail wasn’t. Mom entertained us on the phone as we got poured on. Actually, I think we were entertaining her. We turned west on US 12 heading for Montana. We were going 35 mph at times just getting drenched, but cleared the storm before reaching the border. We only rode 50 miles in North Dakota, about 35 of it was rain.
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We continued on US 12 all the way to Miles City, MT, our destination for the night. We arrived around 5 and unloaded at the Best Western where they offered coupons to one place for free non-alcoholic drinks and to another place for free alcoholic drinks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which one we went to. For getting his gas earlier, dad took care of dinner. Let’s go all out. Haha. Off to Montana’s Rib & Chop House where the waitress literally let us order any drink/size we wanted with our coupons. I chose a Red Lodge Helio Hefeweizen and dad, well, no comment.
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We had some stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and I had a chicken fried steak. Note: The chicken fried steak wasn’t THAT small, it came with a machete to cut it with.
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Back to the Best Western and we did our usual for this trip, showers and crashing out early. This time we were asleep by about 8. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s exhausting getting up early and riding all day. I’d rather get a good night sleep for the next day. Sleep, eat, ride, eat and repeat.


For Day 5 the plan is to cross into Wyoming and get across most of the state, positioning us for a day including the Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur National Monument.
 
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Day 5 - 6/26/2015 – Miles City, Mt to Rawlins, WY - 528 Miles

Miles City, Mt to Rawlins, WY – 528 miles – MAP LINK



We were up and at it at the normal time. This hotel had their breakfast early, so we were able to eat there and not have it slow us down. We were on the road while the shadows were still long.
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The first leg of the day consisted of mostly interstate. We took I-94 west and then began our descent back towards home taking HWY 47 south to I-90. We stopped for a picture at the Wyoming sign just to get off the bikes for a few minutes.
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We were blasting along and knocking out miles early. The problem was, at speed I was getting terrible gas mileage. My display was telling me I needed to start looking for gas at only 168 miles. Gas stations, and even substantial towns were few and far in between in this area. Mom had called to check in at this time and had me panicking that I wasn’t going to be able to make the next station. I twisted the throttle a little less and somehow rolled into the Cenex in Ranchester, WY practically on fumes. Remember, the Connie’s tank is supposed to be 5.8 gallons. This time I was able to put in almost 6 gallons.
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We talked to the owner of the Harley pictured above for a bit. Actually we did a lot of listening and he did a lot of talking. He seemed to be some sort of traveling gypsy that stayed in the Montana/Wyoming area. He also had a dog that went everywhere he did, and simply rode on the passenger seat as they traveled.

Out of Ranchester we took US 14 west. The next 60 miles were incredible. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had done a little research and I knew it was recommended, but doesn’t seem to get too much attention. First up was the climb up into the mountains.
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From this spot the road stays high in elevation for a while, wrapping its way though the high country and what appeared to be a great place for a snowmobile in the winter. We didn’t stop too much through there, but it was beautiful, comfortable, and a blast to ride.

The next place we stopped was at an overlook just as the long descent out of the mountains began.
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The road was now following along Shell Creek and when we saw a pull-off for Shell Falls I decided to pull over and check it out. It was a nice area and just a short walk down some stairs to get to a platform overlook of the falls.
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We stopped one last time as we were heading out of the mountains/canyon.
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Now out of the mountains the temperature heated up quickly. Once we hit Greybull we turned south on US 16. At Manderson we took HWY 433. As soon as we turned on there were signs of road construction, and it seemed like the road may actually be closed ahead. Luckily that wasn’t the case but the last 5 miles of the road were dirt due to construction. In Worland we joined up with US 20 and continued south. We rode down to Thermopolis, my absolute favorite town to type and say, and it was time for gas and a break.
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Continuing south after a break there was a beautiful ride through a canyon where the road hugs the Bighorn River for about 13 miles. It’s a fantastic section and this being our second time through it, I somehow managed to not take a single picture along it… again. The ride was messing with my mind though, as it feels like as you head south you are decreasing in elevation, but yet the river is running north. At least dad and I were on the same page with how odd it seemed. The canyon dumped us out at Boysen Reservoir and we decided to stop at the state park to visit the same spot we took a break at 2 years prior. It’s a cool little spot other than the dirt/rock section.
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I had the idea to recreate a picture that I took 2 years ago. The problem was I couldn’t exactly remember the spot and didn’t feel like searching for the pic, so I just winged it. Not a great recreation, but oh well. The first shot is from 2013 and the second from 2015.
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We continued south to Shoshoni and turned right on US 26. This took us to Riverton where we turned on HWY 789 to get to HWY 135. HWY 135 was just a shortcut to get to US 287, but as it turns out we found one of the coolest places with a fantastic view. 24 miles down 135 there was a sign for a scenic overlook. I passed it up at first but then told dad I was going to go check it out and he followed. The road was dirt with some fun sand mixed in. It was only a mile down to the overlook, but it was tough on the Connie. It was so worth it though.
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Complete with a panorama from dad’s iPhone.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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My GPS wanted me to continue down the road to loop back to HWY 135 for another 3 and a half miles, but we decided to just back track and move on. I wasn’t about to try my luck down that “road” the Connie.
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As it turns out, the one-mile option back down to 135 was tough enough. There were some awesome ruts and at one point, almost back to the pavement, I got stuck riding a high narrow section in between two ruts. When I made a move to get out of it I swear I was heading down to the ground but somehow a foot down and some weak muscles saved it.

We finally made it to US 287 and headed south to our destination for the night. The snow fences kept us entertained, as they always do in Wyoming.
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Somewhere along here mom called in and by this point we had nicknamed her “Mission Control,” or “Mission” for short. Every time she would call in we’d have her checking weather, routes, and Googling random thing we had been talking about. This time I had asked her if she could conference in my wife, since I knew it was about the time she would be leaving work for the day. It worked and we were all 4 in the same conversation, technology can be a fascinating thing. We needed a nickname for my wife, and without hesitation she came up with “Command.” LOL

It had been a long day and we finally arrived in Rawlins, WY. There was a gas station right next to the Best Western, so we filled up and then checked into the hotel. The entire hotel had been remodeled and it was the nicest Best Western I’ve ever seen. It actually had a lounge with a restaurant in it, so it made the decision for dinner easy. We enjoyed dinner while watching the USA women battle China in the World Cup. We chatted with really nice older gentleman from Orange County, CA who had a large knowledge of women’s soccer.
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We watched the end of the game back in the room, showered and pulled the blackout curtains closed to block out all that sunlight. It was past our bedtime.
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Side note, my rear tire is still holding air just fine and it looks just the same as when it was first spotted. It stays between 40 and 42 psi, depending on temperature and speed. I continue to leave the tpms on the screen at all times, and think about it through every right-hand turn.


Day 6 would be a long one, with both the Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur NM on the agenda.
 
Joined
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"At the entrance I made dad go first so he could get us both in. Last year I had bought him the Senior Pass and the ranger told us it would get him and a guest into any National Park/Monument. The lady here told dad that he was good, but I’d have to pay. Once he told her what the other ranger had said, she just said that was fine and we went on. Now that I look at it online, the original person did tell us incorrectly. It only allows for one motorcycle’s entrance. At least now I know."

If you had been in a van full of 8 people you could have gotten all in free with the senior pass. Two motorcycles with 2 people means one has to pay full price.

The pictures of The Badlands sure make me want to go back. Beautiful.
 
Joined
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"At the entrance I made dad go first so he could get us both in. Last year I had bought him the Senior Pass and the ranger told us it would get him and a guest into any National Park/Monument. The lady here told dad that he was good, but I’d have to pay. Once he told her what the other ranger had said, she just said that was fine and we went on. Now that I look at it online, the original person did tell us incorrectly. It only allows for one motorcycle’s entrance. At least now I know."

If you had been in a van full of 8 people you could have gotten all in free with the senior pass. Two motorcycles with 2 people means one has to pay full price.

The pictures of The Badlands sure make me want to go back. Beautiful.
Yes, funny how that works. I felt a bit bad about it. I'll gladly pay my entrance fees from now on until I'm eligible for he senior pass. :mrgreen:
 
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If you had been in a van full of 8 people you could have gotten all in free with the senior pass. Two motorcycles with 2 people means one has to pay full price.
I was at Arches NP in Moab a few year ago, and one of the guys with us bought a senior pass at the gate. The person at the gate let all 4 bikes go in on his pass.
 
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Day 6 - 6/27/2015 – Rawlins, WY to Meeker, CO - 441 Miles

Rawlins, WY to Meeker, CO – 441 miles – MAP LINK



We were up early and enjoyed our breakfast at the hotel. We packed up and dad found his baby powder he thought he had lost days prior. He’s become a professional at misplacing items. The bikes were warming up and we were ready to hit the road.
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We spent the morning with a 112-mile run west on I-80. The amount of animals plastered to the pavement along this stretch was staggering. I had a feeling that gas stations would be fairly spaced out today, so I wanted to fill up before heading south. Luckily there was a Sinclair at our US 191 exit, just past Rock Springs. While here I was a thoughtful husband and picked up some beef jerky for my wife that looked tasty.
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It was a nice ride and the closer we got to the Utah border the better it got. I’ll go out on a limb and say that US 191 is mile for mile one of the absolute best motorcycle roads in the US. If you’ve ridden parts of it, you know what I mean. I have an idea to run it from Mexico to Canada one day, and I think it would be a blast.

We crossed into Utah and it wasn’t much further down the road when we were going down a steep downhill and a cute little rabbit crossed the road in front of me. Then, it decided to stop in the opposite lane and think about if it wanted to live any longer. Apparently, it didn’t and decided to run back in my lane as I passed and it met my back tire. It happened so quick there was nothing I could do. Dad saw it tumble and run off, but I’m sure it didn’t end well.

We came to a nice little stop and took a little break. The Green River and Flaming Gorge were off in the distance.
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Continuing on we made it to the dam and stopped for a few minutes at the overlook.
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And then on the other side of the dam...
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Right down the road was the Cart Creek Bridge and we stopped there for a few minutes to look around. The color of the water was beautiful.
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At the HWY 44 junction we took a right and headed further west. Coming over a crest in the road I spotted something big on the side of the road. Turns out it was a dead moose, and it was bloated and huge. Not a mile later there was a set of moose hindquarters right off the road’s edge. It was a bit creepy.

The detour off of US 191 was two-fold. The first reason is there is a single overlook spot with probably the best view of the Flaming Gorge with the road twisting around below. It was a pretty popular stop, but well worth it.
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I was somehow able to get the in-camera panorama function to work here, so this is a sweeping single shot.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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The second reason for the detour was to ride the Sheep Creek Geological Loop. We winded our way down the road below us and headed to the northern entrance to the loop.
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Most of the road wasn’t in very good shape, lots of loose pebbles and sections were very rough. It was slow going, but as you can gather from the name, there were some wild formations and views along the way.
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We only made one other quick stop along the loop as we climbed out of the canyon.
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The loop dropped us back out at HWY 44 and we retraced our tracks back to US 191. The odd thing was the moose hindquarters I had seen earlier were now gone and the bloated moose was now drug much further off the side of the road towards the woods.

Heading south again on US 191 we ran into a section of switchbacks, but there was too much traffic on the road to enjoy them. Instead I pulled off to let some off to take a break and hopefully let some of the slow traffic get away.
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I also grabbed an in-camera pano from the spot.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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We continued south to Vernal where we figured it was time for a fill-up.
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Out of Vernal we took US 40 back east towards Colorado. Dad and I have dubbed this section of US 40 as “Prairie Dog Memorial Highway.” The poor little things were plastered all over the road. I literally couldn’t count them fast enough as we rode along. We caught up to a big BMW sport-tourer that was riding 2-up and followed them to the Dinosaur National Monument entrance. They pulled over at the visitor center and we rode north with our destination being Harper’s Corner. It’s a 32-mile ride one-way, with a posted speed limit of 40 mph I believe. We may or may not have done it going 70 mph. It was a perfect road for a brisk pace with nice sweeping corners and no traffic whatsoever. It crosses back into Utah for a few miles and then ends up in Colorado again. We arrived at the small parking lot and there were a couple of cars there. I really wasn’t expecting to see anyone there. I changed into shorts and tennis shoes but dad decided to walk with what he had on, except he put on a hat, which I didn’t have.
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Here’s the view from the parking lot. The Harper’s Corner overlook is in the picture below, if you follow the tree line from the left side of the frame down towards the middle you can see where we were headed.
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Here’s some info from the sign:

Trail Data
Length: 2 miles round trip, not a loop. Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate. The Harpers Corner Trail follows a ridge through pinyon-juniper woodland. At several points along the trail, hikers have spectacular views of the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers and of Echo Park, 2,500 feet below.”

It was early afternoon and it was hot! Here are some views from the walk out to the point.
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When we arrived at the point there was a railed off area that they were probably hoping everyone would stay within. We climbed right through it and headed out further.
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There was a very narrow section so I was chicken at first to go out any further. Remember, it’s 2,500 foot down, and I’d rather not make that trip. Dad walked right out, so I had to as well. It’s hard to put into words what the view from this place is like. It’s absolutely jaw dropping. It was well worth the wait and should be on everyone’s list. The view is basically 360 degrees of amazingness. We stayed here for a while just to soak it all in.
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Here’s a 13 shot pano.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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It was tough to leave this place, but we couldn’t stay forever. By this time I was really regretting not bringing a hat along for the trip, just for this hike. We slowly made our way back to the bikes, and I stopped at this really cool tree that we had had passed on our way out to the point.
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Back at the bikes, I suited back up and we repeated the 32-mile trip back to US 40. Running our brisk pace again and this time we did see someone on the road, a park ranger who stuck his hand out the window as he passed and motioned for us to slow down. Whoops.

Back at US 40 we rode back into Dinosaur and took HWY 64 South. It was slow going getting through Rangely and was now very hot. The last 50 miles of the day I was miserable. We got stuck behind a truck going the speed limit, how dare him, and I couldn’t find a good spot to pass him for a long while, so I just gave up. The battery on my Sena gave out, so there was no more communication. I told dad when it was about to die and said I just wanted to get to the hotel and so I didn’t pull over to plug it in. I’m not sure what it was, but I was just completely out of it. Maybe it was the heat or the hike that took it out of me, I’m not sure. It couldn’t have happened quick enough for me, but we finally arrived at the Meeker Hotel in Meeker, CO. It was empty and I was worried if it was even open or not. Then a young lady came down the stairs and got us checked in. They had a café next door so that was the choice for dinner. I had a burger and some sweet potato fries, and it was decent, but I was still just out of it.
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There were probably at least 50 stuffed/mountain animals in the lobby of the hotel.
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When we walk up the stairs, this is the view.
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It was a neat old hotel, with tons of charm. When we got back to the room the young lady was in the hallway and asked if we had a cooler in the room. I didn’t really understand what she meant at first, but I was thinking a drink cooler, so I said no. Then she started wheeling over a big fan and it registered with me that was what she was talking about. We already had one, just needed to figure out where to plug it in at and how to keep it blasting all night.
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Before the sun set behind the mountains I walked out on the balcony to tell the Connies good night. It was another early night, and much needed for me since I was feeling so weird and out of it.
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The Day 7 highlight would be Independence Pass.
 
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Outstanding ride report. Besides all the the great roads and places you tell us about, you include personal observations that really enhance your report. Your photography is also outstanding. Thanks!
 
Joined
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Kory
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Outstanding ride report. Besides all the the great roads and places you tell us about, you include personal observations that really enhance your report. Your photography is also outstanding. Thanks!
Thanks, Robert. Much appreciated!
 
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Day 7 - 6/28/2015 - Meeker, CO to Dumas, TX - 532 Miles

Meeker, CO to Dumas, TX - 532 miles – MAP LINK


With the cooler on high all night it actually wasn’t too bad temperature wise. It helped that it was nice and cool outside, in the low 50s.
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I was feeling much better after a full night sleep. We made several trips up and down the stairs to load the bikes up, left the keys on a bed in the room and took off. Before leaving town, we filled the bikes up. We took HWY 13 South and it wasn’t too long before we pulled over to put on our thicker gloves. There was a group horses watching us on the left side of the road and a herd of elk off in the distance on to our right.
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I had bought some new cold weather gloves before the trip because I never could ride comfortably in my old ones. The new ones were a touch better, but I’ve decided cold weather gloves are just a big compromise between comfort and control.

We took HWY 13 to Rifle and hopped on I-70 to head east. Luckily it was only 25 miles of interstate as it was right into the sun. We exited in Glenwood Springs and headed southwest on HWY 82. It seemed like there were a couple hundred traffic lights and we timed the red lights on every single one of them. By the time we got to Aspen I was ready for a break and also some food since the Meeker Hotel didn’t have a continental breakfast. After gassing up the bikes, dad went in and came out with a big cookie. It looked, so I picked up one of them for later and also a breakfast burrito for now. It wasn’t cheap, but it was delicious. I tried to talk dad into going back in and getting one but he never did. Of course this led to me talking about how good that burrito was for the rest of the day.
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From Aspen to Independence Pass is a fantastic ride. It’s a super twisty road as we climbed high into the mountains. Dad and I got separated a couple times due to getting around some slower moving vehicles. Arriving at the pass, we parked and went over to get a few pictures at the sign. We met a couple from San Angelo, TX who were in the middle of a huge trip on their Burgmans. She was saying how uncomfortable she was while riding up to the pass. They had come in the opposite direction. I warned her that it was going to be so much worse for her going into Aspen, hopefully I didn’t scare her too much.
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I took a snow selfie with my phone for my oldest daughter.
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Next I walked down the trail to the scenic overlook. Dad chose to stay back at the bikes, for some reason unknown to me. I’m don’t know how, but I had forgotten how absolutely beautiful this place is. It had been 4 years since we last visited here.
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Here’s a 9 shot pano.
To view and even larger version, click here.
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It’s a nice ride on the other side of the pass. It’s not as tight and technical as the northern side. We finished off HWY 82 and continued south on US 24. This section of road is part of the Collegiate Peaks Byway and as we rode south Mt. Oxford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were all to our right. We took US 285 to HWY 291 to US 50. It was slow going due to all the traffic. At Cotopaxi we turned on to Co. Rd. 1a. At the junction we took a break
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The county road was a shortcut to get to HWY 69 and we stayed on it all the way to I-25. The ride along HWY 69 was nice, but sad at the same time as we started to see the mountains fade away. There was a threat of rain, but we were able to avoid it. Now on the Interstate we rode down to Trinidad where it was time for the next gas stop. This leg was much better for gas mileage and by the time we got to the station it was 233 miles since the last fill-up.

Continuing south on I-25 we crossed into New Mexico, rode over Raton Pass, and exited on US 87. For the last several years I have used the free app Glympse so our family could track us and have an idea of where we are. My in-laws were headed to the Denver area for a softball tournament and we actually crossed paths near the New Mexico/Texas border on US 87. We had no idea because we had poor cell phone service in the area and I also thought they would have been just south of Denver at this point in the day. They did spot us and my mother-in-law sent me this screenshot from her phone.
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US 87 took us into Texas and all the way to our destination of Dumas, TX. As we rode into town “Mission” did a little research and gave us some suggestions on food. We arrived at the La Quinta and unloaded. The cart made that part easy.
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Poor grasshopper never saw me coming.
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We ended up at a restaurant right down the road. It didn’t look all that great on the outside, and the inside wasn’t much better. I had a chicken fried steak and dad had a cheeseburger steak. I was a bit jealous of his plate and wishing I had ordered what he did.
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I was basically done with my meal when dad started getting texts from his next-door neighbor.
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He was taking too long for me so I decided to go get gas and take a shower back at the hotel. The place next to our hotel was a museum with a random assortment of military and farm vehicles and equipment. I made the outdoor loop while the light for the day faded away.
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The plan for Day 8 was to get up even earlier than we had been and get home in one piece.
 
Joined
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Day 8 - 6/29/2015 – Dumas, TX to Houston, TX - 644 Miles

Dumas, TX to Houston, TX - 644 miles – MAP LINK


The final day we usually wake up really early, and this one was no different. We were packed up and out of Dumas prior to the sun coming up. It actually wasn’t even getting light by the time we took off. With it being so dark we didn’t feel comfortable to run our usual pace, so we kicked it down few notches until it was light enough to see better. We traveled down US 287 and the sun started coming up as we looped around Amarillo on 335. We got back on US 287 and would be on it until Fort Worth. Somewhere around Childress I got another chance at a “sunbeam” photo and this time I wasn’t going to be denied. I told dad I was going to pull over for a few pictures and he decided to just keep rolling. I’d catch up eventually. I waited a bit too long to pull over, so the clouds had changed some and weren’t as good, but I wanted to wait until there were no power lines in the shot.
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I took a bit longer than I had wanted and once I took off to chase dad down I realized I probably shouldn’t have done it when it was close to getting gas time. I made every light through Childress while looking for dad as I rode along. It didn’t look like he stopped there so I pushed on. I finally caught him before reaching Quanah and we stopped for gas there.
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A little rain never hurt anyone and at this point I wasn’t even worried about a rain suit. We continued on moving in an out of rain and then breaking away from it for good. As we approached Ft. Worth I made a mistake and didn’t fill up prior to getting on I-35W. As we rode into town I didn’t see many easy options for getting gas but then I spotted a Texaco and exited. What I didn’t notice was that the feeder road was closed due to construction. We had to take a ridiculous detour filled with traffic and stop signs. Dad still had his rain jacket on and was melting. So, when we got to a stop sign that was backed way up he blew by me and I followed him, making several illegal turns. I was actually laughing so hard I could barely see because he was making all kinds of hilarious comments. The detour took us right back to the Texaco, except it was on the other side of construction barricades and we couldn’t get to it. It was about a 15-minute detour and it was in pure heat. Back on the interstate we kept moving on, my display still flashing at me. There was construction everywhere, which caused traffic and slowness. We didn’t even end up finding a decent place to get gas until Arlington.
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By this time I was just ready to get home to these beauties.
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We took US 287 and met up with I-45 in Ennis. As we were riding along on I-45 I told dad that I felt like we went from being the predators to the prey. Usually we’re the ones flying by everyone, but on I-45 people were flying by us. I was uncomfortable for multiple reasons. The last stop of the day was at the Buc-ee’s in Madisonville. As I was walking back outside after just buying some beef jerky for my wife, she called me. She had noticed us being there on Glympse and was calling to request some jerky. I believe my exact words were, “like I don’t know you…” I told her there was no way I was coming home without some after stopping at Buc-ee’s and that I had literally just got her some.
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Just south of Madisonville there was a huge wreck on the other side of the road and the entire northbound lanes were shut down. The traffic was backed up for 3 miles. The remainder of the ride was pretty hot and miserable. The humidity punched us right in the face. Instead of taking I-45 all the way home we decided to take the Hardy Toll Road into town to hopefully avoid some traffic frustration. As we were coasting into the last toll both a guy in a red Mustang cut across several lanes and right in front of us. It didn’t sit to well with dad and they both took off from the tollbooth at the same time. Dad introduced him to the Kawasaki Concours and had me laughing hard once again as I was trying to pay my toll and he was shouting at Mr. Mustang. We split off on Loop 610 near my house while “Mission” was on the phone with us. I made the mistake of not exiting and trying to take the quicker way home. It cost me an extra 10 minutes of sitting in traffic, but I finally made it home safe and sound. This is my relieved of being home, I hate heat and humidity, I’m losing my mind selfie.
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Here are my stats for the trip: 4,157 miles according to the odometer on the bike, 42 mpg, 4,184 miles according to my GPS, 62.2 mph moving average, 100 mph max speed, and over 67 hours of seat time. My Connie is 223 miles short of 50,000 miles.
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Final Thoughts:
-This was the most painful trip for me by far. I suffered with numbness in my right thumb from the end of day one all the way through the remainder of the trip. In fact, it took about a month for the numbness to completely go away.
-By the time it was all over, I had some pretty serious shoulder pains. It’s not a constant pain, more of a weakness. My shoulders have no stamina now.
-My slashed tire made it the entire trip with no problems. It’s a shame that I thought about it almost every single mile, but it did make me ride even more careful.
-Dad and I have ridden over 29,000 miles together on our Connies and 36 states. The only states remaining in the lower 48 are all in the northeast. Guess where we’re headed next year…



Thanks for riding along with us, I hope you enjoyed it.
 
Joined
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Nice. 69 is amazing going the other direction because the mountains just build up around you. I've been on it one time and was so wishing I was on my FZ1 instead of the FZ1 being on the trailer behind me. Oh well, that's what happens when you bring the motorcycle on a family trip.

Great stuff, thanks for taking us along. Maybe you should try to break 50K on your bike BEFORE the next trip. :D
 

bwdmax

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:clap:Enjoyed the report as always. Good ride, good pics and good story telling.
 

Duke

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We need a special place holder for "hall of fame" worthy ride reports, and yes Kory, your Tipping Connies would be the featured articles if I had my way. Beautiful photographs, partnered with excellent story tell'n.

Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I think I have said it before... Lightroom has a "Book Module"... USE IT!!!
 
Joined
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We need a special place holder for "hall of fame" worthy ride reports, and yes Kory, your Tipping Connies would be the featured articles if I had my way. Beautiful photographs, partnered with excellent story tell'n.

Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I think I have said it before... Lightroom has a "Book Module"... USE IT!!!
:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

You've got me blushing over here, Duke. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comments, I really apreciate it! I'm actually going to be referencing your cage trip report for next year. :trust:
 

Yeeha! Stephen

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"At the entrance I made dad go first so he could get us both in. Last year I had bought him the Senior Pass and the ranger told us it would get him and a guest into any National Park/Monument. The lady here told dad that he was good, but I’d have to pay. Once he told her what the other ranger had said, she just said that was fine and we went on. Now that I look at it online, the original person did tell us incorrectly. It only allows for one motorcycle’s entrance. At least now I know."

If you had been in a van full of 8 people you could have gotten all in free with the senior pass. Two motorcycles with 2 people means one has to pay full price.

The pictures of The Badlands sure make me want to go back. Beautiful.
Just got back from a 3 week run to the BMW MOA rally in Billings MT and we hit a bunch of the N-Parks and Monuments. I know there are new rules that are rough on motorcycles now, but...

We had gate keepers that treated us different at nearly every stop. We had one that made everybody show ID's and he checked every pass against the ID.

Then when we hit Rocky Mtn National PK, there was a ranger way out front that waved us to a separate line away from the cars, let the front bike of 8 show their pass and then waved everyone thru!

A couple of parks let us through by just waving our passes in the air, and we had one that just ask if we had passes. Never had to show 'em, just said "yes" and we were waved in.

Think it's the difference between new/rookie/gung-ho type Rangers vs the veteran/experienced Rangers just trying to keep the traffic flowing?

It was odd. Never knew what to expect.

Oh! Loved the report BTW... and that last "rays of sun" photo is awesome. I'd say it shows God Loves Motorcycles!
 
Last edited:

M38A1

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Now THIS is how a proper ride report should be done!

Simply amazing commentary and images. :clap:


.
 
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It was odd. Never knew what to expect.

Oh! Loved the report BTW... and that last "rays of sun" photo is awesome. I'd say it shows God Loves Motorcycles!
Thanks! It certainly is odd that you had such varying experiences with the parks/monuments. I don't mind paying at all to enter such a beautiful place as long as my money goes to keeping the place beautiful.

Now THIS is how a proper ride report should be done!

Simply amazing commentary and images. :clap:


.
:oops: :oops: :oops:

Thanks, Scott, I truly appreciate your kind words. As you know, it takes quite a bit of time to put this all together. I'm just glad people are enjoying it.
 

Yeeha! Stephen

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I'd certainly do that, if Yamaha wanted to sponsor us. :mrgreen:

I've got a Throttlemeister and try to use it often, but it just doesn't seem like enough. I'm going to have to try to do some things different next year though, I just don't think an FJR will be one of them. :lol2:
I have cruise control on my bike and I still use a Cramp Buster Wide much of the time.
 

Yeeha! Stephen

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BTW... My dad was a stick n' ball sports guy and had zero interest in my love of motorsports.

When I quit school-boy baseball he basically cut me loose on the hobby front and we never did anything outdoor-sy again.

I'm am sooooooo jealous of the ride reports where you guys get to travel with dad. Especially motorcycle adventures.

I hope a pray that you realize how fortunate you are to still have him and get to go motorcycling together.
 
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