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Trippin' Connies 9 - Snowed Out

Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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With Alaska out of the question (for now), I thought about the places I’ve yet to see that would be worthy of a Trippin’ Connies trip. The first place that came to mind was Crater Lake National Park. I brought it up to dad and he didn’t have any objections, so I began planning this year’s route around a ride through there. I initially planned on 10 days, taking my required 10 consecutive days off of work. When I told me wife I would be leaving on Wednesday, she asked why. I explained to her that I was trying to not be gone for too long, and she basically said 2 extra days wasn’t going to kill her, so just leave on Monday. She's the best and there was no need for her to repeat herself! The extra time would allow us to fit in a few extra roads I’ve been wanting to revisit, at the top of that list was US 191 in Arizona.

With the route planned along with hotel reservations made, my attention turned to my bike. To be honest, it was a mess. I’d ridden it twice since last year’s trip. Both were trips out to COTA, one for the MotoAmerica tire test and the other for MotoGP. When cleaning it prior to that first trip to COTA, I noticed the bottoms of the forks were covered in grime. I’ve changed the fork oil before, but replacing the seals felt a bit out of my league. I decided to turn them over to a professional and gave Patrick a call at Motorcycles Unlimited for a quote. It sounded reasonable to me, so I pulled my forks off the bike and brought them to his shop at 2 pm. He called me at 5 and said they were ready for pickup! I couldn’t make it back out that night, so I picked them up the next day. Great service and I’d definitely recommend them.

I decided to tackle the rest of the bike myself. I’ve had a nagging oil leak for a couple years now, so I decided to investigate. After pulling off the plastics it was evident that oil was coming from the cam sensors, both as far as I could tell. There seemed to be a layer of oil on everything, stacked with miles and miles of road grime. Leaking cam sensors are a known problem with the Connie. Murphs’ Kits sells a 2 pack of “Oversize Cam Sensor O-Rings.” They are just slightly thicker than the OEM o-rings and supposed to solve the problem.

Several weeks out from the trip, I began spending every night out the garage from the time my daughters went to bed until midnight or later. This went on for about two weeks straight. I work slowly when it comes to my bike. I’m terrified of forgetting to properly cinch something down, causing problems down the road. Thus, I work slow and methodical. It takes me about 5 hours just to get to where I can pull the valve cover off the engine. The list I completed prior to takeoff is below:
-Replaced both cam sensor o-rings
-Checked valve clearances (first time since 18k miles, and all were still in spec)
-Synced the throttle bodies
-Replaced spark plugs
-Changed engine oil and filter
-Changed air filter
-Removed and reinstalled forks for fork seal change
-Replaced front and rear brake fluid
-Replaced clutch fluid
-Flushed and changed coolant
-Cleaned all brake calipers and replaced front brake pads
-Replaced front and rear tires
-Installed 90-degree valve stems (batteries on the TPMS finally quit, too expensive to replace)
-Removed old Autocom wiring
-Installed Ronnie’s highway pegs (explanation below)

In mid-May, I found a set of Buck’s Sport Touring pegs posted for sale. I told dad about them and he said one of us should get them. I bought them and decided to give them to him as a present. Being jealous that he would be riding in more comfort, I posted a WTB thread on the Connie site for a set of highway pegs of any variety. I about gave up, but a week later “cogger” offered to sell a brand new set of Ronnie’s highway pegs. With the deal done, I could now rest a bit easier. The installation for my pegs was much more involved, which for me, took a full night. Dads took about 10 minutes.


22 Days prior to takeoff, dad had an incident with the battery on his travel trailer. He was tightening down the connection on one of the terminals when he completed the circuit between positive, the wrench, his gold ring, and the negative. Once he let go, he was able to get his ring off prior to it swelling up, but he said his finger felt like it was on fire. It was perfect timing to mess up his throttle hand. Over the next few days layer after layer began to peel off where his ring was. He ended up going to the doctor to have it checked out because it wasn’t healing up. The doc gave him some ointment to keep on it, but there wasn’t much he could do other than that. Below is what it looked like 10 days after in incident. It ended up starting to heal right before the trip began but certainly was not 100%. Luckily, the best position for it to stay in was slightly curled, so it was ok when he was holding the throttle.
Apr 4, 2006
Arlington, TX
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Can't wait to see the photos! And if I may suggest.....

Rachel and I wear these about 99% of the time unless we are going out somewhere really nice.

Sorry for the quick thread hi-jack. :-)
Sep 4, 2009
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:popcorn: I was thinking about you guys earlier this month, wondering if there would be a 2017 edition.
Feb 21, 2011
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Subscribed (and reminded about how much bike maintenance I need to do..)
Aug 20, 2015
That looks painful. All that from a battery. Wow. Working in the electrical and hvac business I've always heard not to wear a ring on the job. Would have never thought a battery could do that though.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Jul 17, 2014
Cedar Hill, TX
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Very cool, i'm excited to see the updates from the trip! That ring finger looks so painful, I can't even imagine how sad I would be if this happened just before an epic trip like this.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Can't wait to see the photos! And if I may suggest.....

Rachel and I wear these about 99% of the time unless we are going out somewhere really nice.

Sorry for the quick thread hi-jack. :-)
Funny you mentioned the QALO rings, dad just ordered a 3 pack last week. The good thing was this was his right hand, so it wasn't his wedding ring. It was, however, a gold nugget ring he's worn for over 30 years. The jeweler said he can fix it like it's new.

Also, my wedding ring got to where it was flying off all the time, so prior to this trip I ordered a QALO one. I wore it for this trip and it was nice not worrying about it.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 1 – 6/19/2017 – Houston, TX to El Paso, TX – 758 Miles

Houston, TX to El Paso, TX – 758 Miles – MAP LINK

This year dad met me at my house at 6:30 for the launch. This gave me the chance to see my girls in the morning and wave bye as we began the journey. Also, my wife was able to get this picture of us, unfortunately it was through a layer of fog on the lens due to the extreme humidity.

The starting mileage for my bike was 55,855.

Morning traffic leaving town was fairly uneventful as we were going against the grain and able to make use of the HOV lane on I-10. The first stop for gas was in Seguin.

The man, the myth, the legend…

“Which card do I use?”

Continuing on, there were no problems getting through San Antonio at all. I was expecting construction and traffic, but we breezed right through. Past Kerrville gas begins to get sparse. Knowing this, I told dad that I planned on stopping at shorter distances than usual, which I knew he wouldn’t argue with. The second place we stopped was in Junction. We took some time to snack and be out of the saddle here. I found a nice shady spot where we avoided the tow trucks and bird poop.

Chugging on, I wasn’t sure if we could make it all the way to Fort Stockton, so we decided to do a quick splash in Ozona. I ended up seeing an exit sign with gas on it, so I took that exit. As we approached the gas station I didn’t know if it was still opened, it looked abandoned. Turns out it was open, and while we were there a few other people pulled in as well. A couple miles up the road was the actual town of Ozona, I had stopped short, but all was good.



Sticking with the shorter stretches, we stopped in Fort Stockton for gas as well. In preparation for the ride, I stocked up on almonds, smoked sausages, and beef jerky. The good news is I have the snacks I want on me at all times and it costs much less getting them before than at gas stations. The bad news is the extra weight and room it took up, but it was worth it.


The first test for both our highway pegs was crossing west Texas. My pegs do not allow my legs to stretch as much as dads do, but they make the slabbing experience manageable. Dad was enjoying his. The only complaint he had was that the heat deflectors on the bike dug into his legs a bit while they were on the pegs. We both wondered why we waited so long to add something like this. The last gas stop for the day was in Van Horn.



30 Miles outside of Van Horn, a wicked looking storm appeared on the horizon, but no worries, it was to the southwest of us. A few miles later the road took a turn to the southwest and right at the storm. As we approached we could see it was quick-moving and stirring up lots of dust across the desert. The road straightened out to the west and I thought we may be able to miss it, right about that time I got hit with a ping pong sized piece of hail on my finger. Of course, it hit right below my knuckle protector. It was the only one at that time and I started wondering if I was dreaming and it was actually a rock. As we rode on, people in cars were freaking out and pulling along the shoulder of the road and waiting. We pulled over for a brief second and discussed what to do. We’ve never been riding and caught in a hail storm before, much less in the middle of the desert. We took off again and started to get pelted with hail. For some reason I was getting hit much more than dad. Then, we approached an overpass that had cars jammed under it. I tried to find a spot to fit into to wait it out, but we ended up still somewhat exposed. After a few minutes of watching everyone panic, we took off again. It was still hailing but we could see that we were right on the edge of the storm. A couple of slow-riding miles later and we were clear of it and on our way to El Paso. Getting caught on the edge of a hail storm was the last thing I expected in El Paso, but it was an interesting experience.

As we rode into El Paso there was a huge wreck on the other side of the freeway involving an 18-wheeler that had that side shut down. Luckily our side was clear and we didn’t have any problems until we hit the west side of town, and it was all due to some construction. We arrived at the Best Western Sunland Park Inn on the west side of El Paso at 5:40 MT. 12 Hours on the road, but it helped the actual arrival time that we gained an hour going west. I checked my GPS and the moving average for Day 1 was 75mph and our overall average was 60 mph. I FaceTimed with my daughters before checking in as it was almost their bedtime.

My wife and girls and I had lunch with our good friends Ryan and Lynda the day prior to going on the trip. In casual conversation my wife asked Ryan where he was traveling next, and he said he was leaving in the morning for El Paso. I told him I’d be there tomorrow night and we struck up plans to go to dinner.

After checking in I gave Ryan a call and he said he’d be by to pick us up at 7. I jumped in the shower and by the time I got out it was hailing outside. Funny thing, the guy at the front desk said the weather always seems to miss this specific part of town. Always, except for this particular night, I guess.

Ryan arrived at the end of the storm. Since one of the offices he has to visit frequently is in El Paso, he’s pretty familiar with the town. He gave us 2 good options for dinner and we chose Track One. It was on the other side of town but as Ryan says, “it’s just El Paso.” It was Monday night and we had to wait for a table. Not a problem, we just hung out at the bar and grabbed a beverage.

Here’s Ryan, my brotha from anotha motha, enjoying a wing he’d been looking forward to…

I had a chopped steak, and while it may not look like much, it was delicious.



After dinner, Ryan dropped us back off at the hotel and we went straight to bed.

Over 750 miles of riding in one direction and we’re still in Texas. Day 2 we escape.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 2 – 6/20/2017 – El Paso, TX to Eagar, AZ – 391 Miles

El Paso, TX to Eagar, AZ – 391 Miles – MAP LINK

My alarm went off at 6 MT, except it wasn’t my alarm, it was my wife calling because the girls wanted to talk to me on the way to school. After talking for a bit there was no going back to sleep, so I started getting ready. Breakfast was supposed to start at 6:30, but they didn’t open it up until 7. After eating a bit and getting some coffee, we hit the road around 7:30. Things looked a bit different in the morning.


Into New Mexico we headed towards Las Cruces. I was telling dad I wanted to make sure to stop for gas early, because I remember when you get on the north side of town on I-25, there aren’t many options. Well, I didn’t even do what I was saying and ended up waiting too long. I was worried I blew our chance but we ended up catching the last exit on the north side.


We continued north on I-25 until we hit NM152 where we headed west, and onto one of my favorite roads in New Mexico. After climbing in elevation, we took a break.



While we were here, a lady slowed down and approached us. She rolled down her window and said that she had just seen a bear a few turns back and to be careful.




With our eyes peeled for bear, we continued on making a stop at the Emory Pass Vista.


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As I was walking around and taking pictures, a guy on a Moto Guzzi pulled up. We chatted with him for a bit. He was a local, from Silver City; just a retired guy out for a Tuesday ride. He said he had never seen the view with the haze like it was this day, certainly from wildfires. We told him about the lady seeing a bear and he said he’d been up and down the road at least 100 times and has never seen one. I did look it up and black bears do exist in Gila National Forest. Enough of the bear talk and back to the Guzzi. What a beautiful bike!



With a long day still ahead of us, we had to break up the conversation and get going. We finished off the good part of NM152 and headed towards Silver City. As we passed by the Chino (Santa Rita) Mine, it peaked my interest, so we turned around to have a look. It’s the third oldest active open pit copper mine in the world.



Moving on we stopped for a quick fill-and-go in Silver City. We took US 180 out of Silver City and towards Arizona. We continued west on NM 78, which crosses over into Arizona. 78 Is a nice road that I always enjoy. Once in Arizona there is a great view and then the road twists down the mountain. This time I didn’t stop for any pictures. At Three Way we came to the junction with US 191 and rode north. We stopped for gas again in Clifton since I knew there would be no opportunities once we left there.



The beginning to one of the best motorcycle roads in the country…

The road quickly climbs out of Clifton and then you are suddenly engulfed in the Morenci Mine, the largest copper mine in the country. We passed a nice overlook and I thought I would stop at the next one to have a good look. The next overlook was about 3 miles down the road, and of course it was closed. Dad and I had gotten disconnected with our Sena headsets, so I pulled over. I told him I was going to go back to the first overlook. We did, but it cost us a bit of time and some extra miles.


The mine is something to behold and you can only understand the magnitude of size if see it in person. The overlook is only of one area, it goes on for miles. Those little black dots on the right side of the pano below are huge trucks, with tires the size of the ones our bikes are next to above. Humongous is the only way I know to describe the mine.
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Moving on, we only stopped one time in the extremely twisty part of US 191. This stop was right after getting out a sketchy section where there was a layer of dust/dirt on the road for miles. We ended up seeing a few construction type trucks that I guess were making the mess. That section had me puckered up, I was thankful when it ended.








And when we’re taking an extended break, things like this happen…


As you can see from the pictures above, the sky began to threaten us with rain. Right after taking off it started to sprinkle on it, but it only lasted a few miles. The next stop was somewhere south of Alpine, but I have no idea where. The temperature here was perfect, and almost a bit cool.





We continued north and stopped for another break along Nelson Reservoir.








We arrived at the hotel in Eagar at 4:30, Pacific Time now because we gained another hour in Arizona. As we were going back and forth to the bikes unloading them, dad noticed that our stands were digging into the asphalt. It must have been newly paved, and combined with the heat, it was a recipe for bad news. We both put our bikes on the side stand with pucks under it for the night.

We went next door to TrailRiders Family Restaurant for food, it was supposed to be one of the best places to eat in town. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was good food. I had the chicken fried steak along with a Four Peaks – Kilt Lifter. I asked for a local beer, and Tempe was as local as they had. I was completely fine with it though because I’ve actually been to the brewery before and enjoyed their beer. Dad, on the other hand, was happy to have his lightly flavored water. We both went back to the hotel absolutely stuffed and passed out.




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Registered Lurker
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Jul 21, 2004
Katy, TX
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As usual, great trips and excellent report / pictures.


Nov 28, 2006
North of Weird
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You should compile this for a Forbes article with the amazing stories you weave and meld with imagery.

Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 3 – 6/21/2017 – Eagar, AZ to Kanab, UT – 489 Miles

Eagar, AZ to Kanab, UT – 489 Miles – MAP LINK

The time change had me a bit wonky, I ended up waking up around 4 PT and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I just laid there. An hour later my wife and girls called on their morning ride to school/work. We were already up and had breakfast by 6, and left 15 minutes later.

We took off north on Main Street and rode into Springerville. I was hoping there would be gas there, but it didn’t look like it. We were supposed to take a left on US 191, but I turned right and headed back into town to hope to find gas. There was a Shell station there, so we filled up. We also bought a bag of ice to fill our CamelBaks with, since the hotel’s ice machine wasn’t working.

We took off and headed north on US 191. About 10 minutes later dad said he could see something shiny flashing at him from off my top box. It was my key. We pulled over so I could grab it out and safely put it in my pocket. The ride north was pretty uneventful. We crossed over I-40 and then hit the first construction stop of the trip in Ganado.

The next stop was for gas in Chinle. This station was busy!

After filling up, we headed for Canyon de Chelly National Monument. I was expecting a station at the entrance to pay at, but that wasn’t the case. There was a Visitor Center, but I told dad we’d stop there on the way back out. It was my decision in route planning to ride along the south canyon and not spend time on the north side. The south is known for better views of the canyon and rock formations. On the north side you can see more native dwellings. I’d prefer the views. The plan was also to ride to the farthest viewpoint first, then make our way back out. That being said, the first overlook we checked out and the farthest one was the Spider Rock Overlook. There was a 200 yard walk out to the overlook point and a great panoramic view from there. It was already hot and for some reason I didn’t bring my hat with me.

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Of course, I had to take a cell phone selfie as well.

On our way back out, the next stop was at the Sliding House Overlook. The walk out to the viewpoint of this one was about half as long as the last.







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The third stop was at White House Overlook. This one was much more crowded than the last two, there was only a car or two at those. I believe this spot was the start to a trail that you could use to walk down into the canyon.



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We skipped a couple of the next overlooks and made a final stop at Tunnel Overlook, which was right off of South Rim Drive Highway.


We made our way back to the visitor center and went in to pick up some stickers and magnets. By this time it was scorching hot outside, and would be for the rest of the day. Back out on US 191 we continued north to Many Farms, where we cut over to US 160 using AZ 59. At this point I was starting to get concerned about finding a gas station. We hadn’t seen one for a long time. Our route had us turning right on AZ 98, and thankfully there was a gas station there. There was nothing else around there, just big oasis gas station in the desert. It was completely covered and unlike anything I’d ever seen. The pumps would not take credit cards, so I had to go in and give them an amount. Not paying attention to how much I’d been spending on gas, I had no idea what to say. I just told them to put $10 on each of our pumps. I was able to squeeze all $10 into mine, but dad could only fit $8 in his. They had to put $2 back on my card. The whole process was antiquated and a pain in the butt, but at least it was all shaded.

We ventured back out into the heat after a break and took AZ 98 northwest for 67 miles to Page, where we turned south on US 89. One of these days I have to make a point of going back here and doing a tour of the Antelope Slot Canyon. It looks right up my alley, but there was no time to fit it into this year’s trip. On US 89 we’d be passing right by Horseshoe Bend. I debated all day on if we should stop there or not. Dad didn’t care. We’ve been there before, but what bothered me is that at that time I was just getting into photography and didn’t have the equipment to get the full bend in one frame. We spent so much time in Canyon de Chelly National Park it was already getting later in the day. But, not knowing when the next time I’d be back by there would be, I decided to stop. It was also later in the day and I knew that due to the time difference, I’d only have a small window to FaceTime with my girls. We pulled into the parking lot and I did just that. Then we decided to make the hike over the hill to the bend. We didn’t even change pants or boots, just grabbed our hats and headed out.

This is after cresting the hill and on the way down. Many sections of the hike have nice loamy sand, lots of fun with motorcycle boots on.

It was crawling with people, including a couple of people flying drones over the edge, which I’m not exactly sure was legal.

But, I feel like I was able to exact my revenge on the bend. Here are my favorites…

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I remembered to get a selfie before leaving.

We headed back over the hill. Dad took off before me while I was still shooting a few pictures. I’m not in great shape, but there were some people that shouldn’t have attempted the hike, especially in the extreme heat. There was a lady who had to be stretchered out. Here’s the view heading back to the bikes.

You can’t say they didn’t try to warn people.

We took off and for a few minutes it felt like A/C since we were drenched in sweat. It didn’t last long, but at it sure felt good to be moving. Continuing south on US 89 we twisted down into the canyon and took a right on US 89A. We stopped at a place along there solely because I thought it would be a good spot for a couple pictures. These are some of my favorite shots of the entire trip.







Riding on we stopped again at the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River. We checked out the bridge and then looked to see what the vendors there had for sale. Hoping my daughters would like it, I bought each of them a dream catcher in their favorite colors.







We rode over the new bridge and continued on US 89A. We began climbing and stopped for a bit to take in the view.

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US 89A took us into Utah and to our destination for the night, Kanab. We lost an hour crossing the state line. We arrived at the hotel at 7 MT. I planned on eating at the Rocking V Café, which was basically next door to our hotel. But, mom had looked it up earlier in the day and told us it was closed on Wednesdays. Bummer! She suggested that we eat at Iron Horse, which was still within walking distance, so that was a win. We took off walking and I realized I left my camera in the room. Instead of turning around, I just decided to use my cell phone for any pictures. I don’t think the restaurant had A/C, but we ended up cooling down after sitting there for a while.

Sticking with my local beer theme, when in Utah…


We sat right by the entertainment for the night, a guy playing and singing random songs.

I had a burger piled high with goodness. Dad had a pulled pork sandwich.


After watching the entertainment for a bit, dad said, “I don’t think he’s actually playing that guitar.” While we were trying to figure it out, I introduced dad to the “skeptical hippo” and other skeptical memes. We quickly came up with the “skeptical Larry” face. Ha!

I started really watching his hands, and it became blatantly obvious he wasn’t playing it. We got a good laugh out of the whole situation and watching a guy by us with his own skeptical look on his face, it seemed as if he was trying to figure out if the guy was playing the guitar or not as well. We then began to wonder if he was actually singing because he was able to mimic voices really good, especially Willie Nelson. The jury is still out, but I think his voice was for real.

We walked back to the hotel and hunkered down for the night. Today we spent quite a bit of time in blazing heat. For the next day’s ride I planned a shorter route in hopes to recover from this one.


Forum Supporter
Aug 28, 2016
Recalculating, Texas

All roads lead to roam!

Your images are always A+ and compliment your sport-touring ride report very well. It looks like some of my old favorite routes were also included in your report, including Highway 152 in New Mexico.

Your dad is an awesome ride buddy too.

Keep up your amazing digital safari skills...


Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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All roads lead to roam!

Your images are always A+ and compliment your sport-touring ride report very well. It looks like some of my old favorite routes were also included in your report, including Highway 152 in New Mexico.

Your dad is an awesome ride buddy too.

Keep up your amazing digital safari skills...


Thank you, Fred! Hopefully you keep following along, I'm sure you fine more of your favorites in this report, you seem to have been everywhere! :rider:

Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 4 – 6/22/2017 – Kanab, UT to Ely, NV – 303 Miles

Kanab, UT to Ely, NV – 303 Miles – MAP LINK

After my usual wake up call we had some breakfast and coffee and took our time getting going.

We took off from Kanab at 7:40. We got some gas at Shell before leaving town. We rode up US 89 to UT 9, where we turned towards Zion National Park. When we arrived at the entrance, we were greeted with a short line, but it went pretty quick. I let dad go first and flash his senior pass. It seems like half the people will let me in with it as well. This time, the lady was extremely nice let me in on Dad’s pass, but she said not to tell anyone. Whoops!

About a mile down the road there was a car stopped on the side and you could tell they were looking at an animal. We slowly rode by and then I spotted the three bighorn sheep. I grabbed a quick picture and we moved on.

The shorter mileage day today would afford for more stops in Zion. I took advantage of that and soaked in the scenery. We made 3 stops prior to getting to the tunnel. Here’s stop #1.








Here’s what I got from the second stop.








And here are my pictures from the third stop prior to the tunnel. While we were here a guy pulled up and parked, then set up his easel and started to paint.










We continued on and rode through the tunnel, emerging into the canyon and stopping for a nice break at the first overlook. We snacked and watched buzzards soar.















From there we twisted down and stopped in the bottom of the canyon.







Moving on, the next stop was at the Visitor Center on the west side of the park. We lucked out and a spot opened up right as we pulled into the parking lot. The place was packed and there were cars hovering over people waiting for spots. In the Visitor Center I picked up some stickers, magnets, and some stuffed bighorn sheep toys for my girls. Right by the Visitor Center is where you can catch the shuttle to view the other part of the park, Floor of the Valley Road/Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. This part of the park is only accessible by the shuttle. The line for the shuttle looked like it was several hundred people deep, so that was out of the question. It really just gives me a reason to go back with my wife and explore the rest of the park.

Leaving there, we had a car sit and wait for us as we geared up and left the parking spot. We exited the park and continued on UT 9 all the way to I-15. Getting through the towns of La Verkin and Hurricane seemed to take forever as we caught light after light. Riding a couple miles south on I-15 landed us in St. George, where we exited and took the Red Hills Parkway to avoid town. We then turned north on UT 18. As we were cruising along, I saw a sign that had “Massacre” on it. I thought it may be and interesting stop, so we turned around and went back to check it out. The official road off of UT 18 was FR375 then FR4018. As we were taking our helmets off, another car pulled up. Two guys got out, and struck up a conversation about the bikes. They were brothers, and the oldest owns a FJR. We talked bikes for a moment, and then the older brother asked if we new anything about the site. I said we had no idea, we just decided to pull in after seeing the sign. They lived on opposite sides of the country and had met up in Utah to do some outdoor activities together. They specifically came to the site this day because the older brother had just finished reading a book about the massacre. The book is Blood of the Prophets, by Will Bagley. It was pretty neat because as we walked out to the memorial, he gave us the Cliffs Notes version of the Mountain Meadows massacre (occurring in 1857).




The actual site was down the road in the distance. The road was being worked on and completely tore up at the moment.

Continuing north on UT 18, we took it to Beryl Junction and turned left on UT 56, which took us into Nevada. After crossing the border, the road number changed to NV 319. The next stop was for gas in Panaca. This was the most entertaining gas stop I think we’ve ever had. I had been getting a “Transponder Battery Low” error on my display, so I checked in the station to see if they had a battery. They did, and at a reasonable price, so I went ahead and swapped it out.





After filling the bikes we were standing around eating some snacks and having a drink. Then we heard a loud slam, which turned out to be the back door of an enclosed trailer. They pushed out a short dragster. A couple of guys opened the doors of the “Y Service” building and then set up some cones in the parking lot. I assumed they were just going to wheel the dragster into the shop to work on it. I was wrong. It took them a minute, but they fired it up.

Our interest was peaked, so we stood around and watched the show.

It wasn’t exactly a Top Fuel Dragster, but the thing was still pretty loud. He backed up from the position in the picture above and everyone got their cell phones out. I got my camera ready. He did a burnout, turned, and headed right for us. Looking through the lens of my camera, I thought he was going to mow ourselves and the bikes over, but I guess the brakes on it work.



He backed it up, and this time I protected myself with the pillar of the gas station… just in case.

He did several burnouts, literally going between the pumps and the station store, then looping back around.



It was at this point that dad and I learned a very valuable lesson. There was a guy getting gas next to us and we were talking saying what are the odds of us in the middle of Nevada, watching a guy doing burnouts in a dragster, in the gas station parking lot? He quickly said, “it’s Ne-VA-duh, NOT Ne-VAH-duh. You’re liable to get shot around here saying it the wrong way.” Yikes!

Back to the drag strip action, the final time he did a burnout the opposite direction, starting right by us at the gas pumps. For some stupid reason, I squatted down right beside him for pictures. He took off and nearly blew out my eardrums.




After that one, he shut it down and the show was over. People started taking turns sitting in it. I tried to get dad to get in it, you know, for the ride report. He refused. I think he was just being a sizeist. If it would’ve been a Top Fuel Dragster, he would have done it.

And possibly the best part of the whole stop, after everything was over an older lady came walking out of the store, looked at us and said, “it’s always excitin’ at the Y!” After she walked away we just looked at each other and laughed. Moving on from the Y, we headed north on US 93. In the 81 mile stretch between Pioche and Majors Place there is absolutely nothing! We stopped for a break somewhere in the middle because I wanted a couple pictures, just to break up the monotony.









US 93 intersected with US 50 and we took that to Ely. We ended up topping off our tanks prior to getting to the hotel, so we would be good to go in the morning. We had gained an hour coming into Ne-VA-duh, so we ended up arriving at the hotel at 3:30 PT, most likely the earliest we’ve ever gotten to a nightly destination. We stayed at Hotel Nevada 5 years ago, and it was such a unique place, I wanted to stay there again. At check-in, they give each person a complimentary drink ticket, good for one drink at the bar in the casino. After lugging our stuff upstairs, we came down and used our tickets. I tried the Hotel Nevada IPA.


I had planned on eating at the restaurant in the hotel, which used to be a neat little café. Mom called us during the day and informed us that the hotel restaurant was now a Denny’s. Not wanting that, she told us that Rack’s Bar & Grill down the road sounded good. It was within walking distance, so that’s where we headed.


I had the beef dip with onion rings and a local amber beer, but I can’t remember the name. Dad had a southwestern burger.

Dad had been feeling pretty congested ever since we got into Ne-VA-duh. (See picture of him on US 93 above with tissue in hand.) His nose was a constant draining faucet combined with lots of sneezing. Walking back to the hotel, there was an old school drug store and I convinced him to go in and get some medicine. We ended up talking to the pharmacist and he recommended something that he thought was more effective than what he originally picked as well as being non-drowsy. No longer “skeptical Larry,” he was now “drainage Larry.”

It was still fairly early, but I wanted to take some night pictures of the hotel. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay awake, but watched TV and managed to keep my eyes open until the sun went down. I headed outside and played around with camera exposures.







When I’d had my fill, I headed inside and gambled with $5 for about 30 minutes. First with electronic black jack and then with nickel slots. After 30 minutes I stopped caring at that point because I couldn’t take the cigarette smoke any longer, it was killing my eyes. I called it quits, headed up to the room and went to bed.
Sep 4, 2009
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Welcome to Ne-VA-da, just about the only place left on the US map where you have to deal with somebody else's cigarette smoke. :mrgreen:

As always, I sit amazed at the quality of your pictures. I know I ask this every year, but here I go again. Camera & lense setup, please?
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Welcome to Ne-VA-da, just about the only place left on the US map where you have to deal with somebody else's cigarette smoke. :mrgreen:

As always, I sit amazed at the quality of your pictures. I know I ask this every year, but here I go again. Camera & lense setup, please?

This year I took my Nikon D810 and 3 lenses: Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8, Nikon 58mm f/1.4, and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII. The Tokina and the 58mm did most of the heavy lifting. I only pulled out the 70-200 a couple times, and when I did, I was wishing I brought my Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 instead. Since it's so small, I also took my Fuji x100t for the all-important dinner shots. :mrgreen:
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 5 – 6/23/2017 – Ely, NV to Red Bluff, CA – 545 Miles

Ely, NV to Red Bluff, CA – 545 Miles – MAP LINK

As mentioned we stayed at the Hotel Nevada 5 years ago. When we had woke up that next morning, we had planned to take off and ride US 50, dubbed the Loneliest Highway in America. But, as we were getting ready to go, my battery was absolutely dead. I was able to find something in town that worked, and as I was installing it, it started to snow on us. We waited it out for a bit, but were told the weather was coming from the west, so we changed our course that day and missed US 50. When we woke up this morning, my bike started and there was no snow, we were already off to a great start. It was pretty chilly though.

I had set my alarm for 5 and it sure came quickly after staying up to take pictures last night. My wife and daughters called right on cue.

Since the hotel doesn’t have a continental breakfast, we decided to forego breakfast and get going, taking off around 6:30. It was about 50 degrees at launch. Our first stop was a mile up the road, to get a picture of the sign.


US 50 was more entertaining than I expected, and that’s not just because there were jack rabbits running everywhere in the morning. Sure, there were long boring straight sections, but I haven’t been on a road in Nevada where that wasn’t the case. There were also several nice curvy sections, most notably just west of Ely. We took a break during one of the straight sections.








A Nevadan mirage…

There was a nice twisty section as we rode into Austin. We ended up stopping while we were there to get some gas.

Located inside was the friendliest gas station employee ever. She was about 7 months pregnant and drove an hour and a half one way to her job at the Chevron. We had seen several groups of people running along US 50, so I asked her if she knew what was going on. She said it was a multi-day run down US 50 to raise money for a charity. The rest of our conversation included her describing carnage she’s run across in the middle of nowhere Nevada to a group of guys riding their bicycles naked across US 50. I asked her if she had any US 50 stickers. She not only gave us stickers but also “Survival Guides” and stamped Austin for us. I guess if you get stamps from each of the locations in the guide and send it in they send you a fancy pin.


Continuing on, the next place we took a break as just along the road, with Sand Mountain Recreation Area in the background.






It was here where the salt/sand section began. It basically seemed like a mini salt flats. On each side of the road for miles there were shapes, designs, words and phrases spelled out with black rocks. We started seeing them shortly after taking off and I didn’t want to stop again, but I regret not putting a “TC9” out there.

As we were riding along, a military jet roared across the road in the distance and disappeared behind the mountains flying low. Several miles later we saw road signs warning of aircraft testing in the area. Then, while were entering the town of Fallon, we watched a jet land at Fallon Naval Air Station as we rode along. Things slowed down considerably getting through Fallon and to Fernley. Once there, we hopped on I-80 and cruised to Reno. Our final conclusion was that US 50 was lonely, but the detour route we took 5 years ago down US 6 takes the lonely cake.

This was my first time seeing Reno, and it wasn’t at all what I expected being that it was nestled in snow-capped mountains. We turned north on US 395 and stopped for gas on the north side of town. I was looking at snow in the distance, yet I was sweating at the gas station.


Heading on we passed by White Lake, which was appropriately named and oddly white. After passing the lake we crossed over into California. We rode north, passing through several construction zones and took CA 36 to CA 44. It was slow going on US 395 because the truck speed limit was 55 mph and there were long stretches where one lane was closed, so we got stacked up behind the trucks. On CA44 I started looking for a place to take a break, I couldn’t find a good spot by a lake as they were all tucked away behind trees, so I just pulled off on a side road and we rested there.

From there we rode to CA 89 with the intention of riding through Lassen Volcanic National Park. We got to the entrance station and I had dad go first as usual. This ranger was not as sweet as the one we encountered at Zion. First, she gave us the bad news that the road was closed 9 miles up the road and we would not be able to ride through. We discussed what to do. This was one of the places I was looking forward to seeing, so I figured let’s see as much as we could while we were there. Dad got in for free with his pass, but I had to pay $15, just to ride down the road 9 miles and turn around. She said she felt bad for charging me just to do that. She obviously didn’t feel bad enough because she still took my money. So off we went, and just when things were starting to get good we hit the temporary end, snow keeping us out.



We were shocked when we looked around and could see snow where we were at as it felt pretty warm. These pictures were to send to my girls.


We headed back and stopped for a quick shot to show the snow in the distance. I’d love to be able to ride all the way through some day.

Almost back to the entrance, I pulled into the Loomis Museum in hopes of them having a sticker and magnet. They did, so we purchased a few of those. There were a couple of lakes right at the entrance, so I told dad I was going to stop at one for a bit. The lake we stopped at was Manzanita Lake.




I started looking at my GPS and phone, trying to figure out how we were going to get to the hotel in Red Bluff with our detour. There wasn’t a clear-cut option. Taking CA 44 to Redding and then down I-5 to Red Bluff would have been a bit out of the way. All the roads that cut across to CA 36 looked small, but I picked one and we took a chance on it. The decision was to go Wilson Hill Road to A6 to get to CA 36. We turned onto Wilson Hill Road and started descending in a hurry, to the tune of a 15% grade with a 15 mph speed limit. I was poking along because it was basically a one lane road with lots of blind turns. A local driving a raggedy Chevy Cobalt caught us in a hurry and we waived him by. He blasted by with his loud muffler and took off. It reminded me of getting dusted by a station wagon on the Blue Ridge Parkway last year. Ha!

By the time we got to A6, we were getting down in the valley and it was getting extremely hot. The lady back at the museum tried to warn us that the valley was going to be hot. We had basically laughed her off. Well, it didn’t take long before both dad and I were just miserable. It felt like we were riding in a hair dryer, one of the top 5 hottest experiences ever on a bike. How could it be that we were snowed out of Lassen Volcanic National Park and a few miles down the valley we were in scorching heat? At Dales we turned right on CA 36 and went as fast as we could to get to Red Bluff and some AC. I convinced dad to stop for gas prior to reaching the hotel. From there we rode down to the hotel and got into the lobby as soon as we could, arriving at 5:30. We sat in front of the AC and waited for the lady behind the desk to check in the people in front of us. She worked slowly and we just wanted to get into our room, but at least we were indoors. I checked my phone to see what the temperature was in Red Bluff, to see if we were exaggerating. We were not, it showed the current temp was 108. I had no idea it got that hot in northern California!

The Rocking R Restaurant was next door, but it took some convincing to get dad to leave the room. The heat had sucked all the energy out of him. I wanted to go eat real quickly so we could get back and relax. We were seated, but it took forever to get service. It was hot in there. Waitresses were running around sweating and customers were fanning themselves with menus. We thought the AC wasn’t working, but apparently they said it was and it just couldn’t keep up with the heat later in the day. They served breakfast all day, so once we finally got some help that’s what we both ordered. Beer and breakfast go hand in hand. By the end of the meal we finally cooled off from sitting still. And if you are wondering, I devoured ALL of that.


After dinner we walked back to the hotel, cleaned up, and relaxed watching TV until we fell asleep.
Sep 4, 2009
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I'm glad you replaced your battery before you rode out onto the loneliest road in America. It would have pretty much ruined your day to have taken a photo stop out there, then found the bike wouldn't restart.

I always thought 285 between Clines Corners and Roswell was pretty lonely, too. But I've never had to do it on a bike.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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I'm glad you replaced your battery before you rode out onto the loneliest road in America. It would have pretty much ruined your day to have taken a photo stop out there, then found the bike wouldn't restart.

I always thought 285 between Clines Corners and Roswell was pretty lonely, too. But I've never had to do it on a bike.

Yep, I took no changes this year and changed the battery before we left.

We have done that stretch of NM on US 285. I remember it being VERY BORING. :mrgreen:
Feb 9, 2012
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It was at the Y Service where I learned it's Spo-KANE not Spo-KAN-e Washington. I went thru there and on to the west coast in early May which was much too early to expect open passes. It was 95 degrees in Red Bluff during my passage. Phew! As always I'm enjoying your annual trip report and the great photos.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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It was at the Y Service where I learned it's Spo-KANE not Spo-KAN-e Washington. I went thru there and on to the west coast in early May which was much too early to expect open passes. It was 95 degrees in Red Bluff during my passage. Phew! As always I'm enjoying your annual trip report and the great photos.
:lol2: It's always excitin' at the Y! :mrgreen:

Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 6 – 6/24/2017 – Red Bluff, CA to Bandon, OR – 360 Miles

Red Bluff, CA to Bandon, OR – 360 Miles – MAP LINK

The lady that checked us in the pervious afternoon was super slow, but she was nice. She let us park our bikes up front in a blocked off zone. She also said that there were rags and Windex that we could use to clean off our windshields. I took advantage of that in the morning after breakfast, cleaning up our bikes in preparation for potential glamour shots of the bikes on the coast.

We took off and did a quick hop on and off of I-5 to get to CA 36 on the other side of town. CA 36 was immediately a blast to ride. It was an absolute treat for 130 miles all the way to the coast. We stopped along the way for a couple of breaks. Here are some shots from the first break.









Mid-way through, the scenery changed from rolling hills to mountains in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.




There was a section west of Dinsmore that was really tight and twisty, and the center stripe went away. I wondered if we were still on the correct road, but the GPS said we were. It looked like they have plans of expanding the road in the future and have started with tearing down trees. We came across a nice little overlook and I told dad I was going to loop back and stop there. We turned and passed it, then planned to do another 180 degree turn to get back on the right side of the road. I pulled on the edge of the black-top to make my turn and stopped as a truck was coming the opposite way. Dad pulled up behind me, and then all of the sudden I heard a commotion behind. I looked back to watch him tip over on his bike. He had pulled off the edge of the back-top to make his turn, and when we went to put his right food down, it was a little too far downhill and once it started going over, he couldn’t save it. I felt bad that it was my idea to make the stop. But, I also gave him a hard time for pulling off the road and basically into the ditch to make the turn. The lady in the truck got a good show as she drove by.

Thankfully dad didn’t hurt anything on himself other than his pride. It took a little extra effort for us to get the bike upright since it was down at more than a 90 degree angle. We finally completed the turn and pulled off at my intended spot, accessing the damage to the bike. His right mirror was crunched and the saddle bag was scratched up.


And here are the costly shots that I stopped for.








After shaking off the tip-over, we moved on and continued riding towards the coast. The road began to follow a river as we entered the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park area. It was absolutely beautiful through there, but a bit crowded. We found a little spot to pull over to take in the trees, looking at these giants never gets old.







In Fortuna we intersected with US 101 and headed north. We worked our way through Fortuna, Eureka, and Arcata, just waiting for a grand view of the Pacific. It wasn’t to be just yet, and it was time to look for gas, so we exited US 101 in Trinidad and found a Chevron station. We filled up and then moved under a nice shade tree for a break. We both noticed a guy sitting on the corner by the station, you can just make him out in my picture below, directly above my bike. He had, what looked to be, all of his belongings scattered around him, including a couple jars of cannabis. Dad went into the store and then a couple Sheriffs pulled up, with jet skis in tow. They went into the store, then came out and started talking to the guy. They started walking back to their truck and then the guy started yelling something at them. They came back over to him and I’m assuming they told him to pack up his stuff and leave. They left, then dad came out so I headed into the store to use the restroom. As I was walking by the guy, he asked me where we were from. I told him Houston, and he asked me what I thought of California. It was a very brief conversation and I entered the store. When I came back out, he was in the same spot, but when I walked over to dad he looked at me and asked what in the world I told that guy. I told him I said we were from Houston, and that was about it. Apparently as soon as I went into the store the guy walked over to dad and was speaking in tongues with a few “F” Texas’ thrown in. Dad just kind of stood there shaking his head in agreement and the guy walked back over to his spot. For the rest of the trip, and for all eternity, we will refer to him as the crazy hippie leprechaun. Another guy pulled up on a ratted-out cruiser (I should have taken a picture) that could have been the crazy hippie leprechaun’s uncle. He mumbled something to us and walked across the street. We started to wonder if everyone in Trinidad, CA was a little bit different.


A family from Illinois pulled up next to us in a car. They appeared to be on a road trip. A guy, probably in his mid 20s, was letting the dog walk around. It was then that the crazy hippie leprechaun made his final performance. He had packed up his bag and headed our way. This time he chose the young man for his victim. He noticed their license plate and started aggressively asking him about Illinois. The young man acted as if they guy wasn’t there, and dad and I sat back and watched the show. When the young man wasn’t answering, the CHL started speaking his gibberish and dropping “F” bombs. He finally moved on, and when we looked at the dog we started laughing because it had a very skeptical look on his face. Ha!

With fond thoughts of Trinidad, it was time to move on. We continued north and took a little detour off of US 101 on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. It’s a 9 mile ride a then meets back up with US 101. It was a scenic little ride through some beautiful redwoods within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.










We stopped one more time along the parkway because dad wanted a shot of the bikes in front of a tree for perspective.





The next stop was a planned one at the Klamath Tour Thru Tree. When we pulled up to the booth to pay, there was no one there. No worries though, they had clearly written instructions on their signs. Dad put our money in the slot and we headed for the tree.

It was a short, but steep trip there. The paved road took us right to the tree, and did I mention it was steep! There was one car in front of us, so we waited until they took their pictures and then I drove through and took a picture of dad as he went through.

A few miles up the road is Trees of Mystery. We pulled in there, not to do the gondola ride, but because I wanted a picture of the bikes with Paul and Babe.

A couple turns later and we finally hit a good view of the Pacific Ocean.







We ran into several construction zones with the automated signals. It seemed like every time we were able to clear the traffic in front of us we’d catch one these and had to do it all again. We crossed the state line into Oregon and continued north, making our next stop at an overlook just south of Gold Beach.










(Click for larger pano size)

The next attraction I had planned on stopping at was the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. It’s a short 2 mile ride one way down Cape Blanco Road. Access was restricted past a certain point, so we couldn’t get close. The breeze off the ocean was strong here and it was chilly!





There was a guy here flying a RC sailplane. As I was taking the pictures above it went flying by my head, a little too close for comfort.



We rode back out to US 101 and finished off the day’s route, arriving at the Bandon Beach Motel at around 6. We checked in and unloaded our stuff into the room. Mom had told us earlier that the place I was planning on eating at this night closed at 7. It was a mile and a half from the hotel, so we just kept our gear on and headed that way. We found a spot to park on the street and walked down to the Bandon Fish Market.

The line to order was just outside the door, but moved at a reasonable pace. There are maybe 12 tables inside with more picnic tables outside, but we definitely wanted to sit inside. After ordering, a small table opened up and I was able to snag it. Dad ordered his food and then we waited.

It took about 20 minutes until our food came out. Right before it did, we started discussing what we got. I told dad I couldn’t believe he didn’t get fish and chips. He didn’t offer a good explanation, and then said if I’d split some with him, he’d get them to try. So he got back in line, this time shorter and ordered more food. The first round came out, I had ordered jumbo prawns. Dad ordered a shrimp and crab sandwich along with some chowder. As we were eating that, the Rockfish and chips came out. Dad ended up taking half of his sandwich to go.

After eating we walked back to the bikes along the water.

My plan was to get some sunset shots on the beach directly in front of our motel. When we got back to the motel I had a little bit of time to get my stuff together and ready to shoot. At the Bandon Beach Motel, every room has a great view. The rooms are updated enough, but it’s really not about that, it’s about the location. It overlooks the beach and the rocks directly in front of it. I had the choice of several rooms when I called to make the reservations. They asked if I wanted first or second floor, which I chose second, and then if I wanted a better view of the beach or the rocks, which I chose the rocks. Here’s the view from our room.

Dad had taken off to walk around and explore on his own. Once I was ready, I headed out. There was a nice golden light at first.

The stairs in the shot above lead down to the beach, about 120 steps later. I started looking for different angles and photo opportunities along the beach.






As the sun started to get lower, I tried walking for a better view of the sunset over the water, since it was blocked where I was at by the rocks.


There wasn’t a way to get past those rocks on the beach without doing some serious climbing, and that wasn’t going to happen. So I settled for walking around on the south side of the point.










After playing with some longer shots, I broke out the wide angle. It was definitely nice having waterproof riding boots.






















I made my way back over to the stairs. Before walking up, these logs and puddle caught my eye. While I was taking pictures here a young couple walked by that I had seen earlier on the beach. He ran through a flock of seagulls and made them take off. I made a comment to him, joking about it and we talked for a bit. They were asking me how I was getting pictures, since it was almost dark and not much light. I gave them a quick lesson on exposures. It turns out that they just picked up moved to Bandon 2 days prior from St. Louis. When I asked them why, they said they wanted to move away from the hustle and experience life at a slower pace. The feeling of jealousy washed over me.





I headed back up, took a few final shots and then went to bed.

Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 7 – 6/25/2017 – Bandon, OR to Oakridge, OR – 280 Miles

Bandon, OR to Oakridge, OR – 280 Miles – MAP LINK

My morning wake-up call comes super early on the west coast. We had left the window open and fell asleep to the sound of waves and birds. It was nice and cool in the room in the morning. There was no breakfast, so I made some coffee for us in the room. Dad ended up eating his leftover shrimp and crab sandwich for breakfast and I gave him a hard time about it. Here was the morning view…

And here’s the Bandon Beach Motel in all its glory. Our room was the second door from the right on the second floor.

Before taking off, I walked back out to the point and took a couple of pictures while taking in the view for the last time.


(Click for larger pano size)

It was in the 50s when we took off. We rode across town to head out, but got gas before leaving. This was our first experience with filling the bikes in Oregon. For those that don’t know, Oregon does gas fill-ups differently. All stations are full-service. But with motorcycles, all the ones we went to let us pump the gas ourselves. You just have to give the attendant your card and they do that part for you. Then they hand you the nozzle.

On the east side of town we took OR 42S, which follows the Coquille River for a while. In the town of Coquille we took OR 42 north and back to US 101. It was a nice little ride to start the day off. The first stop was at the Umpqua River Lighthouse, 6 miles south of Reedsport. The lighthouse is within a state park, but we went in and out without seeing anywhere to pay.






On the way in, we passed Lake Marie. It looked neat so we stopped there for a few shots on the way back out.



We continued north and the next stop was at the Oregon Dunes Overlook on the other side of Reedsport. I followed the wooden path to a nice viewpoint and explored a bit.



(Click for larger pano size)








We moved on up the coast and the plan was to stop at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. We tried viewing the lighthouse from the scenic viewpoint area along the beach.



There was a bunch of Model As (I believe) in the area, and we finally saw a few up close here.

I was disappointed in the view from here, and I knew a few curves back there was an overlook where we could see it clearly, although at a distance. Dad was fine with heading back, so we did. We parked and I started taking some pictures of the lighthouse at distance.


Tried to get a little selfie in, and the color was so bad I had to make it black and white.

I started putting my lens up, getting ready to leave and a lady walked over and said there was a bald eagle that landed nearby. I put my 70-200mm back on and tried to find it. She let dad borrow her binoculars to do some glassin’.

See that white head in the picture below? I had to crop this even at 200mm. I was really regretting not dragging along my 200-500mm. It would have been perfect for this and I probably could have gotten some really good shots.

The bald eagle was just trying to relax, but it kept getting dive-bombed by other birds. First a crow…

Then a seagull…




The seagull made about 15 passes, and the bald eagle had enough and took off. It basically went under us and out of our sight.



I tried walking around the overlook to find it, but no dice. Then I noticed a sea lion sunbathing on the rocks below. We were just a few hundred yards down from Sea Lion Caves.


I started looking down the coast to the south toward the caves and then spotted a juvenile bald eagle. Several different species of birds were attacking it as well.









After the juvenile was chased away, I took a couple shots of the view toward the Sea Lion Caves.



With the aerial show over, it was time to put my gear up and move on.



We continued riding along the beautiful coastline, not stopping again until we passed through Newport. We rode through town, which had lots of lights and traffic, and then up to Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The fog was thick when we arrived.



We were able to walk up and see it up close, along with check out the coast behind it.



(Click for larger pano size)




We walked around the area and I noticed a neat looking beach below, which turned out to be Cobble Beach. I told dad I was going to go down there and dad said he was staying up by the bikes. 100 Stairs later I was down on the beach and the climb down and up were definitely worth it. The sound of the waives crashing up on the rocks and then rolling back down sounded like one of those rain sticks. I loved listening to it.








By the time I got back to the bikes the fog had basically all cleared out.

We rode back down to Newport, said goodbye to the coast, and took US 20 east to Corvallis. Then we took OR 34 to I-5 and stopped for gas at the Chevron before getting on the interstate. The station was really busy, so after we were done we went to the parking lot in the back for a break. It’s so glamorous being on a road trip.



After the break we cruised down I-5 to Eugene and exited on OR 58. We started climbing in elevation and then ran across Dexter Reservoir, where I spotted a covered bridge. We pulled over to check out Lowell Covered Bridge.





We finished off the day’s ride by getting into Oakridge and to our hotel. We pulled up, and as usual, parked under the porte cochere and off to the side so we didn’t block any cars. I walked in and the lady immediately had an attitude with me and started grilling me on where we parked. I guess she assumed we parked on the sidewalk, and she made a big deal about how there were people there with wheelchairs and we were blocking them. I ensured her we weren’t on the sidewalks and we’d move them as soon as we got our room. Sheesh, if I was psychic and knew the room number before getting there, we would have just parked straight in front of our room. Dad walked in and almost immediately the lady changed her tune. I don’t know why she was acting so crazy with me. She finally did her job and checked us in, and we promptly parked our bikes in front of our room.

While we were unloading them, one of the wheelchair guests came out and chatted dad up. One of the first things he said was, “what happened there?” He was in eye level with the scratches on his saddlebag.

There was a guy in the room next to us that was riding a BMW F800GS. I talked to him for a bit, he was headed home after attending a rally. After unloading and settling in, we walked across the street to grab a burger at Stewart’s 58 Drive-In.

They had a ton of options, along with about 25 different shake flavors. When I saw one come out, I knew I had to have one. We ordered our food to-go and took it back to eat in the room so we could watch the UFC fights.


We stuffed ourselves stayed put for the rest of the night.
Sep 4, 2009
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RE this latest round of photos: Wow! Just wow!

Loved the story of the CHL. Once when we were camping in the Medicine Bow Mountains, a whacky lady walked into our campsite, introduced herself as a spirit medium, and explained that she was here to do something or other with some really gnarly crystals to "free" her boyfriend. She explained that he had been emotionally damaged as a kid when he was travelling in the desert with his parents, and came upon a busload of Indians killed in a crash. I'm pretty sure she was describing a scene from the Doors movie. :loco: Anyway, she wanted us to help her draw a "psychic map" to the place in the forest where she planned to do her incantation thing. My 11 y/o daughter was so freaked that she went & hid in the outhouse until the nutty lady left.

Clearly seagulls are not patriotic.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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What an excellent trip report. Thanks!
Thanks for following along! ;-)

RE this latest round of photos: Wow! Just wow!

Loved the story of the CHL. Once when we were camping in the Medicine Bow Mountains, a whacky lady walked into our campsite, introduced herself as a spirit medium, and explained that she was here to do something or other with some really gnarly crystals to "free" her boyfriend. She explained that he had been emotionally damaged as a kid when he was travelling in the desert with his parents, and came upon a busload of Indians killed in a crash. I'm pretty sure she was describing a scene from the Doors movie. :loco: Anyway, she wanted us to help her draw a "psychic map" to the place in the forest where she planned to do her incantation thing. My 11 y/o daughter was so freaked that she went & hid in the outhouse until the nutty lady left.

Clearly seagulls are not patriotic.
I was a little worried the CHL was going to get physical, but then again, he was so small, either one of us should have been able to easily overpower him. But, you never know the strength of someone small and scrappy like that. :mrgreen:

Funny story about the wacky lady! :eek2: :brainsnap :help:

And :rofl: about your seagull comment!
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 8 – 6/26/2017 – Oakridge, OR to Lakeview, OR – 290 Miles

Oakridge, OR to Lakeview, OR – 290 Miles – MAP LINK

We woke up, got ready and headed to our continental breakfast. While we were eating, the guy riding the Beemer came in to eat and we talked to him for a bit. He would be heading to Crater Lake NP today as well, but he’d be taking several dirt roads. He actually lives just southwest of there, so he was almost home. Right when we were about to head back to our room, the guy in the wheelchair showed up. He was definitely a chatty Charlie, but it was time for us to get going so we left him talking to the Beemer guy. I’m not sure how long it took him to get out of there. The light was shining right on his bike when we got back, so I took a few pictures of it.


We took off and headed southeast on OR 58. It was cool out, especially as we climbed more in elevation leaving town. The road was wide and curvy, very enjoyable. I had to get creative on the edits below because of the difference between the highlights and shadows.




At US 97 we headed south and stopped for gas in Chemult.

From there we rode down and took OR 138 to Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway and rode up to the north entrance station of Crater Lake National Park. There was no one at the station and it was all closed up, so we just rode on. We started climbing and seeing a bit of snow. The higher we rode, the more we were surrounded by snow. The plan was to ride the full loop around the lake. We passed the first couple of overlooks, just getting glimpses of the incredible blue water as we rode by. Then we hit the construction zone, which started at the Watchman Overlook and went for maybe 2 miles. The road was tore up and dirt that whole way. We had to sit and wait for the pilot car for about 15 minutes.


The construction ended around Discovery Point and after we got back on pavement we stopped at the next overlook.




(Click for larger pano size)


We continued on and stopped at the Steel Visitor Center. We went in for stickers and magnets and purchased plenty of them. While in there, I confirmed my fears with a ranger, the road around the east side of the lake was closed still. Bummer! 200 Foot down the road was where we were supposed to turn and ride the east side of the lake. But, as you can see, we were snowed out.

We could have cut the route very short, but decided to ride everything we planned on except for the remainder of the Rim Dr. This meant turning around here and heading back out to OR 138. We passed it the first time, but on the way back out we stopped at the Rim Village Visitor Center area, which was crowded, but also had great views of the lake.








(Click for larger pano size)

Getting back out of there, we headed back north and got to sit and wait for the pilot car at the construction zone again.




I knew we had passed an area on the way down where the snow was piled high on the side of the road and I told dad I wanted to stop there for some pictures. After getting through the construction we found the spot.





Our final lake view stop was at Merriam Point. I don’t apologize for the amount of photos, this place is absolutely breathtaking and I couldn’t narrow my favorite pictures down any further.




(Click for larger pano size)










Almost back out of the park, we stopped one last time to take a break at a spot I saw coming in.







After a lengthy break, we rode out of the park and took a left on OR 230. Our next stop was at a spot right passed where I saw a glimpse of some falls. It was on the Rogue River and we walked down the little path to have a look at the falls.




We continued south and then turned left on OR 62/Crater Lake Hwy. Somewhere along there we stopped and had a look at, what I guess you could consider, a canyon.



I couldn’t believe there was actually still snow here! It wasn’t exactly cool.

We finally moved away from the Crater Lake area and then took OR 422 to OR 858 to OR 140. Right after turning on OR 140 we were trying to figure out if the smoke we were seeing in the distance was from a wildfire or not and a bald eagle swooped down right beside the road and then flew off into the field and landed on a power line pole. I pulled over to watch it and see if it would take off and come back our way or not. When it finally did take off, it flew the other direction and then quickly looped around and soared up into the atmosphere. Once again, I really regretted not having my 200-500mm with me.




We rode on, and while we were not on empty, we ended up stopping for a little break and for gas in Bly. The lady in the store confirmed that the smoke was from a wildfire.

40 Miles later we arrived in Lakeview and found our hotel. It was under some renovations and half the parking lot was blocked off due to repaving. That wasn’t a problem. Our room ended up being next to a hallway that led to where they kept supplies for the renovation. Every time they would go through the door the suction through hallway would cause the door to slam shut. It took us a few minutes to figure out what was making all the noise. We ended up just propping the door open to keep from listening to it. We walked next door for dinner at El Aguila Real Mexican Restaurant. The food actually wasn’t half bad and the salsa was good!



We walked back and watched game 1 of the College World Series game, which we had been following as the tournament progressed. After that was over, we crashed out for the night.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 9 – 6/27/2017 – Lakeview, OR to Tooele, UT – 555 Miles

Lakeview, OR to Tooele, UT – 555 Miles – MAP LINK

We were up early with the normal routine… call from my wife and girls, wake up, pack stuff up, get continental breakfast, pack bikes, and take off. We rode up US 395 a couple miles then took a right on OR 140. There was a great curvy section all the way to Adel. There was a chill in the morning and we were heading right into the sun, so there was no pushing it. Not that I ever really push it any longer, I ride like I’m 95 these days. We stopped right at the end of the twisty section for some pictures.





Right after we took off from here we passed 2 groups of deer that were on the side of the road. Over the next 40 miles there were jack rabbits everywhere. I must have seen 100 of them and had close calls with 20. They’d cross the road right in front of me and stop on the side of the road, then dad would ride by and honk his horn and they would do all sorts of crazy things. They would bounce around like they were shot full of adrenaline. Somewhere along OR 140 we saw a coyote cross the road in front of us as well.

In Adel we saw a sign that warned us: “Next Services 99 miles.” I looked down and we already had 80 miles on this tank. We didn’t stop last night or this morning because we only had gone 40 miles since the fill-up in Bly. No problem though, 180 miles should be easily attainable. I kicked the speed down to 65-70mph just to make sure. Before crossing back into Nevada there we climbed up onto a plateau. Near the top we stopped and looked around, we could see for miles up there.





40 Miles into Nevada we came to a “T” in the road. We were at the 180 mile mark on this tank of gas. Ok, so where’s the gas station? We took a look around and there was some sort of store at the junction, but it looked like no one has set foot around there in 20 years. We were supposed to take a right here, but we could see a small town down the road on the left. We decided to head down there to see if maybe that’s where the gas was. 3 Miles later it took a few seconds to realize that the town of Denio didn’t have anything but a Post Office. We started checking our GPS units and it wasn’t looking good. It was looking like at least 45 miles to the nearest station, but it seemed to be on our route. We continued southeast on NV 140. I slowed it down to a crawl, averaging between 50-55mph. It was agonizingly slow! Leaving Denio, my gas gauge was already showing empty. As we were poking along, in the middle of nowhere there were two Nevada DOT workers messing with a sign. We pulled over and asked them about the nearest station. They said they were installing a tank back at the junction, but dad and I saw nothing of the sort. After that, they basically confirmed what our GPS units were telling us, we had about 30 miles left to go. Riding along we entertained ourselves with discussing what we were going to do when I ran out of gas. We made it to US 95 and turned south. The gas station was showing another 9 miles and my display had been flashing at me for a while now. We crested a hill and I could see the Chevron at the bottom, so I pulled in the clutch and coasted the last mile or so. We thanked the ladies inside for being there, and they said they hear that all the time.


Final tally for that tank of gas was 235.8 miles. I would have easily run out of gas if we would have run our normal pace the whole way.

We continued south on US 95 to I-80, where we turned east. Basically the rest of the day we would spend on I-80. We stopped for a fill-up at Elko.

And then again in Wendover, but I didn’t pull out the camera. From the station we could see the salt flats. A couple miles down I-80 from there we passed the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway. I wanted to pull over somewhere along there for a picture, but we were on the south side of the interstate and all the good spots were on the north side. I just kept rolling on. We exited off of I-80 and headed south on UT 138 to Grantsville. Out of there we took UT 112 into Tooele. We must have hit Tooele at rush hour because there were people everywhere. After checking into the hotel we headed to dinner. In my planning for the trip I had noticed Tooele had a brewery, Bonneville Brewery. I saw they had food, so that’s where I planned to eat for the night. I think there was an overpass that was put in since my GPS was made, so it took us a few extra turns to get there, but we made it.

I got dad to step out of his comfort zone, and guess what, he really enjoyed their light beer. I tried both their amber and their stout.


I had a personal pizza and dad had Cajun pasta with andouille sausage. It was the best food he had all trip.

We each bought a pint glass as a souvenir. When we were gearing up to take off, a guy riding a metric cruiser pulled into the parking lot with a female on the back. He revved his way through the parking lot as we watched on. Then, as he was backing into a parking space he continued to rev it. Dad was inspired and fired up his Connie. By this time, the guy had shut down his bike, but was still on it. Dad began to rev his bike, then the greatest thing happened. The metric cruiser guy started his bike back up and they revved back and forth, while I died laughing. I started my bike up, and as we headed out I revved mine like an idiot, hopefully showing the guy just how ridiculous he was being. I doubt it worked, but dad and I got a good laugh out of it. We filled up our bikes and headed back to the hotel where watched game 2 of the College World Series as Florida wrapped it up.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 10 – 6/28/2017 – Tooele, UT to Montrose, CO – 500 Miles

Tooele, UT to Montrose, CO – 500 Miles – MAP LINK

The Best Western in Tooele has your standard continental breakfast items, but they have the sweetest lady in there helping. I’d guess she’s in her 70s. When I walked in, she asked if I wanted an omelette. I was a bit caught off guard, but said sure. She went through all the ingredients they had and I said I’d take them all. I enjoyed our conversation as the omelette cooked and even as I ate, since it wasn’t busy in there. We packed up and got moving heading south on UT 36. We then turned on UT 73 to get around Flat Top Mountain and over to I-15. This would be a day of construction zones, and it started off first thing in the morning. It took us way too long just to get to I-15.

We ran south on I-15 to get to US 6 and head southeast. We stopped for a break just before getting to Tucker at the Tie Fork Rest Area. We’ve stopped here before and it’s a good spot to stretch the legs.


Moving on, there was a helicopter doing something just across the river from the road and I pulled over. We never did figure out what it was doing. This was just before entering the Price Canyon area.

We filled up in Price and then got caught in more construction before we got to I-70.


We blasted down I-70 trying to make some time back up on our day and crossed into Colorado. We exited in Grand Junction to get to US 50. Before leaving town we filled up.

Leaving Grand Junction we took US 50 and then turned on CO 141. The last time we rode 141 we got caught in a rain storm. I’ve wanted to ride it again sans rain. Today was the day, we just had a bit of wind to deal with. It’s a great twisty road with very little traffic. For the most part, we only saw several groups of BMW K 1600 GTs riding the opposite direction. A large portion of the road snakes along with the Dolores River. We made several stops along the road, the first being at the West Creek Picnic Area.






The second stop we made was in the red canyon area. I always enjoy scenery like this.








And it never fails, I always stop too early when I’m looking for a good spot. In this case, a couple corners down the road from the shots below there was a great area, but we had spent too much time here. Oh well.






After riding through Naturita, we turned onto CO 145. This road eventually mates with the San Miguel River and pleasantly curves along with it. We stopped along there for a short rest.




In Placerville we took CO 62 to cut over to US 550. We got caught in a couple of construction zones along here. The only positive was we were staring at beautiful mountains.

The remainder of the ride felt like slow motion. US 550 was congested from Ridgeway all the way up to Montrose. We turned east on US 50 and road a few miles down to our hotel. My research showed that the Super 8 in Montrose was a solid choice. After staying there I’d agree. When looking at where to eat here, prior to the trip, I noticed Horsefly Brewing Company was just down the road. After the good experience the previous night, it didn’t take dad any convincing to try this brewery out.

We sat in their back room and from there could hear the live music playing outside. This guy was awesome and we really enjoyed listening to him. I believe it was an open mic night, so several guys played after him. They were ok, but we could have listened to the first guy forever.


The absolute only negative thing about our experience at Horsefly Brewing Company was that they were out of their blonde, so dad had to get the pale ale. I tried a couple different brews, all of them were good to me. We started with some great stuffed jalapenos. They had a $1 taco special going on so dad tried every one they had. I tried their special for the night, which was a pulled pork burrito. The food was great! We took our time and hung out there for a while. Dad even bought a shirt!






It was an awesome end to the day. We headed back to the hotel, filling up before getting there, and then relaxed in the room the remainder of the night.
Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 11 – 6/29/2017 – Montrose, CO to Dumas, TX – 533 Miles

Montrose, CO to Dumas, TX – 533 Miles – MAP LINK

After over a week on the road we definitely get into a routine in the mornings. The only thing to throw that off was hoping in and out of time zones. After breakfast we started to load up the bikes. When we were almost done and ready to leave, the owner of the V-Strom 1k outside came out and struck up a conversation. She was from the mid-west and on a 3k mile solo ride. We swapped a few stories back and forth and then it was time to hit the road. We headed east on US 50 and the construction theme from yesterday carried over into the morning. We didn’t get too far before we were stopped by the first flagger of the day.

Don’t let the picture above fool you, dad wasn’t leading. He never leads on our rides. I probably wouldn’t know what to do with myself riding behind him or anyone for that matter. Maybe 15 miles up the road we hit the next flagger because the bridge that crosses Blue Mesa Reservoir was being worked on.

One of the roads I made sure to work into this year’s ride was CO 149. I’ve heard so much about this road in the past, but I’ve never been able to make it fit in the route. I can without a doubt say that we were missing out! What an absolute treat of a road! It really has everything you’d want in a perfect motorcycle road, but I’m most likely just preaching to the choir. The first stop we made was just south of Lake City.







From there we continued to climb and I saw a sign for an overlook and turned down it. The overlook was down the road 5A.


(Click for larger pano size)



The plan was to stop at the North Clear Creek Falls Observation Site. I even had it built into the route on the GPS. We must have been enjoying the road too much because we went right by it and I guess the GPS units recalculated. I was bummed about it, but it’s the perfect excuse to go back down CO 149. Looking at the map I see we stopped about 5 miles past the falls, oblivious that we were that close.






The traffic on CO 149 was really light, which made it even more enjoyable. We finally finished it off and continued to head east on US 160 out of South Fork. We stopped for gas there and noticed the immediate uptick in traffic around there.

When I went to push back my bike from there, while sitting on it, my right foot slipped and my shin smashed into my footpeg. Of course it hit right above my boot, so it was a direct shot. I was reminded of the incident all the way home, every time my shin would graze the footpeg. It left bump and a nice bruise on my leg for about a week. The ride from South Fork to where we exited US 160 was painfully boring. It didn’t help that we were constantly stuck behind cars with little opportunity to pass due to the traffic coming the opposite way. We turned south on CO 450 and headed down to La Veta. From there we took CO 12, our last bit of excitement, prior to reaching I-25. The only problem with CO 12 was it was pretty busy along there as well. There’s great scenery along there, and the road is nice, but the traffic ruined it for us. We stopped for a short break at North Lake.


We finished off CO 12 and in Trinidad we hopped on I-25 to head south. The fun was officially over! Of course there was construction as we climbed up towards Raton Pass. We crossed into New Mexico and exited onto US 87, stopping for gas there.

Taking off from there, my wife gave me a call a few miles down the road. I was talking to her for a few seconds when I got absolutely blasted by a wind gust. I literally thought it was headed for an off-road adventure, but thankfully that didn’t happen. The remainder of the ride was miserable. I had a hard time getting connected back to dad on the headsets. So we were riding in silence, it was late in the afternoon, the road was boring and the wind was throwing us around. My arms were killing me because I had a death grip on the bars. We crossed back into Texas and finished of the ride by getting to our hotel in Dumas. We walked next door and ate at the 287 Roadhouse. I feasted on the smothered chop steak.


After showering we basically went right to sleep in preparation for an early takeoff time in the morning to get home.
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Sep 11, 2006
Houston, TX
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Day 12 – 6/30/2017 – Dumas, TX to Houston, TX – 663 Miles

Dumas, TX to Houston, TX – 663 Miles – MAP LINK

And now for the part we dread, riding across Texas in the heat to get back home. We woke up early and got on the road as the sun was coming up. We rode down US 87 and then took loop 335 around Amarillo to get to I-40 and a few miles later US 287. We’ve done this route several times before and it never gets any more fun. It’s just a means to an end, and makes me feel better inside than trailering our bikes somewhere. Our first stop for gas was in Childress.


This year I had to invest in all new gear (other than boots) since my old stuff no longer fit. I went with an Olympia Airglide 5 jacket and Airglide 4 pants. For gloves I picked up some Alpinestars SMX-1 Air Gloves. These items are by far the best I’ve ever owned. I have no complaints for with any of these items and I feel like they will last for a long time. While I didn’t necessarily need a new helmet, my modular HJC was a little long in the tooth and I never really liked it. Over time it felt like it was just going to fall apart. I decided to give the Scorpion EXO-GT920 a try. It’s my favorite helmet I’ve ever owned. It’s the first one I’ve had with the internal sun visor, and for me it’s a game changer. No more tinted shields or sunglasses. When it’s hot out, I like to ride with my shield open and the internal sun visor makes that easy. The only complaint I have is that there is a bit of noise when the visor is shut and the top vent is opened. I’m very happy with my purchases, no regrets.

The next stop for gas was in Alvord. It was already getting steamy out so we filled up and then parked in the shade for a break.

The all-stars for this trip were the highway pegs. We just kept on wondering why we didn’t add these earlier. They are worth their weight in gold for trips like these. Having the extra position to put your legs in makes a HUGE difference in comfort at the end of the day. Dad was able to stretch his legs further on his, but I felt just fine with mine. Also, he never did take 5 minutes to remove the heat deflectors on the fairings, so he just dealt with the edge of them pushing against his legs. Here are some pictures showing the difference, the first ones being mine.




After riding through Rhome, mom called and said that I-35 traffic looked terrible. I wasn’t surprised at all and always dread that part of the route. She ended up routing us over to Business US 287 down to loop 820. We took the loop all the way around and exited back on US 287 on the southeast side of Fort Worth. With it being as hot as it was I would much rather deal with riding some extra miles in lieu of sitting in traffic. It worked perfectly. We took US 287 down to Ennis and then got on I-45 to head south. I wanted to make it all the way to the Buc-ee’s in Madisonville on that tank of gas, but it became clear that wasn’t going to be possible. We ended up stopping in Fairfield for a quick splash of gas and moved on down to Buc-ee’s where we stopped for a longer break. It was hot as heck there and the place was absolutely packed. All the shaded spots were taken so we had to park out in the sun. As the bikes baked, we stood on the side of the store in a sliver of shade. We normally would have stayed there longer, but it just wasn’t worth it this day. I went in and picked up some beef jerky for my wife. We slammed some drinks and headed home.

We took I-45 down to the Hardy Toll Road. As I say every time, it’s always an eye opener when we get back on I-45. For days we’ve been used to passing everyone, and all the sudden when we’re running our normal pace we’re the slow ones on the road. The predators become the prey. Even when we got on the Hardy Toll Road it was crowded. We finished off the ride and split off by my house. Another successful and amazing trip in the books filled with memories. The only blunder was the tip-over dad had in California. It was a shame we were snowed out of Lassen and half of Crater Lake, but if it wouldn’t have happened I don’t know what I would have done for a title to the report.

5,627.8 Miles for this year’s trip according to my odometer and my Connie now has over 61k.


Here are my GPS totals for the entire trip:



Thank you for following along!
Sep 4, 2009
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Great report, and obviously a great trip. I'm glad you finally made it to CO 149, one of my favorite byways anywhere. Sadly, 160 is way too crowded these days, especially once you get east of Alamosa. But CO 12? Whenever I've been up there, I've had the place to myself.

Glad you made it home safely. Thanks for taking us along.
Jul 17, 2014
Cedar Hill, TX
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Wow thank you for putting so much effort into this report. Best quality i've seen in a long time! Absolutely epic father/son trip!