Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday 6/4

This will be our final post.

We wake up around 8:15 after a good nights sleep. They serve a decent breakfast here, including eggs and sausage. We decide we’re going to try to leave early tomorrow and go all the way home in one day. About 580 miles – much longer than we’ve attempted in years. We spend the day sitting on the deck drinking Bitterroot Brewing beer that we bought the night before, playing games, putting pictures on the web and writing this. One of the employees here let us borrow her fan, which kept us reasonably cool on the deck. It’s just too nice here to sit inside and the fan made sitting on our personal deck perfect. The Mayflies came out in the late afternoon but are much fewer today than yesterday. It was a very relaxing day and we needed it!

 Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 6/3

We leave Hamilton MT around 11am and head back through Lolo pass to Orofino, ID. To stay at the Best Western we stayed at on the way over and really liked it. We got the same room with the river view and stayed 2 nights.

The ride is just gorgeous and the weather is perfect if not a bit warm. We take it easy and stop at several of the historic markers describing Lewis & Clark expedition events and observations. B decides to take some pictures and video, so we figure out ways to strap the video camera on his bike. There is some construction on Hwy 12, but the flaggers are very kind to us, allowing us to sneak ahead of the line. We arrive Orofino around 4pm – we’re back in standard time! We have dinner at the restaurant on premise and all is very good.

We happen to hit Mayfly season! They accosted us on the road – it seemed to be raining bugs! Big, wet, sloppy bugs. At the restaurant, we would have sat outside but these bugs were so thick it would have been hard to breathe. We looked them up on the web and learned that they don’t live very long and only swarm for about a week. This is the end of the week for them!

SKF: 305 miles, sighted 2 elk, 56.8mph, 48mpg, temps reached 90 but hovered around 80 most of the day. This was the only travel day this trip that we did not experience any moisture (except the Mayflies).

Tuesday 6/2

We left Idaho Falls around 10:45 at 56 degrees and headed to Hamilton MT. We thought we were going to go through the mountains, and we did, but with only about 3 curves – the rest was all straight! We went as fast as we could. The first part of the day was very wet, but it dried out as we headed north. We had a nice lunch in Salmon at a local burger joint. We arrived at the Best Western around 5:50. Bitterroot Brewing was just a block away. A very friendly place with really good beer. We sat outside drinking beer and playing cribbage while B smoked a cigar. This time he beat me. I guess it was his turn for a change!

SKF: 66.1mph, 47mpg, 305 fast miles. I guess we don’t get the good gas mileage when we go that fast!

Monday 6/1

Final breakfast included French toast, bacon and fruit.

Although we left Hansen House at 10:30, we didn’t actually leave the city until about 11:45. We stopped at Walgreens for some supplies and Best Buy for a new IPOD Nano. Since I will eventually inherit it, B bought it in purple!

The first part of the route we had planned was still closed due to snow, so we put on more freeway miles than we prefer. Actually, we prefer NO freeway miles! This shortened our planned 380 mile day to about 345 miles. It was great to be riding again even though there was hardly an corner to be had for about the first 200 miles.

It drizzled on us, then threatened to rain, then we got some showers, then an actual down-pour. It was so wet, my microphone shorted out. I could hear B, but he couldn’t hear me. Thankfully we have good rain gear. We arrived the Best Western in Idaho Falls about 7:15. We were thrilled to see the Brownstone brew pub just down the block in walking distance and had dinner. Pretty good stuff – but I ordered way too much food.

We saw lots more BFHs, many of them were log homes. Log homes are a big deal in this part of the country. A lot of them faced the freeway or highway – I don’t really understand that when they could be facing beautiful mountains and rivers! We’ve seen lots of beautiful scenery, but this day was too much straight and wet roads. We were in high elevations, mostly in the mile+ category and as high as 7,000’. SKF: 56.6 mph, 51.1mpg, 348 miles.

Sunday 5/31

Breakfast with a different couple included strawberry waffles again, more fresh fruit and ham. Fran is a good cook!

We get to the track by 10:20, but not soon enough to check in and get to our seats before the first set of regional races began. In addition to the World Superbike races, there were World Supersport and regional races. Ben Spies broke the track record lap time and set the highest speed record at 203 mph. It was all fun to watch.

We did some shopping between races. Vendors set up in the “mid-way”, and it is fun to cruise the various displays. B got some new custom ear plugs, a t-shirt and a hat. He got the hat autographed by stunt rider Christian Pfeiffer and racer Larry Pegram.

Since we are leaving in the morning, we got some more laundry done and had McDonalds for dinner.

Saturday 5/30

Breakfast was with another couple at the B&B and included homemade donuts, fruit, French Toast and a breakfast casserole made with eggs, cheeses and more. This was our favorite breakfast!

We started the day with the parade lap. It was really fun, even though we only went 45mph! We sat in our ticketed seats this time and they were really good seats. The Christian Motorcycle Association was there doing a volunteer gear check-in. While there we got our bikes blessed. It’s really a nice thing they do to reach out to bikers!

Saturday was qualifying day for the racers. We got to see a new world record. The crowd favorite, Ben Spies, won his seventh consecutive pole in an event called Superpole.

We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Neither of us had been, and it was really good. Why don’t we have one of these restaurants in Oregon? We shopped in their store and I found Teaberry gum. Brian found Moon Pies! Very fun!

Friday 5/29

Breakfast is blueberry pancakes, ham and fried eggs. Very tasty!

Off to the race track! It’s about 45 miles away, all freeway, mostly 75mph and some 65mph. I’m on new tires, so glad the roads aren’t too challenging. Need the first 100 miles or so to break them in!

Since its Friday, and just the preliminary stuff, there weren’t many people at the track. We sat in the wrong grandstands. No one asked for tickets or anything. We ate a packed lunch of summer sausage and cheese and crackers. Totally satisfactory.

I signed up for a ride! Called a “2-up” ride, for $75 ex-professional racers take you around the track with you on the back. These happened to be the instructors at the super bike school we took a couple years ago – Nick Ienatsch and Ken Hill. They cleverly orchestrated a race, with passing on the inside and outside at serious speeds well over 100mph. It’s amazing to me that people don’t fall off – it’s hard to hang on to the Yamaha R1 without disrupting the pilot! I got two laps and was just thrilled!

Brian doesn’t like the 2 up rides – he prefers to be in control of the bike he is on! I’m glad, because then he was able to get us out of a little predicament. We locked our gear onto our bikes using cable locks. The helmets were attached to B’s handle bar with a short gun safety cable lock – perfect size for this task! Unfortunately, we lost the key. So he borrowed some dikes from the Ducati folks to cut through the cable and release the helmets. Fortunately, the 2-up rides come complete with all the gear, including Aria helmets and Alpinestar leathers. This ride was one of the great highlights of this vacation for me!

Thursday, May 28

Breakfast at 8:30 is waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and a boiled egg. Ham was thrown in for protein. Very tasty!

We got my bike to the shop for new tires. Brian talked to one of the owners, who suggested mixing brands. I wasn’t keen on that idea – everything I’ve ever heard warns against doing that. So I talked to the shop manager, who looked at my tires and told me “You don’t ride like a girl”, meaning that I ride fairly aggressively and use up the sides of my tires. A high compliment. He suggested a set of Avon Storm tires, so that’s what they put on for me. We also got a new battery for B, which helped with the overheating problem. We installed the battery all by ourselves! Since the tire fitting was not a scheduled appointment (they take great care to fit travelers into their schedule) Ron let us borrow his pickup truck so we could go get the track and run some errands while they worked on my bike.

We had to go to the race track to get a tire that we had arranged to have shipped there because we knew that my rear tire would expire sometime around our arrival in Salt Lake City. Our intent was to have the tire installed by a vendor at the track, however, upon further investigation during the trip we determined that the tire was not lasting as long as we hoped… these were Continental Sportec M3’s for those who care. For a big, major race track with a huge international race starting the next day, they were very friendly and accommodating. We got to go up to the Media center to meet with Jen (Brian’s contact at the track), who had allowed us to have the tire shipped to her. We took our time and just sort of inhaled the atmosphere. We were in a very restricted area and we were loving it.

We got the tire and headed back to the city. We stopped at a post office and mailed it to my sister.

While at the track we signed up for a parade lap on Saturday – a chance to ride slowly round the track, just to see what it’s like. When we took the super bike school a couple of years ago, it was at this track, but we only used the west side. Besides, it’s just fun to experience the track the racers race on!

“Bike Bash” is the event that starts the racing festivities. It was held at the arena where the Utah Jazz play and featured stunt rider Christian Pfeiffer and some free-style moto-cross riders. B got his helmet autographed by Jake Zemke, a favorite racer. B’s helmet is a Zemke replica! We also saw Max Biaggi, Nori Haga, Jamie Hacking, Troy Corser and others.

All the fun stuff was outside, with some band we’d never heard of playing inside (Hoobastank). When we left, we rode around the Morman Tabernacle, just to see it. Then we got some laundry done, and the grocery shopping accomplished, and called it a day!

Wednesday 5/27

I’ve decided to stay in PST to keep myself from getting too confused! We woke up around 7am and were ready to ride about 9:45. No matter what, it takes us 2 ½ to 3 hours to get up, eat breakfast, pack, load and go. But we’re getting more efficient every day!

Brian called and found a replacement wire at a shop about 2 miles away from where we are staying for the next few nights. God continues to watch over our every step – or wheel turn, as the case may be! The shop is called Motorcycle Repair & Rendezvous – or Motorcycle R&R for short. A small shop with BMW expertise and nice people who own and operate it. We’ll be back for new tires for my bike tomorrow, since I found I need a new set of tires, not just the back that we planned for.

Our route took us around the west side of Bear Lake. Lots of little resort towns and fancy houses. We saw an amazing number of Big Fancy Houses hereafter referred to as BFH.

Started the day @ 65 degrees and about 4200’ altitude and arrived at the motorcycle shop around 5pm and it was too warm. B’s bike started to overhead – not a good thing, so they put some coolant in for him and we got that cable for the communicators. It’s so much nicer to be able to talk. It’s safer too, since we can warn each other of impending dangers or radical lane changes and stuff.

We arrived at the Hansen House B&B in Sandy, UT around 6pm, hot and tired. Fran & Ed are our hosts, a bit elderly – Fran a little scattered and Ed recovering from a stroke. Fran tells us that everything we need is right on State Street. We actually never found anything we needed on State Street, but the GPS to guided us to grocery stores, a post office, a cigar shop, a laundry mat, a liquor store (strange liquor laws in Utah… more on that in a sec) and everything else we needed.

We decide to go find some groceries, beer and wine. We found a Super Target that has a grocery store in it, so we go there and wander around looking for beer and wine, the top priority for the grocery shopping event. We can’t find anything. We ask the kid who works there. He’s not sure, but thinks beer might be on the beer isle. So, you know, we just had to ask – where is the beer isle? The beer there is basically Bud Light and Coors, not any where near good enough for beer snobs, and no wine at all. Oh yea, this is Utah. The Morman Morality state. All beer is 3.2% unless you visit a State run liquor store. So we skip the beer and wine and ask about getting a sandwich made at the deli, but they don’t make sandwiches there – just pre-packaged. They have a lunch counter, so we go there, and they advertise sandwiches, but they don’t actually have any. I was ready to explode, so I started singing the Clash song, “I’m all lost in the Super Market. I can no longer shop happily!...” We left and went to Fuddruckers for dinner. Fed, we were able to think more clearly and found a state run liquor store where they sell real beer and wine. Screw it, we’ll find groceries tomorrow!

Our room at the B&B was actually a guest house with a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms (one with a Jacuzzi tub) and a loft. Once we determined that THE air conditioner was upstairs in the loft, and that the bed in the master bedroom downstairs was way too soft, we decided to put the two twin size mattresses in the loft on the floor and pull them together with the king sized sheets. Ah! Firm bedding with cold air! And a good night sleep.

SKF: high elevation of 9,000+ feet todaty, low temp 55, hi temp 82 – mostly around 68; saw 72 bikes, 8 brown heron-like birds; 1 Great Blue heron; 8 egrets, lots of snow. We got sprinkled on, but avoided heavy down-pour all around us. 51.1 MPG, 49MPH, 302 miles.

Tuesday, 5/26

Dana here again! My second blog entry! Neither of us have felt like writing an update the past couple of nights, so I’m taking the opportunity while doing laundry this morning.

We woke up at 6am due to an errant alarm clock, made even worse because we were in a new time zone – so it was really 5am. Good grief! We took the morning hours to re-plot our route in order to avoid lengthy freeway miles. We also downloaded Vinnie Moore’s (a favorite rock guitarist) new CD – that took much longer than anticipated but Brian HAD to have it.

Our lodging is a bed & breakfast that is a very nice log home made from fire salvage logs. It faces the Bitterroot Mountains and the view is breathtaking. Breakfast at 8am was very good – fresh fruit, waffles, eggs, bacon, OJ, yum! We were finally ready to go at about 10:30. We were parked on the gravel drive, and as I rolled off the center stand, I dropped my bike. Danged thing is HEAVY – especially with all the bags of stuff loaded on it! No real harm done, just a couple of scratches on the right side. We just picked it up, and hit the road!

We stopped at Stanley for gas and lunch. What a beautiful ride! Brian saw 3 big horn sheep, but I missed them. I looked in earnest, but only saw big horn rocks!

A couple of hours later, we stopped again for gas. (Note: we stop for gas more often then necessary because I have to pee!) As I was leaving the building, a guy that seemed to be drunk stopped me and demanded, “What the hell are you? Some sort of racer or somethin’?” I said, “Yeah, somethin’” and kept walking. He just followed me, yammering about how he was a champion racer or some such nonsense. Brian took over so I wouldn’t have to kill the guy. He finally drove off after displaying his scars and telling Brian “You have now idea how bad-ass I am” and how he had promised his momma that he would never ride a street machine. Whatever.

So we climbed on and went to take off and then Brian was rolling across the gas station. His clutch had engaged when he didn’t expect it to! We were smarter this time and took the heaviest of the luggage off before attempting to pick the bike up. Dang those things are heavy! Again, only a couple of scratches and injured pride. The biggest problem was the Autocom (communication system) wire got pulled apart, so we had to resort to old fashioned hand signals to communicate until we could replace the wire. More on that later.

We arrived in Blackfoot, Idaho around 6pm in good spirits after 326.4 miles. We saw a paltry 27 bikes, 2 deer, 3 big horn sheep, and a nutria or something. We got an astounding 51.1 mpg, got up to about 8700’ altitude, with temperatures ranging 58 to 79 degrees. Very comfortable! This Best Western wasn’t the best, but we sat out back in the shade looking at a little park & lake drinking beer and wine and eating cheese and crackers. What a great way to end the day!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We are at a Cracker Barrel

Our first visit to one.
<+40.69916367, -111.95016860> +/- 47.42m (speed 0.00 mps / course 0.00) @ 2009-05-30 18:52:14 -0600

Friday, May 29, 2009

We are at the track

<+40.58389305, -112.37292765> +/- 47.42m (speed 0.00 mps / course 0.00) @ 2009-05-29 11:45:10 -0600

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Randolph, UT
<+41.66320323, -111.18468760> +/- 17.07m (speed 0.00 mps / course 252.00) @ 2009-05-27 14:31:12 -0600

Blackfoot, ID. Best Western

Our mascot, admiring itself.

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Arrived in Blackfoot

<+43.19617152, -112.36213445> +/- 76.36m (speed 0.00 mps / course 0.00) @ 2009-05-26 18:15:59 -0600


<+44.21693443, -114.93220567> +/- 17.07m (speed 0.00 mps / course 0.00) @ 2009-05-26 13:07:02 -0600

Lunchtime in Stanley, ID (Sawtooth Mtns)

Posted by ShoZu

Our mascot

Espresso. Overlooking the Bitteroot Mountains

Posted by ShoZu

Monday, May 25, 2009

Labor Day

Forgot to mention that we saw 77 bikes yesterday and traveled 251 miles. Today we saw 109 bikes. That’s probably because we were on one of the most sought after roads in America, the Lolo Pass (Hwy 12) in Idaho.

We awoke around 7:30 to clear skies and temps in the low 60’s. The hotel had a nice little continental’ish breakfast. Scramble eggs, sausage, imitation bagels… We are used to “real” bagels. Next time we’ll stick with the toast. All in all it was pretty good for “free”.

The Best Western in Orofino is simply awesome. Check out the photos. The hotel is right on the Clearwater River. The snow is melting and there have been several inches of rain so the water is high. Every few minutes we saw large logs and other debris floating by at quite a clip.
View from our room:

View from Hwy 12:

We departed at 11:00 and it was already 77 degrees. We hit Hwy 12 (East) and the scenery and weather was glorious. There were a ton of whitewater rafters on the Lochsa River. We stopped at Lochsa Falls and shot some photos and a video. There was a professional photographer there too. Check out some of these photos:
Class IV rapids: Lochsa Falls

We stopped for lunch in Missoula, MT. and as we looked South the skies were not looking good so we put on the rain gear to ward off the precipitation. It almost worked.

Near Huggy Bear Ln. just North of Victor, MT we had a nice chat with a Deputy Sheriff. The speed limits in Montana can be confusing. Brian honestly thought that the speed limit was 70 so we were doing 75. We came upon a white Suburban and from about 100 yards away recognized the “SHERIFF DIAL 911” sticker on the tailgate so slowed to 70… that speed brought us even closer so, like a good driver, he pulled to off to let us by… or not.

Once pulled over he turned on the overheads. We stopped. As he approached we already had our helmets off and were getting off the bikes. He asked us to remain on the bikes with the kickstands up. Hmm… that seemed like a pretty safe way to approach biker scum. It would be hard to assume an offensive position as a rider in that position.

The nice deputy said “the reason I stopped you was because I was doing the speed limit of 65 and you two came upon me pretty quick”. Brian said “I thought that the limit was 70”. He took our licenses, ran us, then came back to visit. He said “your paperwork came back clean… I just stopped you to tell you that the speed limit here is 65… sorry that I had to stop you”. Then he asked “Where are from?” and realized that he already knew. He just wanted to know a little about our trip. He must have said “I’m sorry I had to stop you” at least three times.

Anyway, as we approached the 7,264 foot summit of the Bitteroot Mountains (Chief Joseph Pass) it began to rain. Not much, just a “shower”.

The ride down the other side turned dry pretty quickly and we coasted into Salmon around 6:00 (or 7:00 as they say in this time zone). We fueled the bikes, grabbed a bottle of Idaho wine and were in our room at the Syringa Lodge by 6:30.
Here is a view from our room:

Tomorrow it’s off to Twin Falls, ID. The weather guessers are promising lots of sunshine.

Today’s SKF:
Temps: 55 – 88.
Average MPG: 48
Average speed: 58
Total miles: 311.9 miles
Wildlife spotted: 1 bald eagle, three elk and two deer.
Log Home Manufacturers: too many too mention. Sheesh.

Montana Deputy chat

<+46.44521712, -114.13507460> +/- 9.11m (speed 0.00 mps / course 0.00) @ 2009-05-25 17:07:30 -0600

Monday 4pm. Lunch stop

Lunch time
<+46.83404087, -114.04832123> +/- 76.36m (speed 0.00 mps / course 0.00) @ 2009-05-25 16:08:47 -0600

Making espresso by the river

Posted by ShoZu