Saturday, June 30, 8:00 pm
Well, it’s here. Time to get going to des Moines, Iowa.
Tomorrow, very early ( 5:00 am or so), we are heading north to Roseburg Oregon, some 475 miles from here.
Yep, somewhat ambitious on our first day, but very doable. It’s really not that bad. We will take highway 5 all the way.
Chris just asked… “do they care?” – I replayed, “yes, some do, but I am certain many would like to come along”. Easier said than done… obligations get in the way.
At this minute we are watching the SF Giants give a shellacking to Arizona (4 to zip, top of the third, with SF with man in 1st and 3rd)… OUCH!!
I will not watch the entire game… bed time for this guy soon.
SURPRISE – I will add the link to our location every time I send you all a memo, but save the link… you can use it any time – all the time, it updates every five minutes when we are on the road,
FOR THIS TRIP
PS: THIS LINK opens a TRACKER-MAP
On MAP PAGE follow the instructions on the NOTE below… and “UPDATE MAP”
TO USE THE MAP… NOTE:
look for MENU (upper left – IOWA)
History: (ALL) AND %
Sunday, July 1st, 4:10 am
Done with sleeping. I am way too wired. Want to hit the road, be on my way… actually, I just want to ride!
In the room next door I hear Chris. He is performing some serious snoring. It looks like the 5:00 am intended hour of departure is in peril. I will try to be quiet… but only “try”.
But no, I misjudge good ole Chris. 5:00 am sharp, he is making coffee and we will be outa-here.
Nothing more precious than being on the highway as night turns to morning. Heading East, the sun rises on my eyes. Chris, who is leading, is a mere shadow in the light. There are hardly any cars… the freeway is ours.
Town of Winters. Off highway 505, just short of highway 5. At the Putah Creek Cafe, I warn you… ask for breakfast and you will receive food for a week! Mist-all-Crity, the omelette was so enormous the entire club could have been fed from just one order. I guess, that’s country living.
Somewhere 60 miles short of Redding. The country this time is Gold, dry with 90° temperature. Hot? Not really, we’ve had a head wind all along making it a little better. The Central Valley can be described by one word… BORING!
Later, past Shasta, near Leeds. I was down to 45 miles left on the tank… I was not happy and Chris wanted to go to the next town… taking chances. I don’t take chances, why? What for? Just get the gas and be safe! “Oh, no.” Goes Chris. “Gas is just down the road a little”.
Oh, surprise! The transportation Dpt of CA decided to close the left lane and two miles further closed the right lane. Smart very smart to compress the lanes into one… IDIOTS! Bumper to bumper 10 miles, and what was so important? Painting the lane! Real good, and today Sunday… there is no one working at painting the road, they will start again on Monday, when there is a lot more traffic and people to inconvenience. But, am I complaining? Not at all! I like my highly (in)efficient government. Love it!
We got to the gas station all right… barely!
Back on the road. We are cranking miles efficiently. One stop by a river where Chris dipped a vest in the water… a cooling vest, he calls it. To me it is a wet vest. But he claims it works wonders.
We made a detour onto the old highway. Found an old time diner Tommy All American Burger… very quaint.
We are twenty some miles to our destination. I’m glad of that, my butt and the motorcycle are arguing way too much.
Monday, July 2, 6:00 am
Up at 4:50 am – way too early to travel. It is still dark and I do not favor riding at night.
Surprisingly, Chris is awake. We packed the bikes and went about riding, now to find a place to eat and get some gas.
It is cold. It is 50°, with a cloud cover as far north and east as you can see. Layer up, travel toasty warm.
Breakfast at my country club, McDonald’s. Large coffee… ahhh, small pleasures in life. I am warm inside and ready to hit the road.
We went North on highway 5. Eugene, Springfield. Switched To highway 126 heading East on our way to the town The Three Sisters (three mountain peaks) in the Cascade Mountain Range.
Highway 126 is a bit of a special treat. Tree lined, great pavement. Many 40/mph turns that you can take at 60…. whooohoo! It does not get better than this!
By 8:00 am the temperature has barely risen 2° to 52. I am okay, but all day like this… no fun.
So at first opportunity we went to the he “local country club” for another coffee and warm up.
Next stop the town of Prineville, overlooking the golf course… had to take ma’piture, as they would say down home.
By chance we took highway 207, a fairly remote highway. There is nothing here! Ahh, but that is the beauty to this highway. You truly feel the old US traveling remote areas.
2:00 pm. Off highway 207 is the connecting highway 19 on the way to Condon, our final destination today. On this road is The town of Fossil where Chris and Harvey (we stayed at his house yesterday) visited years ago. Small community where not much happens, but has plenty of character. The courthouse is truly a relic (reminding me of the Auburn CA courthouse). Fossil brought many memories to Chris, I guess he felt right at home. We visited the Fossil Museum… here, I almost lost Chris. Phew, that was a close call.
We are staying at the Condon Hotel. Not bad. Not good. But since it is the only place… it is excellent!!
Done for the day… more maybe mañana
Tuesday, July 3, Sandpoint Idaho
Last night we checked tires and oil. We are in great shape. Starting at Condon, Oregon, somewhere eastern Oregon we are aiming for Coeur d’Alene, ID. Three hundred miles north-east.
Today on the way to Coeur d’Alene, ID it will be cold. The weatherman claims the best will be 60° F. And no higher. But at this minute it is a cozy 34°
Breakfast proved to be elusive, the town of Condon does not function until after 8:00 am. We decided on the next town of Heppner, 43 miles away. Breakfast remained hard to get.
In Heppner All was closed until 7:00 am when the florist shop will open… geranium for breakfast! It will work for me. They also serve other things, so the girl said, but we must wait another ten minutes to find out what it is they serve.
Coffee, that’s all they had. A temporary solution. Breakfast will have to wait until further down the road.
We continued on highway 207. The fields golden as far as the eye could see. Wheat. The towns still yielded no breakfast.
9:00 am. I have no idea where we are… but there is a McDonald’s in front of me. Good enough! After eating we felt better.
The rest of the day is without much happening, we decided to go thru Coeur De Laine, Idaho and cruise to Sandpoint Idaho some 40 miles north, just the other side of the lake.
The skies have been threatening for some time. “Alberto, you think it will rain?” I thought about it and concluded it might, but we are 10 miles from Sandpoint. “No Chris, I think we are fine”. 8 miles to go and it is coming down, not hard, but we will get wet. “Chris, gotta get my rain gear”. So we stopped. I slap on the gear. And Chris is looking for his gear, and, looking and looking…
Finally we get going. Chris dies not have a rain jacket on. Hmmm, maybe is too far down the dry-bag and he does not want to dig it out.
We find a motel, a Quality Inn, not very “quality”, but it will do, After all it is the Fourth of July. It is busy. Chris is ready to kill… $160 plus tax ? Hell! For that kind of money we can find housing for a week!
Chris announces, “Alberto, I just can’t find the rain gear, you know what? I think it is sitting on my bed at home in California”.
Not good. It is a for sure thing that we will get more than one sprinkling… Chris will have to buy rain gear,no getting around that one. Now, you have to know Chris, thrifty, he ain’t spending unless… this is one unless!
Being a little wet myself, had to take a hot shower. Not bad, except… the water kept changing temperature in the middle of the shower from cold ( brrrr) to piping hot (ouch! And ouch again!). Did I enjoy the shower… nope! Short cold/hot… screw it!!
Now, looking for dinner.
Havre, Montana. July 4th, 5:37 pm
First of all HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
We started from Sandpoint Idaho by 5:15 am. Not interested in their restaurant, I said yesterday the Quality Inn was short on quality… the restaurant should follow suit. Not doing that twice.
It was a cozy 34°F. Due everywhere hovering ten feet off the ground. It looked pretty.
On highway (95/2), very alert and astute… I said “Chris, make a right in a half mile “. Oh really? And he proceeds right thru the mandated turn placing us on the way to Canada.
Three miles later, “Alberto, this does not look right”. No kidding Sherlock! “I told you to turn right a few miles back, where the restaurant was.”. We made a U turn and headed back. I was focused on the restaurant.
The restaurant. Let me tell you, Idaho farmers are a rough looking lot. Scraggly beards, rough hands with bruised knuckles. overalls with tools galore. They were a scary, rough lot… but very friendly!
Out of the restaurant, stayed on highway 2 on the way to Glacier National Park. At first, the traffic was doing 20 MPH… i was fit to be tied! One by one the traffic dissipated taking side roads until Chris and I were the only ones on the road…
On one of those cars going off the highway, an idiot, pressed the brakes in a hurry. No turning signal nor rear lights. We were safe riding, so no danger, but it annoyed Chris (having been a cop … well a cop forever!). Chris laid on the horn with sufficient anger to rattle the car driver’s attention. The lesson was never delivered… I am certain the driver of that car wondered, why is that idiot blaring his horn?
Highway 2 runs along the Kootenai River making it a winding road. 80… and 90 miles an hour was easy to do.
No danger of being surprised by cars or deer jumping in front of you.
Soon we arrived to Browning, Montana, which is an Indian reservation. Chris and i stopped at the “Towne Pump”, which is the gas station and a local store. While sipping some coffee, I am approached by a Blackfoot Indian who asked if I smoke. “Sorry, I don’t”. A few sentences later he asks for money to buy some food. “ Sorry, but I do not give money to anyone, however, if you are hungry, let’s go inside and I’ll buy you something to eat”. So we went in. While he is selecting something eat, the store manager comes to us and directs to me… “is this man asking you for food or money?”. Yes, I replied. He tells me, “you have a good heart, but please we do not allow this sort of thing with the tourists passing by”. And tells the Indian to please go out. No fuss, no muss. The Indian said thank you to me and without argument left the establishment. It seems he’d been thru this before. He crossed the street and sat in the tall grass along with four or six other Indians drinking beer or something stronger.
From Browning we made a straight run for Havre, in the middle of Montana. Off the highway for 140 miles we must have seen at least a dozen 100-car trains. Gee-willakers, commerce is alive and well in these areas. It was impressive, and I was glad to see so much activity, even on this 4th of July holiday.
Havre, Montana (pronounced “haber”). A modest community. Chris had been here before and directed us to a fine motel. 1/3 the price of the stupid Quality Inn, with a superior and attentive hotelier. Great place.
We were recommended BJ’s restaurant. There is only one reason to mention this place. Yea, yea. The food was great, but the waitress… I kid you not, she should run for Ms Montana 2018. What a charming and beautiful girl. Ok, ok. I was very well behaved… just appreciative and Chris concurred.
Back to the hotel… write this tale, and call it quits for the day after 436 miles.
I have earned ma’rest.
Good night all
July 5, 2018 – Bemidgi Minnesota
We made a bee-line from Havre to Bemidgi. Truly, there is hardly anything in between. North Dakota is flat as a pancake with a lot of industry growing… All oil related (fracking). Truck and trains all loaded. The highway Patrol policing aggressively to evert collisions between private small-cars with a 18-wheeler – the outcome is never pretty.
We are looking to meet Don and Rene, A pair of Hippies from the sixties… now hippies in their fifties. Kid you not, these guys are a young at heart as you could ever find… and fun!
Thursday, July 6. Devils lake, North Dakota
Departing Havre Montana the ride was like going to work. You ride because you have to.
We decided to count the number of commercial trains. They are all the same. 18 trains each with over 100 cars. Four or five of these trains were automobile transports. So do the math: each car could carry ten automobiles … five hundred cars, you get 5,000 automobiles going someplace to be sold. That is a lot of commerce!
It is evident, Montana and North Dakota are cattle country. Beautiful expanses if grazing land. We did not see much wild life. Chris saw an antílope in the distance. And, on the road, I saw the carcass of a deer hit by a vehicle… yeach!
Gas is cheap. $2.90 per gallon.
There were large yellow/green fields with flax-seed flowers. That’s were you extract canola oil.
North Dakota. As soon as we crossed from Montana it was like entering the parking lot of a shopping center. Holly-cow!! The commercial activity is huge. Pickup trucks, Kenmore and Peterbuilt 18-wheelers and every kind of transport truck you can imagine. All busy, moving things.
Oil rigs pumping oil, gas lines with flames spewing into the air some fifty feet ( these must be quite a sight at night time). At the McDonald’s during lunch time the lines are young men in oil working clothes (rough material) and they come in teams – dressed in yellow, others in red, the Halliburton team, etc…
Beside the support infrastructure (waiters, cashiers, gas station attendant and the like) everybody is in one form or another a part of the oil industry.
Talking to some, they have come from everywhere in the US… for the jobs. All young, strong and eager to make money.
Driving is done with care obeying the posted speed limit and with good reason, there are highway patrol everywhere and they mean business. Only appropriate to discourage heavy trucks from collision with passenger cars. Not a match made in heaven… or maybe it is!!
As you traverse East the hustle and bustle diminishes only a little. You can see everywhere construction of housing, shopping centers. Like new cities sprouting everywhere. I remember years ago a motel would cost $40-60 dollars, today there is nothing under $79… plus tax! City, county, State, all wanting a piece of the pie. Not wasted money. Roads are being built to carry heavy trucks, evident by the steel re-bar placed under the concrete. These roads will last forever!
On a more personal note. At the restaurant, to our beautiful waitress, Chris tells her how beautiful she is, and asks “is your mother single?”. Without a hesitation she replies… “no, she is married, but my grandmother is!!”. Chris went back to his meal.
July 7, Bemidgi – Don and Rene
We arrived at Bemidgi sometime in the late morning… ahh, call it lunch-time (whatever time that was). Sure thing Don and Rene as happy as ever (someday they will grow up). While having breakfast/lunch with Don and Rene thay ask: “So, what’s the plan? Wanna go to Canada today in the afternoon?” Huh? I was not ready for that. To me Canada is another country… you just do not up-n-go! But these guys do just that. No point lolly-gagging, it’s a yes or it’s a no. Canada… here we come!
And like that, just after lunch, barely having arrived… we are on our way.
Canadian customs is eighty miles north of Bemidgi and we are heading to the Lake of the Woods, some ninety miles north of the border. Don and Rene own an island… yes, you read correctly. Wood of the Lake is this gigantic lake with over 14,000 islands, or is it 4,000 islands? Same thing! (looked it up… 14,000 plus islands) A lot of islands. The Canadian government opened these islands for public ownership some time in the past, and they sold all of the islands in ten minutes! Okay I exaggerate, but in geological terms, it was the equivalent of ten minutes.
Getting to the lake was easy. Pretty I may add. The highway is in great condition and you go through a lot of Indian Reservations land.. Mostly Chippewa (a part of the Anishinaabe Tribe – larger group)
Once there, hop on a motorboat and after a mile or so you are at Ethyl Island… Three acres of pines
Ethyl Island – lake of the Woods, Ontario Canada
Taking it easy, we had lunch and that evening relaxed at a deck by the water. Chris , Don and Rene after three bottles of wine were, to say the least… pickled?
A FISHING STORY
Despite pulling a late night yesterday, By 5:50 am I was up anyway.
Why? I had to remain quiet, everybody else was nursing a headache from drinking last night.
One by one they straggled in and by 9:00 am breakfast. All right! Oats, dry fruit something called “craisins”. A cranberry/raisin mix, not bad.
Don and Rene are preparing to go fishing. We are going after walleye fish. White meat, tender fish. Okay, I’ll go fishing, but, i wonder if they are expecting me to remove the fish from the hook… worse, clean it?! They’ve got something else coming from me! But I’ll eat the thing!
And we went fishing. “Oh, we have to go to xx point, that’s where the fish are”. A. Hour boating got us to xx. We have a depth finder, a fish. Locator and finder. The water temperature is close to perfection.
Great, ready to fish! 45 minutes later… an hour later… “it’s too windy for fishing”. Huh? Thought the fish to stay underwater! Wind?! What’s that got to do with fish? No matter, we moved.
Five minutes later… FISH ON THE LINE!
Don had hooked one. Help, help!! Alberto, i need help! Here you reel it in. I sacrificed my ego and helped the poor man. With great fanfare, we landed the 37 pounder.
Now, the real version of the events: don hooked the fish handed me the rod and Said: “cranked the handle”. End of story. … but I’ll tell you… IT WAS HUGE!! Bigger’n that!
Biggest one-pound-fish ever landed! I do not exaggerate… really!
Once at the island-cabin , bravely, I instructed Rene… “clean that fish!” Which almost earn me a knife on the chest. Either way, Rene is preparing the walleye fish. Don is offering a cold beer. I think I will again sacrifice.
I conclude this fishing story by letting you know that walleye… is a great fish to eat!
Minor note: Rene caught a second walleye. Which Chris was the surgeon general removing the hook without anesthesia, nerves of steel, I’ll tell you.. A credit to manliness.
We are going out for dinner to another friend’s house (Tom and Joy).
Sunday, July 8, 2018. Brainerd Minnesota
It is 8:30! pm, and I am beat!
It all started at 5:00 am this morning, making coffee and packing up. Today we leave the Ethel island in Lake of the Woods, heading from Canada to the US.
No matter, it is time to pack the boat and get out of this island.
We are concerned that the US border will be a nuisance. The border guards have been very strict. While they cannot keep you from returning home, they can make the experience uncomfortable with interviews, inspections and the like.
But first breakfast at a gold mine facility. No gold… just food. And off to the border.
At the border we were not harassed by the guard, but … what a sour puss of a guard. Very official, staccato questions… where are you going? where were you?, why? How many days? Gun? Drugs? Tobacco?
Holly crap! Enough already. Five minutes of questioning and we were on our way.
The wind has been blowing hard, last night a severe storm passed thru
northern Minnesota downing trees and damaging property.
Don and Rene have received notification that their home has a few trees down and some on top of the house. We are going to inspect the damage.
We managed to see the damaged house. You cannot get into the property, the quarter-mile long driveway has too many downed trees. We decided to walk around the fallen trees only to attacked by kamikaze mosquitoes who died in the attempt. We had to run to avoid getting chewed. Minnesota is mosquito and tic heaven. Don’t spray, keep the mosquito population high… you’ll get no immigrants from Canada!
An hour later, we are in Bemidgi, getting on our motorcycles and heading further south to Brainerd, Minnesota . We are meeting with Marvin (82), Buel (76) and riding to Des Moines Iowa. But first three days of relaxation and good food from Carol (Marvin’s wife).
As the day advanced so did a set of storms coming from the north. The wind picked up and the thunder rolled at fist far in the distance, now there was no mistaking it location… right above us!
The evening went by quickly. Be by 9:00 pm. Chris got a room. Buel had a room two days now… Alberto, out to the mobile home on the driveway. You’d think poor alberto. Take no pity on me… I slept like a baby, with thunder for a lullaby.
Just this morning I woke up wondering where I was. Raised my self from the bed and almost cracked my forehead on the ceiling… I remember now, the mobile home has almost no space between bunk and ceiling.
At this moment coffee awaits. Buel is another early riser and he has it ready despite it being 5:00 am.
Catch you all later!
July 10, 2018 Minnesota
The boys (?) The Three Stooges 2018 version, assembling a deer feeder. Not that sure if they know what they are doing… BUT entertaining! Imagine that, they want the deer to come and eat your yard!
and after a little bit of work… take a nap. Buel and Chris, WIPED OUT!
Alberto and Paul Bunyan, you decide for yourselves who is who is who … (in case you wonder I’m the handsome one).
Dinner at the Black Bear Diner a similar restaurant as the Black Bear Diner in Ca… figure that! Marvin 86 years old , or 88. Whatever! He will ride with us to Des Moines Iowa. (* Note I was corrected, Marvin is 82 and Chris is 75… I am 38 years old, running with a bunch of old-foggies)
Chris and the bear, The bear is the one with hair on his head.
Buel attempts to tow a trailer… yes, good luck! He is not that bright, but sure has enthusiasm and positive attitude.
We did some essentials shopping. A summer glove for alberto. Chris finally bought a Cannon camera at a pawn shop… yep, he bargained the price from $35 down to $25 and got a SD card thrown in. Also a pair of jeans.. NEW if you can believe that for $9.00. Yes, NINE bucks.
July 12, 2018
Boom! And a flash of light, again VRROOMBOOM!
Last night at 4:00 am a storm hit the area right above us. I am sleeping in a trailer parked outside the garage. As golf-ball-size hailstorm pelted the trailer.
This trailer resonated as the hail hit the roof. Did it wake me up? … Nah! I sleep like a baby. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!
It was bad. I have never heard such racket. It must have lasted the better part of an hour. After that, sleeping was questionable.
At 5:00 am, I was up and walked over to the house. Got to wake up the crew. We are heading south to Des Moines Iowa, in a couple hours, some three hundred plus miles south of here.
Yep. They were awake but not functioning. “Up and at’em, bums!” And with that there was no more wondering what we were going to do this morning.
Buel got the coffee going, Chris dragged his carcass out of bed, and Marvin cheered up.
By 6:30 am we were on the road, Carol waving from the door… “bye! Be careful “ And we left her behind.
First action, we have to get gas. Chris insists, “nah, we’ll get gas after an hour or so”. No Chris, Buel needs gas now! As Chris pases a gas station and then another. Hey, buddy! Didn’t you get it!? Gas! Chris almost had a mutiny on his hands. Marvin related a story when Chris said… “gas later”, and Marvin ran out of gas!
Buel and I suggested the McDonald’s for breakfast, just across the street. Marvin an Chris over-ruled us. We ended up at a restaurant next to it that offered a plate so enormous as to make it “worth your while”. Chris ate… we all watch him.
The road to Des Moines is incredibly boring! Flat. Straight. Hot. Very hot…100°F.
Along the way, our steamed leader got lost once, again and again. But fear not, he is our leader not without reason. In a roundabout way, he found his bearings and Altoona, Iowa ( next to Des Moines) was in front of us. Phew!
Motel 6. Next to the highway easy access. Still 100°F and getting worse.
July 13, 2018 Des Moines Iowa
The day started just fine… and proceeded to go down hill in a hurry. Read on.
You’d think that by now I have learned. There I was following Chris onto a parking spot. He is going around and around, here and there. Finally finds a spot… I am following. I make my approach. As I come to a stop and put my foot down, the ground is not there. The left foot is going lower and lower, and lower yet. Guess what, my foot is going into the drain gutter where there is no bottom… only one place to go: DOWN!
There I was among thousands of motorcycle riders, all running to my aid.
You see a 1200 RT is not a basic ten pound bike – all 650 pounds of bike are resting over my left leg. Oh, I got out alright, but not after it had caused me enough pain. I am lucky I did not get the leg broken between bike and gutter.
At first I was limping feeling a little pain, at second I was cursing every available profanity you can think of plus some extra of my own. Oh, yes I can be creative.
It is now two hours later. We are at the beer tent. My leg is hurting much less, I am not sure if it is because the leg has gotten better or my brain is no longer registering pain on account of the alcohol… I am inclined the beer has done its job proper. Thank you Dionisios.
Two hours later. Dionisios was on vacation. Alcohol wearing down. We went for lunch and a beer, an another beer. I have never drank this much beer in my life!! But, I feel so much better.
Marvin had the right idea yesterday, cover that shameless mug, you call yourself a motorcycle rider? Try again Alberto!
July 14, 2018 Des Moines IO
Excuse me, but I am union and I know my rights. I do not volunteer on my own. This is Chris’ idea… Security Volunteer.
Security … that is our moto
Yaaawn! We are at the clothing booth. We are security. Oh man! Let me yawn one more time.
Alberto DRESSED IN STYLE – It’s a problem: the women look at me! they laugh a little at the fashion, but I know better: eye candy!
Luckily we have only ten more minutes of duty left. This pain in the ass started at 9:00. It is noon…. I’m outa here!
Hotdog anyone?… try the Big-Dog.
A foot long, once you add onions, sourkraut, fried potatoes and the like, get yourself accommodations at Forest Lawns, cause you’d be with one foot in a coffin and the other on a banana peel! A heart-attack on the go… check this picture
Only the hotdog… now, add the goodies!
Today is the last day of the MOA Rally. Heading hack to Brainard to return Marvin Home.
Okay, here it goes; The Rally is a dumb idea. I get nothing from it. A lot of vendors with gizmos and gadgets all wanting to sell you… crap!
Okay, here it goes again; the Rally’s best part is going to it… not getting there! Just going to it. My guess is that the further it is… the better.
July 15, Sunday. Iowa to Minnesota
Oh well, I am heart broken. This dumb rally is over. Ok, ok. I admit the rallies are a great excuse to connect with old friends. That’s very nice, operative word is “old”. Buel 76, Chris 77, Marvin 87 … Alberto just a teenager. Yea, okay, I’ll grow up. Give me time. (corrections: Chris is 75, or so he claims, Marvin is 82 and Alberto remains a teenager!)
Summary of today’s ride:
We started the day drying the motorbikes. The fog all around us got the seats wet. Chris did all he could yo stop Marvin from using the motel towels.
So we hit the road… 20 mph. You can hardly see in front of you.
Chris leads, Marvin follows and I bring the rear guard. The fog is so thick that I can barely see Marvin, not a possibility to locate Chris in this pea soup.
We have a little over 300 mikes to do
On this day.
We left at 6:00 am. Pipe break at 7:00… pipe break at 8:00 … pipe break at 9:00
Some hours later… A few more pipe breaks.
And so on. It is now 1:00 pm, we are about 114 miles from Brainerd, taking… a pipe break.
Not exactly what I had envisioned when I signed up to travel with Chris and Marvin. But, such is innocence.
Finally, a stop at the country club.
Apple pie and a milk. Now… I am ready for dinner.
We will be at Marvin’s House in 30 minutes… but first, we have to make a stop.
Guess…! … you guys are good, Not a bad guess!
Even better…. both!! Taking a … oh, WHATEVER!
Now you all know what an adventure with Chris and Marvin require… lot of stops!
July 16, 2018. South Dakota
THERE ARE DAYS…
We got to Marvin’s house around 4:00 pm. Today, thanks to the numerous pipe-breaks made it for an easy ride.
Tomorrow we will depart early, so Chris applies himself to minimal Moto-maintenance. Checks the oil level… hmmm, could use a bit more oil. Adds it. Chris is happy, moto is happy… now dinner time!
Monday morning. I was up without effort. 5:00 am sharp and to my surprise, so was Chris. Cup of coffee. So far a ho-hum-de-dum morning.
READ ON… it gets better
We say our goodbyes and head down the highway toward St Cloud 40 miles south.
Chris is the due so heavy? Have you got water on your windshield? No alberto, that’s got be from the overnight wet highway. “Ah, ok, – thanks”.
40 miles later, stopped at the local Country Club – McDonald’s, for some coffee and an apple pie.
To the reader: Okay, where is all this shit going? Just hang on… read on. It gets better very soon,
When we stopped at the McDonald’s the fist thing Chris does is put his elbows on the tank and starts “Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck!”
“Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck!!” ( What a mouth!!, but he said it, I am only quoting – read on, you will soon see what happened))
What is the matter Chris? He is quiet, not responding but certainly, looks quite distraught.
He throws one more “oh, fuck” for good dramatic measure, and clues me into what that sewer mouth is all about.
“Alberto, yesterday evening when adding oil to the motorbike, I left the oil cap on the seat of the bike. That oil cap is not on the bike anymore, It is somewhere on the 40 miles of road behind us”.
The oil is now is all over the bike, my boots, the rear tire and rear brake, and some of it on your bike… it wasn’t water “
Ouch! And double ouch! Now what?
Thinking… thinking… thinking.
Plan of attack!
- First get oil and fill the engine.
- Second, find a rag to remove some of the oil and
- thirdly… create a cover for the oil.
MANLY REPAIRS. For all of you that, have heard, but not believe, there in nothing in this world that cannot be repaired with masking tape or duct tape.
Right! Fortunately we have plenty of “Gorilla Tape”. It is the same as masking tape just a lot better.
Ten minutes later…
Done! Back on the road… we are headed to Brandon Minnesota some 150 miles down the road.
Not bad for a start. Ten brownie-points to Chris for creativity. One hundred browny-points to Alberto for taking the pictures as proof positive of Chris’ working his way toward an “incompetent award”.
Hello-o! Is the club listening? We might have a winner!!
To recap so far:
- This is the same Chris that led me to fall of my bike some years ago, ( I might have have done the falling… but he was leading! His fault!!) going to a rally.
- Now, HE, does it again – another MOA rally – a couple of days ago, down I went again.
- Now this oil business.
How many more performances is he to deliver and demonstrate his worthiness of incompetency, to be so awarded. Stay tuned… I will document it all.
A half hour later…
Thirty miles down the Road I see oil on my windshield… “Chris, at the next gas station check the improvised oil cap”.
Pity, the improvisation did not hold and oil had escaped covering chris’ boot and bike.
“No biggie”, he indicates. We need to replace the oil and place a new cap… which he did in reverse order!
Replaced the cap… forgot to add the oil. Oops! Time to redo. Ten minutes later… back on the road for the second time. This time, like Chris, I am confident of the repair.
It is almost 11:00 am and we are less than a hundred miles from this morning.
“Alberto, at the next town, i want to buy oil as reserve”. At some Minnesota town, Clara, Chris gets off the bike and almost landed on his butt… his boots are soaked in oil. “Holly smokes! These puppies are slippery”. Upon looking at the oil-cap, sure thing it was leaking. Not badly, but leaking. For the third repair.
We found a hardware store and got a water-plug for a bath-tub. “That ought y do it!” And I admit, it looked good.
Still to add a little of Gorilla Tape to secure it firmly.
The hole is covered and we are headed to a moto laundromat … have to remove all that oil from the bike and tires. Power pray some water with soap specially that rear tire. Not perfect, but it’ll do.
Hose that oil, big boy!!
You’d think this story is finished?… nope! Read on.
So we are going down the highway. We are making great time. The road is practically ours. So, we crank it up and 80 mph is comfortable. There no one on the highest except… AHA! As the lights approach on the mirror. Yep! The Minnesota Highway Patrol.
Waiting for the officer to “write-it-up No denying it. 80 on a 60 zone. We are toast!
Not really, Chris pulls out his California drivers license along with his police badge, hmmm. This is going to be interesting. “Cops don’t give tickets to cops”. Chris is certain of this, except for a minor detail, the officer is a trainee and the teal cop remains in the patrol car. “Oh, Alberto we are nailed”.
Ten minutes of police training the officer returns, serious face, and hands a warning! Can you believe this?! We got away from a ticket. Just a warning. Wooohooo!!
I am convinced that our shit-luck for this day has ended. Except!
Chris’ gas light is on and Chris is testing how far he can go on a gallon of gas with 40 miles yet to go. “Are you nuts?!” I admonished him. “You can run out of gas, okay by me! DAMMIT!!” With the shit luck we have had today… that is all we need. I was not a happy camper and told him so. He agreed… at the first gas station he will load. The next gas station was in-town!
Ahh, good news, Marvin found the oil-cap on the driveway of his house. While that is good, we are 360 miles away with no possible way to mail it anywhere in our itinerary. No problem, we ( WE? I’ll take minor credit, but no need to tut my horn, Chris deserves all the credit for messing up and fixing it up) have done a reasonable correction that will hold.
At the motel thinking… thank goodness this day is done!
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Ogallala, Nebraska
5:00 am I’m up and rescue. No can go, my riding partner I can hear on the other room snoring. Oh, yes. Lucky us, we took the last room at the roach-motel. We got a suite for the price of a single room … a whopping $69 bucks plus tax. What a deal!
On the road by 6:30 am looking to find a country club… mile and a half.
The sky looks a bit cloudy yet does it threaten. After and hour on the road, I need a break, coffee demanding an exit and Chris desperate for a pipe smoke.
At Columbus, NE we found a great breakfast place… second morning pig-out. Coming out, the sky has turned decisively gray to dark, it looks like rain gear stuff. We decided to chance it without it… mistake!
Soon, the skies open and we had to seek shelter to cover up. Chris said nah! No need opting to smoke a pipe. Chicken me, took no chances… on with the gear!
Twenty miles of this and the sky look clear ahead, but here it is raining and Chris is regretting his choice.
We got to the town of Grand Island, load some gas and made some friends. Chris tapped with the local police force, to whom he tells his exploits as a one-time-cop in SF. One of them, reached into his pocket and hands Chris a special commemorative medallion. It was beautiful… “it’s yours” the officer said, and with that Chris besides himself. Great pride at cop solidarity.
I talked to a local guy who had a Jeep truck about the weather up ahead. All he wanted to talk about was his dating the girl at the gas station. What a pig! But there is no way to shut up a guy bragging.
We are back on the road… Ooops , forgot to set the tracker. Stopped for a water, pipe smoke and tracker. We are all set
Ogallala, just fifty miles further and our destination for the day, 368 miles.
I’m tired, my butt’s tired, my everything is tired.
July 18, 2018 – Ogallala, Nebraska to Colorado
We got here late last night. The motel is owned by a Mexican lady with a broken leg.
Limps along to show us the room. We have learned… check the room before you take it, specially in low-priced motel.
We had eaten dinner before coming to town, and I really wanted a beer.
Chris spots a bar 1/2 block away. This must be my second time EVER in a bar. All I wanted was a beer now I find myself dealing with a one-tooth-ex-motorcycle guy. Nice guy, obviously a fixture at the bar. Chris is in his element, he certainly knows the bar etiquete.
Local guy had only one tooth… but it was a magnificent tooth!
I had a reasonable experience, I may take to “baring” as an experiment. I may learn something… who goes to a bar, alone! This is bizarre.
Just a Budweiser for me… I was done!
Chris had a beer chased with a “fire-ball” (Canadian made cinnamon flavored whisky). Managed to get himself treated to a second chaser… SINFIRE. Chris said it was potent and asked if I wanted to try it. Tempted… nah, why start something new at my age?
Go ahead… have some of this Fire
I was plowed under with a Budweiser light. Back to the motel a block away… I’m ok.
5:00 am. Rained very hard last night. We’ll see what’s on the road ahead.
From Ogallala Nebraska is a short hop to Colorado.
We stopped at a random cafe. There we net a trio of locals having a bible-study meeting. They seemed very nice, until alberto opened his mouth and got into the Bible business. Remember, I am a nonbeliever heathen! They took no offense, but I decided to change the topic onto something safer…. Politics! Truly I did, but did not allow elaboration. Suffice it to say, it is very conservative country.
Third generation farmer… since 1870. Growing wheat, “for water you pray!” Oh yes, This is God Country.
You can see the geography change from Nebraska onto Colorado. From flat to rolling hills… but fairly flat. Small detail, we are already at 3,000 feet! It’s the early Rocky Mountains.
Desolate, very empty… could we see a highway patrol here? Nah! Crank it up Chris! And he did. Mostly 80 mph, with flashes of 90 mph. You can see forever!
So it was until we got to Colorado Springs. Traffic! And lots of it. Ehem… and lots of motorcycle Cops! Easy does it. Easy Alberto.
We are taking highway 24 from Colorado Springs up the mountains to the town of Buena Vista, about 90 miles up.
We had two mountain passes of about 9,500 feet of elevation. Quite a view!
We were 30 miles short of our destination when a tanker truck is across the highway. The police is deviating everybody. No passage, there has been a fatality and it will be many hours before reopening. So… detour, everyone.
The 30 mile to destination became, after the detour, thus far, 98 miles and we are not there yet! Buena Vista is somewhere around a mountain, past a valley or a river, but no where near us.
We stayed in Salida on highway 50… still 30 miles to Buena Vista. Scratch Buena Vista and next, tomorrow, is the town of Paonia, where the rally Top O’the Rockies takes place.
Laundry done. No shower, I rather smell bad, very hungry. We will have to find a place does not look like much around here.
Motorcycle laundry… not bad.
Small note. Some years ago when Naren and I pedaled our bicycles across the US, we traveled this section of road stayed in this very town… Salida, today a much better motel than Naren and I got. Surprising how much the town has changed
July 19, 2018
On the way to Paonia, Colorado
Why did we get up early? Darn good question. We only have a 150 mile ride.
First thing coffee. While touring the historical district of Salida, Chris spots a coffee house. Here? “Why not” I responded. I should have said… what da hell! Why here?!
The coffee must have been the worst acidic-urine a person could consider drinking. Since urine is not something I am familiar with, I’ll spare you the details. Threw it away into the plants… which, probably are dead now.
We detoured to my country-club facility, yes, yes, McDonald. In few words… wonderful!
Here we met Jarden, a wounded, Purple Heart retired soldier. Cannot serve any more, but he’d go back in a heart beat! He is a soldier thru-and-thru.
Once retired he took to motor biking, and boy does he ride! He is coming from Juno, Alaska (correct there is no road – cross country!). Been biking for the last year and a half. Wow!!
Across from McDonald’s there is a train museum, which Chris could not fail to visit.
I am target oriented, meaning get there soon, but since it is 150 miles away .. I figured we could spare the time
Half hour later,after the museum, we were on our way to Paonia.
I am target oriented, meaning get there soon, but since it is 150 miles away .. I figured we could spare the time.
Half hour later,after the museum, we were on our way to Paonia.
What a road!! You climb and climb. A lot of motorcycle on the road, All going to the rally.
Killer Chris… yes, yes… KILKER. On the road we stopped to take pictures of the canyon below. While
inspecting the bike we discover Chris had hit a bird which was still on the grill of the motorbike. Yeach!! And Ouch!! That bird’s a gonner.
It ain’t nesting… just different plans
We met a guy at the vista point who asked us if we knew the “shortcut”. The final fifty miles we followed him. Into Painia. The guy had done this rally 25 years in a row and rode like the wind. We could keep up with him, but I was not comfortable. Too fast. That did not slow me down, I could keep up – no gray challenge,but in my eyes imprudent.
98°F. Ouch!! This place is hot, despite being 6,000 feet in elevation.
Got to Paonia, beautiful place. The Rally happens in the middle of the town occupying the city park. This rally, while a BMW event, is sponsored by the city
We register and set-up camp. The park is not that big… meaning, get your place and lock it up for the next three days that we will be here.
Setting up camp – Gone for a beer… believe me, NEEDED!
Chris and I walked to town, about third of a mile fir dinner. From zero to one-hundred this dinner was a solid 25 … below zero. I ordered a hamburger rare… received an excellent piece of cardboard… yummy!
Sunday, July 22, 2018 – Durango CO
The last three days had R & R, read that as : we did nothing! We did a bit of laundry, and a big event… took a shower! After four days “, I know and YOU KNEW IT!
Last night was the last night of the rally. I came up with…
Paonia a Motorcycle Rally
July 21, 2918
Today is the last day of the rally
Organized a free diner and music
570 attendees seem happy and sad
Music and laughter elevate the spirit
The blues band louder than needed
Plays to an indifferent audience
A few arms keeping with the rhythm
some take to the grass-dance floor
They both overweight
Chubby at the waste
Chubbier the hips
clothing for the rest
I stare their womanly motions
In a world of mostly men
Any woman will be pretty
these two know their attribute
Tits, hips, long hair and ass
All of it displayed for all
Saying, come get it, if I let you
A hundred men ogling … ?
The music with a certain allure
Intoxicating, dulling the senses
In loudness of base and drums
And a singer… aware of her sex.
A not formal couple are now a couple…
Giggle at nothing touching each other
It seems the evening awaits them
Departing tomorrow to meet next year.
Camping 581 campers
Music last night… the band is behind
All men… few girls. They all rushed to help her get down from the table, where she was making a spectacle of herself, well, she is a girl… all girl! .
This morning got up at 5:00 am… and got going right away. Behind us there will be 581 motorcycles, I want no part of that many nuts around me.
When we left, at the gas station awaiting their turn, at least 50 motorbikes!
The road to Durango is known as the “Million Dollar Highway” and with two good reasons. 1). The vistas are impressive. And 2). It cost $1M per mile to build! Probably a long time ago.
Along the road there were several groups of Jeeps. At one point they all took to a side road… interesting idea. Trail riding Four-wheeling. You can rent the Jeep I hope they also teach you to ride trail.
Colorado, better yet, the Rocky Mountains are far superior in interest than our provincial Sierras. However, we have an ocean nearby. California wins! Oops, we have a loony-tunes government. Back to even.
In Paonia we met Garrin, a US retired military. Three time recipient Purple Heart Combat Marine Medic (which means NAVY) would not mention this … unless! The odds are very high that all of you will meet him someday. I am certain.
Jarin , nicest guy you could meet
Stopped at a couple vista points and kept to Durango. We want to ride the Silverton -Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad. It will go the length of the Million Dollar Highway, with a difference. On the motorbike you either ride or appreciate the scenery, not both!
Million Dollar Highway
At Durango, first things first… get the tickets to ride the railroad. Phewww! Last two seats, sold out!
Durango Silverton Narrow Gage R.R.
This… for tomorrow.
The Durango-Silverton R.R.
We came to Durango for one reason only, to ride the train.
The Durango – Silverton R.R, a narrow gauge, steam powered engine with closed and open cars going back to the 1800s.
This train has remained unchanged since early days. Originally built to carry silver 3,000 feet down to Durango. As the extraction of silver became too expensive the mines closed in 1996.
Currently it is being used for passenger only as an reminder of the olden days. The maximum capacity of this train is thirteen cars of 40 passengers per car. Each passenger pays $106 for a round trip, generating in revenue a little over $55,000 daily.
The train runs parallel to the Million Dollar Highway (Colorado Highway 550) and the Animus River.
No report would ever be complete without this man-fact. When going to the restroom aiming and hitting the bottom of the toilet is more an art than years of experience. Until you get the rhythm of the train… you are guessing!
As you travel the smoke and cinder ash goes to the back of the train along black smoke. Clikety-clalck, Clikety-clalck the wheels hit the tracks joints and the train blows the whistle endlessly.
Settle down because you are not going anywhere fast. The going is fairly slow and noisy giving you lots of time for appreciation of the countryside.
A third onto the ride we stopped to pick up a second engine. And half into the ride we loaded up with water. Sit back and… relax.
The whistle puts out two long blasts and Clikety-clalck back on track. This second half we have climber over seven hundred feet. You can stick your hand out and touch the rocks on the cliffs… don’t do it! It will hurt at 40 mph.
The Durango-Silverton also parallels the Animus river at times two or three hundred feet above other times crossing the river.
Two thirds on the way we exchange engines and load water again for the train to get power. This process takes a good ten minutes.
The coal we carry will heat this water and get us on the way.
A FEW MORE PICTURES
THE DURANGO-SILVERTO RR
July 24, 2018, Moab, Utah
Last night we had to do some surprise repair to Chris’ bike. Transmission oil had been leaking. With the help if the Anonymous book (BMW owners in America contacts) we were able to arrange with David, a local BMW member to help with the repairs. That took from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm, after which we had a ghastly dinner at Denny’s (the only place open)
2 hours taking panniers out, 2 minutes to add oil, 2 hours to place panniers back
6:00 am We left Durango, Colorado in the dust. We are in a hurry to do two things.
First get to Mesa Verde early enough ( to beat the heat and the crowd) and from there advance westward as far as possible.
We arrived to Mesa Verde by 9:00 am. That seem to be early enough. Not a chance!! The ticket line was 100 deep. I scooted to the side and spoke with one of the tour guides. “Ah, well, the first available tour is at 2:30 pm and the tour is an hour long”. What?!
“Hey Chris, you have seen this before, make no effort on my behalf. I am not that good at waiting, I can skip this thing”.
Chris insisted. “We will do it on our own, we are going in”.
Approaching the entrance to the park, we get our senior for life pases, and we are to ride the next 23 miles of a winding road.
On the way to Mesa Verde
Oops, I forgot to mention. What’s so interesting about Mesa Verde? This is where the Anasazi Indians, famous for their hill-cave-dwellings lived for several hundred years, until they abandoned the ares for lack of water (drought) and the food supply failed.
Cliff dwellings of the Anazasi
Forty minutes later, there I was looking at the famous dwellings. Several tours are already at the gate and ready to walk the ancient dwelling. Several tours… yes, each tour forty people! That is useless!! Thank goodness we did not participate.
Half an hour later we are heading out of the National Park and on our way to Moab 164 miles to the West.
Short stop at noon for a McDonald’s coffee and apple pie, Chris downed 20 pieces of chicken. This guy can surely put it away!
Approaching Monticello, in Utah a storm opens up out of no where. We had to take cover and put rain gear on, though it is clear the storm will be short and quick to pass.
By 4:00 pm we are at Moab, all set under 104°F temperature. This is a frying pan!
We stayed at the same motel I stayed when crossing the US on a bicycle several years ago.
Out for a Chinese dinner with about the nicest Chinese woman I have ever met. From her wheel chair she was the owner, the cashier, the server, etc! What a gal!!
Chris was in need of alcohol. In Utah, you only get alcohol at the State Liquor Store which is open until 7:00 pm. It is six pm and the store is closed! Excellent. That is the way to run a business government style.
It is 8:00 pm, and this day is finished!
July 25, 2018 Baker, Nevada
We left Moab, Utah early in the morning. The intent is to enter The Arches National Park which lies just five or so miles to the North.
It is best seen early in the morning or late afternoon to catch the reflected sunlight off the canyon walls.
Early in the morning avoids the crowds which are substantial. Or so I thought. Yeah right! There were hundreds of campers that were there before we even thought of getting there!
The map shows the entrance to be a dead end at 22 miles in. It turns out it dies not. It, without being labeled is highway 128. As we went the 22 miles, it continued and so did Chris and I. After 30 miles it becomes apparent we are heading East on a highway… right highway 128, which eventually links back to interstate highway 70 (also highway 50).
Well Chris looks very professional and handsome
An alien invader, space suit and all
Onward to Green River, where we MUST get fuel, a sign on the road clearly marks “No services for the next 110 miles”. Either get it now or good luck!
Great road, fir me as it reminded me of the bicycle ride some years ago. Same road… just a lot easier on the motorbike.
We are aiming for Baker Nevada, and the famous Lehman Caves at Great Basin National Park Home of the Bristle Cone Pine (average age 5,000 years – yes you read and I write it correctly five thousands years!).
The Bristle Cone Pine over 5,000 years – Oldest trees ever
In the Lehman Caves – 3/4 mile long
Back in town… dinner
Here it is … Dinner walking – what a miserable looking creature!
Chris at the caves with motorcycle reflective gear – it was cold inside the cave 40°
Along the way while taking an exit, we see this guy off his motorcycle. Chris indicates, “ this guy needs help. Sur thing! The guy wanted formation to go south when he wanted to go to Reno!
“Hey mister, you are heading the wrong way. We are going to Reno,
Later Chris tell me, “ this guy is looking at a map that is useless!”
So he joined us. Dan is his name who tells us “this old coot just does not ride very fast” – ahh, don’t worry neither do we, we will keep it under 90”. Apprehensive, but he did come.
Probably the best part of his ride is with us, coming from Wisconsin in four days.
We had dinner and this is his best relaxed face so far..,
Dan, from Wisconsin, Still trying to find out if this is for real?
Easy dinner, tomorrow we aim for Reno.
July 27, 2018 Auburn Ca
As we get closer to home, All thoughts perish, I just want to get home!
From Baker Nevada, to Reno it was a bee line. Well, kinda. We took a detour along highway 722, the old highway.
Great road. First straight like an arrow and soon gets into the hills. The hills are not an issue, but the cows in the middle of the road, well they sure pose a hazard
to riding a motorbike. No biggie, slow down, a lot! And pass by gingerly.
Soon we found ourselves back on the new road, highway 50, otherwise known as “the loneliest highway in the world”. Quite a title and I admit… nothing on this earth can be more boring. Long stretches of road that do not go but “straight”. No let, no right, just straight forever.
We stopped in the town of Eureka, for gas, barely making it as Dan was already on the red light. My suggestion to any following Chris… DO NOT LISTEN TO HIM! He likes to see how many miles he can get in a tank, risking running out of it. Just ask Markus about it. Next came Austin Nevada, which boast the title of having the first bar in Nevada with liquor license No 1. It is currently Ken by a right-winger Serbian who cannot speak worse of the Clinton Presidency. But, he is here, and by the looks of it…. a happy camper.
OFF TO RENO, NEVADA
Finally at Reno we registered at the Circus Circus hotel which has three things of interest: inexpensive rooms $68, inexpensive show, $25 and the best buffet in America which I am willing at any cost!
Circus Circus Buffet
Yes! We had a great time.
This morning, without breakfast we got on the road figuring on breakfast in Auburn. Chris has been talking of biscuits-n-gravy at Katrina’s. An hour later he was eating what I consider the biggest plate ever. How could he eat that much?
Yep, Pig our at Katrina’s
From here we are heading home to the Bay Area.
This is the last post.
Thank you for reading the story and checking the map if our journey.
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS THE STORY AS TOLD BY ALBERTO
BELOW IS THE STORY TOLD BY CHRIS AFTER OUR ARRIVE TO SAN JOSE
Alberto Sevillia and I left on Sunday 7/1. We went straight up to Roseberg to visit with Harvey and Darleen Brooks (spent the night) before heading into NE Oregon for the little town of Condon OR (2nd night). We left there for Sandpoint ID (expensive – 4th weekend), where we got a first taste of rain. Guess who forgot to pack rain gear? I bought a suit at Wallmart the very next day…and have yet to open it. We picked-up US #2 EB for Bemidji MN. Alberto has friends in who own a private island on Lake of the Woods, Ontario CN. We were invited-up for the week-end. This lake is HUGE (see a map, it has 1400 islands [no lie/exaggeration]; their island has three abodes on it and is about three acres. We fished & partied.
Back in Bemidji by early Sunday PM it wasn’t a two-hour ride down to Baxter/Brainerd and my perennial riding partner for National Rallies, Marv’n Carol Bohn’s home. Two of our other ‘perennials’ had already been in residence with the Bohn’s. We all met by chance at the National in ’95. One of the two took-off before Alberto and I got there (Nick Shultz), but Buel Wortham was there for the duration. Collectively we set Marv’n Carol up with an automated deer feeder. The four riders took-off Thursday for the National which was held this year in Des Moines IA. It’s a one full days ride from Marv’s place.
We escorted Marv back home after the National. Buel took-off going back to Arkansas while Alberto and me, we headed for the yearly regional rally in Colorado, the Top’o the Rockies. Leaving very early we rode 40 miles before coffee and I stopping I had a problem, a serious problem. I had checked my ride the night before (oil/tires and load), added oil but got distracted at some point and failed to replace the oil filler plug. When I stopped my boot was soaked and oil dripped from every appendage on that side of the motorcycle. What to do?
Walked to a nearby gas/convenience store and bought oil, not the blend/weight I would have preferred but any oil beats no oil. Using Gorilla Tape (great product), I fashion a cover after cleaning-up the area. Looked solid! Off to a wash rack and clean-up. We were back on the road.
We met a nice new State Trooper in Minnesota just before the state line, something about ‘speed’. In Nebraska, talking with local coppers in Lincoln, I was given a medal. I also learned that Gorilla Tape isn’t worth squat where heat is involved. We headed for this small town hardware store to try’n find a solution. We found that a bathroom sink drain plug worked fine on our second selection. It is still in place as I write this.
The mentioned regional rally was great, good food at reasonable prices save for the beer. $5./beer or wine was steep. We did laundry here (Paonia CO), seems Carol and her machines couldn’t come along.
Leaving Paonia we headed due south, for Durango CO Our arrival in Durango saw us got straight to the train depot where we secured some of the last few tickets for the next day’s train. The train is an all-day affair, it climbs from Durango up to Silverton, gives you a 90 minute or so lay-over before returning to Durango. You leave at 8am and return circa 5pm. I’ve ridden it three previous times and looked forward to this junket, though prices had gone up considerably, less’n $50./ticket to the current $106./
I discovered on our post train-ride oil beneath the transmission and suspected a blown seal. On our ‘plastic covered’ motorcycles there’s no easy way to check transmission fluid. One has to remove both seats and twenty-two torque screws (three body panels) to check oil level. It was ‘down’ but only about a 1/4th of a cup. Oil added and no problem/leakage since. But to do this we used the Anonymous Book to find a local member who made his lit garage available to us.
We left Durango the following day for Mesa Verde and a look at the cliff dwellings before heading for Utah and our second rain ride however brief (about 7 miles worth). This occured coming into and leaving Monticello UT. Since it was hot (90º’s), with high humidity, the rain proved welcoming.
Our next destination was Baxter NV so as to visit Lehman Cave Nat’l Park. When coming off I-15 (we couldn’t avoid the Interstates though we tried), there was a Victory (brand) rider at the end of the off-ramp trying to use a funky atlas, the kind insurance companies give away. He was out of his element. He wanted to go the Reno so we told him we go through Reno and to ‘hook-up’. Dan has some obvious health problems but he was ‘game’. He slept with us, ate with us, did the cave tour with us. I got to introduce both Dan and Alberto to highway NV#722, the old US #50 route. It has been recently repaved but has a twisting mountainous section made for a motorcycle. I’ve always seen game on #722 (this was my second ride), and wasn’t disappointed. The range cattle are always an issue, but I don’t recall but one other vehicle in the 50 or so miles of this roadway.
Dan was left in Reno but only after giving him some directions and iPhone training.
Alberto wanted to see a show and we did, Circus Soule, right after a welcomed visit to a casino’s buffet. We were back home Friday afternoon, 7/27 after a 5722 mile fun ride. Next year? Lebanon TN.
I have 147 pictures, but early ride pictures have been lost/misplaced as I threw the camera way after removing the SD card. The new-to-me Cannon camera was acquired in a pawn shop in Bimedji, with card for $27.tax included. My software doesn’t present the photos in the order taken – they’ll come at you in batches. Call these batch #1.
These are the last of the ‘big trip’ pictures. The first one, of Marv driving, is the first with the new-to-me camera – a pawn shop purchase. The second was fascinating, it’s a painted advert for 5¢ cigars, the paint outlasted the building built next door. Carol Bohn, the ‘boss’ of Marv’s abode and our hostess for the better part of a week. Colorado countryside is one of a couple here, most taken on U.S. #50.
Alberto, coffee cup in hand, is actually working. All four of us (Buel, Marv, Alberto and me), did our four-hour stint as volunteers in the country store, theft protection, helping with sales etc. Eastern Colorado (east slope of the Rockies) gets smoother and smoother quickly.
Alberto enjoyed the narrow gauge train ride, it is one ‘kodak moment’ after another. Memories are made in places like Jill’s Cafe in downtown Nebraska somewhere. Beat’s Alberto’s ‘country club’, aka: McDonald’s.
This next is a photo of a photo, taken in Germany in the 50’s while Marv was stationed there, that’s him in the saddle of his first motorcycle, a now extinct Horex. Our motel in Altoona IA was on the ground floor, we passed our luggage through the window, Buel and Marv were across the hall.
NV, while warm, is beautiful, this is another shot of Hwy #50.
While riding the ‘Loneliest Road’ in America (NV’s Hwy 50) we deviated onto NV’s #722, a portion of ‘Old 50′ that’s been repaved, one that cuts through mountains. It leaves and rejoins ’50’ so one can’t get lost – it’s devoid of traffic, even ’50 traffic’. Alberto is at home on a bar stool in Austin NV, this is the first licensed bar in Nevada. There’s another Hwy #50 pic, could be from the ‘Million Dollar Hwy’ though and lastly a picture of Alberto, hard at work at Marv’s place outside Brainerd MN.
Alberto Sevilla & Chris Weld