2016SCB-Home

Yesterday’s extra long day left me with only 225 miles to our house in Breckenridge. Many of the roads I’d be taking are ones that I’m familiar with and I had two options, one from Garmin and one from Apple maps. I elected to use the Garmin route.

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Seriously, Garmin? What part of no offroad, paved roads only didn’t you understand? I had successfully managed to avoid almost all dirt road riding during the cannonball with less than 2 miles total only to get to the end of the pavement and see 22 miles to the next turn. Knowing Wyoming and Colorado dirt I was reasonably certain I wouldn’t see pavement before then. What the heck, in my experience many of these graded dirt roads are hard packed, smoother than many paved roads and with a posted 45mph speed limit it looked like this would be one of those and I didn’t want to backtrack 30 miles to avoid it.

Came to the intersection with the next road only to discover that not only wasn’t it paved it wasn’t in anywhere near as good a shape as the one pictured above. Narrower, not as smooth and with a 25-30mph posted speed limit and 27 miles to town. In for a penny, in for a pound so off I went. True to my foreboding the road was much worse than the one I had left. Not only did it have washboard surface in many places (ever skied in cat tracks early in the morning before the sun has softened the frozen tracks, if you you know what it was like) but also a lot more gravel. Worst part was a turn at the top of a hill just after a cattle grate with several inches deep gravel and no warning of either the turn or the gravel. For a moment there I thought I wasn’t going to make the turn even though I wasn’t even going the posted speed limit. Have I mentioned that I hate gravel even worse than dirt?

While I had seen a few vehicles on the first dirt road the only one I saw the entire time I was on this one was one truck hauling a trailer full of hay. I have to admit I was glad when after 17 miles I started seeing the occasional ranch house. Another 5 miles and I saw pavement. Then once I reached the town I was able to fill up and saw signs that said 72 miles to Steamboat. Figured I’d get lunch there before the final ride down Colorado 9 home.  That too was not to be because the next intersection showed me to be south of Steamboat and Rabbit Ears Pass. Had I known that I’d had stopped at the café about 20 miles back. I knew there wasn’t really any place in Kremling I wanted to eat so started trying to decide between a very good burger at Mountain Lion in Silverthorne or a Rueben at Smiling Moose in Frisco.

In the meantime there was more road construction and dirt. Seems Colorado has decided to line 9 with game fences and provide several game crossing overpasses. The first one south of Kremling was complete. The second one partially in place but from just before that until well after where the third one was going in the road had been scraped down to, you guessed it dirt. With sections down to one lane and flagmen making you wait for a pilot car in between two way sections of dirt.

IMG_5171That gave me a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do about lunch. By the time I got to the Mountain Lion the skies looked like they were about to let loose so it was really an internal debate about whether to just head home and get something from the freezer or stop for a burger.

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Burger won which turned out to be a good thing since before my burger arrived the skies opened up, not with rain but hail. While it was small hail that isn’t what I want hitting me especially when I was wearing a mesh jacket. By the time I finished the hail had stopped and while the sun wasn’t out it wasn’t raining either.

A quick stop at City Market for some perishables I tucked the Sports City into the garage with its sibling scoots.

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2013SCB-Homeward3

cb-16Today I made it to Yellowstone going in the North Entrance. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of the Roosevelt Arch but unless I wanted to wait until the afternoon that wasn’t going to happen without a tripod.

This time I was a bit more prepared re road construction having determined that there were two places with 30 minute delays while they resurfaced the road. So I elected to go to east on the circular park road and see things I missed on my last ride through as well as avoid the road construction. I figured I’d exit out the South Entrance and depending on what time I left I’d figure out whether to bit the bullet and pay Jackson, WY hotel prices or head on down to Pinedale, WY where I usually ended up stopping after visiting Yellowstone.

It didn’t take long to see my first critters. A small herd of antelope were grazing and taking a water break. Followed almost immediately by my first buffalo.

I had turned my GPS off since I didn’t want to listen to it as I rode around Yellowstone and rely on signposts to get to the Southern Entrance. That turned out to be a mistake when I got to a junction that said “Jackson →”. That sent me right into the construction by Old Faithful, sigh.

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Oh joy, so then I revised my plan and headed to the West Yellowstone Entrance and figured I’d head to Idaho Falls for the night. That wasn’t to be since as soon as I left West Yellowstone I was confronted with a sign that said “expect 1.5+ delays”. Wholly carp, so a U turn and back through Yellowstone. This time at least there wasn’t a hold up at the construction zone just a 25mph speed limit due to the “chip and seal” operation with a warning to motorcyclists to take care. You know I think chip and seal is worse than plain old dirt roads.

cb-39Anyway, made it back to junction and took the road to the South Entrance. I had set my GPS to take me to Breckenridge which put me on US 287. I’d never taken that road but it looked interesting and there were definitely some scenic views.

cb-42Some mountain views I hadn’t seen before. I was really enjoying this route.

cb-43That is until I started seeing smoke. Followed by signs that said “do not stop”. When I came around a long curving section and saw a pair of Chinook helicopters filling their buckets from a pond and river next to the road.

That’s when I really wished I could stop and get out my good camera. I tried taking some photos with the little Nikon point and shoot I used for checkpoint photos on the cannonball but most of them were useless. This was the best of them and it only had one of the two Chinooks in it. None of the ones with both of them turned out.

I would have loved to have stopped and watched but with police in view I figured they could see me and with the no stopping signs all over the place it didn’t seem like a good idea.

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So I continued on and the first town I had considered stopping in was full of firefighters plus smoke which I didn’t particularly want to spend the night breathing.

cb-50There were some colorful mountainsides that the dehaze filter in Lightroom lets you see.

I rode through the Wind River Reservation part of the time along the Wind River listening to Longmire short stories some of which were set along the Wind River so that was sort of cool.

By the time I was out of the smoke filled area the nearest town large enough to have hotels was Lander. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a hotel/motel room available so I used Hotwire to get a motel in Rawlings. It was shown by my GPS as 126 miles away which meant I better take it easy since who knew if there would be a gas station open. There were supposed to be two on the route. One at Sweetwater Station (38 miles)  and the other at Mud Gap (80 miles) but I didn’t want to have to count on them after dark. cb-49

The scoot started doing the same “bad fuel” type sputtering about 15 miles into the route when the crosswinds kicked up. Sweetwater was dark when I got to it, so much so I could barely make out the one pump at the trading post so nothing to do but continue at a sedate pace to maximize mpg as I was being passed by what few other vehicles on the road. Thankfully, the gas station at Mud Gap which closed at 7pm (it was now almost 9) had a 24 hour card reader. I should have had enough gas to make it but better to fill up when you can. This did mean that I no longer had to ride sedately and I was now turned into the wind instead of a crosswind. Not only more comfortable to ride in but also has less negative effect on mpg and speed. This road also had more traffic and I was able for much of the time to stay with the traffic and make use of their better headlights.

Reached Rawlins after a 529 mile day where the only place I could see that was still open to eat was McDonalds. So I elected to eat one of my Kind bars from my cannonball stock it was straight to bed.

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2016SBC-Homeward2

As I was preparing to leave Post Falls, Idaho a gentleman who worked at the resort came over and asked where I came from and where I was headed. After telling him about the cannonball and that I was taking scenic routes home he suggested that I take I-90 until I passed “Fourth of July” which turns out to be an Idaho State Recreation area. His reason was that the “scenic” aka non-interstate route wasn’t scenic, had a lot of just straight roads and road construction going on. He also said that he found that the roads were more interesting on the other side of Fourth of July so when he went for rides on his motorcycle that’s what he did. The remark about straight roads and construction sold me on his suggestion.

grillUnfortunately, road construction was just what I saw when I went to exit where he recommended so I ended up staying on I-90 until I stopped for breakfast when I figured I’d revisit the scenic options.

huckleberrytoastThis definitely isn’t your typical hotel breakfast.

I wish I’d had someone to share it with since I ended up leaving half the huckleberry french toast though I did eat all the bacon. Winking smile

While munching decided that instead of trying random scenic routes I’d stay on I-90 and make tracks since traffic was light, road was was good and there were actually nice sweeping curves and some view. That way I could go ahead to Bozeman and be ready for an early start to Yellowstone the next day. That worked out more or less as I had planned. Though I had remembered Bozeman being closer to Yellowstone that I had though. Probably should have continued on to Livingston, MT where we stopped during the cannonball but live and learn.

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When I woke up this morning the day was another that didn’t match the weather forecast. Though it promised to be better when I reached Yellowstone.

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2016SBC-Homeward1

Left Everett yesterday morning with some clouds and the weather report promising sunny skies in about an hour down the road. Temps forecast for low 70s as I rode Washington 20 through North Cascades National Park. Then sunshine and 80s on the east side through Spokane or Coeur D’Alene Idaho. Can you guess that I started with the weather because it was not going to go as forecast?

DSCN0814That’s right, hit wet streets before I reached the north end of Everett. So pulled over and put on rain pants because while it wasn’t yet raining the spray from cars was enough to get you wet. Not much later it turned into real rain which made an espresso at my gas stop in Marbelmount seem like a good idea.

DSCN0816Onward and upwards with the rain being intermittent. Lots of clouds but fortunately high enough to be fog on the road.

DSCN0822Onward into the park. As you can tell since I’m not on a cannonball anymore I’m stopping and if DSCN0820smelling the roses enjoying the scenery.

In case you are wondering if the scoot looks any different besides the Malossi pipe on the way  home here’s a photo. I shipped the camelback and some of the other stuff ahead to Breckenridge since between team and cannonball shirts there wasn’t room for everything and the bladder in the camelback stopped working on the last day. I had a smaller water bag that I’m using now since I can stop whenever I want. Winking smile

IMG_5082Lunch was in Winthrop. As I was getting off the Sports City a gentleman asked me if I had really ridden from Texas (license plate). I said sure by way of Florida and Seattle. Then the normal next question of how fast will it go. Told him mid 80s and he said but only comfortable at 50-55 right? Seemed astonished when I said 70-75 was quite comfortable. BTW, I noticed with the Michelin City Grips my speedo is 5mph off instead of the 3 with the Hiedinaus, interesting. I’ll have to look for slightly taller rear tire next time I replace them.

IMG_5083I considered the Old Schoolhouse Brewery but didn’t want to be tempted by an adult beverage given the rain I had been riding through and the promise in the sky of more to come. So had tacos al pastor next door.

DSCN0827 I did detour over to the Grand Coulee dam viewpoint.  Frankly I think there was a better view to the west at a small pullout on the side of the road but whatever.

Headed on out with the idea of Coeur d’Alene Idaho as my stopping point for the night but I was getting pretty tired of rain though that had basically stopped and been replaced with wind. What gave me home was blue sky with fluffy white clouds ahead instead of the gray leaden skies I’d been seeing all day. When I got to Spokane I pulled into a parking lot to see what sort of hotel options would be available.DSCN0831 Hotwire came up with a 3 star resort in Post Falls Idaho for $56. So I grabbed it and found myself at a Red Lion for the night with a room overlooking the marina and lake or is it a river here? Whatever it is I was greeted with  a double rainbow. A bowl of french onion soup on the deck with a glass of red wine seemed like the perfect way to cap off the day.

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2016SBC-Return Prep

Today was doing thing that I needed to get done before heading back to Breckenridge.

IMG_5073Other than a lovely salmon omelet instead of hotel breakfast there wasn’t anything exciting.

A trip to Cycle Gear to get a pair of waterproof gloves. Another to Target to replace the broken belt, the one for my pants not the scoot. Winking smile Another to Lowes for more zip ties, some teflon tape and JB Weld Metal. The teflon plumber’s tape did help take up some of the extra space from the stripped out threads but not enough to actually make the mirror tight. So I used some JB Weld around the mirror stem and windscreen support. I suspect I didn’t use enough though so I may add another layer after this one cures. Used some thicker zip ties than we had available yesterday to hold down the windshield support.

IMG_5077Yesterday John at the Andiamo Let’s Go Vroom Vroom shop noticed the supports for the DOT front turn signals that I had left bolted on when we replaced the turn signals with the OEM European version and used them to help keep the mirror from swinging around. We left them on in case we wanted to mount auxiliary lights or something. Didn’t think it would be to keep the mirrors more or less stable. After seeing how pathetic the headlight is on the Sport City if it ever going to be ridden outside of city lights at night we probably should add some extra lighting but that’s for another time.

IMG_5075I thought I’d take a photo of the scoot after service with the new exhaust before I finish weaving a web of zip ties to keep the mirror more or less stable and from swinging around in the wind. Looks pretty good for a scoot with over 44k on the odometer and having just completed a cannonball. I did notice that I’ll need to use a good vinyl cleaner on the seat when I get home and may even give it a polish.

Still trying to decide how I want to get from Everett to Breckenridge. Any suggestions for a scenic route worthy of photos and stopping for good food?

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