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Messages - naustin

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1
General Banter / Re: LESS IS MORE
« on: October 11, 2017, 06:52:09 PM »
Congrats on the new bike.  8)

2
General Banter / Re: HAPPY EQUINOX!!
« on: September 23, 2017, 08:05:46 AM »
I'm still thinking about a targeted strike on Leland Sunday the 1st.  I won't make it to Pine Bluff, but the 11am gathering at Sprecher's is in range.   Planned a supersonic shot down I90 until I penetrate Wisconsin, and then avoid radar by terrain hugging as I sneak south.  On the way home, I'll likely cross the river at Lansing.

3
General Banter / Re: Multiple bikes
« on: April 08, 2017, 06:54:47 AM »
Greg - Here's a good read for you... :)   Trips like this are the reason I will always have an ST of some kind in the garage.

http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,97618.msg2211914.html#msg2211914

4
General Banter / Re: Multiple bikes
« on: April 06, 2017, 04:20:45 PM »
You won't really appreciate the ST Bike until you're 1500 miles out and you're hitting the Day 3 groove with 7 days and all the best sceanery/roads still ahead of you.  ;D

5
Bike Help / Re: Repacking Mufflers?
« on: January 24, 2017, 07:17:37 PM »
I *think* the factory mufflers on my ST-1300 are designed with various baffles that split and route exhaust and sound in different internal paths such that there is no packing in the first place.  They also have integrated cats, which in and of themselves result in quite a bit of silencing.  They definetly are sealed, and there is no way to open them up anyway...

All that to say: not all mufflers have packing.

6
Introductions / Re: Is winter over yet? How about now? How about now?
« on: January 03, 2017, 08:06:03 PM »
While my ST-1300 is awesome for eating miles, if I was purely a solo rider and didn't need to be able to do 500 mile days two-up - I'd like to have a smaller and lighter SPORT-touring bike.  The ST1300 is really a sport-TOURING rig.   I've always wanted a VFR800.  But, I do prefer shafties. Too bad the VFR 1200 only has a 4 gallon tank good for ~150 miles.  ::)  The ST comfortably doubles that.

7
For Sale/Wanted to Buy / Re: Not mine, just a Honda fan
« on: October 29, 2016, 03:28:10 PM »
 :o   3,600 miles on a 14 yr old bike!   Still looks good!   

8
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 07:05:37 PM »
Thanks Greg - hope you enjoy it! It was fun for me to go back and re-read today.  :D

9
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:36:09 PM »
Last Day - Day 7: Seeley Lake, MT to Home
Impromptu – Unofficial – SaddleSore 1000
1,257 Miles (per BaseCamp)
6:30am Mountain Time to 2:20 Central Time ~19hrs.  = 66mph avg.


_Day 7 Route Map.jpg

I was up at my usual 5 AM and planning to be on the road by 6.   While packing up the bike, I left the door to my room open, and it unceremoniously shut behind me, locking me out.   I felt terrible ringing the bell and waking up the proprietor at 5:30 in the morning to give me another key and the delay kept me from getting on the road until about 6:30.

It appeared that the weather would be perfect.  The weather channel showed there were storms over eastern SD and Minnesota, and a vicious cold front coming in from the west – but there was a bubble of high pressure over Montana and Wyoming that I would enjoy all day on my way to Rapid City, SD where I planned to stay for the evening, and so I decided not to wear my rain liners or thermal base layer so I wouldn’t have to stop and take it all off later.

The temperature stared out in the low 50s, but quickly dropped into the high 30s at one point as I crossed the high plateau and foothills on my way to the I-90 interchange.  I was too stubborn to stop to add layers so soon after getting on the road, so I just cranked up the heated grips, gritted my teeth and shivered through it.


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“Gotta Catch the Sun”


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“Frosty Montana Morning”

The signs said 65 or 70, but based on the local ranchers with their big diesel pick-ups, the speed limit on Montana’s two-lane back roads is something more like 90 mph.  Keep an eye on your mirrors.

I made it to the freeway, and shortly afterward, stopped in Deer Lodge at a McDonalds to nurse my hypothermia.  After breakfast and a large cup of coffee that I nursed for quite a while, the temps were back into the mid 50s.  I got fuel and added some air to my tires across the street, and then got back on the freeway.

Once I crossed the continental divide east of Butte, it was essentially downhill all the way back to Minnesota. At 80 mph, the Honda V4 hums like an acoustic guitar playing the G Chord; you can’t hear it - but you can feel it.  There were bluebird skies, the temp was a steady, just-right 73 degrees, and the wind was at my back the entire day.  Under these conditions, with the Zumo pumping music into my helmet, covering miles was effortless.

I continued on through Bozeman, Billings, and Sheridan, WY passing mountains that had been capped in fresh snow earlier in the week.  The speed limit in Montana was 75, and it kicked up to 80 in Wyoming.  Running 80-85, the ST’s 320-mile range dropped down to 250-280.  3 hours was all I cared to do without at least a short break to stretch my legs, anyway.


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“Perfect Weather”

I needed fuel at Gillette, Wyoming; my flashing fuel gauge was down to 20 miles remaining.  After filling up, I ate a gas-station personal pizza and met a car salesman who had just sold a brand new full-ton diesel crew cab Chevy and was putting in a complimentary tank of gas.  

He thought my ST was a BMW at first, and then had to tell me about the week 10 years ago when he rode back and forth from work to a campground in Sturgis for every night of the rally.  It was his best week ever, and he sold 20 trucks that week alone.  He was also very proud of the fact that some of the biggest coal mines in the world are near Gillette, and tried to encourage me to detour in order to ride past one of the huge open-pit sites.  

Thankfully he answered his cell phone in the middle of our conversation, and I had a good excuse to leave.

Soon, I approached the Black Hills.  It was mid-to-late afternoon, and the weather was still perfect as I rode though Rapid City, far too nice to stop for the night.  I wasn’t sure if I could make it all the way home, but the idea had crept into my mind.  The sound of my daughters voice on the voicemail asking for her daddy was hard to resist.

I occasionally peeked at the radar on my iPhone in my tankbag, and could see that the weather system over Minnesota was slowly losing energy.  It looked like clear sailing, at least as far as Sioux Falls.  I stopped on a freeway ramp to call my wife and let her know I was still riding, and would continue on until I got too tired.


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“Calling Home”

The sun was setting by the time I reached Murdo, just west of the Missouri River at Chamberlain.  I got fuel, and had another PowerBar washed down with a StarBucks energy drink.   My mind was fairly well made up at this point, if I rode straight through, I could make it home a little after 2 AM.

It was the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and there was more traffic than usual, but it was all heading west.  In my direction traffic was light.  I passed through Sioux Falls and knew I was only 2.5 – 3 hours from home.   Brandon, SD was the last gas stop.

It was very dark, and I-90 from the Minnesota border to the east was practically abandoned.  I was happy for the ST’s high beams, which are like searchlights, but the occasional on-coming car kept me from using them constantly.  The weather had cleared, so I could see the Milky Way above me, but I could also still smell the recent rain.

I remember thinking; I should ride at night more often.

Suddenly, there were two deer in the middle of the road. I had ~ maybe ~ 1 second to react, shouted at them involuntarily, and added pressure to my right bar to track the nose of the ST into the gap between them as they moved left-to-right across the lane from the median.  I never even touched the brakes and I’m not sure if I even rolled off the throttle.

I missed the first dear, but clipped the second one.  I could hear it bounce off the fairing, but the impact was minimal and the bike’s trajectory was barely affected.  But, it couldn’t have been any closer to disaster.

I coasted slowly for a minute, and a rest area appeared almost immediately where I pulled over under a streetlight to inspect the bike for damage.  Everything appeared intact; no cracks in the fairing, the saddlebag was still attached and secure, and the bike appeared to be unscathed, except for the tip-over bar, which was bent back.  I’m pretty sure the deer took it to the head.  The powder-coating is even rubbed off.  At 75 mph, it was probably fatal.

It was the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, so there was nothing to do but continue on.  I trimmed my speed considerably, and used my High beam as much as possible.  What I really wanted was a few other vehicles to follow, so I could use their lights to see better, but there was no one else on my side of the road.  

After a nervous hour running 55-60 mph with no one catching me from behind, a truck finally entered the freeway from a ramp ahead of me.  I caught up to him and followed him the rest of the way home, hoping he would snowplow any more deer off the road.


DSCN0906.jpg
“Light’s out”

The next morning, the only other damage I found, besides the bent crash bar, was a long scratch on the front fairing underneath the tip-over wing.  Not sure it was from teeth or hooves.

MN recently re-opened wolf hunting.  I think we should be doing the opposite.

About 20 miles from home, I finally caught up to the remnants of the rain that had been churning over Minnesota all day.  I expected it to be fairly light, as the whole system was collapsing, but it turned out to be very heavy.  It was difficult to see and I was grateful to be following a truck.  I pulled into the driveway at 2:20 am Central time – almost exactly 19 hours after leaving Seeley Lake, MT.

Unofficial (Accidental) BunBurner 1500

I knew based on miles and time that I had easily completed an unofficial SaddleSore1000.  But I realized the next morning, that I probably did a BunBurner 1500 without realizing it.  It was 1257 miles from Seeley Lake to Home, which means I only needed to have ridden another 243 miles between 2:20 CT (1:20 MT) Thursday afternoon and my arrival at Seeley Lake Thursday night.  Based on GPS Time Tags from my camera embedded in my pictures, I was at the Kootenay Valley Overlook at 1:13pm (MT), which adds approximately 326 miles to my 36-hour total.  

Therefore, I rode 1,583 miles in 36 hours, including an overlay of ~ 11 hrs. in Seeley Lake. (7:30pm Thursday to 6:30AM Friday).  I don’t have gas receipts, or signed witnesses – but my credit card statement, and the GPS camera timestamps are good enough for my own pride.


DSCN0908.jpg
“Two Places 4,000 Miles Apart”

Overall, it was a great trip.  I should have worn my 3-season gear, and I had only just barely enough layers to endure the cold, but the mesh gear paid off on the perfect 73-degree day riding home.  I missed having my wife on the pillion and would have enjoyed the trip a lot more if she had been with me, and it was hard to leave my little girl for a week when I didn’t really have to.  But, I’m glad I went.

The map below reflects all four of my big trips since 2008.  Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed it!

Updated Everywhere Map


_Updated Everywhere Map.jpg

10
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:35:32 PM »
Day 6: Jasper, A.B. to Seeley Lake, MT
573 Miles


_Day 6 Route Map.jpg

The rain seemed to come in waves lasting about an hour.  I woke several times in the night briefly when the winds picked up, and once to the sound of a bear collecting the few sunflower seeds I had dropped around my campsite.  The “bear” was probably a ?mouse,” but I can’t be sure.  My tent does seem to have an inexplicable acoustical quality that amplifies animal sounds 1000%.

When I finally woke up around 5, the rain had tapered off to a light sprinkle.  I lounged in the tent for a while, considering whether to wait for it to stop entirely, or to break camp in the rain.   It was times like these that I most regretted not paying Verizon a little extra for an international data plan that would have allowed me to see the weather radar on my phone.

In the end, my desire to get home prevailed and I broke camp in the light rain, and departed the campground at first light.    Turning south on the Icefields Parkway, I was greeted by cold temperatures, rain and fog.   By this time, I knew that all my pictures from my tankbag camera had been ruined on the ride up the Parkway, and the rain and fog guaranteed that I wouldn’t be so lucky as to have another good day for pictures on the way home.  However, as I approached the Colombia Icefields and gained elevation, I climbed above the fog, and was able to get a few pictures before dropping over the opposite side of Sunwapata Pass.


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“Approaching Sunwapata Pass”


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“Morning Fog”


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“Mount Athabasca”

At Saskatchewan Crossing, the blanket of fog became thick and I rode though the clouds, occasionally catching a glimpse of dark skies ahead.  Approaching Lake Louise, it became clear that there would be heavy rains to contend with, and I seriously considered skipping the Bow Valley Parkway and the town site of Banff all together, which would save me at least 2 hours.  However, despite the wall of water ahead of me, I decided that the trip would not be complete if I did not at least ride through Banff itself, and as long as I was committed to that, I couldn’t miss the Bow Valley Parkway.


_Day 6b Route Map.jpg

I encountered the rain upon arriving in Lake Louise.  Traffic on Hwy 1 was heavy, and I was glad to exit back off the 4-lane onto the Bow Valley Parkway where the lack of traffic and lower speed limit was a welcome way to endure storm.  There was no wildlife to see due to the storms, and only a handful of other vehicles.  As I continued south, I began to escape the rain, just in time for a picture at the famous spot below Castle Mountain.


DSCN0864.jpg

I continued into Banff looking for fuel and lunch.   What a zoo.   The place is positively dripping in stupid money.  It’s full of high-end boutiques, and all of the storefronts are new and uniformly designed, landscaped and integrated.  The whole town felt like it was built yesterday as a theme park for Calgary’s elite ski culture.  It was PACKED with people and choked with traffic.   I didn’t even take any pictures.  This is not a place for me.  I got gas, did one lap of the downtown (which took forever), wolfed down a couple PowerBars on the entrance ramp back to Hwy 1, and left post-haste for the short blast back up the 4-lane north to Hwy 93.

I’m glad I rode the Bow Valley Parkway, and that I made the decision to go down to Banff and complete my planned route, but only because I now know I don’t really need to go back.

I immediately ran back into heavy rain as I traveled back north before turning west on Hwy 93 into Kootenay National Park.  The rain was steady until I finally ran out from under the backside of the weather at Kootenay Crossing, and I was able to get some good pictures at the Kootenay Valley overlook, just east of Sinclair Pass.


_Day 6c Route Map.jpg
“Kootenay Valley Overlook”


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“Kootenay Valley Overlook”


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“Better Weather South”

I moved on, passing through Radium Hot Springs, Columbia Lake, and Cranbrook, stopping only for fuel and at a roadside rest area to strip and remove my thermal base layer and rain liners before crossing back into the US at Roosville.

Unlike the crossing into Canada several days prior, there was a long line on the U.S. side, and I waited for 30-45 minutes.  When it was finally my turn, the border agent was courteous, but deliberate and asked me far more questions.  He asked me where I was from more than once, and I got the impression he was more interested in my body language than my actual answers.  There is no doubt, he was a pro.

I made it though without getting searched or delayed, which was a relief, and rode south toward Kalispell, MT where I originally planned to stay the evening.

I can remember when I was just barely old enough to read it, a National Geographic magazine article naming Kalispell, MT as the most beautiful city in the United States.  For some reason, that trivia stuck in my mind, and I marked that place as something to see one day. My wife and I had been in Glacier National Park in 2010, but never explored outside the western boundary, which only added to the mystique and my desire to get there on this trip.  Upon actually arriving in Kalispell, however, I found the outskirts peppered with chain restaurants and strip-malls.  The downtown area that I saw was run-down and unkempt.  In short – I looked like every other regional trade hub across the Midwest.  The article I had read as a boy was written almost 30 years ago, so I guess the place used to be something special.

I turned west toward Big Fork, and resolved to ride on down the less traveled Swan Hwy (Hwy 83) until I found a lodge or motel that suited me.   The land along the highway was developed, but primarily with private homes and cabins.  It was a pleasant ride, but I started to get concerned that I’d have to detour southwest into Missoula to find a place to stay.  Also, I began to see deer grazing in the fire-thinned areas of the forest - lots and lots of deer.

Finally, I arrived in Seeley Lake, MT and found what I was looking for.  Perfect!


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“Seeley Lake Motor Lodge”


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“Not Bashful”

I must have seen two dozen deer in the last 30 minutes before arriving at Seeley Lake, and these two in the parking lot of the motel were not bashful.  After I snapped the picture above, she walked right up to me to see if I would share my sunflower seeds and I actually touched her nose.  If I had something she was more interested in eating, I think I could have fed her from my hand and scratched her ears.

I think they need to either stop shooting wolves, or increase the bag limit on deer in western Montana.

Dinner was just down the street at “The Filling Station” bar and grill, and the inexpensive bar food was surprisingly satisfying.  I was able to use my phone again, and received several voicemail messages from my wife.  Apparently, my 16 mo. old daughter had been walking around the house pointing to all the spots I like to sit, and saying “Da-Da?”

How far am I from home?

11
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:34:59 PM »
Day 5: Jasper, A.B.
31 Miles


_Day 5 Route Map.jpg

Camping in Jasper was idyllic compared to the evil-clown-circus back in Deadwood, SD.  After dinner the night previous, I walked back to my campsite and found total peace and quiet.  Of course, the steady pitter-patter of raindrops on my tent fly may have had something to do with that.  Regardless, that light rain and cool air combined with the steady rushing flow of the Athabasca River completely robbed me of consciousness before the last light faded, and I slept soundly until daybreak.

I was up early, however, and intent on catching a ride on the Jasper SkyTram before the skies turned overcast and the haze settled into the valleys. Even though I had planned on taking the SkyTram ride on this day since the earliest planning stages of the trip, I had not made reservations online.   If the weather had been poor, and visibility low, I may not have actually wanted to go up the mountain.  

That rationale now seemed silly considering the low price of the ticket, and my building anxiety at the prospect of not being able to get in at the gate.  After seeing the hoards of people at Peyto Lake, I was somewhat concerned that a reservation would be a necessity.  I could see a gondola headed up the mountain in the distance, so I set off from the campground and arrived at the terminal around 7:00 am.

There was nobody there, except for the Whitetail doe standing in the road just around a blind corner on the way up to the parking lot.

There was a sign that said, “First Up @ 9:00am” (which seemed late to me), but I ran into town and made a quick lap to pass the time.  All I found in town at that early hour was an Elk casually meandering the main street, grazing on the landscaping, and a few tourists who seemed unsure whether to take pictures or defend the foliage and chase off the pillager.

I got back to the SkyTram station around 7:45 and decided to just sit and wait and enjoy the morning sun.  A few other guests arrived, all with reservations of course, and eventually the staff started to show up as well.  At 9:01, they opened up the ticket window, and to my relief, there was plenty of room for the first ride up the mountain.


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“Jasper SkyTram”

As I waited to purchase my ticket, a retired couple from California traveling in a new Corvette joined me in my siege of the ticket window.  We chatted about nothing in particular, and I picked up on their deliberate avoidance of asking any personal questions, so I reciprocated and we talked about our observations of the area.  I wondered though, what they were hiding.   Although he mentioned they were from California, when the ticket clerk asked them where they were from, his wife responded – Costa Rica….

The clerk didn’t buy it - I could tell.  The thick South African accent probably didn’t help.

At the top of the mountain on the second floor of the Tram station, there is a restaurant, and I went there directly for breakfast as by this time I was starving.  It took the staff a while to get organized, but the food was decent, and the view was incredible.  My new friends from South Costafornica joined me at my table to enjoy their hot coco and talk about anything except me, or them – which only left the train coursing through the valley far below.   It is actually fairly remarkable to observe a mile-long train all at once – so I’ll give `em that.

I should really check out the America’s Most Wanted website, just to make sure…

After breakfast, I decided to hike to the Summit of Whistler’s Peak.  It doesn’t look like much in the following picture, but it’s enough to make you sweat in 40-degree temps.  The winds were furious, and the gusts nearly blew you off the trail.  I’d guess there was a steady 50-60 mph breeze in the exposed areas with gusts even higher.   I actually put in my earplugs.


DSCN0771.jpg
“Pyramid Mountain”


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“Yellowhead Mountain”


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“Whistler’s Summit”

I burned several rolls of virtual film, and spent some quality time with a lounge-chair-shaped hunk of granite before heading back down.

After walking the 4-5 blocks of Jasper’s main drag, and finding all the same touristy crap in every store, I decided to have a late lunch, and to run up to Maligne Canyon for a short hike.


DSCN0813.jpg
“Maligne Canyon”

There was a Wal-Mart sized parking lot, stuffed full of cars and tour busses, but I didn’t let it deter me.  The main trail includes four or five bridges over the narrow chasm that descends into the valley, and after the first bridge near the parking lot, the hoards of humans thinned considerably.  Apparently, most muggles don’t want to hike much further than the length of the tour bus they are riding.

I hiked quite a distance past the 4th bridge, and for a time was somewhat alone on the trail.

After my hike, I returned to Jasper, and collected various gifts for my wife and daughter, mostly from the National Park Visitor’s Center itself, and then bee-lined directly to Jasper Brewing Co.   I asked the bartender, (who looks just like Shaun White, but who will KILL you if you mention it), if there was an IPA on tap.  There were two, including a new seasonal “White IPA”, and my follow-up questions prompted the guy on the stool next to me to intervene.  Aaron, as it turns out, was part of the brew staff.   This was helpful.


IMG_0833.jpg
“White IPA and Lobster Maki Roll Appetizer ”

Aaron was fairly new to the team at Jasper Brewing Co., and worked the previous 10 years as a firefighter for the forest service in B.C. and Alberta.   We discussed the efficacy of the emergency shelters made of foil that are issued to the firefighters.  Aaron’s opinion was that he would RUN through hell’s worst inferno before he huddled under one of those silly space blankets to bake like a potato. When described that way, I believe I would also RUN.

Since it was my last night in Jasper, I decided to forgo the “Millionaire’s Steak” offered on the menu at Jasper Brewing Co., settled up my tab, and moved the bike around the corner to “Evil Dave’s.”  

I had found the website for “Evil Dave’s” online while planning the trip, and something told me I couldn’t go home without eating the “Wicked Food” they serve.  Upon opening the menu, the first thing I read is: “Dave's not here man! No really, Dave's not here. He opened the restaurant in 2006 and hasn't been here since the restraining order of 2007. How's that for Evil ?”

Well, then!


IMG_0834.jpg
“Evil Dave’s Tenderloin”

I ordered it: “rare, really rare – like blue rare.”

And that’s how it got it.  And it was warm and purple in the middle just like it should be.  I complimented the waiter and told him how this was the first of the last 25 steaks I’d ordered rare, that actually came properly prepared.  He said the chef is “patient – well, not patient at all – but patient with the food”, and the key is to warm the steak on a hot plate before you cook it.

Eat at Evil Dave’s.

After my meal, I stopped for gas and headed back to the campground to chew sunflower seeds by the river and watch the sunlight fade into the trees.


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“Athabasca River”


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“Traveling Light”

It rained again in the night, harder this time.  The rhythmic sound on my tent fly lulled me into an easy sleep.  But, I missed my wife and little girl, and hadn’t been able to communicate much while over the border.  I was having fun, but not nearly as much as if my wife had been with me.  I was ready to head for home.

12
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:34:09 PM »
Day 4: Kaslo, B.C. to Jasper, A.B.
402 Miles

This day was to be a highlight of the trip from the start.  In the space of a few hours, I would traverse five of Canada’s most beautiful alpine National Parks: Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, Banff, and Jasper.  Thrown in for good measure – an abandoned two-lane mountain playground, a ferry crossing, and of course – the Icefields Parkway, which is easily one of the most stunningly scenic paved roads in the Western Hemisphere.


_Day 4 Route Map.jpg

Despite being two time zones from home, I was up at 5 am (7 am home time), and again on the road at sun-up for the run from Kaslo to New Denver on Hwy 31A.  The pavement was mostly pristine, the sharper corners were well marked and consistent, and there were no other vehicles on the road.  I stopped for a few pictures, but mostly I just tired to enjoy the “Pace.”

Arriving in New Denver, I turned north on Hwy 6 headed for the Galena Ferry.  This was obviously a busier route, but early in the morning, there was still little traffic.  I was surprised to find a long line waiting at the ferry terminal, and a busy construction crew working on the landing.


_Day 4b Route Map.jpg
“Hwy 31A – Kaslo to New Denver”


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“Kaslo to New Denver”


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“Summit Lake”


_Day 4c Route Map.jpg
“Galena Ferry Map”


“DSCN0701.jpg”
“Galena Ferry”

The Ferry ride was beautiful, and the ship itself was much larger than the one I had been on the previous day.  There was one other motorcycle, a brand new HD Electra Glide ridden by an affectionate middle-aged couple, resplendent in their leather vests, chaps, and beanie helmets.  I gave them a friendly nod, but they didn’t seem overly interested in me – and I was fine with that.  I left my helmet on and moved to the back of the ship, took pictures, and enjoyed the view.

Once off the ferry, there was a long line of traffic ahead of me including several commercial trucks, and the Harley ended up right behind me.  I could hear its un-muffled pipes roaring behind me.  It must have been my competitive spirit; on the first straight bit of road out of the ferry terminal, before the traffic spread out, I shifted the ST into warp and left the pirates far behind me, trapped behind the parade of traffic.

Reaching the Trans-Canada Highway at Revelstoke, I turned east and passed through Mt. Revelstoke National Park.  My only real regret of the trip was that I did not take the time to ride up the “Meadows in the Sky Parkway”, and possibly take a short hike.  I hadn’t heard of it before the trip, and by the time I saw the sign, I was past the turnoff.  Not knowing what it was, I didn’t double back, but now that I am home, I can see it would have been well worth the time.   This was the first of many places I have added to my list of “must dos” on a future return trip.

Soon, Mt. Sir Donald came into view.


_Day 4d Route Map.jpg
“Glacier National Park, B.C. – East of Revelstoke”


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“Mount Sir Donald”

Mount Sir Donald is probably the most classically beautiful mountain that I passed on the whole trip.  It has that fairy tale Matterhorn profile that Disney taught us is “ideal.”   

Technically, I don’t think I was supposed to stop and snap that picture, because I hadn’t bought my Park Pass yet, but I would be legal soon enough.

I continued east on Hwy 1 toward Golden.  There was a fair amount of construction, and heavy traffic, so the riding wasn’t anything special, but the views were spectacular.

And then, the inevitable happened.  I ate at Tim Horton’s.  Far more remarkable than the food, was the fact that I observed approximately 5 different languages in the 10 minutes I was there.  I assume it was the locale, and not the cuisine.

I got gas, and then found a secluded parking lot behind a hotel to strip and remove my thermal base layer.  It was a beautiful day, and the temperature by this time was cracking 70.


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“Between Golden and Lake Louise”

The stretch of Hwy 1 between Golden and Lake Louise through Field was surprisingly spectacular.  Unfortunately, it was also choked with traffic.   

Approaching Lake Louise, I exited and turned north on Hwy 93 without going into town, or getting a picture by the Chateau.  I know it’s impressive, but places like that don’t ring my bell - too many humans.

Immediately upon entering the Icefields Parkway, there was a checkpoint for Park Passes, and I was able to purchase mine.  Traffic thinned out considerably compared to Hwy 1, and if I moderated my speed, I could feel like I had the road all to myself with traffic disappearing around the curves both in front and behind.  When I did catch up to motorhomes or other slow moving traffic – the wide-open road made passing easy.
 

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“Mt. Jimmy Simpson from the Icefields Parkway”


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“Passing Bow Lake”


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“Peyto Lake”

I stopped at Peyto Lake for the iconic snapshot.  It looks like a wolf to me.  You can see the road stretching north up the valley into the distance.

The parking lot was full, but it is always easy to find a spot for a motorcycle.  There was a short, but relatively steep hike up to the overlook.   The tourist busses bypassed the lower parking lot, and were allowed to drive up to a second parking area and disgorge their passengers directly onto the boardwalk overlooking the lake.

All of Canada has a population of about 38 Million people total, about the same as the state of California.  China by contrast, has a population of 1,351 Million people (1.3 billion).  For some reason, the 0.3 of the total 1.3 billion Chinese people were all at Peyto Lake the day I was there.  It was strange.  I stood on my tiptoes holding my camera over my head and took several pictures in order to get one without people in it.  I was at the overlook where that picture was taken for less than 2 minutes, and left.

Too many humans.

Throughout the trip, I have been occasionally mounting my iPhone to my tankbag in a special case that includes a small wide-angle lens in order to take time-lapse pictures every 10-30 seconds.  The two pictures above from the Icefields Parkway are examples.  It worked great, and the App I’m using allows me to export the series of pictures into a video, or save the stills individually.

Somehow at Peyto Lake, while fumbling with my gear, I managed to lock the white balance on the camera settings within the App.   As a result, the next 700 images were completely washed out.  Oblivious to this at the time, and content that my trusty iPhone was doing a great impression of a GoPro – I rode all the way to Jasper only stopping for pictures with my dedicated camera a couple times. 

I’d be devastated if not for Google Streetview.


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“Big Bend”

After passing the Colombia Icefields, the traffic thinned considerably.  It was obvious that Banff National Park and the attractions from the Colombia Glacier southward get the majority of the visitors.  I was pleased that Jasper was a bit less overrun.

I arrived at Wapiti Campground, got checked in, setup my tent, and then rather than actually going into town, I walked about a mile across the campground to Becker’s Lodge restaurant for dinner.


_Day 4f Route Map.jpg


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“Nice Spot”

Just finishing his meal when I arrived was a rider on a Multistrada, sporting all Ducati branded apparel.  He didn’t recognize me as a fellow motorcyclist, as I had changed clothes.  I couldn’t help but overhear his conversation with a couple at a table next to mine.  He had ridden up from Seattle for a meet, not sure if it was Ducati specifically but that was my guess, and was spending a few extra days between Banff and Jasper before heading back.   Not sure what he did for a living, but he commented that Seattle was his 22nd home.  That is not a typo; he said “Twenty-Second.”  He wasn’t that old of a guy.  I can’t imagine moving to an entirely new city every few years.  He ordered an espresso after his meal, and joked that his addiction started when he lived in NYC, and moving to Seattle only made it worse.

As I finished my meal, there was a brief sprinkle of rain that cleared off to cast a double rainbow over the river, back-dropped by Mt. Kerkeslin.  That, along with a Scotch, neat, was a pretty great way to wrap up the day!


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“Double Rainbow”


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“Hardisty & Kerkeslin”

13
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:33:20 PM »
Day 3: Lolo Hot Springs, MT to Kaslo, B.C.
485 Miles


_Day 3 Route Map.jpg

At around 3am, I shivered myself awake and got up to close all the windows in the little cabin.  I also fired up a small space heater, which made a pitiful attempt to warm up the tiny room, and made no perceptible progress for the next two hours as I debated whether to get up and put on more clothes.  I must have dozed off again briefly, and then woke up to my 5 AM alarm, dressed, and went outside to pull the cover off the bike.  

It was freezing.  Literally.  There was a film of ice on the bike cover, and my hands were numb by the time and I managed to cram it back into its stuff sack.  The bike’s computer confirmed what my visible breath belied.


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“34 Degrees”

I decided there was no way I could head off down Lolo Pass in 34 degree temps before sunrise – too much risk for a frosty corner and a cartwheeling excursion into the river.  The restaurant across the street was still very dark, and there was no coffee to be found, so I stood outside my cabin aimlessly and waited for the sun to rise.

After a time, a camper emerged from his tent and started over in my direction.  Its nice how people like to strike up conversations if they think you are on your own. It was a long walk from the opposite side of the campground, so I decided if he was going to come all the way over, it was the least I could do to be friendly.

As he approached, I made eye contact, took a few steps in his direction, and gave him a big “Good Morning.”   He commented on the cold, and told me about his bicycle trip from San Francisco to the continental divide at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park.  He was originally from Wisconsin, and said his goal was to put a foot on “our” plate.    

I was a bit incredulous, since he was smoking like a chimney and told me he had to be home by Labor Day – exactly one week away.   I never did ask him about how well bicycling mountain passes and menthol cigarettes work together, but I do hope he made it to Logan Pass.

We continued to chat about our trips, the unusual cold, and the practice of photography until he finally excused himself to use the campground bathrooms, located immediately behind my cabin.

It was at that point I realized that he hadn’t walked all the way across the campground just to talk to me, and in fact, I was holding him up from his morning constitutional.

The sun was starting to rise, so I decided to head off.  The top of the pass wasn’t far away.


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“Yes, Please.”


_Day 3b Route Map.jpg
“Lolo Pass”

After crossing the pass, the road began to descend following the wild Lochsa River, and the temperature immediately picked up to the mid-40s.  I hadn’t realized how high the campground was, which was no doubt the reason for the frosty temps.  I was just glad it wasn’t raining.  I had the road mostly to myself, and it was a beautiful morning.


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“Motorcycle Nirvana”

Eventually the river broadened, the landscape began to dry out, traffic increased, and I passed through a few small towns.  Soon I arrived in Lewiston, ID and after a quick fuel stop, I followed the “Old Spiral Highway” up onto the plateau.


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“Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, WA”


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“Old Spiral Highway”

Even though I passed literally feet from Washington State, but didn’t bother the brief detour to add another state to my list for this trip.  I’m saving it…

I rode north through Idaho and had a quick lunch in Coeur d’Alene before crossing the boarder south of Creston, B.C. at Porthill.  The boarder agent was friendly and it was clear that I didn’t look like any threat, because it took longer to get my earplugs out than it did to answer his questions.


_Day 3d Route Map.jpg
“Into the Kootenays”

After crossing the boarder, I followed Hwy 3A from Creston to the Kootenay Bay / Balfour Ferry crossing.  It was a nice winding road along the big lake, but the speed limit was low 60 – 80 kph (40-50 mph), and there were some cars on the road as well.  

The last 5 km to the ferry found me held up behind several slow cars, and while I could have easily passed them, I knew we’d all be in line together waiting for the ferry and I didn’t want to be rude.  Several other motorcyclists collected behind me and we all ended up boarding the ferry together.

The group of riders turned out to be from the Seattle area, and traveled together annually.  There was a VFR, a Buell Ulysses, a new Triumph Trophy, and one metric cruiser.  They were friendly, and the VFR rider was particularly interested in the ST1300.  I was impressed by the Trophy, myself, and it turns out the pilot happened to the proprietor of a Triumph dealership.  I didn’t realize how big it would be, and it seemed to dwarf the ST1300, side-by-side, although in reality, they are very similar in size.  The triumph had a bulbously wide front faring, a very broad and wide tank, and looked more top heavy.  In contrast, the ST1300 looked like a svelte little sport bike, which is not something you can say about the ST very often.

The ferry crossing happens to be the longest free ferry crossing in the world, and the ride across the lake takes more than half an hour.  There were two ships operating, and I ended up on the smaller of the two.


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“M.V. Balfour”


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“Sardines”


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“Kootenay Lake Crossing”

I had planned to get fuel in Balfour, and had gone about 280 miles since fueling up in Lewiston, ID.  Upon disembarking at Balfour, however, a fuel station was not immediately obvious, so I rode the last 20 miles up to Kaslo with plenty of fuel to spare and filled up before heading to my accommodations for the evening.  


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“Kaslo Hotel”

Kaslo is a very small community of about 1,000 people, and the economy is heavily centered on the summer visitors.  I had reservations for the evening at the Kaslo Hotel, which turned out to be newly renovated, and very nice.   The lower level is the restaurant and patio, while all the rooms upstairs have balconies that face either the lake or the quiet downtown.


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“Nice View”

I spent the evening on the patio of the restaurant watching the dusk settle over the lake, and ended up having a nice conversation with a couple - Mark and Julia if I remember correctly.  He was a commercial airline pilot, and they were traveling in a 1982 VW bus that he had cobbled together from 5 other VWs of various vintages.  He was from the Kaslo area originally, and they were vacationing and visiting friends.    I mentioned that my cousin’s boyfriend was a pilot, and that he had taught her how to fly a glider.  Turns out, Mark was towing his own personal glider behind the VW Bus.  The glider even had a pop-up self-launch engine, so he didn’t need a tow to get airborne, and he gave me a few pointers about the art of soaring the thermals.  That is one of the few hobbies I can imagine pulling me away from motorcycling.

Before the sun set, I put the cover on the bike, and retired to my room.  After camping the first night, and freezing in the “cabin” bunk the second night, I was very much looking forward to a hot shower and the big soft King size bed waiting for me upstairs.

14
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:32:51 PM »
Day 2: Deadwood, SD to Lolo Hot Springs, MT
685 Miles


_Day 2 Route Map.jpg

Even though I didn’t get a full night’s sleep, I had plenty of energy as I packed up the bike.   The threat of rain still hung in the cold morning air before sunrise as I coasted down the gulch to the highway, got gas in Lead, and headed southwest to Cheyenne Crossing and the beginning of Spearfish Canyon Road.


_Day 2b Route Map.jpg

The sun started to rise and illuminate the canyon walls while a few sprinkles of rain collected on the windscreen.  It was still quite cold and the temperature climbed only slowly from 45 to 52 as I descended in elevation.


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“Spearfish Canyon Sunrise”


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“Getting Warmer”

From Spearfish, the plan was to take the Hwy 212 cutoff from Belle Fourche and pick-up I-90 at Crow Agency north of the Big Horns. According to the GPS/Garmin Mapsource, this is supposed to save nearly 45 minutes vs. I-90, but I’m not so sure.  On the way back home, I stayed on I-90 in favor of greater options for food/fuel, and the 75/80 mph speed limits.  None-the-Less, the route across 212 was scenic if only for its desolation.


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“More Storms”

Still east of Brodus, MT, I ran into more rain.  The further west I traveled, the lower the temperatures dropped.   I really needed something hot to drink, and to put on my thermal base layer.  Brodus itself turned out to be not much of a town, especially on a Sunday morning.  They only place open was a small gas station where I topped up on fuel, and went inside to change.  

I think the clerk in the store thought I was from another planet.  

I brought my Cabela’s Polar Tech, which I normally only wear when Ice Fishing, as an after thought – thinking that it might be cold camping in the mountains up in Jasper.  Turns out that without it, I wouldn’t have even made it through Day 2, and I wore it for at least part of every day the rest of the trip.

After having hot coffee and a gas station breakfast sandwich under the watchful, but indirect stare of the jumpy clerk in Brodus, I got back on the road with temperatures in the low 40s and rode the rest of the way over to I-90, and then continued on until I arrived in Billings.   There was a sign for a Perkins, which seemed like a good place to warm up with a gallon of coffee, but after following the Zumo toward the center of downtown, it became apparent that the restaurant was on the other side of town, and I doubled back with an empty belly, although I did top off on fuel since I had already taken the time to exit the freeway.

The rain and cold continued, with the added perk of crazy crosswinds on I-90.  There were even windsocks and signs that the winds were unusually strong in that location, presumably funneled by the mountains. I stopped at the Big Timber, MT exit to snap this picture of the Crazy Mountains which were capped in fresh snow.   At this point, I started to worry that the temperature might drop even further and there could be icy conditions on the road over the continental divide at Homestake Pass.  

And what would the weather be like way up in the Canadian Rockies?


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“Crazy Mountains, MT”

I stopped at another McDonald’s in Bozeman for a late lunch.  While inside, it poured rain, and I was glad for my fortunate timing.  I realized here that I had actually started to cook my throttle hand with the heated grips, and the skin was starting to crack painfully.  I was wearing mesh gloves so even with the grip heaters turned up high, my outer hands were frozen.  My inner hands, on the other hand, were roasting hot.  I actually had to buy some moisturizing lotion to keep my palms from turning into bacon.

 As I left the McDonald’s, another patron looked at me with pity and said, “Not a very good day for a ride.”  

I replied simply, “Yeah, well – I’ve got reservations,” put on my helmet, and walked casually out into the deluge.

Pushing on, I crossed the continental divide, passed Butte and then arrived in Missoula where I turned south to Lolo, MT to pick up Hwy 12.  You know you’re in the right place when you start to see more motorcycles than cars, and that was the case at gas station on the corner of Hwy 12 and Hwy 93.

By this time, the sun had come out and it was actually getting fairly hot.  I struggled the whole trip to deal with the 40 degree swings in temperature, and it seemed like I was either too hot or too cold with “just right” being a fleeting 15 minute period of time, no matter how often I stopped to add or remove layers.  Time to invest in electrics.  The ST1300’s stock alternator puts out 750 watts, and most of them are wasted into thin air at the moment.

From the town of Lolo, it was about 25 miles to Lolo Hot Springs RV Park & Campground where I had reserved a “cabin” for the night.


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“Lolo Hot Springs Cabin”

Across the highway from the RV Park there was a bar/restaurant, as well as a pool fed, as the name implies, by the natural hot springs.  The Pool itself was 88 degrees, but there was also a smaller indoor bathhouse pool, where the water was a steady 108 degrees.  Native Americans used these hot springs for bathing, and they showed the spot to Lewis and Clark.  In turn, Lewis and Clark planned a camp in this location on their return trip.

I ate at the restaurant, and then went for a soak in the bathhouse.   My swimming trunks smelled a bit like sulfur afterward, but it was worth it after spending most of the day in the freezing rain.

It stayed warm into the evening and I ate sunflower seeds on my miniature porch.  The air was crisp and fresh and I opened all the windows in the “cabin” before I climbed into the bottom bunk.   It was nice to have power to charge my phone and camera, and I was looking forward to starting the morning on Lolo Pass.

15
General Banter / Re: naustin - Banff & Jasper Ride Report / Intro
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:32:18 PM »
Day 1: Home to Deadwood, SD
558 Miles


_Day 1 Route Map.jpg

By the time the day of departure arrived, all I had to do was toss my toothbrush in the saddlebag and hit the road.  Everything else was already packed and loaded on the bike.   The plan for the day was simple:  Up at 5am, on the road by 6am, ride one mile to the I-90 entrance ramp, and burn straight through to Rapid City in order to be in Deadwood by early afternoon allowing time to set-up at the campground and then go downtown for a beer and a burger.

I woke-up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, and immediately checked the weather radar.   There were scattered storms stacked up across the plains, and I was glad to have installed the rain-liners in my gear the night before as it looked like the first encounter with rain would be within 30 minutes.  Rather than delay, I resolved to punch through the weather before breakfast.


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“Flight 003, Departing Gate 2: 6:03 AM”

As expected, after about 30 minutes on the road I barreled headlong into an early morning shower.   The Oxford heated grips installed over the winter became immediately useful, but I was still cold.  Hovering in the mid 50s, the temperature was unseasonably cool, and I had chosen to wear all of my mesh gear.   In August of 2010 – my wife and I had nearly baked to death riding across South Dakota and Montana, and I was determined not to have the same experience this time.

I stopped at a McDonalds just off the freeway in Luverne, MN for a hot cup of coffee, and breakfast to warm up.  I had made it through the rain, and optimistically mused to myself that perhaps, that would be the last of the rain for the whole trip.   

As I was about to leave, another customer asked me how I liked the ST1300.  He said he had a 2003 that he was trying to sell, but couldn’t get rid of it.  Everybody wants Adventure Bikes these days, I guess.  He told me that once it was sold, he’d still have his Harley to ride, as though trading-up to a Harley was everyone’s ultimate fate.   He had a teenage daughter in tow, and she was awkwardly floating around behind him, neither part of the conversation nor able to break free of it, and seemed to be somewhat embarrassed.   

Back on the bike, I ran past Sioux Falls, crossed the Missouri River at Chamberlain, and stopped for gas in Murdo, SD.  As I approached the Bad Lands, it was clear that there would be more rain.


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“Another Round”

I pushed on through the weather and reached Rapid City on schedule.   It was an unfortunate compromise to time that I had planned to largely by-pass the Black Hills.   The Sturgis Rally was over, so the crowds where gone now, and when I saw construction signs warning of delays on I-90, I quickly re-routed into Deadwood via Nemo Road.


_Day1b Route Map
“Nemo Road Map”



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“Nemo Road”

I arrived at the campground in the early afternoon, and rushed to set-up camp as there were more rain clouds looming.   The campground host delivered the firewood I had purchased with a golf/utility car.   He reminisced about his old 350 & 750 Hondas, on various versions of which he accumulated around 300,000 miles during his youth.   He recently got back into riding and now has a Versys, and while he likes the taller suspension, is considering taking it to a custom bike shop to have the tail chopped off in favor of a café style seat like his old Hondas of yore.


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“Whistler’s Gulch Campground”


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“Day 1 Campsite”

Once the campsite was set-up and secure, I walked about 2 miles to downtown Deadwood and headed directly for Saloon Number 10.   The entire main street was closed for the “Deadwood Nights” concert event, and the whole downtown strip was packed with folding chairs.   There was also a car show going on – classic Mustangs mostly.   I decided not to eat at the Number 10, and instead went to the Hickok Steak House, which was in the basement of the downtown hotel/casino.   I ordered my steak rare, and it came medium.  It was pretty bad, overall.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever need to go back to Deadwood, SD.  I’m not the gambling type, and didn’t so much as drop a quarter in a slot machine.


_Day 1c Route Map.jpg
“Deadwood”

I walked back to the campground, bought some trail mix and water from the camp store, and made my way up to the campsite to make kindling and get my fire going.   It was early evening now, and there was a group of 3 young couples (probably early 20’s) putting up a tent two sites away from mine, oblivious to everyone else around them.   They were obviously here for the concert, and evidently intending to do their best not to remember it.  One of them commented that the jail in Deadwood was much better than the one in Cody, WY, because in Cody they bypass booking and dump you straight into the cells. 

The undesirables traipsed off down the hill, and I tried to content myself that the odds where they’d be too drunk, or too arrested to find their way back to the campsite.  However, I did briefly consider lighting their tent on fire while they were gone.  Unfortunately, there were too many witnesses around.

My phone didn’t have good reception, so I struggled to get a few text messages out to my wife, but I was able to charge it on a nearby RV hookup. As twilight faded, I built my fire up into tall leaping flames just to show off (and use up the wood), and went to bed shortly after dark.

After what seemed like only 10 minutes, I was jolted awake at 2:30 am by the unmistakable sound of domestic violence.   Hillbilly#1 was beating up his girlfriend. 

She bit him, he punched her, and she locked herself in the car.   Then Hillbilly#1 screamed and yelled and cursed and swore and woke up the whole campground.   Another camper, whose small children were probably terrified, tried to intervene and nearly ended up in a fistfight for his trouble. 

Hillbilly#2 spent the next 2 hours talking about how much he knows Hillbilly#1 loves GF#1, and maybe GF#2 should try to talk GF#1 out of the car.   Hillbilly#1 had to explain that he only punched GF#1 “this” hard, and he only bit her because she bit him first, so it wasn’t like he was a bad guy.

The guy in the tent next to mine got up and moved his car.

I would have called the police just to get a show out of the whole deal, but my phone didn’t have reception.  I really just wanted my earplugs, but they were in the bike’s glove box.  Eventually the undesirables settled down and passed out around 4:30am.   Awake and pissed off, I got up, broke camp and left before sunrise was even a thought on the horizon – never to return again.

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