[B]Update 5 Lacey, WA
It is 70 plus degrees and sunny in Lacey, Washington. Mount Rainier has even come out to play. Yesterday we rode a grueling 93 miles in an arc east of Seatac down to Lacey - 40 or so miles away as the crow flies - to escape the rigors of I-5 traffic. We are spending Monday and Tuesday nights with Voni's Aunt Genevieve here in Lacey before we begin our travels south to greater metropolitan Los Angeles. Our route will swing us east through Nevada and into Ontario California mostly by U.S. 395 once we traverse Oregon.
By the time we reach Oregon sometime tomorrow or the next day our comrades riding in the Iron Butt Rally will for the most part be well east of the Dakotas headed to the vicinity of Buffalo, New York for their first checkpoint, having passed through at least 12 states. We'll be in state two, with pictures of Olympia, our first capitol, headed to California the short way.
The gathering of friends at the rally start was fun. Some of these folks we only see every two years if then. At the finish Paul will be sequestered in a little room with a computer doing electronic paperwork to score riders for the final leg of the rally. Voni will be in the driveway doing far more important work, welcoming the riders back and providing each of them her famous trademarked hug. And, of course she will run the battery in her camera completely down taking pictures and need to come borrow Paul's, who will by then have forgotten to give it to her in advance. We know this because it has happened twice before.
We plan a leisurely ride down through the mountains and woods in Oregon, only picking up the pace once we hit the hot flat part of the ride through Nevada and southwest California.
We'll report more of our 'doing's' as they happen and we remember them. Paul still hasn't changed his rear tire, the tread of which has lasted longer than expected. Besides, he likes all the adoring glances from the bystanders who see the Beverly Hillbillies load on his bike and ask about the trip. When we say "Alaska" they almost always ask, "On a motorcycle?" to which we answer yes.
[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]and her mechanic and writer Paul[/COLOR]
Yep the folks are on their way all over. :bow
when y'all head back here you will wish you could bottle that cool air up and bring it with you :D
[B]Update 6 Lacey, WA to Redmond, OR[/B]
Sometimes plain blind dumb luck is priceless. Hold that thought, more on that later. We departed Lacey, Washington headed generally and indirectly to Ontario, California, just east of Los Angeles. Our day was a short one. We rode out to Randle, Washington and south on Forest Service Road 25 toward the east side of Mount St. Helens. We stopped for the night at one of our favorite campgrounds - Iron Creek Campground in the National Forest. Voni calls it like sleeping in a cathedral amidst the old growth forest with 500 and 600 year old trees. Paul mounted the new tire he had been hauling around and finally installed a rivet style master link on his chain.
The next morning we rode south on FR 25 even though the signs said the road was blocked by snow. We were just joyriding. After crossing a temporary wood deck bridge over a creek with a large log slide/jam we stopped and took some pictures. And it drizzled. Like a cloud on the ground. Then we headed back north to US12, east to Yakima and south to Hermiston, Oregon.
Here is where the story about blind dumb luck comes into play. Our original route had us heading south to The Dalles, Oregon. But there were high wind warnings for the Columbia Gorge - 40, gusting to 55 - and there is no way we wanted to ride across a gorge bridge in winds like that. So Paul planned to stop short of the gorge at Goldendale, WA. Voni suggested we go further east. So we headed east to cross into Oregon at Umatilla. We filled with gas and headed the few miles south to Hermiston, OR.
Now back to that luck story. Back, at the Canadian border leaving Hyder, after talking to the border guard Voni punched her starter button and it just groaned. She punched it a second time, after the border guard said, "Oh no, not here" and it started right up. It did it again a couple of times over the next day or two which Paul diagnosed as a dirty starter button. He cleaned the switch. It did it a couple of times after that so he removed more parts and cleaned the switch better.
So we stop at the motel in Hermiston. Voni goes in and gets us a room. She rides over and parks at the room. A bit later Paul goes to start her bike and click-click-click. Starter relay chatter. He checks with a voltmeter. The battery seems OK. He does some other checking while Voni is troubleshooting on the Internet. Some wisdom indicates it is a bad starter. Paul removes the starter and finds no sign of starter problems. After considerable messing around the battery is now low for sure. He mentions he needs to get a battery charger and Voni advises there is a Walmart a mile back on the right. Paul bought a charger and we charged the battery all night. While there he finds that from the four battery types used in BMW motorcycles Walmart stocks only one, the one for Voni's bike. None of the others. When the fully charged battery seemed flaky in the morning Paul goes back and buys a new battery. After following the directions and charging the new battery for two hours everything is fine.
It could have died at Hyder. It could have died in the middle of the National Forest in the middle of nowhere south of Randle. Or any of the other out-of-the-way places along the road south through Canada. But no, it craps out in front of a motel room one mile from a store with a charger and a battery. Blind dumb luck but mighty fine nonetheless.
Voni attributes it to her bikes having good manners. They never break unless Paul is along. And they break where resources are readily available. MAGIC figures in there too in her reasoning. That and blind, dumb luck.
Today we rode south on Oregon 207 and east on U.S. 26. Not a straight road anywhere. The white fluffy clouds occasionally tempered the clear blue sky. Voni was looking at campgrounds listed on her GPS when Paul advised her it was supposed to get down to 35 degrees or so tonight. So out came the motel discount coupon book and here we are, warm, and indoors, in Redmond, Oregon.
We have 6 days to go the remaining 850 miles to Ontario, CA. We think we can do that. More as it happens.
Voni and Paul[/COLOR]
I love the forest pictures. Everything is so green.
[COLOR="Red"]Especially gorgeous GREEN to us desert dwellers!
[B]Greetings from Redmond, OR to Victorville, CA[/B]
We are now in Victorville, California roughing it at the Red Roof Inn. We are thus carefully poised for the final 46 mile assault into greater metropolitan Los Angeles. In fact we only need to get as close to Los Angeles as Ontario, which is thankfully near the eastern edge of the metro area. Which is why we took the inland route to sneak in to Ontario from the east. That carefully choreographed event will happen on Thursday. Today is Wednesday, a long planned, but somewhat delayed rest day.
After we left Redmond, Oregon with Voni's new battery still doing what good batteries are trained to do we stopped at Lakeview, Oregon. When we both rebelled at the notion of paying an exorbitant price for a room in a crummy old motel in Lakeview we detoured ten miles west to the Junipers RV Resort and Campground, just a mile off the highway on a good dirt road. It was delightful although it could have been a bit chilly when it got down to 40 degrees F overnight. But we were warm in the tent and the morning Sun warmed things quickly. It was a sufficiently nice place that we planned to spend a second day in the same spot until Paul carefully looked at the weather forecast. An upper level low and cold front descending on the California coast led to a forecast of very high winds along our planned route down U.S. 395 for Tuesday. So we decided to ride Sunday and Monday and sit out Tuesday. We next stopped in Fernley, Nevada. Then, as it happened, the cold front was late, making Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday the windy periods so we rode from Bishop down to Victorville. Arriving at the hotel at 11:00 a.m., we sat in the lobby reading the free newspaper and drinking the free coffee until our room was ready.
Paul has always thought California to be a bit strange. So far this trip has both reinforced and shattered some of his preconceived but deeply held biases. Soon after we reached the California state line Paul thought we had taken a wrong turn to Mexico, as we came upon the border guards at the official "Inspection Station". The big metal roof, kiosks, and orange cones in the road looked just like the ones we see at or near the Mexican border back home in the Big Bend. Just exactly what the inspections were for we are not sure - probably fruits and vegetables, or nuts - because they just waved us through without requiring that we stop. Whatever they are checking for must be too big to smuggle on a motorcycle.
Anybody who thinks that the Big Bend area where we live is remote and desolate hasn't driven down U.S. 395 in eastern California. Some of the ramshackle settlements along this stretch of road make the Terlingua Ghost Town look both modern and urban. The tourist towns with the word Pine in the name are all pleasant looking small towns though. After we descended the long hill down into Bishop we sought refuge from the heat and to use the Internet at 1:00 p.m. at a McDonalds. When Paul saw the line for the drive-through wrapped around the building and backed up into the street he knew he had finally found the congestion he expected all along. The fruit and yogurt parfaits really hit the spot. "When in Rome ..." you know.
Right now the winds are gusting up into the upper 40s. They are supposed to die down sometime in the next 36 hours. Once they do Paul can safely put his bike on the centerstand and check the adjustment of the chain. Until then we will just have to hunker down here, watching TV and using the Internet to check on our friends riding in the Iron Butt Rally. It's a tough life but somebody has to do it.
More when it happens!
Voni and Paul
[COLOR="Red"][B]Greetings from California to Kansas[/B]
When last we wrote we were safely tucked away in Victorville, California, poised for the final 46 mile assault into the Los Angeles East Valley and the finish of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally. We made it safely into and (later) out of the urban agglomeration known as greater Los Angeles. The Iron Butt Rally concluded on Friday morning last. It was a great rally. The basics of the rally included a ride to all 48 states to be a "finisher" with points gained by going to Alaska (3 folks), going to the four corners of the contuguous 48 states (Blaine, Madewaska, Key West, and San Yisidro) (numerous folks), and assorted bonus points to visiting the capitols of states vs just entering and obtaining a receipt somewhere/anywhere in a state. Paul worked as a scorer and Voni assumed her unofficial duties as the official IBR greeter as each rider arrived at the finish.
We departed Ontario, CA on Saturday morning. Paul at first thought that we had somehow missed the evacuation order for the LA basin as we headed northeast on I-15. Traffic was flowing briskly as many lanes wide as there were lanes, and at times eager drivers chose the truck-only slow vehicle lane on the right to pass on the right. But as he later realized, it was only the rush of gamblers headed out on Saturday of a three-day July 4th weekend. Half of the cars tried to get off at Primm, Nevada, clogging the off ramp and the right hand lane for a while. The rest of the cars sped onward to Las Vegas.
When we arrived in Las Vegas it was only 108 degrees at about 10:00 a.m. but we quickly checked in to our hotel and its air conditioned comfort. On Sunday morning as we headed north toward St. George, Utah it appeared as if everybody stayed in Vegas to go to church because the highway was deserted, or at least sparsely occupied. We headed east from St. George by way of Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and several other of the canyon National Parks and monuments including the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This area is simply impossible to describe. You need to go see it. We did discover that everybody who didn't stop in Vegas for the weekend had arrived to line up at the tunnel in Zion National Park.
It was at the tunnel that Voni's motorcycle decided to misbehave. For reasons we have only guessed at, it decided it wanted to stall every time she slowed to a crawl, as in every time the cars ahead slowed to a crawl. It would always restart but stall again soon. We spent several occasions beside the road which was thankfully fairly well equipped with pull-outs and parking areas. Once we got out of the park and traffic began to actually flow again the misbehavior stopped. It is getting new tires and fork seals at Engle Motors in Kansas City on Friday next, and maybe their diagnostic computer can shed some light on its antics. We hope so.
Departing Zion we headed north on 89 and then did the arching loop east and north on 12, camping in the National Forest just south of Torrey, Utah. Then east on 24 and south and east on 95 to Blanding, followed by a zig and zag north and east and north and east into and in Colorado. We rode both the famed 141 and 145 eventually stopping at Ridgeway State Park north of Ridgeway. We could hear but not see the fireworks being set off at Ouray, 15 miles to our south. We celebrated nature's own fireworks by watching a glorious sunset, and the rise of a silvery sliver of crescent moon.
Leaving Ridgeway we rode north to Montrose and then east on 50 until we could turn north to connect to U.S. 24 at Buena Vista. From Colorado Springs we tried to head straight east on 94 but turned north at Punkin Center when advised that US 40 was closed ahead, right where we wanted to be going. Oh well. After a stint on the dread Interstate we again connected to US 24, only dropping south to Hays for the purpose of an inexpensive place to spend the night.
We discovered that the vast expanse of eastern Colorado and western Kansas known in professional planning literature as the "empty quarter" is really rather nice when it isn't hot, isn't windy, and isn't being hammered by thunderstorms. While I-70 isn't at all exciting we found the backroads at least pleasantly boring in a calm sort of way. The temperatures were mostly in the 60s and 70s, but did reach the high 80s as we reached Hays. There was a breeze but by Kansas standards it really was quite calm with sub 20 mph winds. We rode under a cloud cover most of the day.
Tomorrow we will ride to Lawrence to spend some time at Mike's. We'll get tires and stuff at Engles on Friday and then northward on Saturday to Iowa to see Melanie and the grandboys, Noah and Brody, for a few days. From there it will be onward eastward to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania for Camp Gears and the BMW Owners of American National Rally.
Voni and Paul
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="Navy"]You're living on the edge by riding in the LA area.[/COLOR][/FONT]
[COLOR="Red"]We narrowly missed Karmageddon!
[COLOR="Red"]Sorry I haven't updated this thread in awhile. We visited our son in KS and daughter and grandsons in IA and then went to the International BMW Rally in Bloomsburg, PA. I started a separate thread for that here:
Totally surprised Paul with the Prof. Dr. Gerhard Knochlein award.
He was uncharacteristically speechless.
More time with our grandsons, and then we're off to KS for routine doctor visit and replacing leaking fork seals. Paul calls it a forksealectomy.
Yearning for the cool forest service campgrounds of the west. Soon.
It was great that Paul got that award,
that was my first rally eventhough it was hot it was still fun. :dance
[COLOR="Red"]Thanks ; )
GREETINGS FROM WYOMING - WYOMING, MINNESOTA THAT IS
Quite a bit has transpired since we last reported our whereabouts. We left California, went to Kansas and Iowa, and then attended the BMW Motorcycle Owner's National Rally in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Do you recall that really hot spell that spread over most of the United States. That was the week we were in Pennsylvania. Lest you think that being a bit northward might have tempered the temperatures rest assured it didn't really. The rally was spent camping at a fairgrounds with very high 90s or triple digit temperatures every day. A couple of the buildings, used primarily for vendor displays were somewhat air conditioned but the crowd of 7,300 people and temperatures 20 degrees above normal began to overwhelm the air conditioning after a while.
On the Tuesday and Wednesday preceding the Thursday-Sunday rally we again attended Camp Gears, a training camp for young riders put on by the BMW MOA Foundation. We hosted Camp Gears for four years before giving up the official duties last year. But both this year and last we attended and each made presentations for the young campers. At the rally Voni hosted the "Women Who Ride" seminar with a panel of outstanding women riders who each gave a presentation regarding their special riding interests. Paul presented his two technical seminars. Both were very well attended despite the triple digit temperatures in livestock buildings at the fairgrounds.
Paul received a very special surprise at the rally closing ceremonies. We had planned to leave early so they lied to him to convince him to stick around. Voni helped with the deception, even though she didn't know why they wanted to make sure he was up on stage. He was presented the "Professor Dr. Gerhard Knochlein BMW Classic Award". This award is presented by BMW and the BMW Clubs International, generally to one person worldwide each year, for contributions to maintaining the heritage of BMW cars and motorcycles. Paul is almost never speechless but he was on this occasion.
Following the rally we returned first to Iowa to visit Melanie and our grandson's Noah and Brody, and then to Kansas to visit Mike. While there Voni's F800 visited Engle Motors in Kansas City for new fork seals which are a bit tricky to change while on the road without benefit of the necessary special tools.
We are now visiting Voni's sister Sylvia and her husband Bruce in Wyoming, Minnesota following a quick overnight visit with Voni's sister Elaine and her husband Steve and their daughter Gretchen in St. Joseph, Missouri. From here we are headed to Bismarck, North Dakota where we will visit for a day or so with a number of Voni's cousins, aunts, uncles, and assorted kin folk. More on that after it happens.
Voni's quest to reach her one-millionth mile riding BMW motorcycles remains right on track. She needs an additional 4,800 or so miles to reach that goal which she has been determined to reach before her birthday in December. Since when we leave Bismarck we are headed by the scenic route to Nakusp, British Columbia and then by another scenic route to just south of Taos, New Mexico, Paul (the navigator) predicts the millionth mile will happen either in late August or early September.
It is still warm, even here in Minnesota, so off to Canada we go, again, eventually.
More when we think of it.
Wow sounds like you are still having a good time even in the heat.
I'll be watching for her mile stone. :thumb
[COLOR="Red"]With a timeout in Chinook, Montana, I've loaded pictures taken since the National as we traveled in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana.
sMiling cause I have the BEST BMW mechanic and the BEST dealer around[/COLOR]
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="Navy"]Geez, don't you ever give your mechanic a break?!?!?![/COLOR][/FONT]
Looks like you guys had a great time with family :dance
now to work on sending some of that stuff our way :)