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Thread: I didn't go to Spokane, but . . .

  1. #1
    Registered User HarveyMushman's Avatar
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    I didn't go to Spokane, but . . .

    So a few weeks ago I was at a friend's house where he and another friend were discussing their upcoming trip to Ouray, CO, to meet 150 or so of our mutual internet buds. At that point I didnÔÇÖt think I was goingÔÇöbaby on the way, limited amount of leave available, on and on went the excuses. But their ÔÇ£planningÔÇØ was tempting and since IÔÇÖd never been west of St. Louis I was eager to go. I said IÔÇÖd try to make it work. As it turned out I wasnÔÇÖt sure I was going until the day before departure time, but depart I did.

    Friday:
    I left home at 11am and hit the slab for Indianapolis, where the three of us would meet for the trip the rest of the way west. 600 miles later I was in Indy, joining my buds in a truckersÔÇÖ bar for some refreshment. Although the day was a long one, the next one would be longer.

    Saturday:
    Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota . . . 980 miles. We lucked into a great deal on a ÔÇ£motelÔÇØ (actually a two-bedroom house), procured some suds from the cinder-block-walled bar across the street, and we settled in for the night. Tomorrow, after a few more miles of slab, the fun would start.

    Iowa


    Sunday:
    Back up to speed on I-90 for another 100 miles and it was into Badlands National Park. Beautiful place. And a very hot one.







    We casually rolled through the park and found a fast gravel road that took us out. Speaking of ÔÇ£taking us outÔÇØ we had to be mindful of these lovelies.


    There ainÔÇÖt too many gravel roads in Virginny that allow you to flirt with the ton on a big GS.


    From Badlands we made our way over toward Mt. Rushmore (didnÔÇÖt stop there however) and Custer National Forest. Some good roads in there, to be sure, including the never-ending, spiraling switchbacks. Roads were quite slippy in places.

    Eventually we made our way up to Buffalo, Wyoming, for the night. Damn, these states are huge! An inch on the map turns out to be about a 1,000 miles! A slight exaggeration maybe, but remember to check your mapÔÇÖs scale, boys and girls.

    Monday:
    From Buffalo we rode west through Powder River Pass and worked our way into Montana and back south via Bear Tooth Pass. Another beautiful place. I couldnÔÇÖt decide between enjoying the road and stopping for pictures, always a dilemma for me. As usual, both my riding and picture taking suffered.

    Powder River Pass, Wyoming.


    Bear Tooth Pass













    From Bear Tooth Pass we descended into Yellowstone Park. None of us wanted to go there but it was just in our damn way. Not wanting to ride a bunch of detour slab, we took our chances with the park. Bad move. We were all frustrated and tired. One of our number was more vocal in his frustrations and decided to split off on his own, deciding he wasnÔÇÖt doing enough mileage each day. Bye, Steve.
    Tim

  2. #2
    Registered User HarveyMushman's Avatar
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    Neil and I continued on, only to be confronted with the sight of Steve coming from the opposite direction, telling us to turn around. Turns out there was a huge backup leaving the park. Why do people go to Yellowstone? The surrounding scenery is so much better, not to mention free and lacking in crowds.

    Steve ended up spending another night with us, in Bozeman, Montana. The next morning he was gone, leaving only a Dear John letter behind informing us of his intention to ride up to Glacier National Park and Lolo Pass.

    Tuesday:
    Neil and I decided to head northwest to the famous Lolo Pass too. We rode 100 miles of I-90 before hitting the small roads to Skalkaho Pass, which looked to be a fun way to get closer to Missoula and Lolo. It was. Perfect GS ridinÔÇÖ. Some twisty pavement, lots of twisty and smooth gravel/dirt. Good fun.







    Skalkaho Pass behind us, we rode up to Missoula and the eastern end of Rt. 12 and Lolo Pass. The 77 miles of ÔÇ£winding roadÔÇØ was very pretty and even fun in places but it wasnÔÇÖt at all what I was expecting. I guess I've been spoiled by Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee twisties.





    All was not lost however, as Rt. 12 dumped us onto Rt. 13 in Kooskia, Idaho. Now that road did not suck. Beautiful riverside scenery, Nez Perce Reservation hills, and many miles of proper twisties. In fact, northern Idaho does not suck. Of the states we visited, it was easily my favorite. Beautiful landscape, big sky, great roads, and somehow more intimate and approachable than the other states we had seen. Me likes.

    Nez Perce Hills


    From a rare straight part of 13 (after I dispatched three cars and gapped ÔÇÿem enough to stop without getting repassed).


    Rt. 13 ran us south to Grangeville, Idaho, where we stopped for the night.


    Tuesday night after a few hundred miles of gravel and tarmac twisties in a new, beautiful place, and nothing to do the next day but try to top it. Does it get any better?


    IfÔÇÖn youÔÇÖre in town, itÔÇÖs a good place to stay.
    Tim

  3. #3
    Registered User HarveyMushman's Avatar
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    Wednesday:
    We saddled up and continued south, down 95 and then 55 to McCall, a tourist trap resort town, from which we headed east into the hills. 50 miles of gravel (some of it pretty roughÔÇömore on that later) brought us to Yellow Pine, a sleepy little mining town. We counted one general store, three bars, and no churches.

    The road to Yellow Pine. The fire damage dates to ÔÇÖ94, we were told.




    We met an olÔÇÖ timer in Yellow Pine who was staying there for a few weeks in preparation for the upcoming harmonica festival, which drew 5,000 people a few years ago. ThatÔÇÖs a lot of folks for that little town.






    From Yellow Pine we intended to ride another 100 miles of gravel toward Stanley, Idaho, for the night. The going was tricky though, with the surface alternating between recently (as in the day before) graded dirt that we could really roll on to deep, soft gravel that is not the friend of the 600-lb. ÔÇ£enduro.ÔÇØ Eventually we decided we needed to make better time so we got back on the pavement near Warm Spring. Through the twisties toward Warm Spring I realized I had a flat rear tire. I was worried some of those rocks were sharp looking and it turns out one was just sharp enough. The tire was absolutely done too, with melted rubber oozing from between the tread blocks. I called for a tow to the Boise beemer dealer. After a long wait, and after the first tow vehicle blew its engine en route, we made it to Boise, with Neil riding ahead to secure a room and a save a seat for me at the bar next door.

    All stop.


    The road not taken (on a bike anyway).


    Thursday:
    The dealer was expecting my bike and they slotted it in line ahead of a few other jobs but still it was taking awhile to get the new tire mounted. I told Neil to get rolling, have some fun, and weÔÇÖd meet again in Ouray, hopefully. He rode off toward Stanley, determined to ride some good roads and not worry about the clock or calendar. After 1pm I was finally on the road again, bound via slab for Utah, Ogden in turns out.

    Friday:
    I rode east from Ogden via Rt. 39 over Monte Cristo Summit and made my way toward Flaming Gorge National Park in Wyoming, briefly into Utah again, and finally into Colorado. Not for the first or last time, I was again not prepared for the distances involved.

    Flaming Gorge



    By the time I got to Grand Junction I had a decision to make: Take the direct 80-mile route or twisty 160-mile route to Ouray. I chose the ÔÇ£twistyÔÇØ and scenic route, down 141, and consequently arrived later than I had wanted, at around 7:30 or 8. Some familiar faces from rides and rallies past were there to greet me and I set to enjoying what little time I had in Ouray (I had to depart for home the next morning). I saw a bunch of familiar faces, met a few of ÔÇÿem, had a good time, and wished I had time to hang around Saturday to soak it all in.

    Along 141.


    Due to the tire mishap and my own poor planning, I basically missed the party in Ouray, my primary disappointment with the trip. Next time, I suppose . . .

    Saturday:
    I awoke in a funk, knowing my vacation was basically over and that I had nearly 2,000 miles of slab ahead of me to get home in two days. I got the first 1k out of the way relatively painlessly, arriving in Kansas City late Saturday night. Well, ÔÇ£painlesslyÔÇØ if you donÔÇÖt count the stupefying boredom that is Kansas. I will be happy if I never do that again.

    Sunday:
    The day didnÔÇÖt go well. I was dog tired, and the bike was not getting the sort of fuel mileage it usually does. Plus, it was cold and pouring rain through the Midwest. All those days of riding were catching up with me, it seemed. Anyway, at the rate I was going I wasnÔÇÖt going to get home till 3am Monday morning. I gave up and found a room in Zanesville, Ohio.

    Monday:
    I finished the ride home, after a full 8 hours of sleep, arriving at around 3:30 in the afternoon.

    So. 17 states, 11 days, 6,200 miles, one extra tire, and I never even opened the bottle of engine oil I brought along. The big pig seems to enjoy lots of hard running. IÔÇÖve now seen a fair bit of the West, and like it.

    When can I go again?
    Tim

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    Miserable Mark MarkF's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Good story and great pics.

    Can you guys lead my next tour?

    MarkF
    MarkF

  5. #5
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Outstanding, Harv! It looks like we went to a lot of the same places: Stanley, Flaming Gorge and Ouray.

    How did I miss you there?
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  6. #6
    Custom User Title USERNAME's Avatar
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    good gravy do you take fantastic photos! what camera are you using? any special swizzle? any training? im telling you, i've seen a lot of photos of similar things, but yours really grab me. great job, and great trip. good luck with the baby. my friends tell me that having a baby is like riding 1,000 miles a day, every day, for three months.

  7. #7
    Buzzed and Belligerent gambrinus's Avatar
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    Every time someone posts a ride report I'm amazed by the quality of the photographs. No matter the location or the ride, the photos are fantastic. Either we have an unusually high concentration of amateur photographers among us, or I just really, really suck at taking pictures...


    RW
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" B. Franklin

  8. #8
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    The problem most folks have with their photos is one of two: they don't have a clear subject in mind or they don't zoom in and capture the subject clearly, separating the subject from all the background clutter.

    Landscapes are what I have the most trouble with.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  9. #9
    Registered User HarveyMushman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by KBasa
    Outstanding, Harv! It looks like we went to a lot of the same places: Stanley, Flaming Gorge and Ouray.

    How did I miss you there?
    I was in Ouray only briefly, Friday evening. I was on my way home first-thing Sat. morning. I met a number of the west coast contingent but not you, obviously. Next time.

    The camera is a digital SLR, Nikon's D70, with a 18 - 70 lens. I've only had it a few months and have a lot of learn to get the most from it but I enjoy the process. No formal training, but I've read a few books and try to analyze pictures I see and like to understand what it is about them that catches my eye. Like kbasa said, some very basic composition skills make a world of difference.

    Thanks for the compliments, everyone.
    Tim

  10. #10
    Custom User Title USERNAME's Avatar
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    please recommend a book... i'd be delighted. thanks.

  11. #11
    Registered User ian408's Avatar
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    Originally posted by username
    please recommend a book... i'd be delighted. thanks.
    There are a number of good books on photograhpy. I'd suggest the little "field guide" put out by the National Geographic Society. You can probably find it in anyone of the book chains. It deals primarily with film but all of the concepts still apply in a digital world.

    What you really need to do is take a look at photographers whose work you like and work from there. Then go out and take pictures. Lots of them.
    The Beauty is the immediate feed back digital allows.

    Best of luck!

    HM, I really like the first pic. I don't know if you shot it that way or PS'ed the background but it looks great.

    Ian

  12. #12
    Registered User HarveyMushman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ian408
    There are a number of good books on photograhpy. I'd suggest the little "field guide" put out by the National Geographic Society. You can probably find it in anyone of the book chains. It deals primarily with film but all of the concepts still apply in a digital world.

    What you really need to do is take a look at photographers whose work you like and work from there. Then go out and take pictures. Lots of them.
    The Beauty is the immediate feed back digital allows.

    Best of luck!

    HM, I really like the first pic. I don't know if you shot it that way or PS'ed the background but it looks great.

    Ian
    National Geographic Photography Field Guide is the same book I was going to recommend. It covers the fundamentals and will get you started in the right direction.

    Ian, I captured the Iowa shot like that intentionally. The only Photoshop work I did was a minor crop and Auto Contrast. I'm afraid adding a blur effect would be way over my head . . .
    Tim

  13. #13
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
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    Great report Harvey! I spent a year in Rapid City, and your excellent pictures of the area make me want to go back.

    I find that a thorugh the lens view gives you much better pictures when doing landscapes. It is difficult for me to try to compose a picture using the little screen, and the snapshot viewfinders just don't allow the fine tuning to get what you want.

    That said, I know folks who take amazing pictures with very compact cameras.
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  14. #14
    Registered User ian408's Avatar
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    Originally posted by lorazepam
    I find that a thorugh the lens view gives you much better pictures when doing landscapes. It is difficult for me to try to compose a picture using the little screen, and the snapshot viewfinders just don't allow the fine tuning to get what you want.
    Shoot lots of pictures to learn what the lens sees.

    I tend to use the viewfinder more than LCD to compose.

  15. #15
    Foobeemer mcholt212's Avatar
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    Really nice pics!!! Stuck in NJ I sometimes forget what a beautiful, big country we live in. Seeing such breathtaking scenery makes me want to ride WEST!
    Chris
    Scotch Plains, NJ

    '02 R1100SA

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