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  1. #1
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    2011 Summer Wander

    In 2005 we planned to spend a night in Baker, Montana. We didn't. It was the location of the start of our 49 State ride to Hyder, Alaska. A problem with Voni's bike back then delayed our arrival at Baker by one day. Since weather was threatening from the west and our route was east, we didn't delay our start and spent just two hours in Baker.



    We spent last night in Baker, Montana. We are going to spend tonight in Baker, Montana too. We left Melanie's house in Ankeny, Iowa after watching it rain and thunderstorm there several days in a row. Since Ankeny we have not encountered any rain. That appears to be because it has been too windy to rain. First it was so windy in Iowa that we almost turned around and went back. But we turned north instead of west instead. This gave us a tail wind. Voni's motorcycle computer said she was getting 109 miles per gallon for a while. We BOTH wound up about 80 mpg for that tank. We stopped when it was time to turn west again and the south winds hadn't dropped. Crosswinds of 35 or 40, gusting to 55 is not particularly fun on a light-weight motorcycle.



    So far we have gone north when I planned to go west, and west when I planned to go north, and for a while south when I was trying to go west due to dire warnings about "avoid this road" and "seek alternate route" on large flashing DOT message signs. The last two times we ignored such warnings we regretted it so didn't ignore the signs this time.



    So we are in Baker, Montana.



    And the forecast for tomorrow is clear, sunny, warm, and winds about 10 mpg compared to today which is cool and winds 30 to 40, gusting maybe to 50 in eastern Montana. So we are staying in Baker, Montana tonight too. Besides, U.S. 12 which we had planned to take west from Forsyth is under water from flooding at two locations. Montana DOT says the road is open but has water flowing over the road. It might be open for trucks and cars but we are not sure about the wisdom of calling it open for motorcycles. But that is tomorrow. Today we explore the sights and sounds of metropolitan Baker, Montana.



    Since leaving home on May 9 we have spent some time at Mike's in Lawrence and at Melanie's in Ankeny. We attended track and field day at Noah's and Brody's school, and picked them up with the motorcycles their last day of school. We rode half-way to Gina's BMW in Iowa City for their open house but bailed on the trip when Voni's electric jacket stopped heating in the 40 degree rain. But we did go to Gina's mid-week to say hello and buy some stuff. Then we headed south to Kansas City for the Engle Motors spring open house where Paul received his 700,000 mile award from BMW. Some workshop time at Mike's in Lawrence solved a minor oil seepage/gasket problem on Voni's bike and we are spending two nights in Baker, Montana.



    We're headed to Canada and maybe Hyder, Alaska. Then, Seattle, suburban Los Angeles, Bloomsburg Pennsylvania, British Columbia again, and New Mexico form the backbone of the plan. There are a few firm dates on the schedule but most of the plan is loose. Which is why we are not in Wyoming and are spending two nights in Baker, Montana.



    Because we can.



    Pictures here:

    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...0MT/?start=all



    Slideshow:

    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...view=slideshow



    45 years ago, we promised each other to love honor and cherish.

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  2. #2
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Talking

    Congratulations on your anniversary! Paul was obviously a cradle robber. What better way can there be to spend an anniversary than in Baker, MT. (Your enthusiasm for your time in Baker just jumped off the screen.)

    Ride safe, stay warm and dry.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  3. #3
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    LOL!

    Update 2 MT to BC

    When last we greeted you we were wind blown and holed up in Baker, Montana. We promised to explore Baker, and explore Baker we did. There is a great classic car store - real cars, real classics, for sale. And the County Museum is among the best small museums we have ever seen. The lady at the museum showed us around all six buildings, and said she stay for two hours past closing if we wanted her to. But we were already in building six and that wasn't necessary. We saw Steer Montana, the world's largest cow (stuffed of course) and also saw his actual skeleton set up as a separate display. Cars, trucks, threshing machines, and a lot more too.

    Finally, we left Baker and headed north and west. We stopped at Havre, MT overnight and headed on west. About midway between Browning and East Glacier Paul's F650 spit the drive chain onto the roadway. But thanks to Voni's suggestion two days earlier in Custer, SD, Paul had the spare chain he bought in Custer. Premonition wethinks! And thanks to good luck, the bike spit the chain right where the road had widened to four lanes and had a wide shoulder. While working beside the road one Honda rider stopped, one rancher stopped, on State Trooper stopped, all to see if we needed help. The three pairs of riders on American built V Twins all bleated on past however, without so much as a sideways glance.

    We had two great clear, sunny, windless days riding to Libby, MT and then Oroville, WA poised to head into Canada the next morning. But we discovered a puncture in the rear tire on Voni's bike. This started our three-day tire story. Paul plugged the tire but since it already had 9,000 miles on it decided it needed to be replaced. We back tracked to Omak and Okanagon, WA where we visited all three motorcycle shops to find a tire which fit the bike. We met the local police too, at one of the shops because the officer wondered if we needed help. All great helpful folks. Success! We turned back north and into Canada at Osoyoos, BC. Two motorcyclists we met at the visitor center said it had been cloudy and looked stormy but it had been dry as they rode south. That lasted until we turned west and headed toward Merritt in 97C through the high country, where we encountered the rain, 39 degree temperatures, and some snow and slush beside the road. We spent a night in Merritt, BC and last night camping just south of Prince George. After we set up the tent and unloaded the bikes we rode into town for dinner. And Voni discovered that the new tire thumped a little at highway speed with the bike unloaded. We deduced that it was poorly balanced. After visiting two motorcycle shops and an alignment shop in Prince George we managed to deal with the balance issue. All is now good.

    It sprinkled on and off most of the day today, and actually rained as we were passing through Smithers. But Paul's chain and Voni's tire performed flawlessly and we have bailed into a nice warm motel room in New Hazelton, 160 miles from Hyder, Alaska. Once we get to Hyder Paul plans to use the electric drill he bought to fix the break in his luggage rack he discovered a few days ago. It has a temporary fix with a little steel bar and small C clamp.

    Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!

    More after we know more.

    Pictures here:
    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...0BC/?start=all






    Why we Ride!

    Voni and
    Paul
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  4. #4
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking us along. Wish I was there with you!
    Karen Jacobs
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    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

  5. #5
    Registered User super8mm's Avatar
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    Great pictures as always, hope to meet you guys in Bloomsburg, Ill be on a Captian America Dakar with Mr. Ayres signature on the front beak

    Be safe

  6. #6
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Cool! See you in PA.

    We're in Hyder, Alaska, though Ron Ayres isn't here this year:

    http://www.ayresadventures.com/HyderSeek.aspx

    Gorgeous weather!

    Voni
    sMiling
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves/
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  7. #7
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Greetings from Hyder, Alaska and Beyond

    We left you at New Hazelton, BC, headed north to Hyder, Alaska. The ride from New Hazelton to Hyder was beautiful. Cool, but not cold, and we encountered no rain. We did a ceremonial stop about 10 miles south of Mezedian Lake where Voni hit her 900,000 th mile in 2008. She is now has just over 11,000 miles to reach a million. Arriving at Hyder our first stop was to see Caroline at the Boundary Gallery in its new location. She is no longer a tenant and has bought a building just up the street on the other side, near the corner by the Sealaska Inn. Paul bought some of her fresh rocky road fudge, a couple of Hyerseek stickers for the bikes, two post cards for our grandboys, and RED jewelry for Voni. The building was originally a house and the ground floor front has been totally redone for the shop while the upstairs will be Caroline's new home.

    Our second stop was to check in with great friend Dee at the Grandview Inn where we usually stay when we go to Hyder. We checked in to spend a couple of days. Our third stop was a walk to the Sealaska to see who had arrived by motorcycle or otherwise. We ran into Alice and Denny who were with us for our two month tour in Southern Africa in 2005.

    We did what we usually do in Hyder: stroll on the pier, visit with Gary at the Sealaska, eat fresh gourmet seafood at the bus, and just hang around with riders, some of whom had just finished riding in all 49 continental states in 10 or fewer days. These folks know how to have fun for sure. Voni has been carrying some of Eddie James cremains to leave at the spot where she reaches her one-million miles and other places. She left a bit of Eddie on the pier at Hyder. Gorgeous place.

    After a couple of days we left Hyder and stopped to camp at Vanderhoof. This community has a great park with a very nice campground. Free wi-fi too. Voni can find wi-fi almost anywhere. Today it was dry part way to Prince George but then began to sprinkle, or drizzle, or rain, for most of the 200 or so miles to Williams Lake. Then it dried up and the ride south to Cache Creek was again delightful, if somewhat breezy.

    Our bear sighting count so far is five. The moose count is one, or maybe half since it was so young. We got some pictures of bears. We didn't stop to photograph the moose because it was unclear where its mama was and we don't mess with baby moose when mama could be around. That is probably a good general rule for all species, but especially those that are way bigger than you are.

    Since leaving New Hazelton nothing has broken. Paul did take the opportunity to drill a few holes and reinforce the broken luggage rack mount on his bike a bit more permanently than the steel bar and C clamp he used as a temporary measure. He has another steel bar for the other side which is doomed to failure sometime. The way they built it is ridiculous.

    Tomorrow we will head down 99 through Whistler to Vancouver and then will wander around or settle in somewhere not too far from Seattle. We will be there Sunday and then Monday morning for the start of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally.

    The pictures will convince you that you too need to go to Hyder!
    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...ska/?start=all



    Paul and Voni

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  8. #8
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Good times for sure; thanks for bringing us along. And thanks for introducing us, in a way, to Caroline and Dee. We enjoyed meeting them both.
    Kevin Huddy
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    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  9. #9
    Registered User super8mm's Avatar
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    great segment, hope it is a lot cooler there than it is here over in Wichita Falls they just said was 107??

  10. #10
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Cool here! Not missing the heat at all!

    ...
    Update 4 Hyder, AK to Seattle, WA

    Today Seattle lived up to its reputation. Soggy and a bit congested. We left Hyder, Alaska and headed generally south and east and south and west to Seatac, Washington (by the airport of the same designation) for the start of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally. We have now ridden 7,427 miles since leaving home on May 9. We have avoided the Interstates almost entirely. Our trip from Hyder was leisurely. We stopped in Vanderhoof, Cache Creek, and Hope, British Columbia before arriving at Burlington, Washington where we camped for two nights. We visited the waterfront in Bellingham and then rode up to Mount Baker. The next two days we spent riding out US 20 through the northern Cascades, down US 197, and back to the Seattle metro area via US 2.

    Most of the trip was dry and not cold, if not exactly hot. There is plenty of snow at Mt. Baker and at Washington Pass on US 20, the Cascades highway. Today we rode from Chelen, WA to Seatac almost the entire way in unrelenting soggy rain. But the crowd of veteran riders and soon to be Iron Butt Rally riders at the hotel tonight almost made the rain riding worthwhile. The room was filled with an interesting mix of feigned nonchalance and pre-rally jitters. We know because we've done/had both.

    We will be in the Seattle, Olympia area for 3 more days and will then head south through Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California to Ontario, California for the finish of the rally when the riders return from their 11 day ride throughout the US including mandatory stops in Maine and Florida. We on the other hand are going straight to California after visiting Voni's Aunt Gen in Lacey for a couple of days. By the time we leave Lacey, 80 miles from here some of the riders will be approaching Maine. Not us. Not this year at least.

    We have had no mechanical issues of any note. We did stop at Skagit Motorsports in Burlington, WA where we bought a new rear tire for Paul's bike. He is hauling it around but will install it one day soon. We also stopped at the the Walmart store in Chelan and changed oil in both bikes. We bought the oil, they loaned us a drain pan, and when we were done they took the old oil and empty bottles and disposed of them for us.

    Our wildlife count was increased by four deer on two occasions. We no longer remember the totals.

    After making a couple of U turns trying to find a poorly signed minor highway approaching Seattle, we stopped at a McDonalds to regroup, dry off a bit, and get a bite to eat. We left a significant trail of puddles on the floor which prompted the manager to run right out with a "Caution Wet Floor" sign. Most motorists just don't know how to have fun like this!

    We will report again after the rally riders depart and we settle in Lacey for a couple of days.

    Until later.

    More pictures here:

    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...tle/?start=all






    Last edited by Voni; 06-27-2011 at 11:03 PM.
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves/
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  11. #11
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voni View Post
    Cool here! Not missing the heat at all!

    ...

    Today We will report again after the rally riders depart and we settle in Lacey for a couple of days.

    Until later.

    More pictures here:

    http://s320.photobucket.com/albums/n...tle/?start=all






    This picture is worth framing!
    Karen Jacobs
    Moderator
    2012 R 1200 RT
    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

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