Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vstroming to Colorado & Wyoming

So as most of us know life has a way of throwing you a curve ball now and then and a couple weeks ago I found one heading my way when I got laid off.  Just so happens that the very same Friday my wife Dee was heading to Denver to visit the kids and help them get settled into a new apartment.  Do I need a better excuse?  Sunday morning I was packed and out the garage door on the Vstrom.  I might add it was not without some apprehension although.  Before I made it out the door I tipped the fully loaded Vstrom over into the washer and dryer and had to muscle it back up.  No damage but that’s when I unstrapped the tent and sleeping bag in a smart decision to motel it!
  I didn’t take any photos on the way out to Denver; it was all about covering ground.  I had considered procuring the proper documentation and doing the Saddlesore 1000 but I was too excited to get a full nights sleep and didn’t get as early a start as I had hoped.  I stayed overnight in Green River and then pushed on to Denver the next day.  Helped get the kids moved and it was good that I was there too as my stepson is still recovering from a head injury from a skateboard accident and is having a tough go of it.  I was glad I could be there to help.
  Once the kids were moved into their new place I headed to Wyoming to my brothers and that’s when I pulled out the camera and took a little more time.  On the way up 287 I took a short detour on a dirt road and took a couple bike shots.

I thought this post office was neat even though it was closed and I have a couple of these to add to the post office thread.

My brother Ed and his wife Diahann both had to work that Friday so I used that opportunity to take a early ride out Hat Six Road.

Hat Six Road turns into Negro Hill Road (can I say that?) which is a dirt road and climbs up into Banner Ranch.  I found myself riding somewhat out of my comfort zone because the road was steep, rutted and rocky.  I decided that I need lessons on riding this type of road and rather than dump the bike I thought it best to get back to where I felt comfortable.

You can’t ride very far in Wyoming without spotting what my brother refers to as goats but what is more commonly called the North American Pronghorn Antelope.

I rode up Casper Mountain Road and pulled over intending to take some bike shots at the turnout overlooking Casper when this fellow named Rick Holmes stopped by on his Kawasaki Versys wanting to have a look at my bike.  Rick is a resident of Casper and I really enjoyed talking bikes (for over 1 ½ hours) with him.  Turns out he has relatives here in Lebec and has enjoyed riding Lockwood Valley Road and Hwy 33.  We exchanged numbers and hopefully we will be able to ride together again, other than just down Casper Mountain.   

It was great to visit with family and friends and my brother is a master griller on the Weber so we enjoyed some great tri-tip and grilled (HOT) chilies that my brother grows.

  Leaving Casper Sunday morning I set up the tripod and took a photo with my brother and his wife.  People say we look like brothers, what do you think?

On the way out of town I headed over Casper Mountain and took the dirt road route down to highway 487 and headed back to Denver to spend time with my daughter Teri, stepson Nick and wife Dee before she flew back home on Tuesday.  Then I got my photo of the Vstrom at the Casper overlook and a few on the dirt roads on Casper Mountain.

Rick told me that to find good twisty roads other than on Casper Mountain would involve riding some straight ones and I did wear out the center of my tires more than I would have liked to at times.  The vastness of the land is unparalleled.

I think I may have found a cheap fixer upper!

Looking towards Colorado and crossing the border.

Some photos from Nancy’s (Hercbr) old stomping grounds.  This is one of my favorite places in that area and probably close to where Dee and I are going to settle down when we retire.  Riding along the Poudre River which being Labor Day Weekend was busier than I cared for.

County road 27 or Stove Prairie Road as it is known, had far less traffic and was a real pleasure!

Tuesday Dee headed to the airport in the afternoon and I headed west on I-70 for the motel in Green River.  Pulled off the interstate to gas up and took a picture of these Colorado natives.

This is the one tunnel that I haven’t been able to hold my breath all the way through, even though I keep on trying!

  The view out the other side of the tunnel always takes my breath away!

  It’s a pleasure to ride thru Glenwood Canyon and the way they built the road through there is a real engineering feat.

When I was about 65 miles from Green River I pulled over to change to my clear visor since the sun was dropping out of sight and I did a quick look around and discovered that I had no headlights!  I was loosing light fast and decided that I should cover as much ground as possible while I could still see.  Back on the highway I cranked the throttle and took the Vstrom as fast as I dared.  When sight became an issue I pulled up next to a young man in a cage and caught his attention pointing out my lack of lights and asked if I could follow behind him.  He pulled off at a gas station about 25 miles from my motel and I thanked him for his help and started checking my fuses to see if I could find the problem.  The fuses were fine but as luck would have it there was a fellow on a FJR gassing up so I asked him if I could run next to him the rest of the way.  Tony was his name and he had been riding around Michigan and the east coast and had left Washington D.C. on Saturday heading home to Mission Viejo.  He was planning on getting a sandwich at Subway in Green River and was happy to help me out.  I told him about Pashnit and hopefully we will see him on here soon.  Tony thanks for your help!
  The next day I rode to Jorgensen Honda in Richfield Utah after calling them to see if they could help me.  They work on all kinds of motorcycles, ATVs and are a Ford dealer along with selling mountain bikes, sporting goods, guns and they have a bowling alley too!  They also know there stuff!  They showed me that the previous owner had put some kind of wiring harness on the lights that although they didn’t know what its purpose was it was causing the problem.  Off it came and off I went on my way to Ely Nevada on Hwy 50. 
  I stopped along the road to get these two photos of the mountain range when I noticed a haze along the roadway.  Oh heck it’s raining and raining good.  Back on the road I was through the rain in no time and my new jacket worked great.

I know that they cut the most famous one down but I guess it wasn’t the only shoe tree.

  I liked this view of the rain off in the distance.

  I thought the way the light was shining through on the rain looked really cool!

There were rain clouds around me for most of this trip but I was lucky and it was rare for me to get rained on.

I made it to my motel in Ely just as the storm hit.  Lighting, thunder and then the skies opened up.  Mother Nature put on quite a light show that night!

The next morning I had some oatmeal at Hotel Nevada and then I was on the road again.

Then, in the middle of nowhere I came upon the Flash!  I had to turn around and find out his story.  He said he thought I would, I had that look about me!  Must have been the way I craned my head around!  Turns out this guy from Australia Mark Gibbens is walking across America to raise money for the Red Cross to build water wells for those that need them in Africa.  A worthy cause for sure so I told him I would pass on his cause and maybe some of us that can will donate!

I had been keeping an eye on my rear tire since I left Denver and when I stopped in Austin, NV for gas it became apparent to me it wasn’t going to make it back to So Cal as I had been hoping.  Two gentlemen there from Carson City pointed me in the direction of Adventure Motostuff in Carson City.  It turns out that the skid plate I installed that was given to me by the previous owner came from his shop.  The owner Chad at his shop.

Chad told me that the wiring harness that caused my problems was supposed to boost the current going to the lights and increase the intensity but the wiring was lightweight and it was cheaply made so that’s where I threw it out!

All the way from Carson City to Walker where I spent my last night on the road the sky was filled with smoke from the Yosemite fire.  Visibility was only a mile max in many places and I wanted to stop and take a picture but the wind was so strong I thought I’d just take a photo from Walker when I stopped.

Heading south on 395 with the chill of the morning I saw steam rising from some hot springs right off the highway so I had to pull a u-turn and get a pic.

I’ve passed the road to Bodie many times and have always wanted to pay the ghost town a visit so I couldn’t think of a better time.  The paved portion heading to Bodie was very nice and I was glad to be on the Vstrom for the dirt part.

  I found Bodie to be very interesting and I would like to spend more time exploring the area.

Heading out of Bodie you can see Mono Lake off to the south and get an idea of how sweet the paved portion of roadway is.

Well that’s the end of this ride report.  I hope you all enjoyed reading it and viewing my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.