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Motorcycle rides not to miss


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No you don't need an adventure bike. But quality food and rest stops are key.

We can start with luxury motorcycle travel porn. Italian Alps above Lake Garda.

 

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A personal favorite not for the food but for the landscapes. (It can be done in a car.) I would advise a stealth camping gear for minimalist off the road sites on either end of the section of roads.

 

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Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge MT to the NE entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Dress for freezing temperatures even in summer.

Going-to-the-Sun Rd. Glacier National Park.

I can’t recommend the park loop in Acadia NP any longer. Too much traffic and the road up Cadillac Mountain requires a prepaid permit.

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For pure riding as opposed to touring & viewing, I can't imagine a better road than the one from Sea Ranch to the 101 North of SF.

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41 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

For pure riding as opposed to touring & viewing, I can't imagine a better road than the one from Sea Ranch to the 101 North of SF.

Funny you should mention that. Just pulled into Fort Bragg. Wife and I will ride the scooter down to Bodega Bay and back tomorrow. 

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Camino a  farellones northside of Santiago chile heading to Valle nevado.

I forge if there are 30 or 40 odd switchbacks and temperatures go from 90+ degrees at the base on a hot summers day to 50degrees odd by the time you reach the top.

 

 

00983D26-9441-4511-8FEE-48805888ED88.jpeg
 

Not my picture, picture pulled from the interwebs 

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9 hours ago, Black Jack said:

No you don't need an adventure bike. But quality food and rest stops are key.

We can start with luxury motorcycle travel porn. Italian Alps above Lake Garda.

 

Assuming the plague subsides, I'll be there in September. In a rental car though. 

Zurich to Andermatt. Furka round there for a while. Lakes Maggiore and Garda. Finish in Cortina and back to Zurich. Hit all the passes I can. 

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No thoughts of the "tail of the dragon" in the Smoky Mts., in Tennesse?  Did much of it in a high performance resto-mod 72 Morris Mini Cooper S.  There is a bar somewhere along the way, with a tree in front, hung with all the broken parts of the many motorcycles that had crashed on that part of the dragon.  Kind of like a Christmans tree....LOL!!!

 

Sea Warrior,  Been a few years, did not recognize it, my bad, so spank me please!!

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1 minute ago, billy backstay said:

No thoughts of the "tail of the dragon" in the Smoky Mts., in Tennesse?  Did much of it in a high performance resto-mod 72 Morris Mini Cooper S.  There is a bar somewhere along the way, with a tree in front, hung with all the broken parts of the many motorcycles that had crashed on that part of the dragon.  Kind of like a Christmans tree....LOL!!!

 

8 minutes ago, hasher said:

The Dragon's Tail:  TODMAP.jpg

 

 

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Northern California - Highway 36

Quick Ride: Longest twisty road in the state, loved by all, generally considered the Best Motorcycle Road in California and possibly the West Coast. Nearly 2000 corners in 140 miles. Must-do motorcycle ride. 5000 ft pass in the center.
140 Miles - LENGTH
 Dreamy- PAVEMENT. Tight, Many, Switchbacks - and CURVES!

1811 Curves in 140 Miles. Highway 36 has to taken on in almost higher state. It's garners a level of reverence for me over the years and i am always thrilled to do this ride. As great as anything I have ridden in Europe, Switzerland, Dolomites and ect.  Makes the awesome Dragon seem like a someone’s driveway. It is open almost year around too! Few Highway Patrol. Carry a garmin Inreach just in case. I come from the coast and ride to Red Bluff then continue on to the Nevada border.

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50 minutes ago, hasher said:

The Dragon's Tail:  TODMAP.jpg

 

 

44 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

No thoughts of the "tail of the dragon" in the Smoky Mts., in Tennesse?  Did much of it in a high performance resto-mod 72 Morris Mini Cooper S.  There is a bar somewhere along the way, with a tree in front, hung with all the broken parts of the many motorcycles that had crashed on that part of the dragon.  Kind of like a Christmans tree....LOL!!!

 

Sea Warrior,  Been a few years, did not recognize it, my bad, so spank me please!!

The Dragon is a lot like Sturgis, worth doing once.  Or hit it early on weekends and dodge the morning possums.

So many other roads just as good around there.

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4 minutes ago, Dilligaf0220 said:

 

The Dragon is a lot like Sturgis, worth doing once.  Or hit it early on weekends and dodge the morning possums.

So many other roads just as good around there.

A friend took his son through Tennessee on dirt bikes on the terrain that became the interstate north of Chattanooga.  They did Baha later.  It was relatively a walk in the park.

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1 minute ago, warbird said:
image.png.aa5507b9342991e7ad7897b78d41c656.png 198 East of Visalia was enjoyable in the day (80s) but it may have change in 40 years.
image.png.1043ff7c659d603fec5c32965eb302c8.png 190 out of Springville the same, that was 40 years ago...

I camped (sleeping bag and ground cloth) at Laguna Seca 1983 or 84. I met a couple from LA area as we observed the cork screw exit. We chatted and enjoyed each others company. They travelled similarly, tank bag, sleeping bag, canteen, each on GS 1000 or KZ 1000 or similar. Good times, Kenny was running a 570 or 630 (or some such) Yamaha concoction against the 750 USA spec 2 strokes.  Good racing, good friends of the moment. Riding 190 a year later I stopped for burger in Camp Nelson or Cedar Slope.  My friends from Laguna Seca were there. We chatted over burgers. They were the GoldWing in the parking area, she got hit in an intersection months ago and was only semi mobile but needed to get out on the road:D

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2 hours ago, Dilligaf0220 said:

 

The Dragon is a lot like Sturgis, worth doing once.  Or hit it early on weekends and dodge the morning possums.

So many other roads just as good around there.

get a subscription to blue ridge motorcycle magazine.  It chronicles all the great roads in the area along with places to eat, drink and sleep.

https://blueridgemotorcyclingmagazine.com/slay-the-tail-of-the-dragon/

 

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No matter how good the ride, if at least part of it crosses an illegal trail, or cuts through a ghost town, it's always better.

You know you're riding Hooligan when you think to yourself, "yeah, I'd rather do this than get laid."

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5 hours ago, Dorado said:

Assuming the plague subsides, I'll be there in September. In a rental car though. 

Zurich to Andermatt. Furka round there for a while. Lakes Maggiore and Garda. Finish in Cortina and back to Zurich. Hit all the passes I can. 

I spent a couple of years working in Zurich.  This will be a great experience - I spent quite a few weekends just driving around looking for cool alpine roads.  One memorable one was driving in the high alpine between snow walls 10' high with all-season tires on after passing at least 5 signs saying winter tires only.  If I had had a problem the Swiss would not have been kind.

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10 hours ago, Dilligaf0220 said:

 

The Dragon is a lot like Sturgis, worth doing once.  Or hit it early on weekends and dodge the morning possums.

So many other roads just as good around there.

Last time I went up there, probably 12 years ago, had a nice ride on the SV from Tsali (we were mountain biking and camping) to the store.  There was so much traffic going and coming off the gap that I didn't go any further.  276 going up to the Blue Ridge out of Brevard is very nice, and breakfast or lunch at the Pisgah Inn is a reward.  Last time I did it (again, over 10 years ago) was on a bicycle though.

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Serra do Rio do Rastro - Southern Brazil

AF1QipOFjD7naVyCsr4kMOZT4nkGA3OLCHbiDQXDKkNw=w408-h266-k-noimage.thumb.png.a53ed3109262629948da29bfbbaafa52.png

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23 minutes ago, warbird said:

That looks very cool but where do I stop for another beer and a piss?

You don't. At least not until you finish the climb...

But the view... in clear days you can see the coast, more than 100km (75miles) away

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21 hours ago, Trovão said:

Serra do Rio do Rastro - Southern Brazil

image.thumb.png.a53ed3109262629948da29bfbbaafa52.png

Looks like the ultimate skateboard park.

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On 4/12/2021 at 11:17 PM, Rain Man said:

I spent a couple of years working in Zurich.  This will be a great experience - I spent quite a few weekends just driving around looking for cool alpine roads.  One memorable one was driving in the high alpine between snow walls 10' high with all-season tires on after passing at least 5 signs saying winter tires only.  If I had had a problem the Swiss would not have been kind.

What's the chances of adverse weather on the passes during the second half of September?

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17 minutes ago, Dorado said:

What's the chances of adverse weather on the passes during the second half of September?

High depending on the pass. Stelvio most likely will be closed by then.  There are some epic passes that will remain open. Nothing like riding in those passes as the snow begins to fall. not uncommon to snow in the height of summer and with road work at its peak. 70 and sunny to white out and 30 in 2 miles.

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As for the Tail of the Dragon:

1) Ride it mid-week,  preferably early in the day, off-season, if you must

 2) There are so many good roads in that area you OWE it to yourself to explore the others.

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I was very lucky in 2015. My misses was Sailing from Itajai, Brazil to Newport, RI and I decided to fill the time with a road trip,  so I rode from Dallas to Newport. Basically aiming to do North to South...without hitting the US coastal highways. 

Highlights were definitely: Natchez Trace Parkway, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Tail of the Dragon 

 

At the time my bike at home was a Daytona 595, but no way I could have done that trip on a sports bike. I rented a Harley Fatboy from Eagle Riders, and once I was into the mindset of cruising it was just a phenomenal way of seeing a country I have visited but know very little about.

There was no chrome left on the bottom of the bikes footplates.... 

3500 miles in a few weeks,  and still one of my favourite adventures. Haven't been on a long ride like it since then, but would would love to if I can find roads like the ones mentioned. Maybe the North Coast 500 in Scotland. 

 

I have to give honourable mentions to the A272 in Hampshire,  UK and the road over the top of Dartmouth through Postbridge. Both beautiful bike roads.

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This is an incredible ride. I’ve done it a dozen times. Towering redwoods, hairpin twisties, coastal cliffs. Stunning.

One day our group fell in with another on a Sunday ride. After about 30 minutes of carving, most of it way above my skill level, we meet up at a gas station. I ask a guy on what was then the new Hyabusa what it was like throwing that thing around in the twisties compared to a 600 like mine. He was a pro and the higher boosted seemed like it was rocket powered. He chuckled and said, in a thick German accent, “well I don’t know, I’ve never ridden a little bike like that!” I was on a new F4I that was no slouch. Good times 

 

508A30EC-DB1A-420B-95B6-18E1F9C799FF.thumb.png.d384505f19077f7f5fc61bba605540a0.png

 

 

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Mullholland Highway out of Westlake Village in LA county used to be a fun ride on Sunday mornings stopping at the Rock Store. There were some serious sport bikes and a fair amount of foolishness. Get offs were not uncommon. I stopped going about ' 92. I didnt want to see the inevitable fatality.

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I've looked at some of these very winding roads and thought they'd be fun, but at what point do you just start to become sick of the motion?  I remember driving in my car down the ocean highway in Oregon and after a while it became too much for both my wife and me.

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2 hours ago, Foolish said:

I've looked at some of these very winding roads and thought they'd be fun, but at what point do you just start to become sick of the motion?  I remember driving in my car down the ocean highway in Oregon and after a while it became too much for both my wife and me.

I think there are not nearly as many lateral forces riding on the bike, most are vertical because of leaning. For me it was just one long adrenaline rush, something I looked forward to all week at work.

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On 4/13/2021 at 3:01 PM, Trovão said:

Serra do Rio do Rastro - Southern Brazil

AF1QipOFjD7naVyCsr4kMOZT4nkGA3OLCHbiDQXDKkNw=w408-h266-k-noimage.thumb.png.a53ed3109262629948da29bfbbaafa52.png

I get vertigo just looking at the picture. I'd be paralysed irl.....

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Not exactly remote and isolated, the Rim of the World Highway is an easy day or overnight trip for SoCal riders.

https://www.myscenicdrives.com/drives/california/rim-of-the-world-scenic-byway

 

Once you get above 5000 ft a lot of it is like that old Arlo Guthrie motorcycle song..." on the left was mountain, on the right was nuthin'!" So stop often to look. I think the max road elevation is about 7800' but there are side trips up some local peaks that go much higher with great views on clear days.

Personally I'd take HWY18 to 38 all the way from San Berdoo around to Mentone as the very western end from Cajon Pass to Crestline is low and mostly wooded without much  in the way of views.

RIM_OF_THE_WORLD_SCENIC_BYWAY_-_CALIFORN

california-san-bernardino-top-rated-thin

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I'm not sure I'm with some of you guys on some of these roads.  The Tail of the Dragon doesn't interest me - too short, too heavily policed and full of fuckwits.  Two mates here tonight to watch the MotoGP have done it... and think it's an irrelevance compared with the roads in northern Thailand... which, combined with the enforcement regime - or lack thereof, make this place motorcycling Nirvana.  As Ride Coordinator (and President) for Ulysses Club Thailand, I've put on over 100 rides for the club in the past two years.  We have a fucking hoot of a time... and not once in that two years have I felt the need to have an enforcement panic look at the speedometer.  We set our limits - and we have fun within those limits.  I - and others in the club - have been doing skills development training sessions in recent months - first aid, survival skills, motorcycling safety, braking, cornering - etc.  Take some people outside their comfort zone and things can get interesting.

I came here for the riding - and you couldn't pry me out of here with a crowbar.  One slide from a recent training session

0000floresroads.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Mrleft8 said:

I get vertigo just looking at the picture. I'd be paralysed irl.....

You only go UP on roads like that.

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45 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

You only go UP on roads like that.

Speed builds rapidly on that kind of downhill.  I found in that environment I was a gear higher coming down with the same acceleration corner to corner but you soon get a bit too fast and really need to reign yourself in.

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8 hours ago, warbird said:

Speed builds rapidly on that kind of downhill.  I found in that environment I was a gear higher coming down with the same acceleration corner to corner but you soon get a bit too fast and really need to reign yourself in.

There are far too many wrecks.  It is not fun to see.  The vast majority have a nice little thrill without dancing with the devil.  

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  • 1 month later...

Just yesterday came home from a ride to Mackay QLD and back to near Brisbane on an XL250.  2050 kms. solo no backup.  500 km biggest day.

I got a sore arse but otherwise had a great time and met some interesting people.  So glad I did it.

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Yorktown Va down to Cape Hatteras and back, many moons ago.  I was at a Coast Guard school in Yorktown, and had ridden my little Honda CB200 up there from New Orleans.   Weekends at the Base were boring, so I went wandering.  The Outer Banks were cool.

In December when the school finished I rode back home, in two days, one short half-day, the second day 850 miles straight through, wide-open at 70 the whole way, feet on the passenger pegs.  It was sort of Zen at night, I had intended to stop, but just kept going.

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On 4/12/2021 at 12:56 PM, cyclone said:

Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge MT to the NE entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Dress for freezing temperatures even in summer.

Going-to-the-Sun Rd. Glacier National Park.

I can’t recommend the park loop in Acadia NP any longer. Too much traffic and the road up Cadillac Mountain requires a prepaid permit.

Lived in Red Lodge. Always fun to see Wally WInobago pull into town after driving it. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 4:17 AM, Randorm said:

Just yesterday came home from a ride to Mackay QLD and back to near Brisbane on an XL250.  2050 kms. solo no backup.  500 km biggest day.

I got a sore arse but otherwise had a great time and met some interesting people.  So glad I did it.

image.png.9b0684c85f652e4141ce4ba6ae11c9c3.png

image.png.85d5f33e7441e02d843131abeeb22bee.png

where the hell did you find that old honda?

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5 hours ago, chester said:

where the hell did you find that old honda?

Bought it for my 55th birthday as a complete wreck.  Rusty, no air filter and the engine full of dust in the sump, lights not working.

Completely stripped and rebuilt it starting with the crank shaft and replacement connecting rod as the little end was too worn.  Reused any original parts where I could.  It was worth it, really enjoying it.  It took me 1000 miles to stop stressing about it breaking down.

The decision to take that ride was made the night before after checking 'Windy' and seeing a dry weather window with tail winds on the way up.  "Fuck it, let's do it!"  Solo no support, adds a level of accomplishment when it's done.

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6 hours ago, Randorm said:

Bought it for my 55th birthday as a complete wreck.  Rusty, no air filter and the engine full of dust in the sump, lights not working.

Completely stripped and rebuilt it starting with the crank shaft and replacement connecting rod as the little end was too worn.  Reused any original parts where I could.  It was worth it, really enjoying it.  It took me 1000 miles to stop stressing about it breaking down.

The decision to take that ride was made the night before after checking 'Windy' and seeing a dry weather window with tail winds on the way up.  "Fuck it, let's do it!"  Solo no support, adds a level of accomplishment when it's done.

well done, it looks good.  that was my buddies' first bike about 1972

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Some pics from last years ride out west. The first one is from when we rode around Arkansas. The next two are Beartooth pass and Redlodge. 
I have a house north of Asheville NC in the mountains. The riding there is epic.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am just about to commit to taking the entire next week off, leaving on Saturday morning from the bay area and meeting up with some other riders near Tahoe. Many riders are going the first way along the Saw Tooths. I could go the second through Flaming Gorge, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The ride will include mostly camping (cheap motels in Jackson are over 300 per night!). I want to be in Great Falls on Thursday afternoon.

950 miles vs 1450 miles. 

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Enjoy the ride mate.  

We are setting off on this ride in a few hours time

ucr18062021.jpg

Auke was a good friend of mine, and I traveled tens of thousands of km with him on mapping expeditions - and my first ever trip with him was along this trail.  We will use the trip to raise funds for Burmese refugees fleeing the carnage being caused by the army there at the moment.  The off-road group will be tackling the Elephant Trail - seen in the pic above with some of the participants last year.  It was a bit tough last year in the rain.  We've had rain again this week since our recce last Friday.  Last year both Deere (my right hand man) and I started the trip on Honda Waves last year but handed them to others who were encountering difficulties (crashing) on larger bikes - including our club medic, who cracked a couple of ribs.  Deere is seen above on a friend's Honda 500X that he rode for about 95% of the trail.  The guy who owns that bike is back again this year - on one of my CRF250 rentals, rather than the bigger bike.  Smaller is better in Thailand.  I'm riding a CRF 250 Rally this year.  Deere's on one of the rental DRZ 400s.  The "support" truck ran over my foot last year, when it careered down a steep section out of control.  The truck owner is driving it himself this year, which means it might be less of a menace.

Indications are that we have over 30 bikes coming - maybe as many as 40.... which might be "interesting" - with as many doing the off-road as the on-road.  The on-road group will be traveling the Skeleton Road - so known because it was built by the Japanese army in WW2 to reach Burma - and about 12,000 of them died on it during their retreat - of starvation, disease, allied bombing and at the hands of the hill tribes people who had suffered at their hands during the war.  IIRC they lost a man every 20 metres on average over the 236 km of it.  On that point - Auke took me to a beautiful waterfall in Laos once... known by the locals as "floating head falls".... think be-headings - with the heads being tossed into the river.  No wonder the hill tribes extracted their revenge.

The Elephant Trail dates back a lot further - an ancient trade route that follows the ridge lines.  In time it will be all paved, but for now it is 70/30 dirt/concrete trails.  It is tiger territory, the locals having pointed out to us where they are on a recent trip.  It is also a coffee producing area, the hill tribes having been led in that direction. away from opium poppies.

We're aiming for a bit of video - I had to grab a GoPro 9 this week to replace a 7 which shit the bed.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Black Jack said:

I am just about to commit to taking the entire next week off, leaving on Saturday morning from the bay area and meeting up with some other riders near Tahoe. Many riders are going the first way along the Saw Tooths. I could go the second through Flaming Gorge, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The ride will include mostly camping (cheap motels in Jackson are over 300 per night!). I want to be in Great Falls on Thursday afternoon.

950 miles vs 1450 miles. 

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Too damn hot right now for the long way

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4 hours ago, Dorado said:

Too damn hot right now for the long way

You might be right. I usually ride with a ice water camelback but that might not be enough. 

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1 hour ago, Black Jack said:

You might be right. I usually ride with a ice water camelback but that might not be enough. 

Ain't fun nor safe this time of year. 

If I was going anywhere this time of year it would be going north along the coast all the way to the Olympic Peninsula and back.

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And last Friday... a favourite road of mine.  Pizza run to Lampang - about 200 km down by these back roads.  Too much pizza and a few beers, so it was home on the highway (100 km of so)

 

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402617478_ScreenShot2021-06-27at8_45_06AM.thumb.png.69f22e1f1981ee225b28a87cd1f28b42.png

 

Last week I did a great ride. A top 5 of my life. There is so much to see. I saw things I never saw like a Badger momma and three kits cross the road - way too fast to stop and pull out the camera. a herd of Antelope playing along side the road. Parts of the Lewis and Clark trail. I went using electronics and navigated mostly by paper maps. I carried the same Garmin Inreach GPS on my camelback, the same one I use on the boat incase i fell into trouble and out of cell service.  I also got a look at the changing of America. Took notice of the truck drivers often who are immigrants from India and Pakistan, more female drivers and those folks you meet at the large stops along the road. 

2949 miles in 8 days taking 1.2 days off. Averaging over 450 miles a day, with 770 as a high and 230 as a low and getting gas mileage of around 47, 45 as a low and 59 as a high.

I thought I would be picking up a windscreen but there were none to be had. Covid slowed the shipments and warehousing of things of that nature. That meant I had to ride a naked bike. The red Areostich jacket that I love parachutes open when the vents are unzipped making the shoulders and hands more fatigued. It did make me more visible which I am grateful.

All in all, a great ride.

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Just got back from a week bicycle touring/camping from Eugene to Crescent City. All I can say is that 199 from Crescent City to Grants Pass is an incredible road (we were driving back to Eugene to pick up our cars).

101 and the state parks in Oregon is a killer combo but the best rides are the roads west/east from 101 to 5, 101 itself of an endless train or of trucks, RV's and Pickups/Trailers. The state parks are first rate, free showers and quiet in general.

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23 hours ago, Chris in Santa Cruz, CA said:

Just got back from a week bicycle touring/camping from Eugene to Crescent City. All I can say is that 199 from Crescent City to Grants Pass is an incredible road (we were driving back to Eugene to pick up our cars).

101 and the state parks in Oregon is a killer combo but the best rides are the roads west/east from 101 to 5, 101 itself of an endless train or of trucks, RV's and Pickups/Trailers. The state parks are first rate, free showers and quiet in general.

must have been a great ride. oregon state parks are first rate. Once you do them, you start looking for a home to buy in Bend. :)

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28 minutes ago, Black Jack said:

must have been a great ride. oregon state parks are first rate. Once you do them, you start looking for a home to buy in Bend. :)

no kidding on the oregon parks, first rate, also towns like Brookings are pretty darn attractive as possible vacation home locations. Some amazing cliff side real estate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Took the grandkids out west this summer and one stop was Deadwood SD.  I decided to rent and Indian Challenger for a day and take my grandson to the Devils tower. After we got back I took the wife for a ride in Spearfish Canyon, then I got up early the next morning and put the bike through its paces on Nemo Rd and Vanocker Canyon Rd, three times. I will say the Challenger is a really nice bike that seem to fit me well, the only thing I had a hard time getting over was the fairing, the back side of it look like Quark the Pherangi from Star Trek.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/17/2021 at 10:41 AM, Black Jack said:

I am just about to commit to taking the entire next week off, leaving on Saturday morning from the bay area and meeting up with some other riders near Tahoe. Many riders are going the first way along the Saw Tooths. I could go the second through Flaming Gorge, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The ride will include mostly camping (cheap motels in Jackson are over 300 per night!). I want to be in Great Falls on Thursday afternoon.

950 miles vs 1450 miles. 

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Are you wearing a backpack too on this ride? Windscreen looks a little small :)

Cool bike. My 06 RT has WAY more plastic on it!

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One not to miss over here

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Some good views from the ridge tops

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Another good one, also only 30 minutes from the front door (but we recommend a guide)
 

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