Yep, I did it…1,000,000 miles, yes really, one million lifetime miles and that doesn’t include racing miles. It only took me 50 years but hey…I made it.
It all (long distance traveling) started in 1971, my friends Beny (on a somewhat chopperized Honda 350), Mike on a stock Yamaha 650 and me on a Honda SL350 (which shortly after this trip got converted into a Desert Racer) headed up into the Sierra’s. A week of riding like that got me hooked.
After that it was back and forth to New Mexico…the long way, and all around the Southwest. Next was my first ride up to Canada with my ski racing and riding friend Bud. It was one of those rides where we would camp 3 nights and then hotel it a night so we could shower and sleep comfortably.
But this last trip was special. I spent two weeks with my friend Les and…I crossed the 1,000,000 mile mark somewhere in Montana . We traveled the Western U.S for nearly 6000 miles, rode in 100+ degree weather, got rained on, hailed on, met great people and had one hell of a good time.
Hundreds of miles at triple digit speeds, and lot’s of gas station stops…my Roadliner drinks lots of 91 octane and Les has to pee a lot (he drinks a LOT of water).
Big bikes drink a lot of dead dinosaurs on this stretch of road, and don’t ask me where this is, I can’t even remember why I walked into the kitchen 15 minutes ago much less where I was five months ago?!?!
Here is yet another part of the ride where we got a chance to let the bikes stretch their legs. I was riding comfortably at about 100 miles per hour and Les was a ways back, but then I saw headlights coming closer..closer and then in the blink of an eye this big blue Harley passes by at 120!!! When did Harley’s get that fast??!!??
Now, those speeds only put us into that storm ahead sooner. Well, it was fun getting there.
The trip was a great experience and I’m happy that Les wanted to do this with me. I love traveling on a motorcycle. You see more, feel more and you are more alive. You, your motorcycle and a good friend seeing the world. What could be better? Not much.
In the Gallery section of this website is the full photo album. It’s kind of random because I’ve pulled photo’s out here and there for other posts but you’ll get an idea of how wonderful this trip really was.
One Million miles…I’m the luckiest guy in the world.
After 5000 plus miles, crazy ass weather, interesting people, good hotels and some maybe not so good, it was time to part ways. Les, a short ( a 150 miles or so..) me…600+ miles to home with Heather and Boscoe.
Our motorcycles had a tender moment saying goodbye. Then it was on the road. Back into 100+ degree heat and BIG speed. First gas stop the big bike met a new friend.
From here it was a Highway ride…hours and hours….well, and a lot of wind that day and I don’t like wind.
It truly was a great ride. The sights we saw , the people we met, the roads we rode, the weather we had to deal with…you name it we did it and it was great. This ride was all could you want in a motorcycle adventure.
Thank you Les for joining me in this ride
Wake up in Kanab Utah and time to go. But first, a hearty breakfast. Let’s start with STRONG coffee…well, according to Les. Next stop North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
“Ugghhh, Les…are you sure we’re going the right way???” Turns out, yes we were and what a fun ride.It was a great day at the North Rim, this was another of Les’ desires for this trip. It was a perfect day in all ways.It wasn’t a long day ride but it was a long day just the same.
After hiking around different view points of the North Rim of The Grand Canyon…and yes..no matter how many times I have been there it is a whole more than just a big hole in the ground.
Late lunch , early supper at the oldest (?) Navajo trading post in Arizona. Food was good. but….a little too touristy.
Next stop, Flagstaff…
The ride to Kanab was great, especially here…what a place. Beautiful. Even with a Porta Potty in the background?The ride from here was pretty easy but again…great scenery all the way. Never a dull moment…until we got to Kanab. It looked liked we were yet again running into rain however the motorcycle Gods shined on us and we arrived nice and dry.
You never know who you are going to meet on the road.So here we are at a Motel 6 in Kanab Utah. It was a very nice place. When Les and I checked in the young lady, Frankie, that checked us in was wonderful. She told us we could leave our motorcycles under the awning to keep them out of the rain…that did show up 30 minutes later. Wait…didn’t this happen just a few days ago in Colorado? Dodged the weather by minutes? Les and I are lucky guys…sometimes.
Anyway, back to meeting interesting people. When we tried to park our bikes under the canopy there was another motorcycle there and was positioned so that we couldn’t fit all three motorcycles. Frankie called the persons room and out he came and we all three got covered. Now, here is the interesting part (yes I know some these stories are a bit boring…) This is Brian, we got to talking about motorcycles (DUH) and we found out we have a common bond…Racing. He too is an ex-roadracer. He’s from Utah but has raced at Willow Springs (my home track here in Southern California) and other tracks we share in common. So there goes the next hour. An hour well spent.
Les and I left Green River bright and early…really early, and headed off to Escalante Utah.Riding through this area was just plain wonderful…we didn’t get rained on! I know this is getting boring to read but those of us who ride long distances each day, triple digit speeds are normal…as are multiple gas stops.
Next stop The Grand Escalante Staircase. What a beautiful place but…you really need to take the time to stop and look.So we ride into Escalante and Les pulls into this Palace of a hotel???? $200 a night? Yes. $200… and I think we were the only ones there besides the ones that work there. Now, we had dinner there in the hotel and it was pretty good and we had a really fun and good conversation with the Chef….he had nothing else to do.
Next morning off to Kanab Utah.
Leaving Pinedale Wyoming it was on to Green River Utah. However, we had to make a stop in Green River Wyoming. Les was noticing oil coming out that shouldn’t be so we made a stop Flaming Gorge Harley Davidson. They were great!!! Les used his handy dandy factory HD GPS that took us right there. I wasn’t allowed to park in front of the store because I was on a “not a Harley”…Ok, just kidding, they were great people. The service manager came out to the parking lot, checked over Les’ bike and told him not to worry, it’s just blow by. I convinced Les that he had to buy a T-Shirt from them and he did. Back on the road.
The Ride to Green River was great…uneventful but great. Wide open spaces easy roads and you guessed it…Triple digit speeds. The Roadliner is wonderful at speed, it can pass almost anything but a gas station. And speaking of gas stations…here we are at the border and we ran into (not literally) a couple who was traveling, and get this, from Atlanta Georgia to British Columbia and back!!! Les is really good at making friends and these folks were great. The lady had the worst case of “Raccoon Eyes” I’ve seen since my skiing days!From here it was onto the Motel 6 in Green river Utah. A pretty easy 400 mile day When we got to town it was smaller than small, but…the motel was just fine, met a really nice couple and their dog out in this area for some dirt bike riding…yes, the Dog did ride.
The restaurant next door was really good, almost as good as the view. Next morning The Grand Escalante Staircase and end the day in Kanab, Utah.
Ok; here was the BIG thing for Les on this trip…Yellowstone National Park. And why shouldn’t it be?!? It truly is a wonder of the world. The only and biggest downside to a National Park like Yellowstone during the summer is………Tourists!! but wait…I’m a tourist too. There are too many of us? Nah, we love these places.
We left Bozemon Montana early in the morning and high-tailed it to Yellowstone. But…we had a bit what you might call inconviences?? like 20 miles of road construction to deal with. Oh well…you make the best of it. Making the best of 20 miles of bad tarmac, dirt, gravel and sand on a 800+ pound motorcycle, I need a break!!! I rode about 100 yards behind Les because of all the debris getting tossed up!
Once into Yellowstone we took the road out to the Artist’s Paint Pots pools. A really neat hike to see some very cool (?) bubbling thermal pools. Next stop ‘Old Faithful’. First stop the General Store for much needed refreshment…water and Gatorade. Les loves Gatorade. Our timing was as perfect as could be. The park knows almost to the minute when Old Faithful is going to show off and we got there fifteen minutes before showtime. We got got front row seats (sitting on the barrier wall) and it was a great as you would expect…the oooh’s and wow’s from the crowd almost drowned out the geyser itself. well worth it. Then came leaving the area…not as much fun.
Traffic getting out of the Old Faithful area is worse than driving the 405 freeway in Southern California during rush hour (which is 24 hours). We did pull up alongside another couple of bikes and one of them told us of getting stuck in a bear crossing for almost an hour earlier that morning. When I said that must have been really cool he said “Yeah, tell that to my clutch”.
Next stop Pinedale Wyoming, but first we had to go through Jackson. My goodness what a crowded town that was. We had first thought about staying there overnight but the cheapest hotel was $300 !!?? on we go. I have skied Jackson Hole a number of times but I have never seen the town this crowded. Pinedale was a great stop.
In this 5000+ mile ride one of the big things for Les was to go to Glacier National Park. I agree. Riding the ‘Going To The Sun Road’ is always wonderful, even if you have to follow two or three motorhomes. The downside is not too many Glaciers…Global Warming???? It is a beautiful ride and from there it was on to Kalispell via the Eastern edge of Flathead Lake where years ago I almost bought a place to retire…glad I didn’t because I don’t want to shovel snow.
I’ve ridden that road four times now and I never get tired of it. Riding with Les on his first time was a real pleasure and the video of him is wonderful. But my favorite memory of this road was taking my dad on it for his first time. There were a few similarities riding with Les…looking at all the wonders of Glacier Park you forget there is is curve there!!!! Oh crap, I gotta turn here….The smile on Les’ face was priceless.
Riding along Flathead Lake was just wonderful, no traffic through the Cherry orchards just a smooth ride and yes, again, there were speeding ticket (going to jail) times…good fun. End of the day was in Kalispell and another great supper.
Sturgis, before the mayhem. Must be a good place for business? Actually from what I have heard the crowd is actually quite well behaved. We did buy a couple of T-Shirts, you have to right? So, after an hour or so, just so we could say we were there, it was back on the road and into another rain storm…what did we do in a past life to deserve all this rain?? We decided to go into it full throttle…as in somewhere a bit north of 100mph. Good fun. Except my Roadliner drinks a lot of gas at those speeds and gas stations are few and far between in that part of the country.
Next stop Glacier National Park Montana.
Next stop, Hill City South Dakota.
The ride over Wolf Creek Pass was great. From there to Hill City was a ride that was “how fast can I get there?” It was pretty damn fast.
First stop was the Crazy Horse National Memorial. What a great place and story. It is still a work in progress and I’m looking forward to going back again in a few years to see what they have done. Next stop, Mount Rushmore. This is incredible. Pictures do not do this monument justice. You have to see it for yourself. The story of how and why it was built is wonderful. I believe that every politician should visit this monument, watch the movie and learn from it. Traveling through the Badlands of South Dakota, it is really an area that you as a motorcycle rider should see and feel. We did make the obligatory stop at Wall Drug. So next it was over to DeadWood and then to Sturgis. Am I being punished? The good thing is we were there before the chaos of the rally. Oh, and we just missed another rain storm. well, not quite.
I really enjoyed riding through South Dakota. I have a question here though…South Dakota is not a rich state yet the roads are in great shape. They have snow and freezing weather but the roads are well maintained and a pleasure to ride on. California on the other hand, is one of, if not the richest, state in the country and we pay the highest road taxes and our roads are the worst. Whats wrong with this picture??? Not the picture above.
So off to Deadwood and Sturgis we go. DeadWood is a pretty interesting town. It made for a good breakfast stop. And Les had to go to the Harley dealer, really just a Harley clothing store. We also stopped at Jerry Greer Engineering. This is a guy that specializes in old Indian motorcycles. It was a really cool place to stop.
And then we rode straight into another rain storm.To be continued…