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…
It has been a while since I have been on a good long road trip. Two weeks, 5376 miles, eight national parks, monuments, memorials, a set of tires, gallons and gallons of dead dinosaurs, and a lot of fun.
My friend Les and I made a plan to just go riding. We sat one day with maps and planned a ride around the West. Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and parts in between.
I left California for Arizona early on a Saturday morning, it was going to be a long ride but no big deal, it was only 650+/- miles. The fun (??) part was going from 100 + degrees to rain to hail and then back into 100+degrees all in 12 hours!!! Don’t you just love traveling on a motorcycle.
First stop was the Four Corners area. Too many tourists. Wait…we’re tourists too. Next Canyon De Chelly a beautiful spot. So much history and so beautiful.
Overnight stop in Pagosa Springs.
Overnight in Pagosa Springs Colorado. Neat little motel and a great restaurant right next door. Got slammed with rain, good thing, it came 10 minutes after we stopped riding. This is going to be a theme throughout this trip. Pagosa Springs seems to me a mecca for riders with Wolf Creek Pass just right there. We had the pleasure of hanging out with some Old School Chopper guys.
Next stop Pikes Peak.
Over my years and thousands of miles of riding, I have made friends all across the U.S, Canada and India too. Most of them have a ‘riding season’ and that season is all too short. This time of year I get e-mails from the friends bemoaning their weather and wanting to come visit. I wish they would.
One of my favorite loops starts not too far north of Los Angeles up near Castaic Lake. Starting in the LA area head north on Interstate 5…a few miles past Magic Mountain amusement park will be the turn off for Castaic Lake, Lake Hughes Road. You have a couple of choices here depending on what time of day it is and how hungry you are. A side note here, I am a card carrying member of the ‘Ride to Eat…Eat to Ride Society’ and every
trip has to have good food stops. If it’s breakfast time, Cafe Mike is as good as it gets along this stretch of road. Classic truck stop diner fare and good service. When you get off the freeway, take your first right turn and Mike’s is about 1/4 mile down the road…you won’t be disappointed. However, if you’re not hungry yet and it’s getting closer to lunch time…ride on.
Lake Hughes Road is one of the great unknown roads…well, I guess I just spoiled it. It’s a good fifteen plus miles of smooth flowing turns, blind deceasing radius turns, great scenery and good fun. The road takes you through a beautiful canyon of California chapparral, creeks, campgrounds and church retreats. Oh, and there is a ‘correctional’ facility thrown just for good measure, visiting day is Sunday.
At the end of Lake Hughes road is a ‘T’ intersection and you have a choice. A left turn takes you down to Hwy 138 and the Antelope Valley…if you want to head north it’s a good choice and in spring it will take you down to the California Poppy Reserve. But, if you want an entertaining loop and a good lunch, turn right onto Elizabeth Lake Road.
In Lake Hughes is a fine lunch stop, The Rock Inn (www.historicrockinn.com), a classic place with sports on big screen TV’s, live music occasionally, good food and a fine beer selection. The Rock Inn is also a real Inn…they have rooms upstairs…get your mind out the old Western movie gutter here. It’s a great stop. A side note here…the first date with my now wife was this ride, and it’s also where I proposed to her( well, not on our first date a couple years later)…in the parking lot amidst a bunch of motorcycles, how romantic huh???…she was foolish enough to say yes.
After a good lunch you have a couple of choices, head back the same route, this side of the road can get a little iffy so be careful. Or…you can continue on the loop. If you have decided to continue on ‘the loop’ good for you, you’re going to love it. Continue east on Elizabeth Lake Road (N2 ) for a few miles…5 or 6 maybe, to the turn off for Green Valley / San Francisquito Canyon Road. About a mile down will be the left turn for Bouquet Canyon Road. Once on Bouquet Canyon just have fun.The road goes past the Bouquet Reservoir, into the canyon with creeks, California oak trees, houses perched up on the hillsides and rock walls that would hurt if you’re not paying attention to your riding. There is generally not much traffic but people do live in this canyon so you have to keep an eye out for drivers coming out of nowhere. A popular stopping point part way down the canyon is The Big Oaks. Good pizza, cold beverages and on Sundays a good crowd of motorcyclists up from the local area. Mostly the cruiser group with a few sportbikes here and there. It’s well worth the stop, just to enjoy the canyon.
Twelve miles or so down Bouquet Canyon Rd. is the turn off to Vasquez Canyon Rd., hang a left. Three and a half fun miles brings you to Soledad Canyon Rd, a right turn will take you over to Hwy 14 and from there you can head back to wherever you started from easily.
There are many more fun roads in this area and how many of them you would like to ride depends on how much time you have and how far your fanny will go. If you would like to know about more about the roads in this area, grab yourself a Los Angeles and vicinity map from your local AAA office or feel free to e-mail me, email@example.com
This is a great way to spend a morning and afternoon with your motorcycle. My wish for you all is that the New Year brings you all that you want and mostly a lot of wonderful rides. Thank you for sharing this one with me.