I just got home from a month on the lamb. Running up the west coast to Glacier national park in northern Montana, then back across Idaho and Nevada. Just another month living off a bike – same old same old! 😛
Bike is locked, loaded, and ready to rippp! I’m riding a 1978 Yamaha XS1100 that I picked up out in Arizona a few weeks prior to departure. My 3rd or 4th XS11 – I forget.
Finished up a little last minute work.
Then I said goodbye to Santa Monica.
The first quick leg of the trip was 7 hours up to San Francisco. Touristy I know…… but I HAD to ride the infamous Lombard Street. Plus I was visiting an old college friend.
The hills are a blast to zip up and down.
Then I met up with Elsie for some exploring and fine wine.
The next day I hit the highway. I laid down a solid 700 miles on my way up to Portland OR. It was raining and quite cold in northern Cali and Southern Oregon. I no longer have a good suite of street riding gear, so I was getting pretty cold and wet. Other than the following shot, things were uneventful.
I stayed in Portland with a riding buddy for a few days. Got to check out the town and ride some of the back alley’s. I scrambled to get a spare helmet for a friend I was meeting in Montana the following day, and some hiking boots for hitting some peaks.
On the way out of Portland I was told I had to check out the falls on the east side of town. Definitely cool.
On the road I was under a tight deadline. My friend touched down in Kalispell Montana at 9pm, and I had to ride 600 miles to get there and pick her up.
Once the sun went down they started construction on the secondary roads in Montana. I was cutting it VERY close on time and every 10 miles I had to stop at construction sites and wait until they cleared the road. I spent at least an hour and a half waiting in total. In between the sites I road like a bat out of hell through the mountains hauling past every vehicle on the road. The roads were steep and curvy – lots of fun!
Then my headlight flickered a time or two and went out. Ugh. It was pitch black in the mountains, and even if I could see enough to try and fix the problem, I didn’t have time. So I pressed on with no headlight. I eventually caught up to another vehicle and just tailed him for the final 50 miles to town.
Once I reached the outskirts of town the sirens turned on behind me. “Yes officer, I know my headlight isn’t on….”. Thankfully they let me slide provided I went up to the local Walmart and fixed the problem. Instead I went to the airport.
As I walked into the terminal Kate had just exited the plane! Perfect timing. Thankfully she had been delayed over an hour. We tied down her gear and our Glacier adventure began.
With all our gear on the bike it was pretty loaded down.
We spent the week riding 2-up, hiking and camping throughout the park. It was wonderful.
The Going-to-the-Sun road cuts into the mountains. It’s a terrifically beautiful ride.
Home sweet home.
Only the essentials.
Fixing the headlight issue. (Bad relay)
The view from one of our campsites.
Snowing up on the peaks.
Amazing steak dinners.
Soon it was time for Kate and I to part ways. I dropped her back off at the airport and was once again riding solo.
I stayed in Kalispell trying to make some more money for a week. Despite camping most nights, traveling is just flat out expensive.
I bounced around between the library, various coffee shops, and dropped a few nights at a cheap hotel. It was getting damn cold at night (30’s).
Watched this dog try to get out of the car window for a solid hour. He was too scared to jump.
I was carrying too much bulk, so made a midnight drop off at the army.
Another week later I headed south out of town to warmer climates.
Days were warm and delightful. Cold nights were frequent.
Here and there I jetted off the pavement to explore the hills. The XS is extremely heavy and difficult off-road, but fun none-the-less.
Thought I’d be walking but managed to make it to this gas station in Idaho on fumes.
According to the factory manual, the XS tank holds 5.2 gallons.
This little guy was hungry. Loved my kielbasa.
I cook up the kielbasa in tinfoil stuffed behind the motor. Takes about 30 minutes to a perfect toasty crunch.
Suns going down on an 850 mile day.
It was bitter cold at night. I loaded up in every piece of clothing I had. I stopped at a gas station and got a dozen plastic bags and wrapped them around my legs and body under my clothing. They make great wind protection when nothing else is available.
I pressed on. Around 1 am I stopped at a convenience store in northern Nevada somewhere to warm up. I ended up staying inside for around 45 minutes, killing large bugs for the older woman at the register and helping her move some shelving. Soon I was off again.
My headlight went out again around 3am. I was freezing anyway so decided to stop.
The next morning – time to roll.
Breakfast of champions.
Typical Nevada desert. I’ve seen lots of this over the years.
I rolled into Vegas around 9pm after another great long day of riding. I grabbed some beers and then tore into the bike to fix the headlight again.
I spent a week in Vegas. Mostly doing things that don’t belong here. Eventually it was time to head back “home”, even if that just meant a friends couch in LA.
I scrounged the streets for some gallon jugs and after a couple hours found a few. I grabbed some dog poop bags from a dispenser on the sidewalk, and a few rubber bands from my tool kit, and loaded up my saddlebag with fuel (don’t ask why).
I was a bit worried they were going to leak and explode from dripping onto the exhaust. To my surprise they worked beautifully.
In Barstow I needed a quick nights sleep. Typical fashion – sleeping bag in the dirt. Ha.
I rolled back into LA the next morning. A month wasn’t long enough – I was already itching to go again.