West Coast National Park Tour 2010

2010 June 17th

Mark:
I realize that this is the first posting to this blog in over a year. This last year has been very significant in many ways. My spouse, Kathy, had been suffering from cancer for many years. She finally succumbed to this dreaded disease on May 3, 2010. She suffered for many years and now I know that she is finally at peace and no longer living in pain.

I have been extremely busy since my return home with helping her through her illness and after her passing, with many of the details that are involved with that. The trip which covers the time frame from April 14, 2009 to May 22, 2009, was an escape granted to me for the sake of my sanity. I only left because her health was at a point where she could care for herself and she wanted me to have some relief.

With all of the many details that I have been involved with recently finally coming to a close, my son Niko and I purchased new motorcycles and have planned another trip. From our home in Centennial Colorado we decided to go up through Yellowstone NP and then on to Seattle; from there down the coast stopping in Portland to visit friends and family. Back to the coast and down toward San Francisco. This is all tentative and the plans are being worked out as we go. We have many sites that we want to visit and many people along the way to visit also.

For the past few weeks Niko and I have been working on preparing the two bikes for this journey. Today we left and rode through Steamboat Springs, Colorado and then north into Wyoming, stopping for the night in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Somehow the good ole GPS led us out of Steamboat to a gravel road that ended at a gate and the rest of the road was “Closed for the Season”. In order to continue on we had to back track back to Steamboat Springs which cost us over 2 hours of time and 55 miles out of our way. This was very fun and we saw some beautiful scenery and we would have continued on if the gate wasn’t locked.

We met some people coming from Yellowstone NP at a gas stop, and they said that it was snowing there when they left this morning. We are headed for Yellowstone tomorrow and hope that we don’t run into any issues with cold weather. We are prepared with the proper clothing but if the roads are covered we will have to change our plans to keep moving.

One of the many things that Niko and I have been working on is the actual website for us. I bought the site www.motovoyager.com late last fall and this is currently being forwarded to the blog address. When the site is up and running there will be a link to the blog. If for any reason someone would want to send an email to either Niko or myself, please feel free to do so at motovoyager@gmail.com.

We have many more journeys planned for the future and we hope that you will join us as we tell the story. Thank you so much.


Niko:
My day started with a bit of a bad omen. I left my KLR 650 in neutral as I attempted to put it on the kickstand for pictures and the bike fell in my arms. Oddly enough though, it did not hold true for the day. My riding had improved greatly from this morning and by mid-day I was riding dirt road as if I had for weeks. The camera on my helmet is a new addition to Moto Voyager as I am, though we are still working on getting videos from my helmet camera to an easily accessible format.

We rode a wonderful road that I enjoyed more than any other ride so far, after coming out of Steamboat; we wound up a lazy curve road and turned onto a bumpy dirt road that proved challenging, yet not hard. We got the bikes dirty and ended up heading back to Steamboat Springs due to road closure. We ate some lunch and headed out toward the dreaded interstate 80 freeway. We encountered a frightening cross wind that turned headwind. We stopped for a moment to stretch and relax in the middle and I lay down on the warm dirt to relieve the cold ache the wind was doling out.

At last we arrived in Rock Springs Wyoming to stay for the night at Days inn where the lovely Morgan set up a room for us. We headed to Applebee’s for some much needed food, and then worked our way back to the room to retire.

2010 June 18th

Mark:
We woke up this morning to a beautiful clear blue sky. The air was crisp with the temperature only 46°F. We were staying at a hotel that served breakfast so we got dressed and went to eat. We ate as much as we could. We went back to our room and started to pack up our belongings for another day of riding. We both got dressed for riding in the cold but once we started riding, we realized that it wasn’t quite enough. We had to pull over and put on glove liners to keep our hands from freezing.

We rode until we stopped for gas and we both wanted some real gloves for the cold. I asked a couple of the people at the gas station if they knew of any places that sold motorcycles or ATV’s. One guy pointed us in the right direction and we drove over to this place that sold snowmobiles. It was however a bust because they didn’t have any gloves that fit. The people at the snowmobile place suggested that we go to this outdoor place, but they only had gloves for skiing. We gave up and went back to riding. By the time we made it to Jackson, Wyoming the air temperature had warmed up enough that it didn’t matter anymore, at least not for today.

We stopped at the visitor’s center and stamped the national park passport, and then headed out of town. Somehow, and I’m not sure how, we made a wrong turn and ended up about 50 miles off of our route. We had stopped for fuel and I was looking at a map and saw that we weren’t where I thought we were. We turned around and rode back the way we came. The ride was wonderful and the scenery was great, but we lost about 2 hours.

We arrived back at Grand Tetons NP and found a campground to camp in. On our way through the park we saw many different wild animals. There was a bear, moose, and a couple of elk. We stopped and took a lot of pictures and I know that Niko was shooting a lot of video today. Once we found a campground, we setup the tent and got out the little stove that I bought before we left. We heated up some water and had some good old freeze dried food for dinner. The really funny thing about this camping thing is that I have never camped out with Niko at anytime during his childhood. This will be a different experience for sure.

Yesterday Niko and I put on 455 miles during our journey and today we stopped so many times that our mileage was only 342 today. Tomorrow we are intending to make it through Yellowstone NP. I have my doubts, but we will see.

Everything has been going very well with Niko and I. We seem to be getting along very well almost better than ever before. I know that the experience of this journey will be an important segment in both of our lives. I know that I have been enjoying it a lot.

It is starting to get dark now and I will have to post this at another time.


Niko:
This morning began with a nice breakfast of waffles, bacon, a hardboiled egg, and a swig of coffee, combined with the entertainment of Morgan actively replacing syrup, milk, and the like. We heard it was going to be very cold today, so we dressed in the thermal clothes we had packed little of. We quickly got on the road and rode north quickly, getting miles in before any headwind decided to whip us around.

We arrived at a small town for gas because I had run out and we both were due. We both had cold hands and wanted some windproof gloves but after tons of searching we found none and dad settled for liners with rubber gloves under his gloves and I put a liner under the glove of my coldest hand… we only had three liners, you see. We actually felt a lot better with just that, since it had warmed up since then. We rode to Jackson and searched for a motorcycle shop to find gloves, but alas, there was nothing. So, on we rode to Grand Tetons NP!

When we got to Grand Tetons, we didn’t see any mountains as we rode up the hilly road and began to wonder where the Tetons were. Suddenly we rolled around a corner and they appeared suddenly, sharp and crisp against the sky. We rode through the park and took a right at Moran junction and rode over a cold winding pass to Dubois. When we arrived, we realized we should have turned left at Moran junction. So we rode all the way back… only much faster.

When we got back, we rode north to Flagg Ranch in the John D Rockefeller memorial parkway and camped because cabins were extremely expensive. We ate a freeze dried beef stroganoff (which was delicious, especially compared to the sour taste in my mouth after seeing plates at a restaurant priced near 20-33 dollars a plate! So a six dollar freeze dried meal and a protein bar was gourmet!

We started a fire with old damp logs from unused sites and the smoke got rid of the swarm of mosquitoes. We talked with our camping neighbors, Jill, Keith and their kids, who were fun to chat with. I saw a bat flapping aimlessly just before the sun went down. Now I’m well ready to sleep and get warm again. It’s very cold here and our fire went out, so goodnight dear reader.

2010 June 19th

Mark:
We had some rude people in the campground last night and because of their rudeness I didn’t get much sleep. These people pulled into their site at around 12:30am and left the diesel truck running and the headlights shining right into our tent. I actually got up and walked over to the restroom and when I had come back to the tent the people were gone and the truck was dark and silent. These same people saw fit to wake us up at 5:30am with their noisy truck and their talking. They left after a few minutes but it was too late for me as I was wide awake.

I got up and did some picking up around our campsite, but it didn’t take very long before I was getting a little chilled. I got back into the tent and my sleeping bag to warm up. I never did go back to sleep because there were some others that were up and making noise. I woke up Niko and we started to pack up the stuff in the tent just as we heard raindrops hitting the tent. The rain didn’t last long and nothing got wet enough to worry about. We put on our riding gear and then I fired up the little stove and boiled some water. We had brought along some instant oatmeal and some instant hot chocolate. After we ate that we also had an energy bar and that was a good breakfast. We cleaned up and then finished packing and we were ready to go by about 8:30am.

We drove over to the visitor’s center to get a stamp in the passport, but they weren’t open quite yet. Since I’m not one to wait around, we drove off and we were in Yellowstone National Park about 5 minutes later. After a brief encounter with the Park Ranger at the entrance gate, we were on our way through the park. We saw so much wildlife it is hard to remember it all. There were Bears, Elk, and Bison by the hundreds, a lone muskrat and birds I have never seen.

On two separate occasions a single bison was trapped on the road and didn’t know where it could go. It was too steep on either side of the road and with cars in both directions blocking the road. On the first occasion we were just riding along and came around a corner and here is a bull Bison in the road, confused and not sure what to do. We stopped and started to back up to give the big guy some room so that he could get by us without panicking and charging us. He was way bigger than we were and we didn’t want him to get scared. He was already starting to panic and didn’t know which way he could go. Once he realized that we weren’t a threat, he moved on by us and headed on down the road behind us.

We stopped at Old Faithful and just as we were arriving we saw this plume of steam rise in the air. I thought that this was great since this allowed us some time to park and to go through the buildings. We got the passport stamped and then we went through the grand lodge. We grabbed some snacks from the bikes and then went to sit down and wait. Old Faithful went off about 3 minutes later than they predicted and erupted for about 5 minutes. Afterward, we took the walk around the other geysers. We were both still dressed for riding in the cold and we were extremely over heated in the sun without any wind. We went back to the bikes and got back on the road.

Since this was a Saturday on a holiday weekend, I think that the traffic was more than we expected. We rode over to Lower Falls and did the trip to see all of the lookouts and we took pictures at all of them. We stopped at the visitor’s center at Canyon Village and got the passport stamped again. We headed toward the North entrance of the park so that we could find a place to stay. Once we were out of the park we drove to Livingston Montana and we ate some dinner. We decided to take a quick run up the freeway to Bozeman Montana where we found a great place to stay.

The ladies at the front desk were very nice and supplied us with freshly baked cookies. We both used the pool and the hot tub and sauna for a few minutes.

The day was very lazy as we only traveled 212 miles all day with many stops. I doubt that we would have even gotten that far if it wasn’t for the 75 miles we rode after the park. We got to Bozeman Montana around 7:30pm, so this turned out to be a rather long day.


Niko:
I woke this morning to moist, cold feet and the sound of rain and birds. The rain only lasted a couple minutes, but we got out to dry the tent after it stopped and within minutes we were both freezing. We packed up quickly, cooked up oatmeal and drank hot chocolate. I was so anxious to get something hot in my stomach; I burned my tongue on the hot chocolate. We finished up, geared up, and got on and rode over to the lodge for stamps, but it was closed.

On the road again! Riding up towards Yellowstone was pretty, but not near as pretty as when we arrived. I walked up a path near a waterfall at the entrance that dad decided to skip, and about wore myself out doing so with my boots on. Later, we got to Old Faithful and the nearby “Old Faithful Inn,” which had amazing architecture. We had about an hour, so we did passport stamping, and grabbed food at the bike, and the camera to catch Old Faithful in action. It was a few minutes late and several minutes long, and definitely stunning. We visited some other smaller geysers nearby and walked too far for what we wore. After all was done, we got back on the bikes and rode on the route to Lower Falls. A stop was made in canyon village to check the map, get a stamp, and look for water. Water was a bust, but we hopped on and moved out.

Lower falls was quite a dizzying sight to behold. With sheer cliffs on either side of the lookout paths, we kept to the center of paths as much as possible. A girl with purple tipped blonde hair gave me googly eyes at one stop. We were soon tired of stopping every five minutes, and rode on. Two separate times, bison got trapped on the road, and the first time, I rode in too hot and got too close for comfort to a very scared bison maybe two or three times the size of my bike and I. I backed off to make him feel a little braver and move on and it slowly worked.

Stopping frequently became normal and we were hardly moving through the park at any respectable pace, but we got out and were on our way to Livingston Montana! We arrived at the small, sleepy town and stopped at Taco Johns for food, then moved on via the dreaded freeway to Bozeman Montana. We got rained on during the ride here, and I remarked that it was my first rainy-ride experience. This wonderful Days Inn was full of amenities like an indoor pool, dry sauna, fresh cookies, a large room, and chef catered breakfast for tomorrow. We just drank some creamy hot chocolate and are settling in to sleep. I’m also getting quite tired, so sleep is sounding quite nice. Good night, reader.

2010 June 20th: Happy Father’s Day

Mark:
I fell asleep last night before Niko had finished with his portion of the blog. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was go back through the file that he had saved. I made a few quick changes and then I had some more saved the file and then I posted it. I woke up Niko and we went to get our breakfast that was being served in the hotel.

We had a rather late morning and we didn’t even get on the road until 10:30am. This was partially my fault because I ran into a fellow biker and major traveler in the parking lot and we exchanged information about our favorite roads. His name was Ken and he was from the San Francisco area. He was pointing out several different roads for us to go on and I in turn gave him a few great roads in the Rockies. I ended up spending far too much time talking to him and not enough time getting myself ready to go. I wish you safe travels, Ken. Thank you for the information.

I would also like to thank the staff at the Days Inn in Bozeman Montana, especially Marcia, she went out of her way to give me a bad time and to also make me feel welcome. I very much enjoyed the time spent while we were there. The rooms were nice, the cookies were great and the pool was wonderful, but the real topper was the big bucket of towels set out by the front door for bikers to wipe the dew off of their motorcycles in the morning. Now that’s hospitality!

Once we were on the road, we took the Interstate 90 west and rode until we needed gas and then we stopped at Butte Montana. I was way overdressed and I took off some layers and Niko saw a place selling Huckleberry Smoothies. We both thought that sounded really good. I told Niko that it being Father’s Day he should go over there and buy one for each of us. When he came back he was talking about the girl that worked there. I had to ask him if he got her number, and his answer was “No”. We drank the smoothies, which were excellent and then we got ready to ride again. Niko wanted to go back over to the smoothie place and get her number but instead he gave her a business card and thanked her for the great smoothie.

We got back on the Interstate and continued on riding until we needed gas again. We filled up in Superior Montana and right back on the road. Today was really just a travel day. We stopped a little later at a rest area to see about getting a map of Idaho. We asked an attendant and he had one for us. Just as we were about to leave a nice woman pulled up and had to tell us that we passed her back in Missoula Montana. She also explained that she was 86 and traveling across the country from North Carolina to British Columbia. We ended up talking to her for quite awhile because she was really talkative.

When we did go to leave, I led out and got back into traffic only to realize that Niko wasn’t behind me. I pulled over thinking that he had a hard time getting into traffic and would be along shortly. I started to get a little worried because he was taking so long and I decided to ride into the grass on the side of the interstate and go back to find him. It is easy for me to forget that I’m riding an adventure bike that is made for that type of riding. I got onto the concrete drainage ditch and rode back along the interstate until I saw him just starting to get into traffic. Niko pulled over and I drove up the side and back onto the road. We talked for a couple minutes and he told me that he forgot to put on his glasses and they ended up getting smashed. I was happy that he wasn’t hurt or crashed on the side of the road.

We rode until we came to Spokane Washington and then we stopped for something to eat. We found a place to stay and they worked on doing some maintenance on the motorcycles. Niko was reading the pamphlet about the city and found a restaurant named “Niko’s”. He wanted to go and find it and have some dinner there. We had just eaten and I certainly wasn’t hungry but I looked it up on the internet to find out how to get there. It turned out that it was about 10 city blocks away and so we left and went for a walk. When we got there we asked for a takeout menu and when we saw the prices decided to leave. We walked around in downtown Spokane Washington and found the giant Radio Flyer and heard a concert going on so we walked over by that. We headed back to the hotel and stopped to grab a shake on the way back.

We both talked about it being a rather uneventful day but a lot of things did happen, even though we didn’t take any pictures or shoot any video today. We put on 396 miles today. It was a good day and a great Father’s day despite the late start.


Niko:
Today began late and slow with a chef catered breakfast. We got out after ten by quite a bit, and got out on the interstate towards Spokane. The freeway actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, seeing as wind didn’t quite start up yet. We dressed heavily, so the wind didn’t cut so easily into my clothes today. We stopped for gas after a long winding portion of freeway in a town called Butte. I noticed a sign across from the station we were at advertising “Real Huckleberry Smoothies!” Dad told me to get him one for father’s day, and I thought it actually sounded like a good deal. I ordered two from the beautiful Heather at the coffee stand and talked to her a little once we both finished. We got back on the road again and drilled on. There were a couple more uneventful gas stops, but mostly riding and more riding.

We stopped at a rest stop in Idaho for a map from a rest stop assistant. As we were leaving, an older lady pulled up next to us with a cat in the back. We asked to see her map for roads in Washington and talked for a while. Eventually we moved out and I kept thinking, “Wow! Rain made my visor so hard to see through!” then it donned on me… I forgot my glasses. I flashed my Brights to let dad know I was stopping, and turned around, using the emergency lane to get back, and searched the ground.

I found them on the onramp crushed, twisted, and missing a lens. After a minute of cursing, I picked them up and rode back to see dad riding back towards me in a concrete drainage ditch off the side of the road. He regrouped with me and we rode to Spokane. Pulling out though, do remark that I pulled my first wheelie.

We arrived in Spokane valley and stopped at Jack in the Box for dinner. Two punk drivers pulled into the lot too fast and came close to hitting the BMW, but turned just in time. They came in with baggy pants and smoking, thinking they were cool, but we settled for “they’ll see the light.” We found a Days Inn in Spokane and unpacked.

We then went for a walk downtown and found a restaurant called Niko’s. Imagine that! An expensive Greek restaurant. I saw a sign that explained that the “original father” that Father’s day celebrates lived in Spokane and that the first father's day was exactly 100 years ago! We saw the sights, had a laugh, got shakes, and went back to our room. Our night reached its end and I must say a good night to all.

2010 June 21st

Mark:
This morning we woke up at a decent time and went to get breakfast at the hotel. The complimentary breakfast was not very good with only carbohydrates and no proteins. We ate what we could and then went back to the room to pack up and leave.

The weather wasn’t being our friend this morning. It was rain hard and steady. Niko and I were getting soaked just getting things loaded up on the motorcycles. When we were ready we pulled out of the hotel and hit the interstate immediately. We rode about 30 miles and then had to stop for some fuel. We had escaped the rain by then, but we were wet and the temperature was a chilly 50°F. We rode for another 30 miles or so and then stopped at a Starbucks and got warm with a decaf coffee. Since we were now dried out and warmed up, we were able to ride for some real miles.

We stopped one more time for gas and another time for a short break, but main we kept going so that we could get to Touratech in Seattle Washington. Touratech specializes in parts for adventure rider type motorcycles. I wanted to order some parts from them before we left, but I was impatient and decided to just stop there on the trip and pick up what I wanted. They had several machines outfitted with their specialty parts in the showroom. This made it very easy to see what they had to offer.

When we left Touratech, we rode through Enumclaw Washington and then out around Mt Rainier. It was a very cloudy day and we couldn’t see the mountain until we came to this one viewpoint. It was like the clouds knew we were coming because they parted just long enough for us to see the pristine beauty and size of the mountain. We stopped for fuel in a small town called Packwood Washington.

As we were leaving I was thinking that it was getting a little late and that another hour or more of riding was going to be very late for us. We came across this nice looking lodge and I pulled in to see what they charged for a night. The price was reasonable and the place was top notch so we stayed.

The day was productive since we made it to Seattle and then down around Mt Rainier. Our goal for tomorrow is to make it to Portland after stopping at Mt St Helens.


Niko:
This morning began with the sound of rain. A typical northwest day… rainy with no sun. After being ripped from my strange dreams, we walked over to breakfast and noticed they lacked anything to do with protein. Only doughnuts, waffles, juice, sugar oatmeal, fruit loops, and cold gravy. The bikes were loaded and we got on and left.

My jacket was soon wet from rain and my helmet fogged. The wind shot up my sleeves against wet fabric, making my arms freeze. I pushed through anyway, and we soon stopped for gas shortly after we broke past the rain cloud. We rode on and the wind was my blow dryer. We stopped for a couple decaf caramel macchiatos at Starbucks to warm up. We then got back on the freeway and ate up several more miles.

We stopped a couple more times on the way to Seattle, one being a rest area where we met a nice lady and her excited puppy. When we rolled into Seattle, a gravel road led us to Touratech’s Seattle location. Touratech had many fancy bikes on display and we purchased a few parts and a catalog -- and snagged a couple stickers for the bikes. A guy at Touratech complimented my helmet as we were leaving, and on we went towards Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainier National Park was beautiful, and full of wonderful forestry. I was wondering which peak was Rainier, until we rounded a crop of trees to a view of the majestic volcano. It towered over the other mountains near it, and was coated in ice. The gorgeous sight was soon gone again, and we wound the road down to a town called Packwood. We fueled at the local Chevron, and decided to head towards Centralia.

As we rode out, I saw dad suddenly pull off into the lot of a hotel. I attempted to follow, but overshot. I thought to myself, “This is why my bike has knobby tires” and drove over the gravelly grass on the side of the road. When I pulled in, dad remarked at how late it was and that this looked nice.

We checked in and found a nice pizzeria to eat at down the road. We had a medium veggie with pepperoni, and found it to be delicious and filling. We got ourselves back to the room and unpacked in minutes and watched “Gone in 60 Seconds” on Spike TV, then sat down to blog with an apple.

I’ve taken so long typing this due to my talking, that dad has already gone to sleep. And there is no service out here for T-mobile, so I’ve got only sleep, myself. I must go now and do just that, and this will have to be posted tomorrow. Goodnight, all!

2010 June 22nd

Mark:
This morning we woke up with the sounds of other people waking up and getting ready to leave for work. There were several people staying at the hotel that were working nearby. Niko and I went to the kitchen area to eat our breakfast. This place had a really good breakfast for their guests. We both ate quite a bit and then we went back to our room to get packed up and ready for the day.

We loaded up the motorcycles and thanked the mangers for a great stay. Thank you, Kim and Dwight for a great stay at Crest Trail Lodge in Packwood Washington. Niko and I had decided to make another trek up to Mt Rainier NP and try to see a little more of the park. The sky was clear and the mountain was very prominent and visible early on.

We drove up to the park and stopped at the Visitor’s Center, but soon found out that it wasn’t open quite yet. The ranger was out hoisting the flag and we followed her in. She was happy to let us stamp our passport book. We had a look around and found several interesting items to check out. We headed out to take the drive up to the Visitor’s Center on the mountain.

We drove over to the road and right off we stopped to take a picture of a big waterfall. Being still on the motorcycle, I pulled the camera out of the tank bag and in the process some trash came out with it and fell onto the ground. I’m not one to litter in a National Park, so I bent down to pick it up. I retrieved the trash and stood back up. In doing so I somehow lost my balance and the motorcycle started to fall over. I was not able to regain control and down it went.

I tumbled off and the tank bag spilled out all over the ground. Since I had the camera in my hand it never touched the ground and tumbled with me. I stood up and took the picture that I had stopped to take and then Niko and I picked up the bike. It was heavy and a lot more difficult to right than I expected but we were able to get it upright. Luckily nothing was damaged and the only thing hurt was my pride. I put everything back in the tang bag and then we mounted up and took off on our way up to the Visitor’s Center at Paradise Sunrise on Mt Rainier.

The elevation gain was well over 3000ft. and the views were spectacular. When we reached the end, we went into the Visitor’s Center and stamped the passport and then walked through the gift shop. We wandered around in the building and I was most impressed with the architecture. I grabbed the camera and took some pictures of the building and the bikes outside.

After looking at some of the exhibits, we saddled up and headed down the mountain. We stopped at another Visitor’s Center just before leaving the park and stamped the passport again. We then rode toward the road to Mt St Helens. When we got closer, we stopped and refueled the bikes. We grabbed a snack and then we took off up to Johnson Ridge to have a closer look at Mt St Helens.

I was having difficulty with other drivers since there seem to be an overly large amount of people driving 20 miles an hour under the speed limit. They didn’t want to pull into the slow moving vehicle turn outs either. It was very frustrating, but Niko and I arrived, and we were able to see the mountain fairly clear. There was a little cloud cover but not very much. We took a few pictures and then we walked through the building and then we headed back down the hill.

We stopped at the Visitor’s Center close to the interstate and grabbed something to snack on in the parking lot. We left and headed down towards Portland Oregon on the interstate and ran into a bunch of bad traffic when we arrived in Portland Oregon. We rode over to my good friend Shawn’s, and unloaded the bikes. We took off with Shawn and went to dinner and had a great meal with a good friend.

We will be staying here in Portland Oregon for the next couple of days, so there won’t be much in the way of travels. We have a lot to do during this period with friends and family members. We will try to keep posting though, Thank you.


Niko:
I woke tired, and got out to eat to solve the hunger issue and gain some energy. Had an egg, lots of sausage links, couple muffins, and some apple cider. After packing up, we headed back up to Mt Rainier National Park for stamps and a very twisty road. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center for a stamp, and saw a few cool taxidermies. The beautiful volcano was in full sight today, and we rode all the way to the top. Dad dropped his bike after entering the park after leaning to far over to pick up trash. I almost dropped mine because I thought my kickstand was down and tried to get off to help, but I saved mine from falling too. How silly I’d have been if I dropped mine too!

The Visitor’s Center at the summit was very elaborate, architecturally stunning, and full of information and gifts. The road down and out of the park was a blast, and I spent most of the time with the clutch in, coasting down the mountain. The trees were tall enough to give you vertigo, the ants about a half inch long, and most of the plants were edible (to an extent). Everything was covered in moss too. Ah, sweet Northwest.

We got out and moved on to Toledo Washington. We stopped for gas and got some Pringles because they just sounded good. We got back on the dead end road to Johnston Ridge at Mt St Helens and rode. We were constantly frustrated by people driving 20 to 30 mph under the speed limit of 50 to 55 miles an hour.

We were surprised when we arrived at the ridge, because we both remember being there only ten years ago, and seeing only a bit of grass and shrubs here and there. There were four foot high trees now! Real growth after the catastrophe! Most of the downed trees that were prominent then were covered in overgrowth. Also, laws were now in place for a $100 fine for stepping off the path, to protect the flora.

We headed back after we got stamps and took some pictures, and I coasted down the mountain again. After we were out of the park and on our way to Portland Oregon, we both found ourselves falling asleep at the handlebars, so we stopped at the final Mt St Helens visitor center outside the park and ate some beef jerky to wake up. We rode into Portland Oregon and dealt with the insane traffic and idiot drivers we had expected to find as we came into downtown.

We are currently staying at dad’s friend Shawn’s and we’ll be in Portland Oregon for a few days to visit family, friends, and run some much needed errands… like getting new glasses. Our next few posts will be vague and lacking travel, so please bear with. I hope our daily writings have so far kept you entertained, and I have to get to sleep for it is late. Goodnight, dear reader.

2010 June 26th

Mark:
I wanted to post a great big THANK YOU to all, for the extra special effort made for us. The following people went out of their way for us and I want to acknowledge their efforts:

Shawn, for giving us a place to stay.
Valerie, for helping us with some laundry.
Amy and Alex.
Dave, for pizza.
George and Silke.
Kim and Sam for a wonderful lunch.
My mother, Roger, Janet, JanaLee, Kathea, Jordan, and the wonderful dinner and raspberries we ate while we were there.
Teresa, for holding a wonderful barbeque for us.
Desiree and Jordan.
Bizzy, for helping out with the barbeque.
Tony, Andy, Nathan, and Josh.
Judy and Jeanie.
Dave and Nancy, for making a special effort to be at the barbeque.
Larry and Ken.
And finally, Barb, Teresa’s neighbor.

To have friends and family like this in our lives is truly a blessing. Thank You all so much.

2010 June 27th

Mark:
I didn’t sleep very well with thoughts of the coming day running through my mind. I woke right up with the alarm and quickly took a shower. I gathered my things and started to pack what I wasn’t going to wear. I got Niko going and he started his shower. Once I was dressed for riding, I started to load up the motorcycle with my stuff. I was having a difficult time putting all of it into the boxes on the bike. I had been wearing a lot of it before and now I wasn’t, so now it had to be packed. I managed to get everything loaded onto my bike and finally I was ready to go. Niko was almost ready too.

I said my goodbyes to Shawn and then we drove to the gas station next to the apartment complex and fueled up the motorcycles. I followed the GPS and it took us through a part of Portland that I had never been in. It took us through the west hills of Portland Oregon that overlooked the downtown area. We were heading toward US-30 in North Western Portland to meet up with Larry. He wanted to accompany us to the coast and join us for a ride. We met up at Jack in the Box so that we could all have some fast food breakfast and then headed out toward Astoria.

When we left the sky was filled with clouds and that kept the temperature lower than we would have liked it. It was below 60°F and stayed that way until well into the afternoon. I felt underdressed. I was wearing my Heat Gear, in hopes of warmer weather and the cool air was keeping me cold. I soldiered on and we reached Astoria and we went up to the Astoria Column. We parked the bikes and then I grabbed the camera and headed up the column. It only took a couple of minutes and I was overheated. I took a bunch of pictures and then we went down and moved the bikes in front of the column and took a few more pictures.

We left and went downtown to the Oregon Film Museum. Larry wanted to go see this attraction and we followed along. It was a very interesting place to visit.

We took off and headed over to the Fort Clatsop National Historic Monument to get a stamp in my passport. We saw the Fort and then we took off and rode down to Tillamook Oregon. We stopped at the Tillamook Cheese factory to sample some cheese and wander around for a few minutes.

When we left, we went down to Pacific City Oregon and found a place to eat some dinner. While waiting for our table, we spoke to many people about our trip. It seems that there are quite a few people who are interested in knowing what we are doing. Once we were seated, we met another individual who writes for a magazine and he gave us a copy. The magazine is called “Overland” and it is about people who travel to exotic places and their stories. Maybe Niko and I are the type of people that could have a story in this magazine.

Our meal was wonderful and it was also where we were to split up with Larry and go our separate ways. Larry took off back toward Portland and Niko and I headed south toward Lincoln City Oregon and found a place to stay. Our day on the coast was filled with beautiful weather, wonderful scenery and many interesting people.

We rode 221 miles today and found a nice place to stay. We spent some time in the pool and Jacuzzi after we got settled and then I took a walk up to the nearest grocery store and bought us some snacks. We have had a busy day and I’m tired. Thank You. Good Night.


Niko:
I was awoken from my insane dreams of legend of Zelda, and walked straight to the shower. I then packed for the day, wearing my heat gear with a thermal shirt over it. With farewells to Shawn and fresh gas in the bellies of our bikes, we rode on towards Jack in the Box on US-30 in North Western Portland to meet up with my wild uncle Larry. The road we rode to get there was unfamiliar and twisted, making for a great ride.

We ate and read a few comics before leaving, one worth mentioning was Dilbert. (Tech/computer service oriented, so I can relate.) My cousin Andy was also set to ride with us this morning, but he lost his keys this morning. I wish you luck on finding them. ^_^ We took off in the direction of Astoria as soon as our windshields were clean.

We passed the column in Astoria based on GPS directions, and there were even paintings on the ground pointing to the streets that lead to the Astoria Column. I noticed that the roads were quite steep here and occasionally freaky. Dad showed off a bit with a wheelie. I was nowhere near that confident in my skill for that. Not on that road.

Astoria Column was quite a sight as always, tall and ornate against a grey sky. The sky cleared as we climbed the 164 steps to the top. The view was great and good pictures were taken. A boy at the top was scared of dying by the tower collapsing if he stepped out into the open, and he kind of reminded me of myself at his age. So I helped him conquer his fear and when I left, he wanted to stay up there.

We continued on and visited the county jail where Goonies was filmed. There were many trinkets from the movie in multiple exhibits. I laughed when I saw all the names of movies filmed in Oregon on plastic movie markers, and only one of the eight displayed was broken… Twilight. On our way out of town, moving on to Fort Clatsop, we rode up the steepest hill I’ve ever been on with or without a vehicle (Roughly a 60+° hill). I honestly felt like I was going to fall backwards and tumble for half a mile.

Upon arrival at Fort Clatsop, Dad got his passport stamped, and I took pictures at the fort and the canoe wharf. A man was demonstrating a flintlock rifle when I was beckoned back by a motorcycle honk. We moved on down the road to Seaside. We wanted a picture on the coast, but the crowd was enormous, so we decided to bag the idea. Forward, to Tillamook!

Tillamook was extremely automated, and I only managed to find 6 workers in the factory rooms. And that was a full production day! Also, it was absolutely packed full of people. It was still cool, but so far from my childhood memory of visiting Tillamook years ago.

We soon moved onto Pacific City. We stopped at a nice brewery pub with a priceless view of Haystack rock called the Pelican. I ate the “Northwest Fish and Chips” and delighted in the fresh seafood (beer battered fresh snapper). Larry had to split, and so we had to wave him off at a turn down the road.

We rode as far as Lincoln city and got gas. We checked the time and decided to stop. We stayed at the Ashley Inn and Suites down the road for a mere $80+ dollars on a Sunday. It has turned out to be a wonderful place to stay, and we went to the indoor salt pool and spa to relax a bit. I met some nice girls and several families visiting from Portland. The dry sauna was set to over 240° F and I only managed 3 minutes before getting out, covered in sweat. I showered and we ate some fresh local strawberries and some “Phish Food” ice cream as we did the blog. I went down and snagged an orange Fanta before finishing this.

I am very tired right now, as it is almost 2, so I’m going to bed, goodnight and thank you for reading this blog.

2010 June 28th

Mark:
This morning we woke to bleak dark grey skies. The temperature was below 60°F and it looked cold. I checked the weather and it said cool but no rain with a high of 60°F. I posted the blog from last night and then I woke up Niko so that we could get some breakfast. He seemed a little groggy from being up so late. We headed downstairs for breakfast. I ate a big plateful of scrambled eggs and sausage and some hot cocoa.

I went back to the room since Niko wasn’t done with his breakfast. I got dressed for cold weather and then packed up the rest of the clothes. My bag was a lot easier to stuff into the pannier since it didn’t have my cold weather gear in it. We moved the bikes over to the front door and went to load the entire set of luggage onto one of those carts and rolled that to the front door.

Once everything was loaded onto the bike we went back to the room for our jackets and a final look over. When we were putting on our helmets, Niko realized that he didn’t have his glasses, so he went back to the room to find them. With all of this scattered running about, it took us a little longer than normal to get on the road. We left by 9:30am so we did fine.

Traffic was light and we headed south and we were almost to Newport Oregon in a short time. I saw the signs for Yaquina Head Lighthouse and thought that Niko might enjoy seeing this place. He went down to the beach since it was low tide and took the camera for some pictures. There were birds everywhere and some seals and sea lions out on the rocks. When Niko came back up from the beach, we walked around the lighthouse, which wasn’t open yet, and then we left.

Once we were in town, I took Niko around and showed him my old neighborhood and school. We rode around through town and then down around the bay waterfront. We went through town again and then over the bridge to the Marine Science Center. I had always enjoyed that when I was younger. Once we left there we rode for awhile and stopped at Cape Perpetua, just past Heceta Head Lighthouse. There wasn’t much to see, but the view of the ocean was good from that vantage point.

It seemed like we were riding forever but not really getting anywhere. The traffic was slow and we stopped to look at a lot of things. We stopped in Coos Bay Oregon and had some dinner at Taco Bell. We had been riding in misty dark clouds all day and just after we pasted through Bandon Oregon, the sky cleared up and the coast line was completely visible with beautiful blue skies. The only difference was that now it was really windy. The wind didn’t really bother us very much as it was going our way for the most part. We only rode 218 miles today and that was just one tank of gas (3.8g). When we filled up, we went less than a mile and found a place to stay in Gold Beach Oregon.

Once we were registered, we went over to Dairy Queen and had some ice cream. We went back to the motel and unloaded the bikes. I changed clothes and went over to the hot tub and Niko stayed behind to work on his part of the blog. The hot tub made me feel great and I worked on the blog when I got back. Niko had decided to go for a walk on the beach. I would have gone with him, but it seemed a little strange to me without Kathy.

Tomorrow the plan is to ride to the Grants Pass area via Agnes and Galice. Now I have been told that the rode is paved to Agnes but is gravel and dirt to Galice where it turns back to pavement. This is the kind of adventure that we wanted, so we will see how it goes. Thank you all for reading. Good Night.


Niko:
I woke reluctantly this morning as I did not sleep very well last night. I walked down to eat some breakfast and enjoyed a breakfast burrito, a muffin, an apple, and some toasted English muffin. Dad left and I saw the girl I met last night in the sauna, and talked to her over a cup of hot chocolate. Asked for her number, but had no luck. I went back to the room and began packing up.

I ended up running up and down the stairs to our room about four times for things that were still in it. We took off shortly, geared for mildly cold because of the deep grey sky above us. No heat gear today. We rode along a beautiful highway and turned at a road leading to Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

The lighthouse had a huge line, and rather than wait, I took the camera down to the tide pools at the base of the cliff. Found a baby crab the size of my thumb and several starfish. A dead sea-lion lie on the beach and many live ones about a hundred yards away. The massive rock pillars in the bay were covered in Muurs (odd black seagull looking birds).

We mounted back up and continued on down the road. We rode around Newport and saw my dad’s old house and elementary school. He also mentioned that he saw a kid his age get killed by a car on a specific street corner, and pointed it out as we went by the intersection.

After our mucking about around town, we rode over the elegant Newport Bridge, and stopped at the marine science center just on the other side of the bridge. Took quite a few pictures and touched a few tide pool critters while we were there, then got back on the road.

We rode down the road to Cape Perpetua, then visited the center there and ate some beef jerky and other snacks. Our bikes were parked precariously on a slope and I assisted dad with the awkwardly large F800. I just took a deep breath and jumped on without too much fuss.

We continued riding down the coast until we arrived in Coos Bay, and ate at Taco Bell. I was quite hungry and had a burrito supreme and the #3 combo (3 soft taco Supremes with drink). We checked the map because it was getting kind of late, and we wanted to get somewhere early for once!

We hopped back on and kept riding. We stopped in Bandon for a split second until dad re-read the sign he thought said salt water taffy, but actually said “soft serve Ice-cream”

I saw a real taffy place, but we just missed the turn and I wasn’t going to freak out dad by pulling off the road. I would like to find the ever elusive salt-water taffy on our route, because my mother made a tradition of finding a place between Seaside and Depoe Bay to buy taffy. We missed getting it there, but I’d like to find some before we leave the coastline to honor the tradition.

Immediately after Bandon, the clouds cleared completely and ELO’s song “Mr. Blue Sky” began playing in my head. Wind and sun exchanged itself for our cold and cloudy weather, and the change was quite welcome. We stopped for a picture of the nice weather and deep Blue Ocean we saw around the corner.

We stopped for gas in Gold Beach, and upon looking at the time; we decided to pack in for the night. We registered at a motel called Pacific Reef Resort, and then stopped at dairy queen for ice cream. Dad got an over flowing Blizzard, and I had an “extra-Large” vanilla cone.

We rode back and unpacked in minutes, and I began my blog as dad went to the spa. I soon tired of typing, and went for a walk on the beach. I found a few fist sized clear-gold Agates, and drew some things with a 4 foot long, 6 inch diameter piece of driftwood. Soon I found a group that built a nice fire. I talked with them and watched the sun go down as they all departed one by one.

I went back to ask dad to join me, but he worked on the blog instead. I stayed out, tending the fire until it was too dark to see five feet. That’s a problem when you’re six plus feet tall! I used my phone’s screen to navigate back, listening to frogs, the surf, and the foghorn buoy all the way back.

I wanted a shower right away to clean away the smoky scent, and shower I did. I am now finishing up this blog, and would like to say goodnight to our readers and followers. It is 12:30, and I’m getting tired.

2010 June 29th

Mark:
We woke up about the same time this morning. We were greeted with clear skies but very cool air temperature (55°F). There was also a strong breeze coming in off the ocean.

We got up and readied ourselves for breakfast, but breakfast was sort of lame. I had some Tillamook Yogurt (marionberry) and an English muffin. With a little juice to wash it down, I went back to the room to pack.

Knowing that we were going to head inland and most likely warmer temperatures, I dressed in Heat Gear. I was a little chilly for the first hour or so but it did warm up. Once we were loaded up, we headed out of town and up a little road toward Agnes, Oregon. We arrived at a road that was posted with warnings about being a narrow single lane road with no trailers allowed. This sounded perfect to us. The road turned out to be great with almost no traffic and just about as winding a road as possible. The road went up the side of this mountain range and then it followed the ridge for many miles. The views were great and at one point the clouds were coming over the ridge and we were driving through a fog as the clouds rolled over to the other side of the mountain. This was quite a fantastic experience.

Once we were down from the mountain and in the valley, it only took us a couple of minutes and we were in Grants Pass, Oregon. We stopped for some lunch and then we drove up to Crater Lake. The drive to the park was beautiful but fast. When we were in the trees, we both seemed to feel like they were hypnotizing us and we were both getting drowsy. We stopped and took a break and the continued up to the park.

When we arrived we found out that the Rim road was closed because it wasn’t plowed yet. There was quite a bit of snow still and we ended up walking through it just to get over to the edge of the rim to see the lake. We got the passport stamped at the Visitor’s Center and we walked through the gift shop.

On the way back down the mountain, I pulled into a turn out that still had a bunch of snow in it. I thought that it would be fun to see if I could ride the bike through the snow. Well the front tire wasn’t moving very well and the back tire was throwing a rooster tail about twenty feet out the back. The snow was about a foot deep and I was able to negotiate through about ten feet of it. It actually took a lot longer than I thought and I figured that I would get stuck but if the front tire would have had a ski on it, I would have gone right through it. Niko was a little upset at me and wanted to shoot some video, but I wasn’t going to do it again. We were both laughing pretty hard the whole time. I’m sure that it looked pretty funny to all of those cars that happened to drive by at that very moment.

We went back to Grants Pass and found a place to stay. We unloaded the bikes and then cleaned up and walk to dinner. Dinner was fresh fish and pie for dessert. We walked back and then spent a few minutes in the hot tub.

Today was a great day and we rode 280 miles. We saw Crater Lake and we took that crazy and wonderful road. We had a wonderful dinner and a nice place to stay. Thank you, and Good Night.


Niko:
This morning was cold and sunny but dad was sure it’d warm up once we got away from the beach. We dressed in heat gear, with a t-shirt over it. I threw on my riding pants and headed to breakfast in hopes of snagging a Krispy Kreme Doughnut. Turns out the doughnuts the motel was boasting never showed up.

After eating a meager breakfast, we moseyed back and packed up our bikes to leave. Dad went up to complain to the front desk about the Wi-Fi not working, and the Krispy Kremes not arriving. A sort of false advertisement.

We took off and turned on the road to Agnes. The road was fairly curvy, and it slowly warmed, though I didn’t get quite comfortable yet. We stopped at a sign that spoke the embodiment of our trip. “Traveling on this road is not advised, narrow and sharp turns. Rough gravel sections are ahead. Trailers are not recommended!” We smiled and rode on.

The road up to bear camp overlook was fun, scenic, and full of squirrels with death wishes. The road would be empty, and suddenly two squirrels would run across the road in front of us. The gravel sections of the road were mild, and the road was only one lane wide for two directions of traffic. I would recommend that large trucks and trailers should leave it alone.

At the summit of bear camp overlook, the clouds were pouring over one side into the valley we came from. I was getting quite chilled now, and I figured it was because of the clouds coming over the hill. We rode down, off the road, and into Grant’s Pass.

We decided to stop at Carl’s Jr. for a burger to make up for our lack of protein. The girl working there was friendly and cute too. I found out that my CamelBak had leaked all over my groin, and was making me cold on the way down the hill. We checked the map and got back on the bikes.

We continued riding, and riding towards Crater Lake. Shortly after we passed Gold Hill, we both were getting a bit droopy eyed, so we stopped about 15 minutes shy of Crater Lake and had ice cream. We continued on to the entrance, and found out that the road that goes all the way around the rim was closed.

Bummer. We were looking forward to going around Rim drive, but settled for some hiking between visitor centers.

We headed back down the mountain to Gold Hill to see the mystery house at Oregon Vortex. Dad stopped at a turn off on the mountain that had a large 6 inch deep pile of snow, and slowly sprayed his way through. I was cursing myself for not turning on the camera for it.

When we arrived back in gold hill, we got lost looking for the mystery house by following directions. Signs said turn right, but they meant turn left. The vortex closed at 5, and it was a quarter to 6. So we just moved on.

We rode back to Grants Pass and settled into a La Quinta Inn. We unpacked, dad took a shower and then we walked down to a local diner for fish, cornbread, soup, and Oreo pie. We walked back to the hotel and did a few things on the laptop and went to the hot tub.

I stayed there for an hour after dad left to work on the blog (Probably longer than I should have). I came back to the room as dad was finishing up his blog, and started mine. I’m tired now, my eyes sting a bit, and dad’s occasional snores are making me want to sleep.

Thank you for reading, goodnight! 1:00 here.

2010 June 30th

Mark:
I woke up really early and got up to check the computer and then I went back to bed. I slept for a little while longer then I got up and started to pack and prepare for the day. After I had been up and doing some things I woke up Niko and got him going. We went downstairs to have breakfast.

We packed up and loaded up the bikes and then left and headed right out of town. We rode straight to Cave Junction Oregon and made the turn to go to the Oregon Caves NM. Just after the turn was a Visitor’s Center. Niko made a motion about turning into the lot and so I decided to turn. Niko almost rear ended me and locked up the rear wheel trying to stop. The next thing I saw was his bike lying on its side with him standing next to it. I pulled over and helped him pick it up and then I pulled into the parking lot. Niko soon followed and we talked about what had just happened. Nothing was hurt or damaged and Niko didn’t even hit the ground.

I went in to the Visitor’s Center and got a stamp for the passport. I came out and then we got back on the bikes and took off for the caves.

The road was very twisted and wound its way up to the parking lot. On the way, some woman in a Durango was tailgating Niko so close that if he had made any mistakes, she would not have been able to stop. We were able to pull into a turn out so that she could pass. This really made me upset and I got the plate of the vehicle and reported her to the rangers once we reached the park. Of course, it didn’t go any further than that.

We went up to register for a tour through the caves and they told us that it would be an hour before we would be able to get our tour. I was OK with that until she said that we couldn’t take a tripod or our Camelbaks. We had to walk back down to the parking lot and leave both of those items behind. We had some snacks and then did some walking around.

We got in line for our tour and went through the caves. The tour was good and we enjoyed it. Afterward we talked to the ranger out in the parking lot for quite awhile. He was cool but he didn’t know very much about any other park.

We left the park and headed back down the twisted dead end road. We turned to go south toward Crescent City California and shortly after we left Cave Junction Oregon we came across several police officers who had a vehicle pulled over. Three officers had weapons drawn and one had an M-16, all aimed toward the vehicle. We were travelling in the opposite direction and just drove on by not knowing what else to do. Needless to say we were both a little disturbed by what we saw.

We made a stop at the Redwood Forest NP and go the passport stamped. I talked to a ranger for a few minutes about which roads to take through the park. She gave me a map and made some suggestions. We decided to continue on toward Eureka California and try to make it to my Uncle’s place there.

The forest was very large and the road was twisted through the trees. We rode through several sections of forest and finally made it to Eureka. We met up with my Uncle Dale, (my father’s brother) and then went over to my cousin, Elizabeth’s and her husband Matt’s place to stay. We ate some dinner with everybody and ended up talking until late at night. Dale, Judith, Elizabeth, Hannah, Kayla and Molly were all there.

The weather in Eureka was beautiful and clear. This is unusual, as it is normally cloudy and overcast. It was a little windy and chilly, but a very nice day just the same.

We had a great day of riding and saw some wonderful sites. The scenery was awesome, especially the trees. Thank you for reading, Good Night.


Niko:
We woke this morning, and went downstairs for breakfast, and ate an egg and a waffle. After eating a bit more, I came upstairs to help pack up. We put our dirty laundry in a space saver bag and packed it away.

The plastic polish exploded in my tank bag again yesterday, so I cleaned it up again, putting the excess on my helmet and polishing it up. I then put it in a plastic bag, so it won’t make messes again.

We took off and headed to Oregon caves, and dad kind of abruptly turned off into the visitor center. I was following too close and slammed the brakes and locked my rear wheel. I managed to correct it, but I was so sure I lost it that I let it go and it fell over as I stood over it. We picked it up and pulled in to the visitor center to find that neither I nor the bike had a scratch.

After we left the visitor center, we wound up a twisted, banked turn road. The road was a blast, but about halfway up, a lady in a green Durango SUV was tailgating me severely close. If I had not made a turn and low sided, it would’ve been a “budump!’’ and I’d be done.

Dad pulled off the side, and took her plates as she went screaming by at about 70 in a 30 mph zone. We continued on and got up to the parking lot and dad slowed down to see the driver of the Durango as we rode past her space. We changed into warmer clothes because we heard that the caves are 40° year round.

No bags or tripods were allowed in the caves and we had to carry that stuff back. When our tour started, our guide explained things very well. While he knew little of other parks, he knew a lot about these caves. The corridors of the cave were very tight and I had to get down into a squat and shuffle around in a couple parts.

The lady in front of dad had no respect for the cave and touched the walls on many occasions. (This leaves oils or glove lint that stains the wall and grows bacteria… big no-no here!) One room of the cave was about the size of a house, and was the deepest room, about 300 feet underground.

We left the cave, walked back to the bikes, geared up and took off again. We rode back down the hill and turned at Cave Junction back onto highway 199 towards Crescent City.

A few miles down the road, we saw a car pulled over by multiple cops, so we slowed down. By the time we got close, we noticed that a couple cops had pistols drawn, and one with an M-16. The driver of the car had a revolver out the window, and as we passed, the driver dropped the gun. A couple miles up the road, another cop had a man on the ground (cuffed) and was talking to someone outside a motel.

Still shaken, playing alternate outcomes out in our head, we rode on into Crescent City and stopped for gas. We asked the attendant how far Eureka was, and he came up with about an hour and a half away. We kept moving and headed south on highway 101.

Our next stop was the parking lot of Trees of Mystery. As we rolled up and parked, the statue of Paul Bunyan began speaking, and looked over at us, “Nice bikes… Wish they made them in my size!” and we laughed about his comment and got out of our jackets. As we finished putting our stuff on the bike, a biker had his picture taken standing under Babe the bull, and Bunyan joked, “Who’s under my bull? Hey! That’s not a Piñata!”

The whole lot began laughing at the joke and I noticed the lot was void of children as he made the comment. We walked through the gift shop, came back out and laughed as kids were asking Paul to move around, and we geared up ready to take off.

When we left the lot, a car in front of us was weaving in and out and driving at about 30 in a 55 mph zone. He failed to yield to faster traffic (against the law here) and after dad flung his arms out he pulled off for us and the 20 cars behind us to pass. All went smoothly until we reached Eureka California, and stopped at my great uncle Dale’s. We then followed him to my dad’s cousin’s place where we stayed. The little girls were very excited to have someone new to play with, and were glad to share all their things with me.

We are lying down and blogging now, but it’s late and I have to get to bed. So goodnight dear readers!

2010 July 1st

Mark:
I woke up really early and couldn’t go back to sleep, but I stayed in bed anyway. When I heard others up I got up and went downstairs. My Uncle Dale was here and Elizabeth made some breakfast for us all. We ate our pancakes and then Elizabeth took a friend to the airport and when she got back, Dale took Niko around and showed us some of the sites around town.

We first went to the Carson Mansion and saw the beautiful architecture of that building. We then drove through Sequoia Park and drove through this huge grove of Redwoods and Sequoia trees. We picked up an oil filter for Niko’s bike and then grabbed some oil. We made a couple of other stops for other things and then we went back to Elizabeth’s place.

Niko and I started to take care of doing the oil change on his bike. Once the oil was changed we cleaned up and I lubed up the chains real good on both bikes. Niko was playing games with the girls and he brought out the rabbit for awhile.

The weather today was so clear and beautiful outside that we all just hung around out in the yard.

When Matt came home, we had the opportunity to talk to him for quite awhile and then we all went to dinner. After dinner we went into old town Eureka and listen to the last few songs that a live band was playing. There were people dancing and having a lot of fun listening to the great music.

We went back to Elizabeth and Matt’s place and talked for several hours. I showed Dale a bunch of pictures of Kathy and then everybody retired for the evening. It was a wonderful day and we couldn’t ask for nicer weather. Thank you for such a blessed day.


Niko:
I woke and we went downstairs to have multi berry pancakes that Elizabeth made. We immediately went out to get oil and a filter, and run a few other errands. We got back and I changed my oil and filter and settled down in the yard.

I took Kayla and Hannah’s bunny out of its cage and kept it from running away and allowed the girls to pet it. I also taught them a few cool tricks I loved when I was their age. After a while we went to have seafood at a restaurant downtown, then we listened to music played by a live band.

We went back to the house and relaxed, talking about whatever came up, then we all decided it was late. So now I must say goodnight.

2010 July 2nd

Mark:
I woke up way before Niko and started to get ready to leave. I woke up Niko and started to pack up the bike. Everybody was awake by the time we were ready to leave. I had called Dale and he came over to say goodbye. We took a couple of pictures and then we departed.

We stopped and grabbed a bite to eat and then we hit the road. We headed south and when we got to the turn for the Avenue of the Giants, we took it. It was a beautiful drive through the redwood forest. We stopped several times to check out some of the incredible trees. It was a little humbling to be with trees that were over 2000 years old. A very spiritual calmness had come over Niko and me as we walked through the forest to visit the Founders Tree. We hardly spoke to each other.

We stopped at the Chandelier Tree and parked the bikes in the tunnel and took some pictures. We also met up with a guy riding that was from London England. He had taken his bike through Mexico and was on his way north to Alaska. He told us that he had covered most of Europe and some of northern Africa. I wish you well on your travels, sir and I hope that someday I can say that I have traveled as much as you.

When we left the Chandelier Tree we turned and got on Highway 1. This road almost immediately started twisting and turning. It went on for miles and there were a couple of times that I felt like I was in motorcycle heaven and I had become one with the machine. I was only interrupted by my mother hen instinct watching the mirrors to make sure that Niko was still behind me. I think that it was the spiritual emotions of being with the trees that helped me reach this state of nirvana, if only briefly. Little did I know that most of the day I would be riding on undulating twisted roads like this.

Most of the drivers that we encountered were very courteous and would use the pullouts and let us go by. We were able to maintain the speed limit while we negotiated through those corners when most cars couldn’t. Of course there had to be that one individual who thought that he held the title to that section of road and felt that he should hold up the rest of the world because he could only do 35 MPH when the limit was 55MPH. We had to follow this clown for nearly 20 miles before we found a way to get around him.

When we arrived at the Bay area, we encountered rush hour traffic going over the Golden Gate Bridge. I think that Niko was a little shocked at how large the bridge actually was. Once we were over the bridge we got off of the 101 and drove through town. We turned and headed for the beach side of town so that we could head south some more. We stopped in Half Moon Bay California for the night. We ordered up a pizza and then worked on the blog. We covered 342 miles today and both of us are quite spent. Highway 1 was a real workout. Thank you for Reading and Good Night.


Niko:
We woke this morning before anyone else, but they woke before we left. We packed up and gathered our things. Dale was there to say goodbye, and the girls (though sleepy) were anxious to see us ride off. We ate breakfast burritos at Carl’s Junior to fuel our day.

We got on the road and in minutes we were out of Eureka. We pulled off onto the Avenue of Giants, and stopped to look at the trees. Most of the trees larger than six inches diameter were 8 to 15 feet in diameter!

When I was there, I honestly felt connected to the trees’ lives. They felt like extremely slow, huge creatures with no contemplation. I was absorbed into their being and fell silent and my heart slowed past 80 beats per minute. I was very calm and relaxed.

We moved on and stopped at Drive-Thru Tree, but didn’t notice the word “shrine” after it. The tree was withered, alive, and thin… but still drivable. We took pictures of it, and quickly moved on, disappointed for the 8 bucks.

We rode on down the Avenue, redwood after redwood flying past. Eventually, we noticed a sign that said Drive-Thru Tree… This time with a picture of a larger tree. We paid the $5 to enter and were very pleased. The tree was immense, probably 20 odd feet in diameter.

We took some pictures, and also met a motorcyclist from London who is riding from Mexico to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska! GO, MAN!

We got back on the road at highway 1, and rode down twisty roads. Every time a car in front “owned the road” I’d get sleepy and the car would decide to use his brakes when he’s already below the speed limit by 20 mph. this event would abruptly wake me as I almost hit them.

At some points with speed, I would get into the curves and a couple times, dragged the foot peg! We finally found a saltwater taffy shop! I got an assortment to honor my mother’s tradition, and we were off again.

We arrived in San Francisco and wanted to take the Golden Gate Bridge across town. Even with rush hour traffic, it was worth it! We could’ve filtered through traffic, but with the bags, we were too nervous to try.

Before we knew it, we were out of town we stopped at a nearby gas station and I used the restroom. We moved on down the road seven miles to find a place to stay. We found a Days Inn at Half Moon Bay, California and stopped.

We ordered pizza from Straw Hat Pizza, and had it delivered. The pizza was good, and we watched “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and blogged before bed. Dad’s already asleep, and I’m tired. Goodnight!

2010 July 3rd

Mark:
Happy Birthday Dad! My father would have been 71 today.

Niko and I were woken up by the alarm clock at 5:30am this morning. I nearly smashed the clock trying to figure out how to shut it off. It went off again 10 minutes later. That time I was awake enough to shut it off for good. We slept for awhile longer and then got up and got ready to go.

We went to the office and ate some breakfast. They didn’t offer as much to eat as some of the other places that we have stayed. We ate and then went back to the room to pack and get going.

It was a cool 55°F this morning on the coast and we dressed for cold weather. Once the bikes were loaded up, we took off and rode for about 30 minutes to get to this biker hang out called Alice’s Restaurant. This was one of those places that another rider had suggested that we go and check out. This was also one of those really good suggestions, thanks Ken. We went in and had a wonderful breakfast (much better than the hotel). The food was great and the service was wonderful. Everybody in the restaurant was friendly and they were asking us questions about where we were from and where we were going. And of course, they all had suggestions of where we should go and roads that we should check out while we were here.

One of these suggestions sounded really good so I grabbed the laptop and actually programmed the road into the GPS. As it turned out it was a very small deviation to where we were actually headed. This suggestion was to take the road up to Mt Hamilton and stop at Lick observatory, which is at the summit. The road was a really winding old beat up bumpy road that most people would avoid at all cost. We loved it.

Niko and I were still dressed for riding on the coast. It was chilly when we left and we had spent the last 2 hours riding in the city with an average of 20 MPH, and now, where we were, it was almost 90°F. We were extremely overheated. Once we were out of the city and on our way up the mountain, we stopped at a park and removed the warm clothes for riding in cold weather and put on heat gear for riding in the heat. This made us much more comfortable.

Once we were at the top of Mt Hamilton and at the Visitor’s Center, we could see all the way to the San Francisco Bay. This was a good 150 mile away. The sky was really clear and you could see for miles in all directions.

There was also a gentleman up there that had a telescope setup to view the sun. His telescope had several different filters in it so that it could be viewed and that was very interesting. We also went inside and had a tour of the original telescope room and learned a lot about what it took to build the whole thing. This telescope was a 36inch refractor and it was built in the 1800s and all of the material for the building was brought by horse and carts. The road is the same road only now it is paved. Today there are several other newer buildings with many more telescopes, but we only looked at the one.

We continued on and rode for a couple more hours, until we reached a farming community named Turlock. The road had a barricade across it and a ROAD CLOSED sign on it. No detour and no way around. We turned around and in doing so Niko hit some gravel and his bike went down. We got him picked up and back on his way. We had some trouble trying to find a way around and I finally figured out where the GPS was going so I just bypassed all of the back roads and we got onto the 99 headed south. We stopped in Merced California for the night.

We unloaded the bikes and then we went to have some dinner. We went back to the hotel and I worked on the blog while Niko went outside by the pool. That is all for today, Thanks for Reading. Good Night.


Niko:
I woke abruptly, thinking the world was ending until I realized it was just an alarm clock. We slept longer and eventually got up to go to breakfast. Breakfast was waffles, and hardboiled egg. We packed up and polished our visors (which were filthy).

We dressed for cool weather and headed out down a curvy, calm road. Before long, we reached the famous, yet hidden, Alice’s Restaurant. We went in and had a better breakfast than earlier. I had fried eggs, sausage links, and hash browns.

The people there were so friendly and talkative, making suggestions and asking questions. Even the toddler behind me was friendly… she spoke full sentences and a wide range of English and couldn’t have been older than two!

One person gave us a new road to ride and when we finished, we decided to go put it into the GPS. I noticed that next to my bike sat three KLR 650’s, one black, and two blue. I went to use the restroom and on my way back, I talked with a beautiful biker girl, who wanted to sign me up for a motorcycle insurance deal called “BAM”.

I said I was in a hurry but her reply was priceless: “you don’t look hurried. You don’t have time for me to BAM you?!” as she said it, she squeezed her chest with her hands. She had her sales pitch down, but I was in a rush and turned her down and stunned her. I do believe she actually watched me leave, out of shock.

We crawled through downtown San Jose and surrounding city in 1.5 hours! We were steaming hot from our cool weather clothing and stopped at a county park to change. The ladies up front let us in without charge to use the restrooms. We felt a lot better after changing and opening vents on our jackets, so, on we moved.

We rode up curves and switchbacks so tight we saw our own tail-lights! I was in first gear so as to stay on my side of the road. Cliffs on the roadside went down hundreds of feet and there was no room for error.

When we arrived at the top of the mountain and pulled into Lick Observatory’s lot, we noticed a burning smell, we looked at my bike to check the luggage and saw smoke coming from the exhaust area. I lifted the bag away and liquid melted plastic oozed down from in-between the bag and the side fairing.

We removed all of the baggage to keep from having a fire, and only then realized that the side fairing was what had melted, not the bags.

We toured the observatory and talked with the people there. Thanks all for your concern, assistance, and stories. We packed back up and went down the other side of the mountains. I coasted to conserve gas and keep my muffler cool.

At the base of the mountain, we came to a rural farm town consisting of cows, olive trees, palm trees, and the occasional house. After miles, the road was closed without detour or warning. When turning around, I slid on what I thought was pavement, but was color matched gravel. Down I went and slid, getting up as soon as I stopped moving.

We inspected the damage to find my add-on pegs were bent, crash bars scratched, and knee pad cloth slightly torn. No really big deal. We kept moving somewhat aimlessly, but ended up in Merced CA.

We found a Days Inn to stay at, and an In-N-Out burger to eat at. The pool was way too cold, so I took a shower in the mini-stall and began work on the blog. Thanks for reading, goodnight, it’s late, and I must sleep.

2010 July 4th

Mark:
Happy Fourth of July!

This morning started very well and we were up and getting ready in a relaxed fashion. The temperature was well into the 80’s by the time we left at around 9am.

When we left Merced California we got on Highway 99 and headed south. We got off at Fresno California and we were a little spooked at how deserted the town was. We only saw a handful of people and even less cars. It was so much like ghost town we experienced a “Twilight Zone” moment. Where were all the people?

We rode through town quickly since there wasn’t any traffic and then toward the mountains. When we reached a town called Centerville, we stop at a fruit stand and ate some fruit. I had a couple of apricots, a nectarine and a plum. The nectarine wasn’t very ripe but the other fruit was great.

We got back on the highway and not too far down the road the GPS told us to turn. I wasn’t very sure about the road but we followed it anyway. As it turned out, it was a pleasant diversion from the standard highway routine. No traffic and a really winding road that probably was the original highway up to the park. We were headed to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. The road led us back to the highway and before too long we were in the park.

Our first stop after the entrance gate was Grant’s Tree. This tree was well over 2000 years old and extremely large. We took the little hike around this area and we were appalled by the complete and utter disrespect of so many individuals that were taking this little walk through the trees. There was a fence around the trail so that no one would get too close to the trees and upset their environment. We saw a whole family (about 15 people) way off the trail sitting on a stump and eating a picnic lunch. This upset me to the point where I just had to tell a ranger. Later Niko and I were down in the parking lot eating our lunch of sorts and this guy jumps the fence and runs down into this grove of trees and says “hey take my picture”. I had to yell at the guy, and he was so blatant in his disrespect that he just said to me that “there aren’t any signs”. So I just turned around and yelled across the parking lot for the ranger to come over. The ranger made it very clear to the guy that he was not to cross the fence. He didn’t mouth off to the ranger.

There were so many different languages being spoken that it was a little confusing with all of the different nationalities of people visiting the park. All of the people that were being disrespectful to the park and the trees that I saw were of Middle Eastern dissent. All of the other people in the park were showing reverence to the park and what they were seeing.

We rode down to the end of the road, which was a dead end, and saw the Kings River and the canyon. This was a most beautiful area and the water in the river was all white because it was so rough. You would not what to take a raft down that. When we neared the end of the road, we stopped at the sign for a picture and Niko tells me that the battery in the video camera has been dead since the beginning of the canyon. He went to change the battery and he could not find the camera case. This is when he realized that the case was left in the hotel room from last night back in Merced.

We finished riding the rest of the way to the end of the road and then turned around for the journey back. We stopped several times for pictures and then rode out of the park. When we reached our turning point where we were to head toward Yosemite, we stopped and I had Niko call the hotel to see if they had found this camera bag. The lady told Niko that they wouldn’t know until tomorrow.

We decided to head back to Fresno because we needed fuel and then we decide to ride back to Merced and see if they had found the camera bag. The lady at the desk told us that she wouldn’t know anything until 10am tomorrow. We decided to stay the night and do some laundry and go swimming. After the laundry was finished we walked down the street and found some dinner to eat. We came back to the hotel and worked on the blog. We only saw a few fireworks during our walk.

We did a lot of riding today with 295 miles. We are both very tired and we are ready for bed. Thanks for reading. Good Night.


Niko:
Today dad decided to not eat breakfast and just have beef jerky. I had cheerios, a piece of toast, juice, a berry horn, and a chunk of dad’s beef jerky for protein. We dressed in heat gear and I wore the mesh version of my jacket.

We took off and got on the freeway to Fresno and drove down the empty town. It was literally a ghost town with only a couple of people and a handful of cars around on the streets. All of the stores were closed, too. We quickly passed Fresno and rode on down the road.

As we started to get a bit tired, we pulled into the fruit stand at Centerville and had some fruit. I had a plum and a peach, though I’d say the plum was much better. So ripe it just made a “squish” noise and dribbled juice everywhere.

We hopped back on and kept going up the road to Sequoia national park. We turned into the gate, paid, and rolled on to Grant Village. We meandered around, but soon moved on to see the tree. As we pulled into the lot, I noticed many Nationalities were represented here, but predominately Indian.

As we walked around the trees up to General Grant tree, I couldn’t help but think that there were no reference points to the size of the trunks, for there were fences around the paths. Some people were etching names into fallen logs, and walls of the cabin on the path. We just shook our heads and walked on.

We got back to the parking lot and told a ranger about the general disrespect going on, and she told us others had mentioned it and that she’d check it out. Not even five minutes later, an Indian man had jumped over the fence and was standing by the trees. Dad told him to get out of the fenced area and he argued that he didn’t know he did anything wrong.

We hollered at a ranger across the lot and she walked over. The man quickly tried to leave, but the ranger caught him and asked him why he crossed the fence, and told him not to walk off the path or there’d be worse consequences.

I felt ashamed to be a part of this group of tourists, or even to be associated with the average human, and found myself wishing that none of these parks were so easily accessible to better preserve them.

We moved on to Kings Canyon and rode the twisted road all the way to “End Road.” And only six miles from the end did I notice that I had left the camera’s bag at the motel in Merced CA, when I tried to change the battery at the base of the canyon. My back had also begun to seriously ache, and I was beginning to feel pretty crappy after all the stuff happening today. We rode back up the mountain and into Sequoia to head back towards Fresno.

On the way out of Sequoia National Park, we saw another example of why I wish there were no roads up to the park, an RV going 20 mph below the speed limit and refusing to pull off the road into a designated “slow vehicle turn off” lane.

We were behind that RV for close to 30 minutes and when we finally had an opportunity to use the oncoming lane to pass; dad almost took his mirror off. We passed Centerville and pulled over so I could call Days Inn and check on the camera bag. The lady told me that she wouldn’t know until 10:00 tomorrow when the maids come back in.

We decided to head back to Merced to check ourselves, and stopped in Fresno for gas. The GPS said there was a Chevron gas station on a certain corner, but it was Shell. We never buy Shell so we searched for a better place for gas. Off we went, back to Merced, taking the freeway.

It took longer than I recalled getting back, but it might’ve just been me. We found out that the maid’s lock a room that they store all lost items in, so we decided to stay here again. We started laundry and jumped in the ice-cold pool to take the edge off of the +90° weather.

After our laundry was done, we decided to find dinner and walk out to see what our choice was. We found only a Burger King and a Mc Donald’s available. I have boycotted Mc Donald’s, and Burger King was supporting Eclipse of the Twilight Saga. Tough decision, but I went with Burger King because I’d rather support a good company with bad partners than a bad company with no partners.

To add insult to injury, I couldn’t find my phone after we got back from dinner. I walked back out to Burger King even though they closed. I knocked on the window and mimed that I may have left my phone there. They mimed that they’d look, but found nothing.

On my way back I saw it on the ground and was happy I didn’t lose that forever. That’d been tragic. Anyway, it’s one in the morning here, so goodnight!

2010 July 5th

Mark:
This morning we got off to a bumpy start. The hotel manager couldn’t find the camera bag and the lady doing the cleaning didn’t work the previous day, so she didn’t know what was going on at all. The bottom line was that we don’t have the extra battery anymore for the video camera and we lost one of the media cards. It isn’t tragic, just not what we wanted.

We packed up and got on the road only to encounter several bad drivers. One lady in particular almost ran someone off the road right in front of us. When I went around her she was texting on her phone.

We were on our way to Yosemite and I think that we made a mistake going up there on a holiday. There were literally thousands of people and every site to stop was so packed that there wasn’t enough parking. We stopped at one place to check out the falls and there was a line of at least 40 people to use the single restroom. We had to park in a “No Parking” zone, being on bikes we can get away with that. People were completely disregarding all of the warnings about climbing on the rock around the falls. Niko and I just kept telling ourselves that it is just “Attrition”.

We weren’t exactly having a very enjoyable time so we just stayed on the bikes and rode on through the park. We only stopped occasionally for a picture. The roads were all under construction so traffic was even slower than normal with lots of gravel section to navigate.

Once we were out of the park, we stopped for fuel and paid the most I have even seen for gas at $3.99 per gallon. Thank goodness the bikes don’t hold much. We continued on and came to a turn off and stopped for a snack and to check the map. Some other bikers came by and told us that this road was great and that we should check it out. That was all that I needed.

The road was indeed wonderful and went down to a single lane. There wasn’t any traffic and the views were excellent. We were in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains. We came to another crossroad and we took the turn away from the flow and the road got really tight and twisted. The GPS told me that the next turn was 75 miles and since it was getting late, I told Niko that we should just find a place to camp.

We road another 15 miles or so and right at the sign telling us that we were at 8000 ft elevation, there was a dirt track that headed to a clearing. We decided to ride down and found this wonderful place to just unload and camp. Rogue camping isn’t always the best way, but this was great. We were right next to a creek and far enough from the road that we could barely hear the occasional car. Once we stopped, I seriously doubt that more than 10 cars went by the rest of the night. There was a great fireplace already put together and there was wood all over.

We got to use my new water filter and check out how well that worked. We heated up the filtered water and boiled it for a few minutes and then used it for the freeze dried meal that we had with us. We had plenty to eat and when the sun went down the sky was the real benefit.

We were able to see more stars than I had seen ever before. The sky was black but there were so many stars it lit up the area so we could still see to walk around. Niko and I were up really late taking pictures with the camera until the battery died. Timed exposures really tax the battery. We went to bed after that happened. The day started out a little crappy, but we were really enjoying things by the end of it. It is amazing how that happens sometimes. It is really late so Good Night.


Niko:
Our day started poorly with the hotel manager doing the absolute bare minimum to help us, and the maid who might have seen our camera case wasn’t working today. Needless to say, we are short one battery, and one media card.

When we got on the road to try and move on, we were greeted with idiotic drivers who paid little attention to the road and more attention to phones glued to their hands. I can only hope they don’t take out someone else when they kill themselves by it.

When we finally got to Yosemite National park, it was full to the brim with hundreds of cars. When we stopped for a bathroom break, the single service restroom had a line 100 yards long, so we decided against that idea. When walking along the path, hundreds of people had walked off, over the fence, and into the stream. And everywhere along the path were signs reading “Do not enter stream! Extremely strong current and slick rocks. Potentially fatal area.”

Whatever. They’ll hurt or kill themselves and the family will play dumb. But, just desserts are coming for them.

We hurried out of Yosemite to get rid of the crowd and keep from sleeping behind a slow vehicle. While interesting scenery was abound, we didn’t stop much, to reduce chances of slow cars getting in our way.

After getting out, a sharp decline in elevation from 10,000 feet to 2,700 feet brought a warm wall of air. We stopped for gas in Lee Vining and saw a Yamaha V-Max. We rode for several miles in the direction of Carson City on a straight, hot road.

The GPS took us on a pointless diversion that led back to the road we were on, and then shortly after, we stopped at a corner for a snack. We actually took the offshoot road we stopped on and wound up some good twists.

After several miles, dad said we should camp, and a few minutes later we found a great site off the road about 200 feet, near a sign that said “ELV 8,000 FT”.

We saw the greatest night sky of my life and could faintly see the Milky Way dust belt. The big dipper was sharply contrasted from the rest of the stars and they alone produced enough light to see by.

We had a fire prepared and built up to keep us warm for the drop in temperature as soon as the sun went down. When the fire died down to coals, we could see quite well. We brushed our teeth and spat far from our site to keep bear attraction down, then settled in for the night. It’s late now, and I bid thee goodnight.

2010 July 6th

Mark:
I didn’t sleep very well last night. The moon woke me up because it was so bright I thought that it was morning. I’m glad that it was only a quarter moon; it would have been a lot worse otherwise. I did wake up around 5:30am and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up only to realize that it was very cold outside. I checked the temperature with the bike and it was 41°F.

The mountains to the south were well lit by the sun already and the sky was clear. I stirred the embers a little to see if there was any fire left from last night. Some coals were still warm enough to get something going again. I went for a look around and found some more dead wood to burn. I put the wood on the fire and before too long the fire was ripping again.

I got the little stove fired up and started to boil some water for us to eat some instant oatmeal. It only took a couple of minutes and the water was boiling really strong. I poured some into the bowls with oatmeal and we ate it right away. We cleaned up the dishes and put everything away.

It took us quite a while to get everything packed and ready to ride. When we left we headed the same way we were going when we stopped and we rode for 62 miles before we came to another town. We were out in the boonies. We only saw two cars going the opposite direction and none going the way we were.

It was a beautiful morning and the lower in elevation we got the warmer it got. We found a Starbucks in Angels Camp California and stopped to charge the cameras and to post the blog. We didn’t have any power or internet or cell phone service where we camped. We spent about 90 minutes there and found this place to be a very happening spot. It seemed to me that everyone knew each other and were quite friendly.

Once the cameras were charged, we left and headed up to Lake Tahoe. Niko seemed very surprised when we reached a lookout point where we could actually see the lake. I don’t think he realized that it was that big. Everywhere we went it was crowded and the traffic was terrible. We drove around most of the lake and then turned to go toward Carson City Nevada.

We found a place to stay and cleaned up so that we could go to dinner. I forgot to zero out the trip odometer this morning so I don’t know how many miles we did today but between yesterday and today we had 520 miles. We have a long day planned for tomorrow with over 350 miles to ride, so I’m off to get some rest. Thank you and have a good night.


Niko:
This morning was bright; making the inside of the tent glow, but when I stepped outside it was very cold. I quickly dressed, then helped dad get the fire going. Once the coals started up some dry wood we threw on it, the place warmed a bit and we set out to make breakfast.

After boiling some fresh filtered water, we poured it into instant oatmeal and quickly ate it. Dad washed the dishes and pulled out beef jerky. I promptly put the jerky on the end of a stick and held it over the fire to heat. The jerky was hot, moist, and somewhat smoky.

We packed up and heavily doused the fire, brushed our teeth and took off for Lake Tahoe. The morning was chilly and only warmed as we dropped 5,000 feet in altitude. There were some awesome corners I ground some peg on just before entering Angels Camp, CA. We stopped at the local Starbucks, which seemed to be the biggest thing for everyone in town. We waited for camera batteries to charge, and dad started a war on the flies. Together I think we nailed about nine flies.

We finally packed and moved out, and arrived in San Andreas. The town was quite small, and we turned early, so we were out as abruptly as we arrived. We kept seeing statues and other weird things in the fields on the way to Tahoe, for example: a statue of a pig dancing with a cow.

When we saw Lake Tahoe, I expected a different view. Fewer houses, snow on the bank, and no tourists. There was a ton of people and buildings there, and some people were swimming too. Almost every lakeshore home had a private pier and boat.

Soon enough, I just wanted out of California. The drivers were poor and we were here at the wrong time of year. But now, we passed the border, and the first thing that happened in Nevada for me was a red light. It was practically part of Tahoe city! Next thing, of course, was a casino. Amazing how every border crossing has gambling available.

We kept moving until we got to Carson City, at which we stopped at Wal-Mart for some cheap camping gear; a solar water/shower bag, small folding hacksaw, deet, freeze dried dinner, etc.

We passed up a ratty looking Days Inn and went for Holiday Inn Express just up the street from Days Inn. We ate dinner at “Mi Casa Too” and saved some in case I got hungry later. After my stomach settled, I went downstairs to relax in the hot tub and came back to shower and blog.

It’s 12:50, so good night, I have to sleep because dad set an alarm.

2010 July 7th:

Mark:
We woke up feeling refreshed. We went downstairs and ate a very good breakfast. Once we were all fueled up we got everything packed and loaded onto the bikes. Today we were going to do the long haul across the state of Nevada. We left Carson City Nevada and took highway 50 dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America” to Ely.

We stopped for fuel in Austin Nevada and then saw a diner with a sign advertizing ice cream cones. We stopped and they were out of ice cream so we left disappointed.

When we reached Ely we fueled up and grabbed something to eat. We ran into another rider that was on a Gold Wing. He was from New York and had ridden his bike through Canada and then all the way to Prudhoe Bay Alaska. This guy was quite a character and was full of stories. I wish him safe travels. When we finished eating, we turned and headed out the Great Basin highway which led us to the Great Basin National Park. We turned before this to take a short cut, according to the GPS, and ended up on a gravel road.

This road was a completely rocky diversion where both of us dropped our bikes twice. The first one for me was when I tried to turn around and I simply lost my balance on the slippery surface. No damage done, continue on. The second was when Niko had fallen and I tried to stop and I lost my balance again and the bike fell over. My bike is so heavy that when it gets just over too far, down it goes. It takes both of us all we have to pick it back up.

This “Short Cut” took us over an hour to travel 12 miles. The road was intertwined with many other roads right and left so just trying to follow the GPS was difficult. After riding on this road for so long we came to a small shallow river to cross. This was the easiest part of the road. Eventually we came to a gate across the road and Niko thought that we would have to go back the way we came. I opened the gate and we passed through and then closed the gate and kept going. The last section of this crazy road was much more fun and even entertaining.

We finally made it back to the main highway and then to the Visitor’s Center, but they were closed. We headed up to the campground at the summit, 10,000ft, but that campground was completely full. We had to go back down the 12 mile road and we went through the other two campgrounds and they were full also. We ran into a Ranger and she told us about this other campground, so we went to check it out.

This campground called Baker Creek was down a gravel road about 4 miles. We were able to find a camping spot but it was getting dark. We setup camp as quickly as we could but it was getting very dark quickly. This National Park has been heralded as the darkest place in the USA. It was a little cloudy and we were a little concerned that we wouldn’t have much of a view. Once the sun went away, it was extremely dark and the clouds went away and we could see more stars than imaginable. This campground was at 7,500ft. Niko and I took a bunch of timed exposures of the night sky and then went to bed around midnight.

We met a fellow camper who was very nice and offered us ice and water. Thank you Greg, it was nice to meet you.

Our day turned out to be much longer than we had originally anticipated with 432 miles achieved. Thanks for following along. Good Night.


Niko:
We woke and began packing, then went down to a great breakfast of powdered eggs, handfuls of bacon, yogurt, toast, cereal, juice, and a muffin. We quickly geared up and hauled out of town in the direction of Ely and the Great Basin.

We could hardly keep our eyes open for very long because there was absolutely nothing to see or look at. Seeing sage bush after sage bush for many miles tends to hypnotize a person.

We decided to stop for restrooms and some ice cream, but when we picked out some shakes, they were out of all their ice cream. We thanked them anyway, and continued to Ely.

When we arrived in Ely, we pulled in for gas. The station had an Arby’s built into the convenience store, and we went in and ate. When we went back out to the bikes, we met an interesting character on a Honda Goldwing.

He had modified his Goldwing to have an additional seven gallon tank of gas, a three gallon water tank made of PVC pipe. He had ridden from New York to Prudhoe Bay on his bike, and we had found him in east Nevada. We now wonder where he’s headed.

We continued on to Great Basin, and the GPS wanted us to take a “shortcut” down a dirt road. I said “sure, let’s have an adventure” and did we ever! That road was full of fist-sized rocks, sand, washboards, tight corners, steep inclines, river crossings, barbwire gates, unstable boulders, and potholes that benches could fit in.

The road had about 50 turn-offs, and it was difficult to tell which road the GPS wanted us to take. We both dropped our bikes a couple times, and had to stop and pick them up. After an hour, we reached the point where the 15 miles of extra highway met up with our road. Some shortcut that was! Actually, we were both happy with that road.

We talked with a park ranger when we arrived at the entrance, and he told us the visitor center was closed and that the campgrounds may still have Vacancies. And we continued up the steep road to Wheeler Peak campground.

As it turned out, there were no sites available at the summit, so we turned around to check other sites down the mountain, and we still found full grounds.

A ranger told us to try Baker Creek campground, and we rode in search of it. I actually started my bike via a push start just for the sake of trying, and it was easier than I thought it’d be (though it was downhill).

We took a few wrong turns, but found it as the sun was setting. We set up as fast as possible before the sun was gone, but still needed headlamps and flashlights. It got suddenly cold when the sun went down and I had no hat to wear. Dad put on his hat, and I took a trusty towel and draped it on my head like a hood with an ode to Douglas Adams for “the most useful object in the galaxy”.

Speaking of galaxies, we saw the Milky Way in full color, and vibrancy. It was an awesome sight to behold. We had our cup-a-soups to keep warm and took a few timed exposures with the camera. Now it’s far from early and I must say goodnight.

2010 July 8th:

Mark:
I woke up really early thinking that the sun was coming up. I got up and went outside only to realize that the partial moon, a sliver, was what had woke me up. I went back to the tent and looked at my watch only to see that is was 3:30am. I went back to sleep for a couple more hours.

When we got up it was still very quiet all around and warm. We started to get everything packed. Instead of cooking up some oatmeal for breakfast we sliced up some of the summer sausage that we picked up in Tillamook Oregon. We talked to Greg about the offer for some ice for our Camelbak’s and he generously filled us up; thank you Greg, for your generosity. We left once we were ready and stopped at the Visitor’s Center for a stamp in the passport. We headed out to highway 50 again and rode until we arrived in Delta Utah. We fueled up and looked for a place to purchase a tire for Niko’s bike. I also called my lifelong friend Steve. We found a place to stop and see if they had a tire and rode over there. They didn’t have a tire the right size so we moved on.

We stopped for some lunch in Nephi Utah just before getting on the interstate 15 to ride north toward Salt Lake City. We had been told by several people to check out Rocky Mountain ATV for a tire. They were located in Payson Utah just south of Salt Lake City. We stopped and they had a tire in stock and they would mount it for us if we removed the wheel from the bike.

Niko and I went out to the parking lot and proceeded to remove the wheel in about 5 minutes and then took it in. They mounted up the tire and had it back in our hands in less than an hour total time. We reinstalled the wheel and we were back on the road in a short amount of time. A big Thank You goes out to the folks at Rocky Mountain ATV and all of those people that told us about them. The price was good and they were very fast.

We continued on to the Salt Lake area and found where my friend Steve lives. He hooked us up with a place to stash the bikes and then we cleaned up and went to have a good dinner. We spent the rest of the evening catching up with everything going on in our lives.

We had a relatively short riding day but we were able to get the tire for Niko’s bike and visit with my friend. We will be staying here for several days so there won’t be much to tell until we hit the road again on Monday. Thank you all for reading, Good Night.


Niko:
Both of us got up lazily and dressed to get out of the tent. We packed up our things and ate some of a summer sausage from Tillamook. We got some ice chunks for our Camelbak’s from our neighbor and took off.

We went in the direction of Salt Lake City, and stopped for gas across the border in Utah. We added even more ice to our water bags and found a motorcycle dealership nearby. We dropped in and asked if they carried a rear tire in my bike’s wheel size, but they didn’t have any in stock.

My rear tire was completely bald on the middle of the tread at this point. We were told to try Rocky Mountain ATV and Motocross on our route. We rode down the road until we got to the freeway leading to Salt Lake City and stopped at the Wendy’s there. After having a bacon burger and a frosty, we got on the freeway and headed to Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.

After arriving at the parts and tires store, we ordered the Michelin Anakee tire, and removed my wheel for them to work on. We sat and watched the most insane motocross stunts on the TV while waiting. After an hour, the tire was done and we mounted the wheel again.

I took it easy on the way to Salt Lake City to get rid of the slick rubber on the tire surface. We soon pulled into our friend’s apartment complex and he showed us a place to park the bikes.

We got out of our now gross heat gear, and into more comfortable clothing. Steve then took us out to dinner at McGrath’s seafood restaurant and I had steak and crab with clam chowder.

We got back to the apartment and settled in, soon beginning this blog. Our night is coming to an end, and it’s getting kind of late. Goodnight and thanks for reading.

2010 July 12th

Mark:
This morning I woke up by the alarm. I wanted to make sure that we were on the road early. I got myself ready and woke up Niko so that he could get himself ready. We had a bunch of things to do before we could leave.

Once we were ready we left and got on the interstate 15 and headed south. We only stopped a couple of times for gas and another couple of times for short breaks. When we arrived in St George Utah it was 107°F. We were really putting ourselves to the test in this type of heat. We took a road that led up into the hills outside of St George and arrived at a friend’s for a short visit. Evie has been a good friend to me since my teenage years and since I knew that we would be close I wanted to make a point of visiting even if it was for only a short visit.

We spent a couple of hours with her and family visiting and then went on our merry way. We wanted to make it to Zion National Park, but it turned out to be too late to make it to the park before they closed. We found a place to stay about 20 minutes away and so that will be the first thing we see in the morning.

We had a wonderful meal at the restaurant across the street and then went for a swim in a very warm pool. It felt great.

Today was one of those “just get there” kind of days and so we spent far too long on the interstate. We will be riding on smaller less traveled roads over the next few days as we work our way to Phoenix Arizona. We will surely know what hot is by the time we get there.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you enjoy the great work that Niko has done with the website. Good Night.


Niko:
We got up and began packing this morning, and I struggled with my boot buckle. I fed Steve’s cats, and went downstairs to put the bags on my bike that dad parked by the staircase. When I got to it, a man was standing by the BMW and the nearest garage door was open.

When I politely asked if we were in the way and needed to move, he burst into a flurry of unneeded anger and said he’d been waiting for twenty minutes for us to come out, and that we were breaking laws, etc, etc. I asked him to wait and ran upstairs to get dad so he could move his bike. When dad showed up, the irate man began drilling him with questions of his name, room number, etc. We just said we were sorry and that we were not from around town.

He left and we finished up and took off. We ate at Del Taco, and stopped in at Big O Tires to put air in my front tire. Later, we stopped for gas, ice and oil in Cedar City, then quickly moved out and on towards St. George, Utah.

I nearly had a heart attack at one point when I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw just the grill of a semi-truck. I slammed on the throttle and flashed my tail-light, but even full throttle was barely enough to escape his space invasion!

I laughed when I noticed that we passed through a town called “Washington” before St. George. “St. George Washington, huh? Bet he’d be unhappy at that honor”.

Soon, our bikes were parked in front of Evie’s house and we went in to chat. I noticed she had many Labradoodles, and one tiny Pomeranian… AKA, fuzzy football. We stayed for a while and met her kids, and the beautiful part Native American, part Hawaiian girl that is frequently around.

We said good bye, and took off in hopes of reaching Zion National Park. I noticed all of the Mormon churches in town, and the concept of a Mormon state was becoming more obvious. I saw a dust devil coming across the road, and dad got ahead of it, but I went straight through it. Never before have I experienced such a freaky feeling of wind induced control loss! We were passing through another town when dad pulled into a motel, because he noticed it getting late and remembered that Zion closes its gates sooner than we’d arrive.

We got out of our slimy heat gear, showered, and dressed nicer so we could eat at a diner across the street. The place had an all you can eat salad/fruit/soup bar, and I had bottomless shrimp with it. The food was scrumptious! We finished dessert with a pie for me and a sundae for dad, and then headed back.

I put on trunks, and went to the outdoor pool for a swim, and met some kids speaking a cool sounding foreign language that sounded east European, and played with them for a while. They were Czech, and their parents didn’t know much English.

We went back to the room and are typing this blog… Thank you for reading and goodnight!

2010 July 13th

Mark:
I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to go. I woke up Niko and we got dressed to go to breakfast at the restaurant across the street where we had dinner last night. When we were there we saw that they had and all you can breakfast buffet that sounded really good. This certainly beat the coffee and donuts offered by the hotel.

After an enormous breakfast of lots of protein and fruit, I paid the bill and left Niko to keep eating and I went back to the hotel to get ready to leave. Niko showed up a few minutes later and he started to get his stuff packed up. It was too much later that we were both ready to go.

We headed up to Zion National Park. The park was already pretty busy with a lot of people walking around the Visitor’s Center. I found where to get the passport stamped and then we went back to the bikes to do the drive through the park. As soon as the road crossed the bridge and started to go up, the road construction started. Every National Park that we have been in on this trip has had construction. The difference here was that this had to be the worst road construction that I have ever seen.

The road was so torn up and full of holes and partial bits of pavement all gnarled, it was very bad. There was absolutely no sign of workmanship at all. In fact I think that the road Niko and I took for a “short cut” at Great Basin was in better shape than this. The problem was that many, many people were traveling on this road.

About two miles into this construction mess, Niko went down and he was no longer in my mirror. I turned around and found that some people were trying to help him out from under the bike. Somehow the bike had landed on top of his foot. These very nice people were trying to pick up the bike and I told them to just leave it. I wanted to know how Niko was doing and whether he was OK or not. He said that the bike landed on his foot and that it really hurt. We sat him down and took off his boot and sock before the swelling made that impossible. This was probably not the text book method of dealing with an injury, but it was what we did. One of the people helped me get the bike up and off to the side of the road. His spouse was a nurse and had some ice packs and put one on Niko’s foot.

The ranger showed up soon after and then some construction guy (who was quite the DICK). The Ranger called for EMT and a few minutes later the park ambulance showed up. They took one look at Niko’s foot and then put it in a temporary splint. They loaded him up in the ambulance and took him to the hospital in St George.

I was left with picking up all of the stuff that they didn’t take and figure out somehow to get both bikes somewhere off of this road. I put Niko’s bike back together and made arrangements with the ranger to get a ride back to my bike. I was going to take Niko’s bike down to the ranger station and park it until we could figure out what was up with Niko’s foot.

Just before I rode off, the construction dick asked me if I was going to leave my bike parked by the side of the road. I told him that was exactly where I was going to leave it until I could get a ride back up here to take it down to the hospital. I think that he somehow thought that I should ride both bikes down at the same time. I told him that he would just have to deal with it. This guy kept acting like it was us that caused this problem when it was the lack of workmanship in the road construction that really caused this problem.

I left with Niko’s bike and rode it to the ranger station. While en route however the ranger got another call and took off and left me stranded. I found the ranger station and went inside only to the dismay of another ranger who said that I should never have made it through the doors. I guess they were supposed to be locked or something. She was very helpful once I explained why I was there. It only took a few minutes and somebody picked me up and took me back to my bike.

The construction dick was still there and seemed even more upset than before. He told me that he had to direct traffic around my bike because it was in the way. I was to the point and told him that none of this would have happened had they just done their job right in the first place. He went off on me about a bunch of politics and telling me that there was more pavement than they had bid to scrape, with this problem and that problem and how the governor of Utah had to get involved and on and on. What a sob story. So the answer was to just leave the road in a terrible mess and wait until someone got hurt, and then to do it right. I had a hard time even believing this guy’s gall. I got my stuff put together and mounted up and drove back down this horrible mess of a road.

I went back to Niko’s bike and grabbed his luggage and loaded it onto my bike. I knew that Niko would want to get out of his riding gear and into something more comfortable. Once I was loaded, I took off toward St George to find the hospital. It took me a good hour to get there and to find him. He had already been seen and he was waiting to see what the doctors wanted to do. He broke the metatarsal for the big toe on his right foot. The doctors said that all they had to do was to splint it and then he was to stay off of it and to see his physician in a week to see if it was healing properly.

Well it was a good thing that I had an hour to think about all of this before I got to the hospital, because I had ran through several scenarios of what our options were. I called my friend Evie and asked her if she would put Niko up for a couple of days so that I could go home and get our truck. Luckily she was really close to the hospital running errands at the time and swung by and picked him up. We got his prescription filled and then I took off for home.

I would like to say that all of the Rangers that were involved with this were great and very helpful. Thank you for all of your assistance. All of the hospital staff was wonderful and had Niko bandaged up and on his way quickly. Thank you all very much as well. And to my long time friend Evie, I’m very thankful that you were available to lend assistance. Thank you so much.

I rode on toward Colorado for about two and a half hours and stopped for the night in Richfield Utah. I have less than 500 miles to ride tomorrow to make it home. It will be a long day but I can do it.

I will get my truck and then go pick up Niko and his bike and take him home. We’ll take care of some business and get him to see his doctor and get him healed. Once all is settled, I plan to continue on and still visit my friends in Texas. That is where the idea for this whole trip started in the first place. It sure is funny how one thing led to another and we ended up going the other way.

I’m very thankful that Niko isn’t hurt any worse than this minor injury. Things could have been a lot worse. I’m also thankful that I’m so close to home and with just a little effort we’ll get him home and taken care of. I want to thank every one of you that has helped us and supported us in our journey. It would not have been possible otherwise. Thank You and Good Night.

Don’t worry, the story will continue. I will keep posting to let you know what is going on. Thanks for reading.


Niko:
We got up and I went across the street with dad to JB’s for breakfast, and had a delicious breakfast buffet. On the buffet bar, they had: fresh scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, mini muffins, pineapple slices, watermelon slices, cantaloupe slices, pudding, and a few other syrup and gravy coated things I didn’t eat.

Dad paid the bill and went back to the room while I finished my food. I walked back to the room and began packing my stuff. I went to the ice machine that required special coins and filled my CamelBak, and returned to finish packing my stuff.

Dad’s music cord caused him trouble because the heat had melted the glue of his helmet’s rubber neck piece. Eventually, we were moving out and facing Zion National Park. Many awe inspiring Canyons adorned the roadside to Zion.

Our first stop was the visitor center for dad’s stamp. We saw the motorcyclists that stayed at our hotel last night, and ate at JB’s as well this morning, and talked for a short while. The parking lot’s odd shape made our hunt for the bike more interesting, and we were soon on the road through Zion.

There are two roads in Zion: one is for tour busses only and shows you almost all of the park, the other is for general traffic and cuts through a corner of the park and has a large tunnel that obscures the views. We took the latter road.

When we made the turn off, the road was abundant with dirt and gravel, and slowly got worse as we got farther up the road. About two miles in, I would’ve much rather been on that rocky dirt road at Great Basin than this road. Rough, jagged bits of pavement jutted out of gravel at carelessly cut angles, and were reaching scary tall obstacles.

I noticed I was in a rut that got closer and closer to the wall of rock to my right, so I pulled up onto the curb-high lip of pavement to my left, only to have my rear wheel decide to stay behind. The bike bounced, leaped, landed off angle, straightened out instantly, I began to put my feet out for balance, but the bike was tossed up and pinned my foot between the luggage and the ground.

I lay on my stomach facing back down the road and saw a car pulling slowly up and stopping. I tried to wiggle out from under my bike, but found it too difficult. The couple from the car ran up and lifted the bike enough for me to slide out from under it. I began to step away softly but found my right foot wouldn’t support my weight.

Dad had just pulled back around the corner and got off the bike as the couple tried to lift my bike. Dad told them not to worry about it and that he needed to find out if I was okay first. I was helped over to the side of the road, and I noticed then that a line of cars had begun stopping as far as I could see around the turn. Great, I was holding up traffic. Dad had moved my bike out of the way of the road. A ranger showed up and was informed of the situation.

We removed my boot and sock to see if there was any visible swelling. The woman from the car ran and got a cold pack and put it on my foot, which felt good. A construction guy had appeared and was asking if we could move on and keep traffic moving, completely oblivious to what had happened. After we explained that I couldn’t ride, the road worker got a little frustrated about our blockage.

There was a bicker between the ranger and the worker about the road quality, which my dad got involved in. I wore out the cold pack, so the woman kindly got another. I was asked if I needed an ambulance, to which I very reluctantly said yes. It came shortly after, and I was splinted and loaded up.

Inside the ambulance, the medic ranger set my foot, tested my feeling in my toes, started an IV drip, and took blood pressures. We headed to St. George Hospital and I talked with the ranger for the hour plus trip. At the hospital, I was rolled in and transferred to the hospital bed from the stretcher. I had six X-rays and was left alone as the doctor talked to a trauma foot surgeon.

I received my X-rays and was alone again until dad showed up many minutes later. The doctor came back in 30 or so minutes later, after I had changed out of my riding gear and into pajamas. I was told to stay off my feet for a week, so the swelling could go down.

I was splinted with a better, more comfortable splint and given crutches. I reminded dad that Evie was only a couple minutes away, and that I could stay there, and dad gave her a call as I hobbled to the waiting room and sat.

Evie was there in minutes, so I got in and dad loaded up the car and we both went up to Target so Evie could fill my prescription of Lortab while I stayed in the car and talked with Evie’s sons. When she got back, dad took off for home, and we headed to KFC/A&W for a bucket of chicken and root beers. Evie’s Jaguar had a flat, so she took care of the tire while we ordered food.

We got back to the house and ate, then talked for the rest of the night until I was tired from the day, and my meds. I retired in the room that the cat sleeps in. Goodnight and I apologize for the lag in posts.

2010 July 14th

Mark:
This morning I woke up really early. I think that it was because of the other patrons of the hotel and the fact that my room was right next to the elevator. I got up anyway and made my way down to the breakfast room. I ate my fill of eggs and some hash browns, some fruit and apple juice. I went back to my room and packed up everything and took it out to the bike.

Once all was loaded, I left and jumped right onto the Interstate 70 east, bound for home. I stopped for gas about 30 minutes later because a sign said “110 miles to the next services”. That would have put me well over the limit of what fuel I had left. All gassed up and ready to go, I didn’t stop again until I needed fuel, at which point I was in Colorado.

Once again, I just gassed up and hit the road again. I had to stop one more time for fuel in Idaho Springs Colorado and then it was home.

When I made it home I cleaned up with a shower and then spent over an hour going through a huge stack of mail. Most of it was junk but I did have a few things to make calls on for Katherine. I grabbed a bite to eat, and then got the truck ready for the long ride back to where I had just come from.

I would like to say that of all the Interstates that I have travelled, the first 500 miles of Interstate 70 has got to be the most scenic of them all. With Utah being one of the most scenic areas in the US and then going straight into Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, this is a very pleasant Interstate to have to ride on.

It was a long ride today with 492 miles achieved. It started out cool with temperatures around 65°F when I left Richfield Utah, but ended up rather warm with 97°F being the temperature when I got home.

When I spoke to Niko, he was in good spirits and was looking forward to coming home. I told him that I would be there late in the day tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to this long day of driving tomorrow but it has to be done. I’m guessing around 11 hour’s maybe a little more. My old truck just doesn’t get after it like a bike does.

Well, that’s about it for today, I will update things tomorrow. Thank you and Good night.


Niko:
I woke up at one this morning from my foot hurting, and took a pill. The pain still sat, so I got up and wandered on my crutches for a minute or two, until the pain went away, then I returned to bed.

I woke again at seven, and got up after a pill, and walked out to the living room. I ate a couple apricots, and Evie offered me toast and hard boiled eggs. She ended up making a couple egg salad sandwiches for me, which I was grateful for. I munched on apricots and talked with whoever was in the room at the time, for everyone was coming and going.

After a while I turned the TV to Ghost Hunters and watched the all day special for several hours, and ate probably 20+ apricots today.

Later, one of Evie’s sons showed me his BB gun, and let me fire it at cans and bottles. I found it enjoyable and hit most of my targets. His older brother then showed me his paintball gun and how it worked. We all watched some more TV, and had homemade burgers for dinner.

I decided to go to bed early tonight and crashed on my bed after taking my next pill. Have a nice night everyone, and no worries for my foot. This event is a part of my Voyage, and I take it with a smile.

2010 July 15th

Mark:
I went to bed late last night and I woke up well before the alarm went off and I got up and got ready to leave. I had already loaded up the truck the night before so all I needed to do was grab something to eat and take off.

Just before I left I had this weird feeling that I was forgetting something and so I just stood in the garage and I let all of the things just go through my mind. A moment later it donned on me that I didn’t have the key to Niko’s bike. I knew where it was so I grabbed it and then I left. If I had forgotten that item, it would have been very difficult to load up his bike in the truck.

I was on the road by 5:30am with very light traffic. I stopped in Idaho Springs, Colorado and picked up a decaf coffee. This was just enough stimuli to keep me awake. I had to stop for fuel in Glenwood Springs, Colorado then Green River, Utah and Cedar City, Utah. I turned off and went to the park to get the bike and to talk to the rangers about getting a copy of the incident report.

After talking to several people, I was able to get to a pair of Park rangers that were officers. They were able to get me a request form to send in as the incident report was not completed and unavailable at this time. We will do this when we get home.

These officers were very kind and also helped me load up the bike. I tied it down really well and then drove off on my way to Evie’s place to pick up Niko. The drive took me another hour and then I loaded all of Niko’s stuff into the truck. We both said our goodbyes and we drove off headed for home. Thank you, Evie for everything.

We stopped in Richfield, Utah and found a place to stay. I drove 879 miles today with two half hour breaks, one at the park and one at Evie’s. I’m very tired and I need to get some sleep. Thank you all for your concerns and for reading. Good Night.


Niko:
I woke at 3:05 this morning in need of a pill, and made my same routine as yesterday. I got up and meandered about until my foot stopped hurting. I went back to bed and slept until five, took another pill, and got up to sit in front of the TV. I was too restless to try sleeping again.

I ate a handful of apricots, and had a bowl of cereal when everyone was waking up. People were in and out again, so conversation was spotty. The family Pomeranian, Keefer kept me company today. The dog was so small I could pick him up by his fur with one hand, and he wouldn’t flinch.

The day eked by, with not much in the way of eventful happenings, this was fine, because I was in a very chilled out mood. Evie made me a few turkey sandwiches which hit the spot and held me off for the day. Apricots had quickly become a staple for me when I was there because they balanced my digestion from my pills, and I had about 15 today.

Dad showed up and there was a flurry of activity at the house. Once my bags were packed, we said goodbye and hit the road again. It was so hot today in St. George, and we had the AC on full blast. It took many minutes to cool down from being in 115° weather.

We drove until we arrived in Richfield, Utah, and then pulled into the Holiday Inn Express there. Once unpacked, we started to walk to the Subway nearby. It did not take long for me to tire, however. Dad went to get the truck, and we looked around for other things instead.

We stopped at a Taco Bell/KFC and ate there. I had a leg/thigh and three soft taco supremes. We went back to the hotel and I was getting very tired. I bid you goodnight, and thank you for reading. *snore*

2010 July 16th

Mark:
Niko and I both slept very good last night and woke up feeling good and ready to face the day. We went down to the breakfast room and had some breakfast. It was a good breakfast with many choices. Once we were finished with breakfast we went back to the room to pack up and get ready to leave.

We loaded up the truck and left. We got on the Interstate 70 and headed east toward Denver. The GPS told us that it would take us 7½ hours to get there. Both of us were in good spirits and we were joking and laughing about many different parts of our journey together. We discussed many different things that we had seen along the way and at the time were unable to talk about. We can’t communicate while we are riding. We had a beautiful drive and both of us were in awe of the sites we saw on our way home.

We stopped only for fuel and restroom breaks. The truck was having some difficulty with the extra load and the steep mountain passes, but we arrived safely at home.

My neighbors, Mike and Hillary, arrive at home shortly after we did, and assisted in unloading the motorcycle from the truck. Thank you, guys. I parked the bike and unloaded the truck and started to put things away. Niko’s friend arrived shortly afterward and then Niko and I went to get something for dinner.

When we got back home, Niko went downstairs and joined his friends in playing games. He told me that he would spend some time putting up all of my posts on the website and work on his side of the story for the last few days tomorrow.

Despite the injury to Niko’s foot, we had a wonderful journey and I think that we discovered a lot about each other. We saw a lot of this beautiful country and learned a lot about it as well. I can’t express it enough about how blessed I feel to live here in Colorado, as every time I leave my house I’m blessed with a most beautiful view of the mountains and tonight just as the sun was setting behind the mountains I was reminded again of my blessings. I’m thankful for our safe return from this wonderful and memorable experience with my son. I know that I will always cherish this time we spent together.

I have much business to attend to during the next few days, but as soon as possible I will return to my travels and finish what we started. I want to say a special thanks to Evie and her family for taking such good care of Niko while he was there. I also want to thank everyone else for helping us during our journey together. You all made it very special. We met many nice people along the way and many of them made our experience a very enjoyable one. Thank you everyone! Good Night!


Niko:
I woke well rested at roughly seven, and felt thankful that I had no BS in the early hours this morning. We went downstairs and ate a breakfast of cheese omelets, sausage patties, cinnamon rolls, raspberry horns, yogurt, a banana, and apple juice. We packed, and I squeezed into the truck.

We got on the road and our beautiful drive began with a 100+ mile stretch of forest, cliffs, and colored canyons with no amenities. After we got out of the no man’s land, we stopped for gas and something at DQ. I had a peach Julius, but discovered that I’m not fond of the Julius in general.

We continued down the road, and I commented on the gorgeous house in Avon, Vail, and the surrounding area. We went through the Eisenhower tunnel (3+ mile long tunnel through a mountain) and hit angry traffic coming into town.

When we got home, our neighbors helped get the bike out of the truck, and I went around the house and found that my fish died because my friend never fed him… it was kind of gross. Soon, my friend showed up to help unpack, and I scolded him about my fish. Dad and I went to eat at Qdoba while my friend took his cousin downstairs to play games.

My dinner was a large steak burrito with queso, salsa, black beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and lettuce. I even ate part of dad’s burrito. We came back to the house and I went downstairs (difficult task) and played games and talked with my friends. The night dragged on until the very wee hours when I passed out. Good night and Thanks for reading the Blog! Thanks to all of the wonderful people we encountered on our life journey!