Examiner Resurrection: Alpine Loop Scenic Byway: Another Sweet Utah Motorcycle Road

August 14th, 2017

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway

I go out of my way for terrific motorcycle roads and coming home from Tooele, UT, last week was no exception. I wanted to revisit American Fork Canyon and the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, which provide a great alternative route to Heber City and U.S. 40, which was my road back to Denver.

I’ve been this way before more than once. The OFMC discovered this road years ago thanks to a tip from a local and we ride it whenever we can. If you’re out in the Salt Lake City area you should make a point of riding it, too.

Fortunately, in the farflung reaches of the Salt Lake City metro area, the American Fork Canyon is easy to find, provided you know it exists. From I-15, exit east onto Utah 92 just south of Point of the Mountain and follow this road arrow straight to the cleft in the rock that is the mouth of the canyon. Then kiss the city good-bye, there’s none of that ahead.

You’ll quickly reach an entrance station for Timpanogos Cave National Monument but if you’re only passing through there is no fee. Should you pay the $6 fee and visit the monument? I have to admit we never have, but here’s what the official website says about the place.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument sits high in the Wasatch Mountains. The cave system consists of three spectacularly decorated caverns. Helictites and anthodites are just a few of the many dazzling formations to be found in the many chambers. As visitors climb to the cave entrance, on a hike gaining over 1,000 ft in elevation, they are offered incredible views of American Fork Canyon.

Make your way through the canyon, which is pretty spectacular in its own right, and then bear right to head on up the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. This is a winding, twisting, amazingly narrow strip of asphalt that loops up to Alpine Summit and then on down past Sundance Ski Resort. It hits U.S. 189 running through Provo Canyon and a left will take you up to Heber City and U.S. 40, or a right takes you down into Provo.

Biker Quote for Today

God makes the lightning, bikers make the thunder.

Ride Your Own Ride (And Other Advice)

August 10th, 2017
motorcycles and riders

Riding with friends doesn’t mean riding just like your friends.

Motorcycle riding, like so much else in life, is a matter of learning by doing. The following are a dozen lessons learned through more than 25 years and 100,000 miles on two wheels.

1. Get yourself some friends
If you’re not carrying a passenger, riding is a solitary activity at its core. You can be with other people but when you’re running down the road you’re all alone on that bike. That makes it all the more enjoyable to have friends with you when you stop. “Wow, did you see that bald eagle on top of that tree?” “Did that jerk come as close to running you off the road as it looked like from my view?” “Which direction do you think we ought to head now?”

Plus, if you go down it’s awfully nice to have friends to come to the rescue. Riding buddies are a good thing.

2. Signal your intentions
Cagers (people in cars) are generally the biggest threat to bikers but sometimes your buddies can be a threat, too. Does that pull-out on the left have a great view? Fine, pull off, but don’t assume the guys following you know why you’re slowing down. Signal your intent. For all you know, the guy behind you is impatient with your slow speed and is just about to pull around you to pick up the pace. If you make a left just as he twists the throttle your trip could come to an unpleasant end. Don’t let that happen.

3. Ride your own ride
Next to brain-dead cagers, the majority of motorcycle accidents are of the single-vehicle variety. That frequently means the rider pushed beyond their ability. This is the kind of thing that can happen when you’re riding with others and the leader is setting an aggressive pace. You may not be comfortable taking these tight turns at this speed but you want to keep up.

Bad idea. You can always catch up later. Don’t put yourself at risk when safety is at stake. Ride your own ride.

4. Don’t hesitate to go it alone
As enjoyable as it is to ride with friends, sometimes they’ve all got other plans. If you take off on your own you may find the freedom to stop when you want, go where you want, and do whatever your heart desires to be downright addictive. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a cell phone with you in case you have trouble, but don’t pass up a great riding day just because you can’t find someone to join you.

5. Make like a Boy Scout and always “be prepared”
Sure, the sun is shining and it’s warm now, but don’t let that persuade you that you don’t need rain gear or warm clothes. It’s guaranteed to be very unpleasant if you find yourself out miles from anywhere and the skies open up. Particularly if you have saddle bags, there’s really no excuse for not carrying the gear you might need at all times.

6. Know your bike
Modern motorcycles are extremely reliable but user error can thwart the best technological design. Here’s a real-life example. Most bikes have petcocks that switch between the regular fuel supply and the reserve. On most bikes, the three positions for that lever are “Open,” “Shut,” and “Reserve.”

On some Kawasakis, however, the positions are “Open,” Reserve,” and “Prime.” Perhaps you don’t pay attention to this difference, and, after filling up, switch from Reserve to Open–you think. But in fact you have switched from Reserve to Prime. The next time you start up the bike it barely runs. Why? Because with that petcock in the Prime position it has been dribbling fuel into the cylinders continually, and that fuel has been seeping past your rings into the oil pan. Bikes don’t run well with their oil pans full of gasoline. (Hint: I did this twice before I figured it out.)

Get thoroughly acquainted with your motorcycle and everyone will be much happier.

7. Get schooled
Numerous studies show that the majority of motorcyclists who get killed on the road have not taken any sort of rider training. What more do you need to know?

8. Assume you’re invisible
The most common phrase spoken by a cager who just hit a motorcyclist is “I didn’t see him.” It doesn’t matter why this is, it matters that you take it to heart. If you pretend to yourself that you are invisible, and ride as if that were true, you’ll make decisions that will usually negate that driver’s inattention.

9. Take your time
Sometimes the best part of the trip is the unplanned, unscheduled stop or sidetrip. If you’re in too big a hurry to stop and enjoy the trip you might as well go by car.

10. Lean into adventure
This goes hand in hand with taking your time. The best motorcycle roads are the ones less traveled by cars, trucks, RVs, and the like. Don’t look for the shortest distance between two points, those roads are straight. Find the roads that curve.

11. Be opportunistic
“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Numerous parts of the country claim this line, and it’s something to take in consideration. If you want to go for a ride today and it’s gorgeous right now, go right now. You just don’t know what the sky will look like two hours from now.

12. Pick it up!
Amazing as it may seem, even petite women can pick up huge, heavy motorcycles laying on the ground. It’s all a matter of technique. Use the wrong technique and at best you will fail, and if it gets worse you may get a hernia. Learn how to pick up your machine and you won’t end up looking like a fool – or worse, in the hospital.

Biker Quote for Today

Why motorcycles are better than men: Motorcycles don’t insult you if you are a bad rider.

It Can Be Good To Be High And Dry

August 7th, 2017
motorcycle in rain

As they say, if you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride.

John and Bill and I were pretty naïve in the early days of the OFMC. We would strap bags, tents, and sleeping bags on our bikes with bungee cords and just head out. It took a few “learning experiences” for us to recognize that rain suits are among the most important motorcycle accessories you can carry.

It was just the second year of our annual summer week-long trip, and we were headed for Denver from Santa Fe on our way home. It was July, we were in northern New Mexico and then southern Colorado, so it was a hot day. We were wearing jeans and T-shirts. A little south of Alamosa, coming up U.S. 285, we ran into a cloudburst. Now, we live in Colorado, we’re used to this kind of thing, and we knew that if we just kept riding we would quickly get out the rain. We also figured that we would dry off once we got back into the sunshine. So we kept riding.

We did indeed get out of the rain and dry off as anticipated, and it wasn’t long after that that we reached Alamosa. Pulling up to the stop sign at the main intersection in town we all readily agreed that we would really like to find a coffee shop and get something hot to drink.

Grabbing a table in the place we found we ordered coffee and soon found ourselves shaking with a chill. We poured the coffee down, had them bring another pot, drank it and called for more and more and more until we had drunk about 10 pots. As the shaking continued uncontrollably we eventually realized we were suffering from hypothermia. Yes, the sunshine and the wind had wicked away the wetness, but along with it our body heat had been stolen as well.

Now, hypothermia is always dangerous, and can even be fatal, but it’s especially dangerous on a motorcycle. As your blood retreats to your body core it can leave your brain dulled, which can lead to errors in judgment, which can be extremely dangerous when you’re on two wheels at speed. We agreed that we each needed to carry a rain suit.

Of course, the thing about motorcycling is that nothing is cheap. Good, motorcycle-specific rain suits cost around $150, we discovered. So on the next year’s trip I showed up with an everyday rain suit a roommate had left behind, John had an inexpensive suit he probably paid $25 for, and Bill had picked up something really cheap at Target, for perhaps $8. And it wasn’t long before we needed to use them.

The sky was very threatening as we come down Red Mountain Pass into Silverton, and we pushed on toward Durango with every expectation that we’d be stopping to suit up. Sure enough, about 15 miles out of Durango it started raining and out came the gear. That was when we discovered why motorcycle rain suits cost what they do.

My everyday suit did the best. The big, open sleeves caught the wind and my forearms got wet but other than that I was OK. John’s suit kept him dry until water ran down the front and collected on the seat in his crotch. Then the water soaked through the seams, getting him very wet in that one spot.

Bill’s super-cheapo was an amazing thing to see. He was in the lead and as we rode along John and I started noticing bits of plastic flying by us. Then we realized these shreds were the same color as Bill’s suit, and sure enough, when we got to Durango and pulled over, his rain suit was half gone. Flapping in the breeze, it had simply disintegrated.

So we’ve learned our lesson. Every one of us has a good motorcycle rain suit with sleeves and collars that seal to keep out the wet, that don’t leak at the seams, and keep us dry. In fact, topped off with a good helmet and rain-proof gloves to keep your hands warm and dry, riding in the rain is not an unpleasant thing to do. At times we’ve been hit by the waves thrown up by passing cars and trucks and just shrugged them off.

We may not be super fast learners but we’re not idiots, either.

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if you only ride on weekends, when you can.

What Happens When Motorcycles Are Not Included In Planning

August 3rd, 2017
motorcycle with DIA in the background

Riding your motorcycle to DIA was not something the planners ever even considered.

I took Judy to the airport early on Tuesday and as I drove home I thought about one of my first visits to Denver International Airport when it was just new.

I actually had been out there even before it was completed. One day I led John and Bill on our bikes riding out on the then under construction Pena Boulevard, going past areas where it was posted to stay out, this being a Sunday with no one to stop us. It was the first any of us had had the chance to see what was taking shape way out there northeast of the city.

But then the airport opened so we decided one day to ride out there again and see this new creation now functioning. If you were around back then you may recall that initially they set things up a bit differently than they are today. That’s because this bright idea about controlling traffic turned out to be a really bad idea and they quickly revamped things.

That is to say, it was set up so that all road traffic to DIA had to stop at a row of toll booths about a mile from the terminal. You were issued tickets and as you exited you handed over your ticket and paid for any time you were there beyond half an hour. Everybody did this, every time. What a waste of time. Now you drive in and drop off or pick up your passenger(s) and there’s no stopping. You only pay something if you park. Who had that dumb idea in the first place?

But it was worse if you were on a motorcycle. Apparently they figured that no one on a motorcycle would ever drop someone off or pick someone up. So when you pulled up to the toll booths there were signs saying “No Motorcycles.” I’m not sure we noticed those signs this day but either way, we pulled up to the toll booth and I don’t remember if we got one ticket for all of us or one apiece or what. Whatever, we drove on in, made the loop past the terminal, and then headed out.

That’s when we really hit trouble.

At the exit toll booth they didn’t know what to do with us. The equipment was not set up to deal with motorcycles, so either the weight or the mass of one bike was not enough to alert the machines that someone was there seeking to exit. Plus, the system was set up so when you picked up your ticket on entry a photo was made of your license plate and the person at the exit booth confirmed that this was the same vehicle.

So when one bike wasn’t enough, they had us pull all three bikes up to increase the mass. That worked but then they had to confirm that this “one vehicle”–really three–was the same “one vehicle” that had come through the entry gate. What a total mess! What a fiasco!

Needless to say, this whole procedure did not last very long. Somebody with authority realized how idiotic it was and the toll booths were eliminated.

And you have to wonder, what might have been different if they had included motorcyclists in the planning process. Surely there would have been extreme protest over the “no motorcycles” part of the plan. And maybe that would have triggered some other thinking about the necessity of inconveniencing every single person coming out there. Isn’t it amazing how generally smart people can have such stupid ideas?

Biker Quote for Today

She told me to whisper something sexy in her ear, so I said, “I ride a Harley.”

Examiner Resurrection: Learning Dirt-Biking Techniques

July 31st, 2017

Dirt Riding Training

This Examiner Resurrection is dated in that I have since acquired a dual-sport bike and have a lot more dirt riding under my belt. Still, the points it makes are timeless and it was not a bad thing even for me to reread the material.

Learning Dirt-Biking Techniques

Riding motorcycles in the dirt is not the same as riding on the street. That may not come as a surprise to a lot of people but until you try riding in the dirt you may not realize how different it is.

I had the opportunity yesterday to receive some dual-sport dirt-riding training. I’m doing some coverage of the Adventure for the Cures ride that kicked off today and Sue Slate, the organizer, invited me to participate in the training session. Let me backtrack: The “Dirty Dozen” riders participating in this breast/ovarian cancer research fundraising event are all experienced street riders who have not ridden on dirt before. Thus the training.

Of course I accepted the invitation. So at 6:30 a.m. I was headed up the hill to Keystone in order to be there for an 8 a.m. “working breakfast.” You might be amazed how cold it is on an August day at 7 a.m. at 10,000 feet. My fingers were ice cubes.

The training took place, as so much motorcycle rider training does, in a parking lot, although this one, of course, was unpaved. The trainers were Andrea Beach and Bonnie Warch, of Coach2Ride, a south California riding school specializing on dual-sport riding.

Having only recently taken a refresher Beginning Rider Course (BRC) from T3RG Motorcycle Schools, where they told us to grab the brake lever with all four fingers–a practice I was working on adopting–I was surprised to be told that in dirt biking you want to always cover the lever with two fingers in order to quicken your response time. OK, so now I unlearn.

Andrea also told us you don’t counter-steer on the dirt; you turn by putting your weight on the opposite peg from the direction you want to go. You also shift your weight. That is, if you want to steer left, you lean the bike to the left but counter the lean by moving your weight to the right. This initiates the turn while keeping the bike’s center of gravity stable.

The fact is, this is the technique they taught us in the BRC for tight turns at slow speeds. That’s something else I had been practicing since I took the class so this was good reinforcement.

Another difference is that when you go dirt-biking you tend to stand up on the pegs a lot. Not exactly a recommended practice on the road. First off, standing up serves the same purpose it does on the street where you momentarily stand up to cushion a hard bump. Cruisers, with their pegs way out front, aren’t suitable for this, which is why I always prefer a bike with the pegs underneath me. And on the dirt you’re always dealing with bumps so the need to be able to stand on the pegs is obvious.

Secondly, you get better control of the bike when you stand on the pegs because it shifts the center of gravity down. Dirt bikes tend to be very tall because of the suspension, and this counteracts that situation, which is good.

So after a couple hours of training we took off up a fire road to put it all into practice. This was only the second time I’ve ever ridden dirt but I remember the first time being a lot of fun. This was a lot of fun, although way too short.

We rode up, making a point to steer around some potholes and obstacles for the steering practice, and deliberately hitting others for the practice that afforded. By the time we got back down I was really getting into standing and steering with my weight. It had taken awhile but I had found the comfortable–read “less tiring”–standing position and had developed an understanding for the direction to grip the tank with your knees. Some things you can hear about forever but not really understand until you have a chance to do it.

Will I do more dirt riding? Man, I’d love to, although not having a dirt bike or trailer is a bit of an issue in that regard. Or any place to store them. We’ll have to see what I can figure out.

Biker Quote for Today

When you’re on a motorcycle you’re never lost if there is still gas in the tank–you’re just finding new roads!

My Year Of Aborted Motorcycle Trips?

July 27th, 2017
motorcycle on Berthoud Pass

Dennis, Bill, and I stopped while coming down the west side of Berthoud Pass.

The OFMC left Friday on our annual 8-day ride. I was home Sunday afternoon. Very, very sick. Yuck!

So as I write this, the other guys are still out there on the trip. But being sick is so much better at home than in some motel somewhere. This is the second bike trip I’ve taken off on so far this year that has not gone as planned. I hope it’s the last for a long time.

There were only six of us this year, down from nine or more for a number of years. Dennis and Bill and I met at Bill’s Friday morning and rode up to Central City for lunch and a little slot machine play. For once, Bill was the loser while Dennis and I both won. Then we rode on over Berthoud Pass to Kremmling, our first night’s stop. Friggs and Brett came along later and John rode in from Montrose. Plus, we had two OFMC riders who were not coming along this year who drove up just for that first night. Johnathon has sold his bike and no longer rides at all. Randy said last year that if we continued going the last week of July, when it is so blazing hot, he would not be coming any more. I thought we had all agreed to move it to a cooler week but when John sent out the itinerary back in February, there we were looking at July 21-28.

So we had a thoroughly lousy dinner in Kremmling and I had a horribly lousy night. I had been kind of sick for a couple days but hoped the worst was past and I would get better. Nope. In the morning we rode on to Leadville and while it was a nice ride, I had had so little sleep that it was hard staying awake. That’s not a good thing when you’re driving or riding a motorcycle. At least our dinner was better than the night before but I was in bed by 7, only to suffer through another terrible, terrible night of very little sleep but a whole lot of sick.

In the morning we were headed on to Gunnison but as we geared up I told the guys I would go with them as far as Buena Vista but from there I was headed home. So that’s what happened, and there I was home again after just two days. And I got a much better night’s sleep Sunday night but still woke up Monday morning feeling like crap. At least I’m at home.

Biker Quote for Today

I’d rather ride with 5 brothers than 50 members who don’t even know my name.

Motorcycle Perks At Red Rocks

July 24th, 2017

We went to Red Rocks to see Amos Lee performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and though we went in my car it made me wonder about the perks that motorcyclists used to get there. The answer is yes. Are you aware of these?

motorcycle parking at Red Rocks Park.

Plenty of parking, few takers at Red Rocks.

In the past, motorcycles were sent for parking to the very top circle of the amphitheater, which is pretty dang nice. The thing I hate most about going to concerts at Red Rocks is parking and then hiking up and up and up to get first into the seating area and then more up to get to where you actually get to sit. Parking right at the top and walking down to your seat is nice. I’ve done this, though not any time recently. Heck, I haven’t been to a show at Red Rocks any time recently until the other night.

Now, as it turns out, they no longer send bikes to the very top, but do send them to the larger lot just below, which is where that photo above was shot. There were 12 motorcycle parking spaces and at this show there were only two bikes. Unless you get there very, very early, the line for admission goes down the stairs to this lot so it’s not like you’ll do any extra stairs starting from here.

The other advantage of course is getting out quickly. Huge numbers of people who hiked and climbed all the way to their seats are now, at the end of the show, faced with hiking all the way back to their cars, and then waiting in long lines to file out slowly.

With your bike just up at the top you can get to it quickly and get going in a hurry before most people are even near their cars. Plus, although lane splitting is not legal in Colorado, on a motorcycle you can easily slip past the creeping line of cars and get out in a hurry.

In fact, it has been a long time since I’ve been to a show at Red Rocks so I don’t know if this is still the case, but years ago, when you were leaving via the east entrance, they would direct people to use both lanes, thereby speeding things up by 100 percent. At 93 they would not allow right turns toward Morrison and so both lanes would flow left toward I-70. I don’t know if they still do this.

We parked this time in the upper south lot and I was surprised how quickly we got out of the lot. Then I saw all the traffic was in one lane so I jumped into the other lane figuring to make as much progress as I could before coming up behind other cars in that lane. There were none. We went all the way out to Bear Creek Road without a stop and the only other people in the lane were a car or two who jumped in behind us.

Coming out to the road I merged into traffic in full sight of the cops directing traffic and all they did was continue directing traffic. If I had been on a bike the whole move would have been even easier and quicker. I’ve never gotten out of Red Rocks that fast before–and that was in a car.

So this has nothing to do with motorcycles but it was amusing and I want to pass it along. We learned after we parked that they run a free shuttle up to the top, for anybody who wants to ride it. You get on by the Trading Post. So we only had to walk down to our seats.

Well, we were on the stairs I mentioned before, waiting in line, and people were going up and down the stairs all the time. One older woman in a black dress went up the stairs past us and I just happened to turn my head that direction as she was about 10 steps above us. Believe me, I wasn’t trying to look up her dress but my eye was caught immediately by a glimpse of something gray and shiny. I looked more closely and saw she had something attached to her thigh with duct tape.

At first I thought it must be a catheter bag or colostomy bag but then thought, no, if it was a medical device there would be some medically approved attachment device. No, this was presumably a flask or bottle of liquor she was smuggling in, duct-taped to her thigh. I got a laugh out of that.

Biker Quote for Today

15 grand and 15 miles doesn’t make you a biker.

New Take On An Old Issue

July 20th, 2017
Honda 50 Cub

This was the big, bad “motorcycle” I was dying for at age 15.

I’ve talked numerous times about how, when I was 14 I announced that I would save my money and on turning 15 buy a motorcycle. And that day came and I had the money and only then did my mother say, “No you won’t, you’ll never own a motorcycle as long as you live in my house.” I was crushed, and not a little bit angry. Why had she waited a year to say that?

We were visiting Mom last week and she was talking about something her parents did when she was 13 that she considered extremely unfair and which she still resents. I didn’t say anything but was thinking about that Honda 50 Cub I had had in mind. One thing led to another and I was asked if my parents had done anything that still bugs me.

“I really did want that motorcycle at 15,” I replied.

That sunk in a moment and then Mom said something she has never said before. In past discussions she has always come back to saying she was sorry I felt that way but she stands by her decision. She just didn’t think I had any business with a motorcycle at that age.

This time she said she had spoken about it with my brothers and they had assured her that yes, I had made my desire and intentions known, and yes, I really, really wanted it. You see, after all these years she doesn’t even remember any of this; she only knows about it because I have stated that this was the case.

But in speaking with my brothers it seems that maybe they gave her some information she never had before, and certainly never bothered to obtain way, way back then. The “motorcycle” I wanted, and had saved my money for, was a little 50cc bike that was essentially a scooter. Not some big, hulking 350cc bike or anything like that. A little tiddler. That’s what a 15-year-old could legally ride in Nebraska back then.

And then she said it: “For the life of me I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t let you get a moped.” OK, she’s not a motorcycle person, and neither are my brothers, so they are not clear on the distinction between a moped and a scooter. But there it was. Is it really true that all those years ago she actually might have let me get the Honda 50 if she had understood what it was I really wanted? Can you say “I wish I could turn back the clock”?

Can’t be done. But I can’t help but think about all the what-ifs . . .

Biker Quote for Today

Diagnosis: knees in the breeze disease.

Doing The Dragon — By Accident

July 17th, 2017
Viewpoint on the Tail of the Dragon.

I had my camera on the wrong setting, so this photo is not as good as it might have been, but this is a scenic overlook along the Tail of the Dragon. That blur is a bike racing by, in case you couldn’t tell.

Judy and I were in Clemson, South Carolina, last week visiting my mother and planned to drive to Knoxville, Tennessee, via the Cherohala Skyway to fly home. Plans changed so we didn’t have time for the skyway, so we looked at a map and found a route that was pretty direct but also identified as scenic, US 129. A no-brainer.

I was aware of a good many motorcycles going the other way as we headed along north on this road, but there was a point where I started having a very strong suspicion. This was when we pulled into a small community with a whole lot–I mean a lot–of motorcycle stuff as well as a large, metal dragon. Judy asked Google and sure enough, we had inadvertently found ourselves in Deal’s Gap, on the Tail of the Dragon.

So OK, we were in a car, not on a bike, but there we were nonetheless. Now we would get to see what this fabled road is like.

And it wasn’t very much like what I had imagined. Through everything I’ve seen and read I had the impression that the Tail of the Dragon largely ran down a river valley with the road following the twists and turns of the stream. Frankly, my mental image of it was not anything I was terribly interested in. I can find plenty of twisty roads out here in Colorado. That wasn’t it at all.

In fact, the Dragon has plenty of ups and downs as well as all the curves. It’s not unlike a lot of twisty Colorado mountain roads, although you don’t get the kind of views you do here. First off, it’s not so high and the hills are not so high. Secondly, the tall deciduous trees block your view a lot.

Not that we didn’t enjoy the road. Our rental car was a subcompact that had energy and was quite agile. And living here I am totally comfortable driving roads with a lot of curves. We whipped along and it was fun.

Now, part of the enjoyment may have been due to the fact that this was a week-day and there was not that much traffic, and most of what there was was going the other direction. From what I hear, the Dragon is super busy on week-ends and that would have been less than wonderful.

One clue that really tells you you’re on the Dragon is all the photographers staked out along the road shooting pictures of everyone who goes by, with big banners telling you the website to go to order your photos.

We stopped at the overlook in the photo above and spoke there with a couple Canadian brothers who had ridden the road one direction, turned back to ride it the other way, and were now going back again to continue on their journey. They thought it was a pretty fun ride.

And now having driven it, I will say I would enjoy riding it. I never had any interest before but now I do. It’s a nicer road than I had pictured. It would be fun on a bike.

Biker Quote for Today

You’re only one bike ride away from a good mood.

A Woman Riding Her Own

July 13th, 2017
motorcycle trailer

The bike and everything she owns in a Jeep and a trailer.

Women who ride motorcycles really do seem to be a breed of their own. Guys who ride are just guys who ride–nothing all that special about us. But for women it’s different.

I’ve know plenty of women who do ride and the latest one I’ve met was Carolyn, who stayed with us a couple days via the Motorcycle Travel Network. She arrived in a Jeep pulling a trailer with her 950cc Star cruiser and everything else in the world that she owns. Seriously.

The thing is, though, she just got that Jeep and trailer about a week before she came here. For a little more than a year before that she had been on the road just on the bike. About 27,000 miles of travel.

motorcycle helmet with fall in back

Why bother with long hair when you can just attach it to the back of your helmet.

I can’t give you her whole bio because she didn’t really volunteer a whole lot and we didn’t want to snoop. Plus, if she had gone into detail I’m not sure she would want me telling the world about it all here. But she basically decided sometime more than a year ago to kiss everything good-bye and go hit the road. She gave away almost everything and put the few things she kept in storage. And took off.

Of course she has had some interesting experiences. There was that Air BnB guy who, after letting her in the place she was renting from him, backed into her bike, knocking it over, and left in a hurry. Carolyn is not big, and the bike kind of is big, so she was fortunate that a fellow down the street saw it all and helped her get the bike back upright. He also signed a sworn statement about the mishap but even with that she had to fight with the insurance company for six months before she got reimbursed for her expenses.

Other than him, the great bulk of people she has encountered have been super nice. She was a little lonely being all by herself at Christmas time but that was the worst of it.

Now that she has the trailer and the Jeep it is proving to be a challenge of its own. She’s kind of wishing she was back on just the bike. She hadn’t figured out the tie-downs for the bike in the trailer and I wasn’t much help because I don’t have a lot of that kind of experience. But the morning she left here she went out without asking for assistance, got it all to work somehow, and was on her way. She’s got a lot of spunk.

Biker Quote for Today

My Prince Charming won’t be galloping up on a white stallion. He will be cruising up on a Harley!