Friday, August 29, 2014

2014 Dual sport trip - Day 5

Up the Lolo.

Tony and I had several options mapped out for Idaho. But we also wanted to get into eastern Oregon, so we decided to hit the Lolo Motorway. I'd done it once by myself in 2009 and didn't mind heading back to it.

Of course I completely forgot how to get there, so I just kind of rode by feel. We were on a great road, twisty and fun and eventually, yup, we were in the right spot.

Easy gravel to start


Soon enough we got off the big gravel road onto the small Lolo motorway, the actual path Lewis and Clark took.

Along the way the big story boards told the tale

Just past here was the first rough climb and ... no Tony.

Turns out he got a bit close to one of the trees sticking into the trail and knocked one of his side cases right off the bike. No permanent damage and I didn't have to ride too far back to find him again.

The trail was much rougher than it was 5 years ago when I rode it. At the time I did see a grader working on it, so perhaps I got lucky. Our progress was slow, with both uphill and downhill rock gardens.

But we did reach some gorgeous spots. It was hot, so parking in the shade was the way to go.

Dusty too.

The drops offs were not too bad, but we were up there, over 6000 feet.

Not far to the very top.

Oh yeah, the view :)

After this it was still a ways till we got to the only cut out where we could get back to the highway. It was this or ride the entire motorway.

Even more dusty ;)

Since it was past 2pm we decided to cut out, hit the highway and head towards Lochsa Lodge and get some elk burgers. Well the fact that Tony would have run out of gas may have had something to do with the decision as well.

The ride out was a pain, either sand or rolling marbles. But we got to the highway and I _thought_ I'd picked the right way. Eventually it proved right and we got to the lodge, got gas and had some food. Out of elk but I had a very tasty bison burger. YUM.

I did hit the mother-of-all-bugs on the way to the lodge:

After a good meal, it was back to the hotel, another 2 or 3 hours of riding. It was smoking hot again when we got there, over 100 F. But happy none-the-less.

Back at the hotel before we went back for more mexican food and grade cervesas, this is what a good day looks like:

Tomorrow we'd head into Oregon and leave Idaho behind once again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2014 Dual sport - Day 4

A.K.A. "Into the heat"

We'd been checking the forecast, and while the threat of rain had gone away, the heat was going to be significant.

As usual we were up and at 'em pretty early.

No problems at the border, though we did get to watch a hippy chick in front of us have to walk back to the Canadian side to return some wood.

Bit of a funny moment: The border guards were two younger women. One was doing the interviewing while the other stood by in case there was trouble. So after I rolled up they asked their usual questions about where we were going and what was in the luggage etc. Then she asked me "How long are you going down for?" to which I replied "Dunno, what day is it today?"

This threw her off. Such a response was not expected and she blushed a tiny bit then smiled. We had a little chuckle and then it was back to being serious. But all in all it was a easy, and they were happy asking us what was in our bags instead of making us unload everything. Which would have added a lot of time.

Then it was an almost straight shot south. And it got hotter. The fact that there was construction on our route and we had to stop on the pavement in 35+ degrees Celsius didn't make it any easier. At one stop Tony wandered away from the bike and into the trees to stand in the shade. Smart man, I went and joined him.

We stopped here and Tony investigated a good place to pee. Turns out that the building was a church and the deacons soon stopped to investigate the sketchy bikers hanging out around their church.

The one closest to me told us he was trying to organize an Isle-of-Man style race in the area. I wish him luck, but I won't hold my breath. The lawyers would have a field day and they'd have to shut down some fairly significant roads...

We stopped quickly at a gas station to have some gator aid and Twix for lunch. It was getting hotter.

Then I missed a turn (there was no number indicating it was the road we wanted, only the name, which of course wasn't on the map). So we rode for a while out of our way. And it got hotter. I started not feeling good.

Finally we stopped again for some gas and to rest a bit.

Here's me going "HOLY F*CK it's hot!"

We stopped and I managed to cool off a bit in the shade. Wetting down my shirt and arms helped get my core temperature back down a bit and I no longer felt like throwing up. Improvements!

We also met Emily and Jay, who are riding from Ann Arbour, Michigan to Tierra del Fuego.
Here's their website

I wish them well, they had a long way to go but were excited about their ride :)

We headed further south. Then at some point in Idaho we ran out of water in our camelbaks and had to resort to bottled water and gatoraid. Which had been in black saddlebags, cooking in the heat for hours. Hot gatoraid is not tasty stuff, let me tell you. But when that's what you got, that's what you drink.

Finally we hit some of the old twisty highway into Orofino, soooo close to cold beer and real food!

I got to the end of the tight 15 and 20 mph corners and waited for Tony.


And waited ...

And waited...

I hate that feeling when I know he should have been there, but he wasn't. So I started to slowly ride back up the road to look for where he crashed or broke down.

This is where I found him, standing on a drop off holding his bike, stuck.

Of course before I took the photo, I yelled and checked that he was all right. He was :)

So, what happened? Well an empty logging truck ran over the center line coming up the hill resulting in some serious skidding by Tony:

How can a bike with ABS lock up it's tires so much? I have no idea!

The skid continued in the gravel by the way:

Tony got it stopped right at the edge of a drop off. As his hip was still all buggered up he had problems getting it out of there, so I rode it out.

My KLR was unbothered by the hole thing of course.

We checked into the Konkolville hotel once again (I've been there 5 times in 7 years I think). And then there was only one thing to do. Get grande cervesas and celebrate the fact that Tony and the Triumph were in one piece.

And some damn fine mexican food!

Tomorrow: The Lolo Motorway!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Dual sport trip - Day 3

Tony had talked to Jerry and I about doing the northern loop to go from Kaslo to Nakusp, via a fair chunk of gravel.

We set out fairly early and I took a test ride on Tony's Triumph. I wanted to have a nap it's so smooth. But much slower to dip into corners. Great long distance bike I think.

Our first stop was when we were checking out one of the side roads while looking for a ghost town

The temperature was good, but you could tell it was going to get warm.

The gravel roads were pretty smooth and quick and we soon found the site of the, previous, ghost town. Sadly, not much was left.

Some damn clear water though.

At least there was a plaque

I set out first because I tend to be a bit quicker on gravel, though we agreed where we'd meet. The road got faster and faster, to the point where I was doing tripple digits on gravel. It was like a gravel superhighway. No photos, I was too busy riding.

Somehow I missed the stop where we said we'd meet and ended waiting for Tony here.

Except he never arrived. So 10 minutes later I started heading back and I was looping all over damnation trying to find him. Turns out, he was doing the same and eventually we met up. Probably wasted 30 minutes, but the time isn't the issue, it's the fact that you don't know where your buddy is and that's not a good feeling. Anyway, soon we were off to Nakusp for some food, we were starving and hot. No food pics though :)

We flew past a few folks on cruisers on the way back to Kaslo and over dinner in Nelson planned the next day. It was damn hot and getting hotter, the forecast for Orofino was somewhat depressing (39 C and getting hotter).

Tomorrow, the ride turns south.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 Dual sport trip - Day2 cont.

When we were riding back down to Sandon, there was a steady stream of cars coming up. Given that there road was just wide enough for one car, that did slow us down a bit.

Here is a view of Sandon down below:

We cruised over to the abandoned mine, passing a woman in a Jetta with 17" inch rims and a mountain bike on a roof rack. I was amazed that she made it as far as she did without getting a flat or tearing off her oil pan. Turns out she missed the sign to Idaho peak. We were able to send her on her way.

Some shots from the abandoned mine

Find two-sock-Tony

Picture for Jerry. I still think this is one of the better roads in BC, though it pales in comparison to some others I've ridden further south.

Tony indicating ... well, I have no idea what :)

Lunch was a bit late and we were both starving when we got into Kaslo

That night we toured the Nelson patios and got through a few before being back at the hotel.

A historic view (Jerry collected a lot of straws here ;) )

Tony and I started goofing with camera settings

My my that's a fat beer.

The sunset was cool though

Tomorrow was going to be another hot day filled with BC gravel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 Dual sport trip - Day 2

Turns out Tony likes to get up early, and I wasn't that far behind. So we ended up having breakfast quite early for a Sunday morning. It felt like we had the town to ourselves (almost). We did chat with one of the local Nelson cops, who was a nice enough guy (he rode dual sport bikes as well, which I'm going to claim had a lot to do with it ;) )

Local Object-de-Art

We were packed and ready to head out shortly after, though I'd spotted some patterns and colours on the deck that I wanted to get a short of.

Artsy Nelson pic

Ready to ride!

We had a very pleasant experience with a cop on the way out of Nelson (as in, he waved at us to slow down but didn't turn on his lights ... so we did :) ).

The Kaslo to Sandon run was great, pavement was beautiful and I only had one deer encounter, which was easily handled. The ride up Idaho peak was much narrower than I remembered, but after climbing 1000 meters in 10 kilometers, we were here

I did have to squeeze past one truck, and by that I mean I was leaning the bike out at as far as I could while almost clipping the truck with my shoulder, so that my side bags wouldn`t scratch his quarter-panels. Sounds dangerous until you realize he was stopped and I was in first gear. Tony told me that he moved over a lot more for him.

If you have very good eyes you can just make out one of the loops of the road below

It`s a pretty steep drop on both sides of the parking lot

Full sized SUV on the way up, for scale.

A different view of the view

more in day 2 - part 2.