My friend and I recently returned from a road trip that took us roughly 6500km over 11 days through Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon to Vegas, then through San Francisco and home. It was an amazing adventure and I encourage anyone with a bike to do a long haul trip! Read below for some details on our adventure!
Day 1 - Thursday June 13th, 2002
We took Friday the 14th off work so we were able to head out around 4pm on Thursday the 13th. We met up at Capilano College and started our journey. We didn't stop travelling until about 9pm for some food. As we headed out again we came across a buddy riding 2up with his girlfriend on the side of the road with a flat rear tire. So, like saviours in the night we pull a full U-Turn on the interstate, assess the problem, patch his tire, give him a can of filler and we are on our way again! We stopped at a rest stop in Yakima, WA about 500km from where we started and crashed in the open air for the night.
Day 2 - Friday June 14th, 2002
We got up around 6am and were back on the road at 7. We entered Spokane at 10:30am and soon after past the Idaho State Line. We blew through the top portion of Idaho and soon entered Montana at 12:30pm. We stopped for some lunch and a quick nap at 3:15pm. After another rest stop we arrive Butte, MT at 7pm. We decided to take a nice drive through the old part of Butte, it sure looked like they have a lot of history. Stopped for some dinner and then we were off to find a place to crash for the night. We found a nice pay campsite about 40 miles East of Butte. We setup the tent and crashed for the night.
Day 3- Saturday June 15th, 2002
Got up around 7:30am, had showers which cost us $3 a person, but well worth it . We packed up and left the campsite around 9am and started the scenic route to the North Entrance of Yellowstone Park. About 10 minutes into our trip we looked up into the cliffs and saw some amazing cave mouths. Curiosity grabbed hold of us, so we pulled over and spent the next hour finding a safe way up to these caves, we finally did. It was a cool hike and we got some great footage. We quickly hit the road and stopped in a small town called Manhattan for some food around 11am. We reached the North Gate of Yellowstone at 1:45pm. We took it nice and slow through Yellowstone, stopping to take lots of pictures and videos. We saw Old Faithful blow around 4:30pm and then headed out of the park. Well, as you could image there was a lot of people heading out of the park at this time and Paul and I got separated. On my way out of the park, I started going in the wrong direction, I quickly turned around and started headed South as I thought our next destination was the Southern Exit to the park, I was sure I would meet up with Paul quickly. Well, about 20 miles of my stupidity later I had still not found him. We had talked about getting gas, and I thought that would be out of the parked, little did I know he has stopped at a gas stop in the parking lot of Old Faithful and now I had completely passed him, I was very low on fuel and didn't think I would even make the return trip, so I kept heading South. I reached the Southern Gates around 6pm and rolled in to a gas station on fumes. Close by was the Flagg Ranch Village with a hotel, so I started making some phone calls. After touching base with friends and family I finally got a hold of Paul who was still at the Gas station waiting for me. Back to my stupidiy, the first thing I should of done when getting separated was head back to our last known location that we were together!!! Remember that kids, its a good simply rule. Paul and I finally reconnected around 8pm, I bought him dinner and we hit the road. To top of this whole day, we weren't even supposed to take the Southern Exit! My bad . We quickly entered Wyoming and about 55 Miles South of Yellowstone we passed through a really nice town called Jackson, Wyoming and thought it would be a really nice place to come back and visit for a few days. We rode for a good 2 hours after Yellowstone and had a really hard time finding a good stop to camp, its much easier to get this figured out with the daylight ot help you. We finally found a campsite, setup camp and crashed for the night.
Day 4 - Sunday June 16th, 2002
We were up at 5am (6am local time) and were hoping to pack up and hit the road before anyone noticed we had stayed, but they beat us to the bunch and we had to pay for the site, oh well. We hit the road and stopped at Marbleton, Wyoming for some breakfast at 7:30am. We had an awesome ride down the 189 South into Utah. Paul and I were doing flybys at 200+ the whole way, we hope we got some good video. We arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah at 12:30pm and oh my god is it HOT!. We relaxed for a bit and rested, had a nice ride through the city and we were back on the road around 1:30pm. Reached Provo at 2:20pm, had some lunch and were back on the bikes around 3:45pm. Riding in this heat is very hard and tiring. We usually soak our shirts and head with water, as well as our jackets and helmet. Then we do up our jackets and the wind keeps us cool, for a while. We found a beautiful campsite on a lake called "Yuba Lake" around 5pm. We made camp, relaxed, took a swim in the lake and then had a nice shower. We repacked the bikes as things are starting to shift a little now and then crashed out around 8pm.
Day 5 - Monday June 17th, 2002
We were up at 6am, made camp and were quickly on the road by 6:30am. Stopped aounrd 7:30am in a tiny town called Fillmore for breakfast, back on the road at 8:45am. Had to stop again at 9:30am in a small town called Parowan for a rest, back on the road at 10am. We reached the Grand Canyon turn off at 10:45am, only 140 miles to reach it, argh, its too hot for this. We passed some sweet locations like the "Virgin River" and a small town called "Hurricane". Hurricane had a freaking TANNING SALON, hello, its 120 degrees out you stupid Americans. We entered Arizona at 11:45am and after a very long road reached the Grand Canyon at 2pm. We saw the sites, took some pictures and video, had some food, had a rest and were on our way back at 4:15pm. We had to travel the exact same 140 mile route back to where we started. All in all the road itself was very worth, awesome twisties and amazing long straights along with beautiful scenery, nothing like it. We got back into Hurricane around 6:30pm. Stopped from some food in St. George's, Utah at 7:15pm and were back on the highway at 8:15pm. We found a nice campsite and crashed around 9pm. Damn its hot!
Day 6 - Tuesday June 18th, 2002
Up again at 6am and were quickly on the road to VEGAS!!! at 6:45am. Stopped from some breakfast in Mesquite, NV. We reached Las Vegas at 9am, quickly found the strip and our hotel, The Monte Carlo. We now have 2 fun days ahead of us, and we can take a break from the bikes. We had a good rest, did some shopping and people watching and had a great Buffet Dinner. We ended up at a bar/club called Coyote Ugly, damn what a great place, just like the movie, we finally got to bed around 3am
Day 7 - Wednesday June 19th, 2002
We finally got to sleep in today and didn't get our lazy asses out of bed until 10am, and after a nice buffet breakfast we were ready for Vegas. We made a stupid decision to get back on the bikes and do the tour of the Hoover Dam, oh my god, it was SO hot, like 119 in the shade, they were doing construction on the parts of the highway up there, so traffic was one lane. The experience was worth it, the Hoover damn was quite remarkable. We finally got back to our hotel about 4:30pm, I don't think I have ever experienced that heat before. We were so tired that we really didn't feel like doing much, we rode our bikes down the strip as we though that would be fun, NOT, still hot, always hots, its never not hot! We crashed just after midnight.
Day 8 - Thursday June 20th, 2002
The plan was for two of our friends and our girlfriends to meet us in San Francisco today, our friends would drive the rental car back with us and our two girlfriends would ride 2up back up the Oregon coast. Well, in the end only Paul's girlfriend came as our two friends with the rental car couldn't make it. My girlfriend couldn't afford the $300 dollar plane ticket. We were up at 5am, showered, packed, and on the road out of Vegas at 7:30am. We stopped in Wasco, CA for some lunch. We only stopped for gas and quick rests until we finally reached San Francisco at 8:30pm. Kathleen (Paul's Girlfriend) had landed at 1pm, so she found us a nice hotel room. We found the hotel, parked, unpacked. We had a quick dinner and were asleep by midnight.
Day 9 - Friday June 21th, 2002
We were up at 9am, had showers, packed and headed out for a little ride on the bikes through San Francisco. We stopped for breakfast around 10am and continue our drive down by the water. We took some pictures and video of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. Both are truly amazing to ride across. We headed into the Napa Valley and took the scenic route through lots of twisties and some really nice roads. Everything started out so great today, and then all went to shit. I was in front of Paul and Kathleen when I looked in my rear view and noticed Paul had gone down hard on his left side. Due to the road being so twisty, I couldn't turn around for a good 1/2 mile, I finally did a U-Turn and headed back, 100 things going through my head about what I had to do when I finally reached them. Had to stay calm, check they were ok, phone 9-1-1. When I got back to them, there was like aleady 6 or 7 people there, 4 cops on fully loaded BMW's all with Police Gear. Everything was already taken care of. The cops, fire trucks, ambulances were all on the scene in less than 10 minutes, it was truly amazing for such a small town. Paul was ok, sore from the fall, the bike which took some good damage was rideable, but poor Kathleen had broke her leg in 3 places. She was rushed to hospital. Paul and I got his bike up and repacked and were at the hospital around 3:30pm. This was a very very long day, we Paul was with Kathleen I was in the waiting room until about 1:15am when the Hospital was nice enough to find us a place to stay for free. Paul still doesn't really know what happened, the road was fine, it was a beautiful day. All he remembers is him thinking "Carl told me to wear gloves" as his hand was being chewed up by the concrete. Our only assumption right now is that he took the corner a little to fast and hit the front brake which case the slide.
Day 10 - Saturday June 22nd, 2002
We were up at 8:30am, Paul headed to the Hospital while I packed up. He returned around 11am and we had some breakfast. As Kathleen flew down to San Francisco, she had a return flight at 6pm. (which she wasn't going to take as she was supposed to be returning on the bike). The Hospital setup travel arrangements to get her to the Airport at 2pm. Paul and I followed the bus into San Francisco and we got to the Airport just after 4pm. Paul got her settled on the plane and we hit the highway at 5pm. There was brutal highway traffic, someone kindly mentioned that we could lane split, so away we went, cutting through traffic, on fully loaded bikes, it was quite an experience! We stopped briefly for some food and a rest at 6:30pm and were on the road again at 7:30pm. After a few gas and rest stops we found a nice secluded campsite a little way up Shasha Mountain at 11pm, we made camp and crashed.
Day 11 - Sunday June 23rd, 2002
We slept in until 7:15am, packed up and hit the road around 8am. Other than stops for some food, some gas and some rests, we took the I5 all the way home. We didn't have the time to do the Oregon coast now, so that will have to wait. We reached Portland, Oregon around 6ish and reached Seattle, WA around 9pm. We finally crossed over the Canadian/USA border at 11pm where our journey comes to a conclusion.
All in all, it was an amazing trip and I would do it again in a flash. Our bikes were great, we handled all situtations that were dealt to us. It was a bad stroke of luck with what happened to Paul. We still feel very lucky as things could of been much worse. Kathleen is recovering from surgery, where she is now a proud owner of a titanium rode in her knee, Paul is getting more sore everyday from the accident, but he will be fine soon. As for me, LETS RIDE!
I hope you enjoyed reading this little journey and that it wasn't a total bore. I do have pictures that go along with this, and they will be up shortly. Videos will be up whenever Paul gets them done.
Feel free to ask me any questions!