Back in the middle of September I went out for a two week tour on the Z down to Oregon and on to Northern California and then over to Nevada and up through Utah to Yellowstone park and then zig zag'ed home.
The original plan was to make it to the Grand Canyon but I didn't fully appreciate the size of the country down that way and lollygaged about too much for the first week and left myself short of time.
The first weekend was off to see some old model flying buddy's down in Oregon at a contest they were holding. Hadn't seen them for a year so it was nice to see the old familiar faces again.
From there it was two days of zig zagging through Northern California using the backroads. Lovely roads and a forest that is much like the drier forests of the interior of BC. The folks that live in the smaller towns in Northern Cali were friendly and down to earth without exception. I didn't bother with a pic since it was all just road and trees for the most part. Fun to ride over but boring to photograph.
That brought me to Reno and two days at the National Air Races. Saw lots of great planes and just wandered around soaking up all the atmosphere of enthusiasm that I feel when hanging around airplanes or boats. For anyone that has an intrest in planes and hasn't been to the air races at Reno I strongly suggest you get down there in the next year or two. It's a great show.
From there it was off across Nevada. Now for anyone that hasn't been to Nevada I soon learned that it's pretty much miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. It seems to be made up of long stretches of flat desert with little wrinkle lines of hills with twisties that last for about 5 to 10 minutes. On the flats I started out being a good boy but the hills in the distance didn't seem to be getting any closer so..... I tucked down and wicked it up to some speed that wasn't really legal but got me to the next line of hills in a decent time. I was often the only vehicle I'd see on the highway for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. This was highway 50 that they rightly call the "Loneliest Highway on Earth".
It took me two days to cross Nevada and it was another day and a bit to hit the Grand Canyon. I started doing the math on the map and realized that I would get to the Canyon, take a picture and then start for home if I was going to be at work like I promised on the following monday. After some thinking I decided that I don't like pushing it so I decided to just do the stuff I could see and enjoy.
WIth that in mind I hit up a small federal part called Great Basin National Park where they had a rather extensive cavern with some great calcite formations. A hundred years of visitors had taken it's toll considering that the early explorers and commercial visitors didn't bother much with care and preservation. But the calcite decorations were still magnificient.
Great Basin is actually a collapsed volcano. Technically I camped the night in the mouth of a volcano after the cavern visit. I also went up and around the lookout road that crested at around 10100 to 10200 feet. The last sign I found was the 10,000 foot one but the road kept climbing for what I estimated was a little more than 100 feet.
From there it was north through Utah and up to Yellowstone park to visit with Yogi and.... er.... to see Old Faithful and wander around the rest of the thermal spring areas. Again this is there basically because a volcano hasn't bothered to erupt in this area YET. Yellowstone park is also on the Continental Divide more or less. I kept climbing and descending and every time I hit a crest there's be another Continental Divide sign. All the rivers flow east or west from that line. It's the spine that runs down through the continent for the most part.
Yellowstone was bloody cold. I spent the day dressed in riding gear with rain gear over top to cut the wind. Comfy enough but still..... As the day wore on I got to the North end of Yellowstone and hoped for a camping spot before dark. It wasn't to be. The campground and all 10 or so of the hotels in the town at the north end of the park were full. So it was another hour north to I90 and Livingston. THat was one COOOOOOLLD hour. When I got to town I hit up three motels and got one of the last rooms available. A jaccuzi room for double my usual nightly stay. But at that point beggars can't be choosers and the jaccuzi sounded like heaven. 15 mintues after the key went into the lock I was warm and wet in the tub with beer, cold cuts, cheeze and jalepeno stuffed olives for dinner in one hand and the TV remote in the other. I tried for a pic of all this with my dripping feet in the pic but the lens fogged up as soon as the trap door opened..... It took 45 minutes of the door being open and the air conditioner running to vent out the steam after I was done....
The next day was brutally cold. All my gear wasn't enough and I was shivering hard within an hour. Pulled off for coffee and donuts but hit up a Honda shop asking about electric gear. Nothing... they sold only dirtbikes. So I asked where the Harley shop was. 10 minutes later I was $230 poorer but equipped with an electric full inner jacket with electric neck collar. I will never, ever travel again without that jacket. Seems like I hit harsh cold at least once every trip.
From therer it was in and out of rain all the way home. The electric jacket paid for itself twice over during that time. It's amazing how tolerant you can be about cold hands and wet feet when your core is warm.
And here's a few of the pics I took..........