Transcontinental ride (July 1, 2011)

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Thread: Transcontinental ride (July 1, 2011)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Post Transcontinental ride (July 1, 2011)

    My friend Jesse and I are riding transcontinental starting July 1 and planning to cover some 12,000Km in 20 or so days through US and Canada. The rough plan is to ride to west coast, down to LA and back with a lot of interesting detours and stops in between. You can follow our little adventure through the blog at Everyone is welcome to subscribe and comment. I will not be following this thread or replying to posts here until we come back.

    2011/07/22: I'm back and sorting things out. Will post one day at the time based on the blog, but with much more details and pictures. Stay tuned.

    2011/07/30: This thread has been given an alias for easier access by non-members of this forum. It's (no www. prefix). If you want more pictures than could reasonably fit in this report, they are at

    2011/10/25: A couple of pictures just to interest people to scroll down for more:

    Last edited by Vlad; 10-25-2011 at 03:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 1

    Time to roll!

    The day has finally come. It's time to roll and roll we will - big time! It's hard to describe the feeling of combined anticipation, excitement, worry that I forgot something important, doubts of my ability to endure and enjoy at the same time, sadness to leave my darling Duda behind...

    Then, much worse men have done much more with much less and lived to tell a good tale. These two notwithstanding :

    Suzy B, fully loaded and ready. There's a total of 160L of space in hard cases, tank bag and passenger seat dry bag, not counting the top case rack. This bike has been reliable as an anvil for the last 100,000Km and I have no doubt it will carry me over the continent and back without an issue. It has brand new Shinko Raven 009 tires that should last the entire trip:

    Attachment 0
    Attachment 0
    Lapeer, Michigan

    We started later than planned, but there's plenty of time to ride. I don't have to be back to work before 25th, and neither does Jesse. The day was pretty uneventful, mostly boring highway, but it did feel like a start of something big. I felt like I'm on a mission, and the first event on that mission was to get picked for a "random" check at the border. I guess the border guard was ticked off that I'm carrying so little cash for such a long trip (I prefer credit cards, thank you very much, and brought back 90% of the cash I had) or it's truly random. Anyway, I guess my NEXUS card doesn't make me immune. All officials I dealt with were polite and professional though, and I was on my way pretty fast. No complaints.

    Setting up camp in Lapeer, MI.:

    Total for the day: 395Km
    Moving average: 102Km/h
    Moving time: 03:53
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 01:14 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 2

    Lapeer, Michigan to La Crosse, Wisconsin

    Good night sleep, no rain. Morning nice and warm, it looks like it will be
    a nice day.

    A pit stop near Battle Creek, MI. Balmy 30 degrees and it's not even noon yet.
    This will be good conditioning for the deserts.

    Putting feet up for a little auto-transfusion is a great technique to relax. Doing it in the shade doesn't hurt either.

    38 in the shade, and no shade. Braking out the heavy artillery - cooling

    Making good speed, 117 average so far. Plenty of time to ponder the vastness of this land while holding it with one hand at 130 on a wide, straight and uncongested Interstate 94.

    Chicago is an oven today

    40 degrees and very slow traffic going through. Our cooling vests don't work well when stopped, but we endure. Pull over for gas and quick refreshment. No reprieve from the heat - it radiates from the asphalt and concrete around us. You know you are in a rough neighborhood when the Shell gas station attendant lives in a cage behind the inch thick bulletproof glass. Everything around us is ran down and bleached, even people. Get the hell out of Dodge!

    Wisconsin, new time zone

    Amazing how refreshing 38 degrees feel after 40. Once out of Chicago we were back up to speed, temperatures a little lower and our cooling vests started to work again. The temperatures continued to fall as we went into Wisconsin (they really hate their governor here ). At 35, the vests were cooling us too well (it get's positively cold!) so we took them off. Helmets came off too for the first time on this trip. What a relief! Put them back on about 50Km later as the relief wore off and being pounded in the face by bugs at sunset stopped being fun.

    Twisties in Wisconsin?

    Wisconsin was mostly boring flat farmland until we got off the highway after Madison. On our way to Lacrosse we hit some hilly countryside roads with sweeping turns and almost no other traffic. What a welcome change after the long highway drone.

    On a sad note, we got our first and hopefully last road kills of the trip. First Jesse hit a bird head on. Straight into his forehead, jettisoned behind and fell on the road. We like to think the poor thing was just knocked out and survived. Shortly after, another bird slammed into the bottom of my windshield. That one was dead instantly, don't ask how I know . I hope we paid our dues to suicidal animals and that they will stay out of our way in the future. We weren't even going very fast, 80-100 at most...

    Farming in Wisconsin

    Spending the night camping on a lovely farm of Giselle and Ron. No sense writing more, pictures will have to tell this story.

    Slept better than previous night, it was nice and cool. Gnats that greeted us in swarms did not manage to get into tents. Forgot to put my ear plugs in and ended up listening to raccoons chatting around my top case all night. I guess they smelled the breaded chicken that was in there, but they couldn't get in. The noises those animals make are really amazing, they sound like a bunch of R2D2 robots from Star Wars arguing about something . I was tired enough to filter them out and get a good night sleep. Gnats greeted us in the morning too, but we ignored them. Those insects will get straight in your mouth if you are not careful! Beautiful scenery and good company more than made up for that annoyance. The farm has the rustic charm of a place people were working on for generations.

    Total for the day: 918Km
    Moving average: 98Km/h
    Time on the move: 9:22
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 11:33 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 3

    Another day, another time zone

    La Crosse, Wisconsin to Wall, South Dakota

    A very scenic and twisty rural road, then hugging the bank of Mississippi River (yes, that Mississippi, it's huge even up here), over the bridge in Lacrosse and into Minnesota. Some more fast and fun sweepers to Rochester. Having lunch in Del's cafe, looks like this is where locals feed on Sunday. Trying to decide how to proceed. It's very hot again, but not hot enough for me to wear the cooling west yet.

    After lunch, we tackled the US Interstate system, jumping on I90 for the next 900Km or so. Ran straight through Minnesota, crossed the Missouri River (yes, that Missouri), and ended up in a place called Wall in South Dakota.

    Despite the relatively boring scenery (some hills, a lot of farmland, a few windmill farms) quite a bit of fun was had today. We killed time by telling jokes, looking for "rabbits" to chase (folks going fast enough for us to go after them) and testing our endurance. Thanks to Giselle's hearty breakfast and a good night sleep at the farm we were in quite a good shape to push some limits. For starters, we decided to pull off the Interstate only when we have to stop for gas, which is around 300Km (my 1200 gets consistently better mileage than Jesse's 650, although not by much - go figure). A couple of small personal records were set, like the longest ride and time in the saddle without putting even one foot down for a stop (just over 300Km and 2.5 hours) and longest ride without braking (Bandits engine brake well and there was no reason to brake for anyone), also just over 300Km.

    Here's the video Jesse made. It's very nice, but trust me - it was even more fun than it looks:

    Jesse stole my thunder by asking first a question I always wanted to ask on a motorcycle ride: "Which time zone are we in?"(we really weren't sure). This is our third time zone in as many days - that's how (and how much) we like to ride!

    A good meal in Cactus Cafe in Wall was served by a charming Russian waitress. Jesse fell asleep on his netbook and I had to sneak it from under him . A glass of wine (it still hasn't turned into vinegar) and I'll be snoring just as well

    Some people like to travel light, but not us .

    The monstrosity in the background was neither the only nor the first one we saw. Once passed a full size passenger bus RV that was carrying a Goldwing on it's hitch and pulling a Chewy Suburban with a few bicycles on it's tail. I'm sure the kitchen sink was not just proverbial in that case. I wonder what the fuel economy of such a convoy is...

    At a scenic overlook above Missouri River:
    Attachment 0

    This was a very interesting day. My confidence is back and growing. We can tackle this continent head on.

    Total traveled: 983Km
    Moving average: 115Km/h
    Time on the move: 08:32
    Last edited by Vlad; 10-19-2011 at 09:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 4

    Wall, South Dakota to Sturgis, South Dakota

    Bad in the Badlands

    My English is not rich enough to find a proper superlative for a day like today. Heck, not even my Serbian is good enough and this trip has barely started.

    The day began after a short but high quality sleep in Anne's Motel in Wall. Woke up like vampires around 5:30 and were on the road before seven. First leg, Badlands National Park was truly amazing, for both the martian scenery and the excellent twisty road. In situations like that it's really hard to pick what to concentrate on and you can't fully enjoy both the ride and the vistas at the same time. We did our best, alternating between some pretty spirited riding and soaking up the scenery.

    Exiting Badlands we went through aptly named Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Prairie it is, but what a prairie! Long stretch of little traveled scenic road allowed us to let the bandits stretch their legs a bit. Quite a bit actually. My bike, more loaded with gear than it ever was before, easily reached 125mph (just a tad over 200Km/h) at which point it started to complain by gently floating the front end and wobbling, like it wanted to say "You have 20kg in your top case alone, have mercy on me!". There were also quite a few suicidal birds in the area that kept flying into our path - I fully expected to hit one, but they all escaped (I guess our reputation travels as fast as we do). The rest of that leg was completed at comfortable 100mph cruising speed (160km/h). As a consequence of pushing a lot of air with what's essentially an aerodynamic equivalent of a brick, our bikes were sucking gas big time. I was deep in reserve when Jesse's started to stumble just in time to reach the only gas station in the last 100km or so. It turned out the place has quite a history and we chatted with the owner about it for a while. "Dances with the wolves" was filmed close by.

    With a hassle of having to call AAA from where there's probably no cell signal avoided, we continued on through Rapid City (very bleak and industrial looking place from what I could see) towards Mount Rushmore.

    Whoever coined the phrase "Getting there is half the fun." obviously wasn't thinking about the monument to American megalomania called Mt. Rushmore. He also definitely didn't get there on a motorcycle because the roads to and from there are all the fun. Amazing sweepers to the stone heads and the mother of all twisty roads from there on. It more than compensated for the fact that they want people to pay to get close to a (de)faced mountain (we didn't pay, of course, but opted for exploring the beauty of surrounding Black Hills instead).

    This is one of several more than 360 degree turns:

    Next, Custer national park. One road more beautiful and scenic than the other. Quite a bit of traffic and stopped cars, but our Sena communicators helped in making passing the slow pokes interesting and even fun. it takes some confidence and trust to pass on the inside of a blind corner when the rider in front of you tells you it's all clear, but once you learn how to do it properly and safely it's a lot of fun. I bet quite a few minivan drivers that we passed thought that we are totally crazy and suicidal .

    The sky was threateningly grey for a while and we got a few drops, but nothing serious:

    After checking a couple of wildlife trails (quite a few wild animals spotted, no Buffalo's though to Jesse's disappointment) including a well groomed gravel stretch we got out of Custer and continued on Nemo road (another sweeeet sweeping turn road) towards Sturgis, passing through another aptly named place - Deadwood. The hills (mountains by Ontario standards) surrounding Deadwood are full of tree trunks void of branches and leaves. Like there was a forest fire, except there is no trace of charring...

    Got to Sturgis relatively early, had a good meal at The Loud American and headed to well deserved rest. Jesse just started his soft snore and I'm soon to follow.

    The day started and continued to be hot, even through the forests and mountains, dipping under 30 only occasionally. I felt comfortable as long as we were moving.

    Just around 500Km, but worth at least four times that in my book. Without any exaggeration my best day on a motorcycle ever. It felt like everything is working for us even when it was not.

    Total distance traveled: 465Km
    Moving average speed:74Km/h
    Time on the move: 06:18
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-06-2011 at 09:17 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 5

    Sturgis, South Dacota to Cody, Wyoming

    Sunny and 27. The rain missed us completely, although judging by high humidity it did fall
    pretty hard somewhere close.

    After some souvenir shopping in Sturgis, we hopped on I90 again and entered

    A detour towards the Devil's Tower turned out not to lengthen our
    trip at all.

    We kept a very brisk pace through the long sweepers across the
    ever changing and beautiful hilly country, then comfortably "cruised" at
    160 for a while. Another amazing ride, warm and sunny weather and just
    enough traffic to make the passing fun. Having steak and eggs in an
    interesting local cafe in Moorcroft and pressing on towards Calgary.

    That was a good steak!

    Many pumps in these parts sell 85 octane gas, presumably for agricultural equipment or something similar. We were careful not to pour that, but I can't be sure I didn't at least once by accident (at least it wasn't "dyed diesel" ). Anyway, Suzy B didn't complain at all and performed like a dream in all conditions.

    Across the street from the same gas station there were sprinklers working. The temptation to cool down was just irresistible. We soaked ourselves pretty well, but all that water evaporated in half an hour at 35 degrees...

    And then, snow!

    And a mountain pass

    Beartooth pass is just ahead, but those clouds don't look good at all.

    Decided to head South towards Cody and tackle the Beartooth tomorrow.

    This is grizzly country, no doubt about that.

    From 32 degrees to 18, from 3,000 feet to 9000, from scorching sun to
    pouring rain and hail, to still snow covered mountain pass, through
    mountains and prairies, this was another day to remember. Constantly
    changing and beautiful scenery on superbly engineered and maintained roads
    have been a standard on this trip so far. Being able to do it all at any
    speed we are comfortable with most of the time is also a rare treat we are
    trying very hard not to abuse.

    Spending the night under severe weather warning (narrowly avoided the heavy
    front coming from the North) in Cody, Wyoming. Hoping to tackle the
    Beartooth Pass and Glacier National Park in Montana and reach Calgary

    Total distance traveled: 677Km
    Moving average speed:103Km/h
    Time on the move: 06:34
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-01-2011 at 05:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 6

    Cody, Wyoming to Harlowton, Montana

    Beartooth Highway, a hail of a ride!

    Today we climbed the mountains on some incredible roads. First was the Dead Indian Hill Pass (8,000ft) on Chief Joseph Scenic Highway:

    The Beartooth Highway was unbelievably beautiful and such a joy to ride
    that it hurts we couldn't ride it both ways and several times. It was voted the best motorcycle road in America by the American Motorcycle Association for a reason. Several meters of snow at 11.000 feet. This can only be described as every motorcyclist' wet dream, and we are living it!


    Magnificent waterfalls and rapids. Now I know where the term "whitewater" comes from.

    A frozen lake in mid-July:

    Did I say it's July?


    Just in case you missed it, it's effin' JULY!

    The hottest month of the year...

    The storm is brewing...

    Thanks to Jesse's camera and excellent editing we now have an excellent video of this unforgettable ride:

    Red Lodge, Montana. Just as we stopped for a good meal, a mother of a
    hailstorm started! We are safe now but had to go out in the worst of it to
    move the bikes out of the pouring torrent that was threatening to tip them
    over. Man, was it pounding on our helmets, necks, hands...! I got a big one
    behind my neck as I was bending over to unhook the GPS. What an experience,
    and we have a lot of it properly recorded too .

    It was the size of big walnuts and pounding for about an hour. It broke my turn signals, one auxiliary light, expanded the existing windshield crack, bent the heated grip switch and even cracked through my leather Corbin seat. Ripped Jesse's tank bag map pocket to shreds. I haven't seen anything like it before. Needless to say, it was quite an experience.

    This didn't break easily.

    This was even harder to break. It's a Corbin leather/memory foam seat. The swirling cracks are really funny.

    We got out of Red Lodge as soon as the hail stopped riding very carefully on ice covered roads. Just a few kilometers out the road was dry - the hailstorm never got there. If we didn't stop for lunch we never would have seen it, and that would be a crying shame .

    Total distance traveled: 408Km
    Moving average speed:81Km/h
    Time on the move: 05:00
    Last edited by Vlad; 11-16-2011 at 07:26 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 7

    Harlowton, Montana to Calgary, Alberta

    The ride was fast and pretty uneventful, except for a minor mishap of Jesse running out of gas. His bike's fuel economy gets progressively worse than mine the faster the sustained speeds are (meaning mine gets bad too, but his gets worse). On top of that, it doesn't have a petcock, so he never knows how deep in reserve he is. A quick trip to the nearest gas station, a 5L jerry can and we are back in business - benefits of riding with company.

    There were some interesting vistas on this stretch too, but it was mostly highway and mostly fast.

    Back in Canada, no hassle at the border.

    Gladys and Ian greeted us like royalty last night and let us stay in their
    brand new townhouse. They modestly call it a condo, but I've never seen one
    on three levels with private garage (yes, we had the garage all to ourselves
    too) and street entrance .

    Total distance traveled: 850Km
    Moving average speed:106Km/h
    Time on the move: 08:00
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 11:30 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 8

    Calgary, Alberta

    After a good night sleep it's time to do some maintenance and errands that
    will take the better time of the day (new chain/sprockets for Jesse's bike,
    an oil change for mine and a small mountain of laundry). It looks like
    we'll stay another night, which means we are going to The Calgary Stampede
    tonight (talk about good timing - we didn't really plan it).

    The "condo"


    Some time in the last several days my "Suzy B" (a.k.a. 2002 Suzuki GSF1200S
    "Bandit") and I passed a little milestone in our relationship - 100,000
    trouble-free kilometers
    together. I bought her late August 2005 with
    17,000Km on the odometer - barely broken in. It now reads 119,900Km. As an anniversary gift, I took her to Canadian Tire for three liters of fine synthetic oil. Cheers!
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 11:30 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 9

    Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia

    Starting early. Jesse and I decided to ride separately at our own pace, keep in touch over the phone (free Verizon to Verizon calls and Sena Bluetooth communicators make that an easy task) and hook up later in California. I promised him a lead through Death valley, but it wasn't meant to be.

    Sky over the Rockies is threateningly dark, but the
    forecast says dry. I'll find out soon enough. Hoping to reach Vancouver
    some time tonight.

    Didn't see much of Banff and Glacier National Parks...

    Lunch in Revelstoke. Quite a miserable ride so far. Cold (down to
    single digits) and rainy on and off for the past 400Km. Haven't seen much
    of the Rockies - they were either covered with clouds or my visor was wet
    and foggy. Saw Rocky Mountaineer train pass by.

    Weather got progressively better and traffic much less dense after Revelstoke. It went from 9 degrees and rain to 29 and sunny in less than 100Km! Unfortunately by that time I was way out of Rocky Mountains. After a brief chat with fellow biker-esse in Kamloops, decided to go through Whistler and take the famous "Sea to sky" (or in my case "Sky to sea") highway. So far, the road keeps getting better and scenery more interesting.

    Fraser River

    At a gas station in Lillooet (I keep calling it Lilliput ) met a fellow from Pemberton riding an old naked GSXR with the same engine as my Bandit. He asked me where I'm headed and if I don't mind if he follows along. I said sure, but misunderstood that he still needs to get gas and lost him. He caught up when I stopped to check the Bambi out.

    This young buck was licking the salt in the middle of the road and was totally undisturbed by my approach. I turned off the engine, got off the bike and shot some closeups.

    My young follower from Pemberton caught up with me there, but I soon lost him in the background. We met again when I pulled over to put some layers on as it was getting cold. Turns out he was quite amazed at how fast I was going through the many blind corners this road has and thought I was pretty crazy, especially considering how loaded my bike is. I explained that I'm using the GPS as a heads-up display, so I have a pretty good idea how sharp the next turn is and how fast I can take it. Of course, I don't know if Bambi is around the corner or the turn is off-camber, covered in sand/gravel, etc., but I do take those things into account. This is not the first time I have "beaten" locals on their own turf and I can't say it doesn't boost my ego a bit .

    So serene...

    From Whistler, the Sea to Sky Highway was a hoot. I find those concrete barriers on both sides of the road a little claustrophobic and disconcerting, but I guess they had to do it that way or people would end up in the Pacific on a regular basis. All those guard rail free roads got me spoiled I guess...

    Had a great BBQ dinner with Vesna and Nebojsa in Vancouver and crashed.

    So, the second part of the day more than paid off for the miserable beginning.

    Total distance traveled: 1,089Km
    Moving average speed:89Km/h
    Time on the move: 12:15
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-02-2011 at 06:52 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 10

    Vancouver, British Columbia to Medford, Oregon

    The little I've seen of Vancouver is lovely. I'll have to come back, but for now the road is calling.

    Crossed the border like a king, in a dedicated lane and about an hour ahead
    of the common crowd. Gotta love NEXUS!

    Trying to get as far South as possible. It's Sunday and I'll need time to
    do some shopping and repairs tomorrow (my chain is toast), before I get to see my friend Boris
    in Davis, CA.

    I5 is so boring that I was starting to fall asleep. Time for a nap under
    the tree in a rest area. They serve free coffee here, but I'd rather take a
    nap than be wide awake and have to pee 3 times in 100 miles .

    840Km of I5 today. Most of it boring to tears, but the last 200Km were a
    winding divided highway through the low mountains and forests of southern
    Oregon. Quite challenging due to the fact that it was after sunset.
    Angela's GPS did a double duty as a heads-up display again. I bet those
    locals I passed on the inside in sweepers thought this Canuck is
    suicidal .

    I didn't need to wash my visor all day, that's how few bugs there are in this area. They didn't even come out at sunset and I reached the hotel with still relatively clean visor. I usually get this many in 10 minutes at
    the end of the day. Go figure, I guess closeness of Pacific ocean has something to do with it.

    BTW, went through almost two entire states today (Washington and Oregon).
    Decided to forgo some potential attractions like Oregon Coast and Crater
    Lake in order to get to where I can get the bike fixed (in dire need of a
    new chain). Also, keeping an eye on some delights to look forward too, like
    Pacific Highway, Death Valley and maybe the Bonneville Salt Lake, the holy
    land of speed.

    Sleeping in Medford, Oregon. Crater Lake doesn't look too far out of the
    way. I hope I'll get to it tomorrow.

    Total distance traveled: 840Km
    Moving average speed:107Km/h
    Time on the move: 07:51
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 11:23 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 11

    Medford, Oregon, Rogue Umpqua and Crater Lake, Oregon

    - The new chain and sprockets had to be ordered, arriving hopefully early tomorrow. I don't dare to go 500Km to Sacramento in this shape. May use the down time to limp over to Crater lake and/or take a dip in the motel pool...

    - Life threw me a lemon today, but man did I make a mean Daiquiri with it!
    Left with a day to kill, headed straight to Crater Lake. The place and the road leading to it by Rogue River and through Umpqua National Forest are simply indescribable! Lush forests, lakes and
    rivers, sweepers and winders, faultless pavement and a beautiful sunny day with just a sprinkle of clouds. All that beauty crowned with magnificent views of natural wonder that is Crater Lake. I squeezed every last
    drop of life from that poor chain. Joy like this was not to be
    blemished by possibility of getting stranded in the Klamath mountains of
    South Oregon.

    It starts like this, scenic but innocent.

    After a steep and twisty climb up the mountain, bang!

    No guard rails here, just the way I like it.

    Rim road around the crater was partially closed due to snow. In July.

    Wizard Island, a volcano within a volcano.

    Rim Road

    The view from Watchman overlook. I was looking for "the old man of the lake", but couldn't see it anywhere.

    Rim Road

    Rim Road

    This road deserves it's designation and I found it's name equally amusing.

    One of only two hazards I was afraid of on this trip. I've seen thousands of them, many the size of the entire circumference of a truck tire and many in the middle of the road too. They get shed by trucks when their tires delaminate (usually at high speeds), they can be tens of kilograms heavy and they fly and bounce with totally unpredictable trajectories. Helmet is of little help if one of these hits you on the head at typical highway speeds. Fortunately, I had no "live" encounter or even a close call, but I made sure I never hang around trucks more than absolutely necessary.

    Mount Thielsen, or Big Cow Horn

    I hope local folks appreciate the beauty that surrounds them.
    500+Km of sheer joy, every centimeter of it.

    A filling as well as tasty meatloaf and a couple of good local beers in
    Black Bear diner and I'm ready to crash in bed. If all goes well, a 500Km
    ride to Davis tomorrow to see my friend Boris and his family. It turns out I could have gotten there even with the crappy chain, but than I'd miss all the beauty Ive seen and experienced today...

    Total distance traveled: 522Km
    Moving average speed:74Km/h
    Time on the move: 07:02
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-05-2011 at 11:45 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 12

    Medford, Oregon to Davis, California

    Still under impression of Crater Lake. What a glorious day yesterday was. Such an
    overload of breathtaking scenery and amazing roads is hard to process. I
    wish I could record every single minute of it so I don't forget anything.
    I'm thinking about a voice recorder with GPS tagging so I can save my
    impressions as I ride. There's just too much beauty to remember it all, this blog is just an attempt to preserve as much as possible.

    My chain and sprockets arrived and were installed by early afternoon. Had a pleasant chat with Dave Blaze and his friends/customers while getting my hands dirty and helping out.

    The old chain was really worn. Almost 3/4 of a link longer and with enough play to be felt by hand in some spots. I estimated the life expectancy of this chain based on the previous, identical one. I predicted it will last for the entire trip, and then some. My calculations have been proven wrong, probably due to the fact that I didn't lube it as frequently as I should. Once a day would usually be too often, but on a 500-1000Km/day trip it was probably not frequent enough. Also, getting the bike on the center stand to lube the chain without removing the luggage is almost impossible, so I did it even less frequently than I thought I should. Lesson learned, and it didn't cost me anything but a small pile of money .

    A short highway ride (~500Km is short by this trip's standards) and I'm finally in Davis.

    Boris and his boys examining Suzy B.

    A hearty BBQ with Milica to refill this tired biker's batteries. Slept like a log afterwards.

    Total distance traveled: Km
    Moving average speed: Km/h
    Time on the move:
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 11:22 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 13

    Davis, California to Furnace Creek, California

    After buying some tools and doing a quick chain adjust/lube I"m on my way to Death Valley through Yosemite.

    Some nice scenery in this part of California:

    Road through Yosemite over Tioga pass is very entertaining and surrounded by beautiful scenery. It's a bit overcrowded by tourists, but I use that as an excuse to take it easy and soak up the sights.

    Lakes, forests, whole mountains made of a single monolith rock...

    Inyo National Forest and Mammoth Lakes are just as enchanting.

    A ride south on 395 from Bishop was mostly straight, but it provided some magnificent views of Sierra Nevada mountains on the right. A stop in Lone Pine to get last cheap gas (It's much more expensive in Death Valley), refresh and get ready for descent into the furnace. I'm still in the mountains (Lone Pine is at 1,136m, I'm descending to -85), but it's 37 degrees already. Cooling vest soaked, hydration pack filled with ice and I had on down.

    As I pass by the entrance to Death Valley NP, my MP3 player starts playing the next random picked tune from my library - AC/DC "Hells Bells". This is way too cheesy I think and shut it off. I'll let the desert sing it's own song to me. The player remained silent for the next couple of days. One of the most beautifull things in Death Valley is it's silence throughout the day and in every corner. You can almost hear your own heartbeat.

    Only about 35 degrees at Panamint Springs. I'm somewhat disappointed. What happened to the infamous Death Valley heat?

    This section of 190 is twisty and steep.

    Then, a sign that says I'm at sea level. No water anywhere, and still going down. Soon, another sign, much more serious.

    Right after Stovepipe Wells (where the above sign is) it was like someone turned on a furnace - it went to
    40 in just a few minutes and then continued to climb all the way to 44.
    Cooling vest did the job well and I was pretty comfortable. All strapped
    and wrapped so I don't get overheated by the hot air blowing at me at 130.
    Trust me, you don't want to open your visor at that heat, it would dry bake your face off!

    Mesquite Flats sand dunes

    The hottest I ever experienced, let alone rode in.

    Booked the night at Furnace creek ranch at a ridiculous price (they were booked solid, it's like a masochist convention down here ) and went straight to Dante's View to catch the sunset. It didn't disappoint,
    gorgeous as only desert sunsets can be. That white surface 1700m below me is the salt of Badwater Basin.

    I went straight to dinner in full gear. It never fails to attract attention when I appear in
    ballistic nylon black jacket, black double front dungaree pants, motorcycle
    boots, all zipped up to my chin... at 40 in the shade )

    What they don't realize is that I'm quite comfy in my cooling vest and
    guaranteed not to get sunburn .

    My waiter, one of ten in the restaurant, sounded a little Slavic. I asked him where he's from and guess what, Ivan is from Serbia. I wonder what are the odds...

    A quick dip in the refreshing spring-fed 28 degree pool and I'm good to sleep like a log.

    Oh yes, the roads! Beautiful and well paved but challenging. No pushing the
    limits out here, just a fast cruise in the flats and easy leaning in the
    twisties. Gotta keep speed to keep cool though .

    A perfect top speed run. Too bad the fully loaded Bandit wouldn't go much past 200 without floating the front tire off the ground.

    I'm thinking of hanging around in the Valley all day tomorrow and book a place to

    sleep just outside. I wish I could stay longer, I enjoy this wicked place so much. The heat, albeit quite brutal, beats being rained on at 9 degrees hands down.

    Total distance traveled: 820Km
    Moving average speed: 94Km/h
    Time on the move: 08:44
    Last edited by Vlad; 07-29-2011 at 11:18 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 14

    Death Valley, California to Beatty, Nevada

    Roads in Death Valley are well maintained and entertaining. The fact that flash floods often force a premature rebuild of pretty long stretches helps .

    Early morning ride to Badwater. Sunrises are as enchanting as sunsets, if you can get up that early. It's 7AM and it's already 35.

    It's called Badwater because there is always water there, but it's saltier than sea water so it's unusable for drinking.

    I'm in the lowest, driest and hottest place on the western hemisphere in the middle of the summer and on my own bike. One dream fulfilled and my "man card" extended for a few years .

    These two figures are participants in the Badwater Ultramarathon. And people say I'm crazy

    Couldn't resist the temptation to ride out on the salt, although no vehicles are allowed.

    Last time I was here it was mid-December and I was sad I wasn't on a bike.

    Artist drive, just like everything else in DV, is as beautiful as I remember. The intense heat
    just adds the real element to the experience - beautiful but deadly at the
    same time.

    With still a couple of hours to kill before I have to vacate my fancy but
    pricey digs, I'm taking another dip in the spring-fed pool. So relaxing and
    refreshing, I don't want to leave. Had a friendly chat with a nice family
    from Connecticut. One of their three sons fished my room card when I lost it
    diving in the pool last night . Also met one of the two guys from the picture above (Badwater Ultra-marathon).

    Mustard Canyon is as entertaining as I remember, but the loose gravel makes it a challenging ride. Luckily I know it's not very long.

    Heading to Panamint mountains to visit Agureberry point (been there
    in the winter and it was awesome). But first a minor detour to Panamint
    Springs for lunch. As I climb up the mountains 37 degrees is quite
    refreshing compared to 40+ in the valley and totally comfortable, 34 a bit
    chilly and 30 definitely COLD. If I didn't stop for lunch I'd have to pull
    over to get the cooling vest off, it's really cold at anything below 35 or

    Panamint Springs restaurant.

    The ride to Agureberry Point was truly unforgettable. The last 6 miles is
    gravel, or what passes as a well groomed road in Death Valley. It started
    innocently enough, straight, well packed and with stretches of washboard
    deep enough to rattle one's fillings out. An SUV passes the other way, the
    entire family in it shaking their heads when they saw me. Then it gets
    tougher, narrower, twistier, looser and in places with rocks big and sharp
    enough to shred a tire. For the first time on this trip I'm questioning my
    sanity, but keep going. One sharp rock is all it takes to leave me stranded
    in the middle of nowhere, or worse. Turning around is not an option - the
    road is too narrow and the chances of dropping the bike or loosing it down
    a cliff too high. Who am I kidding, I wouldn't turn back no matter what.

    White knuckled and in cold sweat I arrive at the top. It's every bit as
    beautiful as I remember - the best view of the DV I know of. Windy and very
    mild, visibility unlimited. Lonely though. Very lonely and very quiet.The ride down was hard only for the first quarter or so, getting
    progressively easier as I gained confidence knowing what to expect. The
    last time I was here it was in a 4WD and there was a foot of virgin snow
    covering the entire road.

    A short hop to Eureka mine to check the ruins and back on asphalt again.

    Isn't the desert beautiful?

    As I approached Stovepipe Wells again it started to heat up, big time. The
    same as yesterday, only much worse. As soon as I descended below sea level
    it was like someone flipped a switch. Up to 46 it went in no time at all.
    Now that's some deadly serious heat, I have to tell you. Fortunately it
    didn't last long since I climbed up Daylight Pass (relatively short but
    perfect pavement and very nice sweepers under the Corkscrew Peak) towards
    Beatty. The ghost town of Rhyolite is on my way.

    Got the room early, totally drained from the heat. Shower, then a ride
    "downtown" for ice cream dinner in the Death Valley Nut and Candy Co. (very
    good ice cream).

    Trying to figure out where to go tomorrow and it's really hard. I thought
    Bonneville, but I'm not so sure now - seems too far up North. Man, picking
    the route is hard, even when you do it badly like me...

    Total distance traveled: 333Km
    Moving average speed: 76Km/h
    Time on the move: 04:24
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-02-2011 at 11:58 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 15

    Beatty, Nevada to Flagstaff, Arizona

    After a good look at the map last night decided to skip Bonneville, it's too far North. Going past Vegas towards Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest, than New Mexico, Northern Texas... It seems like a more direct and more interesting route home. We'll see, planning day by day only.

    Had a good night sleep in Beatty, trying to move as early as possible. Coffee and breakfast will be taken on the road. My "Molson muscle" is starting to shrink and pants are feeling baggy .

    I95 is pretty straight and going through mostly flat desert, but a few interesting things were spotted.

    First, a sign that says "Prison area. Hitchhiking prohibited". Then, a sign for Cold Creeek prison complex and a sight of it's walls, barb wire and watchtowers. This place is in the middle of hot, barren desert and the only things cold about it is it's name and purpose.

    Next, a new Fiat 500 passing by. Cool, I didn't know they sell them in US. Brings back memories of my childhood when old "Ficha" was considered a national vehicle. Soon after, a convoy of five of them? I guess they are testing them in summer desert environment...

    Straight and featureless road also provides an option for some camera manipulation that's too risky in the twisties.

    On my way to Las Vegas on I95, I pass by the Nevada Test Range, better known as the home of "Area 51".

    You know you're in Nevada when every gas station has slot machines.

    Since I'm bypassing Vegas (been there, done that, got a timeshare offer) I'm going through Red Rock Canyon. Amazing visitor's center, great scenery, twisty road, lots of tourists going 20Km/h and stopping every 20m.

    Boulder City is HOT! (36) A stop for lunch in Subway. Footlong Philly is delicious, my
    first meal since the ice cream last night. Just wasn't hungry enough to
    stop. A beer would be great, but I'll settle for a huge cold lemonade.

    Lake Mead has a out-worldly appearance to me. So much water surrounded by the desert dry as a bone looks so unnatural. It isn't natural - it's an artificial lake that wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the Hoover Dam.

    Hoover Dam was nice (I took a few dam pictures ), but requires more time to explore. Strong cross wind on the bypass bridge and all the way to Kingman. Heat too, just shy of 40.

    It's read "Motorcycle parking" in Vlad's

    Over to Arizona, hop on Route 66 from Kingman to Seligman. Same speed limit as I40, but way less
    traffic and better scenery.

    Grand Canyon at sunset is beautiful as ever, although the road to there (64) was nothing special. Been there, done that. Next time I see the Grand Canyon it will be at least for a week - this is just teasing me too much.

    Earlier today, on Route 66 in Selingman I met a gentleman who used to live in Hamilton. He warned me about riding in this area at dusk/night because a lot of elk roaming the highways and byways, especially I40 towards Flagstaff. I said I've never had a close encounter with wildlife except for the occasional bird so I think I'm either crazy lucky, my bike produces noise that scares animals or my deer whistles really work. He said he'd seen those deer whistles on smashed cars in a junkyard, all clogged with deer hair . He also mentioned that nights get chilly in Arizona, which I acknowledged, but ignored almost instantly thinking "chilly" cannot really be that cold since the whole day was over 35.

    Anyway, the deer warning was kept in mind, but Bambi decided to stay out my way through three hours of the dusk/night riding. I only saw one whole family of elk about 50m from the road in the vicinity of Grand Canyon. The whole return was done at pretty high speed and without incidents.

    The other warning materialized way worse than I could have imagined. As soon as the sun went down the temperature started to drop. By the time I was back on I40 it was very chilly 14 degrees! The last 50Km of this 900Km day were done shaking like a leaf. It took me a whole hour in the shower to thaw - I was chilled to the bones. This makes today the day of the largest temperature difference on this trip - the whopping 26 degrees. From 40 in Boulder City to 14 in Flagstaff, from wearing the cooling vest and feeling still hot to bundling three layers under my jacket and turning heated grips on high and still shaking. I forgot that Flagstaff is at 2100m altitude...

    The full moon on the way back was gorgeous. Bright like a lantern, I'm pretty sure I could have ridden without lights if I had to.

    Tomorrow? Petrified Forest National Park and then probably Albuquerque. I keep thinking about how Buggs Bunny pronounces that )

    The thick crust of salt from Death Valley is still on my exhaust headers...

    Total distance traveled: 898Km
    Moving average speed: 95Km/h
    Time on the move: 09:26
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-02-2011 at 11:20 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 16

    Flagstaff, Arizona to Los Alamos, New Mexico

    A solid night's sleep. Woke up by myself 15 minutes before the alarm. The motel is on Route 66, how cool is that?

    It's sunny and clear, but I won't know the temperature until I crawl out for breakfast. I hope it will be milder than last night, brrrrrr.

    Got a plan for the next couple of days. Some cool places to see and roads to ride in Arizona and New Mexico.

    One time zone closer to home since I crossed the Hoover Dam yesterday. Finally set my bike clock to local time. It was on Toronto time ever since I left, forcing me to constantly calculate. Much easier this way, as long as I know which time zone I'm in. I guess I'll have to ask the locals every now and then just to be sure. Some people have to ask for directions. I have to ask which time zone I'm in .

    Barringer meteor crater is in the middle of flat Arizona desert. They used to train astronauts for moon landing here. I guess I'm a little late to that game, but I'm glad I took this little detour.

    Petrified Forest and Painted Desert were a nice scenic ride.

    It's not called Petrified Forest for nothing,

    and it's not called Painted Desert for no reason either.

    Deep in Navajo territory, time for a lunch break. Had a chance to listen to the "Code talkers" language, Interesting indeed.

    The two hours to and through Albuquerque were scorching! Not only did it beat the Death Valley record by almost half a degree (46.4 on my thermometer) but it also lasted longer, much longer. Amazingly, I wasn't too bothered with it. I'm afraid I'm getting used to this s*** ). I was hoping that Los Alamos, where I decided to spend the night, is going to be more comfortable. Not only that, but the ride to there was very scenic and entertaining, from a winding road through a canyon, through Jemez Pueblo to beautiful climb up and down Jemez mountain. Made up for all that cooking on I40, and then some.

    This old car marks Route 66 in New Mexico.

    Entering Los Alamos was weird. The town looks sinister and serious, with government buildings and security checkpoints (I was just waved by on one). I was late at the last place that was open for dinner. They close at 9 on Saturday - what a party town . Fortunately the supermarket was still open and unlike prohibitionist Canada they sell beer there too (very poor selection though, mostly American trash like Coors and Budweiser). I took Three Cheese Rigattoni Bolognese (feeds two), a 25.5 fl. oz can of Foster's (screw those colonial measures, it looks like half a liter to me) and Vanilla pudding. Stick a fork in me, I'm done .

    Total distance traveled: 748Km
    Moving average speed: 100Km/h
    Time on the move: 07:27
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-03-2011 at 11:06 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 17

    Los Alamos, New Mexico to Denver, Colorado

    Heading towards Denver. Several interesting places to see on that route, don't know how far I'll get. I'll miss Texas and many interesting places in the South, but it's time to point the front wheel towards Toronto. After Colorado it looks mostly boring prairie, but I'll make it interesting either by detours or doing an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1,000 (1,600Km in 24 hours).

    Leaving Los Alamos. Before mentioned official buildings, checkpoints, cryptic signs like "Tech area 16", etc. are all indicators of serious things going on here.

    What is this? Afganistan?

    The burned forest that I noticed yesterday but thought it was a control burn looks more serious today. Yes, that's my helmet on the top rack.

    All interesting locations around Los Alamos are closed due to the recent big forest fire. Park rangers in Bandelier National Monument tell me they are bracing for flash floods now. Indeed, that's what their web site says too:

    The Las Conchas Fire, which began on June 26, has burned over 50% of the park's landscape and has left Frijoles Canyon, where the visitor center and main sites are located, subject to flash flooding. There goes my hope of seeing Anasazi Indian pueblo. That gives me more time to enjoy the fine roads in the area though.

    A great ride through the Rio Grande Gorge towards Taos.

    Got waved at by the local cop in Taos Pueblo. Interesting how simple gestures like that can make one's day. Somebody else would tell me to move because I was stopped in the obvious no stopping zone. It would be nice to stop here for a while, the whole place has very inviting atmosphere. New Mexico really reminds me of Mexico, only somewhat richer and with better cars.

    I continue on through Carson National Forest, a great twisty road through a canyon to Taos Valley Ski village.

    On my way back, a stop in Aroyo Seco for an excellent ice cream lunch

    So lively and colourful.

    38 through Carson NF and over Bobcat pass (9820ft) was an absolute delight.
    64 from Eagle nest to Cimarron almost as good.

    Helmet is taking the day off, this is real freedom. Strong smell of pine throughout the day brings
    back memories of Mediterranean holidays. A pit stop, then on the shortest (which is usually most entertaining) route to Colorado Springs.

    Well, it wasn't all that entertaining, but so be it - I had a great day so far. Welcome to ColoUrado

    Sonic, America's drive-in, Castle Rock, CO, USA
    Got suddenly very hungry so decided to try this joint. Eating fast food for
    the first time on this trip. It is fast and it is tasty, must be very

    I25 is terribly monotonous. I was starting to fall asleep so I pulled over for a power nap at the site of the Ludlow Massacre . Shady and quiet, there was no one there but me and Suzy B. The nap lasted only about 10 minutes because some people showed up, but it did the job - I was fully alert for the rest of the day.

    Another heat wave

    The temperatures throughout the day were very pleasant, between 27 and 35, until some time before Pueblo. From there all the way to Colorado Springs it was hovering just below 40. This time, however, I didn't even think about the cooling bandana or the vest and remained zipped up to the chin. I'm seriously getting used to heat, something I never imagined could happen. I also established the habit to fill my hydration pack with ice every time I get gas. All gas stations have those machines for coke/lemonade that also spit ice. I always ask if I can use them and was never refused. That helped me cope with heat big time because my water was always ice cold and within easy reach (I keep the hydration pack in the tank bag).

    Not heading home just yet, at least not straight home. There's apparently quite a bit of flooding along the straight-to-home route and I may end up being delayed anyway, so I decided to head North towards South Dakota (Black Hills were great, no harm in visiting them again). From there, depending on time, I may go over Lake Superior or through Sarnia back to Toronto.

    Sleeping around Denver.

    Total distance traveled: 723Km
    Moving average speed: 92Km/h
    Time on the move: 07:52
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-03-2011 at 11:17 PM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 18

    Denver, Colorado to Sturgis, South Dakota

    I25 North from Denver tried to bore me to death and put me to sleep again,
    it's so monotonous. Stopped in Laramie for a power nap in a nice and shaded
    rest area (35 in the shade). Next stop will be lunch somewhere after I get off this
    freakin' interstate.

    The second road hazard I was afraid of on this trip - "tar snakes". In this heat they are so slick that they may as well be made of oil. Not much an issue in the straights, but watch out for the squirmy buggers in corners...

    After 400Km of I25 and a stretch of a two-lane that runs parallel to the railroad, a manly lunch in Three Sisters Truck Stop in little prairie town of Manville, Wyoming. Interesting joint, friendly locals and excellent food.

    That was a mean stake sandwich!
    It's very hot again (37+).

    I passed a few very big freight trains recently, four locomotives and hundreds of
    cars. I wave and honk my horn when I can and they HONK back

    New heat record - 47. Edgemont, South Dakota. It's so hot I think my tires are going to melt.

    My perseverance in face of heat exhaustion and sheer boredom was finally and handsomely rewarded when I entered Buffalo Gap National Grasslands (they couldn't call it "National Forest" because there are no trees as far as the eye can see ). Scenery gradually but surely changed for the better and the temperature fell down by ten degrees (sounds a lot, but that's still 37 ). Once I entered the Custer State Park it seemed like all things wild came out to play:

    Enjoying the awesome scenery, beautiful sunset and all the animals on and by the road slowed me down considerably. At dusk I decided to skip the rest of the twisties via Deadwood and take the fastest route to Sturgis.

    Tomorrow heading towards Thunder Bay taking a hopefully interesting but not too slow route.

    Sleeping in Sturgis, for the second time on this trip.

    Total distance traveled: 784Km
    Moving average speed: 103Km/h
    Time on the move: 07:36
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-03-2011 at 11:20 PM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    High Park

    Day 19

    Sturgis, South Dakota to Minneapolis, Minnesota

    44 from Rapid City through Badlands National park is a good opportunity to set the fastest comfortable cruising speed. I start at 140 and soon settle between 160 and 180. It's just under 40 degrees here and I'm riding without the helmet. There are very few insects out here and they are small, but man does a butterfly sting when it hits you on the cheek at 180! I'm wearing good eye protection though, I'm not *that* crazy

    Crazy looking though . This picture is proof that you don't have to look good to have a time of your life. My cheeks are sore from all that "wind massage". I'm thinking of wearing one of those Venetian masks next time...

    Passed a cop going in the opposite direction. Slowed down and kept looking in the mirror in case he comes after me. He didn't. I guess he figured I'd be out of the state by the time he catches up, or at least out of his jurisdiction . Of course, there's always a possibility that they don't care about people speeding through unpopulated areas with no road hazards whatsoever.

    Having a late breakfast in Cedar Pass Lodge in Badlands. This is the view I enjoyed, along with a delicious buffalo burger and a good cold beer:

    are as fascinating the second time around.

    If they manage to bite me through all the layers of leather, canvas, ballistic nylon and CE approved armor, so be it!

    Crossed into Central Time zone. Passed a cop sitting at the median at 140+, no cherries. Long live South

    Pit stop in Murdo. Refilled my hydration pack with ice. It's constantly above 40 for the last three hours. Oil temperature going up to 120 degrees, even at high speed. I'm not worried, I'll collapse much sooner than Suzy B will. No symptoms of any trouble - she purrs like a cat or roars like a lion at the twist of the wrist.

    Remember what I wrote about getting used to the heat? Forget it! It's been between 40 and 44 all day. Strong wind gusts from the south on I90 are blowing me over to the left lane all the time. What's worse, those gusts are overheated too - I swear no less than 10 degrees hotter! It's not like a hair dryer on high, it's like one of those heat guns - it almost hurts how hot it is. Passing trucks at 150 is a scary affair. Terrible buffeting behind and on the side, topped with an amplified gust to the left as I pass the front of the truck. It
    blew me almost to the left shoulder once, but I learned the trick how to do it safely. Why at 150, you ask? Because trucks are going 130 and I'm not going to ride next to them a second longer than absolutely necessary.

    Crossed the Missouri river. Got chilled for a few seconds, just enough to make the subsequent heat even more brutal. I wish I could take a dip... Decided to press on as far as I can today, hoping to eventually get out of this crematorium.

    Crossed into Minnesota. Two rest areas in a row closed. 200Km is too much to ride without a break in this heat (still constantly over 40, up to 44). Entered the second rest area ignoring the sign that says "Road closed". Screw it, gotta take a power nap in the shade. The bike almost tipped over as the kickstand sank into the melted asphalt. I caught it on time - it would be fun trying to pick it up with the kickstand acting as an anchor and with no hope of anyone passing by to help (it's a closed road, remember?). I later found out that all rest areas along my way were closed. A strike?

    700Km so far today, all in terrible heat, at high speed and with a lot of side wind gusts. Have to put the helmet on or my head will explode . Neither riding with with nor without the helmet is good for all conditions and every ride, especially if you are riding long distance. You get fatigued either way, so I chose to alternate having in mind benefits and risks of riding helmet(less). Life is not an exercise in risk avoidance but rather one of taking calculated risks - I wouldn't be on two wheels if I thought otherwise. Thankfully the state of Minnesota (as well as many other US states) allows me to make my own choice.

    Except for the brief but intense beauty of Badlands National Park and it's roads this was a day of almost 1,100Km of superslab at over 40 degrees. I'm glad that's over, tomorrow should be more interesting, at least from Duluth on. Temperatures should be more comfortable too.

    Got a weird tan from riding all day without a helmet, with goggles and inverted baseball cap. Have to work on it tomorrow before I cross the border into the nanny state of Canookistan.

    Another personal record was set today. My highest ever moving average speed - 120Km/h. It's not likely that I will ever break this one on any trip longer than a couple of hundred Km.

    Sleeping at the outskirts of Minneapolis. No time to take a dip in the hotel pool, too tired. My gear, especially pants, is getting pretty stinky. I won't wash it now. It takes too much time and I'll be home in a few days anyway. it's not like I'll be attending any dinner parties either.

    Total distance traveled: 1098Km
    Moving average speed: 120Km/h
    Time on the move: 09:09
    Last edited by Vlad; 08-06-2011 at 10:54 AM.

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