Today was the big day for riding a motorcycle. We got to ride the Beartooth Pass and it was unbelievable! We had a blast shooting up winding and twisty roads to the peak, which I believe was 10,900 feet. I think it’s also nicknamed ‘Top of the World.’ When we arrived at the top, the wind was so strong, it would almost knock you over standing up. We parked our bikes and hiked out to a rock bed and were able to take some great photos of the Wyoming/Montana Rockies. We continued on to Chief Joseph Highway, which was equally as beautiful, although not as high in elevation. We ended up in Cody, Wyoming late in the day, around 5pm and decided we needed to keep going. We ended our day in Thermopolis, Wyoming, which is a natural hot springs. We had Pizza Hut for dinner and ended up staying in an awesome Safari themed Days Inn. The owner of the days in is a big game hunter and from the pictures on the wall, appears to have killed every big game animal you can hunt in the wild. We were all dead tired from the day and ended up vegging in front of the TV, which none of us have seen in over a week and a half.
Day 7 was our catchup day on the interstate. We rode 350 miles which made for somewhat of a long day. We left Missoula and made our way down I-90E towards Columbia, and then to Nye, Montana. Nothing spectacular happened during the day, as we were mainly on our bikes the entire day. We did take a nice break off I-90E to see a brown/Grizzly bear exhibit. They had several bears to see live in person, but only 2 were out at the time as not all the bears got along. We were given a verbal tutorial about how to hike in bear country and the dangers of bears. It was fascinating to see a grizzly so up close and in person. A part of you wants to give them a hug because they look so fluffy and kind, but the the other part realizes you would soon have your face ripped off. We ate dinner right outside of Nye at a cowboy grill, which was a nice warm meal. We made it to our cabin, and had a wonderful stay thanks to a friend’s family who offered up their cabin. Ken had his first GS drop in the dark on the gravel road on the way to the cabin. He had his GS parked and went to get on, realizing he didn’t have good footing on his right side, he high-sided his GS and rolled down the hill a little ways. He wasn’t hurt but his GS took some nice bruises. It wouldn’t be an adventure without a few motorcycle dumps!
We began our day heading towards Banff National Park. We began driving towards the mountain range, when the temperature dropped to about 49F as the sun was completely covered by clouds. We pulled over and put our gear on. Gotta get the gear! (Portlandia reference) I didn’t think the mountain range could be more impressive than Glacier NP, but Banff blew me out of the water. The peaks were incredibly high and rocky. We came through some beautiful valley roads with nothing but Rocky mountains on either sides of us. We merged on the Trans Canadian Highway and headed into Banff. When we arrived in Banff, we noticed it was just a tourist trap. It had an Aspen feel to it, and it was super crowded. We decided to only grab a quick lunch and then explore the national park. We jumped off highway one and got on highway 1A which was the scenic route in Banff. We winded around twisty roads and continued out of Banff and crossed into Yoho National Park in British Columbia. We found a campsite on the western edge of Yoho NP called Hoodoo creek campgrounds. The campground was incredible, which a killer view of the mountains. Once we had set up camp, we realized we had some twenty-somethings that were enjoying their labor day weekend quite well with blaring music and glow sticks. Blaine, Jay and I left to go see Emerald lake and natural bridge, which blew us away. The lake was the most blue/green lake I’ve ever seen, which comes from the Glacier run off. When we got back to camp, we met an older man who drove up on a Honda Goldwing “Blue Moose” that was pulling a small camper. He gave us the grand tour of the Goldwing and camper and needless to say, we were quite impressed and a little jealous of his luxury. We lingered around the campfire until nothing but embers were left and called it a night.
There’s nothing quite like waking up in a national park and realizing you are on vacation. As Americans, we work too damn much. We’ve talked with several Europeans on the the trip that are just in awe that Americans are lucky if they get 2 weeks of vacation a year. Europeans and other ‘advanced’ countries typically receive between 4-6 weeks standard. The more I think about it the more it frustrates me that it’s not standard practice in American. You work until death or retirement, whichever comes first. This trip has made me realize how much I enjoy traveling and something I hope to do vigorously until I’m incapacitated. We began our journey today on the Going to the Sun road, which was absolutely breathtaking. It’s a winding road that follows the lake at the bottom of the park, all the way to the top of the mountains. You typically drive fairly slow because you are rubber necking to see the majestic sights the entire ride. We stopped more times than Ken is probably used to, but that’s OK, it gave us more of a chance to soak in the scenery. When we arrived at the top, we stopped by the visitor center. We came across a little groundhog that loved to pose for the camera. It’s funny how wildlife is so used to humans here that you can stand within 10 - 20 feet of most wildlife. After exploring the top of Glacier, we began to make our journey to the bottom of the park and out the backside. We turned left to head towards Babb and jumped on Chief Mountain Highway towards the Canadian border. A female deer ran out in front of me (Kyle), probably thinking I was a male stag after her, with my antlers on front of my bike. It scared the scat out of me and took me a minute to catch my breath. We crossed the Canadian border with no problems and headed to Longview, Alberta. The wind was unbelievably strong, tilting us about 15-20 degrees at some points. We knew we were in for a windy ride when we saw the windmills on the side of the road. We ended up sleeping at a cowboy saloon/hotel that looked like it was still decorated from the early 1900’s.
I apologize in advance for the time delays between these posts. We have been camping almost the entire trip and have barely had wifi or cell reception since we are hopping between national parks. We began Day 4 from our Super 8 hotel in Livingston, Montana. Jay had stayed up until 3 am the previous night working on and tuning his bike. He said that he finally had it running like a top. We were all very excited for Jay as we could tell he was feeling a little blue about the condition of his BMW. We packed our bags and began our suggested route north through backroads of Montana. We passed through many sleepy towns, with populations with only 3 or 4 digits. We made our first stop for the day in White Sulpher Springs. Jay and I decided we would be the ones to enjoy the natural hot springs. We tip toed our way into a natural hot spring that was 106F! It was incredibly relaxing after we got past the initial heat. You can only stay in the hot tub for about 5 minutes or so until you start to get light headed from the heat and steam. We made our way into the 2nd pool, which was 102F and finally into the 3rd pool which was 98F. After relaxing in the pools, we geared up and hit to road, passing through Helena. We had a big day of backroads to make it to the foothills of Glacier National Park. We raced the clock to finally arrive at camp around 7 30pm. We lucked out (as you always do on adventures) and landed an overflow camping spot in Apgar campground in Glacier NP. The spot was beautiful with plenty of room to stretch our legs. Blaine, Jay and I headed out to the dock to watch the sunset over the mountains. It was hard to see the details of the mountains due to the smoke and fire that continued to eat away at the forest. We ended up meeting a really nice guy from Slovenia who had the same passion for motorcycles that we have. We talked shop for a good hour and eventually made our way back to camp to rest.
We awoke to a frigid 35F morning in Yellowstone today. We didn’t have a fire to warm our bones, so jumping jacks and Starbucks Via had to do (ah hem, sponsorship if you’re listening, Starbucks). We all talked about how we did our best to keep our feet warm through out the night. We packed up camp and started to head off, but looked back to see Jay hadn’t left his parking spot. We figured, maybe his engine was just cold and needed some more time warming up. Little did we know what was about to be in store for us. Jay mentioned he was having power issues with his BMW r80 since we started the trip, and he had a slight leak in his left petcock. We pulled back to see what the problem was and as he was adjusting his petcock, he began to leak more and more. Eventually the whole petcock fell off, and gas was coming out quicker than we could react. Jay plugged his finger into the petcock hole and Blaine, Ken and myself began immediately ripping off his gear to get the tank off the bike. After about a gallon of spilled gas later, we removed the tank. We spent the next 3 hours realizing his petcock was completely stripped and either needed a serious repair or replacement. With no vintage BMW dealer around, we fashioned the petcock back together with some 5 min epoxy. We crossed our fingers, and sure enough it worked! Endorsement by 5 min epoxy is welcome as well :) We were back on the road at 3pm that day, roughly 5 hours after we had intended to leave. We made it out of Yellowstone park and decided to skip Beartooth Pass, and ride that road on our way home. We managed to see some beautiful male and female elk grazing on the Wyoming/Montana border. Once we crossed into Montana, I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the ride into the state would be. We continued north and stayed in Livingston. We went to a wonderful restaurant called the Montana Rib and Chop house and had some of the best steak we have ever eaten. Our server was very kind, and showed us a killer scenic route in the Montana back country.
Day 2 started with a beautiful morning sunrise in Grand Teton NP. We ended up camping on Signal Mountain. We made a camp breakfast and went out to the shore to see the Grand Tetons from the lakeview. We attempted to skip rocks across the lake, but all the flat rocks were either picked over or non-existent. We began to drive a scenic route that showed the entire Grand Teton mountain range. We made a pass through Jenny Lake and then made our way to YellowStone. We have noticed there is a lot of roadwork, which we have had to frequently slow down or stop for. When we arrived in Yellowstone, we made our way to see Old Faithful. The geyser erupts fairly predictably every 90 minutes and lasts about 2.5 - 5 minutes. It was a very cool site to see when it erupted. After that, we walked around the geyser area, seeing all the smaller geysers and hot springs. It’s pretty amazing to see Earth and it’s beautiful features. The entire park of Yellowstone is a caldera. We continued on around the Yellowstone loop and rode through a lot of smoke from wildfires in the area. We heard from the locals that this was the driest season in U.S. records. We ended up camping in an area called Canyon. So far we have seen 2 bisons and 1 coyote that was hunting for dinner.
The adventure begins! Team Halemoto is back in the saddle and we’ve added a new team member for this trip: Jay Wilson aka Jayski aka Paducah King. Our adventure begins in Atlanta, GA and will take us through Wyoming, Montana and Alberta, Canada. We decided instead of riding our bikes to Wyoming, we would trailer them. Some hard-core enduro bike enthusiasts would scoff at us, but I’d much prefer riding in an AC cab of a truck than riding in 80mph heat blowing at your face, much like a hair dryer. The trip started off without a hitch. The bikes were loaded and probably tied down way more than necessary. We blew through several states a day. We made it to Kansas city on the first day, and the second day put us at Laramie. We unloaded the bikes that night at a KOA and started to warm the girls up. Jay and Blaine had to do some minor carburetor adjustments for the altitude change. We began our 2 wheel journey early the next day and start our trek through Wyoming across barren land. We didn’t realize it would be so hot in Wyoming, at some point in the day it was 95F! We successfully passed the Oregon Trail without getting dysentery or diarrhea. As we began to grow weary of the heat, we finally stumbled upon Teton county, were we began to see the beginnings of the Tetons. As soon as we began riding through the Teton area, we were cooled down by the evergreens surrounding the road. As the sun began to fall over the West skyline, we approached the beautiful and humongous Grand Tetons. We made camp in the Grand Tetons National Park that night. So far, so good. The adventure continues tomorrow!
Our journey has come to an end. We logged over 4000 miles and loved every minute of it. Yesterday, we rode from VA beach down through the Carolinas back to Evans, GA. We were beat that day from a lot of interstate riding. We really plowed through the interstate to get home. Our only main stop was South of the Border, which is on the South Carolina border line. It’s a very dumpy tourist attraction that is a bit of an eye sore, but still a fun experience. We arrived home and my mom had prepared us a nice warm home cooked meal, something we hadn’t had the whole trip. After dinner we washed up our bikes and I think they cleaned up pretty well! There were more bugs splattered on my bike than I could even begin to count. Overall, the trip was a great success. We saw LOTS of cities and places and talked to many, many people along the way. My impression of Canada is very good and I’ll def be going back. Montreal is a really cool city that I hope to spend more time in as well. Thanks for following along with this blog. Our adventures are usually a yearly ordeal, so be sure to stay tuned for next year, which maybe Alaska and the arctic circle. We may through in some weekend trips here and there or just updates about new motos or motorcycles in general.
Safe riding to everyone out there and go look for adventure!
Well, I had just written this whole post and the connection decided to time out, great. I’ll try to sum it up again. We started in West Warwick making our way across all of Connecticut. The drive into NYC was hectic, but as expected. We stopped at Cafe Moto for lunch, meeting up with good friends Pat and Casey. After lunch we headed to the Brooklyn Brewery for a tour and sampling. The history is really cool and it’s crazy to hear they had a tiff with the Mafia when they first started. We had an early dinner at the Meatball Factory - highly recommended. My friend Oscar met up with us after and kindly offered his floor for us to crash on. We garaged our motos for the night and went out for drinks with Oscar, Casey, and Pat at a German bar for Pat’s moving to Portland party. The next morning we headed down to Times Square and was able to snap a few quick pics. We blasted through New Jersey, paying to ungodly turnpike tolls and crossed the Delaware bridge and then into Maryland and into Virginia. We crossed the Chesapeake Bay bridge which was incredible and was my first time. It’s amazing that we were riding right above the Atlantic Ocean. We crossed over VA beach and stayed in Suffolk for the evening. Can’t wait to be home as this is the last leg of the trip and not much left to see. Total Mileage 460