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Old 02-28-2015, 11:54 AM   #1
mlm
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Hawthorn 2013 via Yellowstone and Glacier NP

Earlier in the summer (2013) I drove with my kids through Yellowstone and on Beartooth Pass. After a few car sickness complaints I had to slow down, but the whole time I was thinking I had to come back on the bike. With the Hawthorn rally coming up I had my basic plan:

1) Leave on Saturday
2) All back roads (except for escaping the Bay Area)
3) Hit Glacier, Yellowstone, and Zion
4) Arrive in Hawthorn for the rally on the following Friday or Saturday
5) Wait two years and do a ride report.

Total ride ended up about 3500 miles, with Zion getting trimmed out due to mechanical issues
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:56 AM   #2
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DAY 1 - Klammath Falls, OR
--------------------------------------
Finished packing and loading up the bike and got on the road around 9:00am. First stop was for gas somewhere near Yuba City. The ride was pretty much suckage, but I was finally free of the Bay Area. It was a hot gas and go stop and I headed out for a bit more slabbish roads before turning off to Quincy via LaPort road. This was a much better ride and I'm sure I was smiling a lot in my helmet feeling like the trip had really begun.

Next stop was Quincy where I stopped and gassed up at the Chevron across from the street from the Gold Pan Inn. It was mid afternoon and I took a short break eating the lunch I'd packed and talking to some Harley riders who were passing through. Looked over my map and figured I'd head towards Klammath Falls.

Pretty much a straight ride through to Klammath Falls with a stop for gas and another at some rest stop in the forest. I topped off when I got there and decided the KOA would be my spot for the night. I think it was around 9pm when I pulled up and I bought a beer and a sandwich at the store and made camp.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:00 PM   #3
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Exactly what I want to do this year.. so perfect. Go G!
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:12 PM   #4
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DAY 2 - Dayton, WA
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Started the morning early and got a shower in before packing up. Chatted a bit with my neighbors who were curious about my trip and they turned out to be real neighbors who live in Cupertino. Afterwards I stopped near the office on my way out to drop off some garbage and noticed I'd been SCREWED!

Luckily my major purchase for the trip was a new portable air pump, so I was plugged and on the road in about 15 minutes!

Once on the road I headed to Crater Lake. Beautiful drive up along Klammath Lake, but ungodly amounts of bugs to the point I could barely see. First stop was Crater Lake NP where I grabbed breakfast at the lodge and then took the scenic drive around.

Stopped for gas in Bend which seemd quite a bit bigger than I'd imagined, and the drive there up 97 is something I wished I'd avoided. A ways north of Bend I'd had enough and veered west into the unknown. Pretty much used the GPS to make sure I wasn't too far away from gas and lucked out on some cool back roads. The map gives a rough depiction of the route, but I have no idea how acurate. I remeber stopping at a roadside park and talking with some bikers from Portland and then thankfully finding gas in a near ghost town.

For the night I found a small motel in Dayton, WA with a Mexican restaurant next door. Had a good plate of food and a Dos Equis and I was done for the day.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:14 PM   #5
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DAY 3 - Great Falls, MT
----------------------------------------------
Today was a long, wet, and troublesome. I got out of Dayton early and headed towards Glacier NP where I though I might be able to score a campground. Things got wet pretty quick and I rode in light to moderate rain up until I hit Bonners Ferry MT. Made pretty good time though and it was later afternoon when I got to Glacier NP. This is where the trouble started.

After gassing up in Kalispell I heard a clunking noise, which I confirmed when I got to the park. I stopped at a picnic area and started inspecting the chain. It looked OK, so I started to suspect something might be going bad internally. Unfortunately the slower I was going, the more the clunking and going through the park was slow due to traffic. I checked out one campground, but couldn't locate the attendant. Finally, with mechanical issues occupying my mind I decided to keep going so I could get near a place with a moto shop or UHaul in case I needed to cut things short.

Figured this could be the end of my trip so I decided to hit another KOA. I called in to confirm someone would be there and made it just before they closed at 10pm. Made camp in the dark and called it a night
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:17 PM   #6
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DAY 4 - Red Lodge, MT
--------------------------------
The day started on a low note as I decided I'd just try heading home. The KOA is actually a few miles through town with multiple stoplights and the clunking was really bad every time I had to start out from a stop. Resigned myself to heading home via interstate so I wouldn't be straanded if I broke down, the whole time going over my mind what the problem might be. Finally, at a rest area I decided to look at the chain in more detail. I lubed and cleaned it thoroughy and after riding a bit the clunk was pretty much gone! The cool thing is that even though I knew my chain was in bad shape, I knew it was just the chain, and figured as long as I kept giving it attention it'd probably make it for the rest of the trip.

With my chain soked down every 100 miles or so with WD-40 and lube the noise was gone and the fun level was rising. Had to slab it a bit to get back to Yellowstone, but Beartooth Highway was back on the agenda…and it didn't disappoint. Bedded down in Red Lodge and walked down the street for a nice Mosose burger and IPA.
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Last edited by mlm; 02-28-2015 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:18 PM   #7
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DAY 5 - Jackson Hole, WY
------------------------------------
By far the shortest day of the trip. Started with a lesuirely breakfast and made another jaunt down Beartooth Pass. Damn that road is good and it reminds me of my trips to the Alps. Before I hit the park I turned east to Chief Joseph scenic highway which was also pretty good. Gassed up in Cody and headed back into Yellowstone on my way to Jackson.

Funny that I lived in WY for nearly 10 years during the 90s but never once made it to Yellowstone. This trip makes the third time in three years (we've taken the kids twice), so sightseeing wasn't really on my mind. Still enjoying the drive through view, but with park traffic I was starting to wish I'd diverted a different way. A bit of rain didn't help.

Things improved when I entered Grand Teton NP. The view was amazing and had me smiling for miles…even stopped to take a picture LOL. Finally pulled into Jackson where I managed to find a room as things were filling up with tourists. Had a steak dinner and a beer and turned in early.
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Last edited by mlm; 02-28-2015 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:22 PM   #8
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DAY 6 - Under the Stars, NV
-----------------------------------
Long day, with a lot of open space, but some hidden gems. Rolled out around 8am and headed south. Hit a bit more traffic than I hoped on the way to Flaming Gorge, but it subsided and I was having a blast…until I got lit up by a Sherrif. Luckily my friendly wave seemed enough for him to feel his point was made and his lights went back off and I kept going

The clunking noise of th chain was all but gone and I finally suspected the problem was with the rain I hit coming out of WA the day before as well as a couple miles of dirt/mud in a construction zone. I was making good time again, but decided the smart thing to do would be to make a line for Hawthron and not push my luck.

A lot of back roads until I got to highway 6. It was pretty dark by the time I decided I'd skip the last roadside hotel (that looked like a dump) and saw the old familiar Forest service road sign. Made it a couple miles over wash boarded roads and finally saw enough of a clearing to make camp. It was a moonless night which made it a bit of a PITA to make camp, but toally worth it because the night sky was amazing. I think I was around 8,000ft and no city lighs for a few undred miles in any direction. Not sure if the pic will look like anything but a black square, but it was mind blowing
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:23 PM   #9
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DAY 7 - Hawthorn
-------------------------
Not much for the day. Just a short blast across the Neveda emptiness to a seat by the pool. One would think I should take it easy having a sketchy chain, but the lure of triple digit speeds across the forbidden zone were too hard to resist as I perfected my touring pose on the F4i: Some soft stuff in the tank bag and boots propped up on the passenger pegs made the few hundred miles go pretty easy.

Rolled into Hawthorn early afternoon to see a few familiar BARFers and spent some time drinking beer and lubing the chain for my trip home. The rest?

What happens in Hawthorn stays in Hawthorn
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:36 PM   #10
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I don't have any pics, but shortly after I got home I ordered a new chain. When I broke the old one I checked the links and sure enough found one with shelled out bearings and pretty loose. Not sure how it was making the noise it did, especially since it only happened at load at low speed…nothing coasting which is why I originally dismissed the chain

I've had pretty poor luck with chains. I keep them clean and lubed, but still only get around 10-15K out of them. My suspicion is that long distance trips and heat are the culprit, so now I'm running a Scott Oiler and hope I do better.
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Old 02-28-2015, 03:14 PM   #11
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Sounds like you had a good time. I need to start planning a ride sometime this summer, that's a reasonable distance it so I might follow some of your route.

My bike is getting a new chain soon so hopefully I don't have similar problems (which I've had in the past).
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:55 PM   #12
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:01 PM   #13
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Cool ride report, would love to do a similar trip. Looks like it's time to consider doing an upgrade from chain to shaft drive. It's an easy conversion, you just replace the entire bike with a bavarian one .
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bcv_west View Post
Cool ride report, would love to do a similar trip. Looks like it's time to consider doing an upgrade from chain to shaft drive. It's an easy conversion, you just replace the entire bike with a bavarian one .
I like that idea. I had so much hassle with mountain bike and moped chains that I decided the motorcycle does not need one. And I wanted ABS for rainy rides. So I got a BMW, probably still a timing chain though, but at 100k mi no mayor problems, so I'm happy.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:04 AM   #15
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I'm thinking I should take the Ducati just to spite you guys
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