The North Texas Moto Journal
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The North Texas Moto Journal

Big Bend and Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico


Wake up. Get dressed. Go to work. Implement health IT. Commute home. Kiss my lovely wife. Sleep. Repeat...
Understand I'm not complaining. I feel I have a wonderful life. I've been blessed with a beautiful wife and children, a comfortable home and an interesting career. But, it can still add up to stress and pressure over time. What's one of the best medicines? A ride, of course...

Leonard and Herman had been working on the spring ride down to Big Bend. I figured it would be good to get out with the club. I signed up on our web site and did not think much else about it. Charlie dropped me a line and said he had a room. Deal. I like traveling with Charlie. He's low pressure and always has a smile and a good attitude to share. He already had a booking at the Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains.

Additional to the always-enjoyable Big Bend country, I also wanted to go into Mexico now that Boquillas Crossing is open again. It was quietly opened last April, and the village is nothing like the busy and dangerous border towns at the major highway border crossings. There is no vehicle traffic allowed across the river. One must either wade the Rio Grande, or take advantage of the Mexican ferry service in a row boat.


March 20, 2014

Thursday morning was cold, but I was ready to ride. Pressures keep mounting at work, and we were right in the middle of turning up a new patient monitoring system. But, my team was handling everything well, and me leaving did not make a big difference. The time away would help refresh me for the next big thing at work.
I left the metromess early before traffic became an issue. The open road immediately began its therapy.

Commencing decompression sequence...


I met up with the third group of the Lone Star BMW Riders in Brady, TX. I fell into the back of the pack and enjoyed not having to think much about where I was headed. My toes were cold, but it was OK. We stayed together until lunch at Ozona.

I left from the Hitchin' Post a bit early to try to catch up with Charlie. As I was riding west on I-10, I started messing with the GPS to see what roads were ahead. I recognized a nice twisty road that led down to Hwy 2400 and on to Sanderson. I split quickly off of the 80 mph interstate onto the quite twisty two-lane.

Decompression sequence status: Pressure continuing to drop...

As I dropped into the canyon onto Hwy 2400, I experience more and more the wide-open country of the Big Bend. These are roads where one can travel 20 to 30 minutes without seeing another vehicle. That might put some folks on edge, but I like it, especially after living and dealing daily with the big city. I picked up the pace a bit with the quiet roads and open spaces.

I pulled into Sanderson for fuel, and talked briefly with another BMW rider from Phoenix who was making his way to San Antonio for a visit with his daughter. I continued west on Hwy 90 (that's actually the speed limit, I think...).  

The country seemed to get bigger and bigger. Distances are deceiving out here. I rode into Marathon and waved to folks lounging at the Gage Hotel. I rang my New Belgium bicycle bell to a lassie riding in the opposite direction. She obviously did not expect that sound to emanate from a motorcycle. I followed a border patrol truck out of town.

Decompression sequence status: Pressure is very low...

I headed into Alpine and turned off of Hwy 90 towards Fort Davis. The landscape around Alpine is a joy to experience. The dry grass glows in the afternoon sun. The temperature was pleasant now. I wound my way through the granite hills and continued riding to Fort Davis.

Decompression sequence status: Pressure approaching zero...


The afternoon sun was painting the desert grass a warm orange as I rode past the Aermotor windmill. I could see the town of Fort Davis in the distance. The hours of riding took its toll on my weary body. The lodge would be a welcome site now.

Decompression sequence status: There is a total lack of pressure at this point...


The lodge is still nice since the last time Deb and I stayed here. The CCC did a wonderful job in the 1930’s building a sturdy and attractive lodge here in the Davis Mountains. I checked in and met Charlie upstairs in the original building very near the same room that Deb and I stayed in over 20 years ago. There are large exposed pine timbers in the room supporting the ceiling and roof. The walls are constructed of large adobe blocks. 

Patios outside of the rooms are very nice for relaxing with friends and offer a nice view of the valley below. It was good to be back in the lodge. Charlie's long-time friends, Bob and Pat were already visiting on the patio. We went down for a tasty dinner with the rest of the club.


March 21, 2014
 

I did not set an alarm to awake to. I wanted the low pressure zone to persist. Had a good breakfast and did not have a plan. Mission accomplished so far. Charlie went out exploring with Bob and Pat. I put on my hiking gear and started climbing the rocky hill outside of the lodge. It took 30 minutes to get to the top. The wind was brisk, but the temperature was just fine for a hike. I wandered around the hills for the next couple of hours.



I finally mounted Katrina in the afternoon and rode slowly through the park and up to the overlook. The view was nice. I saw a long line of motos approaching from the south. Very likely it was Leonard and the bulk of the club returning from their ride.

  
  
I met Leonard and many of the cub riders at the entrance of the park while I was heading into town for a snack.

 
I searched for a nice yucca bloom for Rachel's birthday. I found one in the hills and had to fight my way through vicious thorns to get close for a photo. Once the bloom was captured in my Blackberry, I had to ride back into Fort Davis to get a cell signal to transmit the birthday Yucca bouquet post to her.

The afternoon was nice for more extreme low-pressure laziness. We sat on the patio and visited. Nice setting for doing very little.


The club gathered for a group photo before the gathering for a feast. We made our way back into the lodge for a tasty dinner. I slept well.


March 22, 2014

I had a quest for today. I wanted to ride the River Road into Big Bend and straight to Boquillas Crossing for a trip across the Rio Grande into Mexico. The River Road was both exhilarating and a little spooky at times.

  
I rode past the Chiso Mountains and arrived at Boquillas Crossing about 10:30. I packed up my battle suit of road armor and got into more comfortable shorts and shirts for walking. Inside the Port of Entry, the US official made sure my passport was not expired so my return to the States would not be a problem.

  
 
I walked the path down to the river where I heard a talented voice singing to me from across the water. I found later this was Victor Valdez, who serenades the visitors as they make their way down to the row boat for a ferry across the Rio Grande.

  
Victor introduced me to Chuy, who would be my guide through the village. I mounted my white donkey for the ride up the hill to Boquillas. The countryside looked dry and harsh, but the people on the riverfront were very friendly and happy. There was evidence of torrents of water crashing through the low arroyos, but for now, dust kicked up as we meandered the trail.

  
I saw power lines heading into the village and remembered years back when these were being constructed. Chuy walked along my donkey and kept him moving forward. We climbed the final short hill up to the immigration office, which consisted of a portable trailer with a generator running outside. I wondered a bit about the generator. The Mexican official looked over my passport and worked with the scanner several times to get it to take my info. He was a young man with sleek sunglasses atop his trim haircut. He spoke to me in English, and wished me a good visit.

   
Once I had my visa, Chuy walked with me and showed me the short length of the village. Every road in Boquillas del Carmen was dusty white dirt throughout. Dogs wandered about the village without any obvious owners. Young children ran out to me with cardboard platters of beaded bracelets. I purchased a copper-wire scorpion from a friendly family at the end of the village.

  
We walked back to Jose Falcon's restaurant so I could enjoy some cervezas fria and tasty tacos. Lilia Falcon greeted me and told me her restaurant was the oldest in town and built by her father. I asked Lilia to get a soda for Chuy, who sat a short distance away from me while I took in the sounds and sights of the village.
One of the first things I noticed as we entered the village was music. As we passed by each brightly-painted small dwelling, I could hear various latino songs playing. Behind me on the patio was an older gent with a guitar. He tuned his guitar and started playing and singing. After his entertainment, a small white car slowly drove through the village with a speaker playing music outside of the car to the Boquillas residents.

  
The well-dressed Bernado Rodeo checked on me. I questioned when electricity was established in the village. Bernado looked a bit puzzled and explained to me that that it was this year. Now I was confused as I thought they had power for years. But he said that the governor had promised once again to turn on the power this year. Maybe the border crossing being open once again and the resulting income from Park visitors will help the village pay for the electricity.

For now, Bernado said they are using solar power to charge 48 6-volt batteries for the freezer and refrigerator in the restaurant. They are the only place in town that can keep meat and cheese from spoiling. Considering the few possessions the residents of Boquillas have, they seem happy and are very pleasant.

 
I enjoyed the Pacificos and spoke a bit more with Bernado. I asked him if he had any tequila that I could not get in the USA. He said he had some sotol. I did not recognize the term, but now know that it is a distilled spirit with deep roots with the Chihuahuan Indians 800 years back. He said it was made in Durango, so I knew it was not true tequila since all tequilas were made in Jalisco. I asked him for a shot. It was smooth and tasty. There were bits of something floating around in the bottle of Aguila Real. Gotta roll with it... He asked me if I wanted more, and I replied that if I did, I would not be riding for a while.

 
Chuy and I walked back to my donkey after stopping by the immigration trailer, and went back down the hill to the Rio Grande mud – (there’s a song about that…). A wild turkey crossed the path in front of us. Chuy walked alongside me keeping the lazy donkey moving forward. I had mixed feelings as we approached the river. I would like to return here again and bring Debbie to experience the village. I said my goodbyes to Victor and was rowed across the river back into the homeland.




 
I followed the trail up to the port of entry building and was greeted by USA immigration. After inspecting my passport, she instructed me to stand in front of a kiosk camera and I spoke with El Paso Customs. They asked me if I had anything to declare, and I held up my copper-wire scorpion. There was a brief pause, and they said thank you and bye. I walked out with my scorpion and back to my exciting German mistress, Katrina.

  
After donning the road warrior battle gear, I rode north through Big Bend towards Marathon. I wanted to post my photos from my Mexican excursion, so I kept my eye watching for a cell signal. I never saw cell coverage until 90 miles north of the border in Marathon. I pulled off to the side of the road and posted my river crossing, donkey ride and the stop for lunch at Falcon's in Boquillas.

The temperature dropped a bit in the late afternoon as I neared Fort Stockton. The bulk of the club was to stay here overnight, but I wanted to get closer to home for a short ride on Sunday. The West Texas sunset in my mirror treated me to a beautiful light show. I rode into the evening to my favorite motel (Classic Inn) in Early, pondering the contrast of my life to those in Boquillas.



DFW Defective Gene Pool Gathering - 2014

February 22, 2014

Cliff Wall and Bill Thweatt orchestrated the Iron Butt Association gathering of the DFW Defective Gene Pool in Allen, TX.  This year's honorees were Bo Griffin for running out of gas twice during the Republic of Texas 1000, and Dianne fox who was to share her insights on rally flag retention.  Dave McQueeney receive an award of worn-out bearings for riding 1,500 miles to have some Texas BBQ.

  
  
  
  
  
 


Republic of Texas 1000

November 1, 2013

The annual meeting and party for the Iron Butt Association is held in Irving, TX this year.  The event outing for Friday is a 1,065-mile ride down to the Gulf and back.  Might as well...

Since I live in the DFW metromess I decided to stay at my house and wake a little early to get to the check-in and riders meeting around 5:00 AM.  It was a bit chilly, but fine weather for a long ride.

  
Mike Kneebone greeted us in our battle gear outside of the hotel.  He gave us the basic instructions of riding the route, collecting proof of visiting the Texas historical locations and checking in within the allotted 24 hours.

  
We left in mass at 5:45 AM under the escort of the Irving Police that had 7 of their officers participating in the ride.  Seasoned IBA rider Paul Tong was one of those officers.  The group of 70 riders made their way south towards Austin in the pre-rush hour traffic of the DFW freeways.

 
This event was intended as a solo endeavor, but groups of long distance motos would pass me at times and I would join for a bit.

 
The first stop was Lone Star BMW in Austin to document the shrine of the late Ardys Kellermen.  Ardys parted with us this year in an accident while on her moto in Alabama.  Her riding distances made her a legend in the motorcycle world.  There was a procession of IBA riders making their way through the shop to have their photo taken with rally flag in front of Ardys' Iron Butt Rally flag.

  
 
We headed southeast towards Houston and the San Jacinto monument.  Houston traffic still sucks even in the late morning when I passed through.  I saw evidence of accidents all along the freeways with bumper covers littering the sides of the roads.

 
I came across Bo on the return from San Jacinto.  We rode together for a while on the way to Galveston.

  
 
Hero's Monument in Galveston was next on the documentation list.  The temperature was rising nicely as I ventured south along the sea wall.  The Lone Star Rally was going on this weekend and there were thousands of V-twin bikes parked along the way.  Their owners were perched on the decks of the hangouts watching the occasional long distance rider pass by on strangely-embellished motorcycles and dressed in gear suited for sword fights in the middle ages.  It was a bit of a contrast.

 
The crowds of Galveston thinned as I rode further south along the Gulf.  The last location to document along the beach was The Battle of Velasco.  I ran into many other IBA riders here, and our short visits and quick photos were watched again by Lone Star Rally participants up on the decks of a nearby bar.

  
Heading inland brought me to the Stephen F. Austin statue to document.  Other riders arrived at the site.  I pulled off the highway for fuel and picked up a couple of Kolaches for my first semi-real meal of the day consumed in the parking lot.
  
I turned north and rode through some less-traveled back roads of south Texas.  I looked ahead and saw several motos on the side of the road and my heart rate picked up a bit.  It looked like everything was OK, and then I recognized Bo getting a fuel transplant from one of the IBA ride participants.  I stopped for a bit, and after everyone rode away I followed Bo.  Sure enough, another 20 miles and Bo's 4-way flashers came on.  We slowed to a stop on the side of the road, and we did another fuel transplant from my measly short-distance KRS moto into Bo's GSA adventure.

  
We rolled forward into the next town and fueled up.  There's Bobby and Dianne and Betsy as well.  It's a Lone Star BMW Riders class reunion.

 
The next stop was Goliad Massacre and Fannin's Grave.  I saw Bobby and Dianne here for the second time.  I grabbed a snack out of my tank bag here and took in the architecture of stone missions on the late-afternoon light.

  
 
The sun started to set as I rolled up to First Shot of the Texas Revolution.  There were a plethora of riders here.  I took my requisite photo of the monument and then waited around watching all of the camaraderie of the riders as they arrived and documented their visit in the waning light.

 
Here we had 10 or so motos that had converged and rode in a couple of groups.  As the sun was setting, this rolling band of riders gave me security against the deer that typical this time of day.

  
We worked our way into San Antonio in the dark to document the stop at The Alamo.  There were 6 motos in my group including Bobby, Dianne and Betsy.  We looked for a parking place near and finally all pulled in mass to a hotel valet.  We were told we could not park there, but I told them it would be 5 or so minutes and the invasion would disappear.  The cash laid in his hands turned him into moto-security.

 
It was time for the last 250-mile return leg on my least-favorite road in Texas.  I-35 does not have many positive traits other than getting one from Point A to Point B.  Many of IBA riders passed me, including Bobby, Dianne and Betsy, who I came across again at a fuel stop.  I looked at the Spotwalla page and saw a long procession of riders south to north.

 
Later when I got back to my house, this page was strangely-cached on my computer, showing all riders between San Antonio and the finish in Irving.

I got my last fuel receipt at 1:10 AM at the same station that I had fueled for the start.  There was a gathering of Irving police officers watching the returning riders, likely waiting for their fellow officers to arrive.  I made my way home across North Dallas in the early hours to a refreshing shower and sleepy wife.


November 2, 2013

I had to return to the rally headquarters Saturday afternoon to check in for ride validation.  I stayed briefly and headed back home to get Deb for the awards presentation and banquet.

  
   
IBA president Mike Kneebone presented awards to riders for their accomplishments trough the year, and certificates of completion for Friday's Republic of Texas 1000.

  
  
Bo, recognized for running out of fuel not once, but twice on the ride.  Dianne getting her rally flag again...

 Irving Moto Merchants of Law

We moved into the banquet hall for some Texas BBQ, and some other recognition by Mike.  Quite a gathering of riders dedicated to long-distance motorcycling. 




20131101RepublicOfTexas1000 at EveryTrail

Montana Big Sky Rally - Into the Unknown

August 21, 2013
Robert and Sylvie Torter orchestrated an enticing 32-hour rally based out of Big Sky Montana.  I was looking forward to it for months.  My ride into Colorado in July was somewhat of a training event since I had not been on the bike for a while.  Only the bonus waypoints were released early, and there was no information on point values or other key multipliers.  The only thing I knew was that the rally would focus on the Lewis and Clark expedition into the area notated as "Unknown" on the maps of their time.



There was not too much to plan in advance for the ITU other than figuring out how to arrive in Big Sky by 3:00 in the afternoon Friday.  I left work early to get out of town before the traffic thickened.  The ride this afternoon was to Borger in the Texas Panhandle.  The temperature was not bad, considering August in Texas.  Highway 273 out of Hedley was a welcome change to 287 as it cut north east of Amarillo and wound its way through rolling hills that I did not know to exist.  I arrived at the fairly plain Royal Inn in Borger just after the sun set, and I fueled up for the early departure the next morning.

    


August 22, 2013
I awoke at 5:00 and was ready to ride.  I picked my way on the dark highways through Dumas and back onto 287.  The sun finally arose as I passed through Oklahoma and into Colorado.  The clouds started getting a bit thicker as I neared Denver and light sprinkles started appearing on the windshield as I made my way around the tollway.

   
My route brought me through Fort Collins, so a stop at New Belgium Brewery was in order.  I planned on staying only about 30 minutes, and wound up there for 1 1/2 hours.  The crowd was fun to watch and the German sausage waffle was good for lunch.  I rolled out of town still following 287 up into Wyoming and into Casper.

  
The weather started to get a bit more threatening as I headed west out of Casper.  While I was talking to Deb, I decided to pull over and put full rain gear on.  There were no other options than to punch the core of a thunderstorm ahead of me.  The wind and lightning was a little too heavy for leisurely riding, but the challenge was interesting.  I was happy to see the sun on the other side of the storm, and the light on the back side of the heavy clouds gave me a treat.  The back roads in Wyoming see little traffic.  I like the contrast of solitude on the lonely road with life in the big city.  Shoshoni was the stop for the night.


August 23, 2013
  
The sun was at my back for the morning ride out of Shoshoni and across the plains along Boysen Reservoir to the Bighorn River canyons.  There were 2,000 foot high cliffs to each side of me while riding the twisting road through tunnels and alongside old railroad tracks.  My route took me through Yellowstone National Park, and the pace slowed with visitors stopping to watch the wildlife.  I was closely studying the attitude of a Bison as it wandered across a bridge with traffic stopped.  I fueled up in Big Sky and made my way up the mountain to the tech inspection for the ITU rally.

 Photo Tobie Stevens

   
Immediately I was sent back down the mountain and up again for an odometer check.  On the way back up, a storm was boiling over the 11,000 foot Lone Mountain.  As I approached turns, I could see dust kicked up by the winds from the storms, and had to fight to keep my line.

  
It rained heavily for a short time, but quickly cleared for a nice afternoon on the patio before the evening dinner. 
      
We met for the rider's meeting.  Warchild and team handed out packets.  After some brief explanations on how the multipliers worked for following the paths of the Lewis and Clark expedition, we left for our rooms to figure out the next morning's route.  There were so many variables, it was hard to start a route.  I finally chose my original plan to head east and then north along the Tetons up near the Canadian border.  My minimum points to finish was 50,000 since I still fell into the "new to sport" class.  If I successfully completed the thread of bonus locations along the Lewis return path around Camp Disappointment, I would have over 100,000 points to finish with the experienced riders.  The rallymaster messed with our math logic by throwing some "letter" bonuses in the middle of a thread of expedition locations.  I had to do constant math to determine if it was worth ending a thread to claim one of the "items" encountered by the expedition.  I looked at the clock showing 12:30 and knew I had to finalize the route and get some sleep before the 4:30 AM final odometer check.



August 24, 2013
My alarm was set for 3:45 but I was awake at 3:15.  Oh well...  Awake now.  I looked out my window, and there was one person milling about in the lot of 60 motos.  Time to look over the plan one more time before departure.  There are many variations one could put together with this many bonus locations scattered about.  I'm still not totally thrilled with my choice of route, but it will do.

  
I went on down to the bike with a load of gear and brought my Camelbak back up to the room for fresh water.  I returned back to the moto with the remainder of gear and grabbed a breakfast snack the Torters put together for us.  The evening's rain was still all over the bikes and road.  Lights reflected in different colors in the darkness.  As soon as the odometer check was completed, we lined up around the entry of the hotel.  I pulled the camera out to snap a last few photos before the procession out for a 32-hour ride.  I heard the 5-minute warning.  Engines started to come to life as 5:00 approached.


Warchild began waving the riders out for the start and we began the parade down the wet mountain lodge road. The procession of motos down the mountain was at a cautious but constant pace.  One rider losing it on the way down the wet road could cause multiple issues.  Some riders turned south at the main highway, but the majority went north as I did.

  
We started spreading out as options for different roads and routes appeared.  The ride was dark for miles, but the morning light started illuminating the fog across the valleys.


   
N +45°55.2303' W -111°29.95872  287 Pts
I made my way to the first bonus 019 at the Missouri Headwaters.  Here I ran into the couple from New Zealand and nice guy Mario Winkleman, owner of LD Comfort.

Lewis and Clark spent several days exploring this area and the three forks of the Missouri. On their minds was their failure to have met with the Shoshone Indians yet: From Lewis' Journals: "we begin to feel considerable anxiety with rispect to the Snake Indians. If we do not find them or some other nation who have horses I fear the successful issue of our voyage will be very doubtfull or at all events much more difficult in it's accomplishment. We are now several hundred miles within the bosom of this wild and mountanous country, where game may rationally be expected shortly to become scarce and subsistence precarious without any information with rispect to the country not knowing how far these mountains continue, or wher to direct our course to pass them to advantage or intersept a navigable branch of the Columbia."

 
N +45°53.7072' W -111°33.1632'  287 Pts
Bonus 020 was in the small downtown area of Three Forks, to take a picture of Sacagawee holding her son Pompey.

... we called the S.W. fork, that which we meant to ascend, Jefferson's River in honor of that illustrious personage Thomas Jefferson. [the author of our enterprize.] the Middle fork we called Madison's River in honor of James Madison, and the S.E. Fork we called Gallitin's River in honor of Albert Gallitin. ... the beds of all these streams are formed of smooth pebble and gravel, and their waters perfectly transparent; in short they are three noble streams.


 
N +45°51.1564' W -111°55.2971'  162 Pts
Bonus 021 took me to Whitehall, MT to photograph a Lewis and Clark Expedition sign in Lahood Park.

"one of their canoes had just overset and all the baggage wet, the medecine box among other articles and several articles lost a shot pouch and horn with all the implements for one rifle lost and never recovered. ... on their arrival found that two other canoes had filled with water and wet their cargoes completely. Whitehouse had been thrown out of one of the canoes as she swing in a rapid current and the canoe had rubed him and pressed him to the bottom as she passed over him and had the water been 2 inches shallower must inevitably have crushed him to death. " The Journal entry of just one incidence of near catastrophy that took place near this spot during the expedition.


 
N +45°35.7127' W -112°19.0632'  28 Pts
I continued on near Twin Bridges for Bonus 022 documenting where Lewis and Clark had camped.

From this area the expedition could see "Beaver Head" rock (14 miles south): "…the Indian woman recognized the point of a high plain to our right which she informed us was not very distant from the summer retreat of her nation on a river beyond the mountains which runs to the west. This hill she says her nation calls the beaver's head from a conceived re[se]mblance of it's figure to the head of that animal. She assures us that we shall either find her people on this river or on the river immediately west of it's source; which from it's present size cannot be very distant. … it is my resolusion to find them or some others, who have horses if it should cause me a trip of one month. For without horses we shall be obliged to leave a great part of our stores, of which, it appears to me that we have a stock already sufficiently small for the length of the voyage before us.


 
N +44°59.681' W -112°52.129'  1805 Pts
As I rode further south, I decided to do Camp Fortunate Bonus 023 as an out-and-back to Clark Reservoir.  Each number bonus documented in succession results in an exponential growth of points as the total of the bonuses is multiplied by the quantity in the thread.  Time was looking good, so I added this one into my conservative route.

Called "Camp Fortunate" because the expedition felt themselves very fortunate to have found the Indians they were seeking to help them with passage over the mountains to the Columbia river. These Indians were poor and starved (very graphic journal entries about their level of poverty) but they did trade for horses and provided much valuable information to the expedition about the westward trail. These were the Shoshone (Snake) Indians and were the people of Sacagawea: "... Capt. Clark arrived with the Interpreter Charbono, and the Indian woman, who proved to be a sister of the Chief Cameahwait. the meeting of those people was really affecting, particularly between Sah-cah-gar-we-ah and an Indian woman, who had been taken prisioner with her by the Minnetares..."

I broke the thread bypassing 024 and 025.  We had already been warned that the road was bad on the Idaho side and the heavy rain would likely make it impassable, especially on my KRS.


 
N +45°41.614' W -113°57.010'  478 Pts
I started a new thread with 026, the Lost Trail Pass at the Montana/Idaho border.  I stopped here in the high altitude for a short while to eat a Cliff bar and down some fluids.

"I now asked Cameahwait by what rout the Pierced nosed indians, who he informed me inhabited this river below the mountains, came over to the Missouri; ... the road was very bad one as he had been informed by them and that they had suffered excessively with hunger on the rout being obliged to subsist for many days on berries alone as there was no game in that part of the mountains ...my rout was instantly settled in my own mind, ... I felt perfectly satisfyed, that if the Indians could pass these mountains with their women and Children, that we could also pass them."
  
N +45°50.177' W -113°58.758'  452 Pts
Bonus 027 took me south of Sula, MT.

Snow began to fall as the expedition set off for the Continental Divide. Game was scarce in the Rockies, and food supplies ran low. But finally the expedition reached the divide and passed over the other side, down into the Bitterroot Valley. There the Americans met a band of Flathead Indians and bought more horses for the journey across the Bitterroot Mountains. Crossing this range of the Rockies fully tested the expedition's endurance.


 
N +46°45.706' W -114°05.363'  792 Pts (lost)
I kept riding north to Bonus 028 near Lolo to the Traveler's Rest.  This was the first of two bonuses that I lost points on.  The instructions were not very clear on what historic monument to photograph and the key was what it was near.

From the Lemhi Valley whee the expedition first met the Shoshone to this point over the bitterroots and up the Salmon river the party was guided by a Shoshone Indian they called Tobie (now referred to as "Old Tobie"). His real name was Pike Queenah (Swooping Eagle). He continued to lead them over the Lolo Pass to the Clearwater River above Lewiston where they met with the Nez Perce Indians.


 
N +46°52.5076' W -113°53.1600'  946 Pts.
It was at Missoula where I turned east towards Bonus 38 to end the thread that actually ended before Traveler's Rest.

On June 30 they reached Traveler's Rest, where Lewis and Clark decided to part ways in order to explore more of the Louisiana Territory. Lewis and nine men would explore the Marias River to the north, while Clark and the others would head for the Yellowstone River in the south.


 
N +47°00.1191' W -113°22.1500'  2790 Pts
I continued east along Lewis' path to start the new thread of 100's.  Bonus 101 was on Hwy 200 at Clearwater Rest Area.

When the expedition split at Travelers rest the Indians who had guided the expedition over the Bitteroots told Lewis that he had a clear buffalo road to the north but they had to return. Lewis made provision for his guides and wrote in his Journals: "they (Indians) alledged that as the road was a well beaten track we could not now miss our way and as they were afraid of meeting with their enimies the Minnetares they could not think of continuing with us any longer, … I directed the hunters to … indeavour to kill some more meat for these people whom I was unwilling to leave without giving them a good supply of provision after their having been so obliging as to conduct us through those tremendious mountains."


 
N +48°19.2841' W -112°32.551'  2006 Pts
It was a long ride to the next Bonus 102 heading north to Dupuyer.

of course back on the plains the expedition had to deal with the Grizzly bears again: "a little before dark McNeal returned with his musquet broken off at the breach, and informed me that on his arrival at willow run [on the portage] he had approached a white bear within ten feet without discover[ing] him the bear being in the thick brush, the horse took the allarm and turning short threw him immediately under the bear; this animal raised himself on his hinder feet for battle, and gave him time to recover from his fall which he did in an instant and with his clubbed musquet he struck the bear over the head and cut him with the guard of the gun and broke off the breech, the bear stunned with the stroke fell to the ground and began to scratch his head with his feet; this gave McNeal time to climb a willow tree which was near at hand and thus fortunately made his escape."


 
N +48°35.8297' W -112°47.5554'  5403 Pts
As I turned east for a short time, I considered reworking my original route.  I did not come up to ride a long rally and ride hard to place well, but I wanted to finish in a respectable position.  So as I collected the northern-most Lewis position Bonus 103 obelisk, I started kicking back a bit and took in the wonderful afternoon temperature and light.

Capt. Lewis and his group continued north on the Marias River to see if it provided the path across the mountains confined within the 50 degree parallel that bounded the new purchase of the United States . When he realized it was not to be he wrote in his journals; "..northern branch of Maria's river ....being convinced that this stream came from the mountains I determined to pursue it as it will lead me to the most no[r]thern point to which the waters of Maria's river extend which I now fear will not be as far north as I wished and expected. ... we pursued it untill dark and not finding any timber halted and made a fire of the dung of the buffaloe. ... our provision is nearly out, … ...we set out biding a last adieu to this place which I now call camp disappointment. "


 
N +48°39.5707' W -112°45.556'  1603 Pts
Bonus 104 was very similar to the Obelisk in that it documented the northern-most point in Lewis' journey.  This brought me within 25 miles of the Canadian border.

Once over the continental divide Lewis and his group had returned to the plains and the area subscribed by the Louisiana Purchase that now defined the boundary of the United States. It has been a long ride for you up to this northernmost point. Of the land you have covered Lewis wrote in his journals: "much rejoiced at finding ourselves in the plains of the Missouri which abound with game…it is now the season at which the buffaloe begin to coppelate and the bulls keep a tremendious roaring we could hear them for many miles and there are such numbers of them that there is one continual roar. .. When I arrived in sight of the white-bear Islands the missouri bottoms on both sides of the river were crouded with buffaloe I sincerely belief that there were not less than 10 thousand buffaloe within a circle of 2 miles arround that place."


 
N +48°28.9770' W -112°21.527'  3751 Pts
I started running into other riders at Bonus 105, well into the wheat fields that were mostly now harvested.

Lewis and his colleagues knew the Marias was Blackfeet Indian territory—and therefore dangerous. On July 26 (1806) eight Blackfeet spotted them. The Blackfeet seemed friendly, and the two groups decided to camp together. Taking no chances, Lewis's men took turns to stand guard through the night. In the morning one of the Indians snatched a pair of rifles, and in the struggle that followed two Indians died. Lewis and his men rode off, covering 120 miles (190 kilometers) in 24 hours, not knowing whether Blackfeet were giving chase. These were the only casualties of the entire expedition.


 
N +47°55.5313' W -111°43.8154'  2655 Pts
Bonus 106 was on the interstate.  Once I documented that one, I felt good about the "100's" thread that would give me a finish in the experienced class.  I decided to drop the high-point bonuses to the east and started thinking about starting another new thread around Great Falls with a stop there for a sleep.

Capt. Lewis had left part of his group back in Great Falls and they were supposed to meet the small party returning with their buried stores from Camp Fortunate (part of the group that left with Capt. Clark). He passed through this area on his way back to meet the groups who were busy doing the portage around the falls with their canoe which they retreived. They covered 125 miles in the day after the incident which ended in the death of two indians north of this point and were reunited with their party. "… … being then within five miles of the grog spring we heared the report of several rifles very distinctly on the river to our right, we quickly repared to this joyfull sound and on arriving at the bank of the river had the unspeakable satisfaction to see our canoes coming down."


 
N +47°31.009' W -111°18.633' 10586 Pts
Before starting the new thread of expedition path locations, I went to find the DDD Grizzly bonus along the river.  It took a while to figure out how to get down to the river walk, but the high points were not to be ignored.

"I scelected a fat buffaloe and shot him very well, through the lungs; while I was gazeing attentively on the poor anamal…. a large white, or reather brown bear, had perceived and crept on me within 20 steps before I discovered him; in the first moment I drew up my gun to shoot, but at the same instant recolected that she was not loaded… in short there was no place by means of which I could conceal myself from this monster until I could charge my rifle; … I then run into the water…and faced about and presented the point of my espontoon, at this instant he arrived at the edge of the water within about 20 feet of me; the moment I put myself in this attitude of defence he sudonly wheeled about as if frightened, declined the combat on such unequal grounds, and retreated with quite as great precipitation as he had just before pursued me."


  
N +47°34.0947' W -111°06.9725' 224 Pts
After the bear bonus, I needed fuel. This move confused my GPS, which pointed me then to Bonus 014 instead of 013 to start the new thread.  I wasted time doing this, and then got off on a couple of bad turns to put me at the Ryan Dam Overlook fairly late.  The bonus availability was documented to be until 9:00, but while I was recording my odometer and time, I heard the park worker locking the gate behind me.  I photographed my GPS showing my position and 8:38 PM time, and shot a photo of the locked gate, which was fine for collecting the points.

One landmark would seal the deal on which way was correct. The Indians had talked about huge waterfalls that could not be navigated located on the Missouri. Lewis decided to march overland and In two days he arrived at the "sublimely grand specticle" of the falls. For two hours he sat on a rock overlooking the grandest sight he had ever beheld, and wrote at length of "the beauty of this majestically grand scenery." Even then he felt that he could not do justice to "this truly magnifficent and sublimely grand object, which has from the commencement of time been concealed from the view of civilized man." No small part of his rapture was derived from the certain knowledge that his decision at the Marias had been right.

I looked at the rally packet for Bonus 014 and saw its availability was until sunset, so I hung it up for the day and looked for a motel.  I wound up with the Western Inn, and grabbed a bit to eat while talking with Deb.  I looked over the bonuses collected for the day and had to throw out the grog bonus (whiskey) since I collected it in the middle of a thread and would lose points if claimed.  I set the alarm for 5:30 and sleep came fairly easy.


August 25, 2013
At 3:30 in the morning, my neighbors decided to have a fairly vocal intimate moment.  Once things settled down, I was wide awake.  Might as well ride.  I knew I could not bag Bonus 014 since the availability started at 8:00, so I set my sights on Bonus 015.


 
N +47°29.5525' W -111°18.3567'  289 Pts
Bonus 015 was a statue of Lewis and Clark in Broadwater Overlook Park.  It was simple to find even in the total darkness of 5 AM.

The expedition had to spend 31 days making an 18 mile arduous portage around the five falls. "This is 
particular[l]y severe on the feet of the men who have not only their own weight to bear in treading on those 
hacklelike points but have also the addition of the burthen which they draw and which in fact is as much as they can possibly move with. They are obliged to halt and rest frequently for a few minutes, at every halt these poor fellows tumble down and are so much fortiegued that many of them are asleep in an instant; in short their 
fatiegues are incredible; yet no one complains, all go with cheerfullness."


 
N +47°27.8856' W -111°17.622' 505 Pts (lost)
I had troubles finding the right marker at the Portage Site Bonus 016 and wound up photographing the incorrect one.  Likely the darkness and the "Day Use Only" sign on the gate that had me frazzled.

When taking the portage there were two separate camps. "Lower Falls" where everything was disassembled for over land transport and the "Upper Falls" camp where they reassembled everything to resume their travels down the river from the Great Falls area. This is near the site where the expedition set the "Upper Falls" camp. As for White Bear Island, from the Journals of Patrick Gass: In the evening, the most of the corps crossed over to an island, to attack and rout its monarch, a large brown bear, that held possession and seemed to defy all that would attempt to besiege him there. Our troops, however, stormed the place, gave no quarter, and its commander fell. Our army returned the same evening to camp without having suffered any loss on their side.


 
N +47°07.8635' W -111°54.0787'  345 Pts
Bonus 017 was down the interstate and on the northbound side.  The sunlight was starting to peek over the hills as I jaunted across the highway for the photo.

...we passed the entrance of a considerable river on the Stard. side; about 80 yds. wide being nearly as wide as the Missouri at that place. it's current is rapid and water extreamly transparent; the bed is formed of small 
smooth stones of flat rounded or other figures. it's bottoms are narrow but possess as much timber as the 
Missouri. the country is mountainous and broken through which it passes. it appears as if it might be navigated but to what extent must be conjectural. this handsome bold and clear stream we named in honour of the Secretary of war calling it Dearborn's river.


  
N +46°35.1924' W -112°0.9846'  16250 Pts
Bonus 018 had low points, and I already knew the thread was blown from earlier in Great Falls.  To keep this thread going, I would have to ride past Helena, pick up this 018, and then ride back into Helena to grab the high point EEE buffalo skull photo.  I went with the simple plan to get EEE and then 018.  Here I ran into a couple riding two-up, and the Puckett father son team.

Critical to the success of the expedition were the ever present Buffalo on the Montana prairies. They tell of the 
Mandans dancing for buffalo during the terrible winter of 1804 (and a herd showing up the next day), the talk 
about almost getting killed by a rogue buffalo in the camp at night, they fed themselves on buffalo. They used 
dried dung to burn when there was no wood available and their hides to make articles of clothing (particularly 
"moccarsins". When you are looking across those plains around Helena and Great Falls think of walking across that, with the prickly pear bushes and only buffalo hide to protect your feet.


 
N +46°28.68' W -111°39.4272'  68 Pts
Bonus 018 had low points, but was an easy pick, right off of the highway.

Traveling South from Great Falls Lewis and Clark had great relief in knowing they had followed the correct river. They also had great apprehension about finding the Shoshone tribe of Sacagawea so they could get horses to make the trip over the ever looming mountains that they were parallelling. From Clarks Journals: "Those mountains are high and a great perportion of them rocky; Vallies fertile . I observed on the highest pinicals of Some of the mountains to the West Snow lying in Spots Some Still further North are covered with Snow and cant be Seen from this point"


 
N +45°42.7850' W -111°03.8452'  245 Pts
Bonus 039 was near the finish, the Bozeman rest area.  This started a new thread of 4, which took their total of 1897 points up to 7588.  This shows the value of staying on a thread as long as possible.

After the party split Clark, with most of the men and the horses traversed over the Bridger Mountains to the 
Yellowstone River. The stopped at Camp Fortunate to retreive stores they had buried the summer before. Most 
valued by the men was the tobacco they had left. "the most of the Party with me being Chewers of Tobacco 
become so impatient to be chewing it that they scercely gave themselves time to take their saddles off their 
horses before they were off to the deposit. ... I gave to each man who used tobacco about two feet off a part of a role took one third of the ballance myself and put up 2/3 in a box to send down with the most of the articles which had been left at this place, by the canoes to Capt. Lewis."



N +45°40.1245' W -110°58.6103'  556 Pts
Bonus 040 Fort Ellis was not much further east.

The Clark group camped in this area July 14, 1806. It took about 1 day to get here from Camp Fortunate (Dillon, MT) where Clark had retrieved stores left last year and sent much of the provisions north with a group of men to meet up with Lewis who was exploring the Marias and would traverse back the Missouri. "…had all the baggage of the land party taken out of the canoes and after dinner the 6 canoes and the party of 10 men under the direction of Sergt. Ordway set out. Previous to their departur[e] I gave instructions how they were to proceed &c. I also wrote to Capt Lewis by Sergt. Ordway. …I observe Several leading roads which appear to pass to a gap of the mountain in a E. N E. direction about 18 or 20 miles distant. The indian woman who has been of great service to me as a pilot through this country recommends a gap in the mountain more south which I shall cross.


 
N +45°39.69' W -110°42.025'  295 Pts
Bonus 041 was another historical marker not far away.  I stated seeing more and more rally riders in this area doing the same as I was, nabbing as many of the bonuses right before the run to the finish.

The Clark expedition had difficulty finding timber to make canoes so continued to move up the Yellowstone until they found suitable timber. They had previously seen Indian smoke signals in the distance and now found 24 of their 50 horses missing. Assuming they had been stolen by the Indians, Capt. Clark devised a plan to send Sgt. Pryor and a small band to return to the Mandans with the remaining horses along with some instructions to prepare for their arrival (with the assistance of white traders in the area).


 
N +46°00.3419' W -110°39.7750'  801 Pts
I checked my estimated finish time again, and decided I had enough leeway to make the out and back to Bonus 042.

Camping at the mouth of this river Clark named it "The Shields River" after a key member of the expedition. 
Pryor was being sent back to the Mandans with critical instructions to prepare some of them to travel with the 
expedition. Lewis and Clark wanted the Mandans to designate some of their "Chiefs" to accompany the 
expedition back to the United States…. "We believe that the sureest guarantee of savage fidility to any nation is a thorough conviction on their minds that their government possesses the power of punishing promptly every act of aggression committed on their part against the person or property of their citizens; to produce this conviction without the use of violence, is the wish of our government; and to effect it, we cannot devise a more expedient method than that of takeing some of the best informed and most influential Chiefs with us to the U. States, where they will have an ample view of our population and resourses"


 
N +45°39.8464' W -110°50.1047'  1450 Pts
I was mostly done now with the rally route, and picked up the Grizzly Encounter Bonus JJJ.

"Fields returned and informed me that he had seen two white bear near the river a few miles above and in 
attempting to get a shoot [at] them had stumbled uppon a third which immediately made at him being only a few steps distant; that in runing in order to escape from the bear he had leaped down a steep bank of the river on a stony bar where he fell cut his hand bruised his knees and bent his gun, ... this man has been truly unfortunate with these bear, this is the second time that he has narrowly excaped from them."


 
I checked my ETA, and it showed 12:20 PM.  Plenty of time to get to the finish before the 1:00 PM deadline, at which time 1 second after all efforts would be wiped away.  As I rode through Bozeman, I started worrying about the Sunday crowds who were walking and bicycling around downtown and driving with no intent to go anywhere quickly.  Then as I made my way up the mountain, the weekend traffic also caught my attention and slowed my arrival time.  I checked in with Ira at 12:38 after getting my final bonus, the PPP Dog Meat bonus good for 1300 points.  Mercy posed with Sylvie Torter holding my rally flag.

Once over the Rocky mountains game was scarce to the ocean. The men took to trading with the indians for "fat dogs" which they would eat. From Clark's journal; "...our diet extremely bad haveing nothing but roots and dried fish to eate, all the Party have greatly the advantage of me, in as much as they all relish the flesh of the dogs."

As part of the scoring start, Lisa Stevens gave me my "final exam" of 5 questions, and my three correct answers added another 900 points.  She compared my log photos to the officials, and came up with a total of 164,061 points for the 32 hours.  I was pleased with that.  I put my stuff away, grabbed a beer and made my way up the slope to watch the finish of the AMA Pro Championship cross country race.

By the time I came back down the mountain, the lobby of the lodge was deserted.  Everyone was back in their rooms getting sleep.  I decided to do the same.

 Photo Tobie Stevens

I was still groggy from the nap as I made my way to dinner.  As soon as I sat down, Tobie gathered us for a group photo outside.  Back inside again and dinner tasted absolutely great.  I wound up sitting with the Torters, Mike Kneebone, and Samuel Park, the newspaper writer new kid on the block.  This was his first rally, and he made quite an impression.

The awards presentation followed, and Josh Mountain finished first with an astounding 626,591 points.  Second was Erik Lipps with 551,411 points.  Erik also finished second behind Paul Tong in the Utah 1088.  He said for me to tell Tong he was coming down to the Big Tex Rally with vengeance...  Third was Eric Bray with 461,188 points. I finished the ITU 22nd overall out of 63 and 7th in my class.  That's fine by me as I rode up to Montana with touring in mind and not pure competition.  Sleep came easy this evening.




August 26, 2013
 
What a spectacular ride into Colorado today!  I left Big Sky at 6 AM just as the sky was starting to show deep shades of blue above the mountains.  Temperatures were in the 40's, but I had gear on to keep warm on the ride.  My route took me down the west side of the Tetons through Jackson, WY.  By the time I fueled again in Rock Springs, I shed the jacket liner and enjoyed the mid-day 70's.  Between Rock Springs and the Colorado border, there's not much to speak about.  But riding south out of Steamboat Springs, the story gets very intriguing.

  
After cresting the pass, the sunlight behind me illuminated the sage and aspens perfectly.  The road just kept getting better and better and Highway 40 has now claimed my award for my most favorite ride ever.  The pavement was smooth and traffic almost nonexistent, and the challenging turn after turn was invigorating.  The combination of warm, evening sunlight and dark thunderclouds to my side added to the experience. 

  
By the time I reached Breckenridge, it was obvious I had to put full rain gear on to cross Hoosier pass.  The temperature dropped, and I carefully negotiated the 10 mph turns up the climb.  The rain waned a bit at the 11,500 foot Hoosier Pass.  I arrived at the historic Valiton Hotel in Fairplay at 7:30 greeted by friendly staff.  Just finished a tasty green chile burger, and getting ready for rest prior to the 800-mile return to Texas.  As Tom says, "Life is good."  Tomorrow, I see the love of my life.  Although the ride has been good, it's been a bit too long away from her...


August 27, 2013
It was a chilly start to the morning with temperatures in the 30's.  The bike was still wet from the afternoon rains.  I packed up around 6:00, fueled and started down the winding Hwy 9 to the interstate.

  
As I got into traffic on Hwy 50 heading towards Pueblo, I decided to drop back off onto the back roads and took 67 to 165 for an early-morning technical ride through the mountains.  Once I hit I-25 over Raton Pass and 64 on into Texas, the ride became a return commute from Colorado back into Texas.  The temperature climbed into the high 90's and I wished for more rain, but only an occasional cloud would give me a break from the sun.  Returning into the metromess is not my favorite thing, but returning to Deb made it all better.




20130826BigSkyReturn at EveryTrail

OVERALL RESULTS
01  Josh Mountain 626591
02  Erik Lipps 551411
03  Eric Bray 461188
04  Stephen Vook 429280
05  Phil O'Connor 420025
06  Samuel Park 406146
07  Patrick Ford 395508
08  Jamie Tennant 393342
09  Del Brand 386394
10  Lawrence Huber 372084
11  Jayd Lindom 333790
12  Matthew Watkins 326212
13  Marc Beaulac 305222
14  Trevor Mikkelsen 281216
15  David Killough 270673
16  Don Duck 236982
17  Maura Gatensby 232998
18  Nancy Oswald 225588
19  Tyler Zimmerman 208795
20  Mike Langford 174460
21  Kevin Belzer 171290
22  Richard Swim 164061
23  Tom Daniels 162832
24  Adam Keeling 155976
25  Jim Puckett 155406
26  Zach Puckett 155406
27  James Boone 154401
28  Justin Philipson 154091
29  Brian Bailey 154008
30  Jon McDermott 149273
31  J Riley 144474
32  Ken Schleman 137925
33  Linda Schleman 137925
34  JON WEAVER 123169
35  Mario Winkelman 120440
36  Bill Lynes 112965
37  Dace Park 109134
38  John Johnston 99431
39  Dave Biasotti 93252
40  Steve Maxwell 87623
41  Brian Ramsden 84462
42  Garry Springgay 83018
43  Dwight Kraai 78129
44  Michael Gonzalez 73297
45  Stephen Aikens 70143
46  John Harelson 63051
47  Tom Lettero 62899
48  Andrew Logan 36559
49  Mark Collins 20468


Experienced Rider Class
Rider Points Miles Pts per Mile
Josh Mountain 626591 1958 320.02
Erik Lipps 551411 1949 282.92
Eric Bray 461188 1607 286.99
Stephen Vook 429280 1997 214.96
Phil O'Connor 420025 1753 239.60
Samuel Park 406146 1747 232.48
Patrick Ford 395508 1759 224.85
Jayd Lindom 333790 1645 202.91
Matthew Watkins 326212 1717 189.99
Marc Beaulac 305222 1899 160.73
Don Duck 236982 1053 225.05
Maura Gatensby 232998 2110 110.43
Nancy Oswald 225588 1002 225.14
Tyler Zimmerman208795 1332 156.75
Mike Langford 174460 1436 121.49
Tom Daniels 162832 1983 82.11
Jim Puckett 155406 1401 110.93
Jim Boone 154181 1010 152.65
Justin Philipson 154091 2052 75.09
Jon McDermott 149273 1437 103.88
J Riley 144474 1305 110.71
Ken Schleman 137925 1236 111.59
Linda Schleman 137925 1236 111.59
JON WEAVER 123169 1486 82.89
Mario Winkelman 120440 1230 97.92
Dave Biasotti 93252 1345 69.33
Steve Maxwell 87623 1227 71.41
Brian Ramsden 84462 1176 71.82
Stephen Aikens 70143 967 72.54
Mark Collins 20468 388 52.75

New to Sport Rider Class
Rider Points Miles Pts per Mile
Jamie Tennant 393342 1645 239.11
Del Brand 386394 1717 225.04
Lawrence Huber 372084 1899 195.94
Trevor Mikkelsen 281216 1335 210.65
David Killough 270673 1355 199.76
Kevin Belzer 171290 1097 156.14
Richard Swim 164061 1176 139.51
Adam Keeling 155976 1116 139.76
Zach Puckett 155406 1289 120.56
Brian Bailey 154008 1140 135.09
Bill Lynes 112965 1389 81.33
Dace Park 109134 1026 106.37
John Johnston 99431 1260 78.91
Garry Springgay 83018 1749 47.47
Dwight Kraai 78129 1187 65.82
Michael Gonzalez 73297 1526 48.03
John Harelson 63051 1308 48.20
Tom Lettero 62899 1042 60.36
Andrew Logan 36559 563 64.94

Rally packet is available at the Big Sky Rally web site.  This packet holds a lot of historical information and work that the rally scouts and volunteers spent countless hours preparing.

Paonia 2013... and thanks, JJ

July 25, 2013
  
It was early to get out of bed to start my moto-journey, but it seems easier to wake up on ride days for some reason.  My ride up to Colorado would be solo, but I would meet familiar faces in Paonia.  The plan for today's ride is to Sipapu, one of my favorite close destinations and overnight stays for trips like this.  The weather was not bad for Texas in July.  I took a north route at Hedley to avoid the routine ride through Amarillo.  I like this detour and will likely follow it on future trips through the Panhandle.

   
The typical afternoon thunderclouds appeared as I neared Sipapu, but it never rained in the afternoon.  I sat on rocks at the stream and talked with Debbie for a bit.  The sounds of the water and the forest are definitely good therapy.

    
I decided to buy a golf disc and give the Sipapu mountain-side course a try.  I made it through 10 tees and was exhausted.  At this point, it seemed to be a good decision to descend to the lodge and eat a green chile cheeseburger.  Excellent choice...  The evening was nice with the rain.  I slept well.

July 26, 2013
It rained most all of the night.  I parked my bike in a low spot and had to carefully navigate it out of the muck.  The early-morning weather was great for riding through northern New Mexico with crisp temperatures and clear skies.
    
I stopped briefly in Antonito to watch the Cumbres and Toltec steam engine train load with passengers and head south to Chama.

  
By late morning I had made my way along the Rio Grande in Colorado to Creede, just in time for lunch at Kip's Grill.  I ran into other riders from Texas that were making their way back home.  They were describing their experiences riding through the awesome mountain roads and were obviously still in a moto-euphoria.

   
After consuming the always-tasty Kip's sandwich, I continued on Hwy 149 through the three mountain passes south of Gunnison.  As typical, I experienced the 2nd season in the mountains (Construction... the other is Winter).  After sitting on the bike for 10 minutes, I looked to my right and noticed a road going off into the valley to the east.  I had time to explore.  The construction delay was an inconvenience, but also a reminder to me to slow down a bit on my journeys and take time to go off the beaten path.  I hiked a to a ledge over the headwaters of the Rio Grande to take in a spectacular view.

 
Blue Mesa Reservoir is still very low, but still makes for interesting scenery on the way to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  I have lost count of how many times I have enjoyed this road.  About half of the times, rain has made the tight turns even more technical than a dry day.  Today was great weather for a dry run along the top of the canyon.

  
I arrived Paonia mid-afternoon and got settled into my motel.  It was hard to fathom that I left Texas and high 90's temperatures only to arrive in Paonia with the same Texas-style temperatures.  I was a little bummed.  I rode to the rally site.  The sights and sounds of the rally grounds were interesting but typical.  I wandered around a bit and then chilled for the rest of the day with dinner in Hotchkiss.

July 27, 2013
  
I awoke on Saturday and tried to figure out what would be best to do for the day.  I talked a little with the boys from LSBMWR who were staying at my same motel.  Jackie and Yeeha Stephen were heading out for breakfast up in ....  Sounded interesting, but I was not sure for the "I'm in".  I could hang out at the rally, ride a long route out near Utah through Gateway, or stay close and wander around the Paonia area.  I settled in on the last option and would ride to Crested Butte for the day.

   
The temperatures were already rising as I took the road to Paonia State Park.  Forest road 12 is paved for a while, but turns into gravel for 14 miles or so.  As I climbed in elevation, the temperatures dropped pleasantly.  This is my third visit to Crested Butte.  Deb and I stayed here with Troy and Susan over July 4th one year.  The parade was a hoot.  It looked like most every resident was in the parade.


   
I took the lead of the lazy dog and settled in at the Eldo on the patio and watched the crowd below slowly walk the main street.  I talked with Totu for over an hour.  He's a local that used to live here doing carpentry.  He split up with his wife a couple of years ago and was here to collect his final belongings to take down to his land outside of Pagosa Springs.  Interesting character.

   
The clouds started hiding the sun, so I decided I had better make it down the mountain before the rain hit the dirt road I had to travel back to Paonia.  I was stopped for a short while to photograph the aspens, and I heard a car slide to a stop.  I looked around and saw a burly man getting out of the car.  Sam Hill is a coal mine inspector that was taking a couple of days off to drive as many dashed-line roads as possible in Colorado.  He was heading towards Crested Butte and asked me which route to take out of there.  I suggested Cottonwood Pass, another gravel road with great views of the mountains.  We parted, and I rode back into Paonia through scattered showers.

   
Totu told me about Revolution Brewery, located in an old house right near downtown Paonia.  Sounded like a great late-afternoon way to chill and watch the afternoon thunderstorm pass through.  I walked later that evening to the Flying Fork for a great Salmon dinner.

July 28, 2013
   
This was a wet morning.  Very wet.  I looked at the radar and tried to time my departure out of Paonia between the heavy showers.  I wanted to ride up through Aspen and over Independence Pass.  Even though I left Paonia in light rain, I caught the stormy weather again over McClure Pass.  Large rocks were everywhere on the highway, brought down the mountainside by the rain.  I had to watch oncoming traffic carefully to make sure the drivers saw the obstacles and slowed instead of swerving to avoid them.

  
The temperatures dropped into the high 30's as I ascended the 12,000 foot road over Independence Pass.  It was raining and the wind was brisk.  Not a place to hang around for a while...  I still love the mountains even in rough weather.  The rain and clouds touching the peaks add an element of challenge.

    
I continued on through Buena Vista and east on the busy but fun Hwy 50.  I took my traditional County Rd 1a to intersect Hwy 69 to Westcliffe.  This valley is one of my favorite places in Colorado.  Usually the clouds nestle over the Sangre de Cristo range just to the west of the valley, leaving clear skies over Westcliffe.  Today it was wet all the way through the valley and into the town.  I have my heart set on a buffalo burger at Hoag Malone's, but found it had closed down.  I ate at the grill next door, and sure missed Hoag's.  I saw Robert Halenda across the road and talked for a bit.  He had just returned from Paonia.  His "store" and loft residence is an eclectic paradise.

    
South of Westcliffe, the skies cleared for a dry ride for a while.  Just as I was riding out of town, I heard on satellite radio that JJ Cale had passed away on Friday.  Dang... that was sad to hear.  I rode on thinking about all of the music that I had grown up to and still listen to.  I checked the ETA to Raton, and it looked early in the afternoon.  Not much to do there, so I decided to take an excursion to Cuchara, up on the Spanish Peaks.  I saw on the GPS a short-cut that I totally underestimated the length of.  What I thought was going to be about 7 miles turned into 14, and very wet and slippery in sections.  So, after 30 minutes of high pucker-factor, I was back on pavement heading to Cuchara and more rain...  But it was all good, except for the heavy rain... Everything was getting soaked on the ride into Raton.  Oh well...  I pulled into the cabin at Raton and unpacked the bike.  The temperature was nice.  I just beat the storm I rode through in Colorado.  The rain on the rooftop was nice for sleep.

July 29, 2013 
  
Clear skies and crisp temperatures greeted me when I opened the door from the cabin to look out over the valley to the east of Raton.  Thank God.  This had been one of the wettest ride I have done in years, and much of my gear was still wet.  I dried my gloves in the morning sun and packed the bike.

  
I consider the trip from northern New Mexico to the Dallas metromess a day-long commute.  There's not much exciting to speak about through the Panhandle and along the Red River on 287.  It's the price we pay for living in the middle of North Texas and the love moto-riders have for the technical mountain roads in our adjoining states.  It was good to get back to Deb and our comfortable home.  It's time to plan the next ride...

Rest in Peace, J.J. (December 5, 1938 to July 26, 2013)  I enjoyed your music all through my life and your music continues to live.

NTNOA Antique Bike Show at Strokers

June 30, 2013

Yesterday was a total bust...  I put my gear on early in the morning to join some club riders in Tyler for breakfast, and pulled Katrina out of the garage.  I flipped the switch on the GPS and noticed that the screen did not come on.  I looked closer and saw the switch was now in the "0" position.  That's not good.  Obviously I left the GPS power up a couple of weeks back when I went to the LSBMWR meeting.  Dead battery now.  Real dead.  So, I put the charger on the battery and went upstairs to offload Mark's route for the ride so I could join later.  I pulled the netbook out from under my recliner to fire up Mapsource, and found that I had earler effectively crushed the screen with the recliner hardware.  Not a good Saturday at all...  Took care of all of the middle-age senility casualties through the rest of the day, and was still ready for some kind of moto event for the weekend.

Rick Fairless' Strokers was hosting a bike show Sunday afternoon, so that's the ticket.  I wound up running into a lot of the club boys at the event.  We enjoyed the mix of eclectic crowd and eclectic bikes.

    
  



2013 Heart of Texas 12-Hour Endurance Rally

The Prologue...

Work has been way too busy...  I was at the annual HIMSS conference in New Orleans.  We're buying hospitals and merging with other healthcare systems.  Connected medical equipment continues to tweak my mind in a friggin' complicated manner.  My personal life has been busy also, in a good way.  A couple of weekends back, Deb and I were out in Malibu on the beach visiting friends.  Last weekend I was in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas watching the inaugural MotoGP.  I've been tied up with a Healthcare IT certification course.  So, it's time to put in a substantial ride - James Stovall's Heart of Texas 12-hour endurance rally.  But, there's hardly any time to plan.  What the heck.

I got the rally packet on Wednesday with the bonus list.  But, I can't really take the time to look at it until Thursday during a quick lunch break.  There's a progressive bonus for this year.  Visit each of the specified locations in the list aligning with 2013 Heart of Texas, and 500 points magically appear.  This was an obvious objective to meet.  All of the letters required a single location for each  But, I'm confused a bit.  There's only 4 locations listed for "2013", and if one were to attempt this, it would be around 950 miles.  That alone would likely land someone in jail for an attempt in 12 hours.  .  Wayne says "Chill... it's OK.  Hwy 2013 or the finish at 2013 Bridge St in Brady will satisfy that.".  So, I keep putting together a route.  I wanted to keep it simple, considering how busy things have been lately.  I was wanting to leave from my house on Saturday and ride to Emory for the first progressive bonus letter location.  But, that next hop would be a long distance of non-productive riding.  I kept looking...  I wound up with a ~590 mile route starting in Early (appropriate start), and wrapping around the Hill Country through some awesome roads to end in Brady.  Screw the competitive factor.  It would be a great ride regardless of the outcome.  I finished up work a bit early on Friday and headed home to pack the bike and ride to Brownwood.


April 27, 2013

The Classic Inn in Early was a great value with clean rooms, friendly owner and a reasonable price.  Not to mention internet service that was actually good.  The ride down Friday was fine, with nothing but miles on the back roads where possible.  I slept well and awoke at 5:00 to look over the final bonuses that James sent out.  The first was to find fuel in 4 cities beginning with the letter "I".  Yeah, right...  Forget that one.  The second was to find a moto cop to photo with my rally flag.  That might be a bit hard considering my back road route I had devised.  The third was to photograph at least 5 firemen wearing their helmets behind my moto with one holding my rally flag.  This was to honor the fallen firemen in the West explosion.  That could be tough as well...

The previous night when I rolled into town, I had partially filled my tank to check the time stamp of the Valero.  It looked fine.  So I returned to the same pump this morning to get my starting receipt.  I looked at the time, and 6:00:37 looked OK, so I headed down the highway a mile or so to the first bonus location, The Early historic marker.  That was an appropriate starting point...

  
Early - 20 Points

I headed north towards Sidney and Olin.  The morning air was crisp, and the sky to the east was turning interesting shades of dark blue.

 
Sidney - 25 Points                                     Olin - 20 Points

The small communities of Sidney and Olin were the next stops to document.  The sun continued to rise and illuminate a really interesting farm road with many turns to keep the mind sharp.  I rode east a bit more and then turned south to head for the Hill Country.



    
There was a strange weather thing going on as I rode south towards Fairy.  To my east was a cool air mass, and to the west warm air.  I traversed this line several times going between fog and clearer skies.  It almost looked like the severe weather lines that move in from the west spawning tornadoes, but these were calm early morning low-hanging clouds.

     
Fairy - 45 Points                                          Adamsville - 45 Points

 
Oatmeal - 50 Points

The road to Oatmeal was more like an alley.  It was once a county road (4006) that was paved and retained its original width.  I dropped speed a bit and enjoyed it.


Marble Falls Firemen - 250 Points

As I rode through Marble Falls, I remembered the firemen bonus.  I backtracked a bit after finding the fire station on the GPS, and parked my bike out front of the station.  I walked in and explained what I was seeking, and if there were five firemen to photograph with me.  Chief Rankin said he was lucky to have four at any moment.  He counted all of them sitting around a bench having breakfast and was surprised.  They were all very willing to pose for the shot.  I found that some of them had attended the memorial service for the fallen fire fighters at West.

 
Horseshoe Bay - 40 Points                                            Enchanted Rock - 110 Points

I made my way through the slow triathlon traffic in Marble Falls to go on to Horseshoe Bay and Enchanted Rock.  I found later that there was a moto cop near one of the turn-arounds that I never saw.  Dang, 250 points lost...
  
Tarpley - 65 Points                                                           Rio Frio - 75 Points

  
The road to Tarpley and Rio Frio was an absolute blast even though there was some construction going on.  I have never been on it before, but will definitely return.

  
 
Rock Spring - 20 Points                           Telegraph - 20 Points

   
 HeXt - 60 Points                                                                Art - 30 Points

Hext was the stop for an "X".  I had to search a bit for the post office, and almost blew past it as I had to revert to written location description after the GPS coordinates did not yield the right destination.  I did an out and back to visit Art for the final necessary progressive bonus letter.  There was a really nice church in Art.
  

 
   



I made my way into Brady for the final bonus location and to check in before 6:00 PM.  I had ridden 594 miles for the day.  I greeted James and went in to tally the points.  I compared notes with other riders on what they had seen during the day, and went out for BBQ with Paul and Jim.  During dinner I wrestled with returning back home or staying overnight somewhere in Brady or in between.  I decided to ride, but pulled into the Classic Inn at Early after 50 miles in the dark.  The next morning's ride home was pleasant with mild temperaturs and no wind.  Sunday evening, I heard from Karen that I placed 6th overall and gained the most points for the single day points and thus had earned the "Rally Master Award".  That was a surprise!  But regardless of the award, I had a great day of riding and socializing with others afterwards.

Final Results:

1. Rex LeGalley 1875
2. Brian Walters 1820
3. Steve Bracken 1655
4. Rusty Baldwin 1460
5. Ron Milleman 1445
6. Richard Swim 1360
7. Randy McCamey 1275
8. David Trail 1255
9. Paul Tong 1230
10. Jim Orr 1190
11. David Whitford 1160
12. Owen Quarles 715
13. Bobby Kent 580
14. Karl Zuercher 495
15. Donny Phillips 455
16. Rusty Allen 455
17. Cary McCamey 390

20130427HeartofTexasRally at EveryTrail

MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas

April 21, 2013

There's a lot of folks that never thought we would see this day.  The 3.4 mile Circuit of the Americas was barely ready for the F1 race in the fall.  This MotoGP is the inaugural premier motorcycle event in Texas.  I came down Friday to visit my long-time friend, Keith.  He and I were messing around with motorcycles since we were 15 years old back in Abilene.

I rode straight to the track on Friday and met Keith there to scope things out and watch practice.

 

  

 
We stayed around the hill at Turn 1 most of Friday.

 
The sights and sounds at the races are great!

   
The tower in the center of the track is quite impressive.

  
On race day, newcomer Marc Marquez schooled the veterans of the sport.  He took first place from his teammate Danny Pedrosa.

 
I wandered out after the main event while the single cylinder MotoGP Rookies race was underway.  The crowd of 61,000 made their way out as well.  Traffic was slow-going for miles from the track.

 
Keith and I sat behind these couples on Friday during practice.  They were very friendly.


The return home was perfect weather.  The late-afternoon light was nice to ride in.

Photos


20130421MotoGP at EveryTrail


Travis - The Last Ride

March 29, 2013

We buried Travis today in Henderson, TX amongst the blooming Dogwoods and Azaleas.  It was hard.  Travis was way too young at 48 to pass away.  He was taking a ride last Thursday evening with a friend and something was not right.  He stopped his KRS and parked it in the street, and that was it.  His last ride.  It was his time, but way too early in his life...

Travis was a remarkable rider with a great smile and attitude.  Tom said he was the best two-up rider he has ever known.  Tom and Travis spent a lot of time together, first at work and then later riding.  It was likely a network field-related business trip to Bentonville where Tom persuaded Travis to buy a BMW instead of a Harley.  Travis kept his K1200RS immaculately clean.  He made me feel inept at cleaning my own.  Every time I saw him, he had a smile and was happy with life.  Of course, the life I knew of him was around motos, and he loved the sport.


Travis pointing out the shift lever that touched the road on the way to Natchitoches.

I had to attend one of those mandatory meetings at work Thursday morning.  I prepped the bike Wednesday evening and got my riding gear ready.  Thursday morning, I pulled the GPS off of the bike for security while parked at the hospital and heard a pop.  Dang it.  Blew a fuse.  Not enough time to fix it, and there would be no time after leaving the meeting either.  I took a direct route down to Henderson, but still had to search for the funeral home.  I arrived minutes before the service.

The service was nice, and a lot of people turned out to support the family and each other.

 
Jim and I were the only riders on our bikes from the club, but there were several others that showed including Herman and Patti, Charles, Tom and Scott who were also pallbearers.  Travis' son spent some time with us at graveside getting to know all of his dad's riding partners.

I headed towards home wanting to wander some of the East Texas back roads.  But the GPS was out to lunch.  I had to resort to my general sense of direction continuing to ride west and north.  But the clouds messed that idea up quickly.  I even pulled out the paper map to try to figure out where the heck I was around Mineola.  It was fun riding the old 'hood Travis grew up in.  We'll all remember him for the rest of our lives.


Photo - Tom Oliver
Ride the heavens, Travis.



The old-school track log...

Whitewright - November, 2012

November 18, 2012

It was a crisp and sunny beginning to a Sunday, with temperatures in the low 40's on the way up to the Lone Star BMW Riders McKinney ride start.  Bo gave a quick run-down of how the route up to Whitewright would look.  We took an interesting path through some small roads I had not been on before up to CJ's, the traditional breakfast gathering spot for the club.  Headed back to my house to get home in time for the start of the inaugural Formula 1 race at the brand new Circuit of the Americas track in Austin.







20121118Whitewright at EveryTrail


Photos:  https://plus.google.com/photos/114486492519414832705/albums/5812227525885677457

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