Monday, August 29, 2016

NW Wyoming Scenic Mountain Routes for Motorcycles

I've been "itching" for a long day ride on the 1977 Gold Wing for a couple months, but the front brake calipers were sticking. I finally got off my rear and ordered a couple of caliper rebuild kits which arrived last week. Late Saturday I decided to tackle the rebuilds. Everything went without a hitch and in a couple of hours I had functioning front brakes. Had it put together just before dark in my outside "garage".
Prepared the bike late Saturday and hit the road at 7:20 AM Sunday AM without knowing where I was going. Decided to plan my route "on the fly"....
NW Wyoming, heading South, sounded good as the early sun wouldn't be in my eyes.

Stopped at the junction at Fort Rockvale MT. for my first major route decision of the day....Life is a Circus?

Wyoming Highway 14 beckoned me so off to Greybull Wyoming I went. Stopped in Greybull for a quick fuel up and a massive breakfast burrito.....the "gas station burrito" left a lot to be desired....even the hot sauce sucked. But it filled the void. Typically, "gas station burritos" suck...this one was no exception.

Some minor clouds and a LOT of smoke in the air all day. The old bike hit a steady 42 MPG all day long which gives me a total range of 200 miles with the 5 gallons. I have a pair of  one gallon saddle tanks, which replace the side covers. That will boost my range to 280 miles. I will prepare them this Winter and mount them. They are massive tanks and somewhat "angular" which will look a little strange on the bike.  Guess I don't really care what they look like but the maroon (purple?) paint needs to come off first....then a little aluminum fill repair.

Just before Shell Wyoming...looking up towards Shell Canyon.

Red sandstone lump....

Part way up Shell Canyon I stopped for some photos...the above and four photos below are at the same location....kinda gives a panorama of the awesome place....

I covered the next 30 odd miles quickly to Burgess Junction and stopped at Bear Lodge for a quick break. A few other MT. bikers were also there. I thought I recognized one of them, but couldn't place him....right after they pulled out I realized one of them was an old acquaintance that I hadn't seen for 30 years....just didn't recognize him right away....leaving there I was initially headed down the mountain to Dayton WY....but then something inside overtook me and I did a u-turn in the highway and headed back to WY Highway 14A....this mountain road parallels Highway 14 and comes out in Lovell WY.... Don't know why I turned around but I don't question such snap decisions....just meant to be. 

14A is a great mountain road...about 15 miles of variable 10% grades down the behind some older / slower riders and followed them a while as passing wasn't safe. One old fellow looked pretty shaky on his loud Harley....he "squared up" most of the curves / corners. Made me nervous watching him....when I finally was able to pass he disappeared quickly in the rear view mirror. 

Next way point was Powell Wyoming for fuel and refreshment. Decided to take a 19 mile back road I'd never traveled over to Belfry MT. But when I got to the next junction, my bike turned back South towards the Chief Joseph Highway....what the heck it was only 3:00 PM so I had plenty of time for Chief Joseph and then the Beartooth Highway. That stretch would be around 165 miles to the next gas station, within 35 miles of my 200 mile maximum limit. Since gas consumption was stable I knew I'd be fine. 

Top of  "Dead Indian Hill" looking into the Sunlight Basin. Great set of roads ahead...I've ridden it once this year already....time to go again!

Looking SW

Clark Canyon  / Sunlight Basin

Eerie view of a smokey Pilot & Index Peaks.

Stopped at Beartooth lake for 1 minute and a couple photos....temps dropped quickly and the riding jacket liner had to be zipped in. Probably only in the high 40's / low 50's going over the Beartooth Pass....I did not stop for any photos for the remainder of the ride.....focused on getting over the top and down the hill....Arrived in Red Lodge MT at 5:30 PM and took on 4.1 gallons of gas....surprised I didn't have to go on the reserve tank petcock setting....supposed to be a one gallon reserve.Must have been real close. I noticed a faint "bird" sound coming from the lower front of the engine. Figured one of the cam belt idler rollers was going....not much I could do but keep going. Ran 35 miles and stopped.....noise was gone.(?) Still completely quiet when I got home. I'll check them out closer this winter in AZ. as long as the noise doesn't reappear. The idlers were replaced less than 10k miles ago so I'm not too worried. 

A great ride and I covered 452 miles per my never missed a beat. 
I see the National Gold Wing Riders Association is having their National "Wing Ding" in Billings this week.  They say 11000 - 12000 riders are supposed to attend....that's a LOT of Gold Wings. Working 10 - 12 hours a day doesn't leave much weekday time but maybe I'll try to check it out if I can.  Most the later model Gold Wing riders seem to "look down their nose" at first generation Gold Wings like mine from my past experiences....But then I guess it doesn't have 150 pounds of chrome, 250 pounds of farings, and 50 pounds of

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Annual Beartooth Beemers Rally 2016

Decided to attend the 17th. annual Beertooth Beemers Rally this year. Took a Friday off work. I've only taken a couple of  Summer leisure days off in the 15 seasons I've worked for this company.
The weather forecast was looking very poor the previous week. A friend of mine dissuaded me from not attending due to foul weather. I committed to attend regardless of any bad weather. As things worked out the weather was fine....hit some light rain going over on Friday AM but that was the extent of the "storm". Folks at the rally Thursday night had to deal with a few good rain storms, but they were short lived.

                              ("Left Click" on images to enlarge)

The final aftermath of the clouds were burning off as I approached the campground. Photo is about 10 miles out, The campsite sits right at the base of the Beartooth Highway.

Clouds vanished and the days were clear. Down to near 30* Friday night but my gear is good and didn't suffer a bit.

Heard that about 120 riders attended. 

Lots of various bikes there. I liked the 1977 K1 - 750 Honda 4. 

Buddy Rex showed up with his newly setup R75/6 with "Pop Dreyer Racer" sidecar.

Cool "knock off" Dreyer Racer sidecar wheel hub.

He's using a 3 - point "ball & socket" mounting setup. Each attachment point has a built in lever....that allows him to disconnect the light sidecar in a couple of minutes and ride solo when he wants. 

Bob C.'s beautiful 1978 R100S. There were quite a few Airheads present....I counted 15 one time....more came and went.

Sidecar friend Paul S. from Colorado was there with four or five riding buddies...."The Inconsiderate Bastards".  I had a great time hanging with them for a while each afternoon.
 Haven't laughed so much for quite a while.  

Friend Paul S..... also rides a K-Bike sidecar (above). Paul lost a leg years back. He is a testament to toughness. A very intelligent fellow with great stories to tell. He amazed me with his intimate knowledge of so many different topics.

The rally is scheduled again for next year. The Lions Camp folks are great hosts and fed us well with good food and plenty of it. I will plan on attending again next year!

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.