Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

COMPLETED: Journey to the Center of the Universe

Trips/trails in the western part of the U.S. (loosely follows the Mountain Time Zone).
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COMPLETED: a completed trip
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by Wahugg » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:16 pm

PLANNING: Journey to the Center of the Universe

... at least to the unofficial center! (This will be made clear further down)

The What
Due to recent life events I've decided that this summer is my time to make my giant dash back out West. I have too many daydreams about revisiting places and getting out into the element that makes me feel at home. The purpose of this thread is to post my intentions and get suggestions from you fellow adventures as situations permit. As of now this is being planned to be a solo trip but this is likely to change as I keep thinking of the circumstances.

The Where and When
Tentatively it will be a Northern/ Central route and take place during the first two weeks of August; 08-01-2015 through 08-15-2015. The tentative route is below:

Image

1. Columbus OH (Start Point)
2. Twin Cites, MN (Meal with a friend)
3. Glacier National Park, MT
4. Wallace, ID (Which is the ‘unofficial’ center of the universe, hence the title)
5. Bozeman, MT
6. West Yellow Stone, MT (Meal with a friend)
7. Yellow Stone, WY
8. Tetons, WY
9. Mount Rushmore, SD
10. Omaha, NE (Meal with a friend)
11. Columbus, OH

The main goals here are to minimize freeway travel as much as possible. I travel them too often and driving to the last TECORE via back roads was fantastic and re-affirmed my decision. Then again this may change while I’m driving through all the flat states to get to the mountains. I've planned for about 400 miles a day and have included 2 days of rest that I will take as I please. This trip is also on a budget, more or less for the challenge therefor I have planned on camping every night weather permitting except for my two days of rest.

The Vehicle
The first major twist to this story is that the journey will not be taking place in my beloved Trailblazer but rather on my new set of wheels, a Suzuki SV650N. I picked it up the other week for a slew of reasons, mainly being MPG, it being a life dream, and I found a great deal. The person who I purchased it off of was an engineer who took meticulous care of it saving all the receipts. With only 12800 miles and a set of new tires, she is ready to go with plenty of life left in her. I only got to ride it for a day before the snow and the cold came therefor it is currently winterized in the storage loft. Unfortunately during my haste I forgot to take too many pictures of quality, so I included a stock photo for better reference.

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What now? Now I'd appreciate any feed back and suggestions on places to stop and see along my tentative route. Maybe even suggestions on the route itself. I understand that I might not get full support here since I am not driving a GMT360 and offroading is not my goal, but I figured I'd share my plans with everyone and get suggestions as this crowd has wise words.

-Wahugg
Last edited by Wahugg on Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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by DirtyBacon04 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:55 pm

damn, i thought at first this was going to be an offroad trip and i was wanting to tag along...
timeline would've been off by like 2 weeks. my trip will start the second week of Aug. There's no way i'd be able to get up there in time.
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by Trail X » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:42 pm

My only suggestion is to take your time. Don't try to inhale too much, because you end up wishing you had spent a bit more time here or there.

Also, where you can easily drive for nearly 14 hours at once in a car - I think that's much more difficult on a bike. I don't know the ideal seat time, but I can almost guarantee you are going to want to break it into smaller pieces with a few breaks to stretch your legs.
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by maricard » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:20 am

I did this kind of bike trip. I sold my V-strom last here but I keep a lot of good time in my mind.
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I went to Boston by the east coast and I went to White Mountains.
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Image

Image

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I loved my trip with my girlfriend.
6 days (5 camping-1 hotel)
a lot of miles
2 days near the beachs of New england
2 days in Boston
2 days in Mountains
And a lot of fun.
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by Wahugg » Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:09 pm

DirtyBacon04 wrote:damn, i thought at first this was going to be an offroad trip and i was wanting to tag along...
timeline would've been off by like 2 weeks. my trip will start the second week of Aug. There's no way i'd be able to get up there in time.


Sorry to disappoint Bacon. I would have pushed this off a week or two to accompany you on the highway bits but school starts during your time frame.

Trail X wrote:My only suggestion is to take your time. Don't try to inhale too much, because you end up wishing you had spent a bit more time here or there.

Also, where you can easily drive for nearly 14 hours at once in a car - I think that's much more difficult on a bike. I don't know the ideal seat time, but I can almost guarantee you are going to want to break it into smaller pieces with a few breaks to stretch your legs.


Thanks for the input James. This trip is already a trimmed down version of what I really wanted to do (go all the way out to Seattle and cut down the coast to San Francisco). Many of the places I am going are a re-visit for myself and I am into this trip for the drive and the spontaneous adventures it brings more than anything. I also totally agree with you regarding how many hours I can do at once on a bike. There are ways to limit fatigue such as getting a softer seat, a proper wind screen, and lowering the pegs (for us taller folk) but you are correct that riding takes more out of you than driving. That is why I've opted for 400 miles a day. Thats about 7-8 hours of driving. I can drive that long extremely comfortably in a car so I am hoping it is a good guess for comfortability riding on a bike. I'll be able to fine tune this when I take some weekend trips before hand.

maricard wrote:I did this kind of bike trip. I sold my V-strom last here but I keep a lot of good time in my mind.

I loved my trip with my girlfriend.
6 days (5 camping-1 hotel)
a lot of miles
2 days near the beachs of New england
2 days in Boston
2 days in Mountains
And a lot of fun.


Those a great pictures Maricard! The 650/1000 series bikes have a great reputation for their reliability and versatility. I can't wait to take my own time and ride on these great machines.

Thank you all

-Wallace
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by DirtyBacon04 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:52 am

7-8 hours per day on a bike is going to be rough on your ass. My uncle is retired and puts about 30-40k miles per year on his bike. He says by the third day of the road trip, you develop a hatred for your bike. Yet he still rides all the time.... tows a lil pop up camper too. Retired life must be good.
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by Wahugg » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:18 pm

Again, life events has dictated changes to my plans for this trip. First off I was offered an accepted a position to be an RA for next year. Finically this makes me independent which is amazing, and this will only further help my resume/ life skills. However it means I need to move in to college two weeks earlier, the same two weeks I was originally planning to take this trip. Additionally the desire to push out to the west coast has over come me.

The result?

July 5- July 25
6400 Miles
17 States

Image

(Rough Layout)

I am disappointed with the time frame. July will be hot and there will be a lot of tourists but it's either then or not at all.

More to follow.

-Wallace
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by DirtyBacon04 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:23 pm

The Marine in me wants to point out that your route looks like a penis...

That is all.
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by Wahugg » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:32 pm

Well it's been finished!

8900 miles and 17 days later I've returned home. I'll break everything out day by day next week, but for now I think this video will work well.

Cheers!

(Watch it in HD!)



-Wallace
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by Eredin » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:15 pm

Thanks freaking awesome! You captured some amazing footage. I'd love to take my GTA (or other said future high HP car) and do this, but we just had a kid, so yea...
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by TBYODA » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:26 am

Nice Wallace!
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by BC backroader » Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:18 am

Great edit of the ride, Wahugg. I'm jealous!
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by AA1PR » Sat Jul 25, 2015 7:32 am

epic, great to see the PNW I havent been there since 1984
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by bartonmd » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:54 am

That's a really cool trip! And on a naked SV650? Ah, to be young again...

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by Wahugg » Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:37 am

Day One + Info
July 5, 2015

As per my usual tendencies, I woke up early to start packing the morning of. I hate packing my things away days before hand as I often need them during that time. For thoroughness or to answer any curiosities I packed the following items:

Tank Bag
-Lighter
-Pen + paper
-Liter of water
-Head flashlight
-Passport/ Cash / Paperwork
-DSLR
-Go Pro case + accessories
-Spare batteries, cables, chargers, etc.
-Some granola bars (easy to eat while on a motorcycle)
-Cold weather/ waterproof riding gloves
-Sweater
-Paper map of the day
-Phone

Yellow Water Tight Bag
-Tent (Marmot Limelight 3p)
-Sleeping Bag (Sierra Designs Backcountry 600)
-Sleeping Pad (Field & Stream 1.5in inflatable Long pad)
-Camping Chair (Alite Mantis)
-Day Pack (Osprey 22L)
-Laptop
-Motorcycle Rain Gear

Saddle Bags
-First Aid Kit (home made)
-Spare fuel (MSR 30 OZ canister)
-Rope
-TP and tissues
-Food (mostly canned or freezer dried)
-Liter of Water
-Duct Tape
-Toiletries
-Flip Flops
-Clothing
-Winter Jacket
-Misc Hiking gear

Also a tripod was strapped on the back.

Seems like a lot right!? I thought I was over packing at first so a few items didn't even make it into the bags such as my mess kit and MSR Whisper light stove, but I opted to take the fuel canister as a small fuel reserve for the bike (the MSR is a multi fuel stove including gasoline). However the trip proved to need most everything.

Other modifications /preparations for this trip is as follows.

-Installation of a usb socket up front to keep my phone charged
-Installation of a 12v socket under the rear seat to charge other items while driving (spare camera batteries, laptop, sena, etc)
-Installation of a Michelin Pilot Road 4 tire up front, and a Michelin Pilot Road 3 tire in the rear
-I had a machine shop custom fab some aluminum brackets to lower the footpegs 1.5" and bring them to the rear .30" due to my long legs
-Installation of a Sena SMH10 unit for the helmet (For music and navigation if desired)

That's it! No windscreen and I just had the standard stock seat. I figured the years of riding horses had trained by butt, and how windy could it really get? :raspberry:

So Day One!

Start: Ashville Ohio
Destination: Kirkwood Missouri
Miles: 450 Miles

Image

The trip started to a great day; 77 degrees, little to no wind, perfect riding weather! Driving was pretty uneventful due to the flat nature of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. While driving I encountered several stretches of construction but NONE were as annoying as Illinois. They would post a sign warning of construction 50 MILES ahead of time, and restated this fact roughly every 10 miles. Why?! It seemed so unnecessary and caused some unneeded congestion around each sign. Once at Saint Louis I unloaded my gear at my friends house and she took me to explore the city. We saw the arch (the wait was over two hours to get inside so we opted out) and saw the Zoo at Forest Park (which is beautiful and FREE!). Afterwords I grilled out pork steaks, potatoes, and some shrimp. If that wasn't good enough she treated me some Ted Drew's frozen custard where we met up with even more friends. Later we retired watching none other than Indiana Jones. It was a perfect evening.


Unfortunately for day One and day two I didn't take many pictures or record at all. These were haul ass days so I could spend as much time out west as possible. However there are a few...

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Packing the bike up before departure.


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Locked and loaded


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Away I go!


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Only picture I took while in Saint Louis.
Last edited by Wahugg on Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by Wahugg » Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:56 am

Day Two
July 6, 2015

Start: Kirkwood Missouri
Destination: Denver Colorado
Miles: 842 Miles

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Just thinking about the next 13 hours of my life made it hard to want to wake up Monday morning. After a big breakfast and saying goodbyes I was on my way out west. The drive wasn't too bad at first. Missouri offered some decent scenery and topography. I hit Kansas and was thrilled as my cruising speed went up to 85, but was less than thrilled when my mpg went from 50mpg to 28. Oh well, such is life. Kansas wasn't too bad for the first 2 hours. Again it had decent scenery and topography. I let myself get tricked that maybe Kansas wasn't so flat after all..... HA! The next 8 or so hours were sooooo flat. Even Colorado was until I got to Denver (really the flatness didn't end till I got west of Denver). I did get rained on a good bit through the western half of Kansas. The winds were insane but sturdy tires and the extra weight kept me planted well. Great way to test out the rain gear for later on in the trip....

Some interesting notes from that day: I passed Fort Riley, home of the 1st Infantry (Big Red One) and pulled over to try and get a picture of all the Osprey on the tarmac. However before I could even think about getting the lens cover off my camera a Kansas Trooper had pulled behind me to politely make me aware that I could only pull over for emergencies and that pictures were discouraged. Alright, point made. Something else I found interesting were all the gates and "Freeway closed, must exit now if flashing" signs. After a little research I discovered that its to close the freeways down during bad winter storms. Some other far out sources say that they really are for temporary runways to ground plans quickly in a 'no fly' event. I think that might be a bit far stretched. :hmm:

The ONLY picture from that day.

Image
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by Wahugg » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:58 pm

Day Three
July 7, 2015

Start: Denver Colorado
Destination: Vernal Utah
Miles: 400

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Wednesday morning came and it was much easier to get up this time as I would finally get to be in the mountains! But then I saw the radar :wallbash: It was predicted to rain on me while I was at Rocky National and a few other times throughout the day. Oh well. At least I could get a good view of Denver in the daylight... NOT. It was smoggy as could be! It reminded me a lot of Beijing from the China trips. Lot of cement, freeways, traffic, and smog. I actually didn't get to see the downtown despite taking the freeway right next to it :cry: I was also taken aback at how much a metropolis Denver really was. It honestly almost felt like a punch in the stomach. I had imagined Denver being this grand city I wanted to live in (which I'm sure it is), but after that morning my mind had changed. I took the freeway up to Loveland to escape the concrete jungle and to stop for a new turn signal light bulb that had shorted out in the heavy rains the day before.

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After getting some fuel I headed West on Route 34... through the smog.... seeing nothing until I actually stumbled into the mountains. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction. The road carved right through the rocks, along a stream, and was twisty! :thumleft:

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As I gained more elevation the smog gave away to fog as indicated by the condensation starting to form on my helmet visor, and it was much prettier to look at.

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Rocky Mountain Park was absolutely beautiful.... I entered the park via Fall River Road which brings you by this amazing tundra area before shooting you up the mountains via some switch backs. There was a slight drizzle as I would pass through pockets of fog/ clouds and saw spectacular views. I wouldn't had wanted it any other way honestly. It was quite humbling. There was the peacefulness of a rainy day rolled into the spectacular views of the park. But then mother natures said screw that, turning the rain into hail. :poke: The hail didn't hurt that bad and it didn't accumulate on the roads due to their slope and angle. So I pressed on, getting these pictures in the process.

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Soon I exited the park and made my way along route 40 towards Vernal Utah. Things started to get more arid and brown looking, but due to the rain I didn't stop and get too many pictures.

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I rolled into Vernal around 7:30 and found a $50 hotel room to dry my rain gear and boots out. All the cargo stayed dry but I was slightly damp. Hours in the rain makes even the best gear get saturated. It was an amazing day but I felt robbed by Colorado. Denver was not my dream city, I didn't get to see the vast mountains due to the fog and smog, and the vibe I got from the people wasn't quite what I was expecting. Someday I want to go back and see if I can clear this all up but I no longer think Colorado is where I'd like to end up when I'm older.
Last edited by Wahugg on Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by Wahugg » Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:41 pm

Day Four
July 8, 2015

Start: Vernal Utah
Destination: Ely Nevada
Miles: 406

Image

I woke up to a warm day, but dry! There were a few systems further north that didn't look like they'd swing down my way (or so I thought). My bike had eaten some oil from the days previous. I wouldn't blame it, 7k rpm for 1000+ miles is sure to eat half a quart. Therefor my first destination was the closest motosports store that stocked amsoil.... 100+ miles away. I didn't mind as this trip is all about being spontaneous and not having any set plans. Note that I did have a spare half quart under my rear seat and this oil stop was simply to replace that spare oil. No slacking on being prepared. :happy whip:

The drive took me through Ashley National Forest which again was beautiful in its own right. The road went carving along the base of the mountains passing cows, oil wells, and tumble weed alike.

Image

A few notes at this point.
1. Tumble weed are fun to hit! You feel nothing and they just explode! After figuring this out I would laugh as RV's would come to a crawl to maneuver around them.

2. National Forests need a better motto than "A Land of Many Uses". Come on US government! I'm paying you taxes, work a little harder and come up with better motto's!

3. Some engineers are dumb. It had started to rain and I was coming around a tight curve when HOLY HELL there was a cattle grid in the sharpest point of the curve. Rubber, metal, and rain = no traction, especially when I'm learning over hard into this curve. I slowed as fast as I could and hit the cattle grid when my wheels started to slide out on me.....

Well I must have found the point where I was going slow enough that I didn't wipe out instantly but had enough momentum to keep me going over the cattle grid and catch traction on the other side. Somehow my wheels started to push out on me but caught grip as I went back onto the asphalt with out throwing me off. I think a little poo came out during that moment but I didn't crash and kept going. Form that point on I was paranoid on any turn where I didn't get a good look of the whole stretch ahead of time. I still can't figure out why they didn't put the cattle grid on the straight sections before or after the curve, or why there was NO warning sign like every other cattle grid out west.

I continued down into Helper Utah and was able to find my oil, and a HECK of a lunch! The lady at the motosports store recommend a place in town called the Balance Rock Eatery and I'm sure happy I took her advice. For only $10.00 including a 18%ish tip, I got a huge piece of grilled chicken, provolone cheese, bacon, mushroom, a large portion of home cut fries, and their house sauce was spot on (Maybe a mixture of mayo, ketchup and thousand island). I'll let the pictures do the justice here.

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Once I had re-fueled and saddled up I started to head north on route 6, planning on taking it all the way through the south end of Provo, eventually into Ely. After a few miles I noticed a little asphalt road that seemed to call to me. After confirming with the atlas that it was indeed a road I decided to take it and cut directly west. It started off as Route 96 but somehow ended as route 31 when I got into Fairview. Of the entire trip this was the best stretch of road, and it is where I would like to own a few acres of land. The road brings you into low, green plains next to a lake. This whole area is surrounded by mountains and the road gracefully brings you towards them till you're carving through some switch backs in pure bliss. Like the plains below the mountain is covered in pine trees, bushes, green grasses, and flowers. Near the top I saw an interesting conveyor system that took coal right from the mine shaft to a power plant hugging a small level spot. At the top I found a gravel road that took me to the summit and gave a spectacular view.

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Compare these pictures to the first one in the post. Notice how dirastically different the landscape is? These two sites are literally and HOUR MAX away from each other. I really respect Utah's diverse and quickly changing landscape. Utah honestly felt like how I expected Colorado to feel.... Awed.

The rest of the day was spent just taking in the scenery and enjoying the thoughts in my head. Things started to get more aired west of Delta, and became a lot less populated than I thought it already was. These pictures were taken in the most western half of Utah / the most eastern half of Nevada along US 6.

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Again, compare these pictures to the ones I have posted earlier. These are all taken in the same day within a few hours of one another. It really blows my mind and humbles me to have been somewhere as diverse as this area. I literally was blown away as I was not expecting this at all.

I rolled into Ely on fumes! I ended up putting 4.4 gallons into a 4.5 gallon tank with a dent. I don't think I've ever been as nerve racked (my spare 30oz will only get me a few more miles). After re-fueling I rolled into the local KOA and set up camp. I didn't feel like hitting the town up for food so I broke out some of my canned rations and enjoyed the view.

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Later I fell asleep to the rumbling of thunder and the soft taps of rain. End day four.
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by Wahugg » Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:55 pm

Day Five
July 9, 2015

Start: Ely Nevada
Destination: Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, Yosemite California
Miles: 321 Miles

Image

What a wet day. I slept in till 9:00 and didn't leave till 10:00 in order to get my tent dried out decently under the morning sun. Ely wasn't much to shake a stick at so after a quick coffee I was on my way. For the most part the day was pretty uneventful till I got to California. I went through some beautiful mountains in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, but otherwise there was a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of praying that I made it to the next gas station without running dry. The only real thing of interest in Nevada was passing some peculiar Department of Energy Buildings set back off the road aways. Having said that it was all beautiful and amazing, just much of the same on roads that were long, straight, and un populated. I'm not joking when I say that I could probably count on my fingers how many cars passed me till I got west of Benton.

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Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

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The rest of Nevada

As I neared California I saw it.... a huge, towering, thunder cell waiting to rip loose. Literally just before I encountered this lovely Gem I hit the California border and went through a check point. Upon pulling in the officer asked if I had any agricultural produce or such. I replied no and then he asked me to get off the bike. "Here we go" I thought. Turns out he was just pulling my leg. He saw the storm coming and offered for me to sit it out in his office drinking some coffee. I happily obliged but after an hour of waiting I had to push on. At least what seemed like the worst of the storm had past, but I still ended up getting rained on with the temperatures dropping quite fast.

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(Note the wall of rain in the background)

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After pushing on further I left the rain behind and went through this wonderful forest surrounding mono lake. It was spectacular!!!!.... Until I pulled into Lee Vining and had to pay $4.30 a gallon of gas, a far cry from the $2.45 I had just payed in the middle of no where Nevada.

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After getting fuel I started up to Tioga pass to get into Yosemite. It started to rain again, then hail, and it got quite cold. Somehow my Gopro stopped recording this part and I only captured what the snow looked like a few miles after the pass. The pass had at least a foot of snow up there! It was the last thing I was expecting to see in the middle of July but then again the altitude does lots for the weather.

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The rain was unrelenting and the temperatures were continuing to drop so I thought about trying to get a room in the park somewhere. I'm not naive; Yosemite is a popular location with little lodging and lots of people. I figured I be lucky if I found a room in the park for $200+. The first place I pulled off to was Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. It and all of the 'cabins' are actual canvas tents with an aluminum frame. Really quite interesting! Anyways, I go into the lobby and explain my situation to the clerk and he confirmed my worst fears... the park was full. I thanked him for checking and was turning away when his manager told me to wait a second and she came over to talk with me. This location kept a couple of canvas tents set aside incase any of the others sprang a leak or became uninhabitable for reserved guests. She told me that if I waited around for everyone to check in and there were no issues, I could have one of these extra tents. DEAL!! Best part was it only cost $150. I later found out this was $20 cheaper than any other hotel I might have found vacancy at outside the park and that I had bypassed a year long waitlist to stay at the lodge. I spent that evening drying my gear out, warming myself by the wooden stove in my tent, and I fell asleep cozy and full under a thick wool blanket.

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This was by far the coldest, wettest day of the entire trip.
Wahugg
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by Wahugg » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:32 am

Day Six
July 10, 2015

Start: Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, Yosemite California
Destination: Timber Cover California
Miles: 498 Miles

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I awoke to the smell of hot plastic in my tent, an odd and unpleasant way to wake up. The clothes line I had stung in my cabin had fallen down due to the half-ass knot I tied to secure it (in my defense I was tired and cold the day before). My rain jacket had fallen on top of the wood stove which fortunately only melted the zipper, and burned a small hole towards to bottom of the jacket. At least the jacket wasn't a total loss but it's ability to keep out water well was gone and I shuddered thinking about the rain from days previous and what could lie ahead in my trip.

I headed out early due to my unscheduled burning coat alarm clock and I got to enjoy Yosemite as everything was still waking up. It rained briefly as I descended back through the clouds but that was alright as there was beauty everywhere. I'll let the pictures speak to that.

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After a little exploration the traffic started to pick up, and the overpriced fuel in the park (on top of the already high cali price) made me head towards the coast. As I left the park into the Central California Valley signs of the severe drought became apparent. It looked like the slightest spark would set the whole place ablaze!

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Since I had started the day earlier than I expected, I decided to head South around the bay through San Jose to get into San Francisco. This is where being a motorcycle really shined! I was able to use the car pool lane and even lane split if that was backed up! It was quite an uneasy feeling at first but after a few miles it became second nature. Once I was in the city I had to give up lane splitting due to the tight quarters and my large saddle bags. I drove around downtown a little to get a feel for the city and soon tried to make my way to the Golden Gate bridge.... note the word tried. I spent over an hour traveling 2 miles on the side of a hill due to major construction on the entrance to the North bound lane of the Golden Gate. Imagine shoving four lanes of traffic through just one during rush hour. Yeah not fun. It's also nice to note that there is no toll going out of the city on the bridge. Soon I was on my way again and I took the first exit North of the bridge to get on the famous Route 1. What a beautiful drive! So many curves, diverse landscape, and polite drivers. Cars, Rv's, and even other motorcycles would pull over to let faster traffic (myself) pass and take the curves aggressively.

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I had spent more time than I anticipated navigating the construction in San Francisco so I bumped over to the 101 to make up for this. It was going great until I pulled into Ukiah to get gas. I reached into my pocket expecting to grab a wallet and all I got was a receipt from the last gas station in Jenner.... Whoops!! Like any traveller I keep some spare money elsewhere on me so a total disaster was avoided. After calling the last gas station to confirm my wallet was there, I grudgingly headed back to retrieve it. At this point my camping plans were unrealistic and I drove up Route 1 trying to figure out where to sleep for the night as darkness set in. Fortunately the answer to my woes was right around the corner, literally. I came around a blind corner and almost ran smack into back of a stopped car in the middle of the lane with no lights on what so ever. The driver waved me over and it turned out to be a young guy who's car suddenly lost all electrical power and stopped responding to inputs. There was a heavy acrid smell in the air and as he popped the hood the roughly idling engine died. A good samaritan pulled over to attempt a jump but after just 30 seconds the jumper cables were hot to the touch. Something was seriously wrong with this kids electrical system. I have AAA gold and called a tow truck to bring the car to a shop but it would be over an hour before it got there. I parked my bike and with the hazards on behind his car to increase visibility.

The picture below perfectly captured the mood when I stumbled upon the kid.

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We chatted for a while and it turned out this 'kid' was older than me by 4 years and had decided to move out to California to live with a few buddies. He had graduated with a Mech E degree and made some mad money working for an oil company in the Appalachians for a few years. After acquiring a nest egg he decided to move out to live in the bay area with some friends, whom he was on his way to meet at a private beach before his car hit the dust. Soon the tow truck arrived and brought the car to the shop. The kid offered to let me spend the night with all his buddies at the beach for helping him out, solving my sleeping accommodations. That night was filled with meeting some greats guys, excellent beer, delicious bbq, and the sounds of the ocean. End a BUSY day 6.
Wahugg
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