Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 15 and 16, POSTED August 17, NO PHOTOS YET

August 15, Sunday

We all got up and it was one of those incredibly beautiful Alaskan days; the kind we wait entire winters to see. The night before, Harvey had said he was planning to ride up to meet us. We'd checked the weather and Fairbanks was going to be nice, so we told him we were coming home via Fairbanks. So his plan was to leave at about 6:30 a.m., heading in our direction.

The weather person had not disappointed us, and we were going to take advantage of the day. The group left about 8 a.m. from Tok, on our way to Fairbanks. The weather was cooperating so well that our leathers were way too hot, and we started shedding clothes.

Roadrunner (Rebecca) brought the headset Mike Sweet had given me to Tok so I could check it out. Dave and Tom showed me how to connect and use it. Wow, it's fun to have. And they really are useful for passing, indicating things in or near the road, and so on. I am impressed with the thing. Can't believe I'm into so many new things this year … laptop, blog, CB headset. Guess some old girl dogs can learn a few new tricks.

We stopped in Fairbanks for gas, to lighten our load of clothing on our backs even more, and to visit the Harley shop. It was a promising day, and later I heard it was also a record breaker, 91 degrees. Oh yeah. Had lunch at Brewster's, a place we discovered several rallies ago. We reminisced over the time we were there a few years ago and Fish On (Meg) got her bike knocked over by some young kid backing up his car. Sometimes things just pull memories out of you … a laugh, a sad moment, a fond memory. We all agreed that we miss Fish On although we wish her the best and hope we'll see her again at some point.

The road was pretty good, not too much traffic. But there were areas of construction and single lanes. All of this slowed us down, probably by an hour and a half or even two. We hit a sprinkle or two, but nothing major. We had apparently found the little windows of no rain which made it pleasant, but it had certainly gotten cooler, dropping about 20 degrees or more between Fairbanks and Cantwell.

We rolled on into town, even bypassing Miller's Ice Cream due to time, and peeled off one by one as we headed to our prospective homes. First Harvey and Zookeeper, then Roadrunner, then it was Dave and me. I arrived home, tired, with a filthy bike and so sorry that now it really was over. But, on the bright side, I was happy to see Biker Bill and the Beagles …

He had washed all the bedding and had the blanket and sheet pulled down for me … just like in a high-class hotel … wow. However, there was no little mint on my pillow. I'll give him a pass for that … the mints aren't my favorites anyway. And it was nice to be home.

Tired, but happy, and all in.

August 16, Monday

A rude awakening … returning to work. I'm out of leave, out of money and out of tolerance for working. Will I make it to my planned retirement date of February 28? And then to working part time until after the Chugach annual meeting? Time will tell.

POSTED AUG 17 / August 11, 12,13 and 14 / NO PHOTOS

Aug. 11, Wednesday

For the last night I was there at the ZZ Top concert,I failed to mention something that was very exciting. Wrong Way and I were going to the toilets (as the sign says) and I heard my name being called from out of the crowd. I turned around and there was Sidecar Mike (Mike Luther) and his lovely wife, Donna, the chili queen. They'd come to Sturgis just for the day, and just knew they could find us … and they did. So we took them back down to visit everyone and of course, took photos of us all together. It was so nice to see them, and spend a few hours … see, you meet the nicest people at Sturgis … at the Legendary Chip!!

On Wednesday, I woke up at 7 a.m., 6 hours sleep. How is it that on vacation I can run on 5 or 6 hours of sleep, but at home I need lots more. I think it has to do with sunshine, in part, at least. The rest is just not wanting to waste any vacation time sleeping. Coffee in the room, but not nearly as good as Two Bike's. I drank it anyway as it's better than nothing. A hot, hot shower, and I luxuriated in the warmth and the length of it. I only had one cold shower at the Chip, but this one I could stay under as long as I wanted. It was a Days Inn in Lethbridge, and a great one. I've stayed in some Days Inns that were not so great. It had a huge breakfast area, a pool and a high ceiling with murals painted on it, mostly animals. Folks there were exceptionally pleasant, and there was even a guy to wait on you for the breakfast foods and all. Wow, high class. I could get used to this

The bike and grounds were soaked so it must have rained good last night. Poor Miss Scarlet looks like she never was washed. The bugs are terrible; must have been the night riding. Not sorry I missed the rain. Would not have made my night riding better. Sun is coming out, but weather channel is saying rain and thunder storms later. I'll be gone.

It started out cold, but it warmed up so I could just wear my hoody. It was a good thing I did as I stopped to buy some B.C. Cherries and was wondering how to have access to them while I was traveling. I figured it out pretty quickly. I put the bag in my hoody pockets and I could get to them while I was riding, eat them, and spit cherry seeds all the way north. It was great fun.

As I rode along looking at the scenery, I saw a doe next to the road. She was very undecided as to what she wanted to do. First she'd head for the road, then back into the greenbelt, back and forth. There was a fence, about 8 feet tall, made out of that stuff that looks like chicken wire. The doe eventually decided to go and jump it and get away from the road. She didn't make it, and bounced off the fence, doing a somersault with her legs flying every which way. She jumped up and took off. She must have been okay, but it was sad to see her run into the fence. But at least she didn't run into the road. I was going really slow by then because I sure did not want to have her run into me, or me into her.

Didn't get as far as I wanted today, about 450 miles, to Whitecourt. Had to stay, didn't look like anywhere else until Grand Prairie, about 200 miles away. Went across the street got chicken Caesar salad and sweet tater fries to go … fries great with a tanzike (sp) sauce . Salad not so good so didn't eat much of it. Guess rabbit food isn't always so good.

Tired, all done, and all in.

August 12, Thursday
Got up and looked outside. Clouds, rain. Oh well. Gotta go. By the time I got on the road dressed in my snowpants and FX jacket and more, it was raining hard. I took off, and just pushed through. I had hard rain for quite a ways, then lighter rain. By the time I hit Grand Prairie it had quit, and was trying to get nice. By the time I rode around and around and around trying to find the Harley shop, and finally finding it, the sun had come out and it was nice.

I was there to get an oil change. The shop tried to move the bike but the security screamer wouldn't shut off. Glad it happened there. While I waited I decided to have my one meal for the day … Oriental food from a few doors down. Not so great. And it was nearly like pulling teeth to get them to wait on me … I was being insufferable … I wanted to take a buffet to go. Then I couldn't get plastic ware or the bill. Ya just gotta wonder about the service industry some times.

Sat in the shop to eat and finished off the cherries from the day before. I could hear my screamer going off every now and again in back while they were trying to get it all figured out. At 2 p.m. they came by and told me the bike was finished and they'd found the screamer issue. They ended up reprogramming the security fob/and whatever, and then it was fine.

My Miss Scarlet. She just likes to talk to me, I guess. I like the Grand Prairie shop. On the 2006 trip with Harvey and Zookeeper they fixed the stator on the 2002 Road King that I traded out in Fairbanks in 2006. They're friendly and hard-working …

I did not care for the shop in Calgary that I hit. Not so friendly. No service there, though.

Hit the road. The best weather I had all day was while I was sitting in the shop. Rode in and out of the rain the remainder of the day. I did stop in Dawson Creek to get a photo of the 0 mile post. Went to near Pink Mountain and spent the night. Met Wayne and Peggy from Indianapolis and spent a delightful couple of hours talking motorcycles, camping and traveling. They ride BMWs, and had done their rally and took the road to Alaska. They even did Top of the world Highway and the Arctic Circle.

Today was a first. I took the beginning photo for a blog I want to do on roadside memorials. I see them alongside the road and some are so memorable that I want to photograph them and put them somewhere that others can see them, too.

And so, so tired … all in.

Friday, August 13

Hit it early, at 6:45 a..m, which was really 7:45 once I gained the hour. Pink Mountain to Whitehorse, 749 miles. Beautiful, but cold. Air temp read middle of 0-30 for a long time. I was using my heated gear for the first time since leaving home in June. I saw sheep, five black bear (two sets of two and a single) and a hundred buffalo.

Great ride, lots of miles. But tired. A guy on a bike gave me a thumb's up as he passed me. He stopped along side the road later, and he never caught up. Not much traffic … a great day for running hard and fast.

I found a place in Whitehorse this time … thank goodness … not like when I came through going down the highway. I stayed at the Strattford Inn. Would you believe pink bathroom fixtures? I don't know that they made such a thing, and that I found them. I had to take a photo.

I was hungry, so I ordered a pizza and a Greek salad. Phone orders, pizza delivery and dinner in bed are a true luxury. It was great food, too.

I didn't stay up too late. I've got to get on the road and hit the shop at 9 … so I'm all in.

August 14, Saturday
Biker Bill's birthday … so I called him to wish him a good one. I then worked on the blog text for a while and finally got ready to go. I arrived at the shop to look for shirts at 8:52 a.m., only to discover it was closed for Discovery Day. Seems like every time I try to do something in Canada they are closed for some holiday. They seem to get way more than we do. Good thing I didn't need a tire … that had been the plan … to get one there if I needed it.

So I left and headed for Tok to meet up with my entourage, Rebecca, Tom and I didn't know who else might be coming. I'm thinking if they leave at 10 … and probably it'll be later, they'll stop for lunch, and they've probably forgotten about the 1 hour time change. I might be able to beat them to Tok.

Stopped to take a photo of a memorial, although I didn't realize it was one until I talked to a couple of ladies who knew the boy who died and his dad, or the person who raised him. It was interesting, and a huge memorial, with animal stones, something like a totem pole and a bench that they like folks to sit on … to meditate, relax, think.

I stopped for gas in Haines Junction, forgetting that I could get all the way to Destruction Bay before I needed to stop. Oh well. Filled in both places. I much prefer Destruction Bay to Haines, though.

Destruction Bay has this cop car cut out set outside of the town to slow the traffic. I get caught by it every time. A cardboard cop for the community that can't afford the real deal.

I moved along smartly. There wasn't much traffic on the road. The construction was just something to be dealt with … and I continued.

I was making some real tracks, not willing to stop to even remove my helmet once I passed the border. My mission was to get to Tok before them.

Arrived in Tok … no sign of my entourage. I went to the Golden Bear hotel. Still no sign of my entourage. I asked if they had been in … no. So I told the lady probably two rooms, so she held them. Then I went outside, and sat down with my computer. And I typed, and waited, and drank a Coke. And I waited.

I heard some bikes. Wasn't them. I waited. I heard bikes. It was them, Zookeeper leading, and bypassing the first entrance to the hotel. He made the second one. I greeted them, and told then it wasn't good having the greetee arrive before the greeters. Apparently Harvey called Zookeeper and asked where they were. Zookeeper told him Glenallen. Harvey told him I'd already gone through the border (good old Spot let him know where I was). Zookeeper asked how long ago, and Harvey told him 45 minutes to an hour. The entourage hauled ass, but it didn't work.

However, the redeeming quality was that Dave Ellis brought the red carpet … and people wonder why I'm the way I am. They encourage me … red carpet, royal guard, loyal subjects.

Dinner at Fast Eddy's, and a chat. It's great to have good friends.

We rode hard, we were tired, and then, we were all in.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aug. 9 and 10 POSTED Aug. 14, NO PHOTOS

August 9, Monday

Today is my last day: I hate to leave because I'm having such a great time. I need to mail a box, or maybe two.

Birdy and I went to town and went to the Harley place where they had everything you needed to do bike washes (free wash your own). There were all these products you could use, and some were very good. The bikes looked so much better at this point, but it won't last since I'm leaving tomorrow and the bugs will gather on the windshield and everywhere else.
Hot, hot, hot today. Bike thermometer reading above 90 degrees. The traffic is really bad now. As we rode out of the Chip I remembered hearing the traveling Viet Nam wall was going to be there. It was, and so we went over and took some photos. Also known as the moving wall, t's an 3/5s replica of the Viet Nam veteran's memorial in Washington, D.C., and stretches over 380 feet and is 6 feet tall. There are two walls and each spends about a week at each location where it visits. The wall photos for Biker Bill as he's a Viet Nam vet. He and I saw the wall when it came to Anchorage. It's a replica of that one that is in D.C., that we also visited in 1993 when we picked up new bikes at the factory in York, PA. It's very cool.

We then headed to Vale to mail packages. We hadn't been at the post office for five minutes and Sebrey's and Andrus's rolled in to mail things, too. Yay me. I mailed three packages, more than they did. But one went to Bozeman.

Went back to the Last Call Bar and Grill for lunch. Hot beef sandwiches, mashed taters and gravy and an ear of corn. I asked for another and ate that one, too. Was good, good, good.

Went on back to the Chip. 500 acres of land at the Chip, according to the Internet. I believe it's all full … sure looks like it. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It's wall-to-wall campers, motorhomes, tents, trailers for bikes, and of course, hundreds of bikes … way too many have arrived in trailers. I think a lot of these folks don't realize that the ride to the destination is a huge part of the whole Sturgis experience. Why have and ride a motorcycle if you're just going to ride around town and not have the whole adventure? I sure don't get it.

Started getting my things organized and packed for loading up in the morning. It always takes time to get all nested, and things in all the right places. I have a new bag to sit on the seat, so will take some work to figure out how to attach and what to put in it. Busy, busy, busy.

Each night there are two or three bands playing, or some other entertainment. Tonight was ZZ Top, one of the ones I wanted to see. ZZ Top had played in Milwaukee when Biker Bill and I went for the 90th Harley reunion and event. But I had such a bad migraine that all I remember was thumping music, and I did not enjoy a single moment of it. Can't even remember most of it. So this was going to be a great time. Except, I had a headache again, not a migraine. Popped some Advil, and all was good. Probably just heat.

I walked around the concert area and took some photos. These are the ones that are a bit on the x-rated side, so be aware if you look at them. They will be posted at some point in the near future. The concert was great, and I enjoyed it … the music, the people, it all was so much fun. I'm really glad I stayed at the Chip, even camping. It was loads of fun, and it all combines to make a great Sturgis adventure. I only wish I'd been able to stay a few days longer. Oh well. Next time.

It was a pleasure to meet RB's son, and their other friends. I spoke with Preacher for quite a while at the concert and look forward to meeting his wife, Red, next year. I also enjoyed meeting Toby, who is called that as he's a Toby Keith lookalike. And yes, he is. Maybe even better looking. Paul and Mary, Eric, it was great. These are some really nice folks that Two Bike has met and that I've now been introduced to. It will be fun to see them again on succeeding trips to Sturgis, or other places, maybe on a cruise which is where I met RB and his wife Patty. I'm only sorry I couldn't stay long enough to see Patty who was arriving the day I had to leave.

So, all in and heading out in the morning. Would like to leave between 7 and 8 a.m. We'll see.

August 10, Tuesday

Did not want to leave ... I'm like some kind of herd animal I guess. Don't like getting cut out of the herd. We all talked about coming back next year, but it won't be the same. Stalker will be in some Godawful foreign desert crappy country, RB, Jr. will be overseas as well, and I'll miss seeing them. Kevlar won't be there if Stalker isn't, and I so enjoyed her. She's a peach, and funny, and just great to be around. Stalker and Kevlar are then moving to Germany, so it will be a few years, unless we all take a trip to see them. Maybe that could be arranged???

I finally got everything that I could take loaded (leaving my $10 sleeping bag and the chair), and road out through the grass at about 8:15 a.m.

Rode to Shelby, MT, and looked to stay there as it was nearly dark. No rooms. That's a couple of times on this trip I've been shut out … phoned home and told Biker Bill I had to continue. He was worried since it was getting late and I was still moving. The Spot tracker is a marvelous device to use, particularly if traveling by yourself.

I was eating a sandwich from the convenience store, sitting on my bike at the gas pump. A guy on a blue Fatboy was gassing up and I asked him which way he was heading. He was going north toward Lethbridge, Alberta. I asked him if I could tag along, and we teamed up figuring two sets of headlights were better than one. Tracy from Red Deer … he rode well, and not too fast. Was great. Yep, Two Bike, I do depend on the kindness of strangers. The thing is, it seems to work. Most folks are kind, and good.

As we rode I saw the silhouette of a big bull elk laying under a tree. The horns were huge, and it was a beautiful sight. And I heard on the radio that Sen. Ted Stevens died in a plane crash. It was a shock. On another trip I was on in 1997, Princess Diana died. I am sorry for his family, and others who will miss him, knowing how much he did for Alaska.
Tracy and I got to the border crossing, where we had nice discussions with the border guards. Turns out there were some prisoners who had escaped down south (some guy had told me about them at a gas stop and told me to be careful), and the word was that some had been captured, but they thought two were on bikes and moving north, a guy and gal. Tracy and I sure fit that description. But they knew we were not the bad guys … I mean, look at us, and the innocent faces we were wearing. Haha. And on we went.
Got to Lethbridge, said goodby to Tracy and found a Days Inn at about midnight. It was one of the nicest ones I've ever stayed in. Three pillows. Wow. Luxury. A real bed; will I be more comfortable than sleeping in a tent on my air mattress? I got a 746 mile day under my belt, which is actually good since I need to make lots of miles to get home in time to make it to work on Monday. I phoned home to let Biker Bill know I was off the bike and in a hotel. He told me to just sleep in and get some rest. He worries when I'm on the road late like that. I don't care to be, but sometimes you've just got circumstances that warrant you pushing on.

All in all, it was a beautiful ride today … no rain, sun. A couple in a car at one point went by me and the lady took my photo and gave me the thumb's up. Cool. So often when traveling someone will say you're living the dream everyone wants. I'm not sure about their dreams, but seems like there are lots who do envy what those of us who ride are doing. Ya just gotta go do it. And thanks again to Biker Bill for making this all possible. Sounds like a commercial, doesn't it. But as the trip winds down I am always reminded that without him, and learning to ride my own, I wouldn't be out traveling like this, seeing so much of the country. It is truly a joy to be able to do this. And I love it. Don't expect I'd travel much otherwise. But give me a motorcycle and the country is my oyster, or some such after murdering that little saying.
And so, dog tired, bedraggled, and sadly in need of some rest, I'm all in.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aug. 5, 6, 7 and 8 / POSTED Aug. 11, NO PHOTOS

August 5, Thursday

Lived through the night, too, with thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. I worried that the rain would come in and get the tent wet, but it did not. I made it through the night and actually slept very well.

Early to the shower, and when I came out a lady told me she had heard reveille. Imagine that. I told her I'd not heard it … I was in the shower. She and her husband are tenting on the hill across the road from us and away down the other side, so the sound is carrying nicely. I believe it is getting louder with each succeeding test run.

The battery totally ran down on the computer so can't get connected. Kevlar and I looked near the Pit for plug ins, but didn't have a whole lot of luck. Finally found one and let the computer recharge itself.

Two Bike walked a route, walked it again with Wrong Way, and then took her riding around so she could figure out how to ride on grass and gravel in the campground. After she had mastered it, which she did, we headed to town to go S H O P P I N G!!!!. We spent a good couple of hours there wandering around, looking at and buying a few things.. It was fun, but still not too busy. It's not as crowded yet as it will be.

Went down to the Pit again and had some dinner. The food down there is actually quite good. I went to the Greek place and against my better judgment had a gyro. When I've had them in the past I get sick, but thought maybe it's finally behind me. Don't know if it's the lamb or the dill sauce. I had a chicken one this time, and it must be the lamb because I didn't get sick. It was really good, and I had hand cut fries with it. YUMMY!

Monty and Brian arrived and started putting up their big tent, and a separate, smaller tent for Rob for when he arrived. I was the direction-reader for them. It was quite entertaining to watch them putting it up. They did get a little help from some of the others, and it was quite the mansion once it was up, a 10-man tent. Then they blew up air mattresses, and I'd guess it was almost like being at home.

A bit later Julie (Birdy) rode in, just at dark. But she found us. She got her tent up, too, and hung her Alaskan flag, so we have two of them waving in the breeze. Makes an Alaskan feel right at home.

Visited for a while, and then it was dark. And all the good little bikers go to bed when it gets dark, just llke the birds. And then we were all in.

Aug. 6, Friday

I got up late … 6:15 a.m. I didn't even hear reveille so I must have been sleeping well. I grabbed my shower gear and headed up the hill. It was cold shower time. If you don't get up there early, that's how it goes. It wasn't all bad, and I “got it dun” We went to downtown Sturgis early, leaving the Chip about 8 a.m. as we wanted to get to the Harley place where they were handing out event pins. It didn't open until 10 a.m. so we had breakfast and then headed back over there. I saw the most beautiful lime green bike, which is a new Screaming Eagle … a Street Glide. It was all metallic and just sparkled and drew your attention from a block away.
There was a Dyna machine and you could ride Sporties and run the gears, racing the person on the other bike. I wanted to do that, but you had to wait, and we were going to be heading to Rushmore. In the Harley tent, we ran into Rick B. from Anchorage and he's staying at Glencoe. He said that during the heavy rain the other night the water dug a big trench and where he was camped the trench cut his area off from the showers and other amenities. Yay for the Chip. It's the best.

Two Bike, Wrong Way, Capt. Cupcake, Sprinkles, Birdy, Stalker, Kevlar and I took off for Rushmore. It was a beautiful ride and I was glad to go because it had been a number of years since I'd been. It's changed a lot since I had been there last. We all wandered around a bit, and then we took off and headed back to camp. There was a lot of traffic, but really not as bad as it would get as time goes by and Sturgis week gets into full swing.

Birdy wanted to go to the Harley shop in Rapid so we peeled off from the rest of the group and got in and parked. While we were wandering around I called Joe to see if Verlie had arrived. I left a message on voice mail for him to call me.
Birdy and I walked around and saw some great-sounding horns. We decided to each get one, hers chrome, mine black to match my air cleaner. So we went and got the bikes and rode them to the vendor area to get them put on. I also asked to borrow a screwdriver so I could get my drink holder attached to the handle bars. One of the guys there said he'd help get it attached. Whoops, one of the nuts fell down into the bike, and the guys at the vendor stand helped get another and get it on. Finally on the bike so I can easily access water. I've been looking for the drink holders that attach to the saddle bag guards, but haven't seen any except for the Harley ones and they're $80 each. Don't want to pay that. They're only drink holders for goodness sake.
Got a call back from Joe when we were nearly finished getting the horns mounted. Verlie had not made it in yet. Her plane had been delayed, and she'd missed her connection and had to overnight in Salt Lake. She was on standby for Rapid the next morning. With Joe calling around to everyone, he was finally able to get her to the top of the list and she would arrive tomorrow morning.
Joe came over to the vendor area at the Harley shop. We visited a bit and decided to get a bite to eat. Olive Garden rocks. While Verlie wasn't here to share the meal, we decided to do it anyway. Can't eat there at home since we don't have one. So I always eat at Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters when I find them down here, and always in Phoenix when I go in and out of there to ride and visit Verlie and Joe.

As usual the Olive Garden meal was excellent. I've never had a bad one there. I looked out the window and it was raining. C R A P!!! We walked outside and there was lightning and thunder. Joe said we could go to their room and stay but Birdy and I decided to make a run for it. I figured if the Chip dirt and grass were too wet I'd just park at the top of the hill and walk down. I'd leave Miss Scarlet on her own to fend off any unwanted suitors. We raced against the wind, and in about 5 miles ran out of it. We could still see some dark clouds ahead of us near Sturgis, but we didn't catch anymore rain. By the time we got back to the Chip it was really okay. They'd only had a little sprinkle, so the grass and dirt were okay to ride on. We got parked in our grassy area without incident.

More folks have arrived, RB, Jr., and some of his friends, Tom Polak and his boy. It's amazing to watch the Chip community grow, and most especially our little community. Each day brings hundreds more to the campground, and areas that were totally bare of either campers or motorhomes are now filling up rapidly. We no longer can walk a direct line from our camp to the shower house. It's something to see, bikers from all over, coming to their event, hundreds upon hundreds, and this is only one campground. I don't know if it's the biggest, but I'm sure if it isn't, it is one of them.

Visited with some of the folks and was tired. Off to bed, and all in.

August 7, Saturday

Birdy and I decided to do the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain. We took off and I promptly got us turned the wrong way. When we rode in on Tuesday I didn't realize we'd come from the north rather than the south, so we went about 23 miles out of our way. But it may have been okay since we saw some beautiful country and avoided going through Sturgis itself. Although, if you have to go through Sturgis morning is best.

We rode on out and stopped for the pancake breakfast the Bible Bikers are holding up near the entrance. As we were looking around in one of the little vendor areas up there who should I see but RB, who had just arrived. Got a big hug, and then we left as we had biker bidness to take care of in the way of riding. When we pulled up to a stop sign, a guy and his lady on a big bike behind us came up close and said he thought I was as good a rider as any he'd ever seen and that I really handled my bike well. I took that as a great compliment, and later in the evening called Biker Bill to tell him about it, and that he gets the compliment since I learned a lot of my riding skills from him. He reminded me that while I probably thought he'd been strict and harsh with me when I learned to ride, it was now paying off. Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you, Biker Bill. All that I am in riding and the things I've seen because of riding are because of you. And that's the truth. If I didn't ride a bike I'd never have seen much of anything since I don't like to drive in cars anywhere. There's nothing like seeing the sites from the seat of a Harley.

We did the highways, 5, 10, 15, 25 mph corners, spirals and hairpins. As we rode through some of the area, it seemed familiar. I remembered seeing a place where we came through a tunnel and thinking that Biker Bill, his buddy Bob and I had stopped on the other side because it was pouring and we had to put on rain gear. I'd thought I'd not done this highway, but when I phoned home and asked, Biker Bill said yes, my memory was correct and we had done it in 1994 during our first Sturgis run together. It was a great ride, and I enjoyed it a lot, I'm sure a lot more than I did the first time when I was still a relatively new rider.

Once we got off the highway Birdy and I headed to the shop again as she was looking for something. We pulled in and parked and I wondered if Joe and Verlie would be there. We hadn't tried to set up anything. I heard my name called, and there came Verlie running across the parking lot. Big hugs, and more hugs. It was so good to see her … she's one of my best friends. Again, I'm so lucky to have many …. She said Joe had spotted me coming riding in … the white hair stands out in a crowd. Was great to see them, so we hung out a bit, and make plans to meet the next morning to go to Devil's Tower. The rest of the group did it today.

Birdy and I headed back to camp, and the traffic coming through Sturgis was horrendous. And it's not in full swing even yet. Burned my legs and got a heat rash on them again. But it's not nearly as bad as the burns I got going to Vermont. I'm a lot more careful and try to put my foot up on the lower to keep my leg away from it and to cool it off some every now and again.

The line of traffic coming into the Chip was again long. We just breeze by as we're registered but those that are coming in don't seem to end. It's quite a procession and something to see. It's certainly not quite like anything I've ever seen before. Where are they going to put them all? I wonder how many acres Buffalo Chip is anyway?

The evenings have been nice, not too hot, and so we usually wander around and go down to the Pit. Birdy and I went down and ate at Porky's as the others say it's great. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw and corn. I thought the corn would be corn on the cob. It was creamed corn, and some of the very best I've ever eaten. It must be pure cream, and cream cheese in the sauce or something. I could have eaten a gallon of it. I could feel my veins hardening up with the fat content from the corn. But I'd sure like more of it. Maybe another night.

We headed for camp. Gotta say that even with the noise I'm sleeping very well. And so, I'm all in.

August 8, Sunday

Birdy and I headed out to have free pancakes again (not quite since I always leave them a donation), gas up and meet Joe and Verlie at the on ramp for Exit 30. It took us a little while and we got up to the ramp and waitedabout 5-10 minutes and here they came. Near perfect timing once again. Funny how that works. We've run into people, met up in a timely manner. The stars must all be aligned or something.

We took off for Devil's Tower, and enjoyed the view as we drew closer. Lots of bikes on the road. Not too many cars by comparison. We stopped near the entrance and looked around in the gift shop. Some lady told me she thought it was sexy to see a woman on a big bagger. She thought it was great. We had a little chat, and I let her sit on Miss Scarlet. She thinks she wants to get a bagger, but her husband didn't seem nearly as excited about her having one.
Once we did the tower and listened to the ranger talk on the legend, we headed out. We were glad we weren't going the one way on the highway as traffic was way backed up due to some type of accident. We had lucked out once again.

We went to Vale to the Last Call Bar and Cafe. We'd been told the food was good, and the corn the best. We had steak, and it was great. The bar had all these deer racks hanging around, so took pictures of lots of them for the Great White Hunter (you know who you are). Knowing I needed to stay up late and not go to sleep with the birds, I started drinking Coke to get all hopped up. It helps.

Once we left the restaurant, we headed back to Sturgis. We decided to go park and wander around town and watch some of the parade and check out shops. I drank some sugared lemonade to keep the sugar high going and the adrenaline rushing. I needed to stay awake for the concert.

I found a bag to fit in the back seat. I'd been looking but couldn't find one that I liked. I didn't want leather. I also found the water bottle holders. They were $20 for a no-name brand versus the $80 ones with the Harley emblem on them. I don't need no stinkin' Harley logo on water bottle holders. Birdy, Joe and I walked back to put things on the bike so we didn't have to pack them. You know I depend upon the kindness of others and strangers, so needed help packing things. The water bottle holders went on, much easier after removal of the saddlebags, and the bag I just bungeed on. I'll worry about how to attach it later. I also found a shirt for the other friend I needed one for. Tomorrow it all gets mailed hither and yon.

We separated and went our different ways as Birdy and I wanted to get back to hear the concerts, Guess Who and Credence Clearwater Revisited. We cut through the alleys in Sturgis and it made our ride a whole lot easier, and not so much stop and go. A big plus was that my legs didn't catch the heat like they had on previous days. All right!!!!!

We got back and quickly changed into walking shoes and headed to the concert. I did not forget my flashlight this time. I was able to stay awake for the entire concert of the Guess Who and Credence. I was last to get back to the tent tonight, which is unusual. I did forget to turn off Spot though when we got back from the ride. And in fact, forgot to turn it off all night. I am not having any trouble sleeping. In fact, I'm sleeping so well it scares me. I stay awake a little bit, hear the music and bikes roaring around, and then it's lights out for me, and I'm all in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Aug. 4, POSTED Aug. 5 / Chip and Sturgis friends, NO PHOTOS

Aug. 4

It was an interesting night. My mat is good, although I could certainly stand to have one that is a little wider. I turned over many times, but did not fall off of it, although I thought I would. My sleeping bag was perfect as it got a little cool. So the temperature for sleeping was exactly right. Two Bike, Wrong Way and I were packed into their tent, but I don't think anyone's snoring kept anyone awake. I didn't sleep right away and could hear the music from the one bandstand, country type which was good, and someone's radio. It didn't bother me, surprisingly. Maybe it will later on, but I brought ear plugs, just in case. It was bothering someone else, though, because he kept hollering, “shut that effing radio off!”
We were up and moving before 6 a.m. Two Bike was making coffee, and Wrong Way and I were just milling around, doing a little nesting inside the tent and checking things on our bikes. Cupcake is also an early riser. We had our coffee, and it was smelling fine, and tasted even better. Then at 6 a.m. promptly it was time for reveille. Sounded great, and we heard a few “what the's” so we had done our duty. People were now up and moving around … at least some of them. I did tell Two Bike that we need it to be louder tomorrow. But today was the first day, a test run if you will. So coffee, and then Wrong Way and I headed for the shower. Got all the way there and realized I'd brought my wash cloth, but not my towel, so we shared. Hot water … YAY!!! We were early, and hopefully that made the difference, and we will continue to get to the showers in the a.m. before a lot of others do. It was pretty people-sparse this a.m.

We had this guy next to us show up multiple times yesterday evening. He was a bit hammered and kept asking where we were from. The boys kept telling him Alaska. He kept asking if they remembered him, and saying he remembered them. Finally Cupcake said yes, he remembered him. About a half hour later, same thing. This morning the guy came by, and he introduced himself as Jim. I told him not to ask if we were from Alaska again, and that he'd done it a dozen times the night before. He said he would not … actually seems like a pleasant enough guy., We also met Wally who is camped right next to us. And some folks from Michigan, central lower part, and Minnesota. Those are our current neighbors.

Two Bike headed to the shop about 8:30 and Wrong Way has friends coming to pick her up for a visit a little before 10. Cupcake, Sprinkles and I will be going shopping to pick up a list of stuff, including water for coffee, Corona and limes, junk food, Handi-wipes, Ziplocks and paper towels. I will then head to the shop to see if I can get online, and to check on Two Bike. If he needs to go somewhere he can use my bike while I'm blogging. That's assuming they have looked at or know what's going on with his bike. Then at 2 I need to call Shari and Auggie, and see if we can make arrangements for dinner. I've asked my other camp mates to join us. Then they'll know I'm with only slightly disreputable people here at the Chip.

It's a glorious morning, perfect temperatures (it's early yet), not too hot, and I'm sitting here in the shade at a picnic table working on my notes. The sun is out, we watched it come up, there are a few small clouds, and right now I'm liking camping. However, I don't want it to be known … so I have a couple of shots … happy camper/grumpy camper. We'll see which one I am by the end of this. Once it gets hot, grumpy camper may be making a rapid appearance. We'll see.

At this point, my notes are the morning update. There will probably be more later, but I won't be able to post until sometime down the road, time unknown. Depends on when wi-fi is up here, or I am somewhere else that has it.
Later Wednesday.
Two Bike went to Rapid, and by the time Cupcake, Sprinkles and I had finished the shopping and I went to the shop, he'd already been there, was gone and was back at camp. Cupcake and Sprinkles showed up at the shop, so we had a bite to eat and headed back to camp.
At the camp entrance I saw Wrong Way (who'd had friends come get her so they could visit a while) so I pulled around and stopped. Chatted with them, turned around and there was Bugs. I hollered at her, and scared her half to death. Bugs and Stalker had arrived. So very good to see them. Two Bike texted me that they had arrived. We texted him back, yes we know. We're with them. The group keeps expanding. Who knows who will show up tomorrow.
Could be Birdie (Julie) who apparently has left Monty, Brian and Kat and is heading to Billings.

I called Auggie and Shari to work at setting up a dinner meeting. We decided to meet at 6 p.m. at the Pizza Ranch.

In the meantime, we unloaded the provisions and put them away, the guys went to get ice, Stalker and Bugs set up their tent and blew up their mattress, we filled gallon Ziplocs with water and hung them up with string help keep the flies away, and we just started visiting and getting caught up.
We got our wienie in the buns photo, and then there was a quad-shot … and I don't mean coffee either. Two Bike shipped it out to a select few … including Biker Bill who thinks Two Bike was exceptionally lucky. He was smiling with all his teeth. lol

At 5:30 we saddled up and headed to town to see Shari and Auggie. It was so nice to see them and get hugs from each. It's been a while since we've seen Auggie although we were lucky enough to see Shari a few months ago when she came to Anchorage to visit. We chatted for quite a while and then it was time to go as the skies were starting to darken. We stood in the parking lot for a while, hugged again, and then off we went, heading back to the Chip.

Now I'm down at the Pit with Kevlar, Stalker and Wrong Way, but can't get connected. So I'm writing this and figuring maybe tomorrow will bring an internet connection. It's starting to rain, there's some thunder and lightning and we're sitting under a pavilion listening to the rain hitting the aluminum roof. Sounds really neat actually, but we'll get wet walking back to camp. Holy crap, now it's hailing and we're moving in from an outer table to one further under the pavilion. Leaning over this my butt is getting hit with hail. Whoa. This is ugly. We may be trapped under here for the night. Can we sleep on the tables. And now the wind has picked up and is rocking the tables.
The hail quit, the rain lightened up and we hurried back to camp. It was a little misty but not so bad. The folks back at camp had pulled everything into the tents, put the chairs up and other things, too. We hunkered around a little bit, but then it started to rain heavily and we ducked into our tents and closed them up. Wrong Way and I were sitting there before Two Bike came in and lightning and thunder struck and sounded at the same time. It sounded like it was right over our tent, and I was a very unhappy camper right then. It scared me so I was hollering and I could hear Two Bike outside laughing very loudly. But I lived through it.
So, guess we're all in.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aug. 1 and 2

Aug. 1

A bunch of us (Rider Chic's friends) gathered at Bozeman Harley Davidson, about 8-10 bikes and a car load of folks. There was an incident; if you can imagine what happens when two queens collide … the empress of the universe and the queen of the you-know-what universe. I asked the empress if she had a patch. She did not, so I took possession of the universe, in total.

Don and Rider Chic
It was a super ride, and when we got to Virginia City, a bunch of us had to do ice cream first … there was a little generator making the ice cream right outside of the ice cream shop. Great ice cream … I had maple walnut on the bottom and cookies and cream on top. Delicious.

Nuf said.
From there everyone scattered. Rider Chic and I went to look in a few shops, then I wanted something to eat, so we joined Don, Donna, Angel and Jamie and her husband, Sam, Bridger and Connor. Don said he liked riding with me … he would look into his rear view mirror and could see me, I was right there, and always visible. What a nice compliment. Thank you, Biker Bill for teaching me the proper place to be when riding with others … so you can see the face in the mirror, then you are also visible.

The elk-bison burger ... yummy.
Sam took the kids to go on the train. I had a buffalo-elk burger, and it was so good. Add some sweet potato fries to that, and it was just about the perfect meal. Or was I just really hungry? I think both. And from there the rest of us walked up and down the street, checking out some of the little shops. It was a nice, relaxing day.
Then we had to stop by the ice cream place again. This time I had pistachio and licorice, something new for a change. It wa also delicious. What a great day … ice cream two times.
Everyone else took off and Rider Chic with Don and I, and our chase car, took a back road. Was beautiful, and we stopped at Nevada City to take a few photos, then rode on. We saw an osprey nest with little ones that was exciting, and rode along the river, the Jefferson I believe. Then Don took us up the road to Lewis & Clark Caverns. On the right hand side of the road there was a doe … and she just stood there looking at us. I slowed way down, and she stayed. She was beautiful, and so healthy looking. Her big brown eyes just shown and her muley ears were stuck out on either side. It was a photo burned into my memory. There was no way to stop as I knew she'd run if I did. Was a wonderful thing to see.

Rider Chic and me.
The ride up to the caverns was twisty, and really pretty. It would be fun to come back through here another time. Maybe.

Rider Chic and Don.
From there we headed back to Don and Donna's for burgers and dogs. Sometimes you meet folks that you just kind of click with, and Don and Donna are two of those folks. While we were wandering from store-to-store, Donna and I seemed to both like the same things. We said to each other that if we decided we had one more thing in common, then we must be sisters. We were looking at Celtic jewelry and I said I was Irish. She said that's it, so am I. So sisters we became. From their place it was back to Rider Chic's as a friend from her work was coming over to visit. But teary-eyed I was to be leaving some new and wonderful friends.

Connor giving the thumb's up!!
Bozeman area really is pretty … there are mountains, rivers, greenery … I have enjoyed visiting the area a lot, and really want to come back. In fact, there may be a trip in the future to visit again, along with a birthday trip to Vegas. Oh yeah … someone's 60th is coming up.

And at midnight, I said I was tired and had to go to bed. I was definitely all in.
Aug. 2

Loaded up and ready to rock and roll.
Up at 6 a.m. to get ready to head to Butte to meet up with Cupcake and Judy, and Two Bike and Wrong Way. I had gotten showered and ready by 6:30, and the remainder of the time wa mostly spent packing and repacking the bike. I did not ever get the load arranged the way I wanted it, discovered I did not have extra bungee cords and a cargo net like I'd thought, and the Roc straps I had, were only partially there … but after much rearranging and help from Rider Chic we got it on there so I could at least get on the road. One last cup of coffee, a muffin, and multiple hugs, and I was on my way. Teary-eyed I took off down the road, heading in the right direction.

I hopped on the slab, I-90, set the cruise control for 80 mph, sat back, relaxed and headed west to Copper Canyon Harley in Butte, formerly Thunderbolt Harley, but it's now owned by someone else. Needless to say, no dip dots, or pins. But they had shirts for sale.
About 20 miles of highway was being chipsealed, so it was one-lane, 35 and 45 mph. No more 80 mph until past that. It was hard to hold Miss Scarlet back … she had settled in at 80 and was purring along. Then I started getting nervous about getting to the shop on time, but I made it with about 15 minutes to spare.
I went in the shop and was just starting to look at shirts when I heard multiple bikes coming. I looked out and there they were … just rolling in. I tossed the shirt on a chair and ran out to meet them. They were all looking fine, and there was Wrong Way, riding in and parking her bike just like she'd been doing it for years. Cupcake and Judy were there, Cupcake with hair longer than I've ever seen.

I'm gonna break his fingers.
We had a festive reunion, and to celebrate, Two Bike even allowed the group to have a snack … which I understand could be highly irregular. One meal a day, evening only. But celebrate in style we did, Pringles, home made pepperoni sausage from Tacoma. Yummy. And then we started a little bit of power shopping. Two Bike must have had an epiphany … shopping and snacking all in the same stop.

Shopping and snacking out of the way, off we went going east, heading to Billings for the night. We made some pit and rest stops … and Two Bike even let us have another opportunity to shop … at Billings Harley Davidson. He must be getting soft …
It was a great ride today, and we got into the hotel and unpacked. It's a great room, two bedrooms and a bed in the main area, so plenty of room for the five of us. It's eerie, because it's on Highway 87, where Errol and Dorothy used to live. They were friends of Biker Bill's, and then me. Errol died a few years ago, and Dorothy couldn't manage on her own, ended up in an assisted living place, couldn't abide by the rules and is now, as far as we know, homeless. It makes me feel bad, and I worry that I might see her on the street, because I know there's nothing we can do for her.

We walked to have dinner at a steakhouse down the road. Service was more than slow, but the food once it arrived, was good, and we wolfed it down … one meal a day, remember? Make everything taste good. It was, and then we wandered on back to the room, and tonight, we are … all of us … in.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31, part 2 ... the rest of the day

Was a nice, relaxing day. Rider Chic and I went SHOPPING!!! After all, there were some things I needed for the trip … a sleeping bag, a mat, bug dope, snacks for the road, drink mix, apples. The list got longer the further into the store we got.

The first thing was a sleeping bag. And we got my snacks, apples, drink mixes, lip gloss, and a few other things. The next store was for my sleeping mat … cost more than all else put together because I wanted a good one … if I'm sleeping on the ground, I want to try to be comfortable. So a Thermax was in order. I'll test it … I may not last more than a night … I do not camp …

Rider Chic knows the guy who builds these little out buildings.  This one has a little bar inside and even has props.

Another one of the buildings ... they're really neat.
We went to lunch, came home and the rest of the kids were there … they were all going to the park to have some photos taken and what do you know … surprise … RAIN!!! Everywhere I go there's rain. Is it me? Thunder, lightning, wind. The whole works. So the photos were cancelled and we went to dinner … barbecue. Good stuff. Ate til I couldn't eat any more.

Connor and Bridger ...

Someone found my helmet in the closet.

Then Rider Chic and I went over to Don and Donna's to take some gear over for tomorrow's ride. Was so good to see Miss Scarlet again. She looked absolutely beautiful … the Belgrade shop had cleaned her up until she sparkles nearly as much as when she was new, right down to the chrome wheels. But she's even more beautiful now … she's got miles on her, experience, her beauty marks, and a brand new front tire. Was good to see her again. And I can hardly wait for the ride tomorrow. We're going to Virginia City …

So, all in for the night.

Short morning update

I forgot to say yesterday that I must have taken some of the rain with me because it was pouring in Minneapolis. 

Right now (8:45 a.m. MT time) we're finally up.  Slept until about 6:45 ... late for me usually, but needed some rest.  And coffee was the first order of the day.  YAY!!!!  Gotta have coffee first ... gets me going.  Don't need to eat for a while yet.

Rider Chic is making pancakes and bacon.  Yep, Two Bike, a meal before the alloted time ... getting my food fixes before we all meet up on Monday.  The Two Bike diet consists of one meal a day, in the evening, I've been told.  I'll be testing that out.   The Queen's diet consists also of one meal a day, but usually somewhere along afternoon or so ... then fruit maybe for an evening snack.  Oh yeah, I usually have a fiber bar or something somewhere about mid-morning.  So, my diet will continue to work; the meal just changes time during the day. 

So, pancakes and bacon have been served.  It's over and out time for now.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Inflight again, heading for the road

On the road again, or actually in the air again. Inflight, heading to Minneapolis. Roadrunner took me to the airport as she and the pugs came by to visit. She said she was looking for her “Patti-fix.” Is there such a thing, and does it work for any length of time? Doubtful. But I accepted her excuse to come by, enjoyed our brief visit and it was nice of her to take me to the airport.

Security had to have been the longest line I've ever waited in, but it's all part of the traveling game anymore, so get in line, stand, move forward. No wands, pat downs or long gloves this time. YAY!!!

I got up to the gate, and waited. Biker Bill had said my chances were good, and I settled in to people watch. The plane arrived and folks deplaned, and then more, and more and more. They came in waves, and about the time you'd think no more people could come out of the jetway, there'd be more. And more people gathered to wait to get on the flight heading out of Anchorage, too.
Finally they started the boarding process. I phoned home and found out that some last minute non-revs had listed, management types, and they were ahead of me in the line up and it wasn't looking especially good for me to get on the flight. But get on I did. My name was called and the gate attendant said I'd gotten the last seat. And I was on.

My seat was the middle one, but I was grateful to get on the flight … had to wake some young guy up to let me in. Then I chatted for a couple of hours with the guy on the other side of me. He was a young man who works on the slope, three weeks on and three off. He was going to Minneapolis to his parents to pick up his two kids, a boy and a girl. He has a motorhome and plans to do some traveling with the kids. A nice guy, and really connected with his kids. He showed me photos of them, and the slope and some of the animals there, too … fox, musk ox, reindeer. I shared some of my trip photos with him. Was a nice diversion for a while, and then it was time for naps, although I never do those very well on a plane.
Had a little bite to eat at the airport and a cup of very, very strong French roast coffee. Couldn't connect to the wi-fi … it was available, which means you have too pay for it. Nope, can't do that.
Wandered around and found some artwork in the airport that was pretty cool, so took a couple of photos. They were bronzes by a Gareth Andrews, and were very exciting to see … even when I was dead dog tired, which I was.

This is one of the bronzes, and the next photo will be a close up ... it's dedicated to the men and women who have fought in former wars.

Another bronze.  They were so interesting to see, and it's so nice to see great art in the airports.  Kept me busy for a little while.

I kept running back and forth between gates, trying to get to either Bozeman or Salt Lake City and then a flight to Bozeman. All the flights were full, and I kept phoning home to Biker Bill (Hobbs) who kept looking at flights, telling me which one to try, and listing me on all of them.

Finally got a flight … it was the one the furthest distance away from where I'd last tried, from Gate C-20 to Gate F-13.

And I made it to Bozeman (about 1:15 p.m., Friday, July 30), called Rider Chic and she picked me up, and we started talking right where we left off two weeks ago. She took me home, went back to work and I crashed on her couch. It wasn't for too long, but enough to give me my second wind. Her daughter, Jamie, along with her husband Sam and two kids, arrived. The kids are cute little tykes … Conner the eldest and Bridger. I enjoyed meeting the kids, and Conner, who is four, is really grown up in some ways. He's very proficient in his language and sometimes seems so serious in the things he says. They're a kick, and I enjoyed sharing time and a meal with them. We'll all be together here tonight. It's a family event, and I'm family.

Here's Rider Chic demonstrating an Eskimo Yo-Yo I brought down.  She wants to show Angel how to do it, and she showed Connor tonight.  This was a photo op if I ever saw one.
This is Bridger, Jamie, Connor and Sam ... a beautiful family.

And so, I'm all in.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 17 and 18, with Rider Chic and home

July 17 / a whole day with Rider Chic

Note:  I've added photos to the June 16 post now.

One final note about yesterday, it was the one probably closer call than I would have liked. I was riding down the road, Highway 89, no one ahead of me, no one behind me. A string of cars was coming at me in the other lane. Then all of a sudden a vehicle pulls out of the middle and starts passing cars. Of course, I've got on not only my headlight but my running lights. I should have been pretty visible. Did this person pull back into line? Nope. He kept coming until he had passed several vehicles. I had begun pulling over onto the shoulder whiole keeping a steady on him. Other cars had also moved over to their shoulder. He got back into the string, and when he went by you can bet I gave him the biggest, most visible Number One sign I could. You just have to wonder about some of these folks.

It's now Jan's and my time, and we got up this morning and continued to talk non-stop. I know that's hard for many folks to believe … by 3 p.m. we figured we'd better start getting showered and painted up since we were going to her friend's house. I was taking the bike to them and they were going to take it in for service while I'm gone. We were to be there around 6 p.m., and I told Jan that while I knew the Harley shop would wash it, I wanted to get some of the big chunks off. So, we showered, got a load of my clothes in the washer, and then continued to talk until we had to leave. Still non-stop talking. Yep, imagine that.
A little before 5:30 we left and headed first to the car wash, then to Don and Donna's house. They have three little dogs (Tsu zhues sp) and a granddaughter staying with them, Angel. They are really nice folks, and Angel looks like just that with her long dark hair and blue eyes. She also likes to blow bubbles. WOW!!! Who knew I'd see another bubbler!!! lol.

Angel, Rider Chic, Donna and Don.

Rider Chic Jan and me.

Don threw steaks on the barbie, which I later found out were from Donna's relative's ranch. It had to be one of the best steaks I've ever eaten, and I'm not a huge steak person. But I ate nearly the whole thing, while surreptiously cutting up a couple of small pieces to curry favor with the dogs. I was practicing for when I get home and have to face the angry crowd of Beagles.

I was in heaven with macaroni salad, and beans. What great people they are to take my bike in, to keep it for me, to take it in for the service and take it back to their house for safekeeping in their garage.

Don taking Miss Scarlet into their garage.

And to invite me for dinner, too. Hospitality like that is something that is sometimes forgotten. I'm so incredibly lucky to have friends like that, who also have friends like that. And btw, Don has a 2005 black Road King Classic, so Miss Scarlet and the RK were becoming fast friends and I know she won't be lonely while I'm gone. We've ridden nearly 9,000 miles, riding every day although not big mileages most days, and a few very small-mileage days. It's like I'm leaving one of my best friends behind.

I saw a few of these lawn ornaments on our trip and know they are mostly non-existent anymore.
I really liked the Indian chief.

And of course, I had to have a photo of this one.
Rider Chic and I returned home and continued our non-stop talking. I worked on blogging for a while, had trouble with the photos and called it a night. I was all in.
July 18

It's time … for me to go home. Up early to get ready, to pack everything to take home and to pack up what will remain behind for the trip back in a few weeks. Some things can go home that won't be used again for the next trip … like my banquet clothes for the Vermont Women on Wheels Ride In. It's cargo pants and a nice jacket top that won't fit the Sturgis image. Of course, your image and mine for Sturgis is probably different, as I'm not the type who will wear some of the things I've seen there … absolutely not!!! There are some of those folks who shouldn't be wearing what they will be wearing either. Makes for a very bad visual … and a nauseated stomach.

New Harley shirts are coming home, my vest with my pins and state map, things I bought … although not really much. It was different this trip as I really didn't get in the mood to do a lot of shopping, and wasn't in a lot of places where I could. When I was somewhere it was so hot all I wanted to do was get inside and get something to drink.
I phoned home to be sure nothing had changed as far as my standby listing, and things were looking good for me to make the flights. Rider Chic took me to the airport and we sat and chatted still more … and then it was time for me to get up and go through security. The Chic was gone and I was on my way.
Security was fun … and I thought of my Princess … Birdie. They gave me the rubber glove treatment and went through everything. They had wanded my hands and apparently something showed up on them so I got the gloved pat down. But they were very nice, and quite professional. At least they didn't pull out the LONG gloves!!! And then I was done. But not before talking to one of the TSA ladies about motorcycles. They'd seen my vest in the bag when they were going through everything and were impressed; she had had a knucklehead a long time ago and was considering getting another bike. She was looking at a Road King, and I told her it would be an excellent bike for her. She's 5' 6” and it would fit one very well.
Off I went, got on my flight and flew out of Bozeman Airport. It's a great airport, not too big, and quite nice looking.

It was an uneventful flight to Minneapolis, and I was sitting in first class. Thanks, Biker Bill. Alas no meal, but snackies and orange juice and water.
In Minneapolis, I was hungry so grabbed a sandwich, stopped to buy a book, and then headed for my gate. I heard this “Hey Bogan,” turned around and there my my friend from work, Rena, who is kind of a former biker chick, although her husband has a bike. Rena had Grandma as her first bike, one whose front end was so tight she couldn't get it around a corner. Then she had a Heritage painted white and what I called fireweed, a beautiful thing that gave her nothing but trouble and she eventually got rid of it. Her husband has a bike which she can ride, but she'd like to have her own again. Of course, I encourage that as I love seeing other women on their own. Thanks to Biker Bill for that, too, as he encouraged me from the beginning, and was exceptionally patient.

As I sit on the flight now, in an exit row again, it's quiet and I chatted with one of my seat mates for a time and showed him some photos from the trip. There's no wi-fi so I can't get online and do any posting. So I'll have to save that for later.

With that, once I hit the Anchorage airport in five hours or so, I'll be all in for this trip. I'm in Anchorage, I'm all in, and that's all for this trip.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

REPOSTED with PHOTOS, July 16, Thermopolis to Belgrade (posted July 17)

Notice:  Only a few photos are here / I'm too tired to finish it, and my computer is not helping.  More photos later.

I made it to my friend, Jan's, in Belgrade. I've known her for nearly 40 years, dating back to when we both worked at the FAA in Fairbanks back in the early 1970s. We have a lot of history although we've not seen each other too much over the past number of years. The last time I saw her was a couple of years ago for an hour's visit when Biker Bill and I were traveling through here. You can bet we did non-stop talking until we went to bed.

My last day's journey to get to Jan's was a great one. It was mostly the kind that makes you want to stay on the bike and travel forever. I was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt, a sweatshirt, light gloves and my stars and stripes headband, rolling out of my motel just before 8 a.m. I did turn Spot on, but somehow it again got tripped and did not record my travels.

It does appear that it's time for this trip to end … I ran out of deodorant (not that it's been working in the heat)and I either need to come home or do laundry again.

Jan didn't usually get off work until 5 p.m. or so, so I knew I had a rather leisurely day of riding, about 270-300 miles or so. So, of course, there would be lots of time to take photos along the way.

My chosen route was Highway 120 to Cody, then on up 296, through the northeast gate of Yellowstone to Gardiner and into Livingston on 89, and then I-90 hellbent for Bozeman, then Belgrade.

At 7:55 a.m. It was 64 degrees, and I made the correct turn out of the motel parking lot. I always have a 50 percent chance of being right. Parking lots are my nemesis.

I rode the top of the plains where it was cool, sunny and absolutely perfect riding. It felt as though I were on top of the world and I could ride forever, just for the pure joy of riding. It's when you and your bike are one, and everything … stars, moon, sun have come together to create joy and perfection in your world.

There were more antelope today, although nowhere near as many as yesterday, and I had a deer alongside the road, trying to make a decision to cross or not in front of me. I stopped to take photos and unknowingly (couldn't smell it right away) stopped right near a dead cow elk. I saw it, legs up in the air, as I had walked off the road a little ways toward a fence to try to catch yet another wildlife photo. Must have been hit by a truck it was so far off the road. Ugh.

Highway 120 follows distant mountains capped with snow, yet you're down in a valley, until you start the climb up toward Meeteetse. I passed a 5,797 elevation sign.

In Cody, I found a veteran's memorial that was dedicated in 2009 to veterans of World Wars I and II and Viet Nam, and stopped to take multiple photos for the Marine vet I live with. I enjoy being able to share some of these things with him as I know they're important to him.

There are stones dedicated to those who lost their lives.

This is the Viet Nam part of the memorial.

The museum Biker Bill said I should at least take a photo of to prove I'd been there.,

Biker Bill had said I should stop by the Cody Museum in remembrance of our rides there, but I elected not to and to keep going. I made a wrong turn and missed the 120 highway, and had to backtrack. I figured that was a sign that I was to go to the museum and take a photo to prove I was there. When we had visited the museum a number of years ago, the security folks apparently thought we were not of a caliber of person that should be there and kept a very close watch on us. It was the atmosphere of a library, yet we stood in front of a wall-sized painting of Custer's Last Stand, and Biker Bill told me this joke. We laughed, and the security guy moved toward us, knowing that we had done something we should not have. Just talking. Anyway, if you want to know the joke about Custer's Last Stand, ask me. Sometimes I even remember how it goes. But it's one of the few I remember.

At one of my gas stops I talked to a guy who is a Goldwing rider. He was doing a lot of work for his job, packing stuff back and forth. I was behind him for a ways on the highway, but actually dropped back. Good thing. I had to skirt something lying in the road. There he was parked just up ahead, and walking back toward it. He just raised his hands at me, and shook his head. I waved and kept on moving, but was glad I'd not been following closely.

There is beautiful scenery along this highway, green hills, rugged mountains, some with snow, even some red rock.

As I rode the Chief Joseph Highway, I stopped at Dead Indian Pass, elevation 8,048. There's a really cool Indian cutout.

This is the road I was going down after I left Dead Indian Pass.

There are signs of lots of logging of dead trees. Trees in piles, some cut and ready to be loaded onto trucks and moved out. I navigated hairpin turns that years ago frightened me. Now, it's just do it, and enjoy it. I had also moved into the realm of open range and cattle that claimed the road from me. I wasn't nearly as bothered by them as the bison. How can you be afraid of a friendly-looking Bossie cow. And on I went up the hill.

Near Cooke City, located by the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park, I saw an elevation sign of 7,651 feet. I rode through glorious Shoshone and Gallatin National Forests, where trees cover the hillsides, green and fragrant.

I entered the park and saw bison … actually hundreds of them … alone and in herds. None of them were on the road claiming it this time. I stopped and took a couple of photos because I just couldn't resist more bison photos.

The funny one was seeing two bison in the water cooling off. I saw a few others laying near the rivers and creeks, and many who were laying claim to some of the same turf as fly fishermen.

Fly fisherman on the left by the river, and the buffalo lying on the dirt on the right.

I couldn't believe the number of fishermen … I don't remember seeing that before, but maybe it's just in the northern part of the park. I saw two Canada geese, and then leaving the park in Mammoth, there was a herd of cow elk on the grounds around all of the buildings. The park rangers were having quite a time trying to keep people at a distance from them. I did not stop. I was hot, worried about getting to Belgrade and had not stopped to eat, except for a couple of handfuls of almonds, so I was starving.

I pushed on, and got to Gardiner which is Highway 89. I kept going until I hit I-90, and headed west to the Harley Shop in Belgrade. It was combat riding at its best. The speed limit is 75 mph, I was going 80 and having trouble keeping up. But I kept out of the way and found the shop where I called Jan, who is now to be known as “Rider Chic” and let her know where I was.

Rider Chic showed up at the shop after I'd bought my prerequisite T-shirt and I followed her home. It was really nice to get off the bike at this point. I've done nearly 9,000 miles in less than a month, and I'm tired as I've ridden every day, no breaks. Waaaahh. But now it's over and I must leave the lovely Miss Scarlet behind. She will be safe as she is with a retired cop/ex-marine's family in their garage, safe and sound next to his Road King.

And with that, I am truly all in.