That’s the full-page magazine ad that BRP made after Cherrie and I completed last year’s journey around the country. This year’s trek wasn’t quite so ambitious, but still covered 15 States and 3 Canadian Provinces in about 11,000 miles. And to be honest, the Summer isn’t over yet and we’re not quite finished. About a week from now we will head out to Spyders In The Redwoods in Northern California, but I’ll save that for a separate report. Until then, here’s just a few snaps from the past six months.
You may have noticed by now that this blog carries virtually no photos of my wife, Cherrie. I think that is unfortunate, but I bow to her wishes. So instead, I offer this photo of my “other” passenger, Natalie. Natalie is an official GOS (Girls On Spyders) Spyder Monkey. We have her positioned in such a way that when the Spyder is moving, her right arm “waves” up-and-down to everyone we pass. Natalies has made a lot of friends over the past three years and 50,000 miles she has been with us, but I’m afraid she may have to retire soon as the ravages of weather threaten to literally dismember her soon.
You may have noticed the title shot at the beginning of this post, which is one of my absolute favorites, taken as this one was on the banks of the Clearwater River in Northern Idaho. If you ever get the chance to follow Highway 12 alongside this river, don’t miss it! One of the most scenic rides in America, in my opinion.
Another of my very favorite shots from this Summer: Dawn along the Oregon coast, Highway 101 at Neptune State Park.
The Grand Tetons were, well…. Grand. What an amazingly beautiful ride on our way to Yellowstone. And then it all came apart.
Hours and hours of waiting in line for the opportunity to ride 10 to 20 miles at a stretch on deeply-rutted, muddy roads. Not just once, but on four separate stretches of road. As you can see on this one, we thought we were lucky to be at the front of the pack. Instead, it meant we got to follow right behind the water truck! A long, frustrating, tiring and filthy day.
The before-and-after of our new trailer after passing through Yellowstone. I thought it was bad, but it got even worse. As we exited the park, we encountered 20 miles of fresh, hot tar with pea gravel. I would spend more than three hours on my knees with solvent trying to get it all off the bike and trailer.
As a side note: This was our first big trip with the new Freedom Trailer, and I have to admit that though I originally had misgivings about this unit, mostly due to its smaller size, in the end I was quite pleased. I found that if I simply took more care in how I packed it, it would still hold everything we used to carry in the 622 model, and it actually tows easier, backs up easier, and improved our gas mileage by about 20 miles per tank.
But back to more pleasant thoughts: I enjoy finding odd places and things as I tour, such as the Bank Of Montpelier Idaho, in the top photo. It seems the town’s only claim to fame is that Butch Cassidy robbed their bank about 120 years ago, and they try desperately to make the most of it. The museum tour (yes, the lady sitting in the lawn chair gives tours) takes nearly two-and-half minutes around the single room, after which you can buy a replica of Butch’s famous bowler hat.
The second photo is one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world, Mom’s Cafe in Salina, Utah. Admittedly, their food isn’t the greatest in the world, but I love the original, old-time feel of the place, and I can get a REAL waffle here! Even the menu says “Waffles – the real American kind. None of that Belgium stuff here.”
And finally, some tiny town in Canada, just north of Lake Superior, whose name I have forgotten. There were statues of geese, wood carvings of geese, pictures of geese and actual geese all over the place. It was raining and cold (Canada, eh?), but I had to get a picture of at least one of them.
And I almost forgot “The Other Cafe.” Having left a rally in Billings, Montana early that morning, by the time we got to Livingston we were starving. The GPS indicated a diner in town so we got off the Interstate and rode there. But it was closed. We found another on the GPS, but it had turned into a bar. We had just resigned ourselves to another hundred miles or so without food when I spotted the sign, “The Other Cafe.” But when we went inside, it was completely full and the waitress said it would be about a 30-45 minute wait for a table. As we turned to leave, an elderly couple waved us over and asked if we would like to share their table. Naturally, we said yes, and what ensued was a delightful hour of conversation with two very interesting people, and one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever eaten! You just never know — and that’s the beauty of touring.
From top to bottom: The Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon, the Midpoint of Route 66 in Texas, the wheat fields of northern Montana, and finally the coastline of Northern California.
This doesn’t cover even a third of our travels with the Spyder this year, but it’s a taste of what we’ve been up to so far.
On our way to SPYDERS IN THE REDWOODS! Hope to see some of you there.
More to come…..