Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fifty - Day 1

It's Thursday about 5 pm and I suddenly realize Monday is a holiday! Yaaaa......planning ahead escapes me. I mean I remember important dates like birthdays and anniversaries with pin point accuracy, but planning for holidays.... that's another story.
So anyway, I have a three day weekend! Quickly doing the math I also realize if I take Friday off I'll have a ..... FOUR day weekend!

So now I have four days to ride somewhere...

Where to ride? I have enough miles left on my oil and tires, all I need to do it install my new Aprilia mirrors and I'm good to go.
I cast about for ride ideas for a few minutes then remember that I have ridden in 49 of these United States, and which state is left? North Dakota.
That's the plan then, my route is north, then east, to North Dakota, then west and then south to return home. Attention to the minutiae details is another one of my strengths.

Friday morning off I go, north on I-15 as I need to burn some miles on this first day.

This old building/poster board is near Corrine, Utah.
You know it's true love when you read it here...

I leave the freeway at Idaho SR 30 and ride past Lava Hot Springs, and on to US 89.
 FIFTY miles to Jackson
Those cowboys are some crazy cats!

 Jackson, Wyoming.
 The Tetons and Gen.
 Into Yellowstone National Park.
Some hot pots.

An oncoming SUV slows down the driver obviously looking at me, so I slow also,  and a tweenish young girl puts her head out the window and with a big smile and wide open eyes tells me, "There is a HUGE bull elk ahead!"
I'm slowly coasting past so I only have time to say, "Thanks!" and give her a thumbs up. She returns the gesture and smiles even bigger.. That interaction was more fun that seeing this cow elk. I never did see the bull elk.
My riding companion. What a handsome fella!
 Road construction.
 My new mirrors perform brilliantly!
 Both sides.

A road blockage a few miles outside of Cooke City.
Just some buffalo out for a walk.

I have to admit I was a little breathless when they finally were past me.
It's all good, I'm soon on my way to Cooke City to stay overnight.

Fifty - Day 2

Next morning I'm on on the road out of Cooke City, Montana at around 7:15 
Just as I'm leaving town these two deer run in front of me. A few hundred yard later I see this moma and calf moose. This promises to be a good day!

The Bear's Tooth.
 Looking down at part of the Bear Tooth Pass road.
 At the rest stop I see this beauty.
A classic in it's day and still performing admirably.
And on I go... near Billings, Montana.
 A little farther on I stop to review my Bible stories. Someone has put a lot of work into their passion.

And then...........

....here it is, my 50th state!
 The first town I come to in ND - Marmarth.

Mission accomplished, next stop for the night - Miles, Montana. 

Fifty - Day 3 and 4

From ND to Cody, Wyoming, my gps takes me to the end of a dead end road. No problem, I'll just turn around and return the 16 miles to this road and get back on track.
Mural somewhere in Montana.
Different magazines, forums, etc have generated a lot of lists of top 10 USA motorcycle roads. I've never seen US-14A in Wyoming, on any of the lists. Usually when I see one of those lists I've ridden at least 8 and sometimes all ten of the roads, and the 14A between Sheridan and Lovell belongs on any list I've seen.
And here is Lovell. My grandparents moved from Utah to Lovell at the behest of the Mormon Church  in November of 1900, they were newly weds at the time having been married the August before.
The journey from Mt. Carmel, Utah to Lovell, Wyoming was quite arduous (being winter), and they endured many hardships. They arrived at Lovell on Thanksgiving day; the ice on the river was so thick they drove the teams and wagons right across the river on the ice.
The Mormon Church had arranged for the pioneers to work on the Cincinnati Canal Proposition, the labor in exchange for each person getting some land upon the successful completion, and had urged pioneers to move here for that purpose.
This is a plaque on the west end of Lovell honoring those pioneers.

My grandfather and the others in his group worked on this canal with horse drawn scrapers. The canal was 37 miles long and had to be big enough to water up to 15,000 acres. 
After completion of the canal each worker drew a number from a hat which determined which piece of land they got. 
The history of this movement hints at a failure. The ages of the pioneers was younger than the norm. Also, there was not enough experience at the type of farming they had to do in this area to succeed. So within a relatively short period of time most of the mormons were moving again to another location. Interestingly, most moved to locations other than where they had left to move to Wyoming.

Grandfather worked in Lovell for a few years, then moved to Idaho, near Burley to homestead for a few years,  then back to Lovell. Then circa 1929 he moved his family to Salt Lake City where he died in 1930. My dad was 15 during the time of the move and drove the family car the entire distance from Lovell to Salt Lake City.

So back to my "arduous" trip, I stay in Cody at this hotel. Good price and very clean, Highly recommended!

Went around the corner and got a burger for dinner here, I recommend this place too.
The next morning I'm on the road at 7:35, one hundred miles later it starts to rain....HARD....finally in Preston, Idaho I'm able to take off my rain gear, I snap this photo on Logan, Utah.
I had to stop a couple of times because the rain was so intense I could not see the road clearly, also on the pass between Jackson, Wyoming, and Victor, Idaho, the fog had the visibility down to 10 - 20 feet, according to my estimation - finally 13 hours, and 530 miles after I leave Cody, I arrive home.

This wasn't my best trip... lots of miles in few days. That's ok, any day on the bike is a good day!
1,930 miles total.
I've been getting killer gas mileage lately so I kept track on this trip, I averaged 51 mpg, My best was 58, worst 41.

So, even though it wasn't my best trip ever, I'm very glad I went. I got my 50th state, and more important I was able to learn a little about my family heritage.

Now then;
I've been everywhere in Utah.
50 States.....
What could be next?