Monthly Archives: June 2011

Wilson (Jackson) to Salmon – Great Food & Wine

Today was easy street day, a short ride in beautiful weather if you ignore the wind.....just ask Marly who has become somewhat buff due to all the steering in the many curves and wind.  Yup we call her Buffy now. Now based on the fact that every dinner at Greg's was chili, the mileage even into the wind, should have been outstanding.

The route covered a lot of undeveloped BLM managed land that remind many of us older types of the way the west was and should be lots of open spaces and not a lot of traffic........ and the temptation to twist the throttle really made all of our hands itch....especially on the long straight stretches.

We have finally seen another side of Bill, the domestic.... I think he is either trying to get hired by Tide or Wickers for advertising.  The first thing he does when we get somewhere is ask where the washing machine is.  And about the Wickers - Bill has been modeling his Wickers underwear...... but not while wearing them... Bill the spokesman for Tide and Wickers.  Yup got your Wickers? Do you know where your Wckers are tonight?

Dinner tonight was great - a Chamber of Commerce gathering at the restaurant for after hours was down by the Salmon River for starters and then into the restaurant we went. The motel is also right on the river, which by the way is at flood stage, but no worries, we all are on the second floor. Bob had stayed in the hotel in 1995 and eaten at the same restaurant then also - so we had some knowledge the restaurant might be good, and it was.  The appetizer was sauteed alligator... no  kidding - wonder if it tasted like poodle?  In Florida they are well known for regulating the dog population along waterways.

After dinner was some wine from one of the bikes along the river which had risen quite a bit since we started dinner..... did I mention we are on the second floor?

Tomorrow is a ride over two passes, first Lost Trail Pass between Idaho and Montana and then the famous Lewis & Clark pass, Lolo Pass, which is also between Idaho and Montana and a ride along the Lochsa(pronounced lock saw)   River, which closely runs along their expedition journey trail, but ours will be much less arduous.  Everyone is looking forward to this ride to Orofino where we will spend the night at the Konkoville Motel .

No, I do not make these names up!

ROBBERY!

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As we rode the Beartooth again, we had to get one last photo of Pilot Peak, and then on to Cooke City, MT to buy trip mementos/souvenirs. Once every 81 minutes give or take 10 is the schedule of Old Faithful; never fails to be impressive, and the crowd, especially the kids - young & old, love it.

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Yes you read that right! Marly was victimized by marauding gangs. It was an inexcusable crime, despite the fact Marly has more snacks in her bag than a Frito Lay truck. The worst part of the crime was the mess that was left. Marly said she felt completely violated by this intrusion into her personal effects. Apparently the criminal did not care for Good & Plenty or Hot Tamales. Loved the Chex Mix though.

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The perpetrator was immediately spotted in the act and then hung around waiting for us to leave.  Due to national park regulations against discharging firearms towards wildlife, despite their severe character defects, the criminal was left to strike again.

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On the way back to Wilson, and despite running late, we had to stop to take a picture of the setting sun on the Grand Tetons.  It really does not get much better than this!

Tomorrow we start for home, and everyone was pleased with all we got to do and see.  No telling what plans the future may hold.  We did take one last picture tonight...... everyone including Greg, our host.

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(L to R) Leo, Marly, Bill, Greg, Danielle, Dean & Bob.... oh my, where is Mr. Happy?

Bears & The Beartooth Hwy (US 212)

First, an apology for no posting yesterday on Wednesday, June 22, but the B & B in Red Lodge MT,  had no wi-fi or alternative Internet hook-up!

The group had a leisurely breakfast, of course served by our host, Greg again... I am afraid that this could become an expectation when we return home..... an unmet one.

As we rode toward the final destination of the day, the Beartooth Hwy, we had to go through Grand Teton NP and, of course, take the obligatory picture of the beautiful range.

The trip to the Beartooth was up the east side of the Grand Loop with stops for geyser pools next to a lake

And most curious of all was a stare down with one of Smokey's no good relatives...... or at least one. The stare down was successful due to the bear deciding that killing and devouring us by the roadside was not worth his time

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And then the upper and lower falls (water that is) were visited. Then riding the Beartooth we had to get what has become a daily occurrence, a group hug.... I mean picture, and this one was with Pilot Peak in the background. Then the ride along the Beartooth with all the ranges surrounding it covered in snow was most impressive including the interesting descent.

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We reached our destination, a B&B, just outside Red Lodge, MT and were quickly off to dinner in town and then to bed...... very tired but pleased with the weather and with what we had been able to see. Tomorrow is back across the Beartooth and then to Mammoth Hot Springs and the pinnacle, Old Faithful!

Spectacular Views & Bars

Today we had a leisurely breakfast that Greg fixed for us despite our protestations about his fixing us breakfast but we did not hesitate to wolf it down.  Then we planned the day, a ride through Jackson to the Grand Teton National Park.

The weather was ideal - the temperature almost reach 80 degrees F.  Wow we were thrilled.  We stopped several times on the way to take pictures at the one after another "the best picture spot".  I think historically this area ranks up there with Yosemite with no record of a bad picture ever being taken.

For lunch we slummed it by going to the Jackson Lake Hotel...... and the view from the lobby was rather impressive-  so much so, it had to be included in this posting as the first photo.  Everyone enjoyed the view and lunch on a balcony facing the range.

We returned to Jackson and parked at the visitors' center and walked into town to do the tourist thing and then meet Greg at the Silver Dollar Bar for dinner. After dinner it was over to the Million Dollar Bar to see the saddle stools (each bar stool is a saddle) and buy souvenirs.

The day closed with laundry being done and wine being drunk with lots of ideas of what to see and the history behind the area. Tomorrow is the long anticipated ride of the world famous Beartooth Highway - everyone is excited

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From Peaks to Craters

Today was quite eventful with a very scenic ride along the Sawtooth Range and over Galena Pass to get to Sun Valley, Ketchum & Hailey and on to Wilson, WY.  Plenty of photo opportunities from majestic peaks to craters (Craters of the Moon National Monument). The weather was beautiful and the day was only interrupted by road construction delays.

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We finally entered Wyoming and made it to Jackson and then down the road to Wilson.  This where the day got interesting.  We were to take Elk Road to Bronco Road..... well we almost did something vaguely resembling this if you substitute Deer for Elk......... so up we rode a very narrow and steep hill to a steeper  driveway that had the same number as Greg's house number.  The same house number and a different road do not produce Greg;s home or driveway.

As all the bikes crested the driveway onto a very small parking area, things went very wrong for Bob...... his bike as he attempted to maneuver toppled over on the downhill side while Bob thinking manly man thoughts failed to muster enough strength to do anything but scream not so nice words.  Despite reports to the contrary he did not scream like a girl.

We finally made it to Greg's home.... more to come with pictures.... it is beyond nice with shabby views of all those ugly Wyoming mountain ranges that we incorporate into national parks. By the way, Greg's driveway is like about as wide as an interstate... oh well, bike needed repainting.

In closing, we need to reveal for those who do not know Mr. Happy, who runs this blog what he looks like.  In this case, a picture says it all.

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Hell’s Canyon to a Piece of Heaven

Today was a day of contrasts. We awoke to another overcast day and headed out to ride the rim of Hell's Canyon to the famous sweeping overlook.  The road was scattered with rocks and potholes, so the going was very slow... 30-35 miles for almost 50 miles.  The overlook was quite impressive as it was the only view we had been able to see in almost two days of riding.  The remainder of the ride towards Oxbow was somewhat better, and much warmer than we had been.  From Oxbow we took Idaho SR 71, which at first is a private road the belongs to Idaho Power that goes around Brownlee Dam, that is one of the many power generating dams on the Snake River.... the weather warmed and so did our spirits.  By the time we connected with Leo in Boise at the same place we had rendezvoused in 2010, the weather was warm and the skies clearing.  About time.

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Leo had been at the Burger King meeting spot for 3 hours, so he was glad to finally see us.  You might wonder why we did not call Leo and let him know.  Well, cell service in the area of Oregon and Idaho where we were did not have cell service or much of anything else - including toilet paper I am told at the Hell's Canyon overlook. FYI - Idaho Power has lots of toilet paper in their bathrooms.

We left Boise on SR 21 that leads through the Sawtooth Mountains to Stanley.  This was a ride in beautiful weather with move curves than the Playboy Mansion.... or so it seemed.

We had many "had to" stops for breathtaking views and pictures of same.  The last 30 miles into Stanley were probably the most beautiful of any 30 miles we had ever ridden.  We rode along with sawtoothed snow covered mountains as our constant visual companion.....it does not get any better than this was today.

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Our hotel, the High Country Inn had rooms for us with a porch that faced the Sawtooth Range - Wow!  There really is not much to Stanley but beautiful natural surroundings that are second to none.

Tomorrow takes us through Ketchum/Sun Valley, Craters of the Moon National Monument over Teton Pass to Wilson, WY and Bill's good friend Greg.  We can't wait!

Money Shrubs, Rain and more…..

We are all a bit damp, a litte cool but safe and well fed in Enterprise, OR. The ride today was the kind that Mr. Happy just loves... full of human trial and tribulations. We all left Ellensburg this morning in fine form and on time. The entourage headed down the the road to Vantage to take SR 240 to 243 to the Tri-Cities then through Pasco to Waitsburg, Dayton, Pomeroy, Clarkson and then south on the Rattlesnake/SR 129 to Entprise, OR... sounds uneventful....... it wasn't.

First of all, it was very overcast when we left, threatening rain, which soon became a reality, but better yet as Mr. Happy likes to say, unusual events unfolded as we crested Rye Grass and headed down to the Columbia and the bridge at Vantage. Apparently, Leo had purchased a Harley Davidison that was equiped with the optional spring open trunk lid with contents ejection package. Out went the blue fleece jacket and wallet. Leo was forced to go back and search for the missing contents of his trunk while the rest of us headed on according to the original plan.

In Preston, WA we followed Dean to another sleazy bar that he and Danielle love to partronize - just kidding, it was called the Tuxedo Bar & Cafe (that is not a joke) where we had a good bar food lunch and then headed on in the rain to Costco in Clarkston for some Costco gas,and then turn south on SR 129 to Anatone (population 38 poeple 17 dogs and 11 horses) and then further south on some of the best roads and views in the worst weather, but not before Bill and the owner of the Tuxedo Bar & Cafe, Carla, had their picture taken together. By the time we arrived at Chief Joseph overlook outside of Enterprise, the view was non-existent but the rain and hail sure wasn't.

When we arrived in Enterprise, out came the wine, trail mix (a fine French mix I am sure) and a call to Leo that regaled us with his story of essentially searching the Rye Grass median for his jacket and wallet. Eventually, he enlistes the assitance of his dear wife, Cathi, who drives as Leo hangs out the window like a beagle sniffing for his cash which he hopes still exists somewhere beside the road. With a few hints from WSDOT folks he searches the median and sees his blue fleece jacket and then notices that random pieces of scrub steppe over a large area contain pictures of various past presidents. Fortunately, and with the type of luck that folks usually need to win Powerball, Leo finds all but a couple or so pictures of past presidents and the finances for his trip are again back in his hands. He also finds all of the trip materials that Bob gave him without a page missing. For some reason, Leo does not consider this find to be of particular significance. Seems to be a bit ungrateful, don't you think?

Rumor has it that Leo is spending the night in Ellensburg and meeting the group again in Boise on Sunday, in order to allow Cathi to use her Singer Stitch and Sew to attach the errant wallet to his waist. So it will appear that Leo will be immitating a Kangaroo every time he needs to reach into his wallet for some money. We all look forward to seeing Leo and having all the group together... tomorrow is on to Stanley, ID by way of Hell's Canyon... forecast is for cool weather.

Another Run to Jackson…….. we think!

One year and over one month later the intrepid travelers are off try to visit Greg, Bill's friend in Wilson, WY (very close to Jackson).  Starting Saturday, June 18, 2011 at the Quality Inn in Ellensburg we will leave for Enterprise, Oregon by way of Asotin County in the the far southeast corner of Washington State and ride the famous Rattlesnake (think curves not snakes) SR 129.

We will be staying at the Ponderosa Motel.  Last time our first night was at the Big Iron Motel in Riggins, ID.  Apparently we are making a bit of a habit of spending the first night in a manly man motel.  Last year's motel had complementary cookies and beer at check-in.  We are hoping for similar treatment, but will settle for wine and cheese.

Talking about wine, Leo and Dean again appear to be planning to leave their clothes at home and fill their saddle bags with various vintages of good wine.  At the planning dinner we all discussed the route for a good 30 seconds and spent the rest of the evening discussing what wine to bring.

Most importantly, we have packed a good attitude, plan to have a safe trip and really resent all those tacky remarks about our sense of direction because we started for Jackson, WY last year and ended up in Reno, NV.  Really, how big a deal is that?  Ah, for Bill the relationship with BMW of Boise - was a big deal.

This year, watch for the presentation of the award for the first dropped bike.  Mr. Happy is again coming along and recently congratulated Bill on his 365+ drop-free days.  Bill still has not warmed up to Mr. Happy and probably is a bit sore about Mr. Happy sunning himself on Bill's BMW while Bill waited for a tow truck due to the infamous BMW final drive failure virus........ but this is all behind us and off we go to a ride through Hell's Canyon, the Sawtooth Mountain Range, Grand Tetons (the French really know how to name mountain ranges), Yellowstone, the Beartooth Highway and back across Lolo pass.  It does not get much better than this.