Jeff and Julie Falls, Idaho

So the trip has truly started. SoCal sucks. I’ve done the 395 sooo many times. Northern Nevada really makes me understand why the government thought that blowing up a shit-ton of atomic weapons above ground was a good idea. But then we finally made it off I80 at Wells and entered the Baja Idaho area of faaaaar north Nevada. The road dropped to two lanes, the scenery improved, the air cooled, and the rains came.

To be fair, the rains came when we were still on the 80. And boy were they a surprise. None of the weather reports that I had scouted predicted a rain issue, so we weren’t really geared up. And the rain swept in on a stretch of road with no exits, no services, and no overpasses to hide under. Which wasn’t really that bad until the hail started. Luckily the Only Overpass In Northern Nevada appeared soon thereafter and we were able to wait out the bulk of it while getting our gear sorted. Predictably, that was pretty much the end of the rain, but you can bet your boots that we were ready for it. “It” being the rain that never really came (since we weren’t ready for the rain that did…).

It was the longest day, mile-wise at least, that we have pre-planned. So of course we got a late start ☹️. We got up at a reasonable hour (8am), but then things shifted into slo-mo. For example, I finished packing and was gassed up at the pump, ready to go, at 10:50. We left at 11:50. Why, pray tell? Meh. It’s not worth the telling. Regardless, leaving for a 500mi day at noon is sub-optimal, especially during summer in Nevada.

That said, the weather wasn’t too bad (aside from the aforementioned hail/lightning storm). Sunny and clear. Mid-to-high 90’s, but dry and comfortable. The road was a 4 lane interstate, but tolerable. We passed Thunder Mountain, which drew an interested glance at 90mph, but did not warrant a stop. Due to a late breakfast in Minden we decided to just push on through to Twin Falls before we stopped for food.

The last push up from Wells to Twin Falls finally brought the scenery that I’ve been jonsing for. Interesting rock formations, wide vistas, and a legit full rainbow that I’m afraid we didn’t get on camera. Once in Twin Falls we found the nearest brewery and fell upon it like a bum on a ham sandwich. Hmm. Now that I think about it, I did have a ham sandwich… Food was good, beer was better. Now we’re at a MyPlace Hotel, which only bears noting because the front desker (Angela) is the best brand representative I’ve ever met. Seriously. Stay at a MyPlace when you can and give credit to Angela in Twin Falls. She rocks.

Tomorrow is Grand Teton and Yellowstone, overnighting at the Roosevelt Lodge. Likely no wifi or cell, so I’ll see you when I see you 😘

Starting Odometer: 32983
Ending Odometer: 33478
Daily Total: 495
Running Total:915

Good Morning, Minden

Alarm went off at 6:30 and we both jumped out of our respective beds…promptly at 8. A little bit of packing done and Paul has gone off to wash his bike. Seriously. I’ll cut him a little slack, though. He’s owned the thing less than 24hrs, after all.

We’ll grab breakfast and hit the road. Looking to clear town by 10:30 or 11. Then it’s on to Twin Falls, which is about 7 hours away.

Welcome to Minden, Nevada

We rolled into Minden at about midnight, so pictures weren’t high on the priority list. Cute town, though.

Good start to the trip, although the start to that start (so to speak) left something to be desired. Paul ultimately came through with the bike, as mentioned. Kickstands up at the Norco Chik-fil-A at 3:15pm…straight into SoCal stop-and-go traffic on the 15 freeway. Since Paul had literally purchased his bike an hour before, he was understandably reluctant to jump straight in to splitting lanes. It was as slow as being in a car and as hot as the surface of the sun. At least I think it was that hot but I couldn’t feel it much at all. I was wearing a miraculous gel “cooling vest.” You soak it in water to charge it up, then the evaporation of the water from the vest keeps you cool. Cool and moist. That is, damp. Okay. It’s really fucking wet. But it never felt unpleasant and I never, ever, got hot.

Anyway, we slogged up the Cajon Pass and turned out of the traffic onto the 395, which ultimately leads straight to Minden. The BMW told me it topped out at 105 degrees around Mojave, and the winds were blowing straight across the highway at about the same time. Since my bike is about as aerodynamic as a small condo at the moment that got old pretty quick.

We passed into the shadow of the Sierras and the winds died as we motored through Lone Pine and on to points north. We had a late dinner at a Chinese joint in Bishop (let’s just say that I’m not surprised that Bishop does not label itself as “the China of the Eastern Slope”) and got back on the road at about 9:30. The heat had finally eased a bit, dipping into the 80s.

It wasn’t long before we were climbing up towards the Mammoth area and temperatures continued to drop quickly. We flirted with 45 degrees for awhile before settling in between 55 and 65. It was now full dark with the highway winding through the forests and canyons of the Sierra foothills. Every shadow on the side of the road reminded me that the gas station attendant had gleefully told us about a motorcyclist dying last week after hitting a deer. “The deer are migrating right now, by the way,” she said. The migration path was across the 395. Hooray.

But no deer materialized. Due to the late hour and the long day we decided to call it a night about an hour short of Reno. One night at the Carson Valley Motor Lodge, garçon…

Starting Odometer: 32563
Ending Odometer: 32983
Daily Total: 420
Running Total: 420

Failure to Launch (on time)

So, the plan was to leave on Friday the 26th. My partner’s work commitments made that dicey, and then his bike got sick… Well, more accurately, his bike had been sick and the shop was having a hard time repairing it. They just needed some new parts from Japan and it would be up and running in no time. Unfortunately, “in no time” meant July 30th. Departure date was summarily changed to Wednesday the 31st, crack of dawn.

As the 30th got closer, the parts weren’t tracking as expected. My partner decided to buy a new bike instead of risking the trip on a flaky shop. So yesterday, on the eve of departure, he drove two hours to San Diego to close a deal on a brand new Goldwing Tour DCT. Sadly, the dealer had posted the wrong ad, and the bike was not as advertised. No deal. No parts. No bike. No trip? No way.

This morning he (eventually) drove two more hours to LA and bought the bike he’d wanted to buy yesterday. I’m currently sitting at my office in Riverside, patiently(?) waiting for him to sign the docs, load the bike, and come back to the IE to Get This Show On The Road.