We’re back!

Wowee!

50,000 miles across the western US with 10 RX3 motorcycles, five guys from China, two guys from Colombia, and three guys from the good old USA!

It was an amazing adventure!

More to follow, my friends…

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That didn’t take long…

So, no sooner had I posted that last blog when this appeared from our good buddy and fellow CSC rider San Marino Bill!

Joe:

My son just called me (3 pm) from the Paso Robles area and wanted to know where the CSC group was riding today.  He is up there picking up his son. He was following a group of good looking bikes (10 or 12).  I told him to make a sign that said HI JOE and show it to the leader.  I hope it was you.

Bill

Hey, thanks, Bill, and please tell your son and grandson thanks very much!

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San Francisco!

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We were in San Francisco this morning, and we rolled out early today headed back toward So Cal.  Two more days on the road and we’re home!

The bikes have been performing well.  I thought I’d take a moment and talk about what’s good and where we could maybe do a little better.

For starters, the bike is (to me) a surprisingly comfortable ride.   I have our optional sheepskin cover on my bike and I’m fine with that.   It works for some people; others want a different seat. We’ve got one of the new Seat Concepts seats on Baja John’s bike. Both he and Joe Gresh took turns riding with it.  They both like it.

If you’re one of the people who don’t like the stock rear seat, you’ll want to consider it.  I haven’t ridden with it yet just because I have so much on my mind keeping track of everybody, making sure we stay safe, and everything else that goes with a ride like this that I didn’t want to introduce any more variables.  So, for that reason, I stayed with the stock seat for this ride.

You know, in 50+ years of riding motorcycles, I’ve never had a bike with what I considered a comfortable seat.   My KLR 650 has unquestionably had the least comfortable seat I’ve ever encountered on a motorcycle, but a sheepskin cover fixed that for me (it’s why I added the sheepskin cover to the RX3 as soon as I got it).   But I’m not expecting a Cadillac comfort level from the RX3 or any other motorcycle.  My riding style is such that I stop every hour or so for a stretch break.   As they say, different strokes for different folks.   John and Joe Gresh both like the new seat.   A lot.   I think it’s a good thing, but I can’t (yet) tell you from personal experience.

The RX3 fuel economy has been great on this trip. I had at least a couple of tanks where I bumped up over 80 mpg, and a few where I was under 70 mpg.   We’re running the bikes hard (I mean, really hard…as in hours on end at 7500 rpm).   When you are rolling into headwinds with the throttle pegged, fuel economy is going to suffer.   But overall, the bike is easy on fuel.     We’ve been running the lowest octane we found at every refill. In Utah, that was 85, and the bikes ran fine on it.

We’ve had one flat tire, and that was on Joe Gresh’s bike.   He tells me he’s always the guy to get flat tires on all of his rides.   I don’t know…maybe the rest of us have just been lucky.

Speaking of tires, I bumped over 8200 miles on the clock today (as of right now I’m at 8500), and I’m still on the original rear tire. I think it will go the distance for this ride.   We’ve still got a little over 450 miles to go (188 now, because when I wrote this early this morning, I had poor connectivity and I couldn’t post it).   I really don’t want to wrestle with a tire change on the ride home.   The original tire will get me home.

Of our 10 to 15 bikes (we’ve had other people join us on the ride, as you know from reading the blog), we’ve had 3 or 4 that have lost their low beam.     These have been easy repairs (you just replace the bulb).   When you consider that we’ve rolled up close to 50,000 miles on these motorcycles in the last 17 days, I think that’s good.   Changing a bulb is not a big deal, so I’m not losing any sleep over that one, and I’ve had headlight bulbs conk out on long trips on Hondas, a Suzuki, Triumphs, and Harleys.   No big deal.

We made a decision not to do any valve adjustments during the ride. We adjusted the valves on all of the bikes before the ride, and we’re going to check them when we return to So Cal. If the valves are still in spec, we’ll extend the recommended valve adjustment interval. We’re not doing it yet, though, so for the time being please abide by the inspection frequency we’ve already recommended.  But keep an eye on the blog.  I think we’re going to be able to extend the interval, and I’ll post that information soon.

The engineers at Zongshen tell us the chain life on these bikes (with the original chains) is about 7500 miles.   That’s a pretty accurate prediction.   We’re pounding these things, and the chains are showing it on the bikes that have reached that mileage.  I had around 3500 miles on my bike when I started this ride, and John and Joe Gresh’s bikes (which had similar mileage on them at the start of the ride) are experiencing the same thing (in fact, we replaced Joe’s chain yesterday).   At around the 5000-mile mark, my chain (as well as John and Joe’s) needed daily adjustment (but don’t forget, we’re doing hundreds of miles every day).   As I said earlier, I’ve got over 8,000 miles on my bike now and I’m hoping to get home on the original chain. Assuming I do, it’s going to be replaced as soon as I get back to So Cal.  When you need a new chain, give us a call.   Ryan will help you out.

We are in Santa Maria tonight.  It was an easy roll once we got past San Jose, but the traffic on the 101 leaving San Francisco and all the way down past San Jose was rough this morning.   After that, we basically put the bikes on cruise control and ran 75 mph all the way down.

Here’s a cool thing…on the 101, just past San Luis Obispo, a couple of guys in a gray pickup truck pulled up alongside our convoy and starting beeping and waving at us.   When they were alongside me, one held up a sign that said “Hi, Joe!”   Cool stuff.  I have no idea who those guys were, but it’s a safe bet they’ll read this.   Guys, when you do, shoot me an email.   It made my day seeing you today.   I had a good laugh over it.

Okay, some photos.   They’re all from yesterday.   I didn’t take any pictures today.

On the way down the 101 yesterday, our first stop was in Geyserville.   It was a cool place.   We stayed about 45 minutes and I grabbed some cool photos…

140730_7291-650 140730_7309-650 140730_7311-650 140730_7312-650 140730_7314-650 140730_7317-650 That last photo above is of Willie.   Geyserville ran a marathon a few years ago and somehow Willie joined in and ran with the marathoners.    Willie actually did more than the standard 26 miles (or whatever it is) because every time he saw a rabbit he spun off to chase it before rejoining the group.

After Geyserville, we were back on the 101 headed south.   We stopped in Petaluma to put a new chain and tire on Joe Gresh’s bike (as explained earlier).   It always feels like we’re taking too long whenever we stop for anything, but I guess that’s just me.  I wanted to get the thing done and get back on the road.  The guys wanted to talk with the tech changing the chain.   Time’s a wasting, boys, and we want want to get into San Francisco before the heavy traffic hits!

After the chain replacement, we continued south on the 101 to San Franscisco.   We stopped for fuel, the traffic got heavier, and then we were on the Golden Gate Bridge!

I know I’m not the first guy to ever ride a motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge.   I’m kind of hoping I’m the first guy to ever do it on an RX3.   But we’ve sold a lot of motorcycles in this neck of the woods, so if any of you folks out there have done it first, please send us an email and let me know.

After getting into town, we walked around for a bit.  I grabbed a few non-motorcycle photos.   I was doing the typical tourist thing…here’s one of Joe Gresh in front of Ghirardelli Square…

150730_7207-650And a few more…

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And one final photo….my obligatory selfie.  This one has both Baja John and yours truly in it, taking a break in San Francisco…

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This is our last night on the road.   It will be good to get home.

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California!

Yesterday was awesome on many levels.    As the title of this blog implies, we are back in California!   We still have a way to go to get home, but there was something about crossing the northern California border into my home state that was immensely satisfying.

Before I get too far, let me introduce Oregon Jim, one of our RX3 riders who hooked up with us for the Western America Adventure Tour a couple of nights ago in Port Orford.  Jim recently re-entered the wonderful world of motorcycling after being away from it for awhile.   Good stuff, and Jim, we enjoyed meeting and riding with you!

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We were on the road at 7:30 yesterday.   That may not sound like such a big deal, but trust me, when you are in a group this size, rolling out on time is a minor miracle.  Every big ride with multiple riders I’ve ever been on has experienced this challenge.   I heard that there’s actually a formula somewhere that allots a certain number of additional minutes you should add for each rider.   Nah, we’re not gonna do that.  I learned a few years ago that you just announce a departure time and then leave at that time whether folks are ready or not.   People kind of figure it out after that.   That’s what we did yesterday.

You know, I spoke about that solitude thing a few days ago.   I like it.   Even when riding in a group, there’s time to think.   I did a lot of that on this trip.

We saw and rode the routes of many famous western US trails on this ride…the Texas trail, the Bozeman trail, the Oregon trail, the El Camino Real trail, the Lewis and Clark trail, the Nez Perce trail, the California trail, the Butterfield trail, the Great Western Cattle trail, and more.   This ride has been impressive on many levels.  Seeing the historical markers for all of the famous trails had me thinking about what things must have been like back in those days.

Are you old enough to remember who Ward Bond was?  He played the wagon master in the old ’50s TV series Wagon Train.   Crossing all of the historic trails I just mentioned kept driving my thoughts to Ward Bond for some reason.    We’re making this ride on incredible motorcycles; our ancestors made the trek in horse-drawn Conestoga wagons before there were McDonalds, Subways, or even roads.   They just did it.   They must have been incredible people.

I found myself thinking about what it must have been like going these kinds of distances 150 years ago and more.     I wondered if guys like Ward Bond struggled to get everybody moving in the morning on time.   I don’t think so.  If you weren’t ready to roll with the wagon train when it was time to roll in the morning you risked being left behind, and there were real consequences if that happened.  You could get scalped.

Okay, back to the main attraction…our ride.  We crossed back into California and we’ve been following Highway 101 (which originated as El Camino Real, the trail Father Juniper Serra followed in establishing the Jesuit missions extending from Baja to points north).

One of our first photo ops in California was the redwood forests.   Here’s a shot of Lester, Tony, Zuo, and Kyle…

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I know what you’re thinking, and no, Lester’s Yul-Brynner-like appearance was not the result of any failure to leave on time (it wasn’t me who scalped him).   Lester is always ready to roll on time when we leave.

We’re extending our trip by one day.   Everything is fine with the group and with the bikes; what’s not so fine is the heat.  As soon as Highway 101 turned inland yesterday, the heat became overwhelming.

You may recall that on the first day of our grand adventure, we rode through 105 degree temperatures in the Mojave Desert.  Well, we’ve been on the road riding about 300 miles every day for 15 days now (today is our 16th day).   There’s a difference between riding in that kind of heat on Day 1, and doing it after you’ve been on the road for 15 days without a break.  These guys are troopers and no one has complained about anything, but I’m not doing big days in that kind of heat.   Instead of taking two more days on the road through the heat, we’re doing to do it in three and we’re going to hug the coast coming home.

Today, it’s an easy 130 miles into San Francisco.   We’ll get in around noon, and we’re spending the day there.   If you want to hook up with us, we’ll be staying in the Van Ness Inn at 2850 Van Ness Avenue.

Tomorrow we’ll ride California’s famous Pacific Coast highway down to somewhere south of Cambria, and then we’ll pick up the last 200 miles  on Saturday.

Last night I had another nice surprise…our good buddy Don Knight visited with us at the hotel.  Like me, Don has both a CSC 150 and an RX3.   He likes CSC.   So do I!    Don, thanks for taking the time to make the trek to Willits.  I enjoyed meeting you.

One last thing, and I’m backing up a couple of days for this.   One of the best parts about the Oregon Coast Highway a few days ago are the magnificent art deco bridges.   Here’s a helmet cam video rolling across one of them I thought you might enjoy… 

And here’s a quick progress report…

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Ride safe, my friends.    More to follow!

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The Oregon Coast Highway…

Not a long blog today, folks…too much stuff to do!

We left the Portland area early yesterday and took Oregon Hwy 6 to Tillamook.  It’s a marvelous ride through deep pine-scented forests.  When we got there, we stopped at the Air Museum.   It’s a cool place in an old US Navy dirigible hangar…

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That’s Kyle and Lester in the photo above.   The hanger is the largest free-standing  wooden structure in the US.   It’s 192 feet tall.

After that, it was a quick blitz down 101 until we hit the Oregon coast line…

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It’s a little past 5:00 a.m. here.  I’ve got the little coffeemaker going and it’s just starting to get light outside.  That coffee is smelling good.  I need it today.

We’re going to make Willits tonight in northern California.  It’s a straight shot down the 101 for another 300 miles.   We’ll be staying in the Baechtel Creek Inn at 101 Gregory Lane.

And, oh yeah, here’s our progress map…

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The Columbia River Gorge!

I had a tough time selecting a title for this blog.   Ultimately, I went with The Columbia River Gorge because it’s where we spent most of today riding.   But I could have just as easily gone with The Bridge of the Gods because that bridge is one of my favorite spots on the planet.  We rode across it today.   More on all of this in today’s CSC blog, my friends.

When we left yesterday morning, the skies were overcast and they grew darker as we continued west.   We hopped on I-84 and we had only ridden a few miles when the rain started, so we exited to pull on the rain gear.   That tactic worked.  We cleared the crest of the next set of Oregonian mountains and the sun came out.   It was a clear, crisp, and refreshing ride.  It was like that all day.

The views along the Columbia River Gorge were spectacular.   We stopped at a viewpoint and the cameras started clicking.

Here’s Hugo, checking out the mightiest river in the Pacific northwest.   And in the next photo, King Kong and John jumped in the shot.

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Everyone was overwhelmed with how clear and how magnificent the day was.   The views along the Columbia were spectacular.

We went another 150 miles up the road and opted for an early lunch in Biggs.   Subway drew the winning ticket for our noon meal.   The guys like Subway.  I do, too.

We headed due north out of Biggs on 97 to cross the Columbia River.    Just crossing over on the Biggs bridge was amazing.

Washington:  Check.

Yep, that river crossing put us on Highway 14 in Washington.  One more state to the Western America Adventure ride tally.

Highway 14 was amazing.   One of the guys said it was the best road yet.   The concept of the “best road yet” has been a continuing theme on this epic journey.   They just keep getting better and better.    These next couple of shots are from the Washington side of the Columbia.

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I still had all of my rain gear on and I was roasting.  I saw the main office building of a lumber company so I pulled in to their parking.  We parked in front of their main office building to rearrange what we were wearing, and a woman came out of their front entrance and beat a path straight toward me.  I thought she was going to tell us to move.

“We have a restroom inside if any of your guys need to use it, and we have a soda machine, too,” she said.

What was coming next would be spectacular.  It was the Bridge of the Gods.   It is spectacular.  At a quarter of a mile long and built in 1926, this cantilever bridge represented the start of the bridge-building art back in the day.  The wildest part is the iron mesh road surface.  Look down while riding a motorcycle across it and you’ll think you are flying 200 feet above the Columbia.   It is one of my favorite spots.

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Here’s a shot of my RX3 after we crossed the Bridge of Gods.    It was awesome.   Everything on this ride has been awesome.

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Hugo, Kong, and Zuo with the Bridge of the Gods in the background…we’re back in Oregon in this shot.

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Tony taking a picture of Joe taking a picture of the Bridge of the Gods.

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Lester makes a new Harley-Davidson friend in Oregon.

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And one more photo.   I sure like this place.

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When we arrived in Beaverton, we had a couple more folks show up.   Joe Gresh’s friend Gary wanted to get a ride on the RX3, and we were happy to make that wish come true.

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And Dave joined us.  Dave bought a red RX3 with just about every possible accessory.   It’s cool.  When I see another RX3 in the parking lot, my first thought is “who’s motorcycle is that, and why is it so clean?”   That’s happened several times.  It takes me a minute or two to realize these are bikes belonging to our friends who just want to hook up and ride with us for a while.

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Ah, the daily update…

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Oh, and one more thing…here’s a video I’d forgotten I shot a few days or a week ago…it’s when we left Cody, Wyoming at 5:00 a.m. bound for Yellowstone National Park.   It’s cool (and it sure was a cool morning) because I haven’t seen any other videos of the RX3 on a night ride…

We’re headed west for a bit and then south when we see the Pacific Ocean today.   We’ll be spending most of the day on Oregon’s spectacular coast highway.

Our evening’s destination today is the Seacrest Motel, 44 US Highway 101, in Port Orford, Oregon.

Enjoy the day, my friends.  I sure will!

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Oregon!

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, the one above says it all.   That’s Zuo, just after we crossed the Snake River from Idaho into Oregon.

Let me back up a bit and tell you about this fine day in July.   We were up early and we rolled out of, let’s see, where were we last night?  Oh yeah, Boise.

So we rolled out of Boise on the freeway for a bit, we grabbed 95 north (a nice country road), and then we met Rob (yet another RX3 rider) in Cambridge, Idaho.

First, a shot or two or three of Cambridge…

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We were taking Idaho 71 through the hills to the Snake River, but allow me to introduce our good buddy Rob first…

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Rob’s a cool guy and a master craftsman.   He and I had corresponded on the ChinaRiders.net forum, and I was glad I finally got to meet him in person.   I knew Rob would be an intelligent man from his postings on ChinaRiders, and I had been looking forward to meeting him today.

Rob had some nice touches on his RX3, including his mascot…

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One of the guys asked Rob if his donkey had a name and he said it did not.  I suggested Hoty.    Joe Gresh and Rob both got it immediately.   Get it?  Donkey Hoty?   As in Don Quixote?

Rob had posted on ChinaRiders about a custom set of footpegs he made for his RX3 using bicycle pedals, and I have to tell you, they looked pretty good to me…

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You may remember that yesterday I told you our good buddies Brendan and Shelby (two more RX3 owners) hooked up with us in Boise.

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You know, Brendan looks a bit like Tom Cruise.   We talked about that for awhile there in Cambridge.   I told Brendan that people tell me I look like Leonardo di Caprio.   I don’t see it, myself…

Brendan, Shelby, and Rob know Idaho and Oregon well, and they told us it would be at least four hours before we saw any place to eat if we were headed to Hell’s Canyon.  It was already about 10:00, so everybody grabbed something at the gas station in Cambridge.

Here’s a shot of Lester, Kong, Zuo, and Hugo enjoying good old American gas station cuisine…

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Brendan and Rob immediately struck up a conversation on the finer points of Canon camera gear…

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I kept my mouth shut on that one…I’m a Nikon guy.

So, after the sampling the culinary delights of a rural Idaho Sinclair station, we were on the road on Idaho 71.  It’s one of the world’s great roads, folks.   We’ve been on so many amazing roads I’m losing track of them all.   We rode 71 right across the Snake River, and we arrived in Oregon.

Oregon.

Let me say that again.

Oregon.

Oregon, by way of California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho.  On 250cc motorcycles.

Oregon.

Okay, you get the point.

Ha ha ha, he he he.  I rode my RX3 from Los Angeles to Oregon.

I’ll say it again.

Oregon.

Here are a few shots after we crossed into Oregon…

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I have to wonder what our Chinese and Colombian friends think of all this.   They must be wondering two things:

Are all the roads in America this magnificent?

and

Where are all the people?

On this last point, we’ve been in some very desolate and very beautiful areas.   It’s why Baja John chose the routes he did (and he has done one hell of a job in charting our journey).   Joe Gresh made the comment a few days ago…our guests have to be thinking all of America is like this, and they have to be wondering where all the people are.

We visited yet another amazing place today….Hell’s Canyon.

I’d never been to Hell’s Canyon before, and I always wanted to see it.   Hell’s Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon.   We were actually looking down on hawks flying below us.  Getting up there was a challenge.   The road was “unimproved” (a fancy way of saying washboard gravel).   I don’t like riding in that kind of stuff, but in for a penny, in for a pound.   It took us a good hour to get up to Hell’s Canyon.  It’s another place I can cross off my bucket list…

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I was having a ton of fun taking in the views and taking photos.  Like always, though, the best photos are the ones of people.

I grabbed two this afternoon I really like.

This first one is of Juan Carlos and Gabriel, basking in the glory of Hell’s Canyon…

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I was using my super wide angle lens.   The guys have been joking with me about its peripheral reach.

One trick with a wide angle lens is to shoot down at people.   Here’s a shot doing just that, showing Rob, Shelby, Tony, Brendan, John, Lester, and Joe…

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After taking it all in, it was time to get on the road again.   We still had another 120 miles to our destination for tonight.  Folks, it was a long 120 miles.  The ride west out of the Hell’s Canyon overlook took forever.   Imagine Glendora Ridge Road (unending switchbacks and unmarked lanes) extending for nearly 80 miles in very cold riding conditions.

I was sure glad when we reached the small town of Joseph at the end of the switchbacks.   That’s the name of the town.  It’s named for Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians.  I told our guests it was named for me.   I think one or two of them believed me.   I don’t know if they have fully gotten a register on my sense of humor yet.    Maybe.

We had a great Mexican lunch in Joseph, and then we rode another 71 miles to La Grande, Oregon, which is where we are now.

When we arrived at the hotel this evening, we were in for another nice surprise.   Our good buddy Mark (who owns a red RX3) was waiting for us!

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We were very tired when we pulled into the hotel parking lot, but listening to Mark talk about how much fun he was having with his RX3 was invigorating.  Joe Gresh listened in amazement.   Joe turned to me and jokingly asked “You’re paying him to say this, right?”  But I could tell he was impressed.   Joe is loving the RX3 he’s riding on this trip.   He’s becoming a member of the Cult of the Zong.

I’m calling it a night.   It was a long day, and I need to get a good night’s sleep.  We’re doing another 270 miles tomorrow, but unlike most days on this expedition, they’ll be mostly freeway miles.   We’ll be spending tomorrow night in Beaverton, just south of Portland, and you’ll be able to find us at the Peppertree Inn at 10720 SW Allen Boulevard.

And allow me to add just one more photo, updated to show where we are now…

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Take a good look at that photo.  We did that on 250cc motorcycles.    Oregon.   Amazing stuff, my friends.

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Boise, baby!

Wow, today was the best day yet on this trip.  I know I’ve said that before, but today was a lot of fun.   I enjoyed it more than any day yet on this epic adventure.  And like the title says, we’re in Boise, Idaho tonight.   It was a good ride getting here.

I just came in from changing the oil (we did all of the bikes today).   Hugo and John G have group oil changes down to a science.  We serviced 10 bikes in about an hour.   Fun times. Lots of jokes, lots of kidding around, and just plain fun.  Hugo is turning into a real boss.   John G thinks he’s running the show.   Hugo does, too.   It’s pretty funny watching Hugo holding a funnel, pointing to his wrist, and telling John “quickly, quickly” (especially when you consider that Hugo doesn’t wear a watch).   Good times.

We rolled out of Twin Falls at around 8:00 a.m., picked up Highway 20, and rode it through the southern width of Idaho.   Arizona George met us along the way…he’s a Brit with an accent that everyone mistakes for Australian, and we’re really enjoying his company.

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Our first stop was at the Craters of the Moon National Monument.  It’s a volcanic field in the middle of southern Idaho’s gently rolling hills, and it’s definitely other-worldly.

I grabbed a photo of Kyle, John, and Gabriel when we got there…

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You know, you get to think a lot when you ride a motorcycle.   I like things simple.   I don’t have a GPS, or an intercom, or anything else like that on my bike.   I like the solitude that riding a motorcycle offers, even when I’m riding in a group.   I’m old, I guess, and I find that feeling (a preference for solitude) is more prevalent among older riders.

I sometimes like having a GPS in my car, but only sometimes.   To me, using it is like looking at a map through a straw.   I like the big picture, and I like having a paper map.  I don’t want a GPS on my bike.  Personal preference, I suppose.  When I first starting taking big rides on motorcycles, we used maps.  I still like the feel of a map.

The guys were riding much better today.  We were getting a little too bunched up yesterday, so we had another safety meeting and today things were much better.   I think a big part of it is cultural…in other countries riders ride closer together.  I like big distances with lots of space between bikes.  It gives you more time to react.   Anyway, today was a breeze.   I think my new Chinese name is SesherMe, which the guys tell me means 30 meters in Chinese.   I’m always telling the guys to keep 30 meters between bikes.

The mornings are interesting.   We usually have breakfast in the hotel and then get on the road by about 8:00.  It’s a challenge to get everybody moving at the same time, and Hugo is helping a lot with this.   We’re doing well.

Most of the guys from China have never been to the US before, and it’s sometimes hard for me to remember that the things I see all the time and don’t take much notice of are new and exciting for our guests.   My focus has been on getting everybody moving at the same time and minimizing the time at our fuel stops, because I want to get to the next spot before dark and still have enough time to take in the sightseeing stops we have scheduled.   The Chinese guys want to see it all and get photos of everything.   I was the same way when I was in China.

Today was interesting for many reasons, but what happened in Carey, Idaho, will stay with me for a long time.

We had left the Craters of the Moon and ridden another 50 miles or so (with literally nothing in between except open plains, rolling hills, and beautiful scenery) when we entered Carey.   You have to understand that Carey is basically a wide spot in the road with maybe 40 or 50 buildings along the way.   I was focused on getting there, filling the bikes, and getting back on the road.  Little did I know…

When we pulled into Carey, it was like my home town in the early afternoon on the 4th of July….you know, where everybody is sitting in lawn chairs, lining the street, waving American flags, and waiting for the parade.  That’s literally what we encounted.   The good citizens of Carey were waiting for the parade.   It was Pioneer Day here in Idaho.  I imagine everybody in town was out there on both sides of the street.

Okay, so we roll into town on our RX3s.  All 11 of us, now that Arizona George had joined the party.   You can guess where this is going…the good people of Carey thought we were the start of the parade, especially since the Chinese have large American and Chinese flag decals on their windshields.   The Carey people waved their flags at us and cheered.   What the Chinese guys were thinking I can only guess.   When we pulled in the Shell station, my good buddy Joe Gresh (who is a really fun guy to be around) pulled off his helmet and said “Boy, a lot of folks are following the blog.”  It was pretty funny.

I wanted to get gas and get going.  The Chinese guys and the Colombians wanted to stay and watch the parade.

You can guess how it went from the photos below…

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We actually had a pretty good time. Our visitors were seeing a good old fashioned American parade. You can imagine the stories and photos they’ll be bringing home.

After the parade, we rode another 50 miles or so to another tiny town with two small restaurants, and we picked one. Hugo and I have this system worked out we were get in first (before all of the other guys, we review the menu, and we pick out something that is reasonably priced and order the same thing for all of the Chinese visitors).    Then I explain to the waitress what’s happening.  It’s working pretty well.

Today, we opted for bacon cheeseburgers, and they were awesome.  It’s always fun to watch the reactions when the food comes out.  The Chinese can’t believe our portion sizes.

The other thing that’s fun is to watch the reactions of the other diners in these places.  We’re eating in local restaurants, and the other patrons are local folks.   Today I walked over to the other tables and told them what was happening (you know, new motorcycle in America, visitors from China and Colombia, etc.).   The locals loved it.  They had lots of questions and it was a very enjoyable exchange.  Some of the towns we are going through are extremely small (for instance, the town of Emblem has a population of 10), and it’s a big deal for them (much as it is for us) when we stop in for a meal.   Fun times.

At our stop today for lunch, it was an extra-special treat to have Justin (aka MacGuyver) hook up with us for the ride.   Justin, you will remember, rode with us on the Baja ride.  It was another photo op.  Grand fun, all the way around, for everybody.  That’s Justin in the middle of the photo below.

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From there, it was another quick 50 miles (although in much more severe heat) to the junction of Hwy 20 and I-84.   We stopped for gas, but on the way into that town, several of us noticed an M1 Abrams tank on display.  Joe Gresh wanted to take a few minutes to photograph it.   So did our guests.   It was a hoot.

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We’re in Boise tonight, and when we arrived at the hotel, we had another nice surprise.  My old Triumph-riding buddy Brendan and his brother, Shelby, were waiting for us at the hotel.   They both ride RX3 motorcycles now.   They are joining the ride tomorrow, so we now have four additional RX3 riders in our group.

Today we’re headed to Hell’s Canyon in Oregon.  Yep, we’re adding another state to our list.  It’s going to be hot, but it’s going to be fun.  I washed clothes last night and they are still a bit damp.  That will keep me cool for awhile.

This evening we’ll be staying at the Super 8 on 2407 East R Avenue in LaGrande, Oregon.   Ride safe and we hope to see you there.

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Moving right along….

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If you’re planning on meeting us for a ride, we’d love to see you. Make sure you bring a helmet if you want to ride the RX3 (we’re an ATGATT kind of company)!

Tonight we’ll be staying at the La Quinta Inn and Suites, 7965 West Emerald Street, Boise, Idaho.

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Idaho!

Yep, another state on the Western America Adventure Tour!   We crossed the border into Idaho, and we’re spending the evening in Idaho Falls tonight.

But first, allow me to back up a bit to yesterday, when we stopped for lunch at the only Chinese restaurant in Greybull, Wyoming.  It was good.  I was afraid our Chinese visitors might not find it up to their standards, but they gave it a thumbs up!   Our friends taught Baja John the finer points of chop sticking, and we had a blast.

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Okay, fast forward to today.   We were on the road at 5:00 a.m. today (you read that right…we rolled out of Cody before the sun came up).   We wanted to beat the crowd into Yellowstone and we did, but wowee, was it ever cold!   The forecast was that it would be in the 30s and it sure was!

Yellowstone is surreal, with sulfur-laden steam spewing forth all over the place.   It was a first for me…I’d never been to Yellowstone before.

That’s Baja John in front of me…we were dressed for the cold, but I think our guests found it to be a little colder than the weather they are normally used to.

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I was nervous about the gas situation.   My fuel light was blinking as we entered the park and I didn’t know for sure if there would be gas in Yellowstone.  John felt confident there would be, and he was right.

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I was glad to see the Sinclair sign up ahead, but before we got there, we had a close encounter of the bison kind.  We were cruising along at about 30 mph, and all of a sudden I noticed this large-as-a-locomotive big dark shape next to me.  I was too slow to realize what it was until I was alongside, but our chase vehicle driver John (we have two Johns and one Juan on this ride) grabbed this photo…I passed within 10 feet of this monster!

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The locomotive analogy is not a bad one.   Just as I went past my big buff buddy above, he  exhaled.   In the frigid Yellowstone air, fog came out this guy’s nostrils.   It was like riding alongside a steam locomotive.

Here’s another cool shot.   We’ve crossed the Continental Divide four or five times already on this ride.

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You know, back to that fuel situation again for just a moment.   I checked my gas mileage a couple of days ago and I didn’t tell you about it because I was sure I must have had made a mistake.   I calculated 81 mpg.   Well, I checked it again today after the ride out of Yellowstone, and this time I got 80.86 mpg.   I know that the ride out of Yellowstone was mostly downhill, but still, that’s impressive fuel economy.

The big attraction at Yellowstone, of course, is Old Faithful.   Here’s a shot of the geyser in its full glory…I grabbed this one earlier today.

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And if that’s not enough, I used my camera’s video feature to capture this…

After Yellowstone, we stopped for lunch and I had elk chili.   It was amazing.  It was still cold out, and I had a cup of coffee, too.   It was a grand lunch in a grand place.

What a day…we next rode through the Grand Teton National Park.

Folks, it doesn’t get much better than this…

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After the Grand Tetons, we rode for another couple of hours and then we crossed into Idaho.   Wow.  California.  Arizona.   Utah.  Colorado.   Wyoming.   South Dakota.  Back into Wyoming.   And now, Idaho.   Didn’t anyone tell this bike it’s “just” a 250?

We had a couple of folks waiting for us at the hotel this evening.   The first is Arizona George, who is riding a portion of the ride with us tomorrow.   George (aka AZRider) has a red RX3.   He’s an interesting man and I’m looking forward to riding with him tomorrow.

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And Lia, who showed up for a test ride…my guess is she’ll be an RX3 rider before too long.

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That’s it for now…time for some shuteye.   We’re hooking up with more RX3 riders tomorrow on our way to Boise!  It’s going to be fun!

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