To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:07 am

Just some quick "Before" pics of the bathroom remodel, which officially began last weekend. The last pic in the series shows the exhaust fan ducting, which I completed Monday afternoon...
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More to come, busy busy days...

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by Hanson » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:06 am

I have been in the middle of a bathroom remodel for .... over three years. I hate you so much right now Jack of the Green.

All would have been fine except we had to replace our ancient AC / Heater unit and that destroyed our remodelling budget. Since then, the issue has been primarily terminal procrastination and I keep finding new and creative ways of spending money on my motorcycle. We did, however, get some wiring done last month for the pump on the new tub and new fixtures.

Best of luck on your project.

Safe Travels,
Richard
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:55 am

LoL, more hate-bait...

Finished the framing this weekend and started hanging drywall. The wet wall needs some shimming on the frame members before the drywall will sit flush though, and there was only one sheet of greenboard in the house when we moved in. So this was all I could get done with the materials on hand. Off to Lowe's tomorrow though for some firring and more greenboard, and then more to come.
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I've got to get as much done as I can before Christmas, LoL, because starting the morning of the 29th I've got 175 linear feet of chain link to install in the backyard. I'm hoping like hell I won't have to shovel my grass to lay in the posts. Wish me luck!

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by Hanson » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:01 pm

Luck

Safe Travels,
Richard
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:05 pm

Good luck. :D
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:18 pm

These long silences are just part of my mystique, right? (-:

So the basement remodel suffered a fortunate setback. During the time that I made the above posts, we were experiencing some fairly wet weather with continual light rain or powdery snow fall, and because of that it wasn't a good time to be hauling sheet rock on our flat bed. Not being able to bring the sheet rock home meant that we didn't buy any of the other material we'd planned to buy, namely the vanity and toilet and water fixtures to finish out the bathroom, and that ended up being a blessing.

About mid-January our second vehicle, Carrie's Neon, developed a severe oil leak. We went a couple of weeks not driving it while debating how best to proceed, but in the end decided it would be foolish to pay $600-$1,000 to repair a vehicle that only books at about $2,500. And sha-bang, what would have been a remodeled bathroom and basement turned into down payment money for a Mazda6. Basement projets will continue, but at a slower pace than anticipated.

This winter has been unnaturally warm, and by that I mean I live in Northern Utah and it's almost March and I've only had to shovel my driveway twice. This isn't peculiar weather, it's downright alarmingly foreign weather. I'm genuinely concerned about my communities ability to sustain itself through the summer -- we're only at an 80% snowpack in the higher elevations and we've been in low level drought conditions for a couple years already. I've often mused about replacing my grass lawn with clover, which requires about 1/5th the water to stay green -- I think that may become a necessity this year if I want anything approaching a healthy lawn.

Lastly, breeding birds is shaping up to be a lot more profitable than we expected, and I think we may increase our investment in the endeavor. We'll see how that goes.

That's all the updates I have for now, I'll try to get in here more regularly.

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:58 am

Just another quick update.

It's quickly turning into summer, and the first ride of the season will be very soon. Not sure where to yet, but we'll line it up.

We are taking a family vacation to Tombstone next week though. While we're there we're also going to spend the day in Sierra Vista, where I lived as a kid. We'll get some pictures of that for sure.

That's all for now.

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by Hanson » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:41 am

Thanks for the update Jack and have a great summer riding season.

Safe Travels,
Richard
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by ceemes » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:27 pm

JackoftheGreen wrote:These long silences are just part of my mystique, right? (-:

So the basement remodel suffered a fortunate setback. During the time that I made the above posts, we were experiencing some fairly wet weather with continual light rain or powdery snow fall, and because of that it wasn't a good time to be hauling sheet rock on our flat bed. Not being able to bring the sheet rock home meant that we didn't buy any of the other material we'd planned to buy, namely the vanity and toilet and water fixtures to finish out the bathroom, and that ended up being a blessing.

About mid-January our second vehicle, Carrie's Neon, developed a severe oil leak. We went a couple of weeks not driving it while debating how best to proceed, but in the end decided it would be foolish to pay $600-$1,000 to repair a vehicle that only books at about $2,500. And sha-bang, what would have been a remodeled bathroom and basement turned into down payment money for a Mazda6. Basement projets will continue, but at a slower pace than anticipated.

This winter has been unnaturally warm, and by that I mean I live in Northern Utah and it's almost March and I've only had to shovel my driveway twice. This isn't peculiar weather, it's downright alarmingly foreign weather. I'm genuinely concerned about my communities ability to sustain itself through the summer -- we're only at an 80% snowpack in the higher elevations and we've been in low level drought conditions for a couple years already. I've often mused about replacing my grass lawn with clover, which requires about 1/5th the water to stay green -- I think that may become a necessity this year if I want anything approaching a healthy lawn.

Lastly, breeding birds is shaping up to be a lot more profitable than we expected, and I think we may increase our investment in the endeavor. We'll see how that goes.

That's all the updates I have for now, I'll try to get in here more regularly.

Oh dear, sounds like you caught Hanson disease, a case of bathroom renno pracastitous... be careful, it could be fatal if she who must be obeyed doesn't get her new powder room in a timely manner, no matter what the cause of the delay is.

As for the weather, our local snow pack is zero this year, and I do mean zero. I figure we will either be deluged by endless rains come the spring and summer or will have a major drought. To be honest, I think I'd prefer the rains, at least it will give the Fraser and other Salmon rivers a chance not to heat up a couple of degree's C above normal.....if that happens, then all the salmon runs are at risk as the fish can't handle even that little of a temperature increase in the rivers.
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:04 pm

Still alive...

Some news coming when there's more time. :-)

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:18 pm

Merry Christmas.

:christmastree:
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:00 am

Merry Christmas to you as well Blues, thanks for responding. (-:

So, an update. This summer was CRAZY, and unfortunately we didn't get ANY riding done. Or hardly any. It was one crisis after another all summer long, started with a busted washing machine that caused some minor flooding in our basement, and then a ridiculously rainy April, which caused some major flooding in our basement. Then the motor in our A/C went out. See what I mean? It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop -- if you're a centipede. Brutal.

After a new washing machine, having to install a sump pump from scratch (including renting a jackhammer to bust a hole in my basement floor, THAT was a headache), and a new motor for the A/C, the expense of bike insurance was too much to stomach this year and we had to let it expire. So no riding.

But we're going to be back in a big way this next season. Apparently all you folk have been influencing our subconscious all this time, because look what we just bought:
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Yep, that's a Ninja 250 up top and a 500R below. Rubia's is the 250, we meant to both get 250s just for commuting and tossing through our canyons on the weekends, but it turned out Rubia's was the only one locally worth buying. Everything else either had high mileage for the year or the turn signals didn't work because someone "customized" them or the plastic was all trashed or the fork seals were bad. So in our price range we found that 500 for a steal, paid $700 under book for it and $600 under book for the 250. I'm buying all my bikes in December from now on.

We still have the big cruisers for overnight trips and the like, but these little Ninjas will be our daytrip rides. I'm sure you'll see them plenty in The Riding Game thread after the spring thaw.

So that's our update, as thin as it is. Basement never got remodeled either, although we did find the funds to finish the last bedroom down there (which is actually the bird room, complete with utility sink). Oh, LoL, and we bought a truck, a 2005 Dodge 1500 5.7l H. It brought the bikes home. Traded the Durango, since after we bought the Mazda I mentioned above it didn't make sense to have two nearly new vehicles. Traded the second for something a little older with a smaller payment.

So, all it all, it was a good year for learning. I learned how to run a jackhammer, how to clean furnace coils, how to drill a hole through a concrete curb, etc etc etc.

Now I have to learn how to ride a sport bike as opposed to a midsize cruiser. Anybody have any constructive advice?

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by Johnj » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:12 am

Tuck your elbows in. lol
People say I'm stupid and apathetic. I don't know what that means, and I don't care.
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:18 pm

Well, I'm a convert...

After only a couple trips on the Ninja, I've realized why the sport segment is so popular. Who knew that these little bikes could be so comfortable and so enjoyable on the open road.

I'm selling the Vulcan, it's listed now, and I'll use the money from that to outfit my 500 with panniers and a larger aftermarket windscreen. My only complaint about freeway cruising on the Ninja is that the windblast is SO horrific, so I'll have to mitigate that. But once that little complaint is laid to rest, the 500 will be my new highway bike.

The 250 has proven insufficient for Rubia's lust for speed. We're selling it too and upgrading her to a 500 as well, so we'll have a matching pair of horses in the stable. She intends to keep the Shadow though, she loves it so. (-:

The bathroom remodel is back on track, walls are finished and the tile floor is in, right now we're restoring a second-hand vanity and we'll be installing fixtures once that's all done. I'll post some pictures of that in the near future, so Hansen can tell me he hates me again. (-:

And hey, can't someone go out there and GET THAT RIDING GAME PIC!?!? It's been months, where is everybody?

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Sun May 07, 2017 12:25 pm

Sold Rubia's 250 and bought her a 500 to match mine, we call them the Twinjas. Ain't we cute?

I did buy the aftermarket windscreen for my Ninja, and it works great. We've done more than a few highway miles and I'm able to get under the wind with just a modest tuck. Add to that the 250+ miles range we enjoy on the Ninjas and it's easy to see why the cruiser segment is dying. Why make a "highway bike" and cripple it with a range of ~100 miles or so? Unless you want to slab it everywhere you go, you just can't get from pump to pump on that kind of volume. Crazy. Maybe somebody is listening.

I'm also learning more about wrenching, I've currently got my bike up on a headlift and the forks torn out. I'm not set up properly to replace fork seals in my modest garage, so they're at the shop getting done right. I'm excited to see how the handling improves once that's done, I've had a pretty significant vibration that escalates to a violent shudder if I let go of the bars. All my research pointed to fork seals, and I've known the seals needed replaced for awhile anyway. So in they go. Here's my Ninja - his name is Wendigo - all torn apart. He's so embarassed to be seen with his plastics off!
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The weather is finally warming up and we put in a garden last summer, not sure if I've mentioned that here before. We've got a basement full of young plants ready to go in the ground after Mother's Day, maybe post some pictures of that later too.

Haven't been around much I know, forgive the inactivity. I rarely get on the PC anymore, and I'm loathe to spend the money on a phone advanced enough to make internet surfing pleasant. Long periods of "typing" with Swype just don't appeal to me.

Big ride coming up at the end of this month, we're gonna hit that Lolo Pass at the Idaho/Montana border. It should be a lot of fun, 99 miles of twisties in the sun. We're real excited, hopefully nothing comes along to derail that.

I'm out! See you all around!

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by Hanson » Mon May 08, 2017 1:11 pm

Hi Jack,

Nice to see you adding to your moto-blog.

Safe Travels,
Richard
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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Tue May 09, 2017 5:50 pm

Forks are done, just got back from the shop. I'll be putting them back in tomorrow most likely, and then it'll be time to tear the forks outta Rubia's bike next. Only have the one head lift yaknow. ;)
Just threw some steak on the grill, gotta bounce!

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Fri May 12, 2017 11:02 pm

Spent a few minutes in the garage today reinstalling my forks, it went a lot easier than I thought it would. Also, newbie mistake, I was worried about how I'd make sure the legs were aligned properly to get the wheel back in, since there's no keying of any kind on the clamps. And then I realized the legs rotate freely around the tube, LoL. So that ended up not being a problem at all.
Curiously, the forks had been installed incorrectly by whoever pulled them last. The manual states that for the UK model, the end of the fork tube should be level with the steering head, but for the US model the end of the tube should be 15mm above the steering head. When I pulled my handlebars the first time the tubes were set level. I'm not sure what kind of a difference this may have made on the handling or mechanics of the bike, feel free to sound off if you have an idea of what I should expect when I take him out again. I'm sure I'll have to aim my headlight again, what a PITA.
Little sad to be contemplating putting the fairing back on, I'm sorta digging the naked look. But I'm sure I'd miss that big swath of plastic the first time I hit 75mph and soaked up the wind.
Oh, and I smashed the everloving poo outta my left middle finger getting my front fender back on! It hurt so bad I thought I'd puke, and I think I'm going to loose the nail. So my Ninja has tasted blood. Thank god Rubia spent a lot of time training to be an EMT, she patched me up just fine.
Updates to follow, stay tuned.

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Re: To Ride an Iron Horse - Jack of the Green's Blog

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Sat May 20, 2017 7:54 pm

This morning I went out and tore the forks outta Rubia's Ninja, it went a LOT easier than getting the forks outta mine now that I knew what I was doing. The guy at our local shop assured me he'd put a rush on them, so they'd be done in time to get them back on and ready for our trip. We leave in a week, next Saturday.
Once the forks were out it was time to work on our garden, which was more sweaty but less messy. We were fortunate we didn't get our plants in the ground last weekend (Mother's Day, which is when everyone says you should) because we had a hard freeze Wednesday. Our plants were safe in our garage and made it through fine, and now they're in the ground. Real excited for fresh produce again all summer long, and we planted an obscene amount of tomatoes in addition to peas, beans, spaghetti squash, yellow and green zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, cukes, kale, sorrel, spinach and salad lettuce. And more, I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Also, while dropping off the forks at our shop I got a chance to sit on a brand-new Vulcan S. It was REAL pretty, with the green pinstripe, and I just loved the feel of it. I had to check it out here on TMW, and of course found out that three years ago it was on The Cool Wall and I raved about it there, LoL. My only complaint is the 3.7 gallon tank, which makes it just as troublesome to tour with as my Vulcan 800 was. I'll never understand why they cripple these things with such small tanks, it just about forces you to slab it instead of enjoying the "highways in hiding" that criss-cross America. So for now, I'm sticking with the Ninja as my touring bike.

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Lolo - Memorial Weekend 2017

Unread post by JackoftheGreen » Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:02 pm

My tripometer said it was 1,194 miles.

Rubia's says it was only 1,186 miles, which must mean she picks better lines than I do. Lord knows there were plenty to choose from.

DAY ONE - Harrisville to Horseshoe Bend, ID
335 MILES / 540 KILOMETERS

The first day, Saturday May 27th, we departed from our nothern Utah home shortly after 8am. It was supposed to be a fine day for riding - we'd just recovered from a short cold spell with rains and wind, so the forecast called for mostly clear skies with a high of 66 degrees. And although it did eventually develop into a great day for riding, it was still fairly cool at 8am. If you're familiar with my blog you can probably guess I underestimated the wind chill, and with the sleeves of my textile stowed away in Rubia's backpack I shivered and froze the first 70 miles to Snowville.

This entire first day was all slab, I-15 North to Tremonton, where we merged with I-84 West through Snowville and into Idaho. The speed limit on this road is posted 80mph (130kph) where it travels through undeveloped areas, and slows to 65mph (105kph) when it intersects with civilization. The Twinjas do 80mph happily, if a little buzzy, but the windblast at that speed is significant even with my touring shield. Rubia's a little shorter than me, and so suffers a bit less, but both of us spent much of the ride tucked low over our bars.

We stopped for gas at the 180 mile mark, just outside of Twin Falls, ID. After filling our tanks, we parked in a stall and used the facilities, had a quick lunch of boiled eggs and string cheese, and stretched our legs a bit before resuming. Here we are parked in the lot at Twin Falls:
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While we were sitting in the lawn eating our lunch, some MC or another on a group ride passed by. Maybe 40 bikes in all, big cruisers every one of them, riding two abreast. I didn't take any pictures, but they were a site to behold.

From Twin Falls, it was another 135 miles to the great city of Boise. It had finally warmed up by now, and with Idaho's agricultural regions falling behind the terrain was flattening into scrub desert. Traffic started to build up around us as we approached Idaho's largest city, and I was more than a little happy when we finally reached our exit. It had been a grueling, buffeting race across the slab, and my legs and butt were grateful for the reprieve as we navigated through town, gassed up again, and picked up ID-55 to Horseshoe Bend. We skirted Boise on it's flanks and left it's 250,000 residents behind, and as 55 rose into the hills surrounding the Boise valley we finally found some curves. It was 25 miles to the summit, tight sweepers with aggressive banks, and all the weariness from the slab fell away as we scrubbed the chicken strips out of our tyres. It was over before it really began, as my neice's ranch is just over the summit overlooking Horseshoe Bend, but it turned out to be a foreshadowing of things to come. As we left the highway and picked our way up a dirt road to Veranda Ranch, the next 300 miles of road whispered seductively to us. "Rest up, children," it said, "you have no idea what's in store."

DAY TWO - VERANDA RANCH

My neice and her husband are an impressive pair. First, they're both good at math, which to my mind makes them wizards among mortals. When I say "good", I mean my neice works in the financial sector as an analyst of some kind, and her husband is a math teacher at the local high school. Their Christmas card every year features a math puzzle, and I'd have better luck reading the Illiad in the original Greek than trying to figure out those things. I can spell "quotient", and that's where my math prowess ends.

They're also horse people, another area in which I have little knowledge. They keep and raise Morgans, which are known as "the horse that chooses you" by the marketing division of MorganHorse magazine. I know this because they have copies of that illustrious publication in their guest room, and I'm a compulsive reader. They purchased their ranch a couple of years ago, and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite places. Here's an overview from the hills surrounding the ranch:
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We've stayed once before, in the fall of 2016, but that time there was lots of family present and lots to do. This time it was just us adults, and of course my grand-nephew, and we got a chance to catch up and visit. Our bikes got to spend that Sunday relaxing in the garage:
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While the iron horses rested, we took flesh-and-blood horses out for a ride. If you've never ridden a flesh horse, they're quite a bit taller than the machine variety and the steering is exceptionally imprecise. They run on oats and hay instead of gasoline, which makes their exhaust smell quite a bit worse, and they only have 1 horsepower, but they're sure beautiful. Also, they know their own way home, so if you have to let go and strech your shoulders they'll keep you upright and headed in the right direction. Escorted by the dogs:

Dixie...
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and Lady...
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...we toured the property line of my neice's 40 acres and enjoyed a cool breeze, discussed solar panels, Idahoan well-digging procedures and plans for the upcoming Zombie Apocolypse. As the only member of the excursion with little to no experience on horseback, I was given the tamest of the horses available, an agreeable mare named Tammy-Anne.
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Once, while trying to encourage the lovely lady to keep up with Rubia and her horse, my nephew told me, "there's a reason I put you on that horse." He was right, I'm no horsemaster.

Here are some more pictures from our stay at Veranda:

Dixie catching frogs on the swim dock with my nephew and grand-nephew:
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The lovely Rubia, smiling through her first taste of Jameson Irish Whiskey:
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My niece and her beautiful boy:
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My niece and her other boy:
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Rubia in the kitchen - when you're carrying your luggage on your back, one pair of footwear is all you get:
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Me spoiling the dog:
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Rubia again, sexy as HELL!
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My nephew the horsewhisperer:
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Flesh-and-blood horses:
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The youngest rider:
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Why isn't "turkeys" spelled with an "IE"?
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We stayed up late that night and played "Splendor", one of the most strategic board games I've ever played, and Rubia and I lost magnificently. This was the second board game my neice introduced us to that we enjoyed, the first being "Ticket To Ride", which we immediately ordered from Amazon following our stay last fall. "Splendor" will also be added to our stable of board games, and we're excited to play it again with our children. Mostly because we'll win, which seemed impossible while playing against math professors and financial analysts. After the dust had cleared, we made plans to depart after breakfast the next morning and limped humbly away from our board-battle defeat.

DAY THREE - HORSESHOE BEND TO MISSOULA
340 MILES / 540 KILOMETERS

Day three was a day of wonderful surprises.
We planned this entire trip for this picture:
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lolo sign.jpg (59.84 KiB) Viewed 230 times
Lolo. Ninety-nine miles of curves, from Kooskia, Idaho to Lolo, Montana. This two-lane road borders the Payette River for most of it's length, and it's nonstop curves and corners and beautiful scenery. We knew going into it that Lolo was going to be an epic ride, tailor-made for the zippy, agile Twinjas and their 500cc pleasureplants.

What we didn't know, what we had no idea about, was that the 240 miles from Horseshoe Bend to Kooskia were going to be just as amazing. Nevermind 99 miles of curves, this was 330 miles of twisting, banking, sweeping, leaning enjoyment through some of the most beatiful scenery I've ever beheld. All I've ever seen of Idaho is the farming regions and the high scrub -- I didn't know it was pretty. But up into the narrowing panhandle of that great state, things get dramatic. I'll tell you right now, reader, that if you've ever considered riding Lolo Pass, don't limit yourself to the 99 miles between Kooskia and Lolo. Pick up ID-95 in Grangeville and continue on through to Boise. I say this with absolute sincerity - the 340 miles from HB to Missoula is THE MOST FUN I've ever had on a motorcycle.

In the first 50 miles we picked up the picture for the Riding Game challenge, here alongside the Payette River on ID-55 just ouside of Banks and Big Eddy. Splash Dams.
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We stopped at a Stinker Station in Donnelly and picked up a bag of delicious cheese curds, a recommendation from my neice.
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On through to McCall, one of the most picturesque towns from our journey. It reminded me of Steamboat Springs in Colorado, another beautiful town, and the views of McCall Lake are fantasic even from the main road. We stopped for gas there but didn't stay long. We should've left two minutes earlier -- the only disappointment that day was the stretch of road north of McCall. We ended up behind a semi trailer, and had to suck diesel fumes while crawling down a beatiful, narrow canyon with a 7% downgrade at 35mph. As soon as the road straightened out we passed the rig, but by then all the drama had fled. It wasn't until we left ID-55 and picked up ID-95 outside New Meadows that the curves returned.

The stretch from New Meadows through to Grangeville feels like a race track. The road is twisty and curvy, but the curves are banked like I've never seen public roads. It lends itself to aggressive riding, and although I feel like we honored The Pace through that stretch I wont say we adhered to the posted limit of 55 mph. One driver on a road, some "good samaritan" in a white Chevrolet pickup with a shell, took it upon himself to "protect" us by straddling the center line in the passing zones. It takes all kinds I guess, but this guy was infuriating! When we finally passed him, we were in triple digits.

We reached Grangeville nearly forty minutes sooner than my nephew suggested we would. We ate a quick lunch of chicken soft tacos at a CENEX/Taco John's plaza and I took this picture of Rubia:
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For the record, get your tacos from people named Paco or Jose or Juan. Don't trust your Mexican palette to a guy named John.

From Grangeville it was short juant to Kooskia, and there we finally made a right turn and laid rubber on ID-12, the goal of our journey. I've wanted to ride this road ever since someone here on TMW posted his own shot of the "99 Mile" sign, and it was absolutely worth the wait. The Payette River widens out impressively as it runs alongside ID-12, and while I can't be absolutely sure, I believe it's the widest river I've ever seen in the Western US. I'm sure there are wider, but I haven't been to them, and of course the Mississippi and Ohio rivers could eat the Payette for breakfast and still have room for toast. But they're not nearly as lovely.

The Payette was the perfect riding companion as we carved our way northeast out of Idaho, wafting cooling breezes over our brows and imparting the most amazing angles and curves to the asphalt. For almost the entire 99 miles the Payette is right there, forty paces off the eastern edge of ID-12. The west side of the road is characterized by a steep, rocky cliff for most of the way, and with the cliff on one side and the wide river on the other, the road carves through a wildlife deadzone. While we're always hyper-vigilant for game animals while traveling through wilderness areas, we saw not a single roadkill deer or other large animal the enitre length of the road.

Lolo is twisty and curvy, but not exceptionally so. Maybe that's the Twinjas -- we passed multiple cruisers and baggers in additional to trucks, sedans and SUVs as we leaned into Lolo. But I never felt taxed or like I was pushing my performance envelope. It was exhilarating, enticing and seductive to move around in the saddle and scan the road as it unfurled ahead, climbing gently for most of it's length before rising suddenly into a summit. Up there the road conditions worsen, rough uneven asphalt showing deterioration from an abundance of snow. Much of this route is "chains required" in the winter months, and I can imagine it being absolutely terrifying in the middle of February. But on Memorial Day it was just challenging, picking a line with the least scarification and gravel through brooding lodgepole pine and dark granite slopes. The closer you get to the summit, the sharper the curves get, and as we leveled off and raced over the flat expanse at the top I felt like I'd acheived a milestone of some sort in my adventure as a motorcycle enthusiast.

At the peak, we stopped in at the visitors center and used the facilities. I fed a handful of change to the wi-fi moose -- I forget his name, but if you stop by the Lolo Pass Visitors Center please tell him hello from me and drop some jingle in his jar. We bought a souvenier kerchief for our son and giggled over the title of one book on the shelves, "How to S H I T in the Woods", about 0-impact camping. They have a glorious topicgraphical map the size of the pool table there in the visitors center as well, and it's a site to behold.

Here is the views from our stop at the peak:
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After the summit, the curves fall away into straighter, flatter roads with only a few sweepers. All too soon the pass tapers off and disappears in the rearview, we made a left turn in the tourist town of Lolo and headed up RT-93 into Missoula. We'd been on the road almost 7 hours by the time we pulled into our hotel, the Econolodge on the north end of town by the I-90 on ramp.

DAY FOUR - MISSOULA

There is very little to say about Day 4. We spent the entire day relaxing at the hotel, soaking in the hot tub and watching "Chopped", a show we have literally never watched before. We ate dinner at "The Stone of Accord", an Irish/Celtic bar/restuarant that occupies the same swath of parking lot as the Econolodge. The fare there was excellent, and I recommend you check it out if you're ever in Missoula. We bought mini-bottles of Jameson Irish Whiskey -- a new favorite my neice introduced us to at Veranda -- and mixed them with Diet Dr. Pepper from the Conoco station next door. And we complained about and made up rude stories concerning the desk clerk who checked us in that Monday evening -- it would seem all the decent employees had Memorial Day off. I don't blame her for being surly having to work on a holiday, but be surly ON THE INSIDE.

Here's the view from the stall we left our bikes in all that day:
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DAY FIVE - MISSOULA TO HARRISVILLE
485 MILES / 780 KILOMETERS

I find myself getting weary -- I've been writing for two hours and been through a pot of coffee. The mug I'm drinking from comes from the souvenier rack at Rocky Mountain Supply in Dillon, Montana, one of our gas stops from Day Five:
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In light of that, and because it is what it is, I have very little to say about Day Five as well. It was rough, grueling, hot, windy slab for nearly 500 miles, through the windswept rolling hills of Montana's bleak southwest corridor. The first 40 miles as we left Missoula were beautiful if atypical, but by the time we'd reached Dillon it was all flat, lonely interstate. We did pass several "Cruise Canada" rental campers on the interstate, probably a fleet relocation, and it put me in mind of some pictures of central Canada that Mike has posted here on TMW. It occured to me during those stretches that Northern Montana is almost Southern Canada, and since I think of TMW largely as a Canadian site I spent most of that numbing slab thinking about how I'd write this exact post. It feels good to finally put it all down here 11 days later.

I hope you've enjoyed my recollections and pictures of our Lolo Adventure. This ride, as I mentioned earlier, feels like a milestone to me. We spent five days away from home, provisioned with only what would fit in our backpacks and armed with simple print-outs from Google Maps to escort us along our 1200 mile odyssey. We toured on Ninja 500EX's, something more than a few people will tell you you can't do, and had a blast doing it. And I came to the realization that touring IS my thing, THIS is our recreation, and we're excited to do a whole lot more of it. Rubia, myself and the Twinjas will have a lot more to say here on my blog in the upcoming months, so stay tuned.

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