Day 3 – X Winds, Hail & GHOST Rider (711.4 KM’s)


I need to start off by saying thank you to all the PM’s, emails and messages in general to the many out there that think I am “brave” for telling my story and going out on my own. It is what it is….I speak my mind and always have, perhaps too much. But in the end I am not alone going through a devastating and blind sided separation. Seems this happens all too often in my books.I listened to the audio version of “Ghost Rider”, by Neil Peart and narrated by BrianSutherlan. I am on Chapter 4. It was so cool to listen to his take not only on his losses but his trip up the Dempster. He kept a great journal one that I would never be able to do and the details, oh the details remind me of my own trip and feelings in 2011.I will listen to the rest tomorrow and have to say all those who recommended this book to me I thank you! Now on to today’s report.

It’s funny no one has asked how my ass is doing on the BMW OEM low seat? Well, it’s working out just fine actually. The sheep pad helps but I bet I could be doing this without it. For some reason I have grown accustomed to it.

In 2010 I rode the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National park. It took us over 4 hours to ride the 48-50 mile road. The traffic and construction in early July 2010 was insane. Well worth it. Was a nice day but 4 hours???

Today it was closed and closed until late June.

Today started out sunny and no wind until I got through the mountains. Again in 2010 I remember what it was like to ride through Montana and Wyoming. HOLY cross winds. But for the beginning of today I saw this…

It drizzled a bit but I have to be honest it was nothing compared to later in the day. The KLIM Altitude suit being Gore Tex is handling all this rain no problem. The only issue I have is the light colour. It’s showing up everything and something weird is happening to the leather on the pants. I took some pics but perhaps I will take better ones at another time. But here are the ones from today.

both pants legs have these marks or stains? Dunno. I will see what happens when I wash them eventually. Other than the dirt and I have always had an issue with the collar. hey need to make it about 2 cm wider for heated liners. I can not zip up the jacket with my liner in to make it really water tight.

My bike turned 15,000 today. I think yesterday it was 14,000?

it was still really nice out after I got through the park. Had to take this photo op shot with a back ground like that? It’s really beautiful here, even the plains did not bore me this time. In 2010 they seem to be annoying a bit, but this time around being with me?

I like the rolling hills and the surprise curve in the road. Soothing I guess as I listened to Ghost Rider.

Not sure if anyone out there who rides long distances have ever thought about audio books. If you haven’t highly recommend getting some on your phone, use the Audible App and you are good to go.

My SPOT has died by this point. I called SPOT and they said it must be defective using so many batteries. Doesn’t really matter I know it’s defective because now it won’t boot on. It DEAD.

I am going to go to Cabelas here in Billings tomorrow and see about getting a Gen 3 Spot. The next time I can set it up online and call SPOT to activate the new device when I get one, tracking will be back on. I like to have it for me and my family.

The Spring time weather out here is definitely not boring. One minute you have sun and warmth, the next it drops 10 degrees C and it’s thundering out, lightning and hailing with down pours.

Doesn’t look that bad but when I turned a bend in the road I hit a black wall of hail. About 2 hours outside Billings, MT.

I love cargo trains when riding. We have them back in Vancouver but while riding out in the middle of no where…these things are so cool.

So, I have to admit…riding solo can be scary at times. If you are reading this post to this point I will confess it is taking a little more time getting used to being on my own. Like parking. I have almost dumped the bike more times than I care to admit because I never judge parking surfaces well. Cheryl did. I find myself at times looking in the rear view mirrors only to see no one is back there. Scary to me since I always had a back.

I respect solo riders a whole lot more now. We are on our own for sure. But on the other hand I am liking my own pace and not even really having anyone to talk to but strangers.

I have to give kudos to Shoei helmets. I love this new RF1200 but I have always LOVED how easy it is to take the shield off these helmets to get a good cleaning of the mechanisms and the shield itself. Brilliant.

This 2013 Beemer is making a really decent touring bike. I like it!

Navigating for me is new. I never had a GPS on my bike until last year. Maybe that was a foreshadow because something prompted me to get one and learn how to use it. Coming in handy I have to say. I am using a Montana 600.

When I got to a road construction area that says wait until your pilot car arrives, this can mean minutes or hours. I waited an hour. So, listened to my book and watched cows graze. A little annoying because I lost an hour yesterday time wise due to Mountain time and today due to waiting.

Started out sunny and cool while waiting but look what happened.

It was kind of funny. I was loving the gravel and dirt and was cruising right along while the cars and trucks behind me seemed more tentative. it was slippery but I have done the Dempster and Dalton in the piss down rain and this was nothing but maybe 10 KM’s long?

There is where the cross winds almost blew me off my bike a few times. I trust my bike and trust me to relax in such powerful gusts. Felt like a football player leaning into the wind to keep myself low. My body actually aches from today. The wind for me acts like I am a punching bag. Truthfully? I rather ride in crappy rainy weather than HIGH cross winds. it made for a great work out.

The another storm came up. In Montana you can see for miles so you can also see your destiny. I watched the skies and pulled over at a gas station to get my heated gear on. The temperature was about 18 C then dropped to 6. I spoke to an army young man moving to Texas from Fairbanks who said he heard it’s really bad going the direction we were heading. Well? it was…huge hail, wind, thunder, lightning, pouring rain that bounced off the road up my pants leg. Also, it rained so hard that it was bouncing off my bike up my helmet until I put my chin down.

The hail hurt my hands through my gloves and to kicker was the wind challenge as well. This lasted for about an hour. KLIM gear kept me dry as a bone as well as my Gore Tex KLIM gloves.

Gas station where I changed.

Came out of it and again nothing but blue skies but windy.

I did not take pictures in the middle of the storm…I thought that would be just dumb if I did. I needed both hands on the handle bar. Wyoming is having funnel clouds and also bad storms. So, what lies ahead?

I decided to head to Billings, instead of Buffalo, WY due to time. After 711 KM’s and the cross winds I was done. So, stopped in Billings which is sort of good. I am going to go to Cabelas outdoor store tomorrow and see about getting that new Gen 3 SPOT. Maybe I can have tracking back up sooner than later if they have one in stock. They open at 0900 so my start time will be later than I want.

That is Billings down below and the weather was perfect. I got another KOA cabin for the price of a tent site. It pays to show up late and a little off-season.

As the diabetic that I am it’s important I check my sugars at times. Mine seems to be doing OK except yesterday I dropped to 3.6. Hypoglycemic which is not good but today I was better.

I am paying more attention to my diabetes than any other trip. I need to so I can stay alert. I have no one telling me I am acting weirdly.

And finally a nice sunset to end the day. Oh, and some really really ANNOYING loud young man who just went to bed, made for a great day. Which is actually what I had a great day. One thing I hope this distraction of a trip does some healing so when I go back I am not a complete disaster as I was before I left. I need to be able to be functioning again on a more consistent basis. That is my wish for this trip. Safety, enjoyment and finding myself somewhat whole again.

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Day 3 – X Winds, Hail & GHOST Rider (711.4 KM’s)

  1. Wow.. Fun weather :) I rode the other way solo in 2012 (Toronto -> Going to the Sun Road-> Banff and back) but it was the end of June and hot :)

    I envy you the solitude. Although dumping a loaded bike is a real pain on your own, I loved the long rides on my own. I did music rather than audio books and some Spanish language courses.. Loved it.

    Best of luck, safe ride and stay dry!

  2. What a shame the SPOT crapped out. We really liked watching your progress online. Did you come through Roundup, Montana to reach Billings? I was caught in a huge t-storm a few miles north of Billings last summer. Weird how fast the weather can change out there. Great post and nice pictures. Ride safe!

    • Yes I did come through Roundup. And I will try to get a new SPOT..the Gen 3 between now and the east coast. I love the tracking too especially for the family.

  3. A few things I have observed might help you on your journey. First, knuckles and hail…I suggest that you contact Touratech and have a set of there handguards with the spoilers attached (ask them for this service) sent ahead of you. They wrap around much closer to your hands and shield them way better than stock guards. Second, we have the same bike and I see weight issues. Wolfman sells tank panniers that will strap over the fo-tank. I padded the inside with some sleeping mat foam and carry heavy-dense items such as water bottles, tools, or anything that works. With your current load and the Jesse bags, you running a light front end. Probably not bad on dirt but sand or oils on a paved turn, especially slow stuff, I learned this the hard way a few weeks ago. Also, I like having the soft panniers up front, the break the wind around my knees better and I have quick access to extra gloves, dry socks, water, energy bars while I am refeuling…cannot see if you have a Camel-Tank, weight distrobution is even more important if you are using the tank! HAPPY trails and I too, just listened to Neals book, excellent piece on loss and finding life…cheers, MC

    • I have hand guards and they are doing ok..BMW large ones. I have a KLIM Hydrapack on all the time. AS for my tank bag, I am using the GS BMW bag. It has my snacks, extra water bottle, my travel cards, meds, extra gloves…easy access stuff. I thought about soft luggage on the crash bars but haven’t gotten there yet.

  4. Great post… Brings back all the good memories from our trip last July. You are riding some of the same places. It was our best ride to date and we are looking forward to doing it again to hit some places we missed or didn’t have time for.

    Here is our post from that ride… http://www.thetexasrambler.com/2013/07/31/national-park-motorcycle-ride-5542-miles-in-16-days-2013/

    Thanks again for the memories…

    Looking forward to more post. Ride safe…

  5. I can relate all to well about the weather. The worst weather I’ve ever ridden in was last year in Montana just East of Billings. It was dark and I knew there was a storm ahead. What I didn’t know was it was closer than I thought. I was hit with a sudden gust of wind and then horizontal rain that just about blew me off the road. I still don’t know how I managed to keep the bike upright. Looks like your having a nice ride. Thanks for the posts. I’m totally jealous now and ready for another motorcycle trip.

  6. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you. I hope the healing road is all its cracked up to be. I’m learning more and more about resilience through you and for that thanks.

  7. Leslie, it looks like the leather patches on your pants may just be wearing a bit. I would definitely let your KLIM contact know that when you have time.

    I am not sure i would have had the patience to sit at that light with no one around. :D

    High winds and bad weather suck, but it sounds like you are handling them just right! Your bike looks great, glad you are liking it so much.

    Beautiful sunset pic…

    • I agree about the pants. I might stop at KLIM on the way home and say hello and show them the gear after all this riding. Seems to be doing well except the damn collar and if the leather is wearing through then that is not good. I have only a few thousand of KM’s on this suit. Thanks for your comments as always.

  8. Leslie, Hope you are enjoying this trip as much as I am reading about it. This new chapter in your life might be daunting at first but it looks like you are stepping up to the challenge just fine. Take care and I look forward to your next adventure.

  9. I’m enjoying seeing your pictures and the bike looks great. Is the bag behind you from BMW? it’s the same color as the bike :-)
    I love riding solo, the feeling of being out there by yourself is simply amazing. I never listen to music either, just my thoughts in my head and the engine noise, I love it. Keep safe and hope to meet you on the way up from NC.

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