Ok people this is going to be real brief even for my brief standards. The trip for this year has pretty much come to an end here in Montana. It was great to meet up and ride through Oregon with Vido, It's been a lot of fun to hang out together and you just ride much more challenging stuff when you have the support of another person. It's been a real pleasure to be riding with him again. Our final few days together was not to be disappointing.
One of our best days has to be heading for the Northern Californian coast, interesting trails that had me wanting better suspension, it went on for miles as the sun gets low. We crest a ridge top just on sunset, I have to have two goes at the steep climb, the gravel is deep and loose. We're still a long way from anywhere as we take in the beautiful sunset. Riding side by side on the narrow dirt roads we combine the power of our headlights, trying to get a peek or two off the ridge top out to the coast and the fading light out over the water. It's a beautiful evening ride.
It's all concentration side by side down the remote road in the dark. We've almost made the 40 or so km out to the highway. Then I hear the distinctive sound of a rear wheel sliding down the gravel road, I can't look, he's just off my shoulder and behind me, I have to get myself around this corner first. The sliding goes on .... and on.... and then it's followed by the sound of bike and body hitting the ground. I pull up as fast as possible and spin the bike around and get some light on the crash scene.
Vido is not moving too much but hes ok, just sore. The KTM has come through ok as well, however we discover the next day in the light that the sub frame twisted. We were planning on camping but agree that a hot shower and comfy bed would be in order. The last half hour of riding sees us descend to the coast and through massive Californian Redwood forests. The trunks disappear up through the beam of the motorcycle headlight .... and who knows how far? It's an impressive sight and it's great to be surrounded by these giants.
Today is our last ride together, heading down the coast the Redwoods are saturated in sea fog with rays of sun breaking through. It looks awesome but the fog is having the effect of riding around in a fridge. I head inland seeking the sun, Vido takes off south. I'm heading to Montana, my final destination this year. I don't get far though and are back in the cool coastal fog, the forestry roads that I was intending to take as a short cut inland are private, I'm turned around by a forestry worker.
I cut inland through Redding, Northern California. The landscape here is dry and uninteresting and I need some music to pass the time. My route is taking me up through Boise, Idaho and then onto Bozeman in Montana. I've arranged a few nights in Boise from the couch surfing website. I'm making good time and planning on meeting my host Jim later that night. Late in the afternoon though I realize that the GPS has put me astray, for some reason it hasn't downloaded the last section of my route. I thought it seemed a bit weird with only 50km to go to the rather large city of Boise and still being out in the middle of nowhere!! Damn, after closer inspections of the maps I still had almost 300km to go! After a couple of hours of night riding I rock up to Jim's, he's a super mellow guy and I feel right at home.
I spend a few days in Boise catching up on bit's and pieces, bike stuff and laundry etc, it's a nice city. Jim and I catch a sweet Blue Grass band at one of the pubs, it's a great night. The next day I spend some time checking a biking area near the historic Idaho City. The people here are great, when trying to find the riding area I meet a family, Mum, Dad and a the kids all out on there trail bikes, we just talked for ages, mainly about NZ and some of the places I've been. I also got talking to a couple of great old mates. Met these old fellas in a coffee shop on there daily bicycle ride across town. Wish I could remember their names, one spent a bunch of time in NZ. He was like chief project manager of the Manapouri power scheme, English straight tunnel and a few other impressive feats of engineering, real interesting guys. And his son worked in Hollywood and directs a lot of Mel Gibson's films, he wanted my blog to pass on to him.... still waiting for the call.
I was going to spend another day in Boise but my plans are up in the air, Barton and Michelle from Bozeman are on Skype, " where are you, there's a snow storm coming , you better get here tomorrow"! I check the weather, tomorrow is the last nice day for quite some time, I check the maps, damn, looks like over 800km to Bozeman, 800km of highway, that's going to suck and I'll miss the impressive Sawtooth range that I was hoping to ride through as well.
It's a difficult call but I heed Barton's advice, drag myself out of bed early, thank Jim for his great Hospitality and get on the road early. The scene is set for a dramatic finally to this 6 months of riding, am I going to pull off this big day of riding and beat this snow storm into Bozeman? I set about keeping the throttle pinned and stops to a minimum, the km's slowly tick by and the weather is holding off, it's cool but not uncomfortable. The thought a hot shower and a warm bed, ....well actually a warm bed with Michelle in it keeps me going. The ride is over just before dark, 750km and not as far as thought, the road was dry and clear of snow so was able to keep a good pace .... and I am very happy to have a nice warm bed to sleep in tonight.
I spend a couple of weeks in Bozeman. The bike is prepped for storage and I help Barton on his new house construction. Halloween just happens to be this week and is a big party here in the usa, I dress up as the Crocodile Hunter with a sting ray flung over my shoulder, tail protruding into my chest! I also wanted to spend some time with Michelle and see where things went. To cut a long story short it didn't go far. I like Michelle and shes a great girl but it just didn't workout. Should just stick to riding bikes, much easier to have relationships with than woman!
So another chapter has come to an end, another 6 months of riding, another 20 000km. The Dr has come through again, she's taken me through another incredible journey with out major incident. Although the wear and tear is evident, she's in need of a major suspension rebuild at the least. For the meantime she will get to rest alongside her old mate Hussey the Husaberg in Barton's shed here in Montana for the winter. Thanks again Barton for looking after her for me. And for me, the fairy tail ending doesn't quite work out, I'm heading home for a "rebuild" of my own with surgery on my elbow and back to the daily grind of work. However, lots of ideas for the next ride are drifting around in my head so will have to get on and start planning, stay tuned.