riding partner Michael and I had been riding together
for many years. With many shorter and successful trips
under our belt, we started talking about a ride of
length. We were looking for that ride of a lifetime, the
ride with great memories, never to be forgotten. The
year is 1982 and the month is September.
took us almost a year to determine our destination.
These many discussions, usually including food and adult
beverages, helped us decide on the perfect location,
Canada. Once Canada was decided, it was an easy choice
to narrow the area down to Banff. Just listening to
anyone who had visited Canada, Banff was always a
highlight in their trip.
picked our route by the locations we wanted to see along
the way and not wanting to ride the same road twice, we
made our route into a loop.
plan was to be just the two of us on a trip of two weeks
in length, and both were subject to change. About 2
months before our departure Michael meets Carman and of
course, he invites her to come along, now there were
three. A wrinkle in the plan for which I must take the
blame, Michael, faced with his recent divorce was
lonely, Carman worked with me and I introduced them.
dinner one evening with a bunch of friends, Mike
mentions our trip. Cindy, who cut Mikeís hair and had
ridden with Mike several times, comments how much fun a
trip like this would be and that we were going to have a
blast. So Mike, a good friend looking out for his bud,
says why donít you join us? I wasnít looking forward to
riding on a trip of this length with someone I really
didnít know, but now there were four.
About three weeks prior to departure, Mike and I both
find out that two weeks away from our perspective jobs
isnít an option. I have a major project come up and Mike
as a company owner begins to think his business wonít
survive for two weeks without him.
Both of us with new Ď82 Gold Wings equipped with all the
bells and whistles, ask ourselves whatís the big deal?
With a few revisions to our route and timeline, itís a
Cindy and Carman drop off their supplies late Friday
afternoon and we load the bikes. We grab a bite to eat
and now itís just a waiting game for Saturday morning.
wanted to start our trip with a good night of sleep. In
a word, impossible, Friday night brought no
sleep. After dinner we decided in order to facilitate an
earlier start, we should have a sleep-over and with the
anticipation of the week ahead we kept the conversation
going well past midnight.
Saturday morning arrives, and we head the bikes out I-25
taking US 80 west just before Cheyenne. Grabbing lunch
in Rawlins we pick up 287. Having no area of interest in
southern Wyoming we keep moving north to
Dubois WY for a
quick dinner at a local diner.
our first nightís stay we continue on 287 for 21 miles
Shoshone National Forest, looking for a
vacancy in one of the 5 campgrounds in the park. Pulling
into The Falls Campground we find an intimate little
area right next to the Brooks Lake Creek to pitch our
tents. Unloading our bikes, and a brief conversation
around the campfire, we head for our tents and a good
night of sleep. We logged on this day, 445 miles of less
than scenic and windy Wyoming.
Everyone woke Sunday with a smile and ready for day two
except Cindy. It seems she didnít sleep well with all
the noise of running water, and the harmonious snoring
of Mike and me.
broke camp and loaded the bikes, but before hitting the
road we took a short nature trail just a few steps
outside of our camp. This trail followed the creek and
within a few hundred feet we see a fabulous water fall.
What a great way to start the day of riding with a brisk
walk and amazing scenery.
Continuing on 287 for a mere 35 miles we enter
Teton National Park at the Moran Entrance, following 287
and picking up 191 we continue north. With Jackson Lake
on our left and some of the best scenery Wyoming has to
offer, this park is spectacular. If you have never
visited this Park you are missing out on some of the
best riding scenery Iíve ever seen.
Leaving the park and continuing north 6.5 miles we enter
the Southern Entrance of
Yellowstone National Park. I
have been to Yellowstone many times and donít get me
wrong, IĎve enjoyed each visit. Itís always fun to see
the wildlife and Old Faithful, but honestly guys, how
many smudge pots can you look at before they all look
original plan was to leave Yellowstone taking US 14 east
to Cody. During lunch, Carman mentioned a campground in
West Yellowstone that she had stayed at as a child. She
remembered this great little campground as being by a
river, with sandy areas to pitch a tent and a huge tree
at the entrance on the left side of the road. As she
recalled there was a restaurant and general store on the
right. She asked if we could stay there tonight, if it
wasnít too far off our plan and with the famous last
words, you canít miss the turn.
not, West Yellowstone is not that far out of the way, a
nice little restaurant at the turn for dinner, letís go
for it. We left Yellowstone and drove. After 20 minutes
we start talking on the CB, did we miss it? After 30
minutes weíre into Idaho. With all the back and forth
conversation we hear Carman say, itís just up the road,
we canít miss it.
know itís been a few years and Iím told Iím prone to
exaggeration but we drove for miles. This was supposed
to be our short mileage day and we dove more than 90
miles into Idaho looking for that huge tree that was
supposed to be in West Yellowstone. Finally, in Idaho
Falls, there it was.
Carmen was correct about the restaurant, we had a great
meal and just across the highway about 1/4 of a mile we
pitched our tents right on the river. Unloading our
bikes, heading for the tents, we logged on this day, 334
Everyone woke Monday with a smile and ready for day
three except Cindy. It seems she didnít sleep wellÖ
again. There was a train track that ran just behind the
campground. From midnight on, which was about every 1/2
hour, as a train came to the intersection they would
blow their whistle.
broke camp and loaded the bikes. Not wanting to back
track into Yellowstone we checked the map for a more
direct route. We decided on US 15 north to US 90 just
past Missoula taking US 93 to Flathead Lake, Hwy. 35 to
US 206, and US 2 to the
Glacier National Park west
I know, I keep
saying amazing and awesome when I describe the scenery
in these National Parks. There is no other way to
describe it. This Park offers great views and riding,
again check it out for yourself, itís amazing.
We had a slight
delay in the park as Mazda was filming a commercial for
their RX. The stunt driver put on a great show for us as
we watched him pushing the car through the curves.
Along the way we picked up pork chops and potatoes.
Finding the perfect campsite in Glacier we cooked a meal
fit for kings. We purchased enough for leftovers; the
plan was to reheat the chops and potatoes for breakfast.
Now you know, there are bears in them there woods. The
Rangers made a point of telling us that while cooking
dinner. So to keep the food out of our camp, Michael
decided we should put it in our mess kit, tie a nylon
rope to it and hang it in a tree.
Walking out of camp we find this tree with low branches.
Mike coils the rope and throws the mess kit as high as
he can toward the low hanging branch. Missing the
branch, landing in the weeds under the tree and I know
you had to be there to appreciate the humor, Mike
pulling the rope back and coiling it up, screams SNAKE,
dropping the mess kit and starts running back to camp.
You see, as he pulled the rope, the weeds moved, and he
thought there was a snake. Grown adults, hanging food in
trees and running from weeds that moveÖ well as I said,
you had to be there.
With great belly laughs around a fine campfire, this was
a good time. Heading for the tents, we logged on this
day, 462 miles.
Everyone woke Tuesday with a smile, ready for day four
and Canada except Cindy. It seems she didnít sleep wellÖ
something about hearing bears swatting at a mess kit.
had no intention of sharing those leftovers with the
bears. While Mike and I broke camp and loaded the bikes,
the ladies heated up those chops and potatoes on the
open fire. Martha Stewart would have been proud.
rode through the rest of the park and exited at St
Maryís entrance taking US 89 to the Canadian boarder.
Clearing Customs was no real problem save one. They had
this huge sign, NO RADAR DETECTORS ALLOWED IN CANADA.
had a cycle radar detector hard wired and mounted to the
crash bar. There was no way I could remove it here, so I
covered it up with a stuff sack. As we started the
bikes, the 90 decibel horn went off letting the world
know of its existence. The Customs Officer immediately
pivots on his heal and points to the pull off area. BoyÖ
youíre in a heap of trouble. Actually, he was very nice
about it. With his help of course, it gave me the
perfect opportunity, to cut the wire and remove it
before we continued on to Calgary.
planned to pass through
Calgary but for some reason we
were tired and on our last nerve. With little spats here
and there between us we decided to take a break. We
found the Majestic Inn and went our separate ways
getting dinner and checking out the town. Cindy and I
found a nice little Italian restaurant and walked the
downtown area. We logged on this day, 219 miles.
Everyone woke Wednesday with a smile, refreshed,
showered and ready for day five except Cindy. Apparently
there was a party going on in the parking lot with
drinking, and kids doing donuts. The rest of us were
fortunate enough to have slept
through the fun, which added a great deal to her
of Calgary and a bit behind schedule we take Hwy. 1 to
Banff. What a great little town, like Aspen or
Breckenridge. A ski town with shopping, hot springs and
the finest botanical garden you can imagine. We took a
tour though the Botanical Garden and found amazing
flower gardens and well maintained grounds with Gazeboís
everywhere. Unfortunately we didnít have much time to
spend there, a couple of hours, lunch and on to
Before we made Jasper we stopped at
Lake Louise. What an
amazing area this was,
Banff National Park, Lake Louise,
Jasper National Park, all between Banff and Jasper. This
is the type of riding we were hoping to find in Canada.
Just south of Jasper was our half way point at 1727
miles and unfortunately behind schedule we didnít have
the time we wanted to spend here either. We checked out
the ice fields and glaciers, turned and headed for home.
Returning Hwy 93, the same route we took earlier, we
picked up Hwy 1 again. Heading south west for British
Columbia we pick up Hwy 95 heading south.
Considering we wandered around Banff for close to 3
hours, stopping at Lake Louise and the Ice Fields of
Jasper, we didnít start heading home until after 2pm.
Trying to make up some time and getting in as many miles
as possible, we enjoyed the rest of the scenery from the
bike while doing a blistering speed we pull into
British Columbia around 8pm.
small town, with Kicking Horse River on one side of
town, Columbia River on the other side and nestled at
the base of the Columbia Mountains. We were whipped, it
had been a long day and Golden seemed like a good place
idea where the campgrounds were, we see this old man
sitting in front of a general store so we pull up to
chat. This old man, with ratty shoulder length hair, no
teeth, and chewing tobacco nods, and says hello. After
exchanging pleasantries we ask where we could pitch a
tent for the evening.
Just down the road, he says; look for the park and
playground. Just the other side of the playground is our
campground. No charge and I doubt there is anybody
there, just pick a place and make yourself at home.
we get ready to leave for the campground, he says do you
mind if I ask a question? No sir, go right ahead. How do
you know which bike is yours? You see, Mike and I both
on Wings, same year, and same color, looked alike to the
old man. I said itís easy my friend, I ride the blue
one, he rides the red one. The old guy looked at the
bikes, then back at me and responds with a smile, I
understand. That old man was the topic of conversation
for several days.
Looking forward to some sleep, we pitched out tents in
the dark, just to the left of the Merry Go Round. We
logged on this day, 452 miles.
Sleep came early, but didnít last long. None of us slept
well; maybe thatís why I remember
Golden BC so well.
This far north in September, well letís just say, it
gets cold, very cold. Do you remember those two rivers
that run on each side of the town? Our campsite was on
the river, if you climbed out of the tent and tripped
youíd fall in. Cold and sleeping on the river doesnít
temps dropped down to the mid 30ís and adding the
moisture coming off the river, the tents and sleeping bags were
soaked. In fact, the bottom of the tents had a good 1/4
inch of standing water. I didnít know a person could get
Everyone woke Thursday frozen and cranky. We tied the
tent and sleeping bags on the bikes so they could air
dry. We put on our riding suits, rain suits, and
anything else we could find, it wasnít enough.
had nothing on the agenda for day 6 other than to ride
and put some miles behind us. Heading south we rode
Core díAlene, and beautiful country it is.
Continuing through southern Idaho back into Montana and
spending the night in
really ready to spend another night in a tent we found a
Motel, showered and found a greasy spoon. We logged on
this day, 598 miles.
Waking Friday morning, we were all tired and glad to be
on the homeward stretch. Leaving Butte we decided to
ride and make no scenic stops. Stopping somewhere in
Vernal Utah, we find a nice campground, pitched our
tents and enjoyed whatís left of the evening around the
campfire. We logged on this day, 590 miles.
Waking Saturday, for the last day of our trip, everyone
was quiet as we packed up camp and loaded the bikes. We
were all tired and glad to be heading home.
Just after the Colorado line we stop in
National Park. Checking out the dinosaur bones and
the visitor center briefly we move along heading through
Craig and into Steamboat for a hearty lunch. From
Steamboat we put the bikes on auto pilot taking US 40
back to I-70 and home.
Pulling in the drive around 3pm we unpack the bikes and
send the ladies home. With 341 miles on the odometer for
this day, Michael and I took the car for a beer.
had a great trip, filled with many memories and scenery
that we will never forget. We logged just under 3500
miles in 7 1/2 days. It truly was the ride of a
I wonder if we had an
additional week, would we have seen or enjoyed it more.
Probably not, there is only so much fun a person can
ladies were fine back seaters but I do know had we taken
an additional week, somewhere along the route, probably
day 4, at least by day 5, we would have stopped at an
airport and sent Cindy home on a plane. Itís amazing
what happens to people who spend this much time
together. Ah yes, but thatís another story.
Now before you jump
on me about Cindy as a passenger and start asking me a
bunch of questions, please remember, this was 1982 and
B.C. (Before Carol) And yes, I asked my lovely bide for
permission to post the story and pictures. Good Man!
Until we ride again,