Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gravel: Ridin' and Slidin'

Gravel: loose rounded fragments of rock often mixed with sand.
Gravel: biker's friend or foe?  Car wheels on a gravel road sure feel different than two wheels on that same gravel.  Headin' straight not a very big deal. Stay relaxed.  Ease up on your grip.  Don't panic.  Keep lookin' where you want to go.  Forget using the front brake, much less the rear.   Easy on the throttle.  Bike will usually find it's way through it.  Of course all this holds true if you are headed straight.  Could be a WTF moment if suddenly the hard right turn you have made dozens and dozens of times is now completely covered in loose gravel mixed with sand across your entire lane.

Always happens when you least expect it.  Slowing down.  Making a turn you know so well.  Next moment that bike is slip sliding away through the loose gravel.  Oh, you can read every article on every online forum about what you could be doing or thinking at that moment.  The reality is...it is a quick tough moment.  Suddenly you and your bike are sliding as one in the gravel, and not on the tires.  Good argument for wearing leathers.  Gravel's a killer on chrome and paint.
Called the NM DOT the following morning.  They were concerned.  Were out in less than two hours makin' sure that intersection was gravel free.  Thank you NMDOT.  Previous afternoon the gravel was well across and covering the lane above. (both photos after clean-up). 

Point is...whether you are on two wheels or four, when you see a road situation you know is not safe, make a call.  Takes only a moment.  You could be sliding around that corner on four wheels just as easy as two.

Footnote:  Picking myself up only one vehicle turned around to check on me.  Guy in an old pickup truck.  A biker.  He had done the same thing a few days earlier on that graveled turn.  Thanks brother.  Appreciate your thoughtfulness.  Means a lot.

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Chicks with Chainsaws
Imagine a Christmas parade.  What comes to mind?  Visions of sugar plums?  Frosty? Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? Santa's helpers? The Grinch?  Well, guess again.  If you were in Madrid, NM last Saturday night for the annual Christmas parade through town you would have been greeted by...Chicks with Chainsaws. The group performs mostly at the Engine House Theater in Madrid. The performances are a combination of dance, acrobatics, aerial performance and just plain havin' fun.
There is a "pool" at the Mine Shaft Tavern, of course no betting allowed, on just how long the parade will last.  Times flying around generally are seven to eight minutes.  You do have to get it down to seconds, that tightens up the odds a bit.   If you missed the big event this year be sure to put it on your calendar for next year on the first Saturday of December  around 4 pm.

People in Madrid live outside the box. There is love, acceptance and a support system. The common thread binding the village together is... "Just be who you are”.  Nancy and I are very excited to be part of the village.  Opened our new shop, RIDE NEW MEXICO, two weeks ago just south of the Mine Shaft.  

How cool is that...if we weren't here we would have missed the Chicks with Chainsaws.  Better put that on your Christmas list for next year!

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hitin' the back roads
Room last night in Libby was real Montana style.  Gotta love it.  Rained all night. Turned on the heat.
Folks at the motel suggested a different route than planned back to Spokane Valley.  Followed their suggestion.  Leaving' Libby heavy fog, dripping wet and cold.  Turned south on Montana 56.  In the fog.  Signs readin' "Watch for Deer next 20 miles".  Keepin' my eyes open.  Up ahead black things in the road.  Roll off the throttle.  Hittin' the brakes.  Come to a complete stop.  Must be 25 - 30 wild turkeys taking their sweet time crossing the road.  Signs didn't say anything about turkeys.
Four mile detour off HWY 56 on a narrow single lane road ends at the Ross Creek Giant Cedars.  The cedars are over 500 years old.  Rays of light filter through the trees.  Time seems to stop.  Quiet, peace, strength, tranquility.  Words fall short.
At Cabinet Rock Gorge, border between Montana and Idaho, round a curve and over 140 cars of all makes, models, and years come into view.  Stopped in time against rocky cliffs.  Moments of history from Montana and Idaho.

There was a moment today leaving the ancient  cedar grove when turning right meant finishing the trip.  Turning left meant.....
It was tempting to turn left.

Kickstand down in Spokane Valley tonight.  Drop off the Heritage Classic in the morning at Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson.  

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Gotta have pie at the border
Four lane highway from Kalispell to Whitefish.  At Whitefish HWY 93 turns back into a peaceful two laner north.  In and out of rain squalls all morning  Clouds cover the road heading toward the border.
Border of Canada and US.  US HWY 93 ends at a simple yellow gate marking the boundary of two countries.  Two borders, one marked with a steel wall and spikes, the other with a simple steel gate.  Two borders separated by deserts, plains, mountains, and rivers.  Separated by history of the west.  Separated by human conflict.
Turning back south something tells me...gotta have pie.  Stop in Rooseville at the only place with a food sign.  Two guys outside having a smoke.  "This place have pie?"  "Yea, the best for miles and miles around."  Order the homemade huckleberry pie along with a black coffee.  Jackpot!  Best piece of pie and coffee ever.  When you need pie, you gotta have pie.  Things always have a good way of working out when you need them the most.
 
With a bit of a heavy heart make a right turn off of HWY 93 onto Montana 37 south.  Feels a bit strange to see a highway sign without the 93.  Heading to Libby.
Few miles down the road see a guy standing in a John Deere tractor bucket loader carving a bear with a chain saw.  Rolling by...my thoughts are scattered.  What was that?
Half mile further down the road make a u-turn to see what that guy was doing.  As he shuts down his chainsaw and dusts off the sawdust I meet Ron Adamson, western Sculpture artist.  Quickly learn Ron doesn't just do art with a chainsaw.  He works casting bronze most of the time.  Have I been to Winslow, AZ on Route 66 before?  Standing on the corner in Winslow, AZ are his famous bronze figures.  The list of his work goes on from there.  What a guy!  Lives in Libby, MT, has his work across the country.
Montana 37 follows the Kootenai River all the way into Libby.  This is one of those unknown two laners that should be on everyone's bucket list. 

Kickstand down in Libby, MT. tonight.  No wi-fi tonight.  Day late posting this.  One more day of riding before dropping off the bike in Spokane Valley, WA.  

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rain, clouds, Flathead country, heavy traffic...
 
Rained all night last night in Missoula.  Dark skies this morning.  Thank goodness for the long johns.  HWY 93 connects for a few miles with I80 out of Missoula.  Exit 96 puts me back on to the two lane.
Flathead Indian Reservation.  Mission Mountains hiding in the clouds. The Salish and Kootenai people have traditionally used the mountains as a place for fishing, hunting, berry-picking and for performing sacred ceremonies.
Soft discussed light covers Flathead Lake.  The lake is the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi.  It is a remnant of an ancient, massive glacial dammed lake.  Flathead Lake is 370 feet deep and one of the cleanest lakes in the world. Very popular boating and fishing location.

Made a 30 mile detour today to visit the National Bison Range. Theodore Roosevelt established the National Bison Range in 1908 to provide a permanent national bison range for the remaining herd of 100 bison. Arriving at the reserve a sign in red stated..."NO motorcycles allowed on auto tour roads".  Man, was I disappointed.  Guess you need four wheels to ride with a buffalo.
Runnin' in rain for the remainder of the day.  Pulling into Kalispell rain stopped and traffic jams began. Holy smokes...all these folks must be heading for Glacier National Park.  More stop lights and traffic then I have seen on most of HWY 93 since Mexico.

Kickstand down in Kalispell tonight.  Heading for the northern border tomorrow.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Into Montana
WOW...what a change in the weather.  This morning 34 degrees in Salmon.  Big change from Nogales at over 100.  Back on the road after a weather day.  New snow on the mountains.  More cold weather in the forecast ahead.  Stopped in and met Shelia at the local mercantile before leaving Salmon.  She suggested the expedition long johns.  Bought 'em, put 'em on in the store, rode warm all day.  Thank you Shelia!
At the Continental Divide a turn east on HWY 43 for 14 miles leads to Big Horn National Battle Field.  In 1873, Chief Joseph negotiated with the Federal Government to ensure his people could stay on their land as stipulated in the 1855 and 1863 land treaties with the U.S. Government.  In a reversal of policy in 1877, General Oliver O. Howard threatened to attack if the Nez Perce did not relocate to an Idaho reservation.  Chief Joseph reluctantly agreed.  As they began their journey to Idaho, Chief Joseph learned three young Nez Perce, enraged at the loss of their homeland, had massacred some white settlers.  Fearing U. S. Army retaliation, Chief Joseph decided the best way to avoid conflict with the U. S. Government was to flee to Canada. 
 
U. S. Army forces performed a predawn attack on the 800 men, women, and children encamped at Big Hole.  It was the most violent battle between the Nez Perce and the U. S. Government.

Wet and cold tonight.  Kickstand down Missoula.

be strong, be safe, Carlan



Monday, September 5, 2016

Mel's 1987 Harley Heritage
This morning at the motel in Salmon I noticed a very unique Harley parked next to my bike.  Tried to figure out year, model, parts...so many unique pieces.  Decided to sit tight and see who would be saddling up on this beauty.
Before long Mel came out and began to load up his gear.  "It's a 1987 Heritage, rear fender is from a 1947 Willis Jeep spare tire cover, front finder is a Triumph, all the parts are what I had in my garage."  How cool it that.  We're riding the same model of Harley.  Just a few years and parts difference.  (That's my 2016 Heritage to the left of Mel's bike.)  He got loaded up, ready to hit the road...dead battery.  
Everyone gathered around to help a biker out. That's what its all about. 

Meetin' all these incredible folks out on the highways of America.  Now really, does it get any better?

be strong, be safe, Carlan