Thursday, July 28, 2016

Almost Home From my Ride-a-Bout - July 25 & 26, 2016

Last night I had a lovely stay at the Best Western, Dinosaur Inn in Vernal, UT.  As I rode into Vernal, I spotted a pink dinosaur!  Who knew dinosaurs came in pink?  I had a great night sleep and took my time in the morning.  I only had a couple of hundred miles to ride so I decided to backtrack at bit and go to the Utah Dinosaur National Monument and collect some more stamps and see what was there.

About twenty miles up the road I came to this parking lot with a GIANT dinosaur.  I knew I was on the right path. 
 Shortly thereafter, the official sign greeted me.

As I rode into the Monument, this guy was posing out front.

Since I was collecting stamps, I went into the visitor center and had a look around.  It was well done and very interesting.  And best of all ---- it was air conditioned!

Some interesting tidbits.

I decided to not take the shuttle to the quarry, it was HOT and there were small children.  Not a good combination for me.  I was having a great day and decided to keep it that way.  I got my stamps, sat through the 12 minute video of the National Monument and went back into the heat, mounted my mighty steed and turned toward home.

I just rode Highway 40 most of the way until Heber, UT where I turned south and came out at Orem, UT.  From there is was a quick sprint north on I-15 to my hotel for the night, the South Jordan Super 8.  I was getting my 6,000 mile service on the Beastie Bike the next day so wanted to stay somewhere relatively close to Harrison Eurosports.


I had stayed at this hotel when I picked up the bike and it was passable.  Not great, but passable.  This time, something changed.  It was downright AWFUL.  It was SO AWFUL that I sent an email to Wyndham.  Of course they haven't responded to me.....yet.  Anyway, I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say I will NEVER stay there again.  I'd rather pitch my tent on the lawn.

I was the first customer at Harrison Eurosports and had made an appointment for my 6,000 mile service.  One of the techs helped me remove my hydration jug and panniers then rolled my bike into the service bay.  I was on my own for about 3 hours.  The time flew by.  I found plenty of peeps to chat with and one in particular, Jeff.  Now, what's funny about this is that every single time I've been to Harrison Eurosports, I've run into Jeff!  We both had a good belly laugh at that!

So, I visited with peeps, checked email, blah, blah, blah.  I wasn't interested in test riding any bikes and really had nowhere to go.  The time did go by quickly though and the same tech helped me put things back on the Beastie Bike.  Wait a doggone minute!  Where's my Iron Butt Rally plate backer?  Somehow it had disappeared when they put my new license plate on.  Huh?  Well, I'm not leaving here until you find it and put it back on!

By the look of my face and my stance, I'm pretty certain the tech took me seriously and went in search of the lost plate backer.  He couldn't find it.  Where could it have gone?  The guy who had actually put on my new license plate was out making a delivery so the tech called him and then went back into the service area.  Ah ha!  There it is!  He told me he found it in the garbage.  What do you think?  I know what I think.  Anyway, all is good.  My plate backer is now where it belongs and I rode away a happy girl.

Before I left, I went into the restroom and soaked my LD Comfort shirt in the sink, wrung out most of the water and put it back on before donning my jacket.  I'm sure glad I did that because it was ridiculously HOT.  The high temperature reading on my bike was 112.  I drank lots and lots of water and made several more stops as I headed south on I-15 toward home to re-wet my shirt.  That really helped alot.

It was around 5:30 when I opened the garage door and found this sign on the freezer!  Hahahahaha, I sure love my Eric :-)

 My Beastie Bike was happy to be home, too.  I'd been gone almost 3 weeks!
 It was quite the adventure.  First, arriving in Denver, CO for the Butt Lite VIII finish where I helped with scoring.  Then, cross the country to Hamburg, NY for the BMW MOA National Rally.  Finally, back across the country again to Granby, CO for the ADV Woman Rally.  Whew!!!  I had so many fantastic experiences during my ride-a-bout and tent camping for the first time at the BMW Rally.

I put about 5,000 miles on the Beastie Bike during this adventure.  Zero issues, woohoo!  A few crappy motels but mostly decent places to stay.  A few days that were longer than I planned but, heck, I didn't really plan any of it.  I just got on the bike and rode :-)

I wore out a pair of gloves (my favorite summer weight ones!).  I also wore out my laptop carry case and my butt/fanny bag (that I've had for maybe 25 years!).  I learned a lot of good stuff during my ride-a-bout, made new friends, visited with old friends and I missed my honey.

When they become available, I'll post more pictures of the ADV Woman Rally.

Now, the Little Girl is sitting naked in the garage waiting for me to finish cleaning all her bits and pieces before putting her up for sale.  Oh my, can I sell her?  I mean, sure, I can sell her but we do have some pretty emotional ties.....  Stay tuned for more on this :-)
That's a wrap, folks.  I've only been home two days and already I'm thinking about another adventure.  A big shout out of THANKS to those who followed my Spot Tracker and my blog. You are greatly appreciated.  When I forgot to check in one day, several people posted on Facebook to make sure I was safe and sound.  Awesomeness!

So, until the next adventure, cheers to all!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Heading Home From my Ride-a-Bout - July 24, 2016

Darn, it's almost over.  It's time to pack up and head out.  I am heading home, but first, I need to make a stop in Salt Lake City at Harrison Eurosports to get my 6,000 mile service.  Yes, you read that right, my 6,000 mile service.  I picked up the bike on June 18, went back the following week for the 600 mile service and now, I'm ready for the 6,000 mile service!

Of course, by LD (Long Distance) or Iron Butt standards, that's nothing in a few weeks.  But for me, it was quite a big ride-a-bout.  Leaving home and first going to Denver for the finish of the Butt Lite Rally, then across the country to Hamburg, NY for the BMW MOA National Rally, then to Granby, CO for the ADV Woman Rally and now, finally, heading back home to Ivins, Utah.

The last few weeks have been awesome in so many ways.  I traveled solo, something I haven't done, at least long distance, for a few years.  I tent camped off the motorcycle!  Something I've NEVER done before and heck, it was fun :-)  I attended the ADV Woman Rally and took my Beastie Bike on the dirt to learn new skills.  Wow, it's been a couple of weeks of firsts and they were all GOOD!

This morning, I finished packing up the bike, said goodbye to Lydia and Annie as they left in opposite directions and took a last look around.  Wow, it's been a great few days learning dirt skills with all these amazing women (and a few guys).  And wow, it's been a fantastic ride-a-bout.  But, now, it's time to head home.

I actually got out of the motel parking lot by 8:30 and headed west on Highway 40.  The sky was blue, traffic was light to non-existent and my Beastie Bike was purring away like a well fed kitten.  After a bit, I took a quick break to make some adjustments and spied this awesome Veteran's Memorial.

 And, across the parking lot, I found this delightful sculpture!
 Rolling along, I stopped at a roadside Historic Site.

 The history was quite interesting.  I thought, maybe, I'll stop at all the Historic Sites along the way.

 But, unfortunately, the rest of them weren't nearly as interesting :-(  I did, however, stop at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado.  Utah also has one and I may backtrack and do that one tomorrow, we'll see.  Anyway, I stopped here and was glad I did.  It was very interesting and the visitor center had some great displays.  I spoke with the Ranger for quite a while and also got like SEVEN stamps for my National Parks Passport!  I think 5 were dinosaurs and two were standard type stamps.  Score :-)  The Ranger got a real kick looking at my Passport and all the unique stamps.  I told her that some stamps are secret and you have to ask.  That took her by surprise!

Yes, peeps, if you're a stamp collector, always ask if there is a secret or non-public stamp.  You'll be surprised at how many unique stamps you can collect simply by asking!

 About 20 miles after Dinosaur, CO, I entered Utah!  Yay!  I'm almost home!  I love this Welcome to Utah sign with the Dinosaur, how cool is that?

 I didn't get too far after entering Utah before I decided I was still beat up and tired.  As soon as I rode into Vernal, UT, I began looking for a place to stop. (Heck, I think only rode 250 miles today, maybe.  A Candy Ass indeed!).  I ended up at the Best Western Dinosaur Inn.  Lucky me, I got a newly refurbished room and it is lovely.  A great big King size bed is calling my name and pretty soon, I'm going to listen and tuck in.

I'll post an epilogue to my travels in a few days when I can access some photos from other peeps to give you a different perspective.  Meanwhile, here is a link to an interview I had with Ruth Belcher (remember? the happy, perky, awesome rider gal). Interview link here  Hahaha, I look old and tired but guess what?  I was /am old and tired :-)  But still had an incredibly awesome time!

And, I'm going to leave you with a photo I've already posted simply because I think it is amazing!   Unfortunately, I don't have full details handy but will give credit to the photographer when I land at home.
Again, as always, thank you so very much for following along.  I truly appreciate your taking time out of your busy life to read my blog.  Hope to have more adventures to share with you!


ADV Woman Clinic Day 2 - July 22, 2016

Oh boy, did I sleep well last night!  I was beat up from all the skills exercises and the heat.  Yup, I was in bed by 9 pm and sound asleep by 9:01 pm.  As a matter of fact, both Lydia and I returned to the motel room and decided to not go back to the Rodeo Grounds for dinner.  Instead, Lydia went to the Drive by Pie place and bought us each a slice of pie for dinner.  Isn't life grand?

So today was another clinic for dirt bike riders and those who weren't at the clinic had the option of riding a scavenger hunt or doing their own thing.  I decided to do my own thing until the late afternoon classes were to start.  First off, I geared up and rode back to the Rodeo Grounds for a one on one session with Louise and Kandi.  I really needed to practice those turns more.  So, that's what I did.  Funny, I quickly realized that although I had a good night sleep and my body wasn't sore, I was still wore out.  I didn't take many turns for me to call uncle.

A photo of me and Ruth Belcher.  She is definitely the life of the party, a great rider, and a super good person!  So glad I got to finally meet her in person :-)
 A pic of me with Louise and Kandi, my instructors who were absolutely fabulous!!!  Thanks so much for taking the time with me and being patient.  I learned a ton and found a new confidence on the Beastie Bike!
 One of the few guys who participated in the clinics with Louise and Kandi.  He was the only Ducati rider.
After a few turns at the Rodeo Grounds, I decided to take a ride-a-bout to Rocky Mountain National Park and over to Estes Park for lunch.  Before I headed out I noticed a warning light on my dash. I called Harrison Eurosports and spoke with Troy, the sales manager.  I told him that I had put the bike into Enduro Pro mode and turned off the ABS for my ADV clinic and this morning, I had put the mode back to Rain and turned on the ABS but still had this warning light.

Hmmm....we tried a few things in the parking lot but nothing worked.  The warning light was telling me that my traction control was not engaged.  So, I asked if I rode the bike with the light on, would I cause any damage.  He said no, but not to be a hooligan and get too aggressive!  Hahahaha, like I ride that way :-)  Anyway, I took off for the Rocky Mountain National Park and on my way, tried to re-engage the traction control.  Eventually, I hit the correct sequence and the light went out and now I had both ABS and traction control engaged.  Yippee!  Now, I can be a hooligan :-)

Well, not really because the speed limit was between 35 and 45 in the park and there were plenty of rangers out to make sure nobody got crazy.  Dang, I wish they would also do the opposite and stop those going 15 mph with a white knuckle grip on the wheel and slowing down to 5 for every curve on the road!  Oh well...

I did have a lovely ride.  I stopped here along Granby Lake for a photo op.  It was a beautiful day, the sky a perfect blue and the water looked inviting.

 Not too much further up the road and I came upon the park entrance.

 As I rode along, I found a turn off for an historic lodge.  While didn't take the time to explore the lodge, I did spy these antique beauties in the parking lot.
 Before I knew it, I was at the Continental Divide!
 Pretty cool beans!
 Traffic wasn't too bad at this point.  I actually had the road to myself for quite a while.  That was pleasant and I was thoroughly enjoying the ride.  As I got closer and closer to the top of the pass, traffic began to pile up.  Getting into a visitor center or rest stop was just impossible.  A line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot and just basic madness.  I just motored on.  Up near the top, the wind was pretty fierce and it got COLD!!!!  I knew it wouldn't be long before I started down the other side so I didn't stop to zip up.  I did turn on my heated grips :-)

Such gorgeous views.  My little point and shoot camera doesn't do it justice.

I didn't get any photos since there wasn't anyplace to stop that wasn't already filled with tourons (tourist morons), but I did see a big herd of bull elk with massive racks!  Wow!  Big!  Later on, I saw another herd of cow elk with their babies. I had to stop and let them cross the street.  Very cool.
I also saw a couple of wild turkeys and two moose.
I ended up in Estes Park.  Have you been there?  Well, if you have you know it's a zoo of tourons.  I've been there before but for some reason my head didn't tell me to avoid it.  I actually thought I would ride over the mountain and have lunch in Estes Park.  Ha!  What a dolt!  Not only is it high tourist season, but it was Saturday!   The throngs of people both on foot and in cars was unimaginable.  Way, way, way too many.  It took me over 30 minutes to go through a stop light!

I spied an Egg & I restaurant and thought, yes, that's where I'll have a brunch.  But.....I couldn't get to the parking lot from where I was, so I waited in line and finally got through the light.  I pulled into a shopping center parking lot to turn around.  That took forever.  Finally, almost 45 minutes after I spied the restaurant, I pulled into their parking lot only to find no parking spaces available at all.  I circled a few times and then just parked illegally next to the dumpster in back of the restaurant.

Was it worth it?  No, not at all.  I did get a nice booth and had some french toast with bacon and eggs.  I managed to eat about half my lunch, paid my bill and mounted up again.  Now, I was looking for an escape other than Rocky Mountain National Park because it seemed that all the tourons in Estes Park were headed for RMNP.  Suffice it to say, I got lost, turned around, lost again, turned around again and finally just said F*ck it and headed back to RMNP!

My original intent had been to ride through RMNP, have lunch at Estes Park, return to Granby in time for afternoon classes.  Heck, I had plenty of time when I left this morning.  However, with all the stupid stuff in Estes Park, time was getting short.  And, to cap it all off, a big, black, ugly thunder storm was quickly approaching.  Crap, I was pretty certain I'd get close to the summit and hit the wall of storms.  Not what one wants to do on a motorcycle!

So, I got in line, showed the Park Ranger my park pass and motored along, very, very, very slowly up, up, up the mountain as the storm clouds darkened and it began to spit rain.  You know, some people just shouldn't drive mountain passes.  Yeah, the people who white knuckle the steering wheel and can't manage to go any faster than 15 mph and slow down to 5 mph for every curve in the road.  Lucky me, I got behind several of those kind of folks!  Nothing to do, no passing areas, too many people.  I just plugged along in first and second gear, although my honey has told me many times that 1st gear is NOT a travel gear.  Hahahaha!

As I neared the summit I was worried about the cold and wind I had experienced earlier.  However, much to my surprise, it was quite pleasant.  The wind had died down and it had warmed up.  Those thunder clouds were still hanging low but so far, I avoided any real weather.  I was praying that would last until I was off the side of the mountain!

I very slowly made my way down through the Park and was delighted when I could finally go 25 or 30 mph!  No opportunities to pass, so I just stayed in line.  Of course, rounding a curve, I found traffic stopped and both sides of the road packed with cars.  Jam on the brakes (yay for good brakes!) and slow to a crawl and stop.  Go a foot, stop, go two feet, stop.  You guessed it, a moose was spotted and contrary to Park rules, people had to stop in the road and on the side to chase after it.  Really?  Yes, really.  Tourons....  This happened twice on my way down the mountain.  No pictures of the Estes Park or return trip - it was just too stressful!

Okay, it was past time now for my first class on motorcycle maintenance.  Boo!  Guess I'll have to get Eric to give me a tutorial :-)  Once out of the Park and onto a larger highway, I rode straight to the Rodeo Grounds to try and catch the second class I wanted to take, Flat Repair.

When I pulled up, I ran into Annie who is our neighbor at the motel.  She was going back to the motel to shower and change and was catching a ride with Traci back to the event.  Oh, yeah, that sounded good so I did the same and missed both classes.

It felt good to get into street clothes (although I had to wear my boots because all I brought was flip flops and it was going to storm big time!).  Traci took us back to the Rodeo Grounds in her Jeep.  We got there just in time for dinner and for the festivities afterward.

The event tent was starting to fill up!
Dinner was put out and we all filled up our plates.
After dinner, it was time for some thank you's and awards.
The General Manager of PowerWorld (who was the biggest sponsor) was awarded the Man Who Rides Like a Girl helmet with pigtails for his outstanding efforts and sponsorship!  That was very fun :-)
Everyone who completed a clinic was given a Certificate of Completion  This is going to get framed on put on our wall of aweseomeness!
I also got lucky in the raffle drawings and won a set of Butler Maps in a lovely Wolfman case!  Yippee!

A wonderful time was had by all.  Unfortunately, some of the peeps had to scoot out early and missed the dinner and party.  I was so pooped that after the awards, I begged a ride to my motel and didn't hang around for the DJ music and dancing.  I don't know where those ladies got the energy!  Anyway, Lydia was of a like mind and we both ended up at our motel at the same time.

We had a good chat, a few belly laughs and I had a cocktail!  We both did some preliminary packing and then not too long later, were both fast asleep.

What a fantastic weekend of riding, learning, bonding, meeting new friends, learning new skills, kicking butt and having my butt kicked!  It was a wicked good time.  A big shout out to all who attended and an extra big shout out to Pat Jacques and her team for putting on such a fabulous event.  I'm looking forward to next year!

That about wraps my Saturday.  I'm pooped but in a good way.  As always, thanks for following along.  I'll be posting another blog as I come to the end of my ride-a-bout!


Friday, July 22, 2016

ADV Woman Clinic - Day 1 - July 22, 2016

OMG!  Yeah, OMG a thousand times!!!!  Okay, let me back up a bit.  I arrived in Granby, CO and later that evening Lydia showed up.  We're sharing a room.  So, before Lydia got here, I was notified that I needed to go to PowerWorld and complete my registration and then go to the Rodeo grounds for a meet & greet and attend an orientation meeting.

Fine, except is was raining!  Heck darn, gee whiz.  Okay, I got into my riding gear (again) and rode off into the wet, raining late afternoon.  Found PowerWorld, completed my registration and liability waivers and then headed to the Rodeo grounds.  Did I say it was raining?  Did I say I was already tucked into my lovely motel room?  Did I say I had already changed into comfy clothes?  No?  Well, that's how it went.

I made it to the Rodeo Grounds and parked right next to the port a potty, just in case!  Our meeting was to be held in that white tent.
 A few other peeps showed up.  Not seeing any beastie bikes here, yet....
 Plenty of folks were camping.  I considered it for a nano-second.  On one hand, it's nice to be close to the event, but on the other hand, a bed, a shower, electricity, space, etc.  Yeah, I like the motel better :-)

 From Washington State, Delia and Scott.  Hey, look, Delia has a beastie bike too!  Yippee!  Oh, and she is even shorter than I am and she rocked that bike!
 Another Washingtonian, Ruth.  Ruth, Ruth, Ruth, you will never meet anyone as fun as Ruth.  Full of energy (good energy) and positive power.  Plus, I love the color of her bike :-)
 Ruth minus the helmet and ....?????
 More and more peeps were arriving.
 Now, it was time to gather in the tent for some munchies, mingling, socializing and finally, the orientation meeting.

At orientation, we were told what time to be there the next day and how events would unfold.  Good, except brekkie was at 7 am!  However, we really only had to be there by 8:30 for a tech check and the clinics would start at 9 am.  Okay, I can do that!

I motored back to the motel after the meeting, met up with Lydia and chatted a bit before hitting the bed.  I knew I had to be up early the next morning so no partying tonight!

Again to the Rodeo Grounds.  I quickly realized I probably needed to strip down the Beastie Bike so I got busy taking stuff off.  First to go were the hard bags, then the hydration system, spot tracker, Zumo and power plug.  I decided to keep the mirrors and windscreen on.

Here it is, NAKED!!!!!!  Side view....
 Rear view.....
 She still has humongous breasts but her hips are pretty small without the side cases, lol!
 A shot of lovely Lydia getting psyched for our clinic today.
 Ladies (and a few men) began to gather for the clinic.
 Oh, you could also post your mail here if you needed too :-)  Hahahaha
 I thought we would be riding in the arena.  Nice, soft, raked, no rock, dirt.  Nope....not there.
 Here is Louise, one of our instructors.  She had the bestest tool roll and helped me get stuff off the bike.  Thank you Louise!
 Hahaha, Ruth pumping everyone up before we start!
 Okay, now it gets serious.  One group over here and another group over there.  The woman in the distance, pointing is Pat Jaques who is the master mind and organizer of this event.  She is incredibly awesome!
There were two groups, one all ladies and another mixed, men and women.  I was in the mixed group.  No problem.  One of the BEST things about this event was there were no egos going on.  We were all here to learn, even those who were very experienced.  So, the playing field was even.  We started out with simple drills, learning to stand on the pegs, how to balance your weight, etc.  Then we moved on to stopping and skidding the back tire.

Funny, this bike is so new to me and has so many features, it took me a while to figure out how to turn off the ABS and put it into Enduro Pro mode.  Finally got that figured out!  So, we would ride down the field and perform the exercise and return to the line.  Well, that meant making sharp turns in the dirt to get back in line.  Hahahahaha, oh my, more laughing.  Sometimes I did quite well and other times, no so much.  Here is what happens when you are making a sharp left turn and you accidentally hit the throttle.  Yup, the front end washes right out and down you go!
 I LOVE this series of pics.  Hey, we all know it didn't happen unless there are pictures!  Fortunately, for me, I simply stepped off the bike as she went down.  I didn't fall but Beastie Bike flopped right down!

Yay!  I'm a conquerer....not really :-)

 My favorite picture, giving you all the ADV salute!
 Nice sticker on the windscreen!  I'll be keeping this one.  By the way, this event is the inaugural ADV Woman Rally.  And, it's been fantastic.  I know this rally will grow and improve.  I'm so tickled to be one of the first!
 We had a wonderful lunch of burgers, hotdogs, fruit, salads and chips sponsored by PowerWorld, just down the street from the Rodeo Grounds.  Very nice, and thank you so much!
 After our clinic, it was time for seminars and of course I attended the Pick Your Bike Up seminar.  We learned lots of good tips.  Just so you know, my first drop, I picked up the bike with one helper stepping on the back wheel.  My second drop was downhill and I hit the ground.  Fortunately, not hard but I was headed downhill and needed a bit of help getting my old, tired bones up off the ground.  For that drop, four of us made it look like a cake walk to pick up the Beastie Bike.  Hey, at least I'm even, drops on both sides now :-)
 Here they were showing us how to use a hoist to pick up the bike which included a ratchet strap.  Pretty cool!

 And, then, just so you know I didn't spend all my time laying on the ground :-)  Here is a shot of me actually riding dirt.  Look where my head is pointed.  Yeah, I learned some stuff.
I wasn't going to post this until I found more photos, but decided to anyway.  I'll probably post an epilogue with photos from other peeps.  For now, this is it.

Man, I'm tired.  No, I'm exhausted.  Heck, I didn't even stay for dinner.  I rode back to the hotel, took a nice cool shower, put on comfy clothes and now I'm ready for bed at 7:30 pm.  Hahahaha.  Yup, I'm wiped out, in a good way.  What a great day of learning.  I so appreciated there were no egos going on.  Just everyone looking to learn something.  These ladies (and the few guys) are awesome!!!!

Tomorrow I don't have a scheduled clinic in the morning but do have seminars in the afternoon.  However, I'm going back to the Rodeo Grounds and practice what I learned today rather than take a ride a bout in the mountains.  Yes, riding the Rockies would be awesome, but I've done that many times.  I think I'm going to take full advantage of this Rally and go get some more skills training!

Hey folks, thanks so very much for following along.  I can feel your positive energy (and believe me, I need it right now).

Hugs to all, I'm a happy girl.  Oh I forgot to tell you......hahahahahah, I think I'm the OLDEST woman on the BIGGEST bike with STREET tires!  Yeah, I'm having fun, baby :-)