Riders Workshop Fall Frolic 2017

Three of our customers enjoyed a Fall Frolic Tour with Jim Ford last week www.ridersworkshop.com/. They were Jim Christian, Mike Wadsworth & Tony Keene who kindly shared some photos with the comment "We had a great time and I think it comes through in the pictures". Don't you wish you had been with them?
"We met in Berkley Springs West Virginia and worked our way down to the Meadows of Dan in Virginia a little South of Roanoke over the course of three days using Jim's very best "invisible roads". We then used the Woodberry Inn as our base for the next two days for rides around the Roanoke Plateau. The Woodberry Inn is right next to the Blue Ridge Parkway and 3.5 miles from the Meadows of Dan.
 
The Meadows of Dan is very small but is a wonderful rustic Virginia village with a couple of gas stations and the "Poor Farmer's Market" which is a great place for a motorcycle rider's breakfast, Jim Ford style."
 

Traveling the Tran-America Trail

Jeff Zielinski shared his Blog site with CRM  
Back in 2014, I mentioned to my lifelong friend who now lives in Florida that we should ride across the country. Before I could get the entire thought out of my mouth he was in. Two BMW F800 GS bikes, loads of gear, and around a year later we met near Harrisburg, PA and set out on the Trans-America Trail. Along the way we learned a thing or two about motorcycle travel, this great country, and definitely ourselves. MojoMoto.org was our way of documenting the trip.

                                                                                                                                                   JEFF ZIELINSKI

Ken's 2009 Arctic Adventure

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For avid riders, a journey using all your vacation time is usually a great challenge. Not just the journey but the scheming, conniving, bartering, etc, one must do before your partner in life finally relents and agrees to let you go.

Before getting into the trip itself, I’d like to share a sense of the experience. First, the vastness of the arctic terrain and the sense of a solitary experience are without equal in my experience. It’s just you and your bike. This trip was all about being self-sufficient, depending on me and on my bike. The environment was hostile, unrelenting and without the slightest wiggle room for error. My sat phone was my only safety net. And yet, the trip itself was comfort in that it provided all the challenge and payback that I could have possibly built into a short period of time. And the few other riders I met, whether for a meal even for only a few minutes, reassured me that if I needed help, they’d be there. It was a true band of brothers, brothers of the road.

The trip began in Anchorage, to Fairbanks, then on to Tok, Alaska, a real out of the way place. Traveling to Tok I took a less traveled road, the Richardson Highway and then the Tok Cutoff Motorcyclists Gather
Gathering for Chow Highway, a large portion of which follows the Alaskan Pipe Line. It was a very scenic highway with an abundance of wildlife and only seven other vehicles during a five hour ride. I spent the night at a lodge just south of Tok, owned by a couple who moved there from Syracuse in 1980. The next morning I headed off to Dawson City, Yukon, Canada through Chicken, Alaska, on the Top of the World Highway.

For the most part the roads were decent, the scenery was spectacular and the village of Chicken was fun. From Chicken to The Top of the World Highway was fabulous. It truly was the top of the world. In some places I was able to see the road snaking its way over the mountain right to the horizon.

From the border to the ferry crossing, you see great scenery and the Klondike River winding its way past Dawson. There is no charge for the ferry, however, if you’re unlucky and hit it wrong, there could be a wait.

Dawson City is a town loaded with history. The outside of the buildings look the same as they did during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. During that period Dawson's population was between 30,000 and 50,000 people. Today there are fewer than 1,600 residents.

The Dawson Downtown Hotel is biker friendly, a very BMW friendly hotel. The owner is a rider checked out the weather for my trip up the Dempster Highway. He delivered the forecast to me with his best wishes for a safe trip, and a warning. "Even though the weather looks good, the road can be treacherous, the weather can change in a matter of moments."

When I returned to the Downtown Hotel 5 days later from Inuvik above the Arctic Circle. I returned there a day ahead of the well-known Dust to Dawson annual ride that goes from Anchorage to Dawson held each year with an estimated 200 bikes (mostly dual sports) arriving in town. It is estimated that, of the 200 bikers attending this event, less than 5% will travel the Dempster Highway. Gives one pause for thought.

The famous Dempster Highway is the only road north from Dawson. It’s approximately 500 miles to Inuvik, North West Territory, and is as far as one can drive. The highway is gravel, pot holes and, if it rain, is the slickest mud. Otherwise, it’s fun. The thickness of the gravel pad ranges from 4 feet up to 8 feet in some places. Without the pad, the permafrost would melt and the road would sink into The Alaska Pipeline
The Alaska Pipeline the ground. It is one of the most desolate roads I’ve ever traveled, with only one place to get food/fuel/lodging. There are many emergency airstrips built right on the road.

The halfway point is Eagle Plains; far enough from the last fuel stop so you have to carry extra fuel or invest in a GS Adventure. Just as one can never be certain about the weather, likewise you can't be certain about the road conditions, I spent a night at Eagle Plains both going to and coming from Inuvik. While the roads were good and I didn’t hit rain and mud until leaving Eagle Plains heading back to Dawson, I was happy to get off the bike in Eagle.

I met a few riders who tried to push all the way and they all ended up camping uncomfortably somewhere along the way. I met all of them at the junction where the Dempster Highway begins and we shared our experiences. The Dempster scenery was absolutely spectacular. The wildlife was plentiful, with multiple spottings of moose, black bear, and a healthy grizzly who ran along beside me for about 20 yards, arctic fox, coyote and numerous varieties of birds.

At the north end of the Dempster, after crossing both the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers, lies Inuvik. It is on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River Delta.

I returned to Eagle Plains June 21, the day of Summer Solstice. There was an Inuit celebration that lasted 24 hours directly across the street from the hotel. I enjoyed chatting with the Inuit people and enjoying their food, a great meal that featured moose, caribou and arctic char, cooked over an open Inuit Party
Inuit Party at 11PM fire. There was a band and lively dancers. At midnight, a 10k race started. An armed escort person in a truck led the race. There had been reports of a couple of grizzlies on the track. Before they took off. I asked "What happens to stragglers?" Answer was "They're on their own. I'm just clearing the trail. Besides, up here you don't have to be the fastest, you just don’t want to be the slowest."

The return trip, from Eagle Plains to Dawson, was what all the horror stories are about. The rain hit and the mud was the slickest I’ve seen. There was an outdoor pressure washer at the end of the road. It took $15 of pressure washing to get the bike clean (the mud was almost 1" thick). Then there was me. Another rider offered to hose me off and I let him.

Then I was back on the "roads more traveled."

I hope you enjoyed sharing my arctic journey. If you are planning a trip to Alaska and are interested in my maps and waypoints drop a line to Art and Lyn.

I have already started softening up my wife for my next Adventure.

—Ken

A Little Ride Out West

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5,300 miles, 17 days, 1 tent, 14 states and 1 province. What a trip! I packed up my R1200GS and headed out from Rochester, NY with a desire to go West. I met a buddy in St. Louis, MO and we continued on towards Denver. Once in Colorado the pavement endedWide Open Spaces and the dirt road adventure began.

The GS handled like a dream on both the hard pack and loose gravel two tracks. Climbing to an elevation of 12,126 feet, I crossed the continental divide in Cottonwood Pass. The snow began to fly and the temperatures began to drop (33°F). Thank goodness for the GS's heated hand grips!

Continuing on through Cumberland Pass, the road deteriorated to a narrow, rocky, ATV type trail. My progress came to a halt when I ran into a four foot spindrift wall of snow across the road. I took all the luggage off the bike, laid it down and then spun it so that I could retreat to a lower elevation and find an alternate route to Grand Junction, CO. The road was so narrow I couldn’t think of a better way to turn around. Once on the western slope of the Rockies, I reunited with my buddy and we headed for the deserts of Utah.

I met up with a friend living in SLC so we could launder our clothes and have a shower. A shower was greatly appreciated because the nights in the tent were beginning to be Black Hills Tunnel repulsive! :-) Turning North we toured Wyoming with all its splendor. Making a right turn we began heading back East. South Dakota offered fantastic twisties and unique road conditions. The Black Hills in SD are definitely a highlight of the trip. We also ran into the occasional bison.

Throughout the trip I had no mechanical failures, accidents or mishaps (well, at least nothing I couldn't fix). The GS ran beautifully and the top/side vario cases worked perfectly. My gear stayed dry and protected. I also really enjoyed the comfort and protection the Rallye 2 gloves and Summer 2 pants provided.

I want to thank all the folks at CRM for their knowledge and advice. The gear recommendations were spot-on and the shared excitement for travel on two wheels made the trip planning that much more enjoyable.

—Dirk Endres

Four Old Farts on a Ride of a Lifetime

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May 17 to June 18, 2008: I've been trying to get my wife to go with me on an extended "rideabout" on the LT. She and I have traveled quit a bit on the bike. We've been to Colorado three times, Nova Scotia, and the Southern states, but I was looking for a real cross country adventure. Well, she never was quite up to it so whenMap of the trip
Map of the trip a Harley riding friend threw down the gauntlet, I jumped at the chance. He sent out an email last December to a few of the guys that ride together once in awhile. It went something like this:

"I am retiring next summer after 34 years at Kodak. I'm thinking one day for each year and 300 miles per day would make a great bike trip. Anyone interested?" He didn't have to ask twice. Three of us left on May 17 and one of us left ten days later and caught up with the forward contingent in Gunnison, Colorado. We had traveled 4,000 miles in 13 days and he had traveled 2,000 miles in just 3 days.

Interestingly, we never got together to discuss the route or plan the trip, as it was all done by email. We had agreed on a general route that hit the major highlights we wanted to visit. We used Google Maps to determine the approximate mileage so we'd have a pretty good idea if we were ahead or behind the tentative schedule. The onlyMountains and Motorcycles
Mountains and Motorcycles real issue was that we had a pretty firm drop-dead-date for the return since our initiator had one more week of work before officially retiring.

We pretty much slabbed it to Nashville, Tennessee and then rode the entire length of the Natchez Trace. The Trace follows an historic 200 year old road that is still visible in some places. There are access and exit roads, but no stop signs or traffic lights for the entire 400 plus miles. The speed limit is only 50, we set the cruise at about 58 and just rolled along enjoying the solitude and countryside. The LT got 58mpg! After the Natchez Trace we stayed on two lane roads almost exclusively until the last couple of days when we were back in the eastern sprawl and used the Interstates. We traveled thousands of miles on the two lane roads and encountered very little traffic. We usually had the road to ourselves.

We met a lot of interesting people and had only great experiences with everyone we met. On the top of Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado at almost 11,000 feet, we encountered a bicyclist who had ridden from Brooklyn, NY with a guitar strapped to his bicycle. He figured he was the first person to pedal to Wolf Creek Pass with a guitar and he wanted to record it for posterity. So we used his video camera and recorded him singing a song he wrote. If we ever hear of a new hit titled "Iris," we'll remember where we first heard it...

We all learned a few things on the trip.

  • Texas is big!
  • The Colorado mountains are fabulously beautiful
  • Utah is amazing, all the parks are very different
  • The Grand Canyon is big, but not as big as Texas
  • California has many roads that rival the Tail of the Dragon, but they go on for 30 or 40 miles not just 11
  • It's exciting to get to the Pacific Ocean
  • This is one GREAT country. I absolutely enjoyed every mile, even going diagonally across Nebraska.
  • The old two lane highways are in great shape and are much more interesting to ride than the Interstates.
  • There are some very interesting people out there on the roads and in all those little towns.
  • I am ready to go again. If my wife would come along, that would be great. If she won't, I think I'll try camping next time.

SUMMARY STATS:
The bikes:
2000 BMW K1200LT (starting mileage; 88,590, Ending mileage; 99,452)
2007 Harley Davidson Ultra glide (approximately 17,000 miles at start)
2007 Harley Davidson Ultra glide (approximately 10,000 miles at start)
2004 Yamaha FJR (approximately 22,000 miles at start)
Maintenance:
All bikes changed oil once. All used synthetic
Both Harleys had new rear tire at about 8,000 miles
LT and FJR did not change tires, although FJR was getting pretty thin. Might have had problems if it had rained the last couple of days. The LT's rear tire can go another 2,000 miles
Mechanical problems/issues:
One of the Harleys stalled four separate times. It just stopped running. After flipping a few switches and hitting the starter button, it started again and ran fine. We never did find out what was wrong.
My K1200LT needed a new radiator cap. After the engine was heated above its normal range, not over heating but hot enough to have the fan come on, it began spitting coolant out of the overflow reservoir. After several days of adding Honda coolant, I decided I needed to get a new radiator cap. One problem with BMW is that dealers are few and far between. I had to travel 150 miles to get to a dealer. That was actually not too far; there were many times we were not within 500 miles of a dealer.
Daily mileage:
Averaged 320 miles per day
Longest day: 614 miles, Indianapolis to home, smelled the barn
Shortest day: 125 miles around San Antonio, stopped to see the Alamo
33 Days, 24 States, 10,562 miles
Weather:
Mostly fabulous.
Only two days of rain.
We were just ahead of or just behind floods and snow storms, but we rode on in pleasant sunshine
Hottest day; 104 degrees in shade at Big Bend National Park
Coldest morning: 28 degrees in Jasper, Wyoming
Worst conditions: Sand storm crossing Mojave Desert
Lodging:
Stayed in motels
Most expensive: $198 at Grand Canyon
Least expensive: $46 in Williams, AZ (found a local motel after rejecting a $115 Best Western)
National Parks visited:
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Big Bend, Texas
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
Mesa Verde, Colorado
Capitol Reef, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Zion, Utah
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Sequoia, California
Yosemite, California
Redwood, California
Grand Tetons, Wyoming
Yellowstone, Wyoming
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

—David Granzin, Penn Yan, NY

Fall Seaway Loop to Adirondack Park

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The annual fall Motorcycle Camping Trip is anticipated with caution due to the unpredictable weather in the North East. This year's trip along the Seaway Trail and through the Adirondacks was greetedFall Ride with fantastic warmth and dry conditions. The first portion of the trip consisted of straight line runs along the eastern shores of Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River. The twisty roads were saved for the run from Massena to Tupper Lake and Old Forge. The trip from Syracuse no Highway 3 led through Mexico, NY to cross the Salmon River. Route 3 parallels the many sandy beaches along the eastern shore. Our first stop was Sandy Pond beach. It was closed for the season, but that isn't important when you are just there for the sights. When the parks close many times the lavatory facilities close... so be aware!

As we continued along Route 12 North to Cape Vincent, the scenery looked very much like the flat lands of Nova Scotia. Route 12 East took us to Clayton and its Shipyard Museum; then on to Alexander Bay and the beautiful Kring State Park. (You camp along The St. Lawrence seaway and watch the ocean ships sail along 24/7.

The middle of September is about the last week for many of the larger restaurants in Alex Bay, but the locals will steer you to the best spots.

Route 12 will merge with 37 E to Ogdensburg, land of the steel roofs, classic diners, and the northern tip of Black Lake. Then the route goes on to Massena and the massive Robert Moses power project and State Park, and Eisenhower Locks. All along the riverFall Ride there are areas where camping is available. The flat topography draws you to the rivers edge.

South on Routes 420, 49 and 458 lead you towards the Adirondack Park and St. Regis Falls, then on to Meacham Lake. Half of the parks are closed after Labor Day. Many of the state park staff members are summer helpers. When they leave, the parks consolidate the remaining staffs, and close many camping areas. Therefore, the demand for limited sites can be high. It's a good idea to reserve ahead or stop early.

Route 30 funnels you to Paul Smiths and eventually to the Fish Creek Pond Camping area. Following this familiar route will take you to Tupper Lake, Long Lake, and the famous Blue Mountain Lake and its Adirondack Museum. Then Route 28 takes you back to Old Forge (quite the popular place for the day trippers from Central New York), then on to Route 12 as it intersects with Route 365. This road runs through a small town with beautiful architecture called Holland Patent, NY. Finally Route 365 takes you to Rome, NY and back to the I-90 for a slab ride home into the sunset.

Stay safe, ride hard.

—John & Derek Goodemote

Ron's Ride to New Mexico

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Ev and I left the Finger Lakes BMW Rally Sunday September 2nd. We stayed on the interstates to St. Louis where we picked up US Route 50. In Rosebud, MO we took Rts. 28 & 42 to the Lake of the Ozarks. What a great route this is, with lots of curves with very little traffic. I love curves.

That sure changed when we got to Osage Beach, MO. We left town on Route 54, and stayed on it to Tucumcari, NM. Route 54 was hot, flat and boring. We did pass through Greenburg, KS. where a tornado went through last spring, and almost everything was gone. They did have the hospital open but it was mainly a tent village. Makes you count your blessings.

We stopped in Liberal, KS, the home of Dorothy's House (Wizard of Oz) and the Coronado Museum. The Coronado Museum is named after the explorer Coronado who in 1541 passed through the area in search of the seven cities of Cibola (Gold). These places are worth the time to tour. Just down the road, still in Liberal, is the fifth largest air museum in the country. The Mid-America Air Museum is home to over 100 aircraft. The site is located in the former Beechcraft plant, and was a B-24 training base during WWII. Unfortunately, it was 100 degrees with no air-conditioning in the museum, otherwise very interesting.

Next stop was Tucumcari, NM to spend the day with our sons-in-laws. Then, Route 104 from Tucumcari to Las Vegas, NM and Route 518 from there to Taos.