Trip days: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10-12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
Again I've gotten screwed up with my time. All these damn time zones and I once again neglected to adjust my clock an hour earlier when I crossed into mountain time in the middle of South Dakota yesterday. In and case, I awoke today at 6:30am (5:30am in the new time zone) and caught a really nice sunrise over the low hills to the east of Boysen State Park. The wind had died down sometime during the night and a comfortable calm had settled on the park. Surrounded by a myriad of bird calls and other animal and bug noises I relaxed in the early morning sunshine piercing through holes in the partial cloud cover. A pair of jack rabbits wandered by my site not noticing me until I slowly moved for my camera. They stopped, looked at me, and did very un-rabbit-like bounding deer leaps over the top of the rise above my tent area.
I got everything packed up and loaded onto my bike and was getting ready to hit the road when, for some reason, I thought to take a look at my tires and see how they were wearing. My front tire looked okay at first glance, but upon closer inspection of the tread I was horrified to see bulges pushing out stretching the rubber in even increments all the way around the tire just left of the centerline. It was actually pretty nightmarish looking like some disease gone awry. All the bulges were soft with air from within the tire. Somehow the layers of the tire has begun seperating and a hole inside the tire had leaked air under the outer skin. Great, just freaking great. Here I was on an indian reservation in the middle of nowhere Wyoming with a front tire that didn't even look like it could make a mile down the road, let alone the 25 miles to the next sizable town that just might have a motorcycle shop in it.
I hobbled my way down highway 26 to Riverton praying the whole time that my tire didn't blow up. I luckily made it to town with no trouble and stopped at the first motorcycle shop that I came to, Larry M Motorcycle. My watch read 8:15 so I sat down on the front step and waited for the shop to open at the indicated 9:00am time. Nine came and went and at fifteen past I decided to go half a block down the street and fuel up my bike in case I ran out of gas parked in the motorcycle shop parking lot... Before looking for other shops in the area I decided to head back down the street and see if the shop was open yet. The owner had arrived and I walked in even though the closed sign was still posted. I quizzed him about tires and he of course didn't have any seeing as how everything in his shop was ATVs, dirt bikes, sea-doos, snowmobiles, and cruisers. Nothing that would require a tire in the size I needed. He was kind enough to call all the shops in the area, including two that were 35 miles down the road in Landers, but to no avail. He couldn't get ahold of the yamaha shop up the road "because they don't open until nine." Nine? What time is it anyways, isn't it 9:30? That was of course when it struck me that I had gone through a time change somewhere. In hopes that the Yamaha shop had a tire, I sat back down on the front step and read a book for thirty minutes waiting for them to open so that my new motorcycle shop friend Larry could give them a call.
It was my lucky day. The Yamaha shop had one, yes singular, 120/70 R17 motorcycle tire. I didn't bother asking what kind it was or how much it would cost because frankly in this situation it didn't matter. I just needed something to get me down the road. And to top it all off the yamaha dealer was leaving in an hour for Las Vegas so he brought the tire down to Larry's competing shop so that I could have it mounted. Ironically the tire in question was a Continental Radial 2000 which I believe is a touring version of the existing bubbling tire that I have. Also the tire looked a little brown and the label was all cracked at the edges as if it had been sitting on a dusty shelf for two or three years. Oh well, like I said, anything that'll get me down the road.
And again I waited another half an hour for the service guy to show up so that someone could install my tire. Finally he arrived, cleaned out his shop bay, and I rolled my bike into the garage. The first thing out of his mouth was that he hadn't been into work for 2 weeks because he'd been incarcerated. Then the story followed of a domestic dispute, methamphetamine charges (though he says he tested positive because of the nasal decongestants he was using for his sinus infection), previous time he'd served, how bad the Riverton police were, and on and on. During his oratory he worried me by his garage antics. Instead of just rolling my bike back and forth to get it turned around he insisted on having me hold onto one side of the bike and then turning it by pulling as hard as he could on the rear frame to slide the back of the bike in a circle. Next we precariously jacked up the front of the bike with a floor jack and placed two stands under the rear of the frame. After that I didn't even want to watch how badly he was scratching the shit out of my front rim during the tire mount and dismount routine.
Luckily it all seemed to go fairly smoothly though he mounted the tire up backwards the first time around, and also did indeed take some good gouges out of my rim. I paid up, thanked Larry for saving my hide, and finally got underway at 11:30am mountain time.
I road northwest on highway 26/287 to Dubois. Just before Dubois the scenery perked up. With a backdrop of splotchy snow covered green mountains and blue sky, a wonderful mix of red rock outcroppings and pastel rainbow colored dirt and hillsides created a scene of epic proportions like no other I'd experienced during this trip. The general feel was that of areas of Utah, but there was something quite different about the Wyoming landscape that I can't put my finger on. Through Dubois, which by the way is a spitting image of Winthrop, Washington, I continued on 26 crossing the Continental Divide and into Grand Teton National Park. Coming down from the 9,648 foot pass that marks the Continental Divide I was awestruck by the Teton mountain range. I'd seen a few years back on a trip with my mom, but it intrigued me now just as much as it did then. Gigantic pointed mountains loomed up out of an absolutely flat valley in which Jackson Hole takes makes its presence know. That's what it is about this whole area, absolutely amazing variation in landscape and environment with everything from flat dull brown to lush green rolling fields, flat wetland wildlife preserves to Madonna's pointy bra looking sharp mountain ranges, large understated reservoirs to myriad pastel colored rocks jutting from the ground. Variation at the extremes.
I didn't stop in the tourist trap hell that Jackson Hole is and headed west on highway 22 scaling Teton Pass into Idaho. What a nice twisty steep stretch that is. Once over the top of the pass and zooming downhill towards Idaho it became quite apparent that the road was a good one on both sides of the Tetons. Closely akin to highway 20 on the Cascade Loop in washington, highway 22 and its continuation as highway 33 in Idaho are must ride roads for any motorcyclist passing through the area. On the stingy John Meloy scale of motorcycle worthiness I'll give this stretch an 8.2 for its outstanding views, generally good pavement, and nice twisties.
I stopped in Victor just into Idaho in hopes of getting some grub. No luck, but I did find a good maltshop and had an extremely tasty Huckleberry milkshake. It even had huckleberries in it (go figure) that liked getting stuck in my straw.
I proceeded on to Idaho Falls on highway 31 and then 26, and after stopping at every single stop light I escaped the city on highway 20 west to Arco right near Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Being way ahead of schedule getting near home I checked into a hotel to freshen up my 3-day grimy self, charge up all my gidgets and gadgets, and relax a bit.
Total Mileage for Day: 365
©2003 John Meloy <firstname.lastname@example.org>