Monday, July 11, 2016

Life in the fast lane 2016

   I would have used the "Bucket List" title of some sort again but I think that that term is getting a little hackneyed so I am trying something different this time. I have found that taking pictures anymore just does not do justice to the scene, so I just refrain from it, besides it means slowing down and stopping to take a photo. I am a great one for cruising down the road and thinking "I'll bet that would have made a great picture", but by that time I am a half mile down the road, and I ain't going to turn around. So far this year I have managed to get in a few over night rides, the first was a swing through Iowa visiting Air Force station sites. I think that I started out to do this trip a couple of years ago. I was south of Mason City thinking about refueling and realized that I had left my billfold on the counter in the shop, so I limped home at a reduced speed. This was with the Honda ST1300 we had at the time. The next day I took off again, this time on our BMW RT, after gassing up it barely turned over but did start, so made the decision to head home again lest it leave on the side of the road. After those two days I pretty much gave up on the idea until this year. I made the swing down past Waverly, LaMotte, Washington and Dallas Center. These are all cold war relics that were long range radar sites for 20 years or so. I actually did get a photo of one of the gap filler sites. Next up was a run back down south through Iowa into Missouri. I had big plans of going down through Arkansas into Louisiana and over to Mississippi etc. But turned around in southern Missouri after seeing the weather reports. Anybody that has been following my bucket list reports may have noticed a trend, big plans but smaller results, I can't help it, I miss my wife and home when I am not there. This is a photo of the gap filler site near Washington, Iowa, it is pretty much still all there except that the radome is gone from the tower. Most of these sites are long gone.

The regular Air Force stations were much larger with 2 to 300 personel stationed there, with housing areas for married troops. Most of the housing areas are long gone, but if you know what you are looking for, the type of houses can be found in the area after being moved to new locations. Anyhow I have that checked off of my bucket lists. Come to think of it I rode right past the Kirkville, Missouri Air Force station site on my way back home from the southern trip.
Next up is the premier bike trip of the Summer with brother Phil, who is riding a new BMW this year. Thankfully I did not make huge plans this time around, but tentative plans to get up into Canada did not pan out, although we were both packing our passports, just in case. We followed the usual route, out through Rapid City and over the Big Horns on highway 14. I saw 50 some degrees on top and on the way into Lovell it hit 106, like riding in front of a blast furnace. After that we spent the second night in Powell. In the morning it was a beautiful run up the Chief Joseph road and over the Bear Tooth pass. I actually managed to get video of most of the ride up Bear Tooth with my new Gopro camera, and believe it or not it actually came out pretty good. We set down in Bozeman, Montana that night. The next day we headed up towards Glacier National park via some two lane roads. We passed through Helena, my first time in that city. From there it was a long ride through the forest until we got to West Glacier. Once in the park I fired up the Gopro again and captured the whole ride over Going to the Sun Highway. Jan and I and the kiddos drove that one from east to west 30 years ago and were impressed I am sure, but it is a whole nother ball game on a bike. That road kind of clings to a cliff for a lot of the distance and finally over a pass. On the east side there has been a big forest fire, with miles of blackened forest. St. Mary lake which you pass by on the way out of the park is still very pretty. We called Cutbank home that night. After checking the Weather channel (an every morning task) it was down Interstate 15 to Great Falls, where we dodged between two cells and only got slightly damp, the only rain of the trip. It was a long hot slog to Miles City, within striking distance of home. The next day it was a run all of the way home, luckily with a stiff tail wind and reasonable temperatures. I rolled in around sunset so not too bad a ride. Tomorrow though, it's back to reality we are making another run back to Mayo to check out something else that has shown up recently, so wish me luck.
Here are a couple more photos, one from Bear Tooth pass and the other of Lake St. Mary in Glacier.