Authors note: I posted this ride report on StromTroopers.com back in the summer of 2013. This post is about 98% the same as the original. I fixed some grammar errors and put in an extra picture or two.
My Mom and Sister decided to move to from the California Bay Area to Albuquerque. When they told me that, back in November, I immediately started to plan a road trip. I’ve done many day trips, and even a couple overnighters, but this was to be my first big road trip on a motorcycle and I couldn’t wait.
I decided to take a stab at the Iron Butt Association’s Saddle Sore 1,000, and Bun Burner 1,500 on my way to Albuquerque. Cruising down the ‘Slab for 1500 miles is not my normal style, I prefer the back roads, but I thought it might be fun to check those off my bucket list. It is done, and I’ll not be doing it again. Even with a Sargent seat and highway pegs, my V-Strom is really only comfortable for about 600 miles a day. Doing over 1,600 miles in less than 48 hours was not easy.
Here is my planned route. Each thumbtack is where I planned on stopping overnight.
Day 1: Vancouver Wa to Barstow Ca
Day 2: Barstow Ca to Albuquerque NM
Day 3 – Day 6 Hang with the family
Day 7: Albuquerque NM to Durango Co
Day 8: Durango Co to Denver Co
Day 9: Denver Co to Rawlins Wy
Day 10: Rawlins Wy to Cody Wy
Day 11: Cody Wy to Great Falls Mt
Day 12: Great Falls Mt to Libby Mt
Day 13: Libby Mt to Yakama
Day 14: Yakama to Vancouver Wa
For the most part, I kept to that schedule until the last couple days. From Great Falls Mt. I ended up riding through Idaho and stopping for the night in Spokane, then on home. Otherwise I would have been on the road for the 4th of July. A friend was having a BBQ at their house and I wanted to be home for that.
On to the pics:
On the road at o’dark-thrity, though you wouldn’t know it. That’s what I get for leaving on the morning of the Summer Solstice.
Did I mention it was cold? Fortunately I packed a liner and my winter gloves. I stopped at a rest stop on I-5 just South of Salem to add an extra layer. Just as I was leaving, an older guy pulled in on his Goldwing. He was riding from Portland to Stockton to have dinner with a friend, spend the weekend, then turn around and ride back on Monday. I’ve made that drive many times, it’s a long way to go for dinner.
I-5 is pretty boring, other than a twisty stretch (twisty for an interstate anyway) around the California-Oregon border, it’s pretty much straight with not much to see. As a result I focused mostly on getting as many miles down the road as I could. I made it to Barstow California in 17 hours and change and checked into the hotel a little after 12:30am. It had been a long day and I was exhausted. But the Saddle Sore 1,000 was complete, so I had that going for me.
I set my alarm for 5:00am and collapsed into bed. 5:00am came way too early though; I got up, turned off my alarm and decided another 2 hours of sleep was a good thing and to hell with the Bun Burner 1,500.
Turns out I was still able to get the Bun Burner 1,500. With 28 minutes to spare!
Here’s a celebratory pic at a gas station in somewhere on I-40 in eastern Arizona. 1,507 miles in 35 hours and 42 minutes on a V-Strom 650. I was still about 200 miles from my Mom’s house in Albuquerque. it took me almost 5 hours to cover that last 200 miles.
The next 4 days were spent with my Mom and Sister, visited an Aunt, and had dinner with some family friends. All in all, 4 days was not enough time.
On the Road Day 1:
Albuquerque to Durango via NM518 through Las Vegas and Taos.
On the Road Day 2:
Riding through the Rockies was incredible. The roads were in pretty good shape, though there was too much traffic for my liking. It was just as well though, gave me time to look around and enjoy the scenery.
I stopped for the night in Rawlins Wyoming. It was kind of early so I decided to ride around town a little bit. It’s a cool town, definitely set up for tractor trailers. The main roads are huge and all the parking lots have ample truck parking. There were thunder clouds in the sky, and it rained a few drops, but sadly the lightning and thunder never came.
Just as I returned to my hotel for the night, a guy rolled up on a KTM. We talked for a few minutes, he was riding from Alberta Canada to Denver.
There was 20 miles or so of crappy pavement, followed by 40 miles or so of hard packed dirt and gravel. I was able to make better time on the dirt than on the pavement.
There was a group of 5 or 6 cruisers at the rest stop. I threw them a wave as I dismounted, but they ignored me. Oh well. I hit the head and checked out the plaques about the Oregon Trail and headed back to my bike.
While I was wandering around a couple of guys rolled in, one on a BMW 650GS, the other on a KTM. We got to talking and they had ridden up to the Arctic Circle and were on their way home. That is a trip I definitely want to do.
I know Montana is the “Big Sky” state, but Wyoming definitely gives them a run for their money.
Sounds like good advice, just not when I’m on 2-wheels. I’ll have ice-tea please.
The Chief Joseph Highway from Cody and the Bear Tooth Highway to Red Lodge Mt were amazing. I hit it on a Monday, so there was not a lot of traffic. If I stopped every time I saw a breathtaking view to take a pic, I’d probably still be somewhere on that road.
On the Road Day 6:
Apparently I didn’t find anything picture worthy in Montana ’cause I didn’t stop to take any pics. I did notice one thing, it was freaking hot! 110F going through Glacier National Park. I thought glaciers were supposed to be cold!
Stopped in Spokane for the night.
On the Road Day 7: