Saturday, 31 May 2014

Jackson, Wyoming - Another Great 'Cowboy' Town - Saturday 31st May

Coming out of the Teton mountain range on Highway 287 from Yellowstone National Park and Highway 26 South you arrive in Jackson.  Jackson is a main town in the Jackson Hole Valley of Teton County, Wyoming.  We had been recommended this town by a number of kind folk as far back when we were in Memphis visiting Bumpus Harley Davidson.  Also my old boss who lives in Montana and races his snow-mobiles there each winter had said we would "fricken love it!"  and he was so right.

Once again we met some really engaging people and had some great conversations. In one bar we met a lovely couple Bill and his wife from Rock Springs who refused to let us buy our own beers - so kind.   Bill's grandparents had immigrated to America from the UK many years ago so he enjoyed talking about Blighty.  They were a Harley biking couple too out for a few days cruising.  It was a very pleasant evening culminating is us enjoying an Elk dinner which surprisingly was really good.  I thought it  tasted like a blend of beef and duck and not at all like the venison we have back home.

Elk Antlers - make up these walkway tunnels into the town square

This was a fun bar.  The decor and furnishings were very western, which you would expect with a name like that….

Check out those bar stools.  They were great for practicing our posture ready for when we go on a horse-trail riding later on this road-trip

Meeting some of 'the locals' after dinner 

Saturday 31st - Our Ride

Many people, especially bikers on our travels have recommended that once we reached Yellowstone National Park we should ride out of the South Exit and head towards Jackson.  On this road we will get to enjoy the Grand Teton Mountains which are supposed to be spectacular.   Stay tuned for the posts later.

Friday, 30 May 2014

A video - what a view whilst sipping your pint

We've never been to a bar with a view like this.  It's gonna take some beating.  No wonder it was so popular even though it's miles from nowhere

A "People Post" the town of Big Sky - what a beautiful Setting

The hotel we are staying in tonight does have a restaurant but it's not open until June 6th!  Anyhow they sent us 2 miles down the road to the 'Riverhouse Grill' and we are so very glad they did.  

What a place - wow!  Location, views, food, staff and customers all having a great time together.  

Friday early evening customers starting to pour in.

The Blighty-Boys silhouetted against an incredible view from the bar

This is what we could see when we turned around

Plenty of people outside too enjoying the warmth of the sun going down

Are you getting the "big skies" feeling now

After 7 weeks on the road we have finally found the greatest buffalo wings in America (so far).  They were absolutely stunning.  The secret was to double deep fry them adding the sauce coating after the first fry…..just delicious crispy and hot

We also met a nice chap called Greg who worked for a Harley Davidson dealer up near Bozemen.  It was great talking to him and about the biking around this area.  He recommended some very cool sounding roads to us which we will try and fit into our schedule.

On the road to Big Sky

As we headed out of Butte on the I-90  East we crossed the 'Continental Divide' which separates the river water flows on this huge continent, those that flow into the Pacific Ocean and those that flow into the Atlantic Ocean 

We are getting very 'Wild Hogs' like now and have to stop for our latte's at least twice a day.  This place was very cool and the coffee was excellent.

Look a photo with people in it, not just views and bikes.

Whilst sipping our coffees we noticed these little 'critters'  running around apparently they are Gophers

Butte to Big Sky - Montana

Another beautiful day of sunshine, blue skies and fluffy clouds enticed us from our motel this morning.  We were riding to the town of Big Sky in Montana the "Big Skies" State.  But first we needed to visit the Harley dealer in Butte to see if they could repair Jon's broken bike radio and iPod player.

Here was our route

First stop - Copper Canyon Harley-Davidson, Butte, Montana

As we have found with just about every Harley-Davidson dealership we have visited the staff couldn't have been more helpful.  They diagnosed that Jon's radio was broken and that it should be replaced under warranty free of charge.  The only problem was they had no replacement in stock and it would take a couple of days to get a new one in.  When Jon rather cheekily proposed could they swap one out from one of their showroom models and then replace that it took them only about a minute to get approval from the boss.  What fantastic service and support.  So two hours later Jon was back on the airways and able to listen to his iPod again.  Not only that they also washed and polished both our bikes for us.  What a great dealership.

Not many dealerships I can think of have a view like this one.

A row of Harley's like this makes me think of that scene from the Clint Eastwood movie 'Every Which Way But Loose' and Clyde the orangutan knocks them all over!

Everyone man should have one…….I do mean a Harley..!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Thursday 29th May - An Amazing Interstate I-90 East

As you know we are making our way to Yellowstone National Park which we shall be arriving at tomorrow lunchtime.  Today's ride was scheduled as a "working day" given the weather was looking very wet leaving Coeur d'Alene as we set out for Butte some 280 miles east.  We decided to take the Interstate I-90 East.   After some torrential downpours of rain, once again high up in the mountains (so that's why rivers always run down-hill…..!) I had to don the Blightyboys neoprene face mask/muzzle again to stop the torturous sleet and rain tattooing my face.

Eventually we rode out of the bad weather and into the "Big Skies" of Montana our 17th State visited.  I-90 is a stunning road with very little traffic on, including trucks.  The scenery was beautiful, and the sky was big indeed.  Our speed to was great.  We were able to ride at 75mph which was the speed limit, so 80mph really and on cruise control! Our progress to Butte was really productive but because of the warm sunshine, great views and super speed we didn't stop to take any pictures.  

Unfortunately on route for some reason Jon's bike sound system and CB intercom decided to just stop working completely.  Having no bike-to-bike CB is one thing, but having no music playing as you ride throughout this incredible country is  a terrible burden to endure.  Tomorrow we need to get it fixed at the local Harley dealer.  Jon can't  ride another 6000 miles or more with no tunes - that's just not cricket! 

Another hop towards Yellowstone National Park - Wednesday 28th May

It was a bright warm morning in Omak today as we took our time leaving for 'Coeur d'Alene' (which is French for Bum-Phuk) in Idaho which would be our "16th" State visited.  Here was our route.

As we got into the mountains and forests the heavens opened and to make matters worst at higher altitudes it started hail-stoning - and boy do they hurt with an open face helmet!  The visibility was almost non existent and we were being hunted down by huge logging trucks.  I had to stop and use my 'Blighty-Boys' neoprene mask for the first time - it looks pretty cool though.  Jon went off the road as we pulled hard onto the road shoulder once more to let another truck and cars overtake us.  He found himself in loose gravel and sand but luckily he is a very skilled rider and kept 'LULU' upright.

Our route also took in the Grand Coulee Dam.    The dam is a gravity dam on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington and produces hydroelectric power.  It was constructed between 1933 and 1942.   It's big, but not as big as the Hoover Dam (see previous post - way back)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Ian & Carol - Impeccable Hosts from 'West-Van'

On the 22nd May we headed up to West Vancouver for a different type of 'vacation' and a break from our exciting touring schedule.   Some of Jon's dearest school friends from the UK, who immigrated to Canada over 30 years ago had invited us to stay and to party with them for a long weekend.

What a wonderful time we had.  Such kind and generous people, is was easy to see why they had all remained great mates regardless of time and distance through the years.

Ian and Carol took time off work to host us and treat us to many of the great venues and delights of Vancouver and the surrounding countryside.   If you are reading this, thank you both so, so very much.   

How Sound 

Jon, Ian & Carol - old school-friends reunited once more

Check out the very 'analogue' fuel gauge on this Sportster tank outside a pub in Horseshoe Bay. 

Bowen Island and Vancouver Island Ferries go to work

View from Cypress Mountain over Vancouver

Another cruise ship leaving harbour probably bound for Alaska

Great pub in North Vancouver that has been open for 30 years and where Ian has been an almost daily customer for 30 years!  We saw a very cool sounding live blues band there called 'Blue-Voodoo' 

The 'Queens Cross Pub' where we had the absolute pleasure of seeing Vancouver's finest band - "Brickhouse"  it was just an awesome live performance in a perfect setting, with perfect company to match.  Thanks so much to Alan & Lois Evans for the treating us to the red-hot, sold-out tickets.

The real  "Groover from Vancouver"  Robbie and his band Brickhouse.

Jon and a 1959 Chevrolet 'El Camino' at the Garden Bay Hotel.  Keep your wallet in your pocket Jon we can't fit it on the bike.

Now that is a nice rear end! And we have seen a few on this tour

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tuesday 27th May - We Came This Way In The End

Change of route today driven by the need to get back into the USA so our Pay-As-You-Go Cell Phone with T-Mobile would work!  Great ride and even a 'pain-less' US Border Customs Crossing at Osoyoos.  Thanks to Alan Evans for the guidance. 

8000 Mile Marker….Princeton, BC Canada

Here we were still in sunny British Columbia on Tuesday 27th May as we hit the 8000 mile marker. 

27th May Ride - late post, but better late than never

I am late posting this but the ride was worth mentioning.   We left West Vancouver on Canada Highway 1 heading east and then onto Canada Highway 3 heading east.  After getting out of the city, which given it was the morning rush-hour wasn't too bad.  Everyone behaved themselves and the driving conditions and standards were excellent.  Eventually we turned onto Hwy 3 and everything calmed down.  What a stunning picturesque road.  It was where we came across the brown bear (see previous post and video).  But here are a few more photo's of our ride that day.   We crossed into America again at the border in Osoyoos - hassle and problem free.