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America Part 1

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#7 UP LOADED 26TH JULY

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18th July – Day 44

Agassiz to Seattle – 180 miles

We pulled on our slightly damp, extremely smelly boots and we are on the road. Beauty! In the drizzle, again. Bugger! Honestly, I reckon ‘Agassiz’ must be native for ‘Always bloody raining!’

You know how sometimes it just doesn’t feel right, but you don’t know why. Normally it’s that horrible feeling you get as the plane takes off for a 14 hr flight and you begin to wonder if you really did turn off the stove after cooking bacon and eggs for breaky. Well, I had that feeling. But I don’t have a stove, so whats going on?

I concentrate. Focus my energy. Whats bloody missing! Then it slaps my face, a cold dead fish. My wallet, of course! “Stubbsie……… I gotta go back!”

The rest of the ride was a breeze, and we sped along under a full spiniker. The first marker buoy to round is Touratech, an after market company for everything BMW. These guys have been fantastic, right from the first phone call. Its obvious everyone there loves to ride, and knows what the long distance biker really needs.

Wade has been dealing with Kimmo for about 18 months, and he couldn’t have been more helpful. It was great for him to finally put a face to the name. We met Tom, the owner who couldn’t do enough to help us, even with something as abstract as manufacturing a plate for the video camera to stop it vibrating on the bike, then breaking free.

The finale for the day was the big bike weigh in. The tank was half full of fuel, but other wise fully loaded. The grand total was …………… actually, I’m not going to tell you yet. Have a think about it, and maybe later I’ll let you know.

It was then off to the American Hotel / hostel where we booked in for 3 nights. 3 nights! Wow. We are going to feel pretty much like a local by the time we leave!

19th July – Day 45

Seattle – Function with EXPIDITION TRIPS

We spent the morning doing odd jobs, like trying to remove some of our scruffyness before meeting the team from Expition Trips. Wade trimmed the beard, I finally cut my hair. We both showered. Fairdinkum. That’s how much effort we went to. Obviously a fair portion of the morning past us by as we had quite a bit of work to do getting ourselves up to scratch.

This is a company that every adventure traveler should check out, and even the not so adventurous. They organize trips all over the world, from the Arctic, thru Alaska, to the Galapagos, South America and our favorite, Antarctica. They cover most places in between.

Expedition Trips make it easy to get to the not so easy to get to places. Reading the profiles of the crew, as Ashton likes to refer to his staff, is bloody amazing, and enough to make you want to travel in a heartbeat. No one can truly say they have seen the world, but you combine the travels of the crew and you get mighty close! Their passion for travel flows like volcanic lava, unstoppable. A passion they pass onto their customers.

The function was to be outdoors, pretty brave Wade thought considering Seattle sunshine is about as rare as a red head with good tan. It was fantastic talking to Ashton, finding out where the energy, drive and experience came from to establish such a company as Expedition Trips. Every one of his crew is a traveler at heart, and after a few beers stories and experiences were shared, tips for border crossings in South America passed on like a secrete family recipe from one generation to another.

It was a bloody fantastic afternoon. Wade and I have been blown away with the entire experience, from the first contact to the last beer. Thank you guys so much, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

20th July – Day 46

Seattle - TOURATECH

After a morning stuck in 1st gear (well, at least I was, Wade was OK. Actually, totally useless is probably a better way to describe my condition) it was back to Touratech. They opened their workshop to us, and allowed us a full run of the place, including the coffee machine. Awesome!

I admit we went a little crazy on TOURATECH products. Their equipment is just so damned handy, clever and well thought out. The quality is excellent and whether your looking for protection during a crash, or more storage, then you really should do yourself a favour and look through the ‘bible’ of off-road, long distance riding – the Touratech catalogue. My only suggestion is to go the medium tank bag, not the small one. You’ll thank yourself later!

To Tom, Kimmo and the rest of the gang at Touratech, a massive thank you from the Bergalia boys. Keep riding, keep the passion and see you after our big adventure!

Manchester United played the local football (soccer) team, the Seattle Sounders. We tried to scalp tome tickets, but the 67 000 seat stadium was completely sold out, and no one wanted to sell their tickets. Bugger.

21st July – day 47

Seattle to Republic – 308 miles, 495 km

We did a final round of the Expedition Trips office and Touratech for some photos with everybody. Then it was off to finally pick up my car charger for the Mac……. Or so I thought. What a saga, and it continues. Do you have a minute? Cause if you do I’ll run you thru it. You do? Cool. Here goes……..

It started back in January or there abouts. I was in St Martin, the cruise ship / electronic capital of the Caribbean. I ask for a car charger for the Macbook, and I get one. Cool. One less thing to worry about. Or is it?

Camping for the first time in Alaska I flatten the battery, but not to worry. When we are riding tomorrow I’ll charge her up and she’ll be golden by the time we set camp that night. After riding all day I’m all smiles as I fire the old girl up, and nothen. Not even a flicker on the screen. If it were a bloke they wouldn’t even bother with the shock pads. DOA. Its about now I notice the little plane on the side of the charger, Hmmmm, maybe that has something to do with it.

I get to a Mac shop in Whitehorse and chat to the owner. He tells me I’m bloody lucky not to have blown the computer up using the wrong charger. Ok, well can I buy one. No.

“No? Why not.”

“They sell so fast I can’t stock enough.”

Well, stock more. Idiot! I throw out the charger.

About 3 electronic shops later, all without success I go to The Mac Store in Seattle where I’m told Mac do not do a car charger, but I can charge an external battery and do it that way. I need and aircraft charger to do it. Arrgghhhhhh!!!!! They don’t have the battery in stock, but they have the charger. The other store has the battery, but not the charger. I buy the plane charger, again.

Next day we ride well out of our way to go to this other store to pick up the battery. About 180 bucks for everything, but if it works it’s OK. I’m about to walk out of the shop, then stop. I decide to open the box. If I see it charging on the bike, then I’ll buy it. I don’t believe it, I think I’m getting older and wiser. Not old and wise, just older and a littler wiser.

It doesn’t work. Turns out you need a socket to charge the battery, and the plane charger to connect the battery to the computer. Useless! I throw away another plane charger. Turns out Amazon have one. If you give me a minute I’ll order it now and let you know how it turns out.

I know it doesn’t seem like it to you, but a good few minutes have passed. After 3 false starts (said there are no longer any chargers in stock and could not say if there ever will be) I’m done. I’ve actually managed to order a car charger for the Mac. 1 of only 2 left, so if you want one, you’d better get on it quick!

It rains pretty hard on the way to Republic. The boots are slightly damp, but not wet and actually comfortable enough. We are winning!! Beauty!! Another 3 coats of water proofing and we might be there.

There are about 150 people at the 39th Annual Washington State BMW Rally. We arrived late (thanks to Mac and their bloody non-existent charges!) and after some dinner in town we return to the campsite with beer and wood, one of the classic combinations. Like milk and cookies. It was dark. It was quiet. Too quiet.

In a barely whisper Wade asks “Hey Phip, what do ya reckon’s going on?”

“Don’t know mate, but its not looking good for the fire!”

I think its safe to say the majority of BMW riders have past their youth, although not necessarily past their prime.

#8 UP-LOADED 27th JULY

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22nd July – Day 48

Republic – Washington State BMW Rally

After a heavy night of rain we woke to a beautiful day. Time for some washing, then time for some riding!

We rode to Molson, a very cool little ghost town near the border of USA and Canada. Established as a result of prospecting, it boomed in 1900, and died in 1901. Just not much gold up in dem dere hills. Settlers moved in, and out, over the next 50 years until the land no longer supported them. The buildings remain, the farm equipment remains, the people do not.

The ride up was OK, but the bikes were unloaded, and feeling frisky! We needed some dirt for Smokey and Aialik to go play on. Wade typed in Shortest Route, taking us back along forestry trails. Wooooo Hoooooo! It’s unbelievable the GPS has these tracks, many of which were single lane logging trails. After some great footage of the big GS’s sideways under power out of corners we rolled into camp, unable to wipe the smile of our faces.

Determined to get some action tonight, we bought more wood and more beer. If a fire and the threat of free beer doesn’t get a few ‘past their teenage years’ BMW riders out of holes and into the open after 9pm, nothen will. Demonstrating the power of the tampon, on lookers were stunned into silence as a mighty fire roared to life. It worked, and finally we could meet a few people.

Actualy, speaking of getting some action, last night this older lady took a fancy to Wade, and all we were doing was having dinner! “Strewth mate, can’t wait to see how you get out of this one.”

“No worries, I’ll just tell her she has a good body………. for her age!”

Yep, that’ll do it!

The most interesting bloke was Philip Funnell. He’s been a sponsored adventure rider for 50 years, and at 75 still is. He’s not too sure, but reckons he’s done somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million km. That’s not a typo. The guy had a story for everything and every country. Our favorite? In the winter of 1979, or there abouts, Philip rode the Dempster, which at that time of year was an ice highway to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, then on to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean in the most bitter cold, requiring him to build a fire underneath the engine before it got warm enough to start. He said it was so cold it took over an hour to remove his full-face helmet because the padding had frozen solid and he needed to thaw the ice.

Now he rides to rally’s all over the States talking to people, sharing his experiences and showing off his 1974 BMW and pod, which he tows everywhere. His pod is amazing. Weighing only 40 pounds, or 18 kg’s, he sleeps fully clothed while on the road. Why? Because he can wake up and be riding in less than a minute. Perfect when setting distance records. It’s not for us, but an amazing guy. If anyone’s interested type Philip Funnell BMW rider as a search. It’s a good read!

23rd July – Day 49

Republic to Leavenworth – 341 miles, 555km

Clocked over 10 000 miles, or 16 093km on the odometer today. Yeah baby!

Another great day in the saddle. Once again the GPS proved invaluable as we rode dirt up the side of bloody steep hills dodging boulders all the way, through rickety barb-wire gates across some guys Ranch and single lane tracks into Winthrop. It was great riding, and even fully loaded the bikes were fun to ride.

It was late, so we made a beeline for Leavenworth, where we spend another 2 hours looking for a campground. Until now the occupancy rate was about 30% so we never book sites in advance. I think we might start.

Eventually we found a patch of grass to pitch a tent in the 59’er Dinner. A great little place with hot showers, a fire pit and the best of all….. somewhere to get my life support in the morning. Coffee.

24th July – Day 50

Leavenworth to Hood River – 312 Miles, 502 km

Coffee. My goodness! Talk about a bucket full of coffee! Honestly, this thing is so big it could be picked up with helicopters and used toextinguish bush fires, or use it as a swimming pool. In fact, if we had enough room on the bikes we could carry it to use as a bathtub. Yep, it is a serious cup of coffee!

By the time we swam round the coffee bucket and drank our way to safety it was getting on a bit. We belted along the main highway, which is pretty much against the Bergalia Boys religion, and a bit painful to start but we needed to burn some miles to get to Eric’s house.

Wade met Eric a few years earlier when he was the build engineer for a yacht out of Vancouver. This is a guy who burns through life, and Hood River is the perfect fan for the fire. You can do anything from kayaking, wind surfing, kite boarding, mountain biking, dirt bikes, road bikes, hiking, rock climbing and even ski and snow board all year round thanks to Mt Hood. Eric, well he does it all, and usually by lunch!

25th July – Day 51

Hood River – The playground! 93 Miles, 149 km. 5 hrs ride time.

Wow! What a night. Thunder, lightning and torrential rain. At least that’s what Wade told me. I slept through it all.

Eric saddled up his DR 650 and the ‘Trail Boss’ led the way thru fantastic bush roads. We’re getting pretty comfortable on the bikes now and can ‘hang’ the back end out a bit. Quite a sight on the big BMW. By the end of the day it was down to single track hiking trails with big wash outs, ruts, mud holes and creek crossings up to our knees. And yes, at that depth the boots definitely leaked!! Unfortunately for Wade I was quick enough to round the bend as he was lifting Smokey. 3 – 2. For the first time in nearly 8 weeks, Wade leads the way! No damage, and actually what is most surprising is that at the start of the day we each removed a mirror. And guess which side the bike went down? Nope, I don’t reckon you’re right. It actually fell on the side with out the mirror. A-bloody-mazing!

26th July – Day 52

Hood River – The playground. 10 Miles, 16km. Not on the bikes

Its time to re-introduce the Butt Report. 10 000 miles on the beamer and no worries. 10 miles on a mountain bike, fully suspended mind you, and neither of us can sit straight on a couch. Certainly a touch of tender-butt-itis, that’s for sure!

The riding here is sensational. I’ve been traveling one way or another overseas for about 6 years, and not until coming here have I ever thought, “Gee, I could live in a place like this.”

Wade feels the same.

Eric invited a few mates over, and although we didn’t cook any shrimp on the barby, we did do corn and steak. The main event for the evening was a slide show, riding thru Mexico. Three of the four guys on the trip watched it with us, and it was amazing to see their reaction and how excited they were. All talking a million miles an hour over the top of one another as each exciting memory came flooding back. That’s what I want to be able to do in 10 yrs time.

27th July – Day 53

Hood River – The play ground. 48 Miles, 77km

Pretty quiet, uneventful day. Eric couldn’t make another bike ride, so Wade and I tried to find some great single trails, snotty hills and gnarly creek crossings. We couldn’t! After 15 dead ends and crappy loose gravel in between we had the grumps and went home for a cold beer. At least we know we can do that in a somewhat professional manner!

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# 9 UP-LOADED

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28th July – Day 54

Hood River to Portland – 200???

Finally a send off with a few other bikes! You little beauty! One was a Harley, but in the interest of numbers we ran with it. I arranged a trailer from U-Haul to get the busted wreck home, but amazingly enough it wasn’t required. Although having said that Leroy did leave us a good 40 miles from home, so plenty of room for a break down there! Thanks Eric and Leroy, loved the ride! Look forward to seeing you both for speed week in Bonneville.

Wade couldn’t let me ride by Mt Hood without a visit. Snow all year round, it is impressive. But not as impressive as the vintage Horseless Carriage Car Club (pre 1916) cars that happened to have their 20 year rally for the area. Wade fell about drooling as car after car rolled by. I’d like to say sped by, but to be honest, they were bloody lucky to make it up the hill, let alone set a land speed record! That was evident when the guy organizing parking said to one driver in particular “Congrats mate, you’re not even boiling!”

Suddenly Wade froze, then crouched down and started sniffing the air. He was looking everywhere, taking it all in. He had become the warrior, and like the Masi Mari tribesman tracking the spur of a lion in the heart of Africa, he didn’t miss a thing. Me, well I was also looking round, but with a stupid look on my face wondering what on earth he was doing. Finally I realized what it was. A wounded vehicle had passed thru the area, leaving a trail of blood. The warrior dipped his finger into the oil drops left behind, breathed in until he could taste the aroma through his nostrils, then dabbed a little on his tongue. After a moment of silent concentration he started to move rapidly, still crouched. I could tell he was excited, close to his prey.

Without looking round he whispered to me over his shoulder “Mate, it’s a 1912……….. no, no wait. A 1911 Model T Ford and I reckon it’s just….. (a pause as he starts to round the corner)….. “Yep, there she is, and what a little beauty!! Now don’t get too close, these things can really have a nasty bite” he warns as a jet of steam from an angry, overheated engine races towards me. Strewth! Look out, these things really do have teeth!

After Wade ran out of drool we head west, dry mouth and all, to the Christianson Shipyard in Vancouver (USA, not Canada) to meet John and have a quick tour of the yard. John was the project manager when Wade was on the build of Lady Joy in 2007. I’d not seen fibre glass boats built, so a very cool day all round.

Stayed with John and Kelly for another great night. A few quiet beers and a great BBQ (Fairdinkum, John is almost Aussie he cooks so much on the barby).

29th July – Day 55

Portland to Lola – 630 Miles, 1015 km

A full on, dead set work day. After a sensational breaky (sadly not cooked on the bbq), and a quick golf lesson from John (its bloody great, but you’ll have to wait for the video! Wade and I play it back every day so we can memorize it!) we say good bye.

You’d reckon a 1000km day wouldn’t present much to write home about (or blog about for that matter!), but you’d be wrong. It’s the Bergalia Boys, of course something will happen.

And it does, in the form of flashing blue lights. We’d spoken about it, and reckoned we’d be safe doing 10 over the limit. Seems to work pretty damn good in the 75 zones, but not so cool in 45. Strange that. Wade’s in front, and the copper didn’t even have to flash his lights. Stubbsie knew by the look in his eyes. “Mate, we’ve been done.”

“What, us? Nah, musta been the guy in front.”

We pull over and wait. It wasn’t the guy in front!

The copper gets out, all guns and handcuff’s. Looks at our plates, and says “Florida hey, you boys are a long way from home.”

“Mate, we’re from a bit further than that!”

Its about then he notices the AUS sticker Wade has covering the Florida on the plate (we were hard up for Aussie flag stickers, and that was the best we could do for a bit. It just wasn’t cool having everyone think we were American. Aarrgghhhhh! Terrible!).

“Whats this?” he says, pointing to the sticker.

Now Wade is in a bit of a predicament, cause he can’t just say it has been a crap 4 weeks of his life having everyone think he was American to an American cop.

“Just an Aussie sticker. Have to fly the flag somehow.”

He shrugs, then says “I can’t believe they let you do that. There’s some highway patrol blokes up here won’t like it.”

I was pretty amazed, thinking “I can’t believe you think they let him do that.” I didn’t voice my opinion.

He asked to see our licenses, then laughed once we handed them over. “Of course” he said as he walked off shaking his head. He ran the plates then came back.

“OK boys, as you stopped and waited for me, I’m gonna let you off (Translation: I can’t be bothered with all that extra bloody paper work. Damn Aussies!!). Now, it’s a 50 speed limit thru here, and you are gonna be awful tempted to speed. Don’t. Its on the radio that I pulled you up. It won’t be so pretty for you if you are stopped again”.

We didn’t, and strewth it was boring!

Camped the night.

30th July – Day 56

Lola to Glacier National Park – 220 Miles / 354 km

A text from Jim, the yacht captain we met at Dust to Dawson zeroed us in on the campsite in Glacier N.P. where we were to once again meet.

Rode thru the park and then an easy stroll around a lake in preparation for our 18 km hike tomorrow. The best part of the day? Knowing that the tents are staying up for the next 3 nights! Whooooooo Hoooooooooo!

31st July – Day 57

Glacier National Park – 86 Miles / 138

I’m looking forward to today. How often do you get to drive along a road with such a cool name as Going to the Sun Highway? It has to be bloody good!!

And it is spectacular. However, as sensationally beautiful as it is, you can spit the views over your shoulder like chewed sunflower seeds at the local baseball game cause what’s really special about this road is you can leave your vehicle at the bottom of the mountain, catch a shuttle to the top and hike down the 18km Highline Trail. How good is that! Its like collecting eggs without having to feed the chickens, or having a huge night out, falling into bed, missing, then sleeping on the floor and waking up without a hangover. It really is the stuff of dreams.

Highline Trail is a must for anyone visiting Glacier. Some idiot died a few days before. It is steep, and in some places a slip means meeting the rocks 50m below, but as I say, you’d have to be an idiot!

The highlight for the day? My new hiking shoes! I was in heaven, or about as close as I’m gonna get way up there on the mountain. Dry feet. I even aimed for snow patches and puddles cause it felt so good.

1st August – Day 58

Glacier N.P. – 219 miles / 352 km

Yacht captains. You gotta love’em. Honestly, they couldn’t organize a decent hike if they were in a National Park without the chief stewardess making a few phone calls. Oh, wait a minute, Jim managed that yesterday! Unbelievable!

What he didn’t manage to do was take his passport with him on today’s ride. Kinda necessary as we are heading into Canada. Destination: Waterton and the iconic Prince of Whales Hotel. I mean, that’s the kind of thing I would forget. Hmmmmm, perhaps I will make a good captain at some stage!

During the past few days Ranger Jim was born. Jim was a bus driver here 23 yrs ago, and no matter the question we hurled at him, he knew it all. From what caused a red stain on the snow (had us tricked for a month now) to edible plants. Every few minutes it was “Hey, Ranger Jim. Is this a fossil in the rock here? Hey Ranger Jim, is that a mountain goat, or a mountain sheep. And why is it eating the rock? Hey Ranger Jim, can you eat this plant?”

“I’m actually very glad you asked. What you’ve found there is a prehistoric………..” and on and on he goes.

His best advice however was telling Stubbsie that if you pick a marmot up by the tail they aren’t strong enough to bend round and bite. Obviously Wade didn’t test this theory, as it would be illegal to harass the animals. But, on his 3rd attempt of not trying to grab the thing, he actually slipped and as he reached out for a hand hold there was this bloody marmot tail, right there where he placed his hand, which he accidently grabbed. In the end it was rather disappointing, as once again Jim was right. Thanks Ranger Jim!

2nd August – Day 59

Glacier N.P. to Red Lodge – 477 miles / 767 km

Another day in the office. Strapped into the big BMW it was all about trying to be somewhere else. After a luxurious few days staying in Glacier it was time to move on. We ain’t gonna reach Antarctica by staying in the one spot you know! I have to confess, this was over 2 weeks ago now and I’m struggling to remember too much about the day! A lot of hay making, which smelt delightful! Perhaps I’ve been sitting next to Wades boots for too long, but it was lovely to have my nostrils filled with the fresh odor of cut grass, and not cheesy slime from between the toes!

3rd August – Day 60

Red Lodge to Cody – 111 miles / 178 km

A-bloody-mazing! That’s all I can say. Anyone within a thousand miles of Red Lodge should make the effort to do Bear Tooth Pass. The road is like a silk cloth winding up your lovers leg. You just can’t wait to get to the next curve and see what is around the bend. And you are never disappointed, even when you reach the final destination.

Arrived into Ponderosa Campground in Cody mid afternoon. It was x-mas! One thing about traveling is it’s bloody hard to have anything posted to you. We booked Cody two weeks in advance, and for the next 14 days parcels rained down on their office! Go-Pro’s, chargers of all descriptions, RAM mounts for the video cameras and all manner of spares. It took me three trips to get it all from the office to the camp, but it was wonderful tearing into everything. Only question…… where on earth are we going to pack it all on the bikes!!

Dean called from the pub, telling us to get our asses down there. Dean’s a buddy of Wades, and he and 5 of his mates trucked their bikes to Sturgis, then rode to Cody. Amazingly enough, all bikes made the 400 mile trip. I say amazingly because 4 of the 6 are Harley’s, and the other 2 are beautiful custom bikes from Burgeot Motorcycles. Not amazingly, one had to be towed to the bike shop about an hour later when they tried to move it to clear the streets for the Famous (not!) Cody Shootout. A gun slinging re-enactment of the old Wild West. Fortunately it was nothing more than a loose ignition wire, and the bike is ready for tomorrows ride into Yellowstone.

Checked out the World Famous (yeah, I know. Another ‘world famous’ event that no one outside of America has ever heard of) Cody Night Rodeo. It was OK, but after Calgary Stamped it was a bit like watching your neighbours kids riding round on push bikes after being there to see Casey Stoner win yet another round of this years Moto GP. Some what of a let down.

4th August – Day 61

Day ride to Yellowstone N.P. – 253 miles / 407 km

These lads are keen, there’s no doubt about that! 0700 and the bikes are fired up. A head count reveals enough bikes, but looks like there’s a few ‘casualties’ as a result of “Hey Dan, do you wanna have just one more before bed….”

A quick call and the troops are mustered and inspected, which they only just scrape thru. Dan ‘I swear Dean, as you left last night you said we’d roll out an hr later’ Jackson and Ranger Jim were feeling about as rough as a pair of budge smugglers (guys swimmers) choca-block with sand after a good dumping shore break. Wade found it most amusing to ride past waving his ‘nipple’ from the water pack, as did the rest of us.

Two hours down and everything is magic! The lads from Florida are in heaven surrounded by mountains and roads with more twists and turns than a snake track in the desert sand. Lets face it, of course they are blown away. The most extreme ‘mountain’ in Florida is the 17th Street Bridge, and the biggest curve can be found on the pool table in the Village Well, a local bar.

Then extreme disaster! Dean’s wanna-be Batman Bike spits out teeth off the drive belt as if it’s the loosing fighter in UFC and forgot to put in a mouth guard. The guys get to work on the phone, and within 10 minutes there’s a tow truck on the way, a new belt is shipping overnight, which is one of only two in the country due to the custom nature of the bike. The bike shop in Cody is on red alert to get it running the next day and finally a rental bike is fueled up waiting for tomorrows ride.

In the meantime a few of us managed to watch the geyser Old Faithful blow off some steam. Actually, it looked very much like Dean a few minutes ago! I wanted to film the breakdown, but as I’d only met him the day before I felt it was a bit cheeky. I wish I had, cause his mates would have enjoyed it!

5th August – Day 62

Day ride thru Bear Tooth Pass – 247 miles / 397 km

Bear Tooth is so damn good we had to do it again!

0700 and Dean rolls up looking mighty fine on his poofy blue rented Harley. No one says anything. Its too early to give him stick. The wounds haven’t healed yet.

Wade and I unload the big GSA’s. No panniers, and Smokey and Aialik can barely be held back. We race ahead to take footage of the guys coming past, then fire up the Go-Pro’s and weave our way back thru the Harleys. For Wade it was like being back on the original Smokey doing the bending race, kicking everyone’s ass! Some great footage.

Finally found a restaurant serving buffalo steaks. It is a lean meat, and absolutely wonderful! If you ever get the chance, do yourself a favour and order a slab of buffalo steak.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Dan!

6th August – Day 63

Cody to Sturgis – 366 miles / 589 km

We kicked on for a while last night at the Silver Dollar, so I was pretty happy to hear Deans bike wasn’t going to be finished before 1000. Great, a sleep in!

While having the essential second cup of coffee we get a call to say the bike’s done. Don the gear cause the Batbike is coming to town! Or not. A second call to say it won’t start. Take off the gear, finish the coffee.

As I’m contemplating moving onto something a little stronger to take off the edge (the coffee just isn’t cutting the mustered this morning!) Dean rocks up with his bike, and a screw driver. “Hey Dean, what the $@!$# is the screw driver for?”

“Screw driver? This aint no screw driver. It’s a high tech starting key!”

In the latest development for Burgeot anti-theft devices the ignition key is now useless. A fake. A distraction. What you have to do is poke the screw driver thru a hole in the starter motor pushing the solenoid to make a connection. Brilliant! No thief will ever think of that!

Finally we are off to Sturgis, the biggest Harley rally in the world. This time I think it really is ‘the biggest in the world’, and not just America!

7th August – Day 64

Day trip from Sturgis to Mt Rushmore – 253 miles / 407 km

The usual 0700 start. It really is worth it here as by 1000 there are so many Harleys on the road they are like fleas on a dogs back. Except the fleas move pretty damn fast! Harley’s move about as fast as me when I’m hung-over, or 2nd gear if you happen to be on a GSA.

Mt Rushmore is bloody cool. I still don’t understand why it’s there, but it is and its certainly worth checking out. The other thing I could not for the life of me understand is why nobody was taking the classic photo. I’m sure you all know what it is. Yep, that’s right. The classic Nose Pick! Un-phased by everybody else’s lack of imagination I stood proudly on the wall, hand on my heart and went to town on the presidents nose, picking like I’ve never picked before! Captured for eternity by the soon to be famous photographer, the one and only Stubbsie.

The roads were amazing in the park. They even curved round trees rather than cut them down. The best were tunnels thru solid rock to come out into…… absolutely nothen! Wooden ramps had to be built and a full 360 corner takes you down a good 10m and underneath the road to get you back on solid ground.

Parked the bikes and walked round Sturgis at night. Didn’t care too much for the huge displays, custom bikes or all the stupid LED lighting idiots can put on their bikes. We wanted tits, and we wanted tats. In that order! Everyone we have chatted to in the last 10 weeks has asked if we are doing Sturgis, then proceeded to tell us how crazy it is. It has a lot to live up to. Can it do it?

We saw tits! We saw tats! It was scary. Turns out the average age of Harley riders is about 300, or at least that’s what I figure by the droop and the wrinkles of the boobs! Seriously, you could strap a brush onto each nipple and keep the streets clean at the same time as the girls walk the streets from bar to bar. And if that doesn’t give you the shivers, nothen will!

I had to laugh. Wade was sliding thru the crowd when he stopped abruptly to check out the semi-naked bar girl. Mistake. He coped a wack on the back of the leg for his troubles, and turning round to see what the story was he comes face to face with this old biker dude, the tats, leathers, long hair, beard. The works. About a hundred years old, he could still give Wade the beat down with his walking stick, then the stare down, forcing him into a humble apology. Honestly Stubbsie, what were you thinking, stopping to look at a hot chick. What did you think would happen!

8th August – Day 65

Day ride to Devils Tower – 205 miles / 330 km

“Arghhhh! I hate 0700!!!!”

Nope, that’s not me. That’s the first thought of the entire neighborhood when these guys fire up the bikes. To say its loud is like saying Sturgis is a small gathering of very normal people. Its not small. The people are not normal. There’s over 500 000 bikes and up towards 800 000 people (I made up the last figure, but I bet its pretty close!), and most of ‘em are a bit weird looking!

Ride to Devils Tower. Its pretty amazing. This massive pillar sticking up out of the ground. One could say it stands out like dogs nuts, but then that’s pretty rude and beneath the level of quality one would excpect from the Bergaliaboys.

Ranger Jim pulled thru again as he told the story of how the pillar was cared. Turns out a bear chased a pretty girl to the top where she was safe. The pillars were formed by the bears claws as it pawed the side of the tower trying to get up. No-one belived it. Not until we saw the painting in the visitors center with a bear climbing the tower. Good on ya Ranger Jim. Never again will we doubt!

On the way home we called into a few different pubs. When I say different, I don’t just mean a variety of pubs, but rather the pubs we went to were ‘different’ from the ordinary. Yep, Sturgis is crazy. It lives and breaths its reputation!

The Broken Spoke is cool. To park the bikes you ride past the live band and thru the bar. Then it’s a tricky choice. Pool bar? Main bar? Lingerie bar? Or just one of the other 6 or so around the place. And leaving a tip has never been so much fun! The girls pull out their pants (what little of them there are!) and let you shoot for goal. Or so I was told by a mate of a mate.

We managed to get on the bikes and check out the next bar. I should add these bars are out in the paddocks and hills of the surrounding farm land. They only open for Sturgis, but are absolutely huge. Think football stadium size and you won’t be far wrong.

Full throttle is perhaps even more crazy, with dwarf wrestling, bike burnouts in the middle of the crowd and a dress code that doesn’t leave a thing to the imagination.

9th August – Day 66

Day ride – Badlands 217 miles / 349 km

You roll over a hill, and land on the moon. Its pretty freaky! But Badlands isn’t the highlight of the day. That honor goes to Dave and his awesome effort in the ring. The Bare Knuckle bar in town has amateur UFC fighting, and Dave was ready!

I don’t know what makes a bloke want to get in the ring and try and beat the crap out of some other guy he’s never seen before, or in my case, to get the crap beaten out of me by some guy I’ve never seen before. I mean, Dave seems like a normal, cool guy. Obviously I’ve not seen him angry!

It was three tough rounds, but there was no doubt in the crowds mind. It was a unanimous decision. Dave was the better, harder, faster man and his record at Sturgis Bare Knuckle UFC stands at a very deserving two and zero. Good on ya Dave. Thanks for a bloody awesome show and a great night!!!!

10th August – Day 67

Sturgis to Cody – 345 miles

Not much to say today, except stupidity really does hurt! Not always physically painful, but it generally finds a way to inflict damage. This time it was the wallet after another brush with the law.

In a 75 mph zone you’d reckon 9 over would be fine. Not in Sturgis, and not 3 days after a copper had been shot dead. To say the Force are a bit touchie is somewhat of an understatement. And yes, we were stupid. It is Sturgis after all, and they imported over 700 cops for the 10 days.

The good news is the guy slapped Wade with the $100 dollar ticket, and me with the warning. Cheers buddy! I always knew you were a top bloke!

Oh yeah, forgot about the crazy biting thingy. We had ridden about 300 miles straight, non stop. Try that on ya Harley!! It was already a record for us, but we were keen to make it all the way into Cody. It was hot. Damn hot, which was weird cause 20 minutes earlier we rode over a pass and had to slow to 50km/hr due to the pain being inflicted by golf ball sized hail.

Anyway, cause it was bloody hot I had all the vents, zippers and Velcro straps undone, which leaves a great funnel right up to my arm pit, which is exactly where this little bugger bit me. And let me tell you, its pretty tender under there! It was a bit of a shock, but not wanting to let the team down I struggled on. Until it bit me again, but much lower this time. Now it didn’t hurt too much, but I was thinking there is some pretty precious cargo just a wee bit further south, and buggered if I wanted it biting me there!

I threw out all the anchors and came to a rapid stop, leaving a trail behind me as I throw off backpacks, helmets and gloves on the way. Stubbsie. Well he was bloody useless. Too busy grabbing the camera to help me with my terrible little beastie. Thanks mate! I told you I’d pay half the fine!

It was a concern cause I never found the mongrel. I was worried it was down my pants, but all turned out OK.

11th August – Day 68

Cody to Salt Lake City – 460 miles / 740 km

Pretty boring day trying to make the miles down to Bonneville Speed Week. Stayed at Gary and Anne, the parents of Kelly whom we met in Hood River. It was awesome. Rocked in all hot, sweaty and VERY stinky at 8pm. Straight to the shower and back outside to a sensational margarita. Some beautifully cooked salmon on the BBQ made it a great night. Thanks!!!

Last Updated on Monday, 10 October 2011 23:30