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Lustful Fantasies (motorcycles, not women…)

Usually I write about bikes I currently own, or at least used to own. Today that changes a bit. As the title of this post implies, this is about a bike that I may, someday, God, if you are listening, please let one of these bike just come over and talk to me, own (Yeah, I still remember those feelings from junior high school, or high school.  OK, I don’t remember those feelings so much as remember the fact that I used to have feelings that seem like they should have felt that way).

2015 Yamaha FJR1300ES

Anywho, the point is that for a long time now I have pretty much lusted over a bike.  Not just any motorcycle.  Either of the two of you that say you read this blog somewhat regularly already know that I already have a harem, of sorts…  No, this bike, the bike of my dreams since about 2007 or so, is a Yamaha FJR 1300.

The FJR isn’t a chrome covered noise maker, nor is it the fastest, or lightest, or most powerful bike out there.  As far as the general riding population goes, it’s not even close to the most popular bike on the road.  For many years, though, it has been the benchmark motorcycle for one niche of riders – middle-aged guys with more money than sense that live at my house.  OK, another niche is the community of long distance, or endurance, motorcycle riders.  Among that group the FJR ranks very highly.

Now, to be fair, I wanted an FJR before I got into my current long distance riding phase, so this isn’t just trying to keep up with the Jonses.  Besides, I never really tried to keep up with them; I find that just hanging with them works just as well in most cases.

Shortly after I bought my 2006 Honda VTX1800S I took one of those highly scientific and well thought out (and proofread) quizzes on Facebook that was supposed to tell me what kind of motorcycle I should ride.  I knew that my VTX was the right bike for me, but I took the quiz anyway.  The result of the quiz?  Yamaha FJR1300.  “What the hell is that?” I asked to myself.  A little research told me, in effect, that I would need another, if not a replacement, motorcycle.

Since then I have started to get (peripherally) involved in long distance riding, and have purchased eight more motorcycles, though I have sold a few of them.  During that time I traded off the VTX for my current V-Strom 1000.  In summary, it has been about nine years, with eight new (to me for a few of them) motorcycles, and still no new FJR 1300.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted a new FJR since they first came onto my radar, but I never had a good reason to get one.  When I replaced my VTX with a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom I was even more comfortable on long trips.  I have since taken the V-Strom to San Francisco, California and Tucson, Arizona, among other smaller trips.  It is easily capable of taking me where I want to go in most of the comfort I want.  From a logical point of view I don’t need a new FJR 1300.

That said, I want one.  If I am going to try to spend way too much time riding way to far in a finite amount of time, I might as well spend too much money to buy a bike that has a large percentage of the bells and whistles that I think all motorcycles should have.  Yep, I want it all…  In reality, I want a bike that has Anti-lock Brakes, and heated hand grips, and an electronically adjustable windshield, and a thermometer built into the dash display, and…


2015 BMW R 1200 RT

Fast forward to the last six months or so.  My brother has a bike that he wants to replace.  While I was helping him do some research he kind of fell for a BMW R 1200 RT.  At first I thought it was a nice looking bike and that it would probably do all of the stuff that the FJR of my dreams would do, but at a higher price.

This would probably be a good place to say that while I personally rank BMW touring bikes well above any Harley-Davidson product (including H-D dog T-shirts that are sized to fit a chihuahua) in usefulness and value, I feel that the two companies are just different sides of the same coin when it comes to marketing and general customer brainwashing.  Again, nothing against their products, I just think brand loyalty can only go so far before it gets annoying…

As I said, I thought the BMW was a nice bike, just not my cup of tea.  One day I was goofing around online and started to put various motorcycles into the Motorcycle Ergonomics Simulator and found that it was the BMW that most closely matched the riding position of my V-Strom – you know, the bike I don’t really need to replace…


As you can see, the two motorcycle look very similar.  I actually like the looks of the FJR 1300 more, but I have generally been a function over form kind of guy, so I will pass up a better looking bike in order to have a more comfortable bike.  Beyond the appearance (and cult-like following behind the BMW) both bikes have roughly the same capabilities.  I haven’t looked to see which bike has the higher top speed, horsepower, or torque.  I rarely push my bikes to their limits, and because both of these bikes are built for occasional two-up (having a passenger) riding, they should both be more than capable of giving me the performance I want.

In all honesty it will be some time before I even start to seriously think about replacing the V-Strom.  It still runs great and it is still comfortable.  I like having the the thought of getting a new bike, and like the thought of having to choose between two of them even better.  Somewhere in this post is some sort of metaphor for a middle aged married guy looking for change, but I’m not touching it – my wife may actually read this some day.


2015 Ménage-a-Trois’ Rally Information

In my last post I mentioned a rally that I have entered called the Ménage-a-Trois’ Rally.  I might as well tell you right now to get used to reading about the rally here.  It will take up a bunch of my motorcycle-based brain time and will also be my main excuse for going on longer rides and buying what would look, to the disinterested observer (my wife…), like useless toys and crap.

Anyway…  In an effort to obtain any slight advantage, I have been doing some deep research into possible routes, bonus locations, riding techniques, equipment reviews, and anything else I can claim as productive work instead of wasting time on the internet, but have come up with almost nothing directly related to this rally.  The following memo-type thing was sent out by the Rally Master (I’m guessing he’s kind of like a D&D Dungeon Master, but with a motorcycle instead of a dragon) as information to a prospective participant.  In an effort to make this information more widely available, here is the memo.


The 2015 Ménage-a-Trois’ will have three separate rallies. The 12 hour rally will cover a minimum of 544 miles. The 24-hour rally will cover a minimum of 1,088 miles. And to be a finisher in the 36-hour event, you will need to cover a minimum of 1,632 miles.

There will be no main or suggested route for any of the three events. Riders will be handed list of possible bonus locations prior to the start of their respective event. It is up to the rider to decide which locations they are going to visit. There will be a non mandatory checkpoint in each event. When we say non mandatory we mean riders are not required to make the checkpoint within a specified time window. If however they do visit the checkpoint within that specified time window they will earn substantial bonus points.

Bonus destinations may leave paved highways, and may require the use of a Polaroid/Digital camera and/or a GPS. It may also require tracking, trapping, and survival skills in order to earn the points. If you’re still using a Polaroid camera, approximate film use should be no more than one package of Polaroid film for each 12 hours of your event. If you’re using a digital camera, you’ll need only one memory card. Now, if your photographic skills leave a lot to be desired, then you should plan to bring substantially more memory cards or Polaroid film.

Because there is no main or suggested route on this event, there will not be any alternative routes for you to choose from. Your bonus listing will offer you far more choices than you will ever be able to complete within the specified time of your event.

The bonus listing for the 36-hour event will be handed out Friday evening 30 minutes prior to the start of the rally. You may take as much time as you like to develop you winning route, but please remember after 30 minutes you will be on the rally clock. The longer you stay at the hotel, the less time you will have to ride and earn points. For the 12-hour and 24-hour riders, you will receive your bonus listing on Saturday morning 30 minutes prior to the start of the rally. Like the 36-hour riders, you may take as much time as you like to develop your winning route. For those of you that will require divine guidance to come up with your winning route, we will have our Shaman, our resident psychiatrist, a rabbi, and a priest available for general counseling and guidance.

To be eligible for a finisher’s award, the participants must travel at least the minimum mileage of the main route of their respective rally, and arrive back at the finish line within the allotted time of their event.

You must finish the rally on the same motorcycle that you started on, and all motorcycles will have only ONE operator during the rally.

An odometer check is required prior to the start of the rally so that we can calculate the actual mileage the rider travels during the event. That mileage figure is then certified and forwarded on to MERA so that any of you that are looking to get your rides certified, well all you’ll have to do is apply. The mileage figures are also available to other organizations that may require them.

The Ménage-a-Trois’ will continue the MERA tradition of being a competitively scored rally. The top three (3) positions in each event in the single rider category, AND the top three (3) finishing positions in each event in the couple’s category will receive position plaques. All other finishers will receive a finisher’s award.

That’s all I have for now.  Any new information I get I will try to post here, unless I decide it is proprietary information, then you all can wait until after the rally…

If this has piqued your interest in the rally you can find the application here:  Ménage-a-Trois’ Rally Registration Form

2014 In Review

Another year gone.  For G26 MotoBlog, this is the end of the second year of publication.  For me, this was not a big riding year. It was a great year as far as getting new toys goes, though, unless you take my wallet’s point of view…

Back in January I wrote my first year-in-review post.  In that post I stated that after a year of writing this blog I had not been told that I was wasting my time.  That still holds, though I have seen a few people roll their eyes at me when this blog manages to come up in conversation.  Their loss.  As I write this sentence, this blog has had 1,968 views from 70 countries.  Roughly 1400 of those views were in 2014.  There are even a few people that ask when new posts are going to be published.  By a few, I mean my father.  Thanks, Dad!

The biggest news of the year would have to be the swapping out of two of my bikes.  First, my 2007 Honda Gold Wing was traded in for a brand new 2013 Honda Gold Wing.  If you have read this blog before you couldn’t miss seeing a picture of this bike; I have plastered it all over the last several posts.  The other bike change was trading in my 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250 for a brand newer (than the Gold Wing) 2014 Honda CBR 500R.  This change was not widely, or even narrowly, announced.  Here is a picture of both bikes in Grand Teton National Park:

Gold Wing and CBR Tetons

As fun as the CBR looks (It’s the white one), it is not my favorite bike.  In fact, though at the start of this blog I wrote that my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 was my favorite bike, my tastes are starting to change and now I find that I like riding the new Gold Wing more than the V-Strom.  This could be from my brain trying to justify the fact that I bought a bike that cost more than my first four cars together.  On the other hand, as I mentioned in my last post, Let there be lights, the fact that I am able to build this into MY bike is actually making me enjoy riding it more.  Either way, this Gold Wing just seems to feel better than both the V-Strom and the old Gold Wing.  Around town, the CBR is quite fun, but on the open road, up around highway speed, I get too much wind on my body.  You wouldn’t think that would be a problem for a guy that is somewhat addicted to motorcycling, but it is.  I have spoiled myself way too much with bikes that have large, barn-door style windshields.

The other bikes did manage to get some time out of the garage, too.  The V-Strom didn’t get many miles this year.  I’m not sure what the future holds for that bike.  It is still in great shape and is still my primary local-ride (pronounced grocery getter), but I find myself riding the Gold Wing solo more and more.  I put many more miles on the 2009 KLR650 this year than I did last year.  The longest ride for that bike was around Flaming Gorge Reservoir, though I wasn’t the one riding it; one of the kids was piloting it for that trip.

That thought brings up something else that I find cool.  This year, two of my kids took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic RiderCourse™.  I took the course with them, though I doubt that I will be invited back – something about too many high-speed passes through the orange cone slalom (“Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full”).  After taking the courses, both of the kids were qualified to ride on the streets with me, though only one of the two has gone on to get a motorcycle license.  That should change in 2015.  I really enjoy riding with the kid that does have his license.  I’m not sure if it’s the fatherly instinct of passing on the things I enjoy, or just the fact that now I have a captive, on-call riding buddy.  Either way, it’s way cool!

Shortly after getting the CBR, my wife and I took the Gold Wing while the kid took the CBR up to Grand Teton National Park.  That is when I took the picture of the two bikes shown above.  For a new rider he did quite well as we dealt with wind, rain, traffic, and Jackson, Wyoming.  Nothing like a trial by fire!

At the start of 2014 I posted the mileage for the bikes I had in my garage at the time.  I will the same thing again this year, but just with the bikes in the garage.  I am out of town right now so I don’t have the ending mileages for the bikes I traded away.  When I get that information I will update the total yearly mileage.

The grand totals for 2014:

  • 2014 CBR500R:
    Starting Mileage – 0 miles
    Ending Mileage – 993 miles
    Total Mileage – 933 miles
  • 2013 Goldwing:
    Starting Mileage – 2 miles
    Ending Mileage – 3,266 miles
    Total Mileage – 3,264 miles
  • 2004 V-Strom 1000:
    Starting Mileage – 43,231 miles
    Ending Mileage – 44,515 miles
    Total Mileage – 1,284 miles
  • 2009 KLR 650:
    Starting Mileage – 1,048 miles
    Ending Mileage – 1,733 miles
    Total Mileage –   685 miles

The total mileage for these four bike was 6,226 miles, though for the first time I can’t claim all of the miles for myself.  The kid put miles on both the CRB and the KLR.  Sharing a house?  Fine.  Sharing motorcycles?  That’s gonna take some getting used to…

In 2013 I rode 8,907 miles, including the miles my wife and I put on a rented Gold Wing.  I am going to guess that I will have about 7,000 total miles for 2014, about 6,250 of which I put on the bikes.  Not quite as much as in 2013, but still not a bad year.

One of the joys I have on motorcycle trips, aside from the riding, is taking pictures.  On any random trip out of my home area (and some in the area) I may take upwards of 500 pictures.  Of those, I may actually like about 10.  That said, I will now shamelessly show my favorite pictures from 2014 – in many cases, again…

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All and all, 2014 was a good year.  2015 should be interesting, as well.  I have already registered for the Menage-a-Trois rally, basically a 36 hour/1500 mile photo scavenger hunt that will take place in late August, in and around Utah.  I also registered for the 2015 edition of the Big Money Rally.  This rally is also a photo scavenger hunt, though it takes place from 1 Jan through 23 May, and is pretty much area independent.  One final note, there is no Big Money involved in this rally.  Yeah, I knew that before I started…

One more way that 2015 should be interesting is that another one of the kids may start riding.  This one is fairly adventurous, so the riding opportunities may be photo worthy.   Whatever happens, it should eventually show up here.  Until then, thanks for reading and please check back every once in a while.


Let there be lights…

Part 1 – What I ended up writing…

I have owned used bikes, and I have owned new bikes.  The lazy side of me likes the fact that a good used bike will have many of the toys, accessories, farkles – whatever you want to call them – that make long rides more bearable.  I really appreciate the time and effort that the previous owner of a well-equipped motorcycle put into a bike.   The parts that they add can make a bike much more comfortable.  Even with the best of used bikes, though, there is still one problem; the bike wasn’t built for me.  No matter how much I may like a used bike, it is still a bike that was set up for the use of the previous owner(s).  Keep this thought in mind, I will get back to it eventually.

The bike owner in me, however, enjoys the fresh canvas of brand new, stock motorcycle.  The first bike I bought and then made “mine” was a 2006 Honda VTX 1800S.   The VTX, as I bought it in 2007, looked like the image below on the left.  The image on the right shows the bike as it was five years later.  I had made many  changes to the bike, mostly to make it much more comfortable for both me and my wife.  It turns out that if my wife is happy on the back of the bike, she is much more likely to be OK with my motorcycling hobby.

VTX 1800S2 LargeSONY DSC

 It always feels good to have somebody walk by your bike at a gas station or in a parking lot and say to you, “Nice bike.”  On the other hand, after you have made your bike “yours” by way of many dollars spent, hours invested, and the inevitable blood lost to scraped knuckles, when somebody stops to compliment your bike, and then continues the conversation by asking about changes you have made, you know that they are taking an interest in your bike.  They are not saying that a certain style of bike, or model of bike is nice, they are talking about one, unique motorcycle – yours.  That is a great feeling.

goldwinglights_zps975dc33bPeople modify their bikes for several reasons.  The primary reasons, as far as I am concerned, are function, looks, and peer pressure.  Most of my modifications are for functional reasons, though once I know how I want a new accessory to work I will take appearance into account as long as I don’t lose any functionality.   The owner of the bike on the right just may have a different guiding principle than I do…

At any rate, in April of 2012 I traded my VTX away for a used 2004 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom.  This bike was very well equipped.  To be honest, there isn’t much that this bike doesn’t have that I would want to add to it.  As I have mentioned earlier, this was my favorite bike out of the several that were in my garage.  Several months later I picked up a used 2007 Honda GL1800 Goldwing.  This bike wasn’t quite as well appointed, and there were several things I wanted to change.  Although both of these bikes were mine, I couldn’t really take pride in any aspect of either of the bikes other than “Yep, I bought that…”  As I mentioned earlier, these were somebody else’s bikes.  I only owned and rode them.

Earlier this year I found the 2013 Honda GL1800 Goldwing that I introduced you to in my post Out with the old(ish)…  This was my new fresh canvas.  Yes, this bike already had a lot of bells and whistles, but there were still some things I needed (wanted, in some cases) to change.  To be sure, the new Goldwing was a good looking bike right off of the showroom floor.  I had several people tell me so when I stopped to eat on the 200 mile trip home from the dealer.  I thanked the people for the comments, but inside I knew that all I did was pick out a pretty bike.

Once I got home the planning, ordering, and installing began.  For the purpose of this post, the details of what I have added are, for the most part, immaterial.  All that matters is that I researched the products, purchased them, and installed them.  They are the products that work best for me (or my wife, for any back-seat modifications).

I said the details were for the most part immaterial because this post was supposed to just highlight the fact that last week I added some driving lights to the new Goldwing.  The concept of this post has changed a bit and taken on a much deeper meaning.

Part 2 – What I intended to write about…

Bike with lightsThe first concept of this post was to write about the fun I had adding a set of Kuryakyn L.E.D Driving Lights to my Goldwing.  As you can see, things drifted a bit.  I have added a few things to the Goldwing, but I think this was the most involved (difficult…).  Actually, adding the lights wasn’t hard at all;  putting all of the pieces back together once I was done was a royal pain.

As you can see by the photo to the left, I got the lights installed and working, though as I look at the photo now I can see that I still need to aim them a bit.  As I worked to put the pieces back together, it occurred to me that the Honda engineers must have been very fond of playing 3-D Tetris.  Yeah, it was like that…

I decided to add the lights once I learned that my application to ride in the 2015 Ménage-à-Trois Rally had been accepted.  I would have a link for the rally but I can’t find a web page that does a good job of explaining what the rally is.  For now, don’t think Sturgis, think more along the lines of a motorcycle based scavenger hunt that lasts 36 hours and covers over 1500 miles in and around Utah.  As far as I know, the name is just a clever indication that there are actually three rallies in this event:  a 12 hour rally, a 24 hour rally, and the 36 hour rally that I will be riding in.  On a side note, my brother will be riding in this rally as well, though that will come up more in a different post.

I have known that I needed driving lights ever since my wife and I were riding along the East Entrance Road between Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming, on a rainy night.  The Goldwing puts out a good bit of light on it’s own, but I generally feel that more light is better, regardless of the current situation.  There aren’t many (or any) street lights along that road, so between the darkness, the wet pavement, the several tight curves, and the random large animals crossing the road without any regard for our safety, the decision to add more lights was made.

That was my last long ride of the year, so I didn’t have a real need to add the lights any time soon.  That is, until this rally came along…  Now I just want to make sure that I have the bike rally ready as soon as I can because I don’t want any equipment surprises just before the rally starts.  1500 miles is a long way to ride over a weekend, and I figure the fewer surprises, the better.

Back to the lights…  I haven’t had a chance to ride at night with the new lights.  Winter in Wyoming has a cruel way of keeping night riding to a minimum.  I did take the lights out for several daytime test rides.  While I wasn’t able to see how much light they throw down the road, I did see that the bike didn’t spark, catch fire, rattle, or lose any parts as I was riding down the road.  That’s always a good thing after working on a bike.

Next year, when I get a chance to test out the lights at night I will post some pictures or some sort of video.  I have a couple of areas near by that will give me the chance to encounter curvy roads with the chance of random large animals.  For now I think that my Goldwing will be hibernating in the garage until spring.  Sleep tight…



Hodge-podge, mish-mash, whatever…

OK.  I’ll admit it, I’m pretty much just going to phone this post in.  It’s not that I’m not interested in writing this, I just don’t know how interesting it’s going to be.  As anybody that knows me will tell you, I am very interested in the stuff I am interested in.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  I should have written “As anybody that knows me will tell you, I am VERY interested in the stuff I am interested in.”  Restated, that means that I may have a bit of an obsessive streak in me when it comes to my hobbies.  Refer back to my post I Need Help… if you have any questions.

At any rate, I always find the stuff I write about to be quite interesting.  Personal experience has shown me, however, that the rest of the world isn’t always as passionate about my interests.  With that in mind I will do my best to keep this short and sweet, and, with hope, still interesting.

I managed to get a couple of late-season rides in this year.  For those of you that don’t live in the northern Rocky Mountain area of the USA, you have to remember that we have a reasonable riding season that lasts about six months in a good year.  True, I generally get to go for at least one ride a month, but in the middle of winter that ride may just be around the block before frostbite sets in (though heated bike parts help a lot).  Anywho, since my last post I have been able to ride to a University of Wyoming football game in Laramie with my wife – at her suggestion, even – and also take a ride around Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Wow, I’m not even into this one today.  Here are some pretty pictures from some of the rides I took this year.  Enjoy…

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I need help…


Some may see this as bragging,  though I’m pretty sure this a personal recognition of some sort of personality disorder.   Yes, there are a lot of toys in front of my house.  I may have a problem.  The weather was great and I was spending a day off cleaning the garage.  I need help…


Special: Today Only!

OK, maybe it’s not that important, but one of the pictures I took of my V-Strom was featured as the Photo of the Day today – 6 Aug 2014 – on  It’s not the Pulitzer prize, but I’ll take it.

BikePics bike of the day_edited-1

The Yellowstone Trip is History

About three weeks ago I wrote that I had a trip to Yellowstone National Park planned – in the can, if you will.  The trip was intended to be a vacation for my wife and me.  No kids, no chores, no hard schedules, just out and about and having fun.  Mission accomplished…

As motorcycle trips go, this wasn’t a long one for me.  Several times I have ridden more miles in 24 hours than we covered on this trip.  For my wife, however, the 900 and change miles we traveled were by far the most she has attempted in one trip.  Granted, the miles were spread out over four days, but that’s still a long time to spend looking at the back of my helmet.

The trip, as originally planned, was to ride up to Jackson, Wyoming and spend the night in that area, spend two days wandering around the park, and then head home on the fourth day.  The trip, as actually experienced, went off almost exactly as planned.  Obviously I missed something…

Day One

Teton Rain Storm Grayscale

Rain storm coming off the Tetons

The Goldwing was all loaded up with four days worth of stuff.  I have to say that even as tightly packed as our stuff was, four days worth of stuff is just about the limit of what will fit in the luggage compartments of that bike.  We left for Jackson Lake Lodge, our first night’s stop, in time to make the 7:00 pm dinner reservations.  There isn’t much to see along most of the road from our house to the Jackson area, and we have driven/ridden that route several times, so we weren’t really tempted to dilly-dally.  We found some rain and even a bit of hail north of Jackson, but we were prepared for rain and it didn’t slow us down any.

Jackson Lake Lodge is incredible.  We opted for one of the cabins for the night instead of a “suite” in the main lodge.  Our dinner reservations were for the Mural Room in the main lodge.  The meals, as expensive as they were, were well worth the money both in flavor and ambiance.  The view through the large plate glass windows of the restaurant allow for an incredible view of Mount Moran and the Tetons.

View of the Tetons from Jackson Lake Lodge

View of the Tetons from Jackson Lake Lodge

After dinner we enjoyed a nice stroll around the lodge and then headed back to our cabin.  Thanks to a big dinner, some good wine, and some killer cross-winds during the early part of the day we had no problems falling asleep.

 Day Two

This was the start of the really fun part of the trip.  On the way in to the lodge the night before I saw a spot by a lake that I had to get a picture from, preferably in the morning when the mountains would be fully lit up and the lake, I hoped, would be mirror smooth.  I woke up early specifically to go get that picture.  The morning started out very foggy, but eventually the fog burned off and I was left with this view…


Mount Moran Morning Fog Reflection 2

Mount Moran wishing me a good morning.

Yep, it was going to be a good day.  I finished taking pictures and headed back to the lodge so we could get the bike loaded up, grab some breakfast, and continue on our trip.

The plan for the day was to go up into Yellowstone National Park, play around the southern half of the park, and then end up in West Yellowstone, Montana for the night.  We managed to leave the lodge early enough that we had plenty of time to play in the park.

Although I have been to Yellowstone several times I have never been to Fishing Bridge.  I was somewhat amazed when I saw that the Fishing Bridge was actually closed to fishing.

Fishing Bridge Closed

Fishing Bridge is closed to fishing.

We weren’t really sure what to make of that…  After recovering from the revelation at the bridge we turned around and headed west towards Old Faithful, and ultimately our hotel for the night in West Yellowstone, MT.  Old Faithful was, I guess, what is has always been.  We showed up, took our seats, heard what we thought were valves being opened and tanks being filled, and then the geyser did its thing.  OK, there weren’t really any valves and tanks…  Once the show started the wind shifted a bit and we ended up sitting in the spray area.  The day was quite warm and the spray was cool enough to be very refreshing, if not pleasant smelling.

After the show we headed off to our hotel.  We checked in and strolled off into the metropolis that is West Yellowstone, MT.  My overall impression of the town is that it relies on adventure tourism, huckleberry enthusiasts, and cheesy T-shirt lovers for its continued existence.  We ate a decent dinner and went back to the hotel.  The room was comfortable and sleep came easy.

Day Three

I did not wake up early to take pictures.  We did not wake up early at all.  We were on vacation…  Eventually we did get up, get ready, and check out.  Before we left we had to get a picture of us, the bike, and a carved wooden bear.

Goldwing Tina Me Wooden Bear

Three days in and she is still smiling! As you can see by our hair, this picture was taken before our helmets went on.

This was a long day.  We rode around the northern loop of the main park road and went through the West Entrance, the North Entrance, and the East Entrance of the park.  We went in and out of the North Entrance when we went up to Gardiner, MT for a late lunch/early dinner.  We stopped to eat at a place called the Iron Horse Bar and Grill.  The steak I ate was one of the best I have ever had.  If you get the chance to eat there, I highly recommend the place.  They also had a beer on tap there that I had never tried, never even seen before, actually.  The beer was Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, and it was truly delicious.  I don’t remember what my wife had to eat, maybe the Salmon, but I do remember that she really enjoyed it, too.

UPDATE: She informed me that she also had a steak, that it was possibly the best she has ever had, and that I should pay more attention to what she does…

One of the two elk we saw at Mammoth Hot Springs

One of the two elk we saw at Mammoth Hot Springs

After we ate we went back into the park on our way to Cody, WY for the night.  Shortly after reentering the park we, my wife actually, noticed that we rode right past a large cow elk as we passed through Mammoth Hot Springs.   The elk was between some parked cars near the north end of the complex.  I completely missed it.  We went around the block so we could get a better look and saw that there were two of them.

Throughout the trip we saw many of the critters that the Yellowstone area is known for.  We saw a bear, several elk, a moose, some deer, a bighorn sheep, a marmot, and lots of bison, including a very close pass to one of the bison  In case you are curious, those things have very large heads.  If we had a Yellowstone Critter Bingo Card, I think we could have gone away with some money…

We ended up at our hotel in Cody late that evening.  I am sure that the final pass we went through would have been neat to look at, but it was dark by that time.  Once again we had no problems falling asleep.  Long days and fresh air seem to make for good sleep.

Day Four

Yet another we’ll-get-up-when-we-damn-well-feel-like-it morning.  Although this would be the longest day of the trip mileage wise, there just isn’t a whole lot to see between Cody and home.  We did get the chance to ride through the Wind River Canyon and over South Pass, neither of which I have ever done on a bike.  We also passed many bikes heading the other way, up to Red Lodge, MT for the Beartooth Rally.

The final interesting event of the last day was seeing a guy place a wiener dog on the back side of a guard rail at a rest area as we passed by.  Being the pet-loving people that we are, we both wondered if:

1) The guy was going to just leave the poor pooch behind the guard rail and drive off.

2) If my wife was going to have to spend the remainder of the trip holding onto a wiener dog.


3) How difficult it would be to control a wiener dog on the back of a motorcycle.

We turned around (there was a lot of that on this trip) to check on the pooch.  It turns out that the guy was letting the dog play in the grass instead of on the pavement.  He was still walking the dog as we went by again.  Good for him.

As far as I can tell my wife enjoyed the ride, though there are a couple of changes she would like to see me make on the bike.  If I have to spend money to buy things for one of my bikes in order to ensure her future participation in my hobby, I guess I can handle that…

A quick note about the pictures in this post.  These shots are pretty much evenly split between pictures I took and pictures that my wife took.  My shots were taken from solid ground with a digital SLR camera.  My wife’s pictures were taken both from solid ground and from the back of a moving motorcycle using a pocket digital camera.  I need to say that given the tools she had to work with she took some great shots!

Until our next trip, thanks for reading…

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Yellowstone Trip in the Works

In the near future my wife, Sweetie, and I plan on taking the new Goldwing up to the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area.  We should visit Jackson, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park over the course of four days.  The route we plan on taking is shown below.

This is the planned route that Tina and I will be taking on our Jackson/Yellowstone trip.

This is the planned route that Tina and I will be taking on our Jackson/Yellowstone trip.

This will not be a long, drawn out post that tells you about the proposed trip.  No, this is just a short heads up to let both of you readers know that a trip is in the works and that you can expect that there will soon be a long, drawn out post that most likely has a few pictures included, too.  Updates will follow.  Check back in a couple of weeks or subscribe to G26 MotoBlog (look in the upper left corner of this page) to receive updates.  My Twitter account, @g26motoblog, also announces new posts.

Anybody that reads this and thinks they may be in the same area about the same time (think the middle of July, 2014) feel free to contact me for a possible meet-up.


Out with the old(ish)…

I am almost embarrassed to write this.  There was nothing wrong with my old Goldwing.  Really…  It ran great, the color was fine, it didn’t leak, it never left me stranded anywhere.  The only annoyance, if you will, is that it didn’t have heated seats or hand grips.  Now I know that many, if not all, of you are rolling your eyes a bit and, well, I’m not going to say what you are calling me right now.  I know, I get it…

Several years ago, just as I started my long-distance riding fetish, this guy (yeah, that’s me on my formerly-owned 2006 Honda VTX 1800 S)Me on VTX Beartooth Pass

would have laughed at the need for such weenie devices.  “Heated WHAT?  Are you kidding me?”  Before I go on, I need to tell you that this picture was taken in August at the top of Beartooth Pass, just north of Yellowstone National Park, at an elevation of about 10,900 feet.   With that in mind, two important concepts can be gleaned from the photo above.  I am bundled up in a fairly heavy jacket and gloves, and the seat of my bike has apparently grown a coat of winter fur.  Yep, as I remember it, it was a bit chilly up there.  In fact, every year it gets colder.  In another fifteen years I will be riding a snowmobile in that picture…

How does that bit of history apply to me getting rid of my 2007 Goldwing?  In addition to my possibly overgrown riding ego, I have a very willing riding partner, my wife.  She has been on rides with me on hot days (crotch-pot cooking hot, to borrow from the movie Good Morning, Vietnam) in Georgia, chilly mornings in the western Wyoming mountains, and on Swamp Thing infested, black-water swamp surrounded roads throughout the southeast.  It would seem that she actually enjoys riding with me, and I enjoy having her ride with me.  At some point while we were riding the Goldwing up Pike’s Peak, in the rain, with temperatures approaching 32° F (from above, for you math types), my wife mentioned that she was getting a bit chilly.  My hands readily agreed with her.  Although we were having a great time on the ride, the damp chill was starting to nag a bit.Me and Tina Pikes Peak edit

So, now I am at the meat of the story here.  When my enabler, uhh… When my wife, the one that takes time out of her life to stare at the back of my helmet so I can both ride a motorcycle and spend time with her, mentions that the bike is nice but it would be really nice if it had heated seats or something, I listen.  I don’t always listen to her, but when the part that reaches my brain sounds like “Blah, blah, blah, buy a new bike, blah, blah, blah”, I listen…

A while back I was in Salt Lake City.  I will normally go in a bike shop or two while I am in larger cities.  I also normally find at least one bike that I have to have.  On this occasion I found one that I REALLY had to have.  It was a new 2013 Honda Goldwing with a gorgeous blue paint job.  I’m used to this feeling, so I didn’t pull my wallet out right there and start throwing money at them.  I did, however, send a non-committal picture of the bike to my wife, mentioning as a note that is also had heated seats…

To make a long story short (OK, I know that boat sailed yesterday…) four days later we had this:

2013 Goldwing right side 2013 Goldwing oblique_edited-2

This beauty has heated seats (driver as well as passenger and passenger back rest), heated grips on the handlebars, built in GPS, and a Keurig coffee maker in the trunk (OK, you got me, it didn’t come with one in the trunk, but there is room for one in either of the side bags…).

After an initial ride around Flaming Gorge Reservoir, I have been told that back seat of this bike is a bit more comfortable than that of the first Goldwing.  I have the same feeling about the front seat.  We haven’t had it out in real rain or during chilly weather, but I am looking forward to putting the new bells and whistles to good use.


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