Chicago, you have been misinformed. The real Windy City is Boise, Idaho! More on that when I get to the end of my day…as usual I was up by 6 and ready to go by 6:45. I ate some of the free breakfast at the hotel and chatted with the folks I saw the night before that were riding a Goldwing. It is true, you meet the nicest people on a Honda. They were heading back from Mt Rushmore to California. We shared some road stories and even gassed up our bikes together then they went South and I went North. Despite my best efforts today was going to be a Freeway Day. There really are not very many options heading in the direction I was going. I started out on a road that paralleled the freeway slightly east. Eventually the road intersected with 15 so that was my fate…
Prior to the freeway there were some hills, or maybe you would call them old mountains. There were also a lot of farms and a lot of cows, including some disgusting feedlots (this is why I don’t eat cow check out King Corn the movie). Once I was on 15 I made some crazy good time. Basically since I left, my throttle has been sticking and has slowly been getting worse. Because I was aware of it, I made sure I didn’t get it stuck in an acceleration position I didn’t want. It was almost like cruise control. I literally could stick my throttle in position and take my hand off. There was a few times where I thought I had set the cruise but actually my throttle was just stuck. Since I haven’t made it to a lot of dealerships on this trip I decided to stop at one south of Salt Lake.
Timpindale Harley-Davidson was one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen! When I pulled up at 8:42am they weren’t open and I assumed they may not open until 10 but I thought I would risk it for a break from the freeway. The sign said they were opening at 9am and there was already signs of life. Two girls came out and were hanging up a banner and they both were friendly and said hello. I started chatting with one of the girls and they were having a charity ride to Murray. I was tempted to join, until they told me the ride wasn’t leaving until around 11. Unfortunately I couldn’t detour that much today, as I was intending to make some distance. The gal I was talking to, Brittany, is coming up to Alaska for her honeymoon in 3 weeks! I gave her my card and told her to stop by the shop or email me for some tips.
Inside the shop was just as unique as the outside. Apparently, they used all of the materials from an old steel factory to build the building.
So everything was recycled and really cool looking. They had a small spiral staircase that was all welded out of metal that went up to the offices, I asked the gal if I could check it out and she told me that there were some cool antique bikes up there.
Not only were they cool, it was quite a collection!
I think they should have put them in a more visible location, but I am glad I went up to check it out. The service department was swamped so I gave up the idea of having them look at my grip. The service department was all in one room so the techs were working in the same room as the check in counter. I imagine that would be a little distracting but it was still kinda cool.
I figured on my way out before I got back on the freeway I would get some gas, while I was there one of the techs pulled up on a Triglide he was test riding. I asked him about my grip, but he said I would have to take the housing apart to find out what was going on in there, it was nice that he took the time to look.
From here I was back on the freeway, going through Salt Lake and beyond. I tried to get off the freeway and take a back road, but that was an epic fail. I stopped at a gas station to put some drops in my eyes and remove a layer. When I was pulling out of the gas station, I almost didn’t turn sharp enough and had to put my foot down as I over corrected my turn…total amateur move! Of course this was in front of some other guy on his Harley. Then as I shifted gears I felt stuff sliding out of my bag in between my back and the bag! I forgot to zip it! Luckily only my map book fell out and I was able to stop and run back to pick it up. I am not sure why I was having a clutz morning but I was. So from here I realized it was endless traffic stops through the downtown part of this town so I turned and got back on the freeway.
Here are my observations….
85 is fast on a Harley in sustained speed for hours at a time…I wish I hadn’t forgot my ipod…how many cows can a country eat?…apparently mutton is the new menu item, there sure are a lot of sheep…there are a lot of signs for national parks or other interesting things but all I can see is fields and farms…hot cold hot cold…why are there so many talk radio stations and no good music…
Basically there were hours of me riding on the freeway ready to drive off the side of a bridge. However, I as a hero at one point. Here I am cruising along and at this point the freeway is only two lanes. In the slow lane is a semi. In the fast lane is a semi with a white van behind it. Surely the semi in the fast lane is going to pass the one in the slow lane? After about 10 minutes of the van tailgating the semi I got in the slow line so I could get in the line of sight for the semi that wouldn’t move. I started flashing my light at him until I saw him look at me in his side mirror. He literally has us boxed in with his front end lined up with the other trucks tail end. When he looked at me I used my left hand to dramatically signal and point him to the slow lane while I mouthed “MOVE OVER!” Eventually he figured out what I was saying so I swooped back in behind him and led the way for all the trapped cars to get past them. One lady drove by me and gave me a thumbs up. I felt pretty accomplished at that point.
I tried to take a side road again and made it to Twin Falls where there was another HD dealer. I think it was called Snake Creek HD. On the way here I found a cool little sandwich place that hit the spot. When I made it to the HD dealer I was fed, but really cold as the temperature had dropped a bit. Their service department was great, Josh checked me in and told me he would get to it as soon as he could.
I wandered into the store (which is separate from service) and figured I would find a head wrap that would cover my ears because it was cold again. I chatted with the girl that worked there for a bit and bought a fleece ear warmer.
Josh came over and told me he was able to fix the grip himself and there was no need for a service RO. He informed me the housing was too far to the left which caused the grip to stick. It worked like a charm! While I was getting ready to take off I had decided I would take the faster route and go to Boise rather than taking a really scenic route that went north east then back down into Boise in a big loop. I am sure it would have been pretty but it was pretty cool and I had already done 400 miles. So I tried to take a scenic non freeway route again that wrapped its way toward Boise. When I put in the hotel I had picked in the GPS it said it was 160 miles away. I was really confused because the signs said Boise was 100 miles away. So I started out then realized there was no sort of “direct” side route and it had me turning onto different country roads left and right. So again I opted for the freeway. Almost immediately it got really hot again. I could feel my already burnt nose burning more, but was determined to continue. I finally pulled off to put on some sun screen. Just in time for some cloud cover.
Now for the big finale, when I was approaching Boise the land got really flat. Then when the signs were showing Boise about 20 miles away I noticed a haze across the whole plain that looked like fog. However, it was not fog it was dust from the INSANE winds that whipped up out of nowhere! So here I am going 80 and there are winds that feel like they are 100mph coming from all directions but a lot from the front. So my helmet was getting pulled back while my new ear warmer was sliding down and pushing my sunglasses down. I just couldn’t win. Meanwhile there were giant tumbleweeds blowing across the road. So I slowed down to about 70 and was dodging and weaving around these crazy bushes. I got nailed by one, which got stuck between my leg and the motor and another part of it got stuck in my seat. At this point I was cursing Boise and questioning why anyone would live here. When I pulled up to the hotel I was a complete mess. My face felt dry and raw and my eyes were wind blown, my hair was all over the place and I was exhausted. I made it 520 miles and was ready for a hot meal. After I got my room paid for I asked about nearby restaurants, preferably one that I could walk to so I could have some wine. I didn’t see any when I pulled in and as my luck would have it, there was only fast food at this exit. DAMMIT! While I was calling Jon and bitching to him about the end of my day and wanting a hot meal I had the brilliant idea to call a cab! So, I threw my jeans that were not only coated in bugs, tar and other road debris but were also fashioned with a large selection of splinters from the tumbleweed. I got a cab and headed to a place called the The Tavern at Brown Crossing. It was in a trendy little section of town tucked behind some neighborhoods. It was a cool spot, the food was all a little “buttery” and heavy but a good meal after a long day.
I ready for a freeway free day tomorrow! I am hoping to make it to Lewiston. Happy Trails, also I apparently left just in time to miss the crazy crappy weather we are having back home. :P
PS if you get a chance pull out a map and check out the ride it really puts it in perspective when you see the whole U.S.!