Rogue Riders Day 12

Day 12 Spearfish, SD to Sioux Falls, SD 390miles

Going into today, I was prepared for the long boring ride on the freeway from Spearfish to Sioux Falls. I got up at 7 and jumped in the shower. Barry was already gone when we left but most of the group was still there. Barry was headed to Black Hills Harley-Davidson to get his bike checked since it had a check engine light. Sarah and I thought we would catch him there so we rode directly there. When we rolled up I went to the service entrance since I thought Barry would still be there. We had just missed him and he wasn’t gonna wait around for us! He wanted to get to Sioux Falls so he could get his 5,000 mile service done at J&L Harley-Davidson. Several more of our group showed up at Black Hills and checked out the store. One of the sales guys had been up to Alaska and had been in my shop, so he and I bullshitted for a bit.

Jim, one of the owners was there eating breakfast at the table by the coffee area. When I was 17 and Barry and I were driving to South Carolina for my first year in college we stopped and stayed at Jim’s house. He wasn’t there at the time, because it was the middle of the Sturgis Rally so he was at the Buffalo Chip. So, the one and only time I was at Sturgis for the rally I was 17 and we just drove through.

Sarah and I got back on the bikes, got some gas and hit the road. I knew that Sarah would have no interest in going to Wall Drug because she hates tourist stuff. As we were getting close to the exit she rode up next to me and pointed at the sign then I thought she shrugged and then gave a “cut throat” signal. I had no freaking clue how to interpret her wild gestures so I took the exit. We finally found a parking spot and she said, “I really didn’t want to come here” I was like “me either! Shit” so we had a good laugh and decided we needed to be better about our communication on the bikes. Since we were already there and already parked we decided to grab some food since a lot of this trip we have neglected eating enough and have been hangry by they end of the day. We ran into a bunch of our group here as well but we hit the road as soon as we finished eating.

From this point on we pretty much just rode and rode and rode. Sarah figured out how to light a cigarette on her exhaust pipe while riding 80 miles an hour…this is where I roll my eyes and face palm. We were almost to Sioux Falls but I knew Sarah had to be super low on fuel so I stopped at the next one that came up. It was a small town that basically doesn’t exist on my map and I can’t remember the name. Anyhow, as I filled up our bikes Sarah ran in and asked if there was a Thrift Store in town.

There was, so we went down main street and found the shop, but it was closed today. We turned around and headed to the dealership to catch up with Barry. They had already completed his service and he was loading it back up with his gear when we got there. We wandered through the dealership and then headed to the hotel. While we were in our room looking for a place to get dinner, I got a text from Fred Becker V (He is the General Manager of my store in Wasilla and rode his custom bagger from San Diego). He sent me some photos of him with our bikes! He made it!

He got checked into the hotel and joined Sarah and I on our adventure to a local brewery. Barry ended up joining us there so we had some food and drinks and caught up on Fred’s trip here.

We decided to head back to the hotel so I could finish this blog and we could get some drinks and not be on the bikes. We also are waiting for our friend Shynne that used to work at my dealerships. He was about 2 hours away so he is meeting us here to hang out for a bit. A few from our group are all here in the bar, so I am going to put my laptop away and be social.

(Everyone has stories to tell every night ☺️)

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Rogue Riders 2018 Days 10 & 11

Days 10 and 11 Billings, MT to Spearfish, SD 380 miles

I didn’t write a blog last night because it was my birthday so I took the day off from writing. Sarah and I wanted to check out Rob and Mariah’s coffee shop in Billings, so we got up at 7 and got all our stuff packed on the bikes. Sarah had a “secret mission” for my birthday and we had to be there between 9 and 10 so we got our bikes loaded and headed for some good coffee. Black Dog Coffee House, was adorable and the coffee was great.

We chatted about the trip, life and all the things and stuff. Just when we were finishing up Mariah walked in so we got to chat with her for awhile and she is equally as awesome as Rob and is a boss babe. She has a degree in business and they own several small businesses.

When we left the coffee shop, Sarah led so she could take me on her birthday mission. We headed east out of town for a bit then went into a neighborhood. The whole way I was thinking “it has to be bulldogs or something…yeah…definitely bulldogs…she knows how much I love them.” We turned down this dead-end road in the neighborhood and she went to the end looking for house numbers. I didn’t want to get stuck and try to turn my bike around in a tight place, so I stayed at the start of the road. As I was sitting there, this guy walked out of the house I was in front of and waved at me. So, I assumed “this must be where we are going.” I turned around and park in front of his house and Sarah joined me. After some polite introductions, Sarah explained that they were French Bulldog breeders and they wer kind enough to let us see their frenchies for my bday! We sat on his front porch and first he brought out the male, who immediately ran up to me and jumped up. I picked him up and snuggled him for a bit. Sarah seriously is the most creative thoughtful being on the planet. He brought out the female and she had just had a puppy. We thought the puppy was already gone but it was still there and so tiny and had just opened its eyes! The owner went into the house and brought out the baby. I had to contain myself from squealing…omg I have never held a baby Frenchie that small. It was a great start to my birthday!

I called Barry and he was still at the hotel doing laundry so we headed back to town to pick him up so he didn’t have to ride alone. I had originally wanted to do Beartooth, but I was worn out so we opted to do an easier route.

We took the I90 for awhile then jumped onto a side highway that was great. It was a lot of farm country but it was way better than being on the freeway.

We saw a ton of antelope and deer, and even had a deer run out in front of us. Thankfully, I saw it on the side of the road and it was a ways ahead of us so we weren’t in danger and we had already slowed down. We stopped at Deluxe Harley-Davidson, which is also female owned and operated. The dealership was really cool and the staff was great. One of the gals who runs the motorclothes department took us on a tour and we got to check out their service department. One of Rob Carpenter’s bikes was in there getting the motor rebuilt.

They also had 2 dynos side by side in a room with two garage doors. It was awesome!

We got back on the freeway and hauled ass to Spearfish. My friend Pat Kelley rode 575 miles from Colorado to meet up with us and celebrate my bday with me. Sarah and I got settled into the hotel and unloaded all our stuff.

We chatted with some of the riders and we talked about going to Deadwood, which was in the middle of their Cool August Night car show. Pat told us it was a shitshow to get into town so we opted to stay in Spearfish and get some food. Sarah and I headed up the road to main street, parked in front of a bar and walked to a restaurant up the street. We chatted and ordered food and Pat headed there to meet us. We had some food and caught up on all the things and stuff. Pat got me a card that he and his family all signed, and a great beanie that is black with white embroidery of their town. Now Sarah and I can be twinsies with her Spenard Bike Week beanie.

From there we walked over to the bar where our bikes were parked. Sarah bought a sweatshirt and I got a tank top that had their fun logo with the name “Back Porch Bar” on them. I put one of my House of Harley stickers on the mirror with all of the HA stickers.

We headed back to the hotel and got Barry and wen to the hotel bar. Eventually more of the group joined us in there so we all chatted and celebrated my birthday. After the hotel bar Sarah and I sat by the fire pit, which she got started for me and I made some phone calls to folks who had called me for my bday and I had missed.

We finally got to sleep in today, which was great. I got a phone call from my sister Meggie while I was still laying in bed which was nice to catch up with her a bit. Sarah and I got ready and found a coffee shop so I could get some work done with Si my Operations Manager since he was back from the show and we had a lot of stuff to sort out. I worked for a couple hours and Sarah got to facetime with her kids and family. She ran to Walgreens to get us some much needed qtips and looked for polaroid film. Unfortunately, there was no film in town, so she headed back to the coffee shop. I finally finished up all the work with Si and Sarah was chatting with another biker in the parking lot. He and his friend were on smaller bikes, but they had a truck they were towing them with. They were from Canada. We all chatted for a bit, then Sarah and I headed back to the hotel to drop off my laptop, grab my boots and helmet and hit the road to Mount Rushmore.

We stayed off the interstate, rode through Deadwood and made our way to Mount Rushmore. Sarah had never been, so we had to go. When we got there we both realized we were dehydrated and needed to relax a minute. Sarah got some ice cream while I got water for us. I called my bestie Christy and waited for Sarah and sat in the shade in a spot where I could see the monument. Sarah joined me and we headed over to check it out. We got some photos, did the tourist stuff then headed towards the exit.

As we were leaving we ran into a bunch of our group, including my dad. So, we hung with them and got a big group photo of all of us.

In typical “Dia style” we walked away from the group, told them we were “gonna go do some gangster shit” and got on our bikes and hit the road.

We had seen this sign for “Silver City” on the way there so we agreed we would go check it out. We were on our way there and we came up on a recent motorcycle accident. I was already a bit hungry and maybe a bit hung over and it was hard to see. Apparently after we made it through they life flighted him out of there. Say a prayer for our fellow biker when you read this, I am not sure how he turned out. We kept on heading back towards Deadwood and there it was, the sign for Silver City. It seemed so alluring and was only 5 miles away, so we turned left and headed there. The road was crazy tight, blind curves going up over a mountain and then back down the other side. I was in second gear almost the whole way…that’s how tight the curves were. As we were going around a blind corner an old truck was coming from the other direction and he was halfway over the center line. As we met in the corner I kinda freaked, and thankfully I was going slow and he moved over. We finally made it to Silver City…there is definitely no city there. We roll up the hill to enter town, past the old school house that is now a community center and at that point the road ends and it is all shit gravel. I motion and turn right on “Main Street” which is literally just houses and one B&B. I stop toward the end of the street and there is a gravel road up to the left that I think, according to my GPS, will connect to another road and we can loop back around and get the hell out of here. We head up the hill and as I approach the next street I realize “#&*$ we are in trouble” there is not street its an even rougher semi gravel semi grass path. Well clearly I am not riding down that on my big ass street glide. So, I literally stopped in the middle of the road, shut my bike off and told Sarah I was gonna need help. All day my knee had been hurting more than normal so I was worried about turning it around on a hill on gravel. Thank God Sarah is a badass. She pulled forward, backed her bike down the hill and turned around. She then got on my bike rode it up the hill and backed it up next to hers. I was pretty stressed out and hangry so I got some rice cakes out and we wandered around. There was the foundation and the remnants of an old fireplace that was made out of chunks of marble. It was actually pretty cool and probably super old.

As we chilled on our bikes, collecting ourselves and getting ready to head back out of town a car, the only other person we had seen in this town, pulled up and needed to turn down the street the bikes were parked in. Sarah, again badass, jumped up got on my bike and pulled it forward and pointed it down the hill so I would be able to just ride out of there and turn right on Main St and out. It was on a hill so she left it in gear and the car was able to turn down his street. I am not sure exactly what the problem was, maybe it was seeing the accident, maybe I was a little hung over, but I was really struggling. We agreed to just get out of town and go to Deadwood and get some food.

When we got to Deadwood we parked the bikes and walked down Main Street. The car show was over so town was pretty empty and we wandered to find food. We finally found a place in a hotel that was upstairs of the casino. It was almost 5pm so it was full of “early bird” old folks getting their dinner at 5pm. The food was atrocious. I ate enough to get rid of my “hangry” attitude and got a glass of wine to take the edge off. We headed straight back to the hotel and when we parked I immediately said, we should just go to town and I will write the blog and we can get better food. I grabbed my laptop and my coat and we headed to Main St. We parked and went to the first bar we came across. I wrote about half of the blog then I decided I should actually find better food so I did a quick search and found Kilian’s which is a gastropub on the edge of town. Thankfully, they had great food so we both got some more food in us and I was able to finish this blog. Tomorrow we are heading to Sioux Falls, SD. While I was writing the blog at the bar, Sarah called Fred Becker, my GM for my Wasilla store. He shipped his bike to California and went to the Harley Dealer Show and rode from there to meet us in Milwaukee. He answered the phone while riding, so we couldn’t hear him at all. He eventually stopped and called Sarah back and he was already ahead of us! He has been hauling ass! He is going to meet us in Sioux Falls tomorrow which will be great! We are also right behind the Harley-Davidson “Ride Home Group” that left from Washington so we are hoping to meet them on the road as well.

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Rogue Riders Day 9

Day 9 Kalispell, MT to Billings, MT 485 miles

Sarah and I got up early this morning so we could hit the road. While planning this trip Sarah got in tough with Rob Carpenter “Rob_1wheelrevolution” on Instagram. He is an amazing stunt rider that lives in Billings. When she told him, we were coming through town, he said we could stop by his place and chat. As the plans unfolded, he said he would meet up with us on a back road and do some stunts for us! So, we had to get to Billings by 5:30pm to meet up with him. I also wanted to get here early enough to stop by Beartooth Harley-Davidson and visit the owner, my friend Barry Usher who received my Rogue Rider t-shirt in the mail for me.

We left at 8am and hit the road. We were on HWY 93 for about 112 miles this morning and it was cool out and the road was curvy and hilly through the mountains. We hadn’t put a lot of layers on and it was a little cooler than we thought it would be but we kept on hauling @$$. There were tons of hills and mountains but it was still smoky and hazy so I couldn’t really see the scenery. We were on a mission to get to Billings quickly so we headed straight away. We got on interstate 90 and the speed limit was 80 so we kept hauling ass. We had to stop for gas, so we got a quick refill, used the bathroom and headed out.

At this point, we pretty much just hammered down and didn’t stop except for once more in a small town called Livingston for gas. We pretty much rode non-stop from 8:00am until 3:30pm with just two quick stops. When we got into town our first stop was Beartooth Harley-Davidson. We parked and went in and found Barry Usher and chatted with a bit. He had my Rogue Rider shirt in his office and we chatted about the ride. I asked him if someone could reset my pin code on my bike, since I didn’t know what it was set to originally. When traveling across country, it is important to know what your code is in case your fob flies out of your pocket or the battery dies in the middle of nowhere. I pulled into the service department and the guy working the counter was very nice and helpful. He pulled my bike in the back and I asked if they had a wash guy working. Barry and the service advisor both said they didn’t, so I asked if I could use their wash bay and clean it up. Next thing I know, Barry is back there cleaning my bike himself. Such a cool guy! To pay him back I went shopping and bought a couple shirts. Sarah got some super cute shorts and sandals for the warmer weather we are getting into each day. Sarah pulled her bike into the wash bay and washed it herself and Barry and I bulls&**# about business and his location. He has a well for water so they can’t offer washes all the time because the water is too slow, so it was a real treat that they took care of us and washing the 3,000+ miles of grime off.

We loaded the bikes back up and headed toward our meet up spot with Rob Carpenter (Rob 1Wheel Revolution) on a back road in an industrial area. We were early so, we turned around and headed to a brewery I saw on our way there. Of course, it is a brewery, so no wine, so I broke my years and years long stretch of no beer and got a hefeweizen that the gal said was their most popular beer. We ordered some snacks from the food truck and I drank my beer. The wind started kicking up really bad, so Rob messaged Sarah and said he was gonna wait a bit to see if it died down. We left he brewery and headed back over to the back street and waited. We took some photos with all of his awesome burnout marks and waited.

He finally messaged back and said he was going to head over to the spot and meet us there. We waited for a bit, and he finally showed up on a sweet Harley-Davidson Streetglide. It was beautiful. I have to admit I was not too familiar with him prior to this trip, but the man knows how to make a stunt bike both functional and beautiful. While he was warming up the bike and doing some burnouts, he had a fresh tire on, he blew the oil dipstick right out of the bike.

Thankfully I had a rag, so he was able to wipe it all down. His friend and photographer, Jake showed up on his R6, also a beautifully clean bike, and hung out with us while Rob stunted around. For all of you reading this, you have to watch our live video on facebook to really appreciate the private show we got on a back road in Billings,

MT. It was awesome, Rob is truly talented and a genuinely kind person. He was doing burn outs and wheelies and Sarah got to get on his bike and do a bunch of wheelies with him. It was awesome!!! I know this made her trip as she and Levi watch him on Instagram and appreciate his amazing talent. I invited Rob and Jake to join us at our Rogue Rider part at Tiny’s Tavern for dinner and they said they would join us, but Rob had to swap bikes first. So we followed them to Rob’s lovely home, so he could get something that wasn’t covered in oil.

He had a bunch of Harley’s, all beautiful and clean and customized, in his garage. His new Roadster was on the lift getting set up to be a stunt rider. Rob and Jake (who swapped to Rob’s 2018 Fat Bob same color as mine, because he couldn’t show up to a Harley party on his R6 and Rob on his Dyna) led us to Tiny’s through the backroads of Billings.

We were late, and yes I had received several messages telling me that everyone was there and the food was being served. We rolled up at about half past seven and Rob, Jake and I pulled up on the sidewalk and rode down to the bar and parked on a cement spot there by the entrance. Somehow Sarah had figured out there was more parking and parked with the rest of the bikes. I like to park on sidewalks, so I was happy with our spot.

We headed back and joined the group for some BQ dinner and conversation. Rob, Jake, Sarah and I grabbed a table and bull$*(%ed and ate. Barry asked if I wanted to make an announcement to the group, which I promptly declined but I did encourage him to get us all together for a photo.

So, eventually we all gathered up on the stage and Rob helped the waitress take our photos. My awesome dad, and all the Rogue Riders had a cake made that said “Happy Birthday” to myself and Dewey (our token Canadian) but it will also be Dianna’s bday on the 4th of September so we all got cards and a song from everyone.

It was great! I love that I have my birthday on the road every year, it makes for an exciting and less predictable adventure. Usually I am at the Harley-Davidson Dealer Show, but every 5 years I am on my way to Milwaukee. I am definitely keeping up this tradition and just finding more stuff to make it cooler every year.

From here on out it is pretty easy rides, hot but easy. We will be in Spearfish for 2 days (tomorrow is my BDay…the big 32) and my friend Pat Kelly is meeting us from Colorado.

Sarah and I are going to visit Rob’s coffee shop, Black Dog Coffee House in the morning and then she eluded to some sort of Bday surprise between 9am and 10am so I guess we are doing that and then heading east to Spearfish.

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Rogue Riders 2018 Day 8

Banff, Alberta to Kalispell, MT USA! 306

I woke up to Sarah saying “Dia…Dia…guess what…” as I stir and say “what” she hands me her phone and says “The Milwaukee 115th Film Festival is playing Psychomania…the same terrible movie I picked and played for Spenard Bike Week!” She continued to laugh about how it was important enough to wake me up for and that and how Harley continues to copy us. We are trendsetters.

It was 7:30 and we wanted to get a head start so we would have some time in Kalispell. We also didn’t know how long the boarder crossing would take so best to get an early start. I texted Barry and he said the temp would be 55* at 9:30am so I guess that meant we were leaving at 9:30am. First stop…the GAS station across the street. (also, on a completely unrelated note, my PR/Marketing Director aka Sarah, asked that I keep my blog PG13 so no more F&^% bombs) (insert eye roll and shoulder shrug…I like my colorful language but I understand some folks might find it offensive and not want to read my blog as a result so going forward I will censor myself)

Patti gave me a lovey ring and Sarah decided the moment should be captured in the most dramatic way possible.

Leaving from Banff we had to back track west a little bit to get onto Hwy 93. The highway was beautiful. I don’t know who the guy leading today was, but magically Jim decided to haul ass and ride fast on this awesome curvy highway. We were passing cars, trucks and motorhomes. The road was full of twisties and mountains and canyons. It was amazing. The only bad part of this beautiful road, was the slow-motion collision I had with a dragon fly. Yep, Sarah’s worst nightmare almost came true for me. I saw it coming, tried to duck but it hit me right above my right eye. As I frantically swiped at the guts I could feel them dripping down my face and they were all over my sunglasses…dripping down and coating everything. I finally had to start laughing at the whole situation. I could see my reflection in my gauges in front of me I could see that I still had guts by my eyebrow. I wiped at it for a bit, but it clearly was not coming off. When we stopped for gas, I got a good photo of the carnage of guts on my face.

On Hwy 93, we rode through a small town we passed a construction site and walking through the dirt area was this amazing mountain goat. It was so bizarre how talk and lanky it was and it was the same color as the dirt around it. It was just walking through the construction site, like he owned the place and they were impeding on his walkway. About a mile up the road, a large sheep with a full curl horn was crossing the road. I watched as it crossed in front of Jim and to the left there were probably 30 of them laying all over the grass on the side of the road! I had just been talking about our trip through this area 10 years ago and how we had seen so many animals and this trip we hadn’t seen many through these parks. Kootenay Park was the park we were riding through today and it was beautiful. I can’t recall riding this same route in the past but I am glad we went through this route today.

We didn’t see anymore wildlife after that and the road was a lot straighter as we got out of the mountains. We stopped for gas after about 120 miles and then decided we wouldn’t stop again until after we got back in the US of A!

The boarder wasn’t too long of a wait, but it was getting hot so we all started stripping layers as we waited for the 7 cars in front of us. When we pulled up to the stop light, the light turned green and the border guard held up a single finger, no not his middle finger, he was signaling only one bike at a time. Usually we can all roll up together and hand him all our passports, but I guess not this time. Jim went first, while my bike lurched and clanked in the heat. Man, I wish I had a Milwaukee 8 motor on this trip! I can see the passing capability difference from Jim’s bike to mine when we are passing vehicles and mine feels slow and sluggish compared to the power of the Milwaukee 8.

I got a little spoiled riding the M8 from Boston to Phoenix in 2016. Good news is, I am leaving my old dinosaur of a CVO (2015) in Arizona after this trip!

We got into Kalispell and got all our stuff unloaded. Sarah and I decided to do laundry so we sorted everything, loaded it into her tour pack and took the long way (like 10 minutes lost in allies and back parking lots) to find the laundromat across the street from the hotel. When we arrived we saw a place called the “Gold Bar” next door but weren’t quite sure what it was. We loaded up the wash machine and found that the Gold Bar, was indeed a bar…well a casino for the bored doing their laundry. We sat at the bar, Sarah drinking her iced latte and me my glass of wine and wrote the blog while she caught up on home life and work.

Glenn and Cherrie Marunde were in here playing some slots while they waited for their laundry and Jim wandered in to do his laundry. We are currently trying to pick a place to eat some dinner. As usual, if anything exciting happens tonight I will add it to the blog tomorrow morning.

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Rogue Riders 2018 Day 7

Day 7 Prince George, BC to Banff, Alberta 423 miles

We had a lot of plans today but as these things go, we did not stick to them. Sarah and I got up early and got all packed and ready, ate some food with Jim and Barry in the hotel and then got the bikes all loaded up. We were getting ready to leave and I told Jim he could lead since we “left” him a couple times yesterday. We had not filled up with gas, and Jim said we would get gas on our way out of town. First we passed a Husky station on the right, then further up the road we passed a 7 Eleven with gas, and then a sign said “check your fuel next gas 200km.” Jim missed the sign. But he had put “gas stop” in his GPS so he was confident there was one up the road. I waved at him and told him we should turn around and get gas and tried to signal 200km but he pointed to his GPS, confident that there was gas. When we approached the “gas stop” I immediately noticed the extremely ancient gas pumps, the empty parking lot and the lack of lights on in the building. CLOSED.
Well we still had a long way to go to McBride which was the next gas stop. Sarah had her 1 gallon can in her saddle bag so we put most of it in hers, she was the lowest and then a little in mine and Jim’s.
Yesterday, Sarah had filled up with me and the gas stations have a weird process that you have to “pre-approve” a specific amount on the card then it will charge only the amount you spend. Most days, Sarah and I can fill both our bikes with a $50 limit. At our last gas stop yesterday I filled up and Sarah filled up after me. She wasn’t able to fill up all the way, but we were getting close to the end of the day so we didn’t worry about it. We were all very confident we would not make it to McBride, well Barry was pretty sure he could make it but I did not have enough range and neither did Jim.
We headed out with the plan to make it until Sarah ran out then we would stop. Eventually, Sarah had dropped off and wasn’t behind me and Barry stopped with her so Jim and I turned around and pulled over with Sarah and Barry. Despite the disappointment of being on the side of the road, we were all ok and together. Sarah immediately started making signs that read “NEED GAS.”
A lot of really nice Canadians stopped to try and help but none of them had gas. One biker, who was riding a 2007 FLHX in Pewter Denim, the exact same bike I made my first trip down the Alcan on, had a large gas can on his bike but it was empty. He was from Edmonton, so he was on his way home. He took the can off and gave it to us so we could get it full enough to get all of us back to town.
We knew the rest of the Rogue Riders would be coming soon, and we knew Mike Sweet (our local hero) would have gas and hopefully a siphoning hose. While we waited, Sarah picked some wild flowers for me and she found a cool fuzzy caterpillar. I played some of my audio book and we chilled on the side of the road, waiting for the rest of our group. Finally they all rounded the corner and we waved them to stop. At first it was the front of the pack and shortly after them the rest of the group caught up. We had all the bikes pulled over while Mike got us his gas for Sarah and we all got a lot of pictures and laughs about our 45 minute road side wait for them to get there.
Between the whole group we only had 1 gallon of gas. So we made the plan that Sarah would take the 1 gallon and we would all ride toward McBride and we would just stop when/if we ran out of gas. While we were getting the bikes loaded back up, I noticed Jim had the gas can…(in my brain) “Why the F&^# does Jim have the gas can? Barry thinks he can make it so he or one of the other riders should have all the gas cans so they can get them filled and come back for us, Jim will only make it as far as me and if he has the gas can everyone will have to stop again and figure out moving the gas can to someone else…” So I expressed this in less words, took the can from Jim, fished out a bungee cargo net and put that shit on the back of Barry’s bike.
 
As we headed toward town we lost Sarah first, she is definitely consuming more fuel than that bike should, so we will have to get that looked at…then I went out about 17 miles closer to town than her and Jim went out about 100 yards past me. Sarah had Mike Sweet stop with her and wait, I had Cheryl and Jim had someone, but I am not sure who it was. I could see Jim from where we stopped but I wasn’t about to walk that distance on my knee. Cheryl and I made small talk about our love for riding and her near retirement. While we were sitting there a Mounty pulled up and stopped next to me. He asked if everything was ok and I asked if he had any gas. Unfortunately he did not have any gas, but he was friendly and gave a nice warning that in B.C. if you are going 30km over the speed limit they will impound your bike for 7 days…yep 7 days!! He mentioned that several in the group that was heading to McBride to get us gas were breaking that rule. He assured me he wouldn’t hassle them since they were on a rescue mission but warned they should slow down for the rest of the ride. Nice of him to not bust all of us, and give us a nice warning. I sent a text to Barry and Jim although I figured they wouldn’t get it till I was in town since the signal was so bad out there.
As we sat there, the figure from Jim’s bike started walking toward us and was getting closer. Eventually we saw that it was in fact Jim and he got to us and suggested I push my bike up to his. It was mostly downhill, so despite my knee I started to walk my bike with Jim pushing it from behind. We made it about 1/5 of the way when I saw Dewey heading toward us. Barry ran out of gas about 2 miles from town so Dewey filled up the large can and came to all of our rescue.
He got Barry to town, gave Jim and I some fuel and headed back to Sarah to get her on the road. We made it to the gas station and waited. I was really hoping there was enough fuel to get Sarah back and after about a 30 min wait they finally came rolling in. We refilled the two smaller gas cans and Sarah took the big one as her new passenger with her flowers on the back seat.
While we were at the gas station our Mounty stopped behind us at the pump and got out of his car and said “you made it!” He actually was pretty nice, so we chatted for a min and after he took a call in his car I walked over and asked for a selfie with him. He asked that I only include him in the blog if I was going to be nice. I assured him that I appreciated his kindness to stop and the warning and that I would be kind in my blog, so there it is. While we were stopped we all ate some snacks and chilled for a while.
Some riders had already headed on, I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t have waited for my gas shit show either. The big group that was still there headed out so Jim, Barry, Sarah and I waited a few minutes to head out after them.
We headed toward Jasper and eventually caught up with the group. When we got to the park, I was in front, we passed the group when they stopped for an “ABC’s of Touring” photo for HOG. We got to the park gate and I bought two passes to get us all through after some counting, recounting and figuring out there were 2 riders with passes already and some random couple that had snuck into our group. Once we had all that sorted we were able to get everyone covered with 2 passes. When we got close to Jasper, I realized it was a right turn toward Banff and a left turn to Jasper. I waved Dewey up so he could lead, as I was pretty sure we were supposed to go into Jasper. As I suspected he turned left so we all went into town to get gas. While we were stopped, I was doing the math on how much farther we had to go. So, Sarah and I ate some snacks and agreed we wanted to keep riding. Jim wanted to stay there with a large group of the riders to eat, so Barry, Patti, Sarah and myself decided to hit the road. We gave the second park pass to Dewey to get the rest of the group through although there were now 8 of them and only 4 of us. Not my circus, not my monkeys…one of them might have to pay for a pass. I lead our group and it was some of the best scenery of the trip. The mountains although still slightly shrouded by smoke were magnificent. I was in Banff a year and a half ago during the winter and summer is a dramatic difference. The road was curvy but not too technical. Pretty much everyone was breaking the speed limit so we kept up with the faster cars and passed the slower ones. It was still breathtaking and beautiful. If I wasn’t leading we probably would have stopped for some photos, but its me, and when I am heading to a destination I take mental pictures of the cool scenery and enjoy it from my bike. There was a super cool looking glass walkway overlook that was crowded with tourists, but we just kept on.
Maybe I will make a point to spend 2 days in Jasper/Banff next time through.
I didn’t stop at all from Jasper to Banff. I didn’t hear any complaints so I kept going, not that I can actually hear complaints while doing 75mph but hey I try to be sensitive. We bombed into Banff and after a few wrong turns I got us to the hotel. We unloaded the bikes and the only parking was down a hill into a parking garage so Sarah and I parked right in front of the Best Western sign on the side of the street. I make my own parking spaces and I am not going to park in the claustrophobic parking garage.
After we got our shit unloaded and Patti’s stuff in our room till her roommates showed up, we decided to go to dinner in town. We were all going to ride, but Barry missed that memo so he walked out in his walking clothes so we all agreed to walk. Patti and Chris parked their bikes in the garage and we all walked to town. The restaurant I picked was closed, so we headed back to the main street and went to Park Distillery. I had a tasting of their different liquors when I was here with my girl Shawna for the winter trip I won from Harley. They did not disappoint and we all had some good food and a few of us some good drinks. Jim walked over and met us and had dessert and Gary walked over a little earlier and had a beer with us. We got to sit outside and enjoy the rapid dusk to evening light change and the cooling air.
In stages we all walked back to the hotel and here we are now. Tomorrow we head back to the US of A and will be landing in Kalispell, MT. I am excited to get back to America, but also slightly feeling the sadness that we are already halfway through our journey. We have so much more to look forward to, but I can’t help but feel a little sad that we are already through this amazing part of journey.
We will be getting an early start again tomorrow, and we are all hoping for a quick border crossing.
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Rogue Riders Day 6

Smithers, BC to Prince George, BC 250 miles

We have a vintage Polaroid camera along for the ride to save some memories on something other than the internet. Here’s one from a couple days ago in Yukon Territory.

As I mentioned in my blog from yesterday, we made friends with Shola the gal working at he bar at the hotel. She made some beautiful jewelry from pennies she would get run over by a train near Bali. I bought one necklace from her last night, and she encouraged us to go to her mom’s bookstore and café in downtown Smither’s for coffee and to check out more of her jewelry. We roped Patti into going with us, so we headed over there around 8:30am.

Patti and I bought some cool new jewelry and Sarah and Patti got coffee and I had a homemade Chai tea. Her mom was lovely and we chatted for a bit about our ride and upcoming adventures.

After we finished our drinks we headed back to the hotel. As we pulled into the driveway of the hotel, the rest of the group was getting ready to head out. I didn’t see Barry and Jim, so I thought maybe they left us! We got back to the room and got all our shit loaded on the bikes. While we were getting packed up, Sarah ran to drop our keys off and ran into Barry and Jim. They thought we had left them, but thankfully we reconnected. So, our group today was myself in the lead, then Sarah behind me, then Patti then Cheryl our Canadian friend and then the boys (Barry and Jim) bringing up the rear. Sarah put “Alaska Girls to the Front” on her face mask and Patti had a little pig nose on hers. Today, we were going to be riding through the worst of the smoke. Chris had bought us masks yesterday so we all had something to filter the air. I decided I would rather just risk the smoke inhalation because the mask was hot and uncomfortable. I did get a kick out of Sarah wearing a mask for the smoke, then pulling the mask down and lighting a cigarette at one of the stops.

Once we got out of Smithers we were cruising along and a coyote ran right in front of me. He slowed and checked us out so Sarah and I got a great look at him. Pretty cool to have wildlife that close. The whole way was pretty smoky but the worst of it was near Burns Lake. We also had a large deer run into the road, then stop, turn and head back to the shoulder. The scenery was probably pretty cool, but instead we mostly just saw smoke…lots and lots of smoke. At some points in the ride the visibility was so poor you could only see about 30 feet in front of you.

While I was cruising along, we rolled through a town and I saw Dewey waving us into a parking lot. We pulled in, parked and after a few minutes of sitting there trying to figure out why we were there, I saw the giant fly-fishing rod. Apparently, the Canadians are very proud of this “world’s largest fly fishing rod.” We let the group head out before our smaller group and decided we would stop for gas in Burns Lake. I was supposed to get gas this morning with the gals, but I forgot. We all had enough to get us there, so onward we went. When we rolled into Burns Lake we were in the peak of the smoke and there was the rest of the group at the gas station when we pulled into town. Barry and Jim headed up the road to the Chevron while Sarah and I filled up with everyone else. We headed up to Chevron and got passed by the group. After that stop we caught up to a large part of the group, so when the opportunity came up, I passed all the trucks and the group. Oops..sorry not sorry. We hauled ass for a bit, but it was just myself, Sarah and Patti, we had lost the rest of our group amongst the other group. The rest of the way was pretty mellow and was more traffic and some construction.

When we got to Prince George we rolled up to the Harley dealership there and enjoyed the AC. In the morning it was super cold, but by the afternoon it was hot and muggy. We wandered through the store and I found an adorable army green leather jacket that fit perfect. I actually bought an army green leather jacket, that I still have, at the 105th. So, I bought that and added it to my collection. I am definitely going to have to mail some gear home when I get back to stateside.

I headed back outside and somewhat discretely changed into a tank top in the parking lot. While we were hanging out in the lot, Trevor, their sales manger came out to put something in his bike. I was walking by so we started to BS. He is a cool guy that loves the brand and what he does. He was excited to hear about our journey and was happy to share some local good spots to food. He recommended “Nancy O’s” for dinner, which is where I am writing my blog from right now. Jim, Barry, Sarah and I walked over and the food was amazing. This is a cool trendy spot that has live music on the weekends and has a mix of BBQ and modern twists on comfort food. We had a “Vegetable Curry” poutine which sounds weirder than it tasted. Currently Sarah, Jim and Barry are enjoying some cheesecake while I finish my blog and my wine.

When we left the restaurant and were walking back to the hotel we ran into Dianna and Donna walking a dog! We asked where they got the dog and apparently there is a dog shelter connected to the hotel and this dog had not been walked today so she was barking and whining. So, being the bad ass Alaskan’s that they are, they took the precious baby on a walk. I love our team. We have such a good group of people. After we gave the dog some scratches, Sarah and I headed over to the Mediterranean restaurant that Chris and Mike were at. We joined them and I had a glass of wine and hung out with them for about an hour. Now we are back in the room and ready to start heading to bed. We have a long 400 mile day tomorrow through the mountains. It is beautiful scenery and hopefully the smoke won’t be too bad.

(This random car in town had the Harley 115th anniversary colors so we stole a picture)

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Rogue Riders 2018 Day 5

Bell 2, BC to Smithers, BC 223 miles

As promised…I have to fill you in on the rest of last night before I start on today. After I finished the blog, I hobbled upstairs, threw on my shorts and a sports bra and then joined some of our Rogue Rider’s in the hot tub! It was so much fun, and I am so glad we were all stuck at Bell 2 with no cell service. We had a blast getting to know each other in our hot tub comradery. I got to show off my still oh so present bruises from Spenard Bike Week on my glow in the dark white legs as well as my tons of tattoos that no one sees. Nothing like getting half naked with all your customers and friends! I bough a bottle of wine at dinner so I had that while I was in the hot tub chilled on ice. It was great. We were in there almost 3 hours, which felt great on all of our achy muscles and my knee.

When we got to the room Sarah and I got the blog uploaded and I got on Facebook for a minute and saw that my dear friend Matthew Tolbert was in a motorcycle accident in Fairbanks. I was able to check in with him on FB messenger and made sure he was ok. He is still in the hospital, so say some prayers but he should be able to make a full recovery.

I slept so good, unfortunately Sarah had crazy dinosaur apocalypse dreams and did not sleep as well. I woke up around 7am and couldn’t sleep anymore so I jumped in the shower and started to get my day started. I saw that Jim and Barry were up, because I could see into their cabin from ours. I gimped out and checked with Jim while he was loading his bike to see what time we were heading out and he informed me that we were getting breakfast at 8:30am and then hitting the road after that. Last night we had planned on a little later start since it was a short day but Barry wanted to get his bike in for service at Smither’s HD so we didn’t want to be too late. We gathered in the “restaurant” at the lodge and got buffet breakfast. After I made a plate, I decided I would grab Sarah and I some espresso…it’s hard to find proper coffee in these rural spots. Well that took a fuckin hour so I cam back and Sarah was done eating and my food was cold but the coffee was decent so whatever.

While I was eating my cold breakfast, I sent Sarah on a mission to tag the Motoquest truck with one of my House of Harley stickers I brought to tag shit along the way. I finished my breakfast and headed back to the cabin to pack my bike. Sarah was there and still had not tagged the truck. I took the sticker and started to walk over when I saw the large British guy that was driving the truck come from around the back. Shit! So, I scoped him and the truck out for a minute and decided I should just ask…So I walked up to him and asked if I could tag his truck. He laughed and said “sure, that should get a rise out of Kevin!” Perfect!!!  He put a House of Harley sticker on the top metal rack that I couldn’t reach next to all the other stickers. That is for you Robin and Kevin at Motoquest, love you guys!

Sarah and Jim had their bikes all loaded and I still had to put my riding pants on so they headed to meet Barry by the gas pumps. I finally caught up to them over there and Barry was making friends with some travelers while we filled up with gas. We had a short ride, so I told Jim to lead since we didn’t need to haul ass and he keeps it in the speed limit. About 5 minutes from the hotel, I saw a little black bear on the side of the road. I don’t think Jim saw it at first, but I slowed way down to see him. He was the cutest fucking little black bear on the planet. If I was not riding my motorcycle I would have snuggled him. Well, not really but he was perfect and cute. He ran off into the woods when I got right next to him, but we held eye contact until that point.

The road was beautiful again today. It was hot, and sunny and the road was smooth and full of great curves and hills. I seriously am in love with the Cassiar. I might have to make a trip every year. When we got to the end of 37 (Cassiar) and got gas at the intersection of 16 and 37 we stopped for a bit. I ran into a couple of Alaskan’s on their way back from a North America trip that had started in June! They knew who Barry and I were and we chatted for a bit. One of the guys had a daughter, Courtney that I went to Highschool with! Small, small world!

I promised Sarah that I would include this so here it is…I have a serious problem keeping track of my hair ties. I have to have 3 hair ties to keep my mane under control while riding and almost every time I stop I somehow misplace these 3 hair ties. I literally stop, stuff them in some pocket so my hair is down for photos and then BAM they are gone! This is the only part of my life that is a shit show. So there it is. My only flaw…

Just kidding, if you know me you know I have a shit ton of flaws…but hey I’m human, believe it or not.

Anyhow, the ride to Smithers was short from that stop and we rolled right into Smithers H-D which is on the north side of town. We rolled in around 3pm so we headed over to the hotel and were greeted by the one and only Patti Bogan! We got our shit unloaded and shared some stories with Patti and chilled for a minute. Sarah and I decided to go on an adventure, or find some adventure in Smithers. We rode around for a bit and found a great spot at the end of the road to get a photo on Sarah’s polaroid. We headed back to town, got a photo with the Smithers sign and headed to the local museum.

It was so refreshing to see a museum that was still 100% honest of their history. Some of the highlights…Smithers is the founding place of egg cartons, the railroad was a big part of the history here and apparently they have a long history of racism. Yep. A whole section of the museum was dedicated to their struggles with racism. Although slightly shocking, it was refreshing to have a real story from their history and their story of bettering their community. Good job Smithers.

After the museum we headed through “Main Street” and checked out the cool trendy shops and saw a cool brewery but headed back to the dealership. When we got there dinner was about to be ready so we chatted up the group and everyone got fed some great food thanks to Steve and the crew there. They were so hospitable and great. If you are ever in the area, you have to visit Smithers. They are welcome in my shop and my home anytime. We had a great time and Patti blessed me with my traditional 3 bottles of wine for my Bday and Dewey got Pattie a book about Gloria, her idol signed by her. Dewey also got Barry a patch from a few years back when Barry told Dewey about how he “used to be a celebrity, but now he is just ‘Dia’s Dad.’” That made my day, and hopefully his too.

After riding around without the full knee brace and in tennis shoes, I decided I shouldn’t be standing too much. I made a couple phone calls and hung at the shop but eventually was running out of steam. Jim didn’t have a bell on his bike, so I got him a bell from Smithers and chatted with Steve and his son Ross for a bit. Sarah and I “Irish gooddbyed” everyone and headed over to the hotel bar. I immediately connected with our waitress Shola, she is a bad ass and had stem cell treatment for her knee. We are kindred spirits. She also makes jewelry so I bought a necklace off of her and she has some of her stuff in her mom’s shop in town that also has coffee so Sarah and I are going in the morning. I bought the few Rogue Rider’s who stopped in the bar drinks and bought Shola a drink. I am going to join her for the drink, so I will sign off for today…

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