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  • One epic day of. Riding... Greg will add more details over 400 miles. Some great roads.. And we heard a rumor that the k1300s gets 43mpg cruising at 100...???? We found likely the only McLaren 720s in Montana with enough bugs to start a snake farm.
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    Last edited by jmenon; 07-26-2020, 09:30 PM.

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    • More pics
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      • So as JM said it was an epic day on some of the finest roads in the US. Not all went to plan, but that's just typical 2 West, right?
        We rolled out of Livingston at a little after 8 and blasted up 90 to Columbus. Cruising at 90 which is the defacto Interstate speed limit in MT. We peeled off there and took the amazingly scenic 287 south east into Red Lodge. This country road is a 80 mph comfort level ride though rolling hills at the feet of the Absoroka mountains and gets more scenic with every mile. 125 miles from our start we rolled into Red Lodge
        We stopped for fuel and had a delightful brunch at a little place off of the main drag that James found. Excellent food, sorry no pics! After that it was time for the Beartooth. Those who rode on the 2017 ride to the national rally in Colorado will remember that they were working on paving this road then. It is all done now!

        The first thing you have to do when riding this road is accept three facts:
        1. You must totally forget that it is illegal to pass on a double yellow line. This is because you are about to make about 3,000 such passes and it might cause brain damage to process that much guilt.
        2. Harley Davidsons are not motorcycles. They are semi-stationary highway art that has often been left in active traffic lanes, and are to be ridden around like rocks, dead skunks etc.
        3. In MT and WY, speed limits are actually only for cars and trucks. For sport-touring bikes they are only reference information about what those vehicles should be doing.

        The ride to the top was amazing, weather and pavement were perfect and traffic reasonable. We stopped and took some pics- JM has shown you some.
        Here is another:


        After our break we took off again. On the back side of the pass there was a major slide that was being repaired with long waits. James and I made it through as the light controlling the one-way section turned yellow but that was the last we saw of Paul all day. Partly my fault because I told Paul we would meet up with him at the rest area on the Chief Joseph Highway just across the bridge over the Clark Fork- but I told him it was not far after the turn-off from 212, when actually it was over 20 miles from there. He looked for us for 10-15 miles after the turn off and then decided we must have gone on to Yellowstone, and so headed back toward Tower Junction in the Park. Meanwhile we waited for him at the afore-mentioned rest area for about 1/2 hour, and took some pics. JM showed you some, here are shots of the canyon from the bridge:


        Sorry the pics are sideways! It is very hard to impart the beauty of this place!
        We had no cell service, so we decided to ride over the top of the Chief Joseph and see if we could text Paul from there. The road over the pass is as amazing as ever. James and I both pushed hard, had a blast with no major moments. I am getting to old for major moments so that was cool with me. I gave the new tires and brake pads a good workout though! We found service on the other side of the summit and texted Paul to meet us in Red Lodge if he could. Then it was time to start the fun but long ride back over those same epic roads. We pushed hard, both because we like to and also because the day was getting long and I was concerned about Paul. We showed no mercy to the many HD's, mini-vans, motor homes and pick-up trucks we dispatched going back over those two amazing passes. We eventually arrived back in Red Lodge and found a text from Paul explaining that he had gone through Yellowstone and was heading north to Livingston from Gardiner.

        More later...
        "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

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        • That Hardley comment. Lol!
          KN, this ride's for You.

          http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps2ecwj35m.jpg

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          • Sounds like an awesome trip so far. Absolutely loved the ride from Columbus to Cody three years ago.
            Am I the only one that can't see James' pictures? And Greg's pics aren't showing in his last post?

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            • Looks like a glitch in the matrix that started today.

              There are a couple of other posts today in other threads where the pics aren't showing.

              Unfortunately, I'm not savvy enough to look into it further.

              I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way.

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              • Picking up again on Day 3: After swapping texts with Paul at Red Lodge we got hydrated and headed out. I left first, saw James rolling in the parking lot. I went up the street, around the roundabout and up 287, the way we came in earlier that day. I looked back a mile later and no James. I pulled over and waited about 5 minutes; then I went back in town. He was nowhere to be seen. I figured he accidently took 212 towards Billings, and there was not much I could do about that besides text him and say I would meet him at the hotel. I headed out on 287 and rolled at 80-85 down to Columbus. I was feeling pretty bad; my stint as a ride leader today had resulted in all my riders being separated. I figured James would be at the hotel about an hour after me and kind of unhappy. Once on 90 I blasted down to Livingston at 100 mph for the whole 75 miles. I was pretty shocked to find James waiting for me with Paul, beer in hand! His GPS unit had shown him a route quicker than 287 I did not even know existed! We had a good laugh and went out for Mexican.

                Notes- Riding the Ninja between turns on the Chief Joseph I did have one minor moment. The mountain has many parts where are there are nice, cambered and smooth 20 or 25 mph marked turns followed by short straights up to the next, similar set that allow you to pull 2 or 3 shifts. At that elevation, the 14R is far more docile than at sea level, and I have noticed that I ride it more like a small-bore bike up there- near red line in each gear. Anyhow, each approach to the subsequent turn calls for heavy braking with 2 downshifts, then find your mark and pitch it in... and I got distracted on one and got in too hot. I ended up trailing a lot of brake almost to the apex, thinking "I am spending a lot of traction on slowing, how much is left for turning?" I finally released the brake and threw her over, and she rolled through the turn no problem- most lean angle of the day though!

                So, only Paul ended up doing the Yellowstone tour through Lamar Valley; he had to stop for Bison on the road, though he said the tourist traffic was not too bad. James and I ended riding about 440 fantastic miles on the day and were pretty well spent at the end of it.

                FYI, the pics are displaying fine on my laptop!

                G
                Last edited by gregness; 07-27-2020, 10:26 PM.
                "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

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                • Day 4: Livingston to Kalispell.

                  Today we started slow because of the long day yesterday. We went to Pinkey's cafe (no werewolfs seen) in downtown Livingston for breakfast, which was only served outside due to the Covid. We then walked back to our stylish accommodations and packed up, got fuel and rolled out.

                  This establishment caught our eye on the way to breakfast.




                  The plan (revised due the closure of East Gate to Glacier and time constraints) was to ride about 55 miles west on 90 and then take 287 up to Helena, then Highway 12 through the mountains and thence on to Kalispell. As usual, James and I jumped out and rolled down to the 287 turn-off at 95 mph (seriously). We turned off and immediately encountered a sign advising of construction on 287, and "motorcycles advised to take alternate routes". We pulled off and talked about it, and having already done 20 miles on fresh chip-seal, we waited for Paul for a while and then decided to instead proceed down I-90 to Butte and then take I-15 from there up to Helena; 50 miles longer but we could do it at pretty much 90 mph the whole way. We texted our plan to Paul and rolled on.

                  The Interstate route turned out to be more fun than I expected. There is a pass over the mountains to Butte on 90, and then another pass on 15 going up to Helena. The scenery was great, and the Interstate on those passes has 50 mph turns, which when taken at 95 mph were pretty interesting and fun! We met Paul for fuel and lunch in Helena. He had taken the 287 road which was not recommended for motorcycles. He rode though mud, dirt and gravel, called it a real "shit show". Good thing he does dirt and ADV riding on the side! His bike is a mess though.



                  We found a good diner for lunch near our gas station in Helena. Our waitress told us about her GSXR600 and we encouraged her to continue with our shared ridiculous hobby.



                  Then it was on for the next 180 miles or so to Kalispell. Our route zig-zagged from Helena on roads taking us north and west. James and I just flat hauled ass. Mostly cruising at around 90, once in a while blasting up to 120 plus, with a couple runs to the upper regions of the speedometer. There were some areas with cars, RV's and HD's to pass but mostly open country and open roads. Not much twisties, mostly straight roads on valley floors and the occasional high-speed sweeper. However, some drivers may have been offended when passing was required! The weather which had been perfect finally got a bit warm, it was over 90 later in the day.We arrived in Kalispell about 4:30. We got checked in and James made a beer run. Paul showed up a bit later and after the normal post-ride bullshit session we walked over to the Montana Club casino and restaurant for dinner. There was a 20 minute wait so we went over to the casino side... we got free beers, and I put $20 in a computerized slot machine... 15 minutes later I cashed out with $50 when they called us to dinner! James will post a pic.

                  Tomorrow we wrap it up with a ride back to the land of actual enforced speed limits...
                  "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

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                  • Well the 2020 Mini 2 West Rally is a wrap!

                    Before I post my final remarks and pics, I would like to acknowledge that I really suck at stopping to take photo's of beautiful scenery and interesting roadside items. James feels the same way to at least some degree. We discussed our mutual failure in this regards, and are blaming it on the fact that we:
                    1. Are usually going so fast that the scene in question is a long way behind by the time we can slow down, find a safe place to turn around, then hopefully find a place to park and take a shot.
                    2. Have usually just passed a whole bunch of HD's and/or cars etc., and it may have been difficult to get that done- doing that work over again is not an attractive prospect!
                    3. Are riders first and photo-journalists a very distant second. The scenery may be awesome and I really do enjoy it, but I am there to ride awesome roads first and foremost. Stopping a lot for photo-ops breaks up the flow of the ride...

                    So, my apologies and I tip my cap to the riders that do such a better job of photographing the scenery and unusual sites found on sport-tour.

                    Today was a short day- It was only 250 miles to Spokane from Kalispell, and with a heat wave moving in we all wanted to get off early and be done before we found ourselves riding in 97 degree weather. So we loaded up at the Motel 6 and headed out for breakfast at 7:30. We would have gone even earlier but we all have advanced "deer on road phobia".

                    2w12.jpg

                    After a nice breakfast in Kalispell at Syke's, which we highly recommend, we headed south down along Flathead Lake. Absolutely gorgeous views out over the lake, which has many tiny islands and sheltered little bays. The tourist season seems to be going full tilt there in spite of the pandemic, and marinas and resorts were all busy. We were stopped by a huge accident scene a few miles south of town, very grim looking head-on collision. Cautionary...

                    About 36 miles south of Kalispell we turned west on 28 and left the crowded lake shore for more wide-open Montana highway riding... that's right kids, roll her up to 95 mph and point her at the horizon, again! After about 75 miles of high valley straight-lining we met Highway 200 and followed the Clark Fork (of the Columbia) River winding through a gorgeous mountain valley down to St. Regis, where we met Interstate 90. We stopped there for fuel and a break, and to say goodbye. James would be turning off at Cour de Alene to ride south to Lewiston, and Paul would be heading to our respective homes once we hit Spokane.

                    2w13.jpg

                    The ride over the mountains into Idaho was fun at first- 50 mph twisties again on the interstate- but then road construction/lane closure/35 mph stuff hindered the last 15 miles of Montana freeway. That's okay, we enjoyed so much of Montana's roads, scenery and hospitality that I remain in her debt! I was home by 11:45 AM (thanks to the change to Pacific Time) and it was only 88 degrees when I pulled in.

                    The final tally is 1,675 miles ridden in five days. To be honest, I think taking an off-day in the middle of a rally like this is the way to go, my butt had enough of that MC seat by the time I stepped off today. The ZX14R and her new (not any more) tires were flawless the whole ride, I remain a passionate fan of this bike after over 5 years on her.

                    Thanks to James and Paul for joining me, the only downer of this year's ride was that so few of us could be there to enjoy it. We really missed the usual suspects, especially our Canadian friends who were barred by the pandemic and government policy from joining the fun.

                    Next year...

                    Greg
                    Last edited by gregness; 07-28-2020, 11:04 PM.
                    "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

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                    • It sounds like a great ride. Thanks for letting us tag along virtually given we couldn’t actually be there.


                      "I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it!"

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                      • Thanks for sharing!
                        KN, this ride's for You.

                        http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps2ecwj35m.jpg

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                        • Quite the adventures. From the descriptions I’d be willing to bet an Havana that Greg’s pace was a bit more exciting than his usual & that had me clinching my butt cheeks just imagining riding along in the fun. That lad can rock a long well paced day again & again enough to pick up a Duracell sponsorship.
                          Although stuck north of the boarder I found a way to rock grabbing a last min project with the Coast Guard in a new Bell 429 out to Pachena Point Light Station midway up Vancouver Island. It almost made up for missing 1/2 a days ride.
                          Last edited by bctrout; 07-29-2020, 08:36 AM.
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                          • Originally posted by bctrout View Post
                            Quite the adventures. From the descriptions I’d be willing to bet an Havana that Greg’s pace was a bit more exciting than his usual & that had me clinching my butt cheeks just imagining riding along in the fun. That lad can rock a long well paced day again & again enough to pick up a Duracell sponsorship.
                            Although stuck north of the boarder I found a way to rock grabbing a last min project with the Coast Guard in a new Bell 429 out to Pachena Point Light Station midway up Vancouver Island. It almost made up for missing 1/2 a days ride.
                            Dude, doing that helicopter tour of the BC coast as part of your job? Awesome!
                            "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

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                            • And while I do ride the curves quicker than some, JMenon is the king of top-end runs... No fear, apparently!
                              "The Price of Speed is Eternal Vigilance" 2015 ZX14R 30th, Four Kids

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                              • In route home to Tahoe. I am not going to sugar coat things. Its a big bummer we did not have our full crew on this ride. However, it was one overall the best riding I have done on a 2west Rally. Every day was a great mix of sweepers, curves, and some great straits that we could blow out the carbon!! Big big thanks to Greg for putting the ride together. And to Suzuki Paul...... We did hit some of these sections with a very solid pace. The traction control system on the BMW starts to warn you before you are getting close to it kicking in and taking over. I had that crazy German Engineer that programed it..... .talking to me..... "What are you doing... you crazy american (imagine a german accent)" Greg even on my lap top a number of the pictures are not showing up. Looks like some kind of loading bug on the site. As greg stated.. we really did not stop as much as we should for pics. There was a great section yesterday before we got to St Regis.. called paradise... and it was some of the most scenic wilderness out there as we followed the Flathead river. I ended up riding 365 miles yesterday then trailering the bike with my SUV another 250 miles to near Boise. work calls have me here till late morning then "only" 500 miles home to Tahoe...... It blows my mind that we dont have more younger people Lets say sub 40 that seem into true sport touring rides like this. Its kind of sad that the true big CC sport touring bikes are becoming a thing of the past. A lot of this is driven by a lack of younger people buying bikes like the zx-14r, k1300s, Hayabusa..... The manufacturers wont invest money for these aging platforms to meet EURO 5 emissions rules. I googled "best sport touring bikes 2020" not one of those bikes that come up in many lists... do I consider sport touring bikes. they are adventure bikes like the BMW GS bikes and the like. Part of the reason that Kawi has invested a lot in H2 Supercharged engine platform. They can make 1 engine that is 1000cc and make an all out fast bike like the pure H2 then have other versions of it for a ST bike like the SX etc. Good thing that the kawi big CC bikes are reliable as all get up... they will be around for a long time to come in the used market.
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