I almost didn't get to go this year due to a snow storm forecast to hit two days before I left. Thankfully instead of a foot of snow we only got 4" and the roads were clear by the time I left. Seems that was destined to bite me in the butt later...
Accomplished another SS1k (SaddleSore 1000, 1k miles in 24 hours or less) on the way out through some cold and windy weather. At least I stayed dry, that was a nice change! Here's my SPOT map from the trip:
The new bags were wonderful, I got to pack a pair of jeans, hiking boots, and nothing was stuffed at all. Actually had an empty saddlebag to hold extra layers and liners as I took them off if/when the weather warmed up. Waterproofness has yet to be seriously tested as, for once, I hit very little rain. Rain gear, lots of layers, clean clothes, camping gear, cooler, snacks, tools, etc all fit with plenty of room to spare.
Packed and ready the day before departure. Those black things are handlebar mitts, really help my hands stay warm. Worth every penny!
My current favorite sticker on the bike:
Arrived safely in Casey, IL on the farm where the campers gather.
Nice big fire was burning, even at 2pm, it was chilly! Mmmm toasty toes. Loving having comfortable shoes and jeans (and long johns and huge socks, lol).
This great couple had an awesome setup! A beautiful pair of well accessorized bikes, a great tent, and a trailer complete with their traveling companion Shasta, a young heeler/pointer mix. What a dear soul she was, a true find! Someday I hope Karla and I are as well kitted as this.
A gentleman from the Nederlands named Sjaak stayed with us for the event as well. He's an extreme motorcycle traveler, his latest adventure is riding a Yamaha R1 sportbike from the tip of the continental US to the very southernmost point. He started at the top of Alaska, in the winter!! If you're interested in reading more: http://r1goesextreme.com/. He stopped at Moonshine on his way to Key West. He certainly added some flair and flavor to our campfire discussions! I wish him well.
Saturday, Moonshine day, dawned cool with a crisp wind. But what's that? SUNSHINE??? What a welcomed change! It was certainly colder than last year with the wind, but man oh man no soggy burgers! The local turnout was ginormous, easily making up for the lack of long distance riders stuck at home trapped by snow. How in the world they manage to serve over 2,000 burgers that are fresh, never frozen, I have no clue! They are delicious!
Back at the farm. Had a quick nap and hung out around the fire before dinner. Great conversation, even better sunshine!
Todd's BMW K75
Jeff's Kawasaki Versys (sister to my Ninja 650R, same motor and a lot of shared parts)
They are great friends and great company. Jeff brought me Wawa lemonade ice tea and Todd hauled along a 12 pack of my favorite beer, Yuengling, neither of which I can get at home. Both brought me other assorted things. I didn't bring them a darn thing!! I'll do better next time.
Enjoyed a chili dinner to benefit the local firefighters, then plenty of beveraging and more:
I don't think I hit the sleeping bag until almost midnight!
Packed up and said goodbyes for a leisurely 8am departure the next morning. Enjoyed some two lane roads and divided highways up to St. Joseph, MO. You know how mothers worry, so I had made a reservation at a hotel for the night. Ahhhh, the luxury! All tucked in out of the rain
Enjoyed one of these with my dinner. Living like a king!
A heavy sleep and a free breakfast saw me back on the road the next morning at 7am. I had spoken with my friend John the night before, the snow storm originally forecast to hit Denver on Tuesday was now supposed to start dropping the white stuff just in time for my return. Drat! I agreed to give him a call for a pickup if I couldn't get all the way home. Good friend!
Well, I got within 40 miles of home!! I could see the snow storm from 50 miles away, stopped before I put myself at any risk. 15 minutes or so after I got stopped, the snow started coming down in earnest. I didn't need to check the radar to know this was as far west as I would be going, this truck was coming from Denver...
I called Karla to reassure her, sent an "OK" message through the SPOT and posted on Facebook. Spoke with John, he would happily head my way shortly with his pickup. Again, good friend!! I hung around a rather posh and comfy truck stop, watching the news of the Boston Marathon bombings :(. Took a walk around outside to locate the best loading spot and saw this beauty, an Earth Roamer! These babies cost over $250k new!!
The Bylin taxi service is here! Time to get the bike loaded.
I don't like loading motorcycles into pickups. The angle of the ramp is always frightening, requiring speed to get up without getting stuck and/or falling over. Then you have to hit the brakes to keep from slamming into the front of the bed. Add in the high suspension on John's heavy duty truck and a ramp and truck bed covered in ice and snow and well.... Couldn't sit there thinking about it, just gas and go!! Flew up the ramp, felt the lower plastic cowling bottom out slightly at the top but had enough speed the bike just kept going. Hit the brakes once I got in the bed which did nothing!!! I slid right into the front of the bed, whoopsie! Thankfully no damage at all to that tough Dodge, whew! My heart was pounding, I had no idea how I just managed to accomplish that in snow falling so hard it was difficult to see. Where was my superhero cape?
Less than a mile from where I had stopped in Bennett the roads looked like this. Remember, when I stopped, the roads weren't even wet!
As the roads got worse, so did traffic. Took us over an hour to do that 40 miles of interstate. John is a SAINT!! Thank you John!!
Well, almost, still had to get the bike OUT of the truck. Yikes!! Lets dig out a "landing zone."
Thank god John and Karla were there. I swear they literally caught me at the bottom of the ramp as I came careening out of the bed feeling just barely on the edge of control. Whew! Again! They deserve some capes for sure (and I needed fresh undies...). Thank you!!
The bike still sits in the garage pretty much untouched, off to shovel 9" of wet snow before more comes in tomorrow!
Moonshine next year is April 12th, I hope to see you there!