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Thread: CA/WI loop

  1. #1

    CA/WI loop

    My boys signed up to attend a hockey camp in Brainerd, MN the last week in July. I was going to drive out with my 8-year old daughter and camp at all the great National Parks on the way but then she got selected to be on a competitive gymnastics team. My wife informed me that her season begins in July and that the team was strict about practices and she couldn't miss the 3 weeks I had planned on to make the trip. I say " great......then I'll ride my moto". Nothing was said as she knew I was really looking forward to the camping with my daughter. I had done the same trip twice with my boys when they were that age. As time went by, I heard my wife on two or three different occasions mention to her friends, that I was going to ride my motorcycle..........

    Plan was to have 6 days to get there, 10 days at the Breezy Point resort on Pellican Lake, with my wife and daughter, and then however many days I was "allowed" to get home. I left my house and immediately turned away from the freeway, taking backroads to one of the best backroads in CA. Quincy-LaPorte road. I was here in June and in still wasn't open due to snow. I've stopped at this place every time I've been on the road.

    It was pretty hot, found a spot along Lake Almanor where I could take a dip and still keep an eye on the bike

    Susanville, CA

    Into Oregon

    I was on OR 395. You can really fly, not much of anything all the way to Burns. The landscape was barren, coming from the Sacramento area which is the urban sprawl capital of the US, I find " nothing" is beautiful. I didn't take any pictures, the riding was fast and fun. Night time came and I beached at an RV park in Burns.

    It was a beautiful night, no need to set up the tent. I ate the rest of the food I'd brought that needed refrigeration for dinner, not the best camp meal I've ever made but it was good enough.

    The next day I headed across Oregon and into Idaho, heading north from Boise on I95. I think it was the Salmon R. that I was following...

    Oregon sunrise

    then onto HWY 12, aka. "Lolo Pass". The only reason I have any pictures of it is because I stopped for a swim. This road is really laid out well, very, very nice.

    the water was shallow, fast, and the softball size rocks covered with algae......... not so great for swimming, probably world class for fly fishing.

    It was getting dark as I found a place to camp in Ronan, MT. Another clear night, no tent needed, big Sky, big stars.
    Last edited by franze; 08-16-2010 at 03:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Idaho sunrise, approaching Flat Head Lake

    I was heading towards, Glacier Nat'l Park. A few months ago I was reading, with mild interest, a thread on the forum about this park. Then SheRidesABeemer, posted a picture of the main road through the park. It's called "Going-to-the-Sun" road. Yes, it's hyphenated, and yes, it sounds like a Beatles song. I PM'd my friend Rinty from Calgary about this ride and he sent me some info that sealed the deal for me. Thanks Gail and Rinty for the inspiration.

    Then it was HWY 2 across the top of Montana. At Rudyard I headed south across some smaller roads............ not sure if they have names or numbers

    this was one of those times that ATGATT didn't work for me.......really hot and no traffic.

    I saw a lot of beauty in the Big Sky

    At Ft. Benton I crossed over the Missouri Breaks. Did not see Marlon Brando dressed up in a dress and bonnet hunting for rustlers.............

    I got a motel in Lewiston, MT as my nice weather was looking like it was coming to an end.
    Last edited by franze; 08-16-2010 at 03:41 AM.

  3. #3
    the next morning it was time to wash the bike......the fun way.

    This pretty much typifies the eastern Montana roads.......... bring the paver.........leave the grader at home.

    1hp all-terrain vehicles

    must have seen 50 signs like this throughout Montana. None in all the states that border it.

    you've got to be up on your Wild West history to understand this one.

    took the back way into N.Dakota

    I took a detour to Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park. My boys and I camped at this exact spot when they were 5 and 7. We crossed that river ( the Little Missouri ) and climbed to the highest peak (to the far right ) on those bluffs. I don't think my wife would have allowed it, but she wasn't there.....

    Reluctantly, I headed towards the interstate and ate some miles. Taking time to do a quick tour of Spiritwood, N.Dakota, a small farm town where my grandmother grew up.

    this old pioneer dwelling

    was right next to the school............ at least one classroom on the 3rd floor is cool in the summer.....

    I kept riding, into MN, and then another small detour in Underwood, MN, to pay respects to my dad's grave. I was there with my boys on one of our trips. Had a hard time finding it in the dark wearing my fading headlamp. It would have been a lot more emotional for me if my daughter had been with me.

    I eventually stopped for the night.....midnight......... in Alexandria, MN. Both my grandparents lived there when I was growing up in PA and we visited every summer. My paternal grandparents owned a resort on Lake L'hommedieu and I have a lot of good memories from then. The other grandpa owned a grain elevator in Miltona and that was always fun going out there. At that late hour none of the motels in town were open. I saw an Alexandria policeman and pulled him over : He directed me to the south end of town, near the airport where I found a room at the inn. That was a long day for me, over 700 miles. Oh yeah, the only 24 hour restaurant was cleaning it's carpet. I had to settle for 6 muffins.......... not fun.

    The next day I went to Minneapolis to ship a chair from my wife's uncles house back to CA. It's part of our dining room set that my wife has that was her grandmothers. I stopped off at a very special place for me. 9 mile creek in Bloomington.

    I said " will you?" she said " yes".........

    Leaving Bloomington I got lost in the freeway maze, eventually ending up north of St. Paul, near Stillwater, MN. That is a great town along the St. Croix river. I was hoping to make it to Houghton, MI as that's where my early memories begin.......but the 700 mile day beat me down. About the middle of northern Wisconsin, the rider ran out of gas. That happened about the same time my moto was also out of gas and the guy at the gas stationed directed me to Brunet Island State Park. I'm a big fan of Beer Team's Wisconsin homage and this campground turned out to be a good memory.......well, it did cost me 29$ for one night of camping.......... I needed a camping permit, a park permit, and and non-resident use permit............. I'd rather throw money at a parks and recreation budget than anything else though, so I didn't let the cost put a damper on my mood.

    I made about three trips through the campsite loops before I decided on this spot....wasn't a lot to choose from.

    I walked about a mile down to take a picture of this site. It was on a small point, plenty of shade, sandy beach at your tent door. Really incredible.

    I talked to the guy and he said he picked the spot "on-line" and was wondering what was wrong with it...........

    well, it turns out my spot was pretty good. Meet my neighbor, Bernie, from Green Bay.

    Bernie was one of those pro-campers. Electrical lights out at night, mosquito smudge pots burning, bikes for all his kids. Anyway, while I"m setting up the tent he comes over and asks me if I could eat a fajita. Says, he made too much and if I could eat one, it would really help him out so he wouldn't have to put any left overs away. I say "sure" and he returns with a huge fajita. Dinner problem solved for me. Later on we talk about Brett Farve as I am a huge Vikings fan and he by geographical selection, is a Packer Fan.

    Next morning, I'm packing up and he walks over with a plate of bacon, sausage, and hashbrowns. Doesn't even bother asking, just brings me a hot plate of Good Morning. After I'm all loaded up I ask if I can take his picture and find out where he's camping the next couple of nights. I invite him to park his rig at Breezy Point while I'm there but he's got other plans.

    I head north.

    I miss a great opportunity to get a picture of a doe, chest deep in a stream in a forest with the sunlight on her........gorgeous!!!

    make it to the Apostle Islands and then turn west, back towards Duluth.

    Last edited by franze; 08-16-2010 at 03:52 AM.

  4. #4
    My first time to Mecca: suits waiting for repair

    part of the shipping dept. you can see the postal meter on the front desk.

    the showroom

    This is really worth it. You get 10% off as a walk-in customer. No sales tax on apparel in MN, and no shipping charges. I got some Combat Touring Light boots for about 244$.

    due to some road construction.........I end up taking the back roads to Breezy Point

    I check into our home for the next 10 days. I like it!

    the next day the tribe arrives. Brothers, sisters, friends, and cousins.........

    after 3 days, the boys went off to camp a few miles away at Pequot Lakes, and my daughter got full attention. My friend let her drive the boat......she's a natural!

    lots of fishing

    I didn't know water lilies had flowers

    After I'd been 'relaxing' for a few days, I realized I managed to lose one of the top clamps for my sidecases. I was going to dump the sand out of it, started to take it off, then figured I'd be getting more sand in there, so didn't take it off..........and didn't put the clamp back on. This is the piece I lost running errands around Breezy Point.

    I had some time on my hands and hit the local hardware store to see what I could find to cheaply fabricate one. Here's what I returned with.

    workbench and tools

    the caveman goes to work. By the way, this rock was awesome. Flat on all sides, I brought it back to CA.

    I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.........but would it hold up for the ride home???

    Vanessa caught this bass , by herself, off the dock on our last day. One of the guys at the Marina said it was the biggest fish he'd seen caught from the dock. Girl Power!!!

    Last edited by franze; 08-15-2010 at 10:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Thanks for sharing, Franze. Your ride reports are always fun to follow.
    Karen Jacobs
    2012 R 1200 RT
    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

  6. #6
    Very nice! Thanks for sharing your ride.

  7. #7
    Hi Karen and Bruce,

    Thanks for the comments. This is a "loop" which means I went home a different way. I'll try to get those pix up soon. It was "eventful". A lot of this which led to this .................


  8. #8
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Very nice post. Looks like you had a little bit of the best of everything
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  9. #9

    Homeward bound

    We had a wonderful 10 days on the lake in MN but eventually all vacations.......wait, let me clarify that statement......all MY vacations, must come to an end. The weather was showing rain on the way, so I opted to leave a day earlier in hopes of getting in one last pass I had on my list.

    I headed straight across MN from Brainerd and then into S. Dakota. There were lots of abandon farms throughout the midwest. Some looked like some body could still be there, and others looked like the residents had bailed long ago.

    It's long and straight and hot.

    In hindsight I wish I would have paid more attention to my tire (tourance) pressure as they started to cup badly and started to give me something to worry about. I am not very good at worrying. I crossed S. Dakota on HWYS 12 and then 20. In viewing the map I noticed that the town of Bison, S. Dakota is a mere 32 miles down the same road from Buffalo, S. Dakota. Thought I'd have to check that out. If you find yourself on HWY 20, just east of Buffalo, this is a great place to camp in Custer Nat'l Forest

    here's the view from the woods of that campsite

    Here's somewhere I definitely will go back to. North of Buffalo on Hwy85 I saw a sign for camping in another section of the Custer Nat'l Forest. This was the one place I wish I had more time, more gas, and someone with me.

    Ok, I love my iPhone for weather reports, the Maps ap, and of course music.........but AT&T........ let's get it together!!!!! No coverage in the Dakota's??? I spent the night in a motel in Bowman, N. Dakota.

    The next morning I got an early start, the final "wish" I had for this trip was another road that I read about in the Glacier thread on the forum.........Beartooth Pass. Liked the sound of it and have been into Yellowstone from some other roads ( driving 4 wheels) so I was happy to have dry roads, good health, and a good running moto.

    Beartooth Pass, WY

    As Beartooth descends into Yellowstone, you have the option of turning on to Dead Indian Pass, A.K.A. Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to Cody, WY. When I did these trips with my boys, we found Cody on our first trip out and went there on the way back as well. Same for the next year. Despite the sound and squiggles on my map of Dead Indian Pass, I decided to save that for next time and headed straight into Yellowstone.

  10. #10

    If you've never been to Yellowstone, it's the closest thing you can get to a wildlife safari in N. America. In a couple hours I saw eagles, bears, elk, deer, buffalo, and a model T. I camped at the south end of the park that night and was treated to a fabulous light show of diffused lightning in far away rain on me.

    Leaving the park the next day and heading into the Tetons

    I headed into Jackson. I've got to ski there someday!!! Anyway, decided against a Moab/Arches run into Utah and went over the Tetons on Hwy 22. I followed some guy on a road bicycle on the backside of the pass, he was going about 60 mph wearing spandex and with probable less than 2 square inches of rubber on the road!! Anyway the pass dumped me back into Idaho and at a small town called Victor, I stopped to shed some clothes. Here's where the readers of this report will be divided into two groups. Those that are mechanically minded and do their own work, and those that don't. The first group will be amused at what transpired and the second group hopefully will be informed.

    As I was putting my warm clothes away I noticed oil leaking from the fill plug on my final drive. Yikes!!! I know that it wasn't leaking on the way out as I checked everything pretty good before I left for the ride home. I just had the 24k service done and specifically asked what they did to the final drive. "Change the fluids" was the reply. So, why after 3.5k miles was oil seeping from the plug???? Of course my first thoughts were........... " maybe I spilled some olive oil when I was packing up the kitchen and it just happened to land on the final drive plug and form a neat flow pattern like it was coming from the, not likely. Now, when something like this happens, and you are NOT mechanically inclined. Your ride profile changes dramatically. The seeds of doubt, grow rather quickly in the mind fertilized with internet threads boo-hooing BMW final drives. I decided to clean off the area, drive for awhile, and see how much it leaked. The bike seemed to be running well, but now I was "hearing" all sorts of noises. Should have left the iPod on. So I continue on.... Idaho more oil. more oil. I decide to find some shade and do some things that I remembered reading about. I think Mr. Glaves gets the credit. I find some shade, unload the bike. Get the tool for the final drive fill plug to see if it's loose, it is NOT. And, there is fresh oil coming out of the cap!!! Ok, I feel the final drive, it is not spit-steaming hot, but it is a few degrees above warm. I get the bike on the center stand to see if there's any side to side play. None..........HOORAY. Then I realize the tire was still on the asphalt when I checked for play..........NOOB!!!! So I put my tail pack on the front bars, get the tire in the air by jamming my hard head into the luggage rack and check for play. NONE. So far so good.

    I check the iPhone for BMW dealers. My options are Salt Lake City or Twin Falls Idaho ( I later found out the Twin Falls dealer did not exist, the next closest shop would have been Boise). But, it's Sunday, and most shops will also be closed Monday so I don't know what to do. I decide I'd rather be broke down in Idaho than on the Salt Flats so I continue on to Twin Falls. In Twin Falls I stop for fuel and food. I see the smallest amount of oil coming from the cap. Then I remember the Anonymous Book. I've carried it with me for a few years, and never opened it. I took it into Subway, ordered some food, and began calling the numbers listed for Twin Falls. About the fourth number, a woman answered. I said I was calling from the Anonymous book and she knew what it was. She said her husband was the BMW rider and gave me his cell phone number. I called Truman and he was very helpful. He was asking all the right questions and told me he thought it could be a crush washer or an O-ring. He said he was at his cabin but he had a friend in Twin Falls that also had an 1150. I asked if he could call him for me and he said no problem. A few minutes passed and Pat called me. He said he was about 10 minutes away and gave me directions. I pulled into his street and he waved me into the open garage door. We shot the breeze for a few minutes. He said he did all the work on his 1150 and I noticed in had 90k miles on the clock. Anyway, he pulled the filler plug off, took out the crush washer and installed a new one in that he had " in stock" The washer looked fine to me but he had me run a finger nail across the sides and you could feel a couple small cuts. Invisible to the naked eye. He checked the final drive fluid, said I had plenty. I told him where I had to go ( it's a couple hundred miles of nothing but desert ) and he said if it was him, he'd go. That's all I needed to hear and I headed south on Hwy 93, towards Jackpot, Nevada. I checked the plug and no oil. I continued on towards Elko, no leak. I made it as far as Winnemucca before I couldn't shake thinking about a sit down steak dinner.

    The next day I made it home. My tires were pretty bad, the final drive was "healed" and I was happy to be home. I called Truman and Pat and thanked them for getting my spirit back on track and fixing my leak. I asked Pat if it would be OK if I kept his phone number in my contacts in case maybe I need a set of ears down the road some day. He said " no problem". Thanks guys!!!

    Home sweet home

    Too much straight lines at high speed

    and finally, my top clamp worked great. It showed no signs of wear.

    Last edited by franze; 08-18-2010 at 02:17 PM.

  11. #11


    Thanks for sharing

  12. #12
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Great read! Thanks
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  13. #13
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    What an adventure. Guess you want to talk to the mech. that did your final drive oil change and remind him to kindly replace the @$#% crush washer next time.
    3 cheers for the anonymous book, hey? Like I hear so often, it's one big family out there in BMW land.
    p.s. Your mention of Brainard brings back memories when I had a place 1/2 hr. north of there. Still miss it.
    Karen Jacobs
    2012 R 1200 RT
    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

  14. #14
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Calgary, Alberta
    Thanks for the report Paul, and glad you made it home OK. Looks like you had a fantastic trip.

    I had planned to travel to the Beartooth today, but the 911 got brushed by a City transit bus on Saturday, and is hors de combat.

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  15. #15
    Cheezwhiz and Ted, thank you for your comments. Karen, I don't know what could cause "cuts" in a washer that was securely tightened down. Since I can't grasp that basic concept, I will be shopping for a nice leather binder for my anonymous book....... oh, and I'll probably ask for an assortment of washers next time I service my bike because I DID learn something I'm NOT untrainable. We had a GREAT TIME in the Brainerd area. So different than California.

    I would like to take a minute to say how beautiful northern Wisconsin is. I think I could live there. On another trip I met a guy at a gas station with an old Landcruiser like I have. He had something like a "limited use" license on it. No inspections, no expensive registration, reduced insurance, all because it's not your primary vehicle and you use it on vacation. What a great idea!!!

    ok, and the cheese curds and the Leinenkugel beer is pretty good. I grew pretty fond of the Classic Amber and Creamy Dark

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