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Thread: 2 Women, 2 bikes, 17 States, 5 Provinces, 23 riding days, 11870 KM

  1. #1

    Thumbs up 2 Women, 2 bikes, 17 States, 5 Provinces, 23 riding days, 11870 KM

    This is my first bear with me. This will take me some time to complete and will be adding videos as I edit them along the way. Any input to make this a better RR please PM me. Thanks! Trip was from July 16th - August 11th 2010. We rode for 23 days but were away for 26.

    LINK to our BLOG we kept while on the road! A lot of it is posted in this RR!

    OUR SPOT Adventure page

    Quick break down of expenses and this is a rough idea....

    Gas costs = $800 for both bikes
    Camping and lodging costs = about $2000
    Average cost per day including having to replace my Contour HD cam, you will read why later, replacing our intercom system, again you will read what happened, all of our "touristy things", food, gas, lodging and "repairs" was about $198 per day.

    My partner Cheryl and I have been together for 12 years and decided in April we would take our new 2010 BMW F650GS bikes across the USA and Canada and do it in 26 days with riding for 23. We had no itinerary other than we needed to get to New York, specially Long Island to be able to spend time with my family. I am originally from New York and family is important to me. We knew this was going to be a huge distance to cover in a relatively short amount of time but we were up for the challenge.

    So, let me introduce ourselves and show you our bikes. This is me on departure day. My name is Leslie, I am 44 and have been street riding for 3 years. Grew up riding dirt bikes and enduros in NY. I work as an Intensive Care Unit Social Worker in a major Vancouver, BC hospital and love to spend my time way from my vocation riding bikes.

    This is my other half and her name is Cheryl. Cheryl just starting riding bikes 3 years ago after she graduated the RCMP training in Regina. Cheryl is 40 and decided to become a Peace Officer at the age of 36 and was the best career move she could have made.

    Departure day was July 16th 2010 @ 1515 hrs.

    I will be posting more about our gear and what we thought worked best throughout this RR. To back up a bit here are a few shots of our pre-packing day. being our first really long trip we felt the need to be organized and take an inventory of what we thought we would need on this trip. We knew were going to camp out but we also knew we would not stray to far from the beaten path because were needed WIFI access at times as we were BLOGGING this trip and wanted family to be in touch so they did not worry.

    This was our gear for the bikes but later we found it to be too much and shipped some back home.

    Cheryl enjoying a beer as we take a look at the gear. We did this inventory check about 2 weeks prior to departure.

    If you have any specific questions about what we brought and if it worked out please feel free to ask.
    Last edited by soph9; 08-23-2010 at 01:53 PM.

  2. #2

    July 16th 2010

    The Bikes! Our F650GS bikes are our first BMW bikes. We have owned 7 other makes and models prior to buying these. After spending a ton of $$ I think we finally found our type of bike for the riding we want to do!

    DAY 1 we decided to leave on July 16th rather the 17th and get a head start to Osoyoos, BC which is only about 4 hours away. We left a little after 3 in the afternoon and started heading east! Took a pic of my dash about 30 KM from my house and here is the starting mileage.

  3. #3

    July 16th 2010 con't Day 1

    The ride out to Osoyoos was simple and we took the Crows Nest path, RT 3 all the way out. Weather was a perfect high 20's Celsius. I will mainly be posting in Celsius and KM but every once in awhile will give you Fahrenheit and miles.

    We stopped for our first night to "camp" at a sort of crowded and busy campground right on the lake. Being our first time camping this way it took us awhile to set up and of course the next day break down camp but as the days went on we got this down to a science.

    On the way we stopped at Manning Park for our first break...and of course had to take a pic or two of the local Gopher residents that room freely around the main info area.

    First pit stop for gas and of course it is right next to the local RCMP detachment.

    This was not far from Osoyoos!

    After fueling up we just continued to ride until we got to the lake. Easy day easy ride and good way to end Day 1.


  4. #4

    July 17th 2010

    We got some sleep on our first night but not a lot. Right off the bat we were totally impressed with the Thermarest Pro Lite self inflatable pads we bought and we also brought along little memory foam pillows from Canadian tire. Both proved throughout the trip to be indispensable and worthy of the investment. Pillows only cost about $19 CDN. Well worth it and they pack really small.

    The goal for this day was to make it to Glacier National Park. The ride up and around Osoyoos Lake and into the interior of BC was awesome. Another beautiful day weather wise and great views.

    After enjoying the view we were off to the Border and entered the States at Porthill, ID. Interesting enough the Border Guard State side informed us to stay away from Browning Montana. As a matter of fact he said do not stop there or spend the night. He gave no reason but was adamant we agreed to stay away from Browning. Still only heard rumours as to why he said this but won't speculate and we just avoided Browning any way.

    We road for 11 hours this day in about 28 to 31 Celsius or 86 too 90 degree heat. Not long into the ride after we left Osoyoos we noticed Cheryl had a screw in her front tire and I had a very long nail on my rear. Cheryl's tire was fine mine had to be plugged. Nice guy in Castlegar fixed the tire and we got to learn how to plug a tubeless motorcycle tire for $10. Good part it only took 15 mins to fix. We had a plug kit as part of our tool kit so if this happened again we knew we would be able to do it ourselves.

    The weather was great but a little hot....the bikes are running well but our butts are getting really sore. Pulled up to a gas station not far from the KOA near Glacier, YES a KOA for WIFI and it is nice.....anyway, this guy saw our HD motorcycle cam and thought we were gnarly. Folks in Montana ride motorcycles without helmets or gear. Either they are crazy or know something we don't. I think we will continue to wear gear and our helmets throughout this HUGE state. We are having difficulties trying to really fit in leisure activities without worrying about getting to NY and back home in 26 days. But we will work it out.

    So, day 2 came to a close and we were still not sure what we were going to do tomorrow....head East, drive up Road to the Sun in Glacier. That would be 4 hrs out of the was time to pack it in for this day.

    Last edited by soph9; 08-23-2010 at 11:16 AM.

  5. #5

    July 18th 2010

    Everyone has to ride the Sun Road and so we did.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010 (415 km) woke up in Kalispell, MT after a decent night’s sleep. Broke down camp and discussed where the Beemer’s would take us today. After a spin on the KOA scooter bike thingers, we were off and heading up the Road to the Sun in Glacier National park.

    The scenery was amazing; however, the traffic was an annoyance we could have done without! FOUR hours to ride 60 miles ugh! Annoying four wheeled vehicles aside, we enjoyed the views and the jaunt was a worthy one. When we reached the summit, Logan’s Pass, we met some fellow Canucks who were also riding, but seemed to think we were crazy for riding such tall bikes, let alone riding them to New York. Ahhhh, they were from Saskatchewan, what do they know! Weather was sunny and hot. High got to 32 Celsius.

    Some views!

    Chatting with fellow Canadians who thought we were nuts for traveling so far in such a short time....the top of the Sun Road.

    Heading to Great real off road riding yet because we needed to still get to NY quickly so we could spend at least 3 or 4 nights with my parents. We rode mainly off the main highways and did country roads.

    Last edited by soph9; 08-23-2010 at 11:19 AM.

  6. #6

    Once we were out of the park, we headed to Great Falls; MT where we splurged and spent the evening in an air conditioned KOA Kamping Kabin.

    I can‘«÷t be too long without my beloved internet which also why we choose the KOA‘«÷s as they have WIFI access. We had a nice relaxing enjoyable evening, drinking some beer, chilli on the fire and even a shower! Cleaned and shined up, we headed to bed in our cute little kabin for the night.

  7. #7

    July 19th 2010

    Monday, July 19, 2010 (793 km) slept in a bit this morning and thought we would enjoy a KOA breakfast but it was too expensive and would have taken too much time. So, we had an oatmeal bar and off we went to hand in our Kabin key....that was when the expensive losses of the day began. I left my glasses by the cabin and when I went back to look for them I found a pair of crushed prescription glasses. My only pair for the trip. Pissed off I was but Cheryl said don‘«÷t worry. She gave me an extra pair of sunglasses and I could see but not the way my driver‘«÷s license says.

    We also gave our camping chairs to some loading some extra weight and things are not using. If you look back at our departure pics, you will see the chairs on top of the yellow wolfman dry duffel bags. After this stop we realized we would be camping where there were tables and no need for our $29 REI chairs and some little boy for his birthday got a new chair along with his sister. They LOVED them.

    Stopped at a little diner in Lewiston, Montana for breakfast and I bought a cool pair of shades. Very cloudy day and off in the distance we could see rain...the wind was a killer today and with that said, I was wearing my Contour HD1080p helmet cam for some dumb reason and going 140km/hr with high winds, my cam and mount blew off. Cheryl saw it leave my head and we went back to take a look at the carnage. The cam was intact but the 16GB card and battery tossed out. Cam is out of commission. Chalk it up to me losing a lot of $$ today and Cheryl thinking to herself, ‘«£thank God it wasn‘«÷t me!‘«ō

    We had to pull over to the side of the road to pee and change into our rain liners. It was a high of 22 Celsius but was over cast and cool. Got rained on a bit but not much and headed to Devil‘«÷s Tower in Wyoming.

    Had to tie down our tarp to the bikes. the wind was really bad and we thought at the time a storm was coming so we used the bikes as anchors.

    We were determined to get out of that HUGE state of Montana and we did. Another KOA set up our tent in high winds and went to eat.

    we used to own Harley's and liked this sign!

    Cheryl never saw Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind and the Tower is freaking her out. We hoped to wake early and get a good start on the day but stopping at Mount Rushmore before we carry on to NY.

  8. #8

    Question on gear...

    What gear would you now leave behind?

  9. #9

    CLOSE CALL DAY - July 20th 2010

    Before I forget.....Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota and so far Wisconsin all do not have helmet laws for motorcycles. It also looks like motorcycle gear is optional. Needless to say Cheryl and I look like such the odd man out and obvious to the locals we are tourist riders. We both agree we rather ride our way. These guys are NUTS in those states!

    Woke up early to a beautiful sunrise and cool morning. Had breakfast at the KOA restaurant and headed out on our way to Mount Rushmore.

    What you would see inside our tent on some nights.

    Good morning Devil's Tower!

    Cheryl's mascot. She found this little guy and took him along for the ride!

    This is Cheryl showing me how to roll up the rope the correct way. Obviously I did the one in her right hand.

    Leaving Devil's Tower and btw, the KOA host was really biker friendly,

    After we departed the Close Encounter Tower we made a short detour and rode through Sturgis, SD. We were there about 2 1/2 weeks before the annual BIG rally. We are not LARGE group people so seeing Sturgis without the 1000's of bikers was just fine with us.

    Spoke to a gal who lives in Sturgis and I asked how does the town like being the #1 hot spot once a year for bikers? She stated, "we love the attention and the money it brings in". She also said the rally is a lot of fin for the locals in general! Good to know.

    Got to the monument and there was a long line to get into the National Park. So, we U-turned it and drove down the road a bit, stopped and took pictures. All that way to see the Presidents but we did not go in. Cheryl was pleased to see that massive carving as was I. I saw Mount Rushmore when I was a kid with my folks. Everything, including all the states we are cruising through looks different from a bikes view and as an adult.

    Notice the chairs on top of the dry bags are gone. We gave them away because we did not need camping chairs!

    So impressive to be honest and apparently they just finished not too long ago a major restoration.

    On this day something weird happened to me while riding. We were on I-90 doing about 140km/hr when we hit a very uneven long stretch of road. I was feeling a little tired but I guess was not aware how tired I was. Out of nowhere I began to wobble I would call it going into an uncontrollable wobble spin. Then I seemed to have blacked out or fallen asleep. My partner said she was beeping her horn like crazy because she thought I was a goner into the center median. For some reason I awoke from whatever it was to find myself not in control of the bike but somehow managed to slow down without down shifting from 6. I was in the left lane by now and I did think for a moment if I was to crash I would try to slide the bike on the grass. Thankfully I did not crash and got to the right shoulder and saw my bike was still in 6th gear. Totally freaky and scary. The heat, 90 degrees and maybe not enough food + being tired made for one wake up call for both us. 5 Hr energy drinks came into my daily morning routine after this incident!

    After the Kodak moment, we then found by mistake a very cool twisty back country where we were greeted around a bend by a herd of black cows. They blocked our road for a bit as we watched them and they did not like us there. After the road cleared we headed to the EVER boring I-90 to try to make up time. I-90 has to be the worse road ever.

    Uneven, bad shape although they are working it, BORING and did I say BORING. We ended the day in very HOT weather. Got up to 32 Celsius and about 90 Fahrenheit. We were tired and hot by the time we got Mitchell, South Dakota. We were so psyched by the way when we got out of Montana. Much like the Prairies of Canada. Had a very nice greeting by the campground Hosts and even got a great deal on a cabin with a/c. We are obviously not roughing it and I am sure our credit will not thank us for this trip. Had a hard time starting the fire for our Chilli and Beans in the can but Cheryl got it going and all was good. Late to bed but satisfied with the mileage we did.
    Last edited by soph9; 10-06-2010 at 02:53 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by rfkneller View Post
    What gear would you now leave behind?

    Mainly clothes....all the gear we took even if we did not use it I would take again. It all depends on the type of camping we would be doing and how long but by the middle of the trip the only stuff we sent home was runners and clothes. WE got rid of the camping chairs but if we are going to back country camping in the future we will need to get some sort of chair for that specific trip.

  11. #11

    July 21st 2010

    I seem to be missing pics from July 21 and 22. Go figure. When I find them I will post them!

    We got up really early this morning and were off. It is much easier to ride in the morning as we head east. It is cooler than the late day temperatures. Quickly stopped for a bite to eat at a Perkins and all fueled up we took off once again for the dreaded I-90.

    Cheryl did get creative with the GPS and managed to save our lack of attention by taking us on a very nice scenic Country road for hours. Then we actually had to ride the I-90 to our destination of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. That is all we did today in 90 degree weather was ride. Both of us had to stop quite a bit to hydrate and we took our under gear and soaked it with water.

    We rode in LDComfort Undergear. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this underwear. Rode with the vents on the arms of our jackets slightly opened and that made the inside of our gear cooler as well as our body temperature. Riding in this heat we have to be really careful not to overheat and tire. One mistake and it is lights out when you are on a bike.

    Little did we know that where we were going to be staying the night in possibly the biggest tourist trap in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells. Lots of water parks etc. Kids all over the place and stupidly high accommodation prices. Kamper Kevin is annoying Cheryl. He is one of the hosts. We are now trying to map out the last leg of this first part of our journey. Might be in NY by Saturday, July 24.

  12. #12

    Some gear info!

    We have the same exact gear!

    Jackets - Rev'It Cayenne Pro
    Pants - Olympia Air Glide 3 over pants
    Boots- TCX Air Tech XCR Touring Boot ()
    Gloves - BMW Atlantis Gortex gloves and REV'IT! Sand Gloves



    Cardo G4 intercom power set

    Garmin Zumo 660 GPS on a Touratech Mount ( GPS is on Cheryl's bike, the blue BMW)

    SPOT satellite messenger mounted on my bike on a ram mount.

    Gateway Netbook, iPhones, Contour HD1080p helmet cam, digital cameras.

    Both bikes have Al Jesse Safari Luggage (completely waterproof and fits more than you think in 8 inch bags)

    Jesse Engine guards, Jesse skid plate

    Kaoko throttle lock (did not use it all that much but on the flats of Montana and parts of Canada came in really handy)

    Kickstand extender by Touratech (much needed accessory but can get in the way when parking on slopes)

    Cee Bailey touring shields 16 inch

    BMW large hand guards

    Can not remember where we got our light protector will post when I do. (BEST REST)

    Wolfman Large Dry Duffel bag ( AWESOME and handy)

    Wolfman Rainier tank bag and we ran a powerlet cable through to be able to charge our iPhones on the road.

    Rotopak 1 gallon fuel tanks and mounts. (Never ran out of gas but good to know we had them)

    Almost a complete tool kit using the Cruz tools and adding our own, we took chain cleaning stuff, cycle pump and of course lube, etc.....

    Last edited by soph9; 03-02-2011 at 10:24 PM.

  13. #13

    Angry July 22nd 2010 - The MILWAUKEE STORM

    Not many pics today because it was pouring OUT~Woke up to light rain and began to pack up when the skies opened to a torrential down pour. We only had to ride 184 km to get to the Lake Express Ferry but it felt like it took a really long time to get there. Our gear kinda let us down today to be honest. Our Revit jackets with waterproof liner did not completely keep our upper body dry and that too me is not acceptable considering the price we paid for them.

    That is a whole other story. Anyway, we arrived at the ferry about 2 hours before it took off. Cheryl's GPS skills took us through Milwaukee which was interesting. Kinda smelly. The rain drops were so freaking big and heavy when we arrived. The Fast Ferry to Muskegon, Michigan was nice but HOLY did I read the prices incorrectly on the web. When we checked in to our surprise it was $38 US for each bike and $85 US for each adult. Plus a security fee, good ole Homeland Security of $22 as well as a fuel surcharge of $20. Total to cross Lake Michigan $288 USD for 2.5 HR ride. The good news is that when we finally tied down our bikes on the deck we got upstairs too late to get a seat. Why is that good news? Because Chris one of the ferry staff let us in the Premier Lounge. Like first class and served us coffee and food while we sat in private from the regular folks. So, maybe that $288 wasn't so bad after all. Saved us about 530 km of riding and trying to navigate past Chicago etc.

    After the ferry we landed and the rain had past we decided to ride. Headed to Flint, Michigan to a Holiday Inn Express to treat ourselves. Not the very best part of the state but the hotel staff were nice, gave us a discount, free dinner and breakfast as well as we parked our bikes right near the entrance. Cheryl has done wonders with the GPS, we have been taking care of one another, eating snacks, drinking water and just watching out for one another. Our intercom system is priceless and allows us to stay in communication with one another at all times. Today was a little tough with the HUGE rain drops but overall still a good day. Next back to Canada through London, Ontario and then down back to the States.

  14. #14

    July 23rd, 2010 Niagara Falls

    Got a great start after staying at the Holiday Inn in Flint. Free hot breakfast and no rain. We watched the early morning news to find out that the storm we road in through Milwaukee was apparently a record breaking rain storm for that area. The city got 7 inches of rain in 3-4 hours.

    The roads flooded so much that a SUV was sucked into a sink hole still running. So, I guess to be fair to our gear not proving to keep us dry is understandable considering how hard it was raining. Believe it or not our summer riding boot, a TCX boot with a Gortex liner actually kept our feet dry and warm. Amazing!

    Once we were all loaded we headed off to Canada, Port Huron/Sarnia crossing. Our NEXUS passes were worth every $50 that day as it saved us at least 1.5 hrs waiting to cross in about 35 degrees Celsius. Was in Canada for only few hours because our destination was Niagara Falls. We got to the falls and talked our way into getting free parking. We really only wanted to take some pics and leave. Hazy Hot and Humid and the Falls were loaded with tacky tourists. Oh yeah....I guess we were one of them. Got some Kodak moments and off we went yet again.

    The humidity in NY was overwhelming to us being from the west coast and took the easy way out by hotelling it with a/c.

    Had to park our bikes on wood because the pavement was too soft due to the heat during the day and night.

    Our NEXUS passes were very useful as we entered the USA at Buffalo. Cruised right on through past all the line up. Managed to somehow stay out of the rain the whole day long. We were expecting to camp in Warsaw, New York but the campground did not have a cabin and it really looked like it was going to pour. We headed to another hotel for the night but we are missing the KOA‘«÷s/‘«ōcamping‘«ō environment.

    By this time I am looking forward to getting to my parents. The bikes need an oil change now and we really need to replace the rear brake pads. I ordered Galfer rear pads and had then shipped to my folks and we were going to change them there. As for the oil change you will see what we did.

  15. #15
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Santa Cruz CA
    Great pics and trip, Leslie. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

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