8 days, 7 States, 5 National Parks
Ever since my 1996 Alaska ride, when my return trip had me riding south through the Jasper and Banff National Parks in Alberta, Canada, I have wanted to take a trip to see Glacier National Park in the Montana area of the Rocky Mountains, a couple hundred miles south of its sister parks in the Canadian Rockies. Given a "change" in employment this spring (i.e., "I quit! ) I decided I had better engage in a little "test retirement" and take this trip I’d been thinking about for almost 10 years.
My destination was officially a UNESCO World Heritage site: Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, which straddles the U.S. border and includes our Glacier National Park. I figured that since I was going that way I may as well throw in a few other National Parks along the way.
I anticipated a 7-10 day ride over a lot of miles, so I did an oil/filter change and put a new set of Metzler Tourances on my 2004 DL1000 “V-Strom”. I had recently done the 15K valve check/adjust and started the journey with 17,155 miles on the Stroms’ odo.
This was my initial travel itinerary:
Day 1 – Home (SF Bay area) to Bridgeport, CA
Day 2 – Bridgeport, CA to Zion, UT
Day 3 – Zion, UT to Flaming Gorge in UT & WY to Grand Teton Nattional Park, WY
Day 4 – Grand Teton to Yellowstone National Park in WY & MT to Glacier National Park, MT
Day 5 – Glacier National Park, MT to Weiser ID
Day 6 – Weiser, ID to Silverton, OR (visit the relatives)
Day 7 – Silverton, OR to Anderson, CA (visit relatives)
Day 8 – Anderson, CA to Home
Here's an overview of the route...
Monday, June 20
Since I figured this would be a relatively short travel day I didn't leave home until about 10am.
Ready to depart from the south Bay.
This mid-morning departure also let me avoid the morning Bay Area traffic mess. Following I-680 I worked my way to I-580 East then followed Hwy 120 to Hwy 108 east.
As usual, Hwy 108 was a blast! I had to watch for gravel debris on some corners as cars and trucks cutting the tight corners have a tendency to kick gravel onto the road in places. Just before the Dardanelle area I stopped to check on a downed Harley rider. He had the misfortune to get into some of that loose gravel. There was another vehicle already stopped there and the rider said he was OK. They were trying to straighten his front wheel enough to allow him to ride it home. Since no additional help was needed I continued on.
Near the top of Hwy 108
And here’s one from the top.
Descending from the summit, I liked the look of this rock formation so I rode out on it and took some pics.
I also stopped at Leavitt Falls for another photo opp.
Just before Hwy 108 ends, at Hwy 395, you pass the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, where the Marines conduct winter training. Just past this (going East) I had to stop to enjoy this scenery.
Great view from here.
At Hwy 395, where Hwy 108 ends, I turned south and rode to Bridgeport where I refueled and bought a small pizza and a couple of beers (to go). Just outside of the south side of town I took a left on Jack Sawyer Rd., a small dirt road that takes you to one of the local natural hot springs. I spent this first night camping at Travertine Hot Springs, with a nice view of the mountains above Twin Lakes.
You can see the hot tubs at the end of the formation in the picture below. (There's a guy standing on top of the formation.) It’s a unique geo-physical formation with hot water coming down along the top in a small channel, about 1-2 inches wide and deep. It must have taken centuries for the hot mineral water to make these mounds. There are three separate hot tubs in this immediate area.
Pizza, beer and soaking in natural hot springs… this is a good start!
Day 1 was a relatively short day: 239 miles total
Tuesday, June 21
After awakening from a night of soaking in the springs and talking to various Hot Springs enthusiasts, I packed up and departed for the day’s destination: Zion National Park in Utah. I left Bridgeport at about 8:30am.
Here’s where I passed Mono Lake. Scroll --->
My first (planned) stop was not too far down the highway at the Whoa Nellie Deli, located in the service station where Hwy 120 comes down from Tioga Pass in Yosemite and meets Hwy 395. I had initially thought about taking Hwy 120 through Yosemite to get to 395, instead of Hwy 108, but Tioga Pass was still closed due to slides.
The Whoa Nelli Deli is somewhat famous (though little known) for it’s great food and atmosphere. I had their Breakfast Sandwich and was not disappointed at all. From the Whoa Nellie Deli I continued on Hwy 395 south to Hwy 120 east and on to Hwy 6 east to head across Nevada.
Hwy 120 eastbound is a very nice road that crosses a series of rolling hills. There is a sign posted warning travelers of these hills and dips. It is very possible to leave the ground if going too fast in this section. This is not something that I really wanted to do with the moderate cross winds and my heavily loaded Strom! I still had fun, though, while avoiding bottoming the suspension in the valleys of the “whoops”.
Looking east on 120 toward the "whoops". Yup, that's Nevada way over there.
While crossing Nevada the lowest temp I saw was 97°, with an average of 103° and a high of 107°. There were also constant cross winds from south to north of 20-40mph that required a near continuous right lean into the wind.
The roads here are mostly long and straight.
At one road construction area before Tonopah I was nearly blown over while stopped and awaiting the pilot car. That 20 minute wait seemed like forever with the near 100° heat and the high crosswinds. I didn't even trust my side stand with the bike's load in these winds. I just stayed in the saddle with my feet planted.
After refueling at Tonopah and downing another cold fruit beverage I continued on Hwy 6 west until Warm Springs where I turned onto Hwy 375 east/south. Highway 375 is known as the Extraterrestrial Highway (as announced on the sign below).
This is near the infamous “Area 51” where there have been numerous UFO “sightings”. Since there wasn't much else to see out here I kept my eyes open, but I saw no sign of UFOs. I did, however, run into Extraterrestrials... of sorts. I was cruising along, with a strong cross wind hitting from my right, when I felt some good sized impacts on my boots and leather pants from the knees down. What is that? No vehicles in front of me were kicking stuff up. What’s up?
Since I was cruising about 90mph I slowed it down to see what was going on. Then I saw them. Thousands of ‘em. Miles of ‘em. Locusts! All over the highway. I guess I was lucky. With the high wind they weren’t flying above waist level. And mostly not flying, at least until a moving object approached them. I didn’t get any of them on my windshield. Everything below about tank level was pretty bug-gutted up, though, including my boots and pants legs up to the knees.
These things are pretty Extraterrestrial looking so I guess Hwy 375 was an appropriate place to run into them. (I didn't stop for any locust photos... an error in retrospect.) Although I had thought about rain earlier (hoping for it to cool things down!) now I was hoping it would rain to clean off my boots and pants.
I followed Hwy 375 to Hiko, then onto Hwy 93 north towards Panaca, stopping at Caliente for another fill-up. Caliente... how appropriate! It sure was. After fueling up and downing a Snapple I continued on Hwy 93 to Panaca where I got on Hwy 319 east to the Utah border, where the road turns into Hwy 56.
I followed Hwy 56 to Hwy 18 south to I-15 and St George, where it was a mere 93°. Just before arriving at St. George is a Utah State Park called Snow Canyon. I hadn't initially planned to stop there but after the HOT desert crossing through Nevada I was looking for a brief rest period area (hopefully with water and shade!).
I am soooo glad I chose to stop at this park. The rock formations and colors were a wonderful way to follow up the long, straight desolate state I had just crossed.
I didn’t see the ($5) “Entry Fee” sign when I entered Snow Canyon and there was nobody in the booth.
Upon my departure I told the attendant at the exit booth that I didn't see any "pay to enter" signs.
I asked him if I should turn around and exit the way I came in (hehe). He just let me through.
He said something about the sign being way too small and difficult to see as he let me go through.
Anyway... this is a most beautiful park, with some seriously stunning white and red rock formations.
A couple of panoramas... scroll--->
There are multiple hiking trails in the park, but as I was (somewhat) on a schedule, I only stayed about an hour. A semi-shower under the day use area’s faucet was sure refreshing. They have day use and camping areas here at Snow Canyon, which was close to my day’s destination. I considered just calling it a day and spending the night here but decided that I still had plenty of miles before Zion, so I continued onward.
After leaving Snow Canyon I followed I-15 north to pick up Hwy 9 north to Zion.
At the Zion National Park entrance booth I purchased a National Parks annual pass. This was $50 and is good at all US National Parks (which typically charge $10 or $20 entry fees). Since I was planning on riding in at least five National Parks the annual pass made sense. I asked about camping inside Zion and I was told that there were no more camping spaces available (a very common scenario in the National Parks, at least without advanced reservations). Fortunately the commercial Zion RV and Camping park was just outside the Park’s entrance. I got a campsite there to put up my tent for the eve. They also had showers, which was somewhat of a bonus, as almost all of the National Parks do not have showers at their camp sites.
Total miles for the day: 527
Wednesday, June 22
I packed up and departed the Zion RV and campgrounds around 9:00am, then proceeded on Hwy 9 through Zion Park.
I did not have (or take) the time to do the tour bus to one of the main attractions of the park. Besides, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving my bike and all my gear unattended for too long. As I rode through the park I kept saying to myself What outstanding rock formations. What a great twisty road meandering through this park.
The 1.1 mile tunnel through the solid rock cliffs was also pretty cool. Especially where there were openings in the tunnel looking out the solid rock walls to the valley below. You’re not supposed to stop in the tunnel so I couldn't check out the complete view from these portals.
Here you can see one of these openings, from the outside.
I also saw my first bighorn sheep of the trip in Zion. There were several cars parked, with people sort of jogging down the road towards some rocks, cameras in hand. I passed them and looked up to see what they were running for.
I cruised up to the bottom of the rock and took this looking almost straight up.
It took more than an hour to work my way through the park, mainly because I stopped a so much to ogle and take pictures.
I exited at the northern end of the park.
Soon after leaving the park I was following a group of cars that got "stacked up" behind a lead car that was going very slowly (sub 40mph). Finally the road opened up to 2 lanes in our direction and we all proceeded to pass the slower car. I pulled ahead of everyone and was motoring along about 75mph. In my mirror I noticed a pickup also pass the other cars and work his way up to pass me. After too long a moment in my blind spot, I looked over to see that it was a County Sheriff pickup. He was giving me the “slow down” hand sign! I backed it on down to 65mph and he pulled away. Thanks officer!
After leaving Zion I proceeded east on Hwy 9 to Hwy 89 north. I decided to pass Bryce Canyon National Park, where I’d been before... very cool place, too! This flyby of Bryce Canyon was mostly to save the 2+ hour sidetrack that would have taken me over Hwy 89 north to I-70 east to Hwy 10 north to Hwy 191 north.
A section of Hwy 10, which was mostly long straights.
The section of Hwy 191 from Helper to Duchesne to Vernal included some awesome roads, from slow tight twisties following streams to high speed sweepers through rolling forests of Aspen and pine. .I just couldn't stop to shoot photos!
As it was getting late, and since I wasn't sure of the camping facilities in Flaming Gorge, I decided to get a motel room and spend the evening in Vernal.
Total miles: 392
Thursday, June 23
I departed Vernal, UT about 9:00am and headed north on Hwy 191 to connect with Hwy 44, where I crossed
from Utah into Wyoming to check out Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Flaming Gorge is a very large lake that
goes on for miles and miles. Not much of it can be seen from any one location along the road.
Hwy 44 in Utah was pretty cool, twisting through high mountain forests then descending to the lake level.
Finally, I can see the lake for the first time.
Here’s a panorama of Flaming Gorge. The road drops down via some nice switchbacks and heads to the left.
Then it was on to Hwy 530 in Wyoming. After getting down from the heights, to lake level, this section turned into one of those roads where you could see for miles and miles, ahead and behind. Rolling over the hills and valleys of the countryside there was some high speed cruising to be done.
I followed Hwy 530 to I-80 west to Hwy 372 north, then Hwy 189 over to Hwy 89. These are some long, straight roads. There is also very little (read no, nada, none) shade trees along many, many miles of these roads. Pulling over for a rest in a shady place along the road was simply not an option.
At one of the small towns here I stopped at a mini-mall (as rural "malls" go) that caught my attention. Antlers bordered almost all of the building. They even lines the perimeter of the lawn out to the road, like a hedge.
I cruised through the cool little town of Jackson and continued on to Grand Tetons National Park. Given more time, a walking trip through Jackson would have been very interesting. There were a LOT of people strolling around as I passed through. Temps were in the mid 80s. From Jackson I rode 30 miles to Colter Bay campgrounds in Grand Tetons Park, stopping several times along the way for photo opportunities of the Grand Tetons. The clouds were pretty dark at times and I was sure I was going to get rained on before I got to Colter Bay, but I made it there dry.
A pano of the Grand Tetons. Scroll --->
Colter Bay Marina. Scroll --->
Looking back at the Grand Tetons. Scroll --->
I decided to spend the night at Colter Bay. When I pulled up to the camp ranger’s booth I asked for a regular camp spot. The ranger asked if I had any food, to which I answered that I had a little. He then offered me the option of a hiker/biker campspot, which was only $5.00/night, compared to $18.00 for a regular spot. I was the only camper in this section, so I had the entire camp area to myself.
I set up camp then cruised back to discover that the camp center showers had closed for the night. So I rode on down to the marina area for some photos. I'm not sure why there weren't any boats moored there, in mid-summer.
Returning to camp I found out that there are lots of mosquitoes here. Carry repellant!
Total miles: 520 mile
Friday, June 24
I was ready to leave Colter Bay campground about 8:00am. After packing up everything I climbed on the bike and went to put my eyeglasses on. Hmmm... where are they? Thinking back, I realized... Oh no! The last place I recalled seeing them was in the small loft in my tent (for safe keeping). I unpacked and unrolled the tent and there were my glasses. No damage. COOL! OK, I repacked the tent and continued on out of Grand Tetons to head up Hwy 287 to Yellowstone Park.
Leaving the Grand Tetons behind.
Riding Yellowstone Park was a wonderful Rocky Mountain high forest experience. At the Park’s “West Thumb” I took Hwy 20 west towards Old Faithful. This is also where I crossed the Continental Divide to the East side of the Rockies.
I stopped at Old Faithful but didn’t want to join the large crowds to be near the geyser when she vented. There were quite a few other steam vents and hot springs around, so I rode around the vicinity of Old Faithful for awhile checking out the others.
Then I continued towards Madison and on to Norris Canyon Rd., intending to take the “Grand Loop” through the park. Unforunately, Norris Canyon Rd. was closed due to slides across the road. So I rode north to Mammoth Hot Springs.
Caribou and Buffalo near the Madison junction.
Along this section I saw buffalo, elk and many deer, even a couple of buffalo walking down the center of the main road!
Mammoth Hot Springs at the north side of the park is just what its name implies... huge.
Mammoth Hot Springs from below... minerals from the hot spring in white.
From Wyoming into Montana.
I also crossed the 45th parallel, the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole.
I followed Hwy 89 North to Livingston where I turned east on I-90 for a bit to get to Hwy 89 north on the way to Great Falls, Montana More long, straight, treeless expanses where the roads seem to go out of sight in a slightly “off-straight” way.
I followed Hwy 89 through Great Falls and Sun River, then all the way to St. Mary, which is at the east Entrance to Glacier Park. I got my first good view of the Rockies from the east side on this stretch of road.
Most of this stretch from Great Falls to St. Mary was still more of those long straight roads that disappear over the next set of hills, just to repeat the effect when you crest what you thought was the final peak.
Near the end of these long straight stretches on Hwy 89, after passing through the small town of Dupuyer, the road started getting twisty again as it gained a little elevation.
Some nice snaking road in the hills ahead.
The setting sun sure did a nice job of lighting up the forest on the southeast side of Glacier Park!
Upon arriving in St. Mary I decided to spend the night in a small motel here. I was tired but really looking forward to a nice trip through the park the next morning.
Total for the day: 520 miles.
Saturday, June 25
While doing my morning bike check and maintenance I noticed that my chain had stretched quite a bit since the previous day’s ride. I gave it a good clean & lube and adjusted the tension. I also noticed a big difference between the chain’s “tight spot” and "loose spot". This made adjustment difficult. I then loaded up my gear and headed immediately into Glacier Park.
I took the “Going to the Sun Road” from St. Mary to Apgar, a marvelous stretch of road with simply stunning scenery. The road is about 51 miles but still took me over 2 hours to complete. I stopped a LOT to take pictures of the lakes, streams, springs, mountains and wildlife. The first nine miles of the road follows St. Mary Lake -- yup, the lake is 9 miles long. I was very pleased to find that I had a nice calm morning.
Chilly and somewhat overcast, but the calm was very peaceful.
As I continued following the lake I saw the next view and had to circle back for a photo op. A ranger drove past just as I was backing the bike through the barriers for the photo, but didn't stop or return.
St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island.
Continuing on I rounded a corner and saw a bighorn sheep checking out the early traffic, which consisted of me and one other car. I suspect the sheep had a GPS tracking device around his neck. Although he was a pretty worn-looking older animal he had no problem jumping a large ditch and running up the hill when more traffic came along.
I motored on to the top of the park to “Logan Pass,” where I crossed the Continental Divide once again, back to the west side of the Rockies.
About half a mile down there was a parking lot/vewpoint. As I approached I saw 7 or 8 cars parked and people gathering in the parking lot. Curious, I slowed down and pulled in.
This guy getting a lot of people’s attention. Lot's of cameras clicking away here!
Some people were walking up to within 3-4 feet of the mountain goat. I could hardly believe it. These are wild animals whose space should be respected. I actually had to ask a lady to move so I could get a photo without her in it.
The road down from Logan Pass was very scenic with many twisties, vistas and waterfalls. No high speed runs here. I took it slow to enjoy the spectacular views.
One of the many stair-step waterfalls along this road.
This series of falls is called the weeping wall.
And some smaller ones.
There were also some big waterfalls.
That’s Bird Woman Falls, with a 495-foot drop. It was created by a small glacier joining a large glacier, leaving what is called a hanging valley.
Bird Woman Falls (left, above my mirror) and McDonald Creek (down in the valley).
McDonald Creek (left) and the road down.
Heavens Peak. I must be getting close!
Well, since my last name is Logan I just had to get this photo of “my” creek.
They do tours in Glacier Park in these rigs.
I took Hwy 2 out of the west side of Glacier Park toward Hwy 93 south. Then it was on to Hwy 35 to Hwy 83 south, which passed Swan Lake and Seely Lake before ending at Hwy 200 which I took west to I-90 and Missoula. At Missoula I got onto Hwy 93 south to Lolo and Hwy 12, known as the Lolo Hwy. This simply should not be missed if you are anywhere in the vicinity. I sure wish I would have taken a picture of the sign that indicated 77 miles of windy roads. This long stretch of road should cure just about anybody’s desire for twisty roads.
Just before the Lolo Pass I was behind a car that was cruising at about 50mph. I had followed the car for miles, looking for a passing zone. On a fairly long open section I decided to make the pass. Just as I pulled out to pass the car a very large (over 200 lbs) Mountain Lion appeared out of the bushes to the left. This was probably bout 20 feet in front of the car I was getting ready to pass.
It took this big cat 3 bounds to go from the left side of the road into the bush on the right side. The first jump the big cat made was to the center line. He was dead ahead of me and close. The lady in the car started applying her brakes, as did I. The second jump was from the center line to the right side of the road. I saw him through the cars window. The third Jump took him up into the bushes and out of sight! Now that was just too cool! This took all of about 2 seconds.
I continued with passing the car. We were both lucky that we weren’t closer, or that the big cat didn’t stop after his first jump.
Within a few miles of dodging the mountain lion I stopped at the Lolo Summit Lodge and to got some literature on the area. This was also the border crossing into Idaho.
I also asked about the dirt bypass route I had heard about and was told that it was still snowed under at the higher elevations. So much for trying that one out this time! Too bad. I'd heard that it's a pretty nice bypass. This section of the trip provided miles and miles of twisty bliss (remember the 77 miles of curves sign that I didn't get a picture of).
When Hwy 12 went into Kooskia I went south on Hwy 13 and joined up with Hwy 95 south to Weiser, Idaho. This section of Hwy 95 also had some pretty spectacular sections of road that basically followed a ridge line down.
Across a small valley from this descent was a long stretch of switchback road that twisted back and forth for quite a while. It sure looked like it would be fun to ride! I didn't see any traffic on it nor were there any houses around. Not sure what it was really built for.
When I got to Weiser I found that they were hosting the annual Old Time Fiddlers Festival as well as a “Biker Rodeo”. I went in and listened to the top 3 finalists in the fiddlers festival at the Weiser High School. They were very, very good. But it was getting late and I was pretty tired. After looking around I decided that there was no (peaceful) place to sleep here for the night. I departed Weiser and crossed the Idaho/Oregon border and stayed in Ontario, Oregon for the night.
Total miles: 577
Sunday, June 26
I departed Ontario about 9:00am. Once again I noticed that my chain had stretched a lot from the previous day’s ride. This was getting to be a concern. I cleaned and adjusted the chain again.
I took Hwy 20 west to Vale, then turned right onto Hwy 26 west towards John Day. After riding for a while on Hwy 26 I stopped for some photos.
Looking east towards Idaho.
Looking west towards John Day, Oregon.
A little further along this stretch I noticed something “unusual” alongside the road... do you see it?
Hint... just to the right of my right mirror.
A close-up of the antelope.
Local defense forces... in Prineville or Redmond.
At Prineville I turned onto Hwy 126 to Redmond where I continued on Hwy 126 to Hwy 20, then on to Hwy 22 to Stayton. I turned north on Cascade Hwy from Stayton toward Silverton. My father lives in Silverton, where I had planned to spend the night and visit.
Total miles for the day: 429
The next day (Monday) I determined I’d need a minimum of a replacement chain as well as the front sprocket to continue safely, given the rapidly deteriorating condition of my chain. I started calling around to motorcycle shops but since most cycle shops are closed on Mondays I was only able to locate a chain on Monday. I spent another night at Dad's and on Tuesday I called about every cycle shop from Portland to Eugene, Oregon.
All had the same story... We don’t stock those sprockets. Most could get them in 3-7 days. I did learn from one shop that the V-Strom DL1000 front sprocket is also used on the 2000-2005 Suzuki GSXR750. With this info I finally found an aftermarket front sprocket at the Portland Cycle Gear. It was a 17-tooth unit listed for the 2002 GSXR750. Of course, it doesn’t have the OEM dampers, but at least the teeth were straight and upright. I made the chain swap at Dad’s and prepped for a Wednesday departure.
Monday, June 27… Silverton, OR… parts search
Tuesday, June 28… Silverton, OR… parts search
Wednesday, June 29
On the road again! I departed Silverton around 9:00am. I rode into Salem, then followed I-5 south to Grants Pass, taking Hwy 199 from there to the small town of O’Brien, Oregon. I took a bypass road into California, in the direction of Happy Camp, a narrow and scenic road with lots of elevation changes that followed several creeks and ended on Hwy 96 at the Klamath River. The temperature was topping 95° so I stopped along one of the creeks to take a cooling dip. It was a nice little spot, very secluded, and the water was quite refreshing!
I also ran across a strange sight, in the middle of nowhere.
Several stacks of crushed cars.
I followed Hwy 96 east through Seiad Valley and then took Hwy 3 south through Scott Bar, Etna, Callahan and down to Weaverville and Hwy 299.
After all these miles this was still a pleasing sign to see.
Looking across the grass fields near Fort Jones (on Hwy 3), with Mt. Shasta off to the east.
I continued south on Hwy 3 through Callahan and got to enjoy even more great twisty roads that varied from very tight 25mph turns to high speed sweepers. This carried on past Trinity Lake and into Weaverville.
Coming into Weaverville... domestic pet?
At Weaverville I took Hwy 299 east to Redding and Hwy 273 south to Anderson, where my brother lives.
Total miles: 523
Thursday, June 30
Although I had considered going east to Mt. Lassen and following Hwy 89 south to Hwy 49, I eventually decided that I would just super-slab it home. I had been on these roads before and, even though I knew them to be marvelous rides, I was getting rather road weary. So, from Anderson I took I-5 to I-505 to I-80 to I-680 to Silicon Valley (San Jose area) and home.
Sorry... no photos of I-5.
Total miles on Thursday: 248
Over 8 days of actual riding, total trip mileage was 3912.4 miles!
Garmin 276C GPS stats…
Total Miles - 3912.4
Moving Average - 58.8 mph
Total Average - 40.5mph
Max Speed - 103.6mph
Moving time - 66:30:52
Stopped Time - 30:10:07
Total Time 96:40:59
Looking back at this ride I'm struck by the realization of just how wonderful it really was, and how it may have set a benchmark to aim toward with future extended moto-tours. The fact that I did this ride solo was certainly not a negative thing. It gave me all the time necessary to go and do exactly what I wanted to do without worrying about somebody else not getting to do or see something that I may not have been interested in.
I did get extremely lucky with the weather. Sure it was HOT in some places, and I did get into a couple of brief showers in a couple of places, fortunately never more than 30 minutes or so. Happily, I did not have to break camp anywhere in the wet -- packing and unpacking wet camping gear is not really that much fun.
I have decided that life is too short to not get away on longer rides, to make the time to get out and see new and wonderful places. Because they ARE out there! State and federal parks are established for a reason. They are special places and, in my opinion, should be included in a tour whenever possible.
Now to work on my next planned trip! I will pick some destinations I've never visited and try to link these places with as little time on interstate roads as possible. Colorado seems to be lurking in my mind. Hmmm.