Hi I live in the San Francisco Bay area and on my birthday [june 25 th] there was one ski resort still open in California. My Son Kyle and I had figured a way to attach our Skies to or motorcycles and we headed off across the Sacramento Valley.
We had about one hour of freeway then two lane roads through farm country to the Sierra Nevada mountains. We entered Yosemite National Park and continued our ride east on Tioga pass road. This road had been closed for the winter season and had only been cleared a week before our trip. The scenery was spectacular with snow almost ever were but on the road it self. The pass elevation is a few ticks under 10,000 feet and the temperature was a pleasant 75 degrees. It doesn’t get any better than this!
When you exit the park there is a very steep decent down the mountains to Mono Lake. Neon blue and very salty water. From there it is 20 miles south to Mammoth ski resort.
The next morning we got up early and skied for about four hours, had lunch and happily jumped back on the Bikes. We road home the same way we came and enjoyed every minuet of it. We got home at 10pm. In Two days we road 525 miles and skied over 30,000 vertical feet. This was a wonder full experience and only possible if there is a lot of snow at the ski resort and the road cleared from snow on Tioga Pass road. This dose not happen every year and usually only for a two week period before Mammoth closes on forth of July.
If you ever get the chance. you have to do it…Ian.
As far back as I can remember I’ve owned a motorcycle. So did my father and brother. My first bike was an Indian 50. I’ve added a few years since then, but I still own a bike and appreciate a good ride on country roads to enjoy the scenery. I can even be found on occasion riding the twisties on the Tail of the Dragon or Three Sisters. Most recently my brother and I, both professionals with growing families, were reminiscing about old times and discovered that it had been about 25 years since we had taken a vacation together without the obligations of work and family. We decided to plan a vacation ride with our father, who was turning 70. It turned in to a three day, five hundred (plus) mile ride through the piney woods in East Texas. The ride was awesome, the scenery magnificent, and reacquainting with my brother and father, priceless. It’s amazing that after all these years, something we shared so many years ago would bring us back around full circle. I’m not quite as fast or adept at riding as they are, but I sure enjoyed trying to keep up (especially with the old guy)!
Our annual 3 1/2 to 4 hour ride to the Blue Knights Maryland 1 Crab Festival started out as a normal one. But ended up turning into the longest shortest ride we ever embarked on.It took us almost 14 hours. One poor unfortunate rider developed a rear flat tire about mid way thru the trip. While we spent hours on our cell phones trying to locate a repair shop some of the other riders we were with were able to plug his tire.
With that problem solved we started on out road trip once again and a few miles down the road the tire went flat once again and once again we spent hours trying to locate a repair shop . This time we were closer to the Maryland border and nearer to Mikes Famous Harley Dealership we had a nice conversation with them they were willing to repair / replace the tire but they didn’t have it in stock. So once again we were able to plug his tire for a second time, and we started our trip again.
Well you guessed it another flat to the same tire and another few hour delay and repair and another start that was short lived. A sudden rain storm moved in and vision was almost impossible the only thing we could do was stop under an overpass and wait for it to pass. We waited and waited when it finally ended we completed the trip and arrived at our destination worn and wet.
The unlimited crabs we ate the next day and the flat screen television the guy with the flats won more then made up for it. or so we thought, After the event was over and we were leaving he gets another flat tire. He had to be towed / trailered back to our hotel. He called a coworker who drove down to pick him and one of the local shops replaced the tire and he returned a few days later to pick up his bike and drive back to New York.
My name is Tony, and I only started riding on the street about a year ago, but I have really been riding… racking up 20K miles in this first year. My buddy Rick from work has many years experience and has been my mentor of sort; he went with me to checkout and buy my first bike, invited me on my first few rides and we have had some great times over the last year.
About eight months ago, he says to me, when we were out with the wives…have you heard about this “Tail of the Dragon”…it’s one of the great rides he hoped to do one day.
Well about 3 weeks later I said hey let’s do it! We are in Central Virginia, and can ride the Blue Ridge Parkway from beginning to end then spend a few days in the Robbinsville NC area, ride the Dragon, and the other great roads in that neck of the woods.
The trip was in middle May and it was rockin” all the pieces just fell into place. Minor mechanical problems were correctable in 10 minuets. The weather was pleasantly cool and co-operative, even though rain was forecast for every day we had maybe 15min of light rain the entire trip. The Dragon was not crowded, and the Cherohla Skyway was awesome. All-in-all we racked up nearly 2000 miles. Here is the clip..
The only downer was after getting back home….the roads here are not quite as challenging as the used to be…so we are now planning a cross country trip. Heading across a northern route to ride the Pacific Coast from Washington to California with the return across the southern route. Who knows I might even get him to go for a the IBA 50hour coast to coast ride.
The Beartooth Highway climbs, twisting, backtracking, gaining altitude and respect. It connects with Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, and continues its punishing trek. Nearly 11,000 feet above sea level, the mountain views are breathtaking – literally and figuratively. The roar of thousands of bikes, all makes and models, announce that it’s time for the 2011 Beartooth Rally, hosted in Red Lodge, Montana.
The decision to embark on an over 700 mile round trip journey to the Rally wasn’t exactly a decision, it was an obvious choice. The adrenaline, wind, speed, and my boyfriend’s Harley – of course I would be there. We rode with good friends, camped out, enjoyed local frosty brews, and took in some of the most amazing scenery our country has to offer.
But this was not my favorite ride. Phenomenal? Yes, of course. Favorite? No. Not even close. Because when 700 miles of thinking is at one’s disposal, the mind is apt to wander while the bike stays on track.
I am not, at first glance, an obvious connoisseur of motorcycles. I don’t consider myself an accomplished rider in the least, and though I live just over 100 miles from Sturgis, South Dakota, I’ve never been to the famed rally. However, the draw to motorcycling is there, somewhere deep in my memory. It might even be in my blood.
The ride that changed me, sculpted me, occurred some hot, late summer evening, nearly twenty years ago. I don’t recall just when it was, what I wore or why I finally got to go, because when you’re four or five and, at last, Mom lets you on “that contraption” with Dad, you forget everything else.
The tank was bright, ferocious red and there were lights and dials in front of me and the only thing I was allowed to touch was the bar that joined the handlebars. Montana’s stifling summer heat and the waves radiating from the bike did nothing to subdue my nearly blinding excitement. The snarl of my dad’s Yamaha, an early ‘70s 125 Enduro, kickstarted something within me that I will never be able to define, just as I will never be able to divorce it from who I am at the core.
Together, we spattered gravel from the driveway, tore through the street, and hurtled down the road. Though our actual speed at that moment is likely lost to history and significantly lower than my personal account, in that moment we were flying. My heart lurched and I remember gulping back wind, my eyes watering, though not from terror. I felt adrenaline, wind, speed, and joy.
The size of the dirt hills a few blocks from my childhood home are inversely proportional to my age at the time of the memory of choice. This was a day when they were mountains, seemingly thousands of feet above sea level. Dad plunged the front tire down into the abyss and for a brief moment, I was sure my short life was coming to a rapid close. My stomach dropped and we shot upward, my laughter probably as much of a surprise to my father as it was to me. My life wasn’t over. It had just begun. I begged to do it one more time, again and again and again, just to feel the joy, the fear, the giddiness a little more. The feeling of living is truly intoxicating, addictive.
So that’s it, I guess. It’s not glossy or fancy. My favorite ride was on a dirt hill in my hometown, sweaty little legs stuck to the tank. Why? It’s the ride that started all the rides, motorized and beyond. My life is richer because of it. I live for adrenaline, wind, speed, joy, fear, giddiness, but above all, I live. The feeling of that first ride at a young age is so internalized and critical that to be without it would be like trying to tear out my own heart.
While a thrilling ride across the Beartooths might register as number one among some, I’ll keep my little kid memory. That Wide Glide makes me smile, but there’s something about a two-stroke’s growl that sparks a very real, visceral reaction. It’s a sound and a feeling that makes me want to go anywhere, try anything, and really live. I’m willing to bet we all have something that gives us that feeling. For Dad, it’s a smell, the scent of bean oil mixing with nitrobenzene that takes him back to the flat track and days spent endurance racing before they were called Enduros. It’s the smell of adrenaline, wind, speed, and life.
After all, isn’t that why we ride? It’s a feeling we want to capture, again and again, that takes us back to a place where we know we’re real and living.