Posts tagged: Motorcycle

Glacier National Park

By , June 16, 2010 8:49 pm

After Dasy went back to Northern Virginia and the Star was done with it’s major work, I headed up to Glacier National Park.

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I was hoping to spend a fair amount of quality time on the TW-200 (motorcycle), but the weather wasn’t cooperative.  It wasn’t bad weather, just highly unpredictable. 

Glacier is probably the prettiest of the national parks I’ve been to so far.  Everything was so green and the plant life and terrain was so varied.  Most of the other parks seem to have a couple types of trees (or no trees), but Glacier seems to have a little of everything.  I’d have to say it’s possibly my favorite so far. 

The first day, I got the Star checked in and set up around 5pm.  That left me only a couple of hours to run up the Going To The Sun road to see the park.  Unfortunately, the road was closed after about 15 miles, as they haven’t finished snow plowing yet.  Since that’s the only road that goes through the park, that left me able to only see a portion of it.  It remained closed throughout my visit and is only scheduled to open about now.  Maybe I’ll take Dasy with me and we’ll see the rest of the park on the way back from the west coast.

Glacier is pretty much lots of lakes, streams, forests and mountains.  Most of the streams contain a number of waterfalls, of varying sizes.

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On the second day in the park, I’d bumped into Jennifer of LivingInMyCar.  We talked a little about some of her RV problems, and made arrangements to do a short tour the following day.  I ended up caulking what we thought might be leaky spots in her roof, then we spent the morning on the Going To The Sun road.  Jennifer only has her RV and didn’t want to uproot and drive it out there.  So, I volunteered the Jeep as transport and we spent an afternoon taking pictures on the road.  Luckily (for me), on the way there, I spotted a black bear and a ranger promptly showed up to “deal with it”.  This involved shooting it with a bean-bag cannon, which didn’t work at all.  The bear simply ran up a tree. ;)  I didn’t hang around to watch the aftermath, as there was quite a bit of traffic building up to watch the show.  I also saw a grizzly bear later, but didn’t have the camera handy, so no pictures of him (sorry).

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IMG_1537The next day, I took the Jeep out to Polebridge, via a gravel road in the park.  The ride out was pleasant, but long.  It also rained for about half the drive.  I decided to go back on the TW when the weather was decent, as it would handle the potholes much easier than the Jeep would.

IMG_1538I also checked out the local national forest and found a trail up there that I thought the Jeep could handle.  Unfortunately, I ended up sinking the Jeep in snow up to the bumper, which is where I turned around.  I might have attempted to go further, but the surrounding trees in that area were too small to support the Jeep if I needed to winch through any deep snow or mud.  But, it was a nice drive and I got to see a few of the more out-of-the-way streams and waterfalls.

IMG_1552 IMG_1553I spent a couple days in the RV due to the weather and work needing to be done.  But, when I had a decent day, I took advantage of it.  IMG_1579One of the trips I made was out to East Glacier, which is a small town at the entrance on the opposite side of the park where I was staying.  Normally, I would have taken the Going To The Sun road, but since it was closed, I took highway 2 around the south end of the park instead.  It’s a nice scenic drive if you’re in the area for a while.

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IMG_1584For my last day in the Glacier area, I managed to get good enough weather to go back to Polebridge.  There’s exactly two stores there, one of which is a well known bakery; Polbridge Mecantile.  I waited a bit for some particular lunch bits to come out of the oven.  I was rewarded with one of the best turnovers I’ve ever had…  Chicken with ranch dressing and bacon, stuffed in a flaky crust and baked to near perfection.  It was pretty awesome and was worth the 40 miles on bad roads I took to get there.  I got a roast-beef with grilled onion and horseraddish to go, which would be lunch for another day. 😉

While waiting, another set of motorcycle guys showed up on very well equipped (farkled) BMWs and KLRs.  They wanted to take the park road back instead of the main pothole-riddled road.  Since I’d done it a few days ago in the Jeep I offered to guide them/requested to tag along. ;)  The TW is still fairly new to me and it has a few “quirks”, so I prefer not to be in the middle of nowhere without some kind of possibility that someone can send for assistance if needed. 

We arrived back at the park entrance an hour or two later, said our goodbyes and then I headed out to pack up the Star.  My next stop would be somewhere in Washington state.  I would be heading past Tacoma towards the west coast to spend some time with my sister and her family.

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Drive, drive, ride, drive some more…

By , February 12, 2010 11:48 am
 

It’s been an interesting time around here, hence the lack of updates.  Let me give you the rundown…

I drove the Jeep and the Sylvansport Go up to Virginia to pick up my KLR (motorcycle), which was being stored in a friend’s basement (thanks, Rob!).  While there, they got their first decent batch of snow.

The Jeep and Sylvansport Go in Virginia...  snow

After spending a couple days with friends and getting the KLR loaded up, I headed back home and made it with no troubles.  I then rode the KLR to work for a few days, but switched to the Jeep on a day when I had to take a bunch of equipment into the office.  On the way home, I noticed a rather odd noise from the transmission whenever I was slowing down in gear (like every time I have to come up to a stop light).  I checked it again later that evening when I got home and it was noticeably worse.  Not good. 🙁

Luckily, my step-father has a nice Chevy Avalanche 2500 that’s big enough to pull the Jeep.  I used it to flat-tow the Jeep up to Lake-Sumter Tranmissions, a company that he has used numerous times over the years.  The rapidly started to rip the guts out of my Jeep and strip down the tranny, so I left it with them to deal with.  Diagnosis: Unsure… it definitely something in the transmission, but they have no idea what until they disassemble it. :S

So that left us with a KLR as transport and no real estimate on the damage to the Jeep or the time it would take to fix it.  We decided that it might not be a bad idea to look for alternative solutions.  We managed to find a 4-door automatic 2009 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon on Craigslist for a reasonable price… in Atlanta.

The only way we could think of to quickly and easily get it was for me to ride the KLR up, get the new Jeep, then arrange to fly or take the bus back to Atlanta and ride the KLR back later.  The ride up was miserable.  It was right at 32 degrees almost the entire time.  I had ot get real creative with heating solutions…  garbage bags in the boots, Glad-wrap on the gloves, etc.  It wasn’t fun.

I arrived at about 7 pm, after riding through snow flurries in Atlanta. :S  The dealership closed at 8, so we got right down to business.  The Jeep was in decent shape and the price was reasonable, so we did the deal.  During the paperwork, they asked if I had a trade and I jokingly offered up the KLR.  They looked it over and had no problem taking it on trade.  We were planning on getting  a much smaller bike anyway and that saved me from having to go back to Atlanta to pick it up, so it all worked out pretty good.

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I grabbed a hotel in Atlanta for the night and drove the new Jeep back the next day.  It’s a little "shorter" than I like my Jeep to be, but we’re working on that. ;)  We actually have some work to do on it before it’s ready for full-timing behind the RV.  It’s going to need a new bumper that’s capable of being used to attach to the motorhome, plus some electrical bits for the tow lights and a few other small things.  I’m working on that, but am having a hard time finding a bumper that will do the job.  On this new body style, a lot of the aftermarket bumpers are weird shapes and the frame attachment points are exactly where I need to mount the tow bars to the bumper.  That makes it pretty difficult to find one that will work.  I’m hoping to go look at a few in a shop in Orlando this weekend on the way back from picking up something we snagged off Craigslist.

Of course, the old Jeep is still around for now.  The shop called me last night to tell me it was ready and I’ll probably go pick it up tonight.  The work wasn’t cheap, but it’s WAY less than I expected it.  Most shops charge twice what I’m paying just to pull a transmission, let alone rebuild it.  I can’t recommend Lake-Sumter Transmissions highly enough!  They were extremely helpful, they let me come get a few things out of the Jeep that I forgot, they didn’t mind any of my aftermarket skid plates and they showed me all the transmission bits that were all over the workbench.  From everything I’ve seen and the way I’ve been treated, they do excellent work.  I’ll post a followup once I get the old Jeep and see how it runs, but I don’t expect any problems at all.

So, we now have two Jeeps, an RV and no motorcycles.  Oh, I also brought the bicycles back from Virginia, so we’ll have something to toodle around on at campgrounds and parks. 🙂

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