Brian A. Hopkins
Rocky Mountain High
BACKGROUND. This ride started as a ZZR rally in Idaho organized by my good friend Crazytrain. Crazytrain's plan was for everyone to rally in Boise and spend a week riding the Sawtooth Mountain range because, as he put it, "I've ridden everywhere in the U.S., including all the famous places like Deal's Gap, but the best riding by far is in Idaho. It doesn't get any better than that, so let's just go ride it over and over 'til we drop." (Seeing as how four ZZRs actually did "drop" at the last ZZR gathering which Crazytrain organized, that's probably not the best euphemism to use here, but now that I've typed it, we'll let it stand.) It sounded like a plan to me, and I'd never ridden in Idaho before, so I signed on (along with a lot of other ZZR riders). Unlike the last ZZR rally, I actually planned to take my 2003 Kawasaki ZZR1200 this time. (At the last rally, in Arkansas not long ago, I showed up with my new CBR1000RR. Even a whackjob like me, though, wouldn't attempt to ride a CBR all the way to Idaho!)
Anyway, that was the plan. Crazytrain's plan. When my buddy Greg Ruffin decided to quit peddling a bicycle with the other spandex-wearing fairies and get back into traveling on a real machine and bought himself a spiffy new Honda Goldwing (along with a CBR1000RR, which is more or less how I wound up getting mine), I told Greg that he and Elaine (the crazy lady that he lives with) ought to come along on their Wing. It sounded like a good idea to them, even if they couldn't hope to keep up with a herd of horsepower junkies on ZZRs. I got to studying maps, saw all sorts of places up in the Great White North that I've never visited, and thought, "To hell with riding the same route over and over again; I want to see the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and anything else cool that I can squeeze into the trip." I sold it to Greg and Elaine. We'd rendezvous with the ZZR boys, ride a loop of the Sawtooth Mountains with them (watch 'em crash and stuff -- ha!), then split off and do our own thing.
Well, you know what they say about "best laid plans." Crazytrain, who's been in and out of employment for the four years or so that I've known him, mostly out of employment riding around the country on his bike and surviving off of previous ill-gotten gains or the loot from a jewel heist or all those years he was a male gigolo ... or, I dunno, something like that ... he decides to up and get a real job and tell everyone that he can't afford to attend his own stinking motorcycle trip. What a hoser! Greg, Elaine, and I discussed it, and I decided that I really didn't know any of the other ZZR folks who were going, so what was the point in meeting with them? I'd only been going to the rally to ride with my financially-strapped but loveable friend Crazytrain. I pulled out the maps again and gave Greg (navigator extraordinaire) a list of places I wanted to see: a long list. Little did I know we'd cram damn near every single one of them into ten days, mostly following the arc of the Rocky Mountains across North America. I also told them that if I was going as far north as Glacier, that I wanted to at least stick a big toe in Canada just to get the photographic proof that I'd been there.
Though I mentioned the trip to several other friends, no one else had the wherewithal or the desire to tag along (even Bob Golly couldn't convince Danny to go with me), so it would just be me and Gregger, with Elaine as passenger on the Wing. No camping, cause Greg and Elaine "don't do that outdoorsy shit." So, here we go again. Grab plenty of snack food (Elaine has an appetite!), a good set of brand new tires ('cause you're damn sure gonna wear 'em out on this one!), your passport, and enough clothing and gear to handle some fairly gnarly climate swings, cause we're heading north this time. All photos were taken by me or Elaine, mostly using my Panasonic DMC-FZ7.
Click the alien with his steaming bowl of oatmeal (below) to continue...
Brian A. Hopkins
Copyright © 2011 Brian A. Hopkins, 2011-08-02 20:22, www.bahwolf.com