From Washington State to Idaho
Part 1----"There Is A Rattlesnake In The Shop"
Jim rushed through the door of the house and said, "Josie, get me a flash light, there is a rattlesnake in the shop". I asked him where Lana was and he said, "She is in the shop".
But let me back up a few days. After crossing the USA /Canadian border with no problems, we arrived at my cousin John's home in Washington state to a very warm reunion. John and I are very close and have a real lot in common. We had a great visit with his wife Kristin and two kids, McKinzie and Jantzen. Our oldest daughter Josie came up from her job as an RN on the heart team at a major hospital in Seattle for a visit. We had a terrific BBQ and a great time setting around a camp fire visiting. We were given the tour of Deception Pass. It is quite a spectical and if you are ever in that area go see it. There are lots of "twisties" getting there. It is a beautiful ride indeed, even though we were in John's pickup truck.
Above: Deception Pass Bridge
Above: Lana and McKinzie On The Edge
Two days later we left John's and rode to Best Rest Products in Mount Lake Terrace where we picked up some better tire changing stuff and a new front tire for my BMW. This is a very good company to deal with. They go out of their way to help adventure bike riders and they know more about changing flat tires than probably any company anywhere. They are more than willing to share their knowledge free of charge. And we picked up some excellent tips!!! It is well worth your time to stop by if you are in the area, give them a call or look at their web site. Address: 6710 220th St SW #2, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043 Phone: (425) 673-1023 http://www.bestrestproducts.com/
From Mount Lake Terrace we rode south of Seattle to see a good friend of mine. Along the way we saw a great number homeless people living in small tents or under blue plastic tarps, many of them perched precariously on a steep side hill under adjoining other freeways. A few of them had, at one time or another, been able to get a shovel and dig into the bank to make a level place for their camp site. It is heart wrenching to see people living in those squaller like conditions. It is obvious to even the casual observer that those people are struggling in a very big way. They have no transportation.....there is not way to get a vehicle to where they are camped out. And the noise!!!......with the freeway noise directly over their head (and I mean at some tent sites it was within a few feet of their heads). In many places there were several adjoining freeways, many at eye level, adding to the constant roar of very heavy traffic. It must be deafening living under there!! I have no idea how they can deal with that, much less get any sleep!! Lana and I are living in a tent but we are certainly not homeless. What ever challenges we may face on this journey around the world are pale in comparison to what these people face every minute of their lives. My GOD....you have blessed us immensely...thank you!!!!
We were able to spend a few hours with Tal before we rode up Hwy 20 to see Merritt and Lois and their family at Sultan where we spent the night.
The next morning we rode into Sultan to get chiropractic adjustments from Dr. Brian at Sultan Chiropractic. He is a fellow biker and a great doctor, very compassionate and a good adjuster. It got the kinks out of Lana and I after some long days of riding. If you happen to be riding through Sultan, Washington stop in and see him.
We then headed for eastern Washington to see a very long time friend in the area where I grew up.
I had the new front tire put on the BMW while we were there. They did an excellent job of balancing it. We spent two days there and rode on.
The next stop was our oldest daughters and her husbands place. We parked our bikes in Jim's shop. The was a new wasp nest being built right over the shop door, with a bunch of bees swarming around. It was hot out...about 95 F. and that is not the time to try to kill a bunch of already mad bees. The best time is in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler and they are in bed. So we snuck the bikes in under the wasp nest and carefully closed the door.
Then we jumped in their Dodge pickup which had their pontoon boot hooked up to it and they took us up Lake Roosevelt on the boat. I have been around a lot of boats and have seen a number of pontoon boats....but noting like that one. With a 225 HP outboard it cruised at 35 MPH, passing every other pontoon boat on the lake like they were anchored up!
We had a great time, lots of swimming in the 95 deg F. heat felt good. The next morning we took off on the boat again and we drove it up to Two Rivers, where the Spokane River dumps into Roosevelt Lake (which is the Columbia River backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam). More swimming and relaxing. It was a great time wit a lot of laughs.
On the way back Lana got on the tube and was pulled behind the boat. By the looks of the constant huge smile on her face she was having a blast. She loves being on and in the water.
When you are traveling by motorcycle for an extended time like we are (3--4 years) there is not much room for anything and so we do not have very many cloths with us. And laundry can be a real issue. So we take advantage of every opportunity we can to wash our cloths. When we got back to their house, Lana decided to do a load of our laundry. Both bikes were still locked up in Jim's shop so he walked out to the shop with Lana to unlock it for her. The next thing I know Jim is bursting into the house, hollering, " Josie, get me a flashlight, there is a rattlesnake in the shop". I jumped up and grabbed my boots pulling them on and heading for the door asking "where is Lana?" Jim said, "She is in the shop" and my immediate response "Oh crap" (or a some nearly similar word).
We got to the shop and by then Jim had a shovel in hand and I had grabbed another one. Lana was standing by the bikes with the wasp nest to her back and a rattlesnake under some stuff in front of her. Her only way out was through the man door past the place where the rattlesnake was hiding and rattling. I then got a very powerful flashlight out of the tank bag on my bike and we saw the snake under a desk. I shot it with a .22 pistol but it was far from dead. Using a shovel we managed to get a rope fished around a leg on the desk and Jim pulled it out from the wall. I climbed up on the desk with a shovel and there in the corner was Mr. Snake in a very bad mood. I cut his head off with the shovel. Jim took it outside and buried the head then threw the rest in the brush, thus ending the excitement.
Part 2-----From The Reservation To Idaho
We left the next morning we headed for Stites, Idaho to see our good friend Buz Moore. Buz is one of the most remarkable people that Lana and I have ever known. Buz would not tell us how old he really is, only to say that,"God and I keep talking about who is the oldest and I think that he is." However we know that he is at least 93 years old and he is sharper than anyone you want to mention. We pitched our tent on his lawn and he let us use the shop at his mill to service our bikes.
Buz Moore has done everything that has to do with logging that you can name. He lived in Alaska since the late 50's and recently moved to Idaho. He currently owns a saw mill that makes 6 inch and 10 inch diameter logs and square logs, to build log houses and larger buildings.
Above: An example of the square logs and dove tail notches
He made the part of the mill that cuts the saddle notches for the corners and the grove down one side of each round house log where the logs set on top of one another. He designed and built this part of his mill from scratch. Bus also designed and built the device that cuts to dove tail notches in the square house logs. He is a genius when it come to hydraulics and he can build anything from not much. People like him are a dying breed.
His company mills the house logs from standing dead Lodge Pole Pine. If you are in the market for logs for anything from a cabin to a house to a big lodge, take a look at what they offer. You will be impressed. They ship log home packages anywhere in the world. His company mills the house logs from standing dead Lodge Pole Pine. If you are in the market for logs for anything from a cabin to a house to a big lodge, take a look at what they offer. You will be impressed. They ship log cabin, home and lodge packages anywhere in the world. Pleasant Valley Log Homes. Stites, ID Phone: +1-208-790-7016
To watch Buz operate his log loader and see him climb up into the cab at 93 years young is an inspiration to anyone.
Part 3---By By Beemer
About five miles out of Grangeville, ID (30 miles from Buz's home) we were heading south on Hwy 95, doing about 65 MPH and my bike started making a bad noise and wobbling violently. I started slowing down and looking for a place to get off the road. Lana said (through our SENA 10-S helmet communications) that my back tire was wobbling real bad. I managed to keep it under control and pulled to the side of the road.
There was a very narrow shoulder there and not any place close by to get in a safe place to park. There was quite a lot of traffic going both ways on this two lane road and lots of semi trucks. It became apparent very quickly that the final drive went out on my BMW. I had to get it to a safer place so I turned it around in the road hoping that I could idle the five miles back to Grangeville...but that was not going to happen. After about 150 yeards I found a place to get it off the road that was big enough for both bikes to park. Needless to say that was as far as it was going without a wrecker.
Lana called our insurance company, GEICO, to make sure we had towing insurance, we did. GEICO was extremely helpful (to put it mildly). They called a wrecker for us and made sure that the wrecker company was experienced in hauling motorcycles. Then they gave the towing company a PO (purchase order) to bill GEICO for the towing! And then the lady at GEICO sent Lana three texts over the course of the next hour to make sure that the wrecker showed up!!! She said they wanted to make sure we did not get stranded.
We used to live in that area about 15 years ago and know some people there. While we were waiting two different guys stopped to help. One of them was from that area and I asked about a mechanic (Brody) that we used to use when we lived there. I found out that he was still around (no surprise there) and this stranger said that he would go home and call me with Brody's cell phone number. Brody was at work so his mom came by to see what she could do to help!! WOW!!! What great people.
I had lost the final drive last May near San Jose California and had limped in to San Jose BMW where they repaired it. That was about 7,000 miles ago. So I called them and it was still under warranty for the parts. So I called the BMW dealer in Boise ID (about 200 miles away, and the towing insurance was for 75 miles. It would cost us $3.50 a mile after that). They said that they do not repair the final drives, rather they replace it as a unit. I could hear the dollar signs go ching, ching as he said that! He told me that there was a dealer that was a lot closer to where I was, located in Clarkston WA. Now that was very good of him to tell me that, loosing the business to save us a big tow bill. And guess what? Clarkston was 77 miles away!! GOD is good to us!!!!!
There are a lot of real good people in this world, and GOD keeps putting them in front of us at the most remarkable of times. It never ceases to amaze me! Every time that you turn on the news it is filled with some of the most horrific stuff that you can ever imagine in your worst nightmares. But by and large I find that there are a lot more good people in this world than bad. But that is not what makes the news. There is the old saying about the news, "If it bleeds it leads".
So I called Mac's Cycles in Clarkston. They have been in business since 1940!!! Good grief, they must be doing something right to stay in business that long! They do not repair the final drive either, but replace the entire unit which includes the housing. The service manager, Steve, said he would start looking for one as he did not have it in stock. He called me back and said there were non in the US and it would have to come from Germany. About of 7 to 10 days to get it here. As we need to be in Pennsylvania by 8 September that was an "oh crap" bit of news. I told him I would call him back. I decided that I would look for other options, a machine shop, etc. A few minutes later Steve called me back and said that he found one at a dealer in Kansas and gave me the number saying it would be cheaper for me to buy it than go through him. (See? Another good guy!). Meanwhile the wrecker showed up and I told him we were going to Clarkston instead of Boise. The wrecker driver said, "Are you taking it to Mac's Cycle?" I said "So you have hauled motorcycle before?!"
As we were headed for Clarkston I called to BMW dealer in Kansas and ordered the final drive assembly. Lana was following along on her bike.
We arrived at Mac's Cycles where we unloaded the bike.
The part will be in Friday morning before 10 AM. They gave us a loner bike...a new BMW 700 GS. WOW!! There was no pannier racks so they said we could keep our stuff off the 1150 GSA in an office they were not using. What a great outfit to do business with.
I strapped the tent and a few other things on the 700's top rack, we got something to eat and camped at the Hell's Gate State Park on the Snake river. A terrible name for such a nice park.
(Here is a side note: I just received a call from Pete The Computer Guy in Phoenix, AZ. When I was in Arizona on my bike last winter my laptop quit. Come to find out the hard drive had come apart from the vibration of being on the bike for a couple of thousand miles. I wanted to get a ruggedized computer so I got on craiglsit and found an ad for Pete's business. I bought a used Toughbook from him but when I got home it would not load the GoPro editing download...it needed to be a 64 and this one was a 32. So I let a computer shop in Anchorage talk me into a used Dell laptop with a solid state hard drive and Windows 10 with Excel and Word. We have never used Windows 10 before.....how I hate Windows 10!!! And the guy did not put Word or Excel on it like we requested. It is nearly useless for what we need. Now make no mistake, I am somewhat of a caveman when it comes to computers, etc. I got so tired of trying to make windows 10 work that I called Pete up and explained the situation. I sent him the Toughbook back and he got us a 64 bit Toughbook with everything on it. He is mailing to to Lana's mom in Colorado where we will pick up and happily junk this thing. And the price is to low to mention...you would think I am lying to you. So if you need an excellent computer guru, get in touch with Pete The Computer Guy. You will be well taken care of and happy with his work. He stands behind everything he does and is the most reasonably priced computer guy you will find. Call him in Phoenix, AZ at 480-734-0744).
The part arrived Friday via UPS next day air, and........................it was the wrong part!!! We needed one for ABS brakes and this part was for a non ABS system. I could not understand how the Kansas outfit could screw that up so badly when we had discussed it over the phone at length and several times to assure it was for an ABS bike!!! Robert.......you screwed up big time!! So Steve boxed it up and delivered it to UPS foir shipment back to the dealer in Kansas. Then ol' Robert told me he would not refund our money until to part arrived even though we had a tracking number and it was shipped by a dealer that has been in business long before Robert was even born...or even thought of.
So Steve ordered the right part from Germany and we paid for it yet again. I was on the phone to the service manager at San Jose BMW to see what we can get done under the warranty. He is adamant that BMW has to stand behind the full cost of the part. So as of this writing that is still being worked out and Robert finally refunded our money on Monday even though we paid nearly $200 for a Saturday delivery.
We decided to trade the BMW in on a new KLR 650 from Mac's Cycle. I hated to get rid of the BMW as it is a wonderful bike for many reasons. However if I keep loosing final drives it is NOT the bike to travel through remote third world countries on. I can change out a drive chain on the KLR along side the road. But a blown final drive leaves you stranded.....as it has on me on several occasions. Besides that with both of us riding KLR's it will be much easier to carry spare parts and etc.
By By BMW and Hello KLR
We made a deal on the new KLR, trading in the BMW. Was it a good financial deal for us? No!!! We took a big financial hit on the BMW and paying the difference between to two bikes ate a very large hole in our budget. All in all Mac's Cycle took good care of us, were more than helpful and went the "second Miles" to help us in every way possible. Would we do business with them again? Absolutely! We highly recommend Mac's Cycle to anyone.
So.......with a bit of remorse.....I rode away on a new KLR 650, sans the pannier racks, panniers, tank bag, etc., etc that make it an adventure bike.
Part 4---Hello Happy Trails
After contacting Happy Trails in Boise, Idaho on Friday about turning the KLR into an adventure bike, we arrived there Monday morning just before opening time.....and were we ever in for a surprise.....several actually!
The Owner, Tim Bernard came out to greet us. We told him what we were doing, giving him a very brief thumb nail sketch of the Travessilla Expedition, and we started discussing what we needed to turn the KLR into an adventure bike.
After having spent a few hours on the Happy Trails web site, while we were at Mac's Cycle, I had made a list of what I thought I needed. That, coupled with the experience of installing some Happy Trails parts and pieces on Lana's KLR prior to leaving Alaska, I had compiled a lengthy list for the new KLR. As Trapper started helping Tim pull everything out of inventory, Tim took Lana and I on a tour of their manufacturing facility. WOW, what a place. They have the latest in CNC machines and some equipment that I had never seen before. Non of their signature products are imported. From design, to prototypes, field testing, to fianal production, everything is made right there in house. And they do a fantastic job!
Tim and his wife are Christians and they understand the importance of our humanitarian expedition. He was very gracious in his pricing of all of the parts.
Looking at this ever growing pile of parts foir the new KLR stacked up on their floor, I asked Tim if I could use his parking lot top install it all. He said "Well you can do that, or we can go to my house and put you bike on a lift in my garage and I will help you do it." We were stunned. We gladly accepted his very generous offer and off we went to his place.
We arrived at their lovely home and met his lovely wife Sherry. Tim opened the garage to a view of two hydraulic platform motorcycle lifts and a vast assortment of tools. They invited us to have lunch with them which was very good....our watermelon for breakfast had worn off a while back.
Tim and I started working on the new LR while Lana started installing some new goodies on her KLR....a Fork Brace, WOW tail/brake light, new Moose foot pegs and springs, and new handle bar grips. Lana is a pretty good wrench.....much better than a lot of men that I have met.
Supper time rolled around and we were served delicious tacos.
We worked until about 9 PM and still had a couple hours to go. Time was wore out and asked us to spend the night in a spare bed room. We were reluctant to take advantage of their truly gracious hospitality, Time said we had no choice, and we accepted.
The next morning Lana and I were up at 6 AM and I snuck out to the garage and got to work. Lana took a shower and then came out to help me. We were nearly done when Tim and Sherry got up.
If you need parts for a KLR please go see Happy Trails. They are experts in outfitting KLR's and other bikes for adventure travel. They ship all over the world. Here is their contact info:
7577 Lemhi St, Boise, ID 83709
Tim and Sherry prayed for us and we bid them a fond farewell and rode towards Colorado. What wonderful people they are indeed!!!