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Motorcycle Rides

Ely, NV – Back Home again – Day 7

Today we got up earlier than we normally have been getting up. I think we were all eager for home. As fun as these trips are, it is always good to come home to our families and sweethearts (And in Kent’s case, his dog).

mcdonalds After having our showers this morning, and getting packed up, we had breakfast at Mickey D’s (McDonalds). It became one of our favorite stops. Probably not a good thing.

Speaking of McDonalds, did you know that the very first McDonalds opened where I grew up in California? In 1953 Mac (I wonder what food item is named after him) and Dick McDonald opened the first franchised restaurant in Downey, California, right next to Bellflower. I can remember going to this McDonalds when I lived there.

 

After McDonalds, we set our GPS for “home.” We made pretty good time, reaching home base in about 4 hours.

Looking back on the last 7 days, we had several “first’s” on this trip: Adam’s bike ran out of gas; breathing toxic smoke from Yosemite’s largest forest fire on record, as well as getting up close and personal with the fire; riding on some of the  twistiest roads in the US. (I seriously think we encountered about a 1,000+ curves on this trip. My front tire is proof. It is completely bald on the left side. Must have turned more lefts than rights)

So, as we conclude another journey on our iron horses, the fun of the trip isn’t necessarily in the route or the scenery, it is in the companionship of the guys. We have good times laughing and experiencing the adventure together. I personally appreciate the relationship I have had with my riding buddies. They are fun to be around, as well as safe and cautious in their riding. We’ve never had any accidents or issues due to exceeding our risk limits, except for an occasional tipped-over bike. And I do believe they enjoy having an old guy to keep them in check.

Motorcycle Riding Partners

Motorcycle Riding Buddies

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I’ll now close the book on this trip to the Northern California Coast.

…until the next one.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 28, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Categories: Lake Tahoe, Motorcycle Rides, motorcycle trip, Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, redwood forest, San Francisco, Yosemite Park   Tags:

Lake Tahoe – Day One

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We left this morning at 6:30 and hooked up with I-80 heading west towards California. We hit a little bit of rain as we passed Tooele. Temps were pleasant until crossing the center of Nevada, then it warmed up. As we approached Reno, the skies were filled with smoke coming from a couple of fires around Yosemite. We heard that over 60,000 acres have been burned so far.

Adam’s bike ran out of gas just outside of Lake Tahoe. We were able to siphon some gas from one of the other bikes, and made it to a gas station.

We arrived at the Tahoe State Park Campground at Lake Tahoe around 7:00 pm, having traveled about 600 miles today.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 22, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Categories: Lake Tahoe, Motorcycle Rides, Northern California Coastal Hwy   Tags: ,

Northern California – Redwoods, Coastal Hwy, Yosemite

It’s that time of year again. This year our group is small, but experienced and aged. We will be traveling to Lake Tahoe, the Giant Redwoods of Northern California, Coastal Hwy 1, San Francisco, Yosemite Park and Carson City.

Our route

Our route

Day 1 – Well travel to Lake Tahoe and spend the night, lakeside, at the Tahoe State Park (Reserved). (They have showers, or just dip in the lake) I stayed at this place a few years ago with Barry. The beer is really Barry’s. It is really nice with beauty scenery.

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Brad and Barry – Barry just got out of the State Mental Hospital

Day 2 – We’ll spend the night in the Humboldt Redwood State Park (Reserved), in the midst of the big, giant redwoods. They have showers.

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Humboldt Redwood State Park

Day 3 – We’ll hit hwy 1 and follow it down, taking our time stopping and seeing all the sights. That night we’ll stay at the Olema Campground on Hwy 1 (Reserved). This is an RV park with showers. (About 37 miles north of San Francisco. I couldn’t find anything available any closer. I even considered a motel 6, but they are all booked)

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Hwy 1 – Coastal Hwy

Day 4 – We’ll go into San Francisco, and do whatever we want to there. We’ll need to stay with our bikes and gear, so can’t stray too far from them. We can discuss this, and how we want to see the sights there. That afternoon/evening we’ll travel over towards Yosemite Park. There is a place called Indian Flat RV Campground, that is close to the Park’s south entrance (I haven’t reserved it yet, flexible). All the camp sites in Yosemite Park are booked. We can decide if we want to spend a day or two days there. I haven’t reserved anything from Day 4 on, thinking we may want some flexibility.

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Yosemite National Park

Days 5 – 8 – Flexible on the itinerary. Stay longer in Yosemite; head over to Carson City: Split up our ride home over two nights.

Let me know if you have any questions. Since we are all experienced riders/campers, I didn’t send a packing list. However, if you would like one, I can send it.

Once I have a final on the camp fees, I’ll let you know. Right now I have spent $138 for three reserved nights, so that is averaging about $16 a night a piece.

I will probably do a blog post each night for our families, pending wifi connections. The blog will be located at: http://usamotorcyclerides.com/blog

Looking forward to a fun trip!

Posted by Brad Stone - August 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, redwood forest, San Francisco, Yosemite Park   Tags:

Southwest Motorcycle Trip – Day 5

Bryce Canyon

The next morning we arose, climbed on our motorcycles to ride into  Bryce Canyon National Park. Again, beautiful vista’s and landscapes. Amazing how the rock formations were developed.

With our motorcycle trip coming to a close, we were reluctant to see it end. But, with obligations at home, and families we love, we were headed north.

So we were back our motorcycles riding down the road again, like horses headed for the barn, for home once again.

It seems like once a trip is over, I long for the next motorcycle ride.

…that is in the dream stages now.

Three biker dudes, not sure where Barry is?

On the road again!

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Posted by Brad Stone - June 1, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Southwest Trip   Tags: ,

Southwest Motorcycle Trip – Day 4

motorcycle ride through Zions Park

Barry and Braden

After our overnight stay at Jacob’s Lake, we climbed on our motorcycles and headed north towards Zion’s National Park. We even passed through Colorado City, birthplace of Warren Jeff’s and his sixty children. Arriving at Zion’s upon our motorcycles we paid our fee and took a tour bus to tour Zion’s. Beautiful, tall mountains, with shear cliffs.

The bus driver can hear and see everything!

It was interesting…we sat in the back of the bus. I was minding myself, but Barry and Braden were being unruly. We then noticed a sign in the back that said the bus driver could hear everything we said. So Barry, having had chili for lunch, wasn’t very quiet.

Zion's long tunnel

After our tour, we pressed our motorcycles on toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Still in Zion’s we rode through a long tunnel through the mountain, with our motorcycles displaying the loud sound of our pipes.

Arriving at Bryce Canyon, we pulled into the Ruby Inn’s campground and put our motorcycles down for the night. They had hot showers that were to die for. Best shower I’ve ever taken.

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Posted by Brad Stone -  at 10:46 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Southwest Trip   Tags:

Southwest Motorcycle Trip – Day 3

Mike with the Grand Canyon behind his behind

Day 3 of our motorcycle trip, we decided and debated of heading on to Laughlin, NV and Las Vegas, or backtracking a little and going around the Grand Canyon, from the South Rim to the North Rim. We concluded it would be cooler, since the temps down in Las Vegas were in the 90’s. So we headed back around. I’m kinda glad we did, because we saw some beautiful vistas, and a death-defying leap off a high bridge over the Colorado. (I’ll explain in a minute)

So we headed back towards Page, Arizona, gassed up and headed towards the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Jacob’s Lake. On our way we stopped at the famous “horseshoe bend” in the Colorado.

Horseshoe bend of the Colorado

I’ve seen pictures of this place, but never in person. It is a lot more impressive in person. A problem I had in getting a decent picture of the full horseshoe bend was I needed a wide angle lens.  None the less, it was impressive.

As we were crossing over a bridge, next to an old bridge, by Lee’s Ferry, we noticed a group of people standing in the middle of this older bridge. Curious, we stopped to see what was going on. If any of you are afraid of heights, then do not look at these pictures. As we approached the group, we saw that they were bungee-jumping off this bridge, which had to be over 300 feet from the Colorado river below.

Japanese guy getting thrown

As I look out over the edge of the bridge, my insides started doing back flips. It was high. We watch as this one Japanese kid stood up on the ledge of the handrail, and decided he couldn’t jump. So six guys threw him off. As he was free-falling, I could hear him yelling something in Japanese.

Anyway, that was fun to watch.

We got to Jacob’s Lake to stay for the night, and was told that the North Rim was closed and wouldn’t open until the next day. We didn’t have enough time to drive there the next day, so we decided to push on towards Zions National Park, after a good night’s sleep. That night it dropped into the low 30’s.

"Bonsai!"

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Posted by Brad Stone -  at 10:31 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Southwest Trip   Tags:

Southwest Motorcycle Trip – Day 2

East end of Lake Powell

Day 2 we left the comfort of the houseboat, climbed on our motorcycles, knowing that the next 4 nights would be spent in sleeping bags and tents, not to mention nights in the 30’s. Yes, it was still cold. Where did our spring go?

We headed back to the highway and headed southeast, crossing over the grand Colorado River on the east end of the lake.

We traveled on our motorcycles for awhile before coming to a junction that would head due south to Mexicanhat, Arizona. What we didn’t realize, was a portion of this road was about 13 miles of dirt road. Kind of tough on the motorcycles.  We took it slow, but saw some unbelievable landscape.

Over looking the east end of Lake Powell

The further south we headed, the warmer it got, with temperatures in the 80’s pushing into the 90’s. Awe, but on a motorcycle you have natural air conditioning.

We finally made it to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It has been many, many years since I’ve seen the Grand Canyon. It is still a big and deep Canyon, with not much change.  It was interesting though — everywhere we stopped, Europeans and Asian’s were taking pictures or our motorcycles. I guess they don’t see the big motorcycles in their countries.

The Grand Canyon and 4 biker dudes

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Posted by Brad Stone -  at 8:40 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Southwest Trip   Tags:

Southwest Motorcycle Ride – Day 1

Getting ready to leave

Awe, the wonderful epic journey of the wind in our face and the road ahead, as we explored new vistas of the Southwestern States.

Due to time restraints we shortened our trip, starting out on a cold Thursday morning, Braden, my newly acquired son-in-law, and myself, left Salt Lake City around 8:30 am, with the temps in the low 40’s, headed south to hook up with Barry, my brother, and Mike, a good friend. Actually, Mike is considered my “BFF,” (Best Friend Forever) in Orem, Utah

After hooking up with them, we continued our journey south to Lake Powell for our first night.

Taken on our houseboat that night.

We have a houseboat down on the Lake, so that was our first night stop. Mike, pictured to the left, is a digital junky. A commercial pilot by trade, loves all his gadgetry.

We were going to take the Lake Ferry across to continue the next day, only to find that the Ferry was not operating and was out for repairs. That problem added about another 50 to 60 miles to our trip.

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Posted by Brad Stone -  at 8:14 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Southwest Trip   Tags:

Southwestern States Trip

After a long winter’s nap, I am taking off this Thursday on a trip down through the southwestern United States. I’ll be riding with three other riders, Braden Hirschi (New son-in-law), Barry Stone (Brother), and Mike Jarvis (My BFF).

We will head southwest our first day, toward Lake Powell, and spend the first night on a houseboat in Bullfrog, Lake Powell. Then the next day, we’ll take a ferry across the lake and head to the south rim of the Grand Canyon for the next night.

Our third day we will head through Laughlin, Nevada (Location of the Laughlin Bike Rally. But he rally ended a week ago) We’ll see if they have any cheat t-shirts. Then on towards Las Vegas. We’ll end up staying the night somewhere between Las Vegas and St. George, Utah.

We’ll then head on to Zion’s National Park and Bryce Canyon National Parks for our 4th day. The fifth day we’ll head back to Salt Lake City, taking the historical hwy 51.

Looking forward to a fun trip. I’ll keep you posted.

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Posted by Brad Stone - May 9, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Southwest Trip   Tags: , ,

Planning a Spring Motorcycle Ride

As the weather starts to warm up, so does the urge to start planning the first spring motorcycle ride. For early spring, it is always safe to plan a ride headed south into warmer climates. So, my group is planning a ride from Salt Lake City, heading south to the Four Corners area of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. Then crossing over the north end of Arizona to the Grand Canyon and Lake Havasu, down to San Diego, up the Southern California coast to LA, east to Death Valley, further east to Zions National Park and Bryce Canyon, then back home to Salt Lake City, on the scenic Hwy 12.

Should be a great motorcycle ride, lasting about a week and 2,700 miles.

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Posted by Brad Stone - February 16, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Categories: General, Motorcycle Rides   Tags:

Northwestern Motorcycle Ride – 2009

Out of all the motorcycle rides I have taken over the years, this was one of my favorites. The ride up to Mt St Helens, the drive down the beautiful Oregon Coast, and then through the Northern California Giant Redwoods, made this trip one of beauty and enjoyment. This will be one motorcycle ride that I’ll do again.

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Posted by Brad Stone - February 2, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Northwestern States Trip   Tags:

Riding through the Northwest

 

Two years ago, my group took an unbelievable motorcycle trip through the beautiful Northwest. Believe it or not, we had no rain. From Salt Lake City, we traveled up through Idaho, across Oregon to the west coast. The Oregon coastline was spectacular. We then dropped down into the Northern California Redwoods. We then cut across Northern California to Lake Tahoo. From there we got onto Hwy 51, known as the loneliest highway in the United States. You can follow our motorcycle trip blog here: Northwestern States Motorcycle Trip This motorcycle trip was just perfect.

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 26, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Northwestern States Trip   Tags:

Last Years Motorcycle Rides

Last year I had a couple of memorable motorcycle rides. In June I spent 3 weeks, by myself, riding up into Canada, over to the east coast, down through Maine and back home, putting a little over 6,000 miles on my motorcycle. My wife did fly out and meet me part way on the trip. It was a fun trip and the weather was pretty good. In three weeks I only once got rained on, and it was a light drizzle at that. If you are interested you can follow the daily posts of my ride here: Canada/Maine Trip

Then in August, I spent a week with my regular group of 8 riders, and we attended the Sturgis Rally in North Dakota. We had a great time riding our motorcycles through the Black Hills, visiting all the historical sites, as well as downtown Sturgis. I also kept a daily blog of the motorcycle ride here: Sturgis Trip 2010

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Posted by Brad Stone -  at 6:09 PM

Categories: General, Motorcycle Rides   Tags:

Can’t wait for the Next Motorcycle Ride

I don’t know about you when it comes to wintertime. For me it is way too long. My motorcycle sits in the garage with it’s battery tender tickling a charge every once in a while, and I eagerly keep tabs on the changing weather and temps. I did take my motorcycle out for a ride two weeks ago, when the temperature got into the 40’s. For me it is always good to at least start up the motorcycle once a month and let it warm up enough to move the oil around in the engine to get into all parts of the engine compartments and lubricate them.

But, until the weather warms enough, I’ll still just dream of the motorcycle rides I’ll take this year. I’m planning on taking some motorcycle rides into the South-western States, as well as Alaska.

Stay Safe!

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Categories: General, Motorcycle Rides   Tags:

Welcome to USA Motorcycle Rides

Welcome to USA Motorcycle Rides. On this website you’ll find everything you’ll need to plan your next ride. I will be adding all the information, products and items you will need to have a fun and safe trip. I’ll also be sharing trips from across this great USA.

I’ve traveled through 49 states so far and have had many great stories to tell.

So please bookmark this site and come back often.

–Safe Riding

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Posted by Brad Stone - January 19, 2011 at 10:10 PM

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Getting ready for a Long Winter’s Nap

So winter is here, and it is time to put your motorcycle to bed for the winter, unless you are like me, who has ridden my bike every single month since the day it was purchased.

There are some maintenance procedures you should perform to prepare your bike for a long winter’s nap.

First, you’ll want to add a fuel stabilizer that will prevent the fuel residue from oxidizing and turning to varnish. (Not a good thing if the varnish gets into the carb or injectors.) After putting in the stabilizer, run the bike for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the chemical to work its way into the carburetor system.


Next, make sure you change out your oil, even if it appears to not be too dirty. Residual fuel and contaminants in the oil can oxidize during the prolonged storage or inactivity. Changing your oil now removes all the sludge and dirt that would otherwise start to deteriorate. Also, by having fresh clean oil in your bike will ensure a clean fresh start up in the spring when you crank it over for the first time.

Hook up a battery charger or tender to keep a full charge on the battery all winter long.

Then clean your bike. There may be road salts that could begin to corrode and damage metal surfaces.

Check your tires for proper inflation.

Cover your bike, and tuck her down for her long winter’s nap.

Then dream all winter long for an early spring, when you can ride again.

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Posted by Brad Stone - November 12, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Categories: General, Motorcycle Rides   Tags:

Last Good Ride of the Year – Lake Powell

Mike Jarvis and I loaded our bikes down with RV antifreeze and headed down last Friday to Bullfrog Marina at Lake Powell to winterize our houseboat. Believe it or not, I had 12 gallons strapped to my bike, and Mike had 6 gallons. I felt like I had a really fat person riding on back.

The weather going down was pretty good, with some light drizzles going down, enough that we needed to take it slow in the turns. Temps were in the 40’s and 50’s most of the way down. Once at Powell, it was in the 60’s. We did have a few downpours that night.

We got everything winterized. (Two inboard engines, a generator, the lake water lines, the fresh water lines and the toilets)

The next day we headed for home. The ride was quite nice most of the way, until we were west of Price, coming through Spanish Fork Canyon. It poured on us the whole way. We kept our speeds in the 50’s most of the way, ensuring that we didn’t hydroplane. Temps dipped into the 30’s going through the canyon.

We both had headed gear, so we stayed toasty warm. Even though heated gear is pricey, it is the only way to go in cold weather riding.

A couple of tips for riding in the rain:

  • Plan ahead, trying to avoid rainy areas or times for your trip. But if you can’t, then the following items will help.
  • Don’t ride in the rain if you have worn tires. They should have good tread on the tires to bite the road. On my cross-country trip to Florida last year, my back tire was getting pretty worn, and I actually hydroplaned in the rain on my back tire going through Tennessee. Lucky for me, when I released the throttle, the back tire bit the road again, and then wobbled for about 30 yards before I gained control of the bike. Needless to say, that scared the begeebees out of me.
  • Slow down. Keep your speed slow. Highway speeds should be about 5 to 10 miles slower than the speed limit, depending on weather conditions. Higher speeds creates a higher risk of hydroplaning.
  • Keep your turning and moves slow and deliberate. Don’t make any quick turns or moves.
  • Wear bright clothing. When it is raining, other drivers will have a more difficult time seeing you if your clothing blends in with the landscape. Having bright-colored rain gear helps you to be seen.
  • Turn up the lights. Keep your highway bar lights on or your high beam light on. Again, you want people to see you.
  • Have a good rain suit and rain-proof clothing. There is nothing more miserable than riding wet on your motorcycle. It can get pretty bone-chilling when you get wet. Make sure your gloves and boots are water proof. Routinely I spray my riding boots and gloves with a waterproof spray. I also have waterproof boot covers that keep my boots dry, as well as keeping the water out of my ankle areas.

Until the next ride…

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Posted by Brad Stone - October 30, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Categories: General, Motorcycle Rides   Tags:

Headed for Lake Powell Next Week

I going to be heading south to Lake Powell next week with a riding buddy of mine, Mike Jarvis. We are partners on a houseboat and are going to be going down to winterize the boat before the snow flies. We are hoping that the weather will at least be dry for our trip down. The temperatures in Salt Lake are starting to get cold. Last night the temperatures dropped into the 30’s.

It is about 300 miles to Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell. We’ll probably head down on Friday and come home Saturday, the next day. I’m always excited to be able to ride.

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Posted by Brad Stone - October 12, 2010 at 4:49 PM

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What’s coming up?

Some of the guys I ride with have been talking about doing an “Iron Butt Ride.” This is riding 1,000 miles in 24 hours. There is an association called the “Iron Butt Association” that certifies these types of rides. I did an Iron Butt ride a couple of years ago. To me, it didn’t seem that difficult. We started at 4:00 AM in the morning and finished just after midnight that day.

Anyway, we may be planning an iron butt ride in September.

For next year I’m planning on a trip to Alaska, the only state I have not ridden my bike in. Once done, I can check that one off my list. I’ll probably do this one in July, as I understand the weather and temperatures are best in July for the northern areas.

My VTX now has over 74,000 miles on it and seems to run better than when I bought it new. I have replaced both front and rear bearings, and of course have kept clean fluids in it. I did learn a valuable lesson last year when it comes to maintenance and up keep of my motorcycle. I had the dealer do a full service on it in the spring of last year. When I got my bike back, the mechanic had forget to screw in the rear caliper bolt (It was just hanging there), the axle bolt was finger tight, as well as the final drive bolt. On top of that, I discovered that when they replaced my flange bearings, they forgot to install a critical sleeve inside the flange bearings. So when I swapped out my rear tire this year, I discovered that my flange bearings were in pieces. I replaced those bearings, along with buying a new sleeve, myself.

So my valuable lesson learned is this: “Never trust anyone else to care for your bike, except yourself.” I purchased a service manual years ago and have taken care of all my own fluid changes, tire changes and now bearing changes. I don’t think that all dealers are bad, but you just don’t know which ones, and when they will hire some high school drop out to work on your bike. I put a new air filter and spark plugs in it every year, whether it’s needed or not. Just seems to run better in doing so.

You don’t get many chances for mistakes on a motorcycle and live through them, so I would rather trust myself with my life and bike than someone else. In addition, I’ve learned a lot about my bike and how to maintain it. I’ve gotten to where I know the sounds of my bike, and when it doesn’t sound right, and what to do to fix or adjust it.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 22, 2010 at 10:05 AM

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Finished another Sturgis Trip

Well, we finished another fun-filled week in the Black Hills and Sturgis. As always, we stayed in a quiet remote campground called Roubaix. It is a beautiful area with pines and a lake. Not some dusty, hot pasture, where you pay premium prices and enjoy loud noise all night long.

The journey to and from Sturgis were great routes, staying our first night in the Big Horn National Forest, and on our return route, traveling over the Bear Tooth Hwy and down through Yellowstone Park.

It is always a pleasure to travel with good bikers, who know how to have fun without the expense on others. (To read our daily blog of the trip, click on the “Sturgis Trip 2010” icon to the right.)

I’m looking forward to next year’s trip, which may be through the northern California coastal areas and a few national parks, or maybe a Colorado trip through some old mining towns and an overnight stay at Lake Powell.

Until then…

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 16, 2010 at 7:46 AM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Sturgis Trip - 2010   Tags: ,

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