Tag Archives: D.E.E.R.

High Kill Zone – D.E.E.R.

June 17, 2013, we began the day at Newport, just inside Washington, across a river from Idaho. Washington State Highway 20 begins there. We came this way so we could ride through the Northern Cascades west bound. We came through east last year.

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We didn’t want to get out the foul weather gear. Even though we got rained on a half dozen times before lunch, we stayed in light gear.

Up at 5:30 a.m. and on the road by 7:00 a.m. gave us our earliest start of the trip. We didn’t make it ten minutes before we had a light rain. Another ten minutes found us at the Cross Roads Café having hot coffee. Checking our iPhones didn’t give us much information about the weather. One of the locals told us that we would have rain until Wednesday. Yah, right what did he know? He was right.

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This was typical of the scenery we were forced to endure throughout the day.

Are you curious about the High Kill Zone? Before we got too many miles outside of Newport, I saw a sign that identified the area as having an extremely high number of deer killed annually. They had a sign listing the number killed in 2012 and the year to date number. I was going a little fast to read the numbers.

We saw a number of D.E.E.R. on Monday, but only two are noteworthy. The first was a large doe that had an encounter with an eighteen wheeler. The truck was parked at the side of the road with the hood up. We couldn’t tell if the rig was damaged or if the driver was removing deer parts.

Later in the day, during another light rain, we encountered a tight curve. One of those where the 30 MPH warning sign means, thirty. As we reached the apex, the pavement was wet and slippery, we espied Ms. D.E.E.R. standing at the side of the roadway munching on grass. The doe looked at us but didn’t move. We were lucky. If we had been forced to take evasive action, the chance of kissing the pavement would have been great.

The Northern Cascades were as beautiful west bound as east. There was plenty of snow still covering the ground.

What I had forgotten were the curves. I call this marching. When marching one counts cadence, left, right, left right. These curves follow one side of a river canyon. One leans left, and before finishing the curve, leans right into the next curve. Back and forth, for anywhere from a quarter mile, to miles. Coming down Washington 20 we experienced at least a dozen of these sections. Once again, it only gets better.

Once we were clear of the snow, the temperature rose rapidly.

Coming down out of the mountains, we stopped for fuel. Jim wanted to call it a day. We had covered 332 miles. Both of us were hot and tired. He said, “Let’s go back to the Buffalo Inn.”

I said, “Works for me.

We back tracked only to find that the motel had gone out of business.

Back in the saddle, we rode another one-hundred miles before stopping for the night at the Auld Holland Inn, Oak Harbor. The town is on Whidbey Island.

We spent 11½ hours on the road and were exhausted.

Dinner at Flyers and in bed by 8:30 p.m. While waiting to be seated an elderly couple struck up a conversation. Jim and I may be bad bikers, but everywhere we stop, someone starts up a conversation, more often than not women. They always want to know where we have been and where we are headed. “Where are you riding?”

Jim has the best answer. “Our wives gave us two weeks probation. We just ride, turn, and stop whenever we want.”

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Lewis & Clark and D.E.E.R. v. Harleys

We passed an interesting night at the Town House Inns & Casino – Great Falls. Jim and I believe that every girl’s baseball team in the age range twelve to sixteen was there. The sounds and action didn’t slow down until at least ten, but then the parents took over.

Up at seven, I was pleased to see not a single cloud in the sky. It was cold but clear. I stuffed all my foul weather gear, including boots, in my dry bag. Once completely packed and strapped down, I couldn’t find my dark glasses. They are in my foul weather jacket, the very first item in the bottom of the dry bag. I will not unpack, besides the glasses are scratched.

A stop at Big Sky Harley-Davidson solved my problem. I bought glasses from the clearance table.

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We spent over two hours at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. From the observation area you can see one of the five waterfalls that the Corps of Discovery had to portage. They pulled canoes, boats, and all their equipment overland for eighteen miles to get around the falls.

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This gives one an idea of what they had to do to portage. The expedition carried tons of equipment. As a military unit they had to carry ammunition. Captain Clark came up with a unique method. He used lead to make ten inch canisters that he filled with gun powder and sealed with bees wax. If boats capsized, the canisters went to the bottom where they could be recovered. Everything else was swept downstream.

They had a hands on exhibition with a docent who explained about Indian weapons and those used by the expedition. One interesting item was a bullet mold. Jim said, “I saw one just like that being used in a movie, The Patriot.” The docent picked up a mold that was hundreds of years old and said, “This is the mold they used in the movie.”

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Our next stop was Choteau (Show-Toe) at the Log Cabin Café where they serve an excellent three bean soup. Even better was the sour cream raisin pie.

Choteau is part of the Rocky Mountain Front. “The Rocky Mountain Front forms the seam between the wild lands and wilderness of the Lewis and Clark National Forest and the foothills and the plains domesticated by area ranchers and farmers.” The area is sparsely populated.

Leaving Choteau Jim let me pass him and take the lead. This surprised me. He almost always leads. I think the reason has to do with cruise control. The lead bike can set any speed desired and relax. Harley’s never seem to mesh when on cruise control. The second bike has to change speed every mile or so.

I set my speed at 75 MPH, relaxed and put my feet up on the highway pegs. I went about three miles before turning off cruise control and put my feet on the floorboards. I had a premonition. Less than a minute later I saw movement on my right. A D.E.E.R. came in to sight. The buck jumped a fence that was maybe fifteen feet from the roadway. It landed and made a left turn toward the road about fifty feet in front of me. I stood on the brakes while telling myself, Don’t lose it, Don’t skid, Don’t go down.

The buck turned back to a parallel path, I eased off the brakes. It turned back in an instant. The dang thing was about ten feet from me as I went by.

Jim came upon the D.E.E.R. and had a similar experience. The buck jumped over the fence and back into the field and then jumped back and ran across the road in front of him.

My heart was beating so hard it seemed I could hear and feel it. I pulled off the road and stopped. Jim pulled up next to me. When my heart returned to normal, I looked at Jim and pointed down the road. I said, “Go ahead.”

Jim said, “No, you can lead, I’m not.”

I think he wanted me to run interference.

As a reminder and for those new to our motorcycle adventures:

D – Dangerous
E – Evil
E – Everywhere
R – Rodent

Deer are a rider’s worst nightmare. Except for automobiles, deer have killed more motorcyclists than anything else.

A half hour later I was negotiating some very tricky gravel when another D.E.E.R. appeared. Fortunately this one was standing about a hundred yards off the roadway.

Over the next fifty miles we were treated to some easy riding as the Rocky Mountain Front provided some astonishing scenery.

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The road seems to go on forever. The Rocky Mountains are coming into view on the horizon.

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The snow covered Rockies rise above the plains, almost as a skyscraper rises from a sidewalk. The sight is unbelievably beautiful.

We are spending the night at the Dancing Bears Inn, East Glacier Park, Montana.

I wanted to ride the Going-To-The-Sun Road from East to West this year. It is the only road through Glacier National Park. We rode it West to East last year. The road is closed due to snow. The upside is that we’ll be able to take US 2 which skirts the southern boundaries of the park.

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Riding Nevada Highway 225 – Fun Time

Last night we stayed at the Best Western in Elko. The main reason was to use the swimming pool. It was shut down for the day. The stay went downhill from there. The phone didn’t work. The reception staff recommended with enthusiasm a restaurant a short walk from the hotel. “The food is great, you’ll love it.”

JRs Restaurant is not a place to visit or eat. Where do I begin? Oh, yah, no air conditioning, hot muggy, and smelling of cigarette smoke. I asked the duty manager about it. “Oh, yeah the air conditioning doesn’t work.” She added a shrug and walked away.

Jim ordered the house Cabernet Sauvignon. With the first sip, I knew he didn’t like it. His face scrunched, his eyes closed, and he uttered an ugh.

I ordered a pasta dish with a side salad. About ten minutes later, the server brought two set ups and tossed them on the table without a word.

Another ten minutes passed before the server brought my pasta, no salad. She forgot whose order was whose. I asked her about my salad. “Did I forget your salad?”

“Yes, you did.”

Her reply was almost surly, “I guess I can get you one now.”

“Never mind, I’ll skip it.”

The next step was to consume the food. My pasta and garlic cheese bread were unlike anything I had before. It tasted strange. Jim and I couldn’t get out of the place quick enough.

This morning our bad luck continued. The Best Western advertised a full breakfast. While Jim showered, I went to the breakfast room for coffee. They were out of regular coffee and had only enough for two partial cups of decaf.

When we returned for our meal, they were out of ham and eggs, and out of decaf coffee. About twenty minutes later they had eggs.

Our luck changed as soon as we left the motel. We took Nevada 225 north to Idaho. The ride was spectacular. We wound through stunning country with canyons, rock formations, lakes, and a small river running alongside the road for a good thirty miles.

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This picture doesn’t do justice to the one hundred miles of spectacular scenery. I never thought I would be able to say this, but the Nevada scenery was great compared to what we encountered crossing into Idaho.

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Nevada 225 ended and we were now on Idaho 51. The next hundred plus miles resembled what you see in the background, with one exception. We passed maybe a half dozen farms, nothing else but open range.

Leaving Elko we went 180 miles without slowing for traffic. We were passed by two pickups, we didn’t pass any one.

D.E.E.R. were visible twice. Two were seen about three hundred yards off the roadway. The other was road kill. Most of the terrain was open range, cattle roamed free, no fences. We saw one steer about ten feet off the roadway and a dead calf just off the pavement.

Idaho 51 offered no photo opportunities. I have to admit that Nevada 225 was worth the ride, even with the next hundred miles of boredom. Boredom is the wrong word, no ride is ever truly boring.

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We stopped Grinde’s in Mountain Home, Idaho for lunch. The waitress, Barbara, was a pleasure. She welcomed us with a bright smile that filled her face. After she made sure there were no tomatoes in the chili, we ordered chili cheese burgers smothered with onions. For potatoes Barbara recommended chip fries, sliced potatoes cooked like American Fries. Jim and I took her advice, the chips were great.

Our next stop was High Desert Harley Davidson in Meridian, just west of Boise. Another young woman, McKenzie, welcomed us with a great smile. Her folks are in public safety. She is following in their footsteps, studying Criminal Justice at the University of Idaho. Besides being nice, she was generous, giving us a 10% discount. That helped ease the pain for me. I bought the obligatory T-Shirt which was $39.00, highway robbery at High Desert Harley.

Finished at the Harley store, we wanted to ride another hour before calling it a day. An Air Force and police department retiree pulled in while we were getting ready to roll. He and his wife had just finished a ride down through Colorado and New Mexico with a stop at Four-Corners. Jim explained our dilemma, “We don’t know which direction to go, left or right.” He suggested heading north and stopping at Horseshoe Bend.

I’m glad he did. It proved to be a good ending to the day’s 280 mile ride. It also renewed my faith in Idaho.

We did have a wee bit of a problem, no motels in Horseshoe Bend. Jim went into a bar to ask about lodging. The owner said, “Let me make a call.” We could hear him talking about two twenty-year old bikers looking for a good time. When he finished he said, “He bought the old railroad station and is remodeling it. He has a room upstairs you can use.”

We doubled back to Kits Riverside Restaurant. Jon Kit came out to meet us. He was wearing a tool belt and was covered with dust, possibly sawdust. “We’re closed on Tuesdays so I can’t feed you tonight, but we’ll have a great breakfast for you in the morning. We open at seven.” The only room finished and ready for occupancy is really a studio apartment with a loft. $65 and we were in hog heaven. The deck overlooks the Payette River. The view is better than a similar one we had last year in the Cascades, but at less than half the cost.

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From the smile on Jim’s face, you can see we had a bodacious ending to a splendid day.

Tomorrow I have to work for a few hours before we head for????

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The Ride to Illinois That Wasn’t

Last night I rode to Jim Kennemore’s in Roseville so we could get an early start today. The plan was to be on the road by six, no later than six-thirty.

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7:00 a.m., pre-departure picture of Dos Amigos. Jim tells me, “Hey I just checked the weather, there will be thunder showers over the Sierras by this afternoon.

I’m not worried, even though the sky is changing to a darker shade of grey. “Don’t worry we’ll be in Truckee by eight-thirty and Fallon by eleven.” It didn’t work out that way.

We went about five miles before I saw a lightning strike. It turned out to be the only one I saw all day.

We had an unscheduled detour for fuel outside of Auburn. We didn’t get to Truckee until well after nine. We enjoyed a great meal at Coffee And, one of my favorite breakfast places.

Leaving Coffee And 1030 am

Jim snapped this shot as we saddled up, not at the planned hour, but much later, 10:30 a.m.

We couldn’t pass up Cabella’s at Boomtown. The stop resulted in another hour’s delay.

The original plan was to ride to Marseilles, Illinois for a Veteran’s Function. Our timing got skewed and it was obvious we wouldn’t get there until a day or two after the event. The route included the Loneliest Highway in America (US 50) to Ely, Nevada.

Riding US 50 through Fallon requires a stop and lunch at Jerry’s. This tradition cannot be ignored. Jim memorialized the stop in the below picture.

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The storm clouds in the background followed us from Truckee. We caught a few large rain drops but nothing heavy.

Over lunch we decided that since we couldn’t make it to Illinois, we might as well go somewhere new. I’ll remind you that Jim is a retired OPD Sergeant and I’m a retired SLPD Sergeant. Sergeants are used to making decisions and being obeyed. Sergeants are always right. We both held steadfast in our suggested routes, sort of. We argued the value of heading East, South, and North. I might have changed my position more than once. If our riding buddy retired Lieutenant Larry Eade had been handy he could have mediated.

Looking at the map, we saw that less than a mile away we could make a left turn and head north on US 95. We have ridden this road up in Montana so the discussion was on. We finally compromised and agreed to take the left onto US 95 north to I-80.

Normal Riding Attire

Jim snapped this photo of me driving in the oncoming lane in my official riding gear, aloha shirt, and tennis shoes. It was at least fifteen minutes before another vehicle wanted the lane. You can see the storm clouds to the west. We turned east just in time to miss anything worse than a few more large drops. They almost helped with the 100 degree temperature.

At I-80 we turned right and rode to Elko. We saw no D.E.E.R. today. As anyone who has ever been through Nevada knows, they have two seasons, winter and road repair. We experienced maybe one-hundred miles of road repair where for the most part, they closed us down to one lane in each direction while they repaired the other lane.

It was a 440 mile day.

Tomorrow we’ll head north. I think we are going to Boise. But we’ll have to see how the two sergeants handle the decisions.

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Hail Causes Mini Flash Flood – Monticello, Utah to Ely, Nevada

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight months since I got caught in the open by this high desert hail storm.

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The day before was filled with change, this day with challenges.

The morning started out harmless enough. I walked to a family owned restaurant hoping for oatmeal and fruit, senior price of course. Even though it was past the opening time, it was closed. There was a handwritten note taped inside the glass door. “Sorry, we’re closed.” Down the street was J & B’s Hamburgers.

What the heck, I’ll give it a try. They didn’t have oatmeal, nor did they have a senior price. Bacon, eggs, and pancakes it was. It tasted good with two giant pancakes on a second plate. I could only eat one.

My plan to visit the Arches went awry as soon as I pulled out on US 191. Tired, I decided to skip the Arches. I don’t think eleven days in the saddle had anything to do with it.

Within minutes, a D.E.E.R. appeared. With that omen, I should have been forewarned.

US 191 took me through beautiful country, red rock formations, canyons, and some greenery. The remaining 90 miles were filled with vistas that artists dream about.

My buddy Paul Wallace likes Moab for mountain biking. I can see why. The town is small, attractive, touristy, and bicycle positive. Unlike most towns on this trip, there were no “Bikers Welcome” signs. They didn’t get any of my money.

Reaching Green River, Utah, I realized that this was where JAK had suggested we deviate from our plan last year, and take US 191 north to Jackson Hole. It was an outstanding decision with fantastic scenery. The lower half is different, all desert, but just as spectacular. I recommend either segment for a great ride. Next month, June 2013, JAK and I are riding to a Veterans Memorial Run in Marseilles, Illinois. We might take this route.

Leaving Green River I took I-70 to Salina, Utah. It was hot and dry. That changed. Storms were brewing west and north. Rain chimneys were visible. Shortly after noon, a chimney materialized dead ahead. I kept going and got rained on for about a minute. With the temperature hovering around 100º, the rain cooled me off. Dry in minutes, I narrowly missed a second chimney. I was in for more than rain.

I had nowhere to pull off when it started to rain. Ouch, this stuff hurts, it isn’t rain it’s hail. So much for finding a safe place to pull over, I stopped as fast as possible. The Ultra was not quite off the interstate. I didn’t care. I scrambled off and ran to some small trees for shelter. The hail stones came in two sizes, some the diameter of a dime, most that of a nickel.

Beaten and drenched, I ran to the bike, unlocked a saddle bag, grabbed my coat and ran back. There was no way I could have gotten the pants on. Several cars stopped on the other side of the four-lane interstate. After I got my coat on, I heard a horn honking. A minivan with California plates stopped and the passenger doors opened. A woman in the front shouted; “Get in, Get in.” Still wearing my helmet I jumped in and closed the door. She said; “Does this happen very often?”

“I don’t know. I’m from California like you.”

She said in unaccented English; “Actually we are from Belgium. They are warning of flash floods.”

When I ran under the trees, the ground was dry except for falling hail stones. When I ran to the van, my sneakers were under swift moving water.

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The trees didn’t afford much protection. This picture was taken minutes after the hail stopped falling. In the short break between hail and the subsequent rain, I got into my foul weather gear. I had one question, Where are my boots?
Two more cars and a motorcycle stopped to inquire if I was okay. None had been in the hail storm; it was pretty well confined to a small area, my head.

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Continuing on, it started raining heavily. I won’t say it was a cloud burst, but darn close. I could not find any shelter. I put on the 4-Way flashers and slowed to 30 MPH on the 70 MPH Interstate. Motorcycle helmets don’t have windshield wipers and my vision sucked. The cars passing me were all doing over sixty. To say I was stressed is putting it mildly.

In Salina I went straight to the world famous Mom’s Café. The building was constructed in the 1890s. The café has been in continuous operation since 1926. When I finished eating, the rain had stopped, the temperature ninety plus. Once again off with the hot foul weather gear.

It remained hot until I got into Nevada, the rain chimneys getting darker and closer by the minute.

For two hours I fought winds strong enough to push the Ultra across the roadway, a tad scary. The area was desert with blowing sand. In one stretch the sand blew handlebar high across my path. It hurt like the dickens.

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I continued for a few miles after I took this picture. I pulled over and geared up. Five minutes later I was in the rain. It rained the forty miles into Ely, Nevada. Of course, as I parked in front of the Motel 6 the rain stopped.

I knew if I went downtown to eat, it would rain again, I ordered pizza. “It won’t be long.” After an hour I called. “The delivery man will be back soon and you’re up next.” How reassuring. Another hour passed before my cold pizza and warm soda arrived.

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Grand & Glorious Motorcycle Ride Day 10 – Second Installment – On to Durango

The scenery on 285 and 160 was spectacular but difficult to enjoy with the traffic. There are little towns and homes all along 285. One of the mysteries of the universe is where all the thousands of “Snow Birds” go when they leave Arizona for the summer. Now I know, they go to US 160 in Colorado. I passed one RV Park where there were literally hundreds upon hundreds of RVs parked ever so close together and with only a narrow lane between rows. I don’t believe it possible to pull one out or put one into the rows without moving dozens. There was not a single shade tree in sight. For a hundred or so miles along 160 there are endless RV parks, fishing camps, rafting companies, and hunting lodges. All seemed full. Even with all the distractions, I was glad I took this route.

I bet you all thought you had heard the last of Jim Bob and his exploits. Well on that eventful ride in 2009, we were Four Amigos, JAK Kennemore, Larry Eade, Burny Matthews and me. All retired cops headed out to D.C. to honor fallen comrades. All except me from OPD. I retired from San Leandro PD. I had lunch at a small place on US 285 at US 50. 23 miles east on US 50 is Monarch Pass, Colorado at 11,312 feet. We crossed the pass in May, 2009; it was 22 degrees and snowing. The coffee shop at the summit was covered in snow, with a tunnel dug to the front door.

As usual, Jim Bob was doing his Alpha Biker thing. As we other three prepared to dismount our steeds for a photo op, Jim Bob rode away. Not a word, he just left. We looked at one another, none of us had a clue, but figured we’d skip the photo op of a lifetime and follow Jim Bob. When we finally got clear of the snow, we had ice on our clothes up to our waists. Finally stopping for fuel, Jim Bob told us; “The snow plow operator told me I should get off the mountain, so I left.”

Asked why he didn’t communicate with his three amigos his typical Jim Bob response was; “You’re big boys.” Not sure what that meant.

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I had lunch near the intersection of 285 and 50.

I was wearing the last of the non-Harley T-Shirts I brought along to wear and discard. I never throw away a Harley T-shirt. I began to wear my new Harley Ts.

About an hour out of Durango, Colorado, I took a hydration break. I called ahead for a room. Yelp gave me a list of a half dozen motels. I called Best Western, $189 for a single. No thanks. Next on the list was an independent motel. A call got me a room, with free WiFi for $54.

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From one of the scenic overlooks.

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Looking back up from the valley floor.

Until I reached Durango, the only wildlife I saw was a turkey. Whoop Dee Do!

In Durango I saw two deer happily munching away alongside a city street. Pulling into the motel lot, I saw a D.E.E.R. As I maneuvered across the uneven and steeply sloped parking lot, a big D.E.E.R. came running in my direction. It crossed not twenty feet in front of me. Can you imagine the catastrophe had I collided with the D.E.E.R. and wound up in the hospital?

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