Tag Archives: US 50

12th Annual Brown Water Run – Day 4 – 7/8/2013 (Last Day)

I haven’t had a chance to wrap up the Brown Water before now. We were on a cruise to Alaska and then my two months out of warranty hard drive failed.

Monday, July 8th was officially the last day of the 2013 Brown Water Run.

When we settled down the night before, the Bison Fire was raging east of us. The distance that the fire covered was astonishing. I’m glad I was a police officer and not a fire fighter. I will never comprehend how a sane person can put themselves in front of a moving fire. To all Fire Fighters – Thank you for your service.

Here is a quote from one of our riders, “This is a fast-moving fire.” Jeff Zolfarelli – Fire Chief (Retired). Personally I think all fires are fast movers and should be avoided.

Monday started poorly. First, the Bison Fire continued to grow. The Motel 6 staff told us, “We don’t put out coffee until 7:00 a.m.”. We had two motorcycles down. The Harley people told Keith Wallace that his problem was the stater. They couldn’t get one in for a day or two. Fred Sicard had to wait for the service department to replace his tire.

When Keith got back to Arizona he raised cane with the Harley-Folks who had “fixed” his electrical system. It turns out that it was the regulator, not the stater. Carson City had regulators in stock and could have fixed the bike. I believe they returned his diagnostic fee.

Hatties

Fortunately Grandma Hattie’s was just across the parking lot. We trooped over and had coffee and breakfast.

2013-07-08 07.50.57

Paul Wallace had our waitress deliver a jar of mayonnaise to me. I HATE MAYONNAISE. This wasn’t just any mayonnaise, it was from 2003. He had saved it since I was airlifted out of the Oregon Mountains to the hospital in Medford. What a guy.

Pig Trail

Larry Eade models a shirt from Pig Trail Harley-Davidson, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The Pig Trail is a popular ride and should not be missed if one rides through the state. Here is a shortened link http://goo.gl/MhYxo0 if you care to learn more about the trail. Larry, Jim, Burny Matthews and I were on route to Washington, D.C. for the 2010 Law Enforcement Memorial Service during National Police Week. To learn more about this program, link to http://www.nleomf.com

End of Ride

After breakfast we loaded up and prepared to go our separate ways.

The Los Angeles riders headed over to Carson City Harley to wait for Fred. Later they enjoyed a great ride over the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, State Route 4, before spending the night in Fresno. Some BWR riders took US-50 back to the Bay Area. Jim Kennemore took I-80 over Donner Summit. For a “slab” it’s not a bad ride.

US 95 Alt -

I headed to Las Vegas to attend the Public Safety Writers Association Annual Conference. As much as I enjoy riding with a group, solo riding is a delight. I took US-50 through Dayton Valley to US-95 south to Las Vegas. Last June, Jim Kennemore and I were on US-95 up in Idaho. This section is desert, but in its own way, just as scenic.

Bison Fire from East

The Bison Fire was visible looking west, the reverse view of what we had seen the night before. The fire destroyed great tracts of mountain terrain.

Wild Horses

Wild horses are not uncommon in areas of Nevada. While this looks to be a rural range, it wasn’t. The west side of the road is wide open with no fences, the east is not. I pulled to a stop and took this shot from about fifty yards. On the east side of the highway were several gas stations, stores, and fast food restaurants. The horses did not seem to have any interest in me or the Ultra’s loud pipes.

I spent the night in Beatty, Nevada and was in Las Vegas by noon on Tuesday. Passing Creech Air Force Based I saw three or four remotely piloted aircraft systems flying in the area. Most of us refer to these devices as Drones. They were bigger than I had imagined.

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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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August 12, 2012 – Ely, Nevada to Dublin

The last day of this Great Ride was not a lot of fun, especially the last two hundred miles. Earlier I mentioned “bug bites” and how much they itched. They didn’t go away, daily a few more appeared. I called Kaiser hoping for a prescription. “No Mr. Cramer, we can’t do that. This could be a serious allergic reaction and you must be seen soon.” They scheduled an appointment for the next day. 550 miles made for a long last day as I headed home.

Now for some good news, no rain, no hail, no wind, and no blowing sand. Crossing from Utah into Nevada, a memory from another ride returned. A few years ago as we approached the Utah state line and a gas station, Larry Eade and I were running on fumes. Ahead of us JAK did not stop.

Welcome to Utah

In the background is a blue sign with “Next Services 83 Miles”. JAK had no more fuel than Larry or I. He didn’t stop. We pulled in to the pumps. JAK came back a few minutes later to inquire why we had stopped.

Two signs stuck in my mind during this ride, the one above and one on I-70 a few miles from Green River. “Next Services 100 Miles”. With a range of 135 miles on the Ultra, I pay attention to signs like these.

Leaving Ely

Leaving Ely: The Loneliest Road in America

US 50 West Bound

This is indicative of the 259 miles from Ely to Fallon. I made it in exactly 4 hours, an average of 65 MPH. During those four hours, I made two gas and water stops, and twice for photo ops. I might have exceeded the speed limit once or twice.

About half way across Nevada I passed a woman riding a bicycle with camping bags. My thought, She must be one tough lady. Wow! Minutes later, I saw a herd of wild horses grazing alongside the roadway.

About a half hour from Fallon, Nevada a van stopped in my lane and a motorcycle stopped in the oncoming lane. As I rapidly decelerated my first thought was; Oh my God, there’s an accident, I hope it isn’t a biker. It wasn’t.

US 50 Steer

It’s a steer. I didn’t take another shot. It came at me and the Ultra. I jumped on and rode away.

A tradition is lunch at Jerry’s Restaurant in Fallon. They were so busy I had to sit at the counter where I downed two iced teas before ordering. I saw the biggest and best looking open faced chili cheese burger ever. It was smothered in onions. I want that chili cheese burger! Regrettably, I thought of Larry Eade and what he would say to “Gravy Boy.” I ordered a chef salad.

From Ely to Fallon the temperature hovered around 90. Leaving Fallon it shot up to over a 100 and stayed there.

I hit the only truly bad road of the entire trip as I crossed into California. The road became bumpy and in need of serious “Road Repair”. The last 200 miles were by far the worst, worse even than the rain and hail. Those were adventures, and the hail was certainly a new experience. I found the California highways dangerous and unpleasant.

At home, I found my missing boots on a stool. Handy so I wouldn’t forget to pack them. Oh, well, my sneakers got a good workout. I quickly changed into a bathing suit and jumped into the pool.

I put 4278 miles on the Ultra over thirteen days.

I hope you have gotten a wee bit of pleasure from my ramblings. Thank you all being such a great audience.

Four weeks from today I will be back in Ely, Nevada. Jim “JAK” Kennemore and I will be on our way to Marseilles, Illinois.

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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.

Blog 1

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.

Blog 2

From one of the scenic overlooks.

Blog 3

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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Grand & Glorius Motorcycle Ride -Day 9 – Spearfish, SD to Fort Collins, CO

My day started at 6:45 a.m. when a loud thunderclap woke me. Happily there was only one, and it rained less than an hour. Long enough to get soaked riding to a coin operated Laundromat, where they had raised the laundry rates for bike week.

Back at Motel Kozy I checked out. I hoped Spearfish Canyon at 9:20 a.m. would be traffic free. It wasn’t, but at least traffic was lighter than later in the day. Spearfish Canyon is one of the reasons I came this way.

Spearfish 1

The first 10 miles was wet and slippery from the rain. While ambling along at 30 MPH, a squirrel ran in front of me. I had a split second to make a choice; “Do I swerve to miss ‘em, or go straight on?” Swerving and hitting the brakes would have probably resulted in going down. “Sorry squirrel.” I ran over his tail. I ruined his day, but he survived the encounter.

Spearfish Canyon is on US 14A. 20 miles up the canyon it dead-ends at US 85. A left turn takes you to Deadwood. On a whim, “why not go right, I’ve been to Deadwood a dozen times. I’ve never turned right. I wonder where it goes.” So a right turn it was. US 85 took me to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

US 85 was a great ride for about an hour and then it turned bad. The temperature was a cool 80.

Spearfish 2
This was taken 20 minutes before it turned bad.

Not long before this picture, I saw movement ahead on the right. I’d been going about 50 MPH because the ride was so nice, slowing wasn’t difficult. The movement was a fawn, (D.E.E.R.). As I approached it took a step towards the roadway, I slowed even more. It turned back towards the woods, then it turned back toward the road and me. I was down to 10 MPH and almost upon the critter. It jumped up, turned and ran into the woods. I continued slowly for about 100 yards. When you see one deer, you often see a second. Where is Momma D.E.E.R.?

Spearfish 3

Here is a shot after it turned bad.

The temperature was 100+ the rest of the day.

I saw several groups of antelope. I left cruise control on 75 for about 200 miles. Stopping in Lusk, Wyoming (You don’t ever want to visit Lusk) for lunch I pulled out the maps. I saw that Fort Collins, Colorado is not far below Cheyenne.

The maps showed that once out of Denver, I could ignore the Interstates for days. I wanted to visit Four Corners, where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico all meet at one point. I could stand in all four states at one time. Added fun would be crossing the Continental Divide at least two more times, and a couple of scenic highways. It was 450 miles so I could make it in two days of easy riding. God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise as my dad often said.

After lunch, the ride to Cheyenne took two hours, but I had to stop twice for water, plus drinking the bottle I had on the bike. Gassing up in Cheyenne, I guzzled two bottles of water. I had a hard time staying hydrated. Checking in at the Best Western in Fort Collins, the clerk handed me a bottle of water. It was gone in two gulps.

I called the local Harley-Davidson dealer about an oil change. They got me in the next morning. Usually I get an oil change every 5000 miles, but this had seen some pretty heavy riding conditions. My good buddy, Larry Eade, sent me a reminder to change the oil, thanks Larry.

I planned to turn north on US 191 after Four Corners. This would take me through Moab. Then it would be I-70 until I reached Salina, Utah. I always call my Granddaughter Salina, when I go through Salina. From there US 50 would take me to Reno where I’d take I-80 home. The entire trip ended up being 4,500 miles, less than what I wanted.

US 50 across Nevada is called The Loneliest Road in America. Trust me it is. I’ve ridden it west to east twice. This was my first east to west trip. Crossing Nevada, you stop every time you see a gas pump. There are very few, and it tests the limits of my Ultra. Last time across, there were stretches when we went upwards of 20 miles without seeing another vehicle. If you think about it, one realizes that there was probably 40 miles between the two vehicles.

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