Day 1 – Tumble Dry – High Heat

As you can see, we left Roseville at around 7am.  Fueled up and ready to go.  

Cathy waved goodbye to her co-workers as we drove past her office.

We enjoyed seeing the sun rise through the trees at our first stop on Hwy 32 between Chico and Chester.  It was a comfortable morning but we began shedding layers at this point.  

We encountered several road construction delays that added an hour to our day.

It was a beautiful road that followed Deer Creek for several miles.

Then we rode along Lake Almanor.  Gorgeous.

That’s Mt. Lassen peaking above those hills.  

And that’s Mt. Shasta – still full of snow on its east side.

After a stop in Alturas for a fattening lunch and one and a half Sparks (thank you Charlotte), we encountered high heat and strong winds.  We were in high desert at this point and the landscape is pretty interesting.  Above is Albert Rim.  The colors are vivid and many of the boulders are covered with rust indicating high iron content.  There are mountain goats on the rim but we did not see any this time.

This is Lake Albert.  We also picked up a hitchhiker at this point – the bug splat on the lens.  He is with us for the remainder of the day.  Lake Albert is an alkaline lake so there were lots of shore birds enjoying something briny. 

This is how you make a fence post when you don’t have a lot of wood but have lots of rocks.

With an hour and a half until we reached Burns, we decided to stop and wet our cooling vests at this rest stop.  Unfortunately the  water was turned off so Tom opted for a nap.  It was about 97 degrees at this point and the wind was so strong that Cathy felt like delicate laundry that someone had put in the high heat dryer cycle.  We hydrated a bit and pushed on through the windy desert.

This was what the hour and a half to Burns looked like… literally this for miles.  This is in front of us.

This is behind us… lots of sage brush. 

Tomorrow we head to Challis, Idaho in the Sawtooth National Forest.  It will be a much shorter day so we will enjoy sleeping in a bit. 

Cathy’s “Barn of the Day” pic!


Ride 2017

Well, the preparations have begun.  This year we’ll be heading to Mount Rushmore. We’re leaving a little later this summer due to job schedules so we’re hoping it’s not going to be too hot.  However, it can’t be worse than it is here at home – 105 degrees yesterday. Ugh.

img-2229.jpgWe changed tires yesterday.  Tom gave the bike a bath and checked everything out so our ride is ready.  Now we just have to pack!  The living room has been transformed into a staging area:


This year’s journey will be a little over 3,200 miles in 10 days.  Route

Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Nevada… here we come!

Day 1:  Thursday, July 13, 2017 (488 Miles)  Home to Burns, Oregon

Day 2:  Friday, July 14, 2017 (352 Miles) Burns, Oregon to Challis, Idaho

Day 3:  Saturday, July 15, 2017 (296 Miles) Challis, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana

Day 4:  Sunday, July 16, 2017 (167 Miles) West Yellowstone, Montana to Cody, Wyoming

Day 5:  Monday, July 17, 2017 (360 Miles) Cody, Wyoming to Gillette, Wyoming

Day 6:  Tuesday, July 18, 2017 (207 Miles) Gillette, Wyoming to Custer, South Dakota

Day 7:  Wednesday, July 19, 2017 (397 Miles) Custer, South Dakota to Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Day 8:  Thursday, July 20, 2017 (275 Miles) Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Price, Utah

Day 9:  Friday, July 21, 2017 (308 Miles) Price, Utah to Ely, Nevada

Day 10:  Saturday, July 22, 2017 ( 438 Miles) Ely, Nevada to Home

We’re looking forward to the 2017 Monkeybutt Journey!

Day Nine – The Long Way Home… A Day Late

Yes, we did make it home.  When we got home last evening, we were exhausted.  

For the most part, the ride was great. We left Klamath Falls early and opted for a breakfast bar rather than more powdered eggs. We decided to take the long way home… It seemed like a good idea when we left in 64 degrees.   We passed Klamath Lake and some peaceful farms. Nothing more tranquil than farms as the sun rises. 

We passed Tule Lake which was teaming with waterfowl. 

We took the route that goes through the Lava Bed National Monument. This is the result of an eruption 10,500 years ago.  It was an interesting ride and we were some of the only people on the road. 

We headed west through Fall River Mills and by the time we got to Burney, the heat was on and we were questioning our decision to take the long way home. This is our second to last picture because we were wearing our cooling vests (wet vests that you wear under your jacket). We stopped three times in three hours to re-wet the vests because it was so hot, they kept drying out. At one point while riding through Red Bluff, the bike’s thermometer read 113 degrees. Ugh. 

By the time we rolled into our driveway, we felt like we’d been through the high heat cycle of the dryer. We took this last picture, unloaded the bike and jumped in the pool. There would be no writing last night. 

So, we ended the 2016 Journey with 3,143.5 miles of beautiful country that we will definitely revisit. Thanks for following along!

Day Eight – It Does Exist!

After a hardy breakfast of powdered eggs, we hit the road.  Cathy had low expectations for the day – More high desert, wind and the fourth try to actually see Crater Lake.  To our surprise, the scenery was not bad.   We headed down 97 and then took the Cascade Lakes Highway at Bend.  A beautiful ride past Mt. Bachelor, several lakes, lava fields and lots of active people riding bikes, cross country skating and fly fishing. 

We started up the road to Crater Lake and passed the pumice desert. 

We climbed the mountain up over 7,000 feet. To Cathy’s delight, she got to see Crater Lake!  The deep blue lake is incredibly beautiful. 

We followed the rim road and left the park at the Klamath Basin. This is a beautiful stretch of farmland surrounded by mountains. 

As we were about to decend the mountain, we spotted this regal fellow. 

At the bottom of the mountain the Klamath Lake awaited us.  The end of our day. Tomorrow we go home. It’s always a bittersweet evening. We will spend it talking about our favorite moments. 

Day Seven – The Heat is On

We knew this day would a warm one and it was. We tried to get out early but ended up leaving around 8:45. We jumped on southbound 97.  Not a very fun ride considering it is a main truck route.  

It was, as predicted, mostly high desert. Washington state is famous for their apples and we passed several orchards. It is a stark contrast to have miles of desert and then see these beautiful green fields of apples and wheat. 

 At one point we rose in elevation into forestland. At the summit we got our first peek of Mt. Rainer.  We decended back into desert and met up with the Columbia River.  We saw many Ospreys in flight and in nests. Not only was the truck traffic heavy, so was the wind. That’s why these were here!

We stopped for lunch and decided to take an alternative route. Great decision because it was a fun curvy road that wandered through farmland and gave us views of Mounts Ranier, St. Helens and Hood.

We dropped down into the Deschutes River town of Maupin and crossed over the Deschutes on this unique bridge.

We soon met back up with Highway 97 and back to desert but we were close to our destination. We checked in to our hotel in Madras and walked to dinner. After, we walked to Safeway to get a bottle of wine.  Back at our hotel, we asked the front desk for a corkscrew. Apparently they don’t get too many California wine drinkers here because they didn’t have one. Luckily the manager moonlights as McGiver because he took us and our wine bottle to the maintenance room and came up with this solution!

Now we’re enjoying wine and talking about whether or not, we’ll see Crater Lake tomorrow. Last chance for this lake. Cathy has tried seeing it three other times and is convinced it doesn’t exist.  Hopefully tomorrow we will be sharing pics of the elusive lake!

Day Six – Southbound

Bed and Breakfast inns are always fun around the breakfast table. There were two other couples – one from Toronto and one from Paris. Our hostess Kat, was from the UK so the conversations ranged from the Brexit vote to the Presidential election in the US.  Very stimulating way to start the day. And as Kat said, “It’s a glorious day!” The temperature was nice enough for us to pack the liners and travel in only a few layers.  We said goodbye to the Canyon Ridge Lodge and started heading west. 

We followed the Kicking Horse River and rose up into an alpine forest lined with pines and aspens. This must be beautiful in the fall.
After a big breakfast, we needed to stop for doubleshot espressos in the cute town of Revelstoke. Great name.

We turned south in Enderby and then took BC highway 33 at Kelowna. This was a great ride with lots of bikes!

Soon we began to see sagebrush. No more beautiful, lush forests (we will be back)!  We stopped for a rest before we decended into Osoyoos.  Take a good look at this picture …the rest of the deer was nowhere to be found so we continued on to the next leg of journey. At least we don’t have to hoof it. (We’re cracking ourselves up.)

The rest of the ride was through farmland, vineyards, orchards and yes…sagebrush from the border to Omak. 

We expect tomorrow’s ride to be warm and fairly boring. More high desert. We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Day Five – Chillin’

So today was about chillin’ – morning through evening.  We decided to take our time this morning and enjoy a hot cup of room-brewed coffee. After one sip, we both said enough. It was terrible. We decided to get gas, put air in the tires and then stop for breakfast in a half hour or so.  After three attempts at various restaurants, we settled for a muffin and cup of coffee at a lodge cafeteria. Apparently, you can’t have breakfast or lunch at park restaurants on weekends because they only open to tour groups. Which also means the roads are full of tour buses loaded with people speaking multiple languages and all carrying selfie sticks to get perfect photo of themselves in front of a glacier!  Ugh. 

Once fortified (kind of), we set off in a constant rain and were both getting wet, chilled and hangry.  Even still, we loved the ride. We saw another wolf, big horn sheep and this guy.

The scenery was again, jaw dropping.

We pulled into Golden, BC early so we decided to have a proper lunch. We then took a walk to a covered foot bridge that spanned the Kicking Horse River. 

We checked in to our B&B owned by a young couple with a six month old smiling baby boy named Reef. Such a cutie. We enjoyed a glass of wine on the patio and are planning on hitting the hay early tonight. Just chillin’ tonight. Tomorrow we are back in the good ‘ol USA. Destination – Omak, Washington. Sounds exciting, huh?  We are a little sorry to leave this beautiful country but know that we will come back and spend even more time enjoying this amazing place. 

Day Four – Simply Stunning

This has got to be one of the most beautiful places on this planet. We rode for eleven hours but only traveled about 256 miles, because we kept stopping to take it all in. We saw elk, deer, big horn sheep and even a wolf!  We went to Kootenay, Banff and Jasper National Parks. Words cannot describe the beauty of this place so we’ll let the pictures tell the story. 

Tomorrow we explore some more and end up back in BC. 

Day Three – Spritzle and Schnitzel

We began the day by riding through some of the most beautiful farm land we have ever seen.  We climbed north out of Lewiston into rolling hills of crops in all shades of green and bursts of yellow.  They went on for miles and miles.  We never knew there was so much agriculture in Idaho. In contrast, Coeur d’Alene and the twenty miles north of it were nothing but traffic and stop lights. 

We entered British Columbia, Canada through Eastport. The scenery reminded Cathy of lower Alaska. We did not see any animals but we did see Bald Eagles, ospreys and lots of ravens.  We a spritzel of rain but our gear kept us dry. 

We pulled into Radium Hot Springs around 5:00 pm. It is a cute town. We took a walk to look for a dinner spot and happened upon this place. We both had the schnitzel special and it was delicious!

We felt like we were in the Alps with German music playing and this view! 

Tomorrow we ride to Jasper. It is going to be a soggy ride, we fear. This is what it looks like in that direction right now…

Happy trails!

Day Two – History Lesson on Wheels

We left Burns around 8am to a beautiful and comfortable morning. Much of the first half of the day was the same as the end of yesterday … Sage brush, wind and bugs.  No complaints, though.  It was a great way to start the day. 

We passed the 45th parallel; half way between the Equator and the North Pole!  Cathy tried to get a picture of the sign but then noticed that a bug hit her lens. We’re trying to get the mark off but so far, no luck. We will have to depend on Tom’s camera and the GoPro. 

We briefly followed part of the Oregon Trail and followed the Malhuer River (a tributary of the Snake River). We then headed north into Idaho. Most of the route was on Highway 95, a must-see if in this area. Really beautiful are the farms up near Grangeville where there are fields of soft winter wheat, barley, and spring canola.  These were the best with acres of yellow blooms. 

References to the Nez Perce Indians are all over this area.  We stopped at a historic location of the first battle of the Nez Perce war. It didn’t end well for the Cavalrymen that day but the Nez Perce ultimately paid the price. 

We rode alongside several rivers today.  The previously mentioned Malhuer, the Little Salmon, the Salmon, the Payette and the Clearwater.  Here in Lewiston, the Clearwater meets the Snake River.  

Tomorrow we enter Canada. We’re headed to Radium Hot Springs, BC. We may encounter rain but we are prepared for it. Until then, enjoy some more pics from today!