Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Springtime In Montana - Home For The Summer, (or at least part of the summer)

It's been a busy few weeks since I did that last 500 mile ride from Casper, WY to home In Helena.
Took part in a couple of AARP Legislative functions as the Montana Legislature prepares to shut down for this session.
Attended my first Last Chance Motorcycle Riders Club and joined up.
Bill Ryder checked over the Yamaha and prepared it for some summer rides.
He also has the old 1989 Kawasaki Classic 454cc bike and is building a sidecar for it.
The 2012 Honda 750cc Shadow Spirit is officially up for sale.

Now the planning for the summer rides begins.
The United Sidecar Association Rally is in Sturgis SD June 25-27.
Definitely planning on being there.
The Sidney, Montana  Mondak Heritage Center Authors Festival is July 10th & 11th and we'll be there to offer Lois' book Fifty Cents and Hour - The Builders and Boomtowns of the Fort Peck Dam.
I may have my new book: The Longest Ride - Reimagining Life After Alzheimer's in print by then.
Should be a fun weekend.

The ride to Anchorage, Alaska to visit Grand daughter Megan would be a great trip, as would riding in the inaugural Iron Butt Association  George A. Wyman Memorial Tribute ride from San Francisco to New York.
The question is, can I do both.
They would both be fantastic rides.
Still meditating on that one.

In the meantime, Sundays snow melted off and I rode 150 miles on I-15 yesterday, just for the fun-of-it!
Cool, in the low 40's, but fun all the same.

Photo by Jenny Bomar

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Linda will ride the sidecar as we make a quick run to the Perkin's Restaurant in Great Falls for lunch.
Should be a nice ride through Wolf Creek Canyon.

Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America

Be Fantastic

Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Friday, April 3, 2015

HOME! 518 Mile Ride Through Wyoming & Chris Ledoux Memorial Park

Denver and the Snooze Eatery
Pulled in to a Denver Super 8, instead of a campgrounds so I could be closer to downtown Denver and the restaurant that Diana had told her son Jared to take me to when I visited his city.
I arrived an hour early for breakfast the next morning, since I wasn't sure if SIRI would get me to this highly recommended breakfast spot called The Snooze Eatery.
The parking lot was jammed, even at 8AM and I had to circle the block waiting for a space to open up. Service must be good because the parking spaces emptied and filled on a regular basis. One trip around the lot and I had a spot.
As I was getting off the bike a car stopped behind me as if waiting for me to leave, I smiled and said, "Sorry folks I just got here."
The woman responded, "It's okay, we just stopped so the kids could see your motorcycle."
It does seem to attract attention.
Inside I was told there would be a 35 to 55 minute wait.
WOW! This place is really good.
I waited on the street outside with other would-be-breakfast-eaters and by 8:30AM I saw Joni's son Malachi and wife Ashley coming. both with big welcoming smiles.
Jared arrived a short time later and we all had a good visit and even got a guy from Virginia to take a couple of pictures.

The breakfast was unique at this well known upscale breakfast spot.
Eggs cooked in every way known to man, including great Mexican and Oriental styles.
Great food and a wonderful visit with three young people who are living their dream in what they believe to be the best city in the country.
Seemed like everybody in town was walking or running and looking trim and fit.
Leaving the restaurant we found a group of half a dozen people gathered around my rig in the parking lot.
One of them turned out to be from Whitefish, Montana.
They saw the rig and wanted to look closer at it, asking questions about the sidecar and Mini Mate trailer, and of course had a good laugh when they saw the 80 year old biker sign.
Putting a smile on the face of a stranger, what could be more fun than that?
And the sign has done that hundreds of times during the course of my trek across the country.
SIRI took me directly out of town on I-25 North and I was soon on my way, while still enjoying the stories and laughter of my visit with the Denver grand kids.
Casper Wyoming was the goal and I made it in good time.
The only campground in town that I could find didn't look all that great so I opted for the Comfort Inn. Good choice, this was a well cared for motel and I got a good nights sleep.
I thought I would stop for the night in Billings so I lingered longer then I should have and didn't get on the road until 9AM.
Strong head winds and those Wyoming hills slowed my rig and I was getting a good upper arm workout, but the ride went well with short gas stops and long rides in between.
Running low on fuel I was looking for a gas station and saw a sign that said KayCee, Wyoming, fuel and food, and than a sign that said "Chris Ledoux Memorial Park."

Way out here, in the middle of Wyoming a park honoring Chris Ledoux? Wow! This I had to see.
Filled the gas tank and drove down the street a couple of blocks and there it was, a life size bronze statue of Chris Ledoux riding a horse called Stormy Weather to the 1976 World Bareback Bronc Riding Championship.
Chris was known to sing his cowboy songs at every rodeo he competed in, and had even made a couple of cassette recordings that he sold along the way.
When Garth Brooks released a record in which he sang about "listening to a worn out tape of Chris Ledoux," he was off on a new career as a country music star.
                    Chris Ledoux talks about the early days of his rodeo career.

And some day when you're on a long ride through Wyoming and you see a sign that says, "Kaycee, Wyoming" you might want to pull off the interstate and visit a great park and maybe meet some nice folks. Check out their Chamber of Commerce web page.

Making good time I arrived in Billings at 2PM and decided to ride straight through to Helena without the planned lay over in Billings.
The wind had died down a little and it was a good ride.
Smoke from the weekend fires between Laural and Park City was still visible but the Interstate was open and I made good time.
7:30 PM and I sent a text to Roger to let him know I was coming into Helena and heading for Perkins for a good dinner. He came and we ate.
Roger's video of the homecoming
Linda met me at the house with all the mail she had saved for me and it was good to be home.
The odometer told me I had traveled 16,264 miles on the Yamaha since leaving Helena at 4 AM on the morning of September 27th.
Six months and 16,000 miles.
This has been an epic adventure visiting interesting places and meeting interesting people. and making so many new friends.
It had started with the thousand mile Iron Butt ride to Minneapolis and there I turned in to what the Long Distance Riders call a "Flower Sniffer."
I had stopped to smell the flowers many times along the way.

My wife of sixty years, Lois, had Alzheimer's Disease and had passed away just a year ago.
When the kids asked, "what will you do now?"
I replied, "I think I'll go for a little ride."
For me and for the kids and grand kids the ride was an affirmative statement that said, "There is life after Alzheimer's."
Just what Lois would have said.

And the ride is not over yet.
June 25-27 the United Sidecar Association will hold it's annual gathering at Sturgis, South Dakota.
I'll be there.

Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America.

Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist