Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, etc, in early December??? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 4:42 pm Thread Starter
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Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, etc, in early December???

Hey guys, I'm picking up a bike in coastal Oregon, near Portland the last week in November, and riding back to Houston. Other than having significantly frozen cajones, the bike is K1200LT, so its running about 900 pounds wet without me or equipment on it (1200 loaded).

Any ice or snow, and Houston shuts down. I can, however, tell you anything you want to know about getting around a traffic jam. Seriously, the government becomes completely ineffective, TV stations broadcast meaningless information, society begins to break down, policemen start randomly beating people, and looting runs rampant.

Then, when it starts to snow, everyone just walks around staring at the white stuff coming from the sky. Needless to say, I don't have much experience riding on anything other than wet pavement, and that's on light little street bikes.

My question:

What's the best route?? In my opinion, the safest route is HWY 101 (PCH) down to Los Angeles, then across the south on I-10, but I've done that several times from San Francisco both on a bike and in a car, so I'd like something new. I'm not in any particular hurry, as I'm leaving on a Wednesday and don't have to be back till Monday AM.

Obviously the weather for the next 10 days or so will have a major impact on the decision, but if I were to ride today:


Options:

Straight West, tuck 'em and ride. Take I-84 till I hit 25 south, all the way to I-10. I seriously don't want to put my tires on any frozen water though. Not this early in the relationship. Maybe next year, or if it were a GS-Adv (more likely to financially survive a spill).

South on I-5 to Weed, CA, across to Reno, NV, south to Las Vegas, NV, home from there.

South on 101 to Sacramento, across death valley, again through Vegas, and home from there.

I'd like to at least see the rockies in the distance, but certainly don't want to risk making an insurance claim looking at something I can see next summer in much more appropriate conditions (and after 6 months of riding the beast).

Any opinions???
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post #2 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 5:06 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
What's the best route?? In my opinion, the safest route is HWY 101 (PCH) down to Los Angeles, then across the south on I-10, but I've done that several times from San Francisco both on a bike and in a car, so I'd like something new. I'm not in any particular hurry, as I'm leaving on a Wednesday and don't have to be back till Monday AM.

Obviously the weather for the next 10 days or so will have a major impact on the decision, but if I were to ride today:


Options:

Straight West, tuck 'em and ride. Take I-84 till I hit 25 south, all the way to I-10. I seriously don't want to put my tires on any frozen water though. Not this early in the relationship. Maybe next year, or if it were a GS-Adv (more likely to financially survive a spill).

South on I-5 to Weed, CA, across to Reno, NV, south to Las Vegas, NV, home from there.

South on 101 to Sacramento, across death valley, again through Vegas, and home from there.

I'd like to at least see the rockies in the distance, but certainly don't want to risk making an insurance claim looking at something I can see next summer in much more appropriate conditions (and after 6 months of riding the beast).

Any opinions???
Congratulations on your purchase. You are right to be concerned with the weather in the PNW during November. You will have to wait until the time comes to make your decision, but one thing you can count on is the coast highway (101) rarely gives you icy conditions. If the weather cooperates the Weed, Reno and Vegas route is always a favorite of mine. Good luck and PM me if you would like an Oregon contact number for any assistance.

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post #3 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 5:14 pm Thread Starter
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What kind of elevations am I looking at on the Weed route??
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post #4 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 5:42 pm
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Have been riding the area quite a big and from your post:
South on 101 to Sacramento, across death valley, again through Vegas, and home from there.
that sounds the best option.

Montana, Rock Mountains and Idaho is a very high gamble for snow. I would not do it.

If you can check the weather the day before, you may try:
Day 1 = Portland to Boise, to Salt Lake City
Plane B = Boise to Reno (backtrack but if it's snowing in SLC you don't want be there.

day 2 = Slate Lake to Page
Plane B = Reno to Vegas

Day 3 = Page to Tuba City, Polacca Gallup and Albuquerque
Plane B = 40 Freeway.

Day 4 = Albuquerque to Amarillo to home.

Enjoy.

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post #5 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 6:02 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
What kind of elevations am I looking at on the Weed route??
Siskiyou summit is about 2300 feet and that isn't the highest for this trip. The others are also pretty tall, from Mt. Shasta (not Weed as stated earlier) down Hwy 89 is over 4k feet and then downhill from there. It all depends on the overall weather and time of day that you are planning your trip through the area. Check out the NOAA site for average conditions click here and surf around. The NWet is living up to its reputation right now. We are way above average rainfall.

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post #6 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 6:05 pm
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Elevation = cold
Cold can mean snow
Snow itself ain't so bad, but it may lead to ice.

Ice is bad.

Wet? Cold? - eh, that's ok. And the LT can take it instride. I've driven in 13f temps - cranked my vest, seat and grips to boil - and made it. Dry roads. But snow, ice = bad. Makes for bikes that try to go sideways at in appropriate times.

Stay on the coast, go South. Don't go into the mountains until you get far enough South to stay out of conditions that'd make for slick roads. Other than that, enjoy the ride!

Tate

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post #7 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 6:15 pm
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Zotter couldn't have said it better. I'd head south from Oregon.
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post #8 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 6:57 pm Thread Starter
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I've been checking the local airport conditions, reading METAR's and PIREP's for "known icing conditions". I figure as long as I stay below 4,000 and above 40 degrees in the wet, I'll be fine. Like Zotter said, as long as it's dry, I can go through anything (frozen cojones notwithstanding).

Thanks guys.

Robert

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post #9 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 6:58 pm
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Even heading south from Oregon on your way to Vegas is dangerous that time of the year. It's a really good bet you WILL run into snow and/or ice. I'll never forget the time in late May I woke up in Ely, NV on my way to Vegas with 6" of snow. That stayed on the ground for 4 days. The high plains do get a lot of cold, snowy and icy weather.

Practice safety and don't ride the bike back that time of the year.

Just my .02 worth.

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post #10 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 7:13 pm
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South

I used to drive 18 wheeler in all 48 states and Canada. I did that for 15 years and bunch of those years was all over the west coast.

In November the weather is just too fickle to risk heading East on a Bike. That's going put you on Cabbage just East of Pendleton, Fog, Ice, Snow is the norm.
If you head South make it through weed and get into Sac and decide to mosey over to Reno you have Donner Pass. November on a bike is a tricky thing still.
These routes are fine if you're in a car or truck, Chains required or advised is just an inconvience with a car. With the bike you're gonna have to get a motel room from either just a few hours to a few days, depends on what's happening on the mountain.

going East out of Sac, you'll have to run all the way to SLC to start dropping south.

that's 500 miles of wondering what the weathers going to doing when you get there.

Granted, once you do start to drop down south you'll be better...

Personally if I was getting my LT for the first time..... I'd be headed due south as fast as I could on 101 and follow it as far south as you can go and then head East.

This will or should keep you out of the snow/ ice and let you get used to your new ride.

Learn how that baby handles in a fairly nice environment before you go throwing yourself to the wolves.

Riding in nasty conditions is one thing but doing it with something you've never ridden before is asking for some butt clenching moments.

I'd play it safe at first.. after you get used to it, go ahead and run up to Amarillo to try it in the snow and black ice and see how it feels... Doesn't feel good I can promise you that.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth, you can take it or leave it.

But man I wish I was going too!
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post #11 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 7:17 pm
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one last thing

Make sure..... MAKE DOUBLE SURE..... You have the riding gear gear....Warm, Dry.... DRY AND WARM!
Goretex is your friend!
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post #12 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 7:58 pm
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By the look of things... Gerbings heated gear, and 101 South to L.A, then I-10 West...
PM me if you want a contact in L.A., a place to warm up, and help with a wrench!
Nice folks on this site have done this for me (thank you Mike, Brett and Bo! ) while I rode my new (to me) LT back from PA to CA and it was nice to have a place to "land"...

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Last edited by zippy_gg; Nov 19th, 2006 at 9:27 pm. Reason: Arghhh! I forgot to mention someone!!!
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post #13 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 8:51 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
I've been checking the local airport conditions, reading METAR's and PIREP's for "known icing conditions". I figure as long as I stay below 4,000 and above 40 degrees in the wet, I'll be fine. Like Zotter said, as long as it's dry, I can go through anything (frozen cojones notwithstanding).

Thanks guys.

Robert
Good luck. The upper Sierras are still having high elevation snow (5 to 6k). Your trip might not be as cold as you think.

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post #14 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 9:11 pm Thread Starter
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Right now, I'm planning to use my Rallye 2 suit, which has a Gore-tex liner, and plenty of layers underneath. I did go buy some nice winter gloves from Tourmeister. I already have snow boots and a bunch of Army stuff (did two tours in the Balkans). Haven't figured out about pants yet. Like I said, I have a Rallye 2 suit, but it has a vent all the way up the side of each leg. Mostly, just a windbreak for the front of my legs is all I need. How much wind hits your upper legs or knees on an LT at highway speed??

I like to think of it as a best-case/worst-case thing. Best case scenario, everything is fine, and I ride right through with no trouble. Worst case scenario, I get severe frostbite on all four extremities, total the bike, and die agonizingly in a strange hospital several weeks later. Either way, I'll get some good time on an LT with some amazing scenery, so it's a win-win.

Thanks for all the replies.

Robert
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post #15 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 10:40 pm
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I just drove over the summit (Blue Mountains) on I-84 east of Pendleton Friday night. Cant remember if its Meeker Summit or not. RIght around 4000 ft, all traffic lanes were dry and clear, but the areas along the sides of the roads had a fair amount of snow at the summit. The weather in Boise today was downright balmy. My conern, and reason I drove the pickup, is the storms that hit the mountains out west unannounced. The Donner Pass (I-70) area is notorious for just such activity. You leave Sacramento headed for SLC and Reno and get hit by a huge storm surge that leaves cars stranded all along the highway.

My suggestion, stay coastal until you can get far enough south to get over the mountains safely.

These summits in the mountains can be hazardous because the snow along the roadways melts during the day, draining across the sloped paved surfaces, only to freeze at night, creating conditions that make riding extremely interesting. Dropping snow levels also drive the mountain rats to lower elevations increasing the chance of a deer, elk, bear vs bike incident much more likely.
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post #16 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 10:51 pm
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I did the same thing picking my bike up from coastal Oregon and riding back to Spokane/Idaho, 700 miles in Snowy/Slushy/Rainy 20-30 degree March weather across open plains. Brrrrrrrrrr..

1. Have Heated gear, rain gear and working heated seat and grips.
2. Full face helmet
3. Lots of time to get there incase of unridable weather forcing you to hold up somewhere till the weather front clears.
4. I would head South to California then easterly along the most southern route available!

*Often rides like this are only reasonably possible on a bike like the LT!
Good Luck
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post #17 of 33 Old Nov 19th, 2006, 10:55 pm
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Robert, I'm also one of several that flew out to ride a 'new' bike home.

My run was Indianapolis to Casper. Ran into snow, rain and freezing weather on the way back. Being USAF, I had a buncha issue gear too. One thing I took with me for the ride back that my family wondered about, was a Widder electric vest and the cable to fit an LT.

Man oh man - that ALONE saved me comfort, time, distance and baggage. MORE than worth it.

Body: T-shirt, long sleeve, 'lectric vest, polar fleece and my normal armored ride'n jacket.
legs: Long johns, Jeans, leathers
boots: USAF flight boots, 2 pair of socks each.

Had the USAF issued Gor-tex jacket and pants, shoulda put 'em on sooner - woulda been more comfortable. But what made *all* the difference between get'n home comfortable and camping out waiting for warmer weather and loosing time was that vest.

You ain't got one, get one. Don't care what brand name - get an 'lectric vest and carry it if there's ANY chance you'll get into risky temps. (Gebring makes a very nice thermostat - if I was to do it again, I'd get it).

Be aware you will need mobility on this beast. Not just to get on and off, but to safely pilot 'er. Don't bulk up so big staying warm you can't be effective.

Tate

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post #18 of 33 Old Nov 20th, 2006, 8:57 am
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Sacrilege?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
Hey guys, I'm picking up a bike in coastal Oregon, near Portland the last week in November, and riding back to Houston. Other than having significantly frozen cajones, the bike is K1200LT, so its running about 900 pounds wet without me or equipment on it (1200 loaded).

Any ice or snow, and Houston shuts down. I can, however, tell you anything you want to know about getting around a traffic jam. Seriously, the government becomes completely ineffective, TV stations broadcast meaningless information, society begins to break down, policemen start randomly beating people, and looting runs rampant......

Then, when it starts to snow, everyone just walks around staring at the white stuff coming from the sky. Needless to say, I don't have much experience riding on anything other than wet pavement, and that's on light little street bikes.....
Any opinions???
Sacrilege?

Well you asked for opinions…as a first time LT rider 2400-2700 miles, with this CRAZY unpredictable weather, I would rent a box van from OR and drop off in TX or perhaps a state just before TX. See all you want and not worry on the climate.
Factor in the $200-$300 wear and tear (tires, etc.), hotel, safety, you may be money ahead. ($500.00 to $600.00 and many discounts AAA etc.) You can ride like you stole it in TX.
Just my opinion. Be safe no matter what.

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post #19 of 33 Old Nov 20th, 2006, 11:45 am
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Wink Another option...

You fly me to Oregon and I ride the bike down to Los Angeles where you meet me and you ride the rest of the trip back home.
You probably won't need heated gear from L.A. to Texas, maybe just some rain gear although there is nothing in the forecast to indicate that either.
Option, options, options!!!

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post #20 of 33 Old Nov 21st, 2006, 10:10 am
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I would suggest that you go straight south probably along I-5 to Southern California. Going from Sacramento to Reno along I-80 in the winter is no fun. Any forecast of rain is snow in the mountains. It was 56 yesterday as a high and the summit is roughly 6000' you do the math. You will run into early morning fog in the valley. But, it usually clears up by mid-morning. The only part you will have to watch out for is near Mount Shasta (North of Redding). Always a possibility of snow if rain in the forecast. Maybe 101 might be better until you get farther down the coast. But, you can cut over to I-5 as you get near to San Francisco. Just a suggestion.

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post #21 of 33 Old Nov 21st, 2006, 10:26 am
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Cool Oregon to Texas on a LT you just Bought?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
...Any opinions???
Since you asked for input, here ya go.

Is this LT you found new? Concern I have is tire condition VS your road trip.

Avoid elevation, unless you are positive the temps are safe.

Ice formation, especially on bridges even when ambient is above 40, can reach out and grab ya.

Good luck. The LT is a great ride. SO and I loved ours for four years. You will have good wind protection on the LT. My concern is tires and road conditions.

Rob Nelson

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More than 132,000 (recently corrected higher) motorcycle riders have died in traffic crashes since the enactment of the Highway Safety Act of 1966 and The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Be careful out there.
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post #22 of 33 Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:11 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
I already have snow boots
Not sure what this means - but make sure your boots aren't too bulky to impact your ability to shift and/or brake.

Ted

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post #23 of 33 Old Nov 21st, 2006, 6:40 pm
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I live just south of Portland and have made this trip several times.

If you're picking the bike up in the Portland area, take 18 to Newport, If Eugene, take 126 to Florence - then head south on 101 to Willits, then 20 to I5. Then South to Bakersfield. Take 58 East to I40 - continue East.

That's the warmest, best route for this time of year on a bike. BTW, the Harley $99 rain suit is a great buy...
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post #24 of 33 Old Nov 21st, 2006, 7:18 pm
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Been There... Done that

Rode from Houston to Portland in December 2 years ago on a 1st generation Venture.

If I had it to do again... I'd do it the same way. I-10 west to Santa Monica. Take a right on PCH and north all the way to Portland. You will only encounter rain on PCH and it's a great ride. I-10 is manageble on an LT with an electric vest.

I suggest you reverse that. Don't take a chance on snow and cold.
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post #25 of 33 Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 11:08 am
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Oregon gas

You'll need to know about Oregon gas. it is illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon...BUT, there's an exception for motorcycles. The ritual is this : Give attendant your card, and the attendant will start the pump and hand you the nozzel, and a rag, then you're good to go.
The ride down 101 will probably be wet but no ice and beautiful.................(watch for wind)
Eureka, Ca..has Samoa cook house or a great little cajun restaurant called Bless My Soul..........At the South end of town on the left, up on a hill is a motel that looks too expensive but isn't. They're motorcycle friendly and a beautiful view.........
If weather permits, ride the Avenue of The Giants for at least a little while in the redwoods, you'll never forget it. Taking 20 East will give you another nice ride around Clear lake..........
If weather looks good, road base is dry, and you decide to go over Donner pass to Reno study weather in the motel carefully before doing it. Karen and I were once in Reno Gambling, dancing and generally creating a scene, when we got back to the room, I checked the weather because we were going to leave the next morning........as a result we packed in the next 30 minutes, hit the road and made it over the pass 3 hours ahead fo 70 MPH winds and an ice storm....IT CHANGES FAST.....
If you cross into arizona at Las Vegas there's security in Black Canyon at Hoover Dam. If you lift your face shield as you approach security you'll get thru faster......
Holler when you're here and if my remodel is under control, I'll ride down the coast to Bandon with you....

Allan..Illinois, Oregon, Arkansas, and tomorrow the Universe
2003 K1200LT trike - Starfighter
2004 R1150RTP - Combat Touring
IBA #38152
BMW-MOA 97667
Patriot Guard Riders
...and man of leisure


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post #26 of 33 Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 12:58 pm
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After having been stationed in N.D. for 3.5 years I can tell you to avoid MT at this time if year. The temps will be sub-zero, the wind is almost constantly blowing, making it feel even colder, the weather changes hourly. I went out for a drive one sunny day in N.D., the roads were clear and wet. In a matter of minutes there was a snap freeze and all of the roads became black ice. The car was all over the road and when I finally got it stoped I tried to turn around at 5 mph, the wheels turned but the car kept going straight. Black ice is very dangerous because you don't know it is there until you are on it and sliding all over the place. Its bad enough on 4 wheels, on 2 it would be almost certin death.
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post #27 of 33 Old Nov 24th, 2006, 2:19 pm
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our snow level in the Eugene area just dropped down to 2000 feet..........
That's pretty much everything except the valley.................................

Allan..Illinois, Oregon, Arkansas, and tomorrow the Universe
2003 K1200LT trike - Starfighter
2004 R1150RTP - Combat Touring
IBA #38152
BMW-MOA 97667
Patriot Guard Riders
...and man of leisure


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post #28 of 33 Old Nov 28th, 2006, 12:48 pm
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Question Where is he?

Does anyone knows the whereabouts of WildernessJeep (Robert)?

Gilles & Kathy
BMWMOA# 154719
IBA# 71594
2011 Ostra Gray RT
06 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate (parts and people hauler)
2012 BMW X3 (parts and people hauler)
86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



For her I climbed the highest mountain!
For her I swam across the deepest ocean!
For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #29 of 33 Old Nov 28th, 2006, 3:02 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
I like to think of it as a best-case/worst-case thing. Best case scenario, everything is fine, and I ride right through with no trouble. Worst case scenario, I get severe frostbite on all four extremities, total the bike, and die agonizingly in a strange hospital several weeks later. Either way, I'll get some good time on an LT with some amazing scenery, so it's a win-win.

Thanks for all the replies.

Robert
Man, I like you already! If you decide to take Donner Pass, be sure to bring a sharp knife. If you get stuck up there, you can hack off a leg to eat.

On a side note, look in the South Central Forum, we do tech sessions.



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post #30 of 33 Old Nov 30th, 2006, 2:47 pm
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Robert's heading home

With his new (to him) LT.......
I left him at 10:30 this morning in Reedsport, Oregon
He was heading South on 101 with a smile on his face and a song in his heart...

Allan..Illinois, Oregon, Arkansas, and tomorrow the Universe
2003 K1200LT trike - Starfighter
2004 R1150RTP - Combat Touring
IBA #38152
BMW-MOA 97667
Patriot Guard Riders
...and man of leisure


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post #31 of 33 Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 3:25 pm
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the update Allan.
I wonder where he is at now.

Gilles & Kathy
BMWMOA# 154719
IBA# 71594
2011 Ostra Gray RT
06 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate (parts and people hauler)
2012 BMW X3 (parts and people hauler)
86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



For her I climbed the highest mountain!
For her I swam across the deepest ocean!
For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #32 of 33 Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 3:27 pm
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Garage
Hopefully pretty far south, where it's (relatively) warm.

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 63K miles
'03 Anthracite Metallic K12LTC, 66K miles
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#143, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032


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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #33 of 33 Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 7:07 pm
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He was hoping to be in Bakersfield Friday noon......but...............................
The plan was down 101 to Willits then 20 East...........................................
I can't wait to find out which route and what adventures.............................

Allan..Illinois, Oregon, Arkansas, and tomorrow the Universe
2003 K1200LT trike - Starfighter
2004 R1150RTP - Combat Touring
IBA #38152
BMW-MOA 97667
Patriot Guard Riders
...and man of leisure


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