Sturgis Trip

About Me
The Weltner Family
Sturgis Trip
Photo Gallery

Hi!  This is where I'll be putting a running journal of my big motorcycle adventure to Sturgis in 2006. 

Previous Notes Previous Pictures

Trip Notes / Journal

Days 9 & 10 – Highways to Heaven and Home…

Our stay in Bozeman illustrated to us how much fun we were having, how tired we were getting, and also how much we were ready to be home, too.

Roger had talked to his grandkids in Spokane, who convinced him to break-off and go there. (Grandkids are apparently very effective lobbyists.) He was sad to leave us, sad not to see Charlie, but eager to get home, too. He had breakfast with us, and rode with us to Missoula.

Man! Was it colder in Montana! Everyone was wearing their heaviest jackets. The temperature when we left the motel (just before 7:00 CMT) was in the low 40’s. We could see rain clouds overwhelming about half of the sky, but it wasn’t raining. We debated about putting on rain gear, and decided to see how it went and make a decision on the road. (Good idea; we dodged rain the whole way…)

Highway speeds suck the gas mileage right down on heavily-laden bikes, and especially if you’re pulling a trailer like me. No matter, we were enjoying the road. But I still had on my summer gloves, and soon my hands were very cold. I called out to Jeff for a stop so I could change my gloves and wash my windshield, but he probably couldn’t hear me well through the wind noise. He said he was planning on stopping in Deer Lodge for gas, about 30 miles up the road. OK, I could hold out that long. When we stopped, it was clear that everyone was pretty cold. We converged in the convenience store for coffee and to warm up. We were laughing about how everyone was pretty cold, but nobody wanted to be a weenie and say something. So we kept charging on.

We all said our good-byes to Roger in Deer Lodge, and got back on the road. Roger rode with us to Missoula, then we turned off to take Hwy 12 into Idaho. (Turns out that there was a mis-communication, and Roger rode 671 miles in 12 hours, getting home in Bellevue just before 6:00 PM.)

We ambled down Hwy 12, through a busy part of Missoula I had never seen before. Then down to Lolo for gas, and then to the Lolo Pass Diner for a late brunch. Great location, and pretty good food. All through the trip, I’ve exercised my habit of asking for the servers name; makes things easier and more personal. I noticed in Lolo that if I forgot, others would step up and inquire, using the pretext that “I knew you were going to…”.

The trip through Hwy 12, following the Clearwater river, was quite honestly one of the nicest motorcycling roads I’ve ever been on, anywhere. Beautiful day, good road, great scenery … just simply some of the most fun riding you could ever ask for. And we changed our riding order for this trip: Terry likes to carve the curves, so he went first. Jeff is a little more timid, so he was last. I like a nice, steady stream of motion, so I took the middle. Most of the time we were in sight of each other, and always within CB range. So, while we were all “riding our own ride”, we were still together. A fun way to go.

We had told Charlie and Carlene that we would be there in Kamiah before 5:00, because we didn’t know when we would get off, how the weather would be, and about any RV traffic on 12. We actually got in by 2:30, and he was very excited to see us. (We stopped for gas, they told us where his neighborhood was, and we found someone there to tell us which house was his.) Charlie had a grin from ear-to-ear. Carlene had baked a rum cake (very lethal) and a blackberry pie. We met some of the neighbors, and then sat on his porch talking about the trip, and how they were doing. They had recently settled on a house, bought with the proceeds of the insurance settlement of the accident which put him into Harborview and the care facility in Seattle for 5 months (where Jeff and I got to know him so well.) They’ll be moving in during September, and were very excited about the whole process.

Saturday night Dale Snyder, the mayor of Kamiah and a good friend of Charlie, had put together a BBQ so Kamiah friends of Charlie could meet his Seattle CMA friends. About 15-20 of us got together at the motel were we were staying. Terry helped with the burgers. Jade, the daughter of Carlene’s caregiver Skye, loved sitting on the bikes. We all came together like family, everyone telling Charlie stories. One of my favorite Charlie stories is how we told everyone we were brothers, so as to be able to come to his room at anytime, and be told information about his status. Pretty soon, everyone would believe it, because Charlie and I share many of the same, ah-hem, characteristics. (Like being stubborn, acting rashly, and so on.) Unfortunately, Charlie hasn’t made as much progress in his recovery as anyone might have thought. He’s still dependent on crutches, and needs a great deal of help to live. In my opinion, he’s actually regressed since his stay in Seattle, when he had to prove he could do things to get out of the care facility “jail” and be released to his home. But if I know anything, I know that Charlie can do anything he sets his mind to. I know he wants to be Santa Claus for the Harley dealer at Christmas, and he’ll have to start working to be in shape for that.

Saying good-bye in the evening was bitter-sweet. We’d had a good time, Charlie really wanted us to stay longer, but we knew we had to get on the road. We’ll just have to plan another trip. All part of the Adventure.

Since there were only three of us, we gave up one of the rooms, and got a roll-away bed for Terry. The roll-away sagged tremendously, but Terry only made a joke about it. All part of the Adventure.

I didn’t do an email and up-load of pictures, because I was just too tired. I have done well up until today, but, oh well, sometimes you have to take a break.

= = = =
Day 10 – Coming home again…

A funny thing happened Sunday morning. I had set the timer on my neat-o new watch, but had forgotten about it since I got my old watch back. The new watch alarm went off at 5:20 CMT, which was 4:20 Pacific time. Jeff was not amused. But he did discover that the other alarm I had set had lost the battery! So I re-set everything, and went back to bed for the last 40 minutes. Very good sleep, too.

We ate pastries and drank some coffee in the hotel lobby, and were on our way before 7:00 (again.) The weather was a little warmer, but we chose to wear our coats anyway. Hwy 12 continued to mesmerize us with its meandering beauty, the early-morning shadows creating contrasting shades of light and dark on the roadway. We snaked our way through Lewiston, over the bridge to Clarkston, and then continued west on Hwy 12.

The shortest-route-home would have us going up 195, then across on 26, meeting up with I-90 in Vantage, straight-shot home. But there were several “Steeple Chase” sites (the photographic tour of churches put together by another CMA group) in southeast Washington that Terry did not have yet, and would welcome the chance to visit. When going through Waitsburg, I spotted a potential Wing Washington site (the photographic tour I help with), and wanted to stop for a picture. It was here that Jeff decided to part company, taking Hwy 124 across, a shorter route home, and letting Terry and I go get the Steeple Chase sites on our own. (Turns out he only beat us home by an hour or so…)

Terry and I stopped in Touchette for one site, gassed up, buzzed up 84 to Selah, took Canyon Road (another beautiful road) instead of 84 to Ellensburg, and gassed up on Ellensburg, knowing we could make it home on that tank of gas. I-90 traffic was like the 405 at rush hour: all zooming along at one time, then stopped like a parking lot another time. Very crazy riding. But we worked our way through it in short order, and I said good-bye to Terry while taking my exit to Redmond, and he continuing up to his place in the Lynnwood area.

Ten days, 2,682 miles, and memories of Adventure that will last a lifetime.

= = = =

What about doing Sturgis again? Jeff, I think, is ready to go again next year. Roger will go in a heartbeat, if his son goes with him. Terry isn’t as sure, waiting to see what the next year brings in changes to his life. Me? I have always believed in the Japanese proverb: “He who never climbs Mt Fuji is a fool; he who climbs Mt Fuji twice is a bigger fool.” But I might go again, sometime.

I loved the group I went with; I loved the riding; I loved the scenery; I will cherish the unexpected joys; and I’ll never forget the fun I had on this trip. Perhaps my judgment is discolored by my mechanical issues (bike not starting for 1800 miles, broken throttle cable), but I also did not enjoy the crowds and fact that I was an obvious alien among the Sturgis crowd. (I’m a long-distance tourer; I believe that the vast majority of Sturgis crowd does very little riding during the year <except Sturgis>, and much more partying than I might typically enjoy.)

So I don’t know. We’ll see. Where will I be mentally in a year? What will I be doing? Will I have this bike? :-) Will I even be invited? I just don’t know. We’ll see.

= = = =

A final note of thanks to everyone for their patience with my rambling narratives. I have very much enjoyed the many notes I’ve received from folks, and I also hope you felt like you were on some of these rides with me and the gang. Again, THANK-YOU for your patience, and your understanding that all of this is just part of the Adventure.

Love to everyone,



(click on thumbnails to see full pictures) 

Clearwater rest stop

Charlie at home

Jade (daughter of
Skye, caregiver)

Terry picks up
another girl


Jeff & Charlie


Jerry & Charlie

Gang & Charlie

Gang, Charlie & Dale

Terry in the Roll-a-way


Home About Me Weltnerisms The Weltner Family Sturgis Trip Photo Gallery 
This site was last updated 07/15/11