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On the Road

  • Konkolville

    The Konkolville Motel is located in Orofino Idaho.

    Orofino Idaho is located just off of Highway 12 on the Clearwater River in Northern Idaho. Orofino is Spanish for “fine gold” and was originally a trading post set up in the 1890’s. The expedition of Lewis and Clark along the Clearwater is well documented in the book Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Authored by Stephen Ambrose the book is a must read for exploring Idaho. Another resource is Discovering Lewis & Clark.

    In 1805 Lewis & Clark stayed nearby at what is now called “Canoe Camp” and built five dugout canoes for the trip downstream to the Pacific Ocean. They departed from Canoe Camp on October 7,1805.

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  • Optimal 1000 Adventure Motorcycle Ride Day 1

    Optimal 1000 August 2016 Day 1

    The adventures of two men on their KLR’s as they travel through Idaho, Oregon, Washington and back into Idaho.

    Day 1 would take us from Boise To Imnaha Oregon. I had traveled this route quite a few times and every time was a unique experience, some good and some bad. I had not traveled the true route since July 18 2011.


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  • Canada The Rockies to Vancouver Island

    By Alexander Tolchinsky

    alex bike in rockiesFrom Lethbridge I took Hwy 3 west to Hwy 22 north, before connecting with the TCH west into Banff National Park. The road was no longer straight, in fact a straightaway of more than a couple of miles would not come again for a very long time. As I climbed ever higher into the Rockies, my little 4-cylinder Honda made no complaints regarding altitude (I wish I could say the same of my KLR).

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  • Canada – Atlantic Coast to Lake Country

    Part 1 of 3

    By Alexander Tolchinski

    Trans Canada Highway Trans Canada Highway

    Crossing the world’s second biggest country felt like a daunting task: more than 4000 miles through at least 6 climate zones, the inevitable rain, wind, and snow, and incredible stretches of solitude. This was certainly no “easing into” my journey around the world. But I had to start somewhere, so off to the Great White North I went with the hopes that succeeding would mean a great beginning rather than an end.

    From Eastport, Maine, the eastern-most point of the United States, I, and my '99 Honda Magna VF-750, caught a ferry to Deer Island, New Brunswick, Canada. It was getting late, and as usual I was planning on catching the last ferry out. I pulled up to the dock just in time to witness the boat pushing back from the dock! I crossed a time zone, a half-hour difference, without knowing it. I had but a moment to be distraught before I witnessed something I never thought happened in the “Screw you, the doors are closed, you cannot get on the plane which is still sitting 30 ft. away” society we live in – the ferry started coming back - for me!

    I was only a few days into my journey and had yet to learn the magic of the road, and the kindness people have for travelers.

    The ride was quick and surprisingly painless. This was my first time putting a motorcycle on a boat, and I imagined every wave knocking it over. But the boat was steady and the steel horse didn’t even tremble.

    By the time we arrived on the island, dusk was upon us in earnest so I made my way to the closest campground. I pitched my tent facing the water and the sun setting over the bay. The time passed easily with whales, porpoises, jumping fish, and whirlpools. It was a stark northern beauty softened by the colorful warmth of the setting sun. It is exactly the kind of place one would come to to write in peace and breathe the crisp, clean, inspiring air of the north. But I was still new at long-term travel and felt eager to get back on the road. Sadly, I could not make myself stay for more than a day.

    Click photos for larger image

    . .

    The rain fell steadily, and the fog horns kept me awake for most of the night. In the morning there was a brief lull during which I rushed to pack everything and race around the misty isle, losing my bike cover in the process, to the northern ferry to mainland New Brunswick. And just like the one coming to the island, the ferry, which had already departed, reversed engines and came back for me – saving me from having to wait another hour in the rain.

    The rain picked up after we arrived on land and stayed with me for the next 8 hours – soaking and chilling me to the bone. I decided to take the shorter route to Montreal by way of Northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont (as opposed to riding north and switching back south-west by way of Quebec City).

    I took the uneventful Highway 1 to Saint Stephen and crossed the border back into Maine, where I caught Highway 9 to Bangor. Fog rolled heavily along hilly, sparse, granite plots of farmland. There was a deep smell of pine from the endless sea of evergreens through which the road cut long, sleepy curves.  It was easy to see why most of the population lives along the coast – where the sea shares its bounty more rapidly than hardened northern soil. I passed few people on the road, there was no hint of traffic, not even in the towns, unlike the coastal road which came to a halt every 30 miles.  The rain I was hoping to escape further inland only continued to intensify the closer I got to Bangor.

    From Bangor I took Highway 2 to Highway 26 which brought me to tiny Errol, New Hampshire, 300 miles from Deer Island. I was still a few hours out of Montréal, somewhere between the White Mountains and Northern Woods, when I simply had to get off the bike. It was hard to see anything, the road was curvy and slick, and I was wet and freezing. Though it was August, this was not a warm summer rain wet, this was a suck the heat straight from your heart wet. So I pulled into a gas station across from which was a diner, and made my way, if not to warmth, then at least to food and a precipitation free environment. It was already late in the day so I couldn’t afford to stay too long, lest I would have to ride to Montreal in the dark.

    But as it turned out I would spend the rest of the day and night in Errol, thanks to the kindness of a stranger. You can read that story here.

    The following morning the rain continued, but thankfully was much lighter than the day before. I kept to HWY 2, which skirts the White Mountains. The slickness kept my speed down, and the mist and clouds kept me from seeing the beautiful mountains. On a clear, autumn day this is one of the most beautiful rides in New Hampshire.

    Eventually I had to get onto the interstate in order to cross the border back into Canada. Those few minutes on Int. 91 reminded me why I never take interstates: they are straight, impersonal, and with the exception of a few stretches, very ugly.

    Once past the border, the ride to Montreal, on HWY 10, was a pleasant jaunt through European looking country side – smaller farms, wooden fences, small groups of cows grazing peacefully. There was nothing breathtaking, but also nothing jarring like the sight of massive feedlots. On the approach to the city I was quickly thrust back into the realities of city riding: the final 20 miles took almost as long as the ride from the border.

    I spent only a day in Montreal, long enough to dry everything that was wet, which was everything I had. I was too eager to keep going and was already late for the couch surfing I had foolishly set up beforehand. I had lined up almost all of the couches I would need before even setting out from New York. I was too novice to know that plans inevitably change, that time takes on a different meaning on the road.

    . .

    To those unfamiliar with, this is an on-line community of over 3 million people across the globe who open their homes to travelers. It is free of cost, and full of gain. The people I have met from Couch surfing have been some of the most incredible in my life, and I am friends with a good number of them to this day. There is no better way to learn about a place, its people, history and culture, than by staying with people, not tourists, and learning from them. Using Couch surfing has changed my journey completely, using the website and becoming part of this community was the single best decision I have made so far.

    At Montreal I hopped on what would become my guide for most of Canada: the Trans-Canada highway (TCH). This is Canada’s great artery. Though mostly not interesting, it does have its breathtaking stretches, and serves the invaluable purpose of bringing people to the smaller roads which lead to Canada’s great natural bounty.

    At first, between Montreal and Ottawa, the TCH was as most interstates are in the U.S, long, boring and riddled in traffic. But as you emerge from the ugliness which is city and suburb riding, the grandeur of lake country embraces you into its vast and glorious self.

    . .

    I got off the TCH near Renfrew, and caught Route 60 which cuts through Algonquin National park and heads straight for the shores of Lake Huron where it meets with the Route 69 branch of the TCH. Most of this 300 mile day was spent cruising along the shores of small lakes and swaths of pine forest. The road had few straightaways, the weather was cool and conducive to riding, yet always threatening with ominous clouds in the distance.

    The following day I began my ride along the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior on my way to Sault Ste. Marie. I started on the 69 and then joined the main branch of the TCH, Highway 17, heading east. East of Thunder Bay the Trans Canada is a beautiful road that curves and hugs the landscape. Her wide, windy lanes beg for speed, but the earthly granite sculpture garden, the vaporous heavenly one, the silvery endless waves of the great lakes and the deep green waves of pine and fir, arrest the throttle and calm the growing adrenaline. Time has little meaning along this road. The 350 miles passed quickly, as they always do when you are surrounded by beauty. I wanted to stop frequently to just sit and stare at the great expanse of the lake, but night riding is cruel to the biker and the sky was no less threatening than before.

    If it were possible, the road from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay was even more breathtaking:  450 miles of Lake Superior falling away into the horizon to the south, and endless forest, undulating on the wavy hills left by receding glaciers, to the north. The road was in exemplary condition: well-marked, smooth, free of debris and potholes, full of curves from 30mph to 80mph, with plenty of shoulder space and scenic outlooks to stop and gaze. The shore, with countless little, rocky beaches, begged for my tent.

    . .

    As I approached Thunder Bay at dusk I was treated to a fiery performance of the sun’s battle with the cloud’s futile attempt to block its last hurrah. It was one of the most moving and memorable sunsets I have ever seen – the perfect end to 800 miles of awe-inspiring, lake country riding.

    Trail Dust is a publication of


  • Daily Grind, Somebody Has To Do It

    Dateline: Virginia to Washington, D.C.

    By “moto” photojournalist Douglas Graham

    Click on photos for larger images

    Versys parked on Dutchman’s Creek Road north of Lovettsville, Virginia

    Although I travel a lot, as a photojournalist covering national politics I also spend a lot of time in Washington. Sometimes weeks at a time bouncing from the White House, U.S. Capitol, State Department, Pentagon, Smithsonian, etc.

    I thought I'd give a glimpse of my daily commute, because I found myself marveling at what a nice trip I've had to get to work this past week. Its an adventure ride each day! Most people heading to Washington get into their car and sit in traffic for up to two hours on a good day. I’m pretty lucky as you can see from the photos.

    Views to the north west across the blue ridge into West Virginia
    along U.S. route 690 north of Hillsboro Virginia

    Tollhouse Road almost into Maryland

    From my house in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia I take about 15 miles of dirt roads up and across the mountain and then north down the toe into Maryland and across the Potomac River. The road is a mixed bag of fire road, improved dirt and a touch of one lane asphalt. Sometimes I take a little longer route and follow the Shenandoah River north to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia across the Potomac and into Maryland. Once in Maryland I take the MARC train from the Brunswick Station to Union Station in downtown Washington.

    Stoneybrook Farmers Market in Hillsboro
    has the best coffee and the nicest people you will ever meet

    The whole trip takes about 1.5 hours door to door and I always leave really early so I can relax and shoot photos along the way if I feel the need. I also stop at the farmers market in Hillsboro, Virginia, to have coffee and breakfast. Nicest people on the planet run the market called Stonybrook Farms and they have the best coffee, hands down, on the East Coast. You can’t often enter a store and hear your name from the proprietor and know they really are glad to see you.

    Brunswick Maryland train station with the MARC train pulling in to pick up
    passengers headed for points east terminating in Washington, D. C. at Union Station

    I’m pretty lucky as far as being a D.C. commuter, since I never really have to deal with the traffic gridlock because of the train. Yes, it can be a long day if I’m working downtown but as a newspaper photographer every day is a long day. Its just part of the job and no day ever repeats itself.


  • Follow Ken Hunter on the Trans America Trail ...

    Re: My trip from Elko

    Got about 1000 miles so far. I'm just south of Memphis were I will be visiting a friend tomorrow. Rode through an area hit by a tornado a couple of days ago. No houses destroyed but lots of trees down, roads and bridges washed out. Got around them all and had a little excitement crossing one flooded area. Ever try standing on the seat in the middle of a muddy washout while moving? That's what I tried to do when confronted by a water moccasin making the same crossing at the same time. It certainly increases your intensity as well as your speed.

    Motorcycle boots are snake proof...............right???????????

    (Ken's SPOT on June 2)

  • Getting Away… never as easy as you think

    Well, Dave and I are on the road… Hwy 395 south of Bishop along the Eastern Sierra Mountains. On our way the the Rawhyde Rally.

    Saturday I found the trailer with standing gas on the floor from a cut O Ring (on tank QD fastener) on the 1150 GSA. This is a common occurrence so in March/02 I’d bought spare O Rings from Big Twin and had them in my KLR pannier. After unloading the KLR and the GS, I repaired the fitting, then hosed the trailer down and scrubbed it out.

    The next news was from Sherry… the Motor Home fridge was off and the freezer defrosted! The night before I had thought about plugging in the land line but I was just too tired. And anyway, the fridge would be fine with propane so no problem. Well, now it was a problem … it turned out that when the propane was filled the tank valve didn’t get turned back on. I turned it on.

    I dropped Sherry and Booker off at Costco to buy road supplies and went to Big Twin to get spare O Rings to carry with me. Fred suggested I update to the new metal style (the plastic fittings get brittle and break). I said “Gimme 2 so I’ll have a spare.” Useph cashiered me out and those two fittings and two clamps were over $80! I coughed and Useph said “They have the BMW logo on them”. We laughed. We all know what a logo does to the price.

    On top of everything else I was fighting intestinal problems all day. In the middle of everything we were doing I would suddenly say: “I gotta go” and I really meant it. To make matters worse, Sherry was laughing at me!

    By the end of the day, thanks to a lot of help from Booker and Sherry we were repacked and all set to go.

    Sunday started watching the sun come up as I soaked my tired bones in the hot tub. I went to work for a while, cleaned up the office and got a few last things done… then home to breakfast. Thanks Sherry.

    After breakfast Church, and then off to get Dave with the first stop Fred Meyer to gas up. No gas … data network was down. So off to the Maverick, filled up with no problem and even got one of their cards for discounts!

    Picked up Dave and we took the back over to Walters Ferry and Sommer Camp Road to Hwy 95. Dave Driving.

    I checked the weather for Death Valley. It was heading to over 100 degrees so we decided to bypass that part of the trip. With the forecast showing HIGH wind going south for Tuesday we decided to get to Rawhyde earlier and ride from there.

    We planned to have dinner with a high school friend in Yerington. With 56 miles to go we pulled off in Fernley to catch 95A and get gas. Getting out we discovered a shredded left front trailer tire! So dinner was off. We went to Tom’s (Sherry’s brother) in Fernley where we changed the tire and then went to dinner at the famous Mary & Moes’ Wigwam in Fernley.

    With a new tire ($122) we traveled until after midnight, stopping at Chalfant Ca. alongside the road for the night, and pulling into Bishop this morning. We’re now on Hwy 14 headed south.

    Thanks to the Happy Trails staff for all your help in getting the “Road Show” on the road.


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