The Great Pacific Motorcycle Tour of 2012, Day 1 & 2

Here’s the route I took on days 1 and 2 of the GPMT of 2012.

On the Wee-Star, in the city, I know I can get about 150 miles before I hit reserve. I also know that I get a solid 25 miles on reserve. After that, she gets stopped on the side of a road and I walk to a gas station. Which would be no fun at all.

I hit reserve twice on day 1.

The first time was when I was almost to Rawlins, WY. With only 120 miles on the tripmeter, just a moment of panic set in as my brain tried to figure out why the motor started sputtering. Switched her to reserve and she came back to life. Fortunately, I was just five miles or so from Rawlins and a tankful of Go Juice.

For the next five minutes, I had to think about why in the world I burned through that much more fuel than normal: more weight, more windshield, more drag on the back of the bike, a long climb, with a respectable headwind.

Note to self: plan fuel stops more carefully.

The second time was when I’d completely miscalculated the distance from one end of the park to the other and hit reserve near Lewis Lake in the park. Fortunately, there’s a gas station at the southwest edge of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. Crisis averted.

Another note to self: seriously — plan fuel stops more carefully.

Standard sights in Yellowstone — including a herd of elk. Traffic was backed up for six miles just so the tourists could get a look at the herd. I realized I was in a passing zone and, not wanting to sit in stop and go traffic for who knows how long, I — and every other biker — started passing the line of cars. Holy mother of god, there were a bunch of angry cagers honking and screaming at us for simply getting away from them.

Overheard one of ’em say, “Never a cop when you need one…”

Funny you should say, that — just 100 yards ahead on the opposite shoulder was a cop. Parked. All the bikers waved at him as we rode by.

He smiled and waved back.

Addition: So the other highlights from day one were riding through the smoke and ash plume from the Alpine Lake Fire in Wyoming (info here) next to North Buffalo Fire (here). The ash was so bad under the Alpine Lake plume while riding up US-287 that at times it looked like it was snowing. I swear, every time I’ve been through Lander in the past 15 years, those mountains have been on fire.

More info later on the Washington fires turning the Ephrata/Soap Lake/Grand Coulee area into a smog and smoke-ridden hell.

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