The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

Navigating this blog is easy, just scroll down the list of posts by date to whatever interests you, click on it and you're in. Photos can be viewed in larger format by clicking on them.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jul 08 - Day 06 2015 Tour - Billings, MT

Today began pretty much as any day on the road, lots of bumbling around getting started, doing the put-your-pants-and-boots-on drill and then realizing you didn't put your knee-pads on so you get to start over. Nothing to see here folks, move along..Then there's the scarfing down the obligatory motel free-for-nothing "breakfast" which really isn't free and quite possibly not really what you could call breakfast. More like eating with strangers who never make eye contact.

Before leaving home I made the decision to not change out the tires figuring I could get at least another 1000 miles out of them so I'd buy new ones somewhere along the way. Good thinking sport. This morning I decided it was time to get serious about them and started surfing the 'net to see where the nearest BMW dealer was located. Turns out they're in Missoula where I spent yesterday, now a mere 225 miles behind me and the next one is in Sturgis, SD, only 500 miles ahead. Presuming you want to go to Sturgis that is. Ugh. The annual gathering of the loud-pipes-saves-lives tribe is beginning to swarm and I usually run the opposite direction full speed when that happens. However I need tires so the reservation lady at my Comfort digs set up a night in Billings followed by a 2nd night in Sturgis which works well with my Friday morning appointment at the beemer dealership. After that's done I can amscray in any direction I please.

It took her a fair amount of time to get things in order but once done I set out in a more or less easterly direction towards Billings. Lunch pangs began to dig at me and I pulled off the highway into the little town of Judith Gap. It's a friendly little place populated with rancher type people who were also in the mood for mid-day eats.

I arrived just a few minutes ahead of the herd and scored a table in what must be the social center of town, the Basin Trading Post, a deli-antiques emporium. It was that or one of the cowboy bars across the street. I can do biker bars but cowboy bars I don't know about. I had the special, Sloppy Joe sandwich with potato soup & coffee, eight bucks thank you very much. Turned out they're a cash only place which after spotting two bucks for a tip left me with a whole dollar. Won't get far on that I expect.

I love towns that have two grain elevators right down town

The barber shop was piping out cowboy music. You gotta like that. Hey, it's Montana.
And a wagon full of posies. What's not to like?
After lunch I rejoined the high speed low volume traffic heading east. The posted limit is 70 so I probably ticked a few guys off by only going 63-65. Hey, I'm retired, the sun's shining, I'm in no hurry. Eh?

Moccasin was the next point of interest, another small town dying, no wait, dead but not everyone's giving it up yet.I rode through the gravel streets, shot some pics and provided directions to the post office for a couple of tourists. Maybe I look local. Or maybe the sidecar rig gives me the look of authority, even wisdom. Maybe I've been riding in the sun too long...

Main street Moccasin, MT.

Pretty fancy building at one time. A school perhaps? Bank? Hotel?
I'm lovin' the paint scheme on that 5th-wheel
Lean baby, lean

I know where the post office is. Just ask me.

So onward and upward to the next attraction, this one a bit off the road and although the memorial sentiment was understandable the artifact thingy seemed a bit odd to me. 

Nice that local kids take care of it but why the chain link fence?

Maybe they're worried that someone will steal the pointed  thingies - there's two of them.
I encountered two lengthy construction zones today, both several miles long. I was grateful for the warm sunshine, they'd have been miserable in the rain. Like Alaska for instance.
Long bumpy stretches of wash board construction

Road stops were infrequent but I did encounter a few. Delays were usually not very long, maybe 20 mins..
The worker bees flagged me to the head of the line, much to the delight of everyone who'd passed me. Har de har. 
Nice lady worker bee, thanks very much! It was nice not having to eat tons of dust
Riding east again and out of the construction zones. There are so many roadside attractions it's hard to choose which ones to stop at. Mostly I select the ones with the greatest amount of human interest.Like this one for instance.
Wow....are you people serious? 

Hey Mom, can we go to Ryegate's for the festival? Please?
So tell me people, is it a spectator sport?

 Moving on I came to what would be the last point of interest for the day. I spotted the hotel a long ways away and spent several minutes trying to guess what it was.

Lavina's experiencing a bit of revived interest or at least people are redecorating the few buildings that line the highway. I'm glad they are, otherwise they'll soon look the same as Moccasin and that would be sad.

 And lest you find yourself in Lavina with nothing left to do but chase tumbleweeds there's this to think about:

Another day in the saddle ends, this time a bit early. The Comfort Inn is nice but since the biker gathering in Sturgis is on the horizon the owners are pumping the prices up. I guess I can't blame them for accessing windfall profits but it's a bit annoying. Ah well, I'll be clear of this area in a couple of days.

Keep the faith.


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