Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    NF 25 north is an amazing road-
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    A bit further and we reach the junction with Highway 12 at the tiny little town of Randle-
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    Once again we're on the Lewis and Clark Trail that we'd ridden before from Montana across Idaho and on to Walla Walla a few weeks prior.

    Note to self- look into the possibility of riding from the Pacific coast to Illinois on the Lewis and Clark Trail :mrgreen:
    p30p2-lg.jpg
    Frankly though, that last bit through Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri would probably be incredibly boring...

    But this section of Highway 12 is stunning. Riding east towards Packwood and Mount Rainier National Park-
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    15 miles to Packwood and 23 to the junction with the 123 that will take us to Mount Rainier National Park-
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    I dig these old steel bridges-
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    We catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier as we approach the small town of Packwood-
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    We stopped at Cliff Droppers for a late lunch in Packwood. Obviously there must be a lot of skiing around here in the winter :cool:
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    Fish n Chips for the little dude-
    PackwoodFishNChips.

    An huge bacon cheesburger for dad-
    PackwoodBurger.

    And we shared a most excellent vanilla shake for dessert-
    PackwoodShake.
     
  2. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Back in the saddle for the final push to Mount Rainier National Park-
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    Welcome to Mount Rainier National Park!
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    We'd been so incredibly lucky all summer long finding camping spots, but tonight our luck ran out... The Ohanapecosh campground was completely full; even the hiker/biker sites were taken, so we back-tracked to Packwood where we'd had lunch and checked in to the quaint Packwood RV Park and Campground-
    PackwoodCampground.

    It was actually pretty nice and filled up with other campers who couldn't find a spot within the National Park. Right around sunset a large herd of elk invaded the campground-
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    Those are apple trees they're after :mrgreen:

    Beautiful animals and not very timid either- we had fun chucking apples at them ;)
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    There's a nice big grocery store in Packwood and we walked over there and bought ourselves all the fixings for a nice dinner from the deli, walked back to our campground, and enjoyed a pleasant evening with a nice family that was camping next to us in a beautiful old Airstream camper. They had a sick looking old rat-tailed Chihuahua that Kristhawee took a liking to-
    56ed5b2ece086e165818db5f64f2677b_zpse6b0da4b.

    Kristhawee busted out his Pound Puppy "Baseball" for the Chihuahua. I don't think the Chihuahua was in the mood to play though... :shifty:
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    The stars were so bright that we went out for an evening stroll before bed. Here's Kristhawee with a funny "snow bear" sculpture. My camera battery was charging so this pic was taken with my crappy camera phone...
    PackwoodBear.

    Man it got cold this night! Forgot to check the temperature on the Land Yacht but there was frost on the grass when we woke up in the morning.
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    It probably would have been even colder at the Ohanapecosh campground in the park, so in the end I think we were fortunate to have spent the night here. The Packwood campground had really nice hot showers, so that took the edge off in the morning, plus there was a nice coffee shop on the main street where I got a good cup of joe, Kristhawee had a hot chocolate, and we both enjoyed some fresh pastries.

    Went a bit overboard with the sunscreen today but figured we'd be spending a lot of time at high altitude in bright sun and didn't want my little guy getting burned :mrgreen:
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    A quick check of the email thanks to the Packwood Timberland Library's free WiFi-
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    Kristhawee loves libraries, but it was too early so the library wasn't yet open. Besides, we had a lot to see and do today!

    Ready to roll!
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Some friendly locals recommended we enter Mount Rainier via the Skate Creek road which would take us to the Nisqually entrance at the south west side of Mount Rainier National Park. Great advice since I wanted to exit via the northeast White River Entrance and this would save us any doubling back. It was a fantastic ride on the small winding road that follows the bubbling Skate Creek. The road took us past countless waterfalls and through thick pine forest-
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    The Skate Creek road eventually led us to the National Park Highway 706-
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    Arriving at the Nisqually Entrance. Welcome to Mount Rainier National Park!
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    Wow, a lot of people headed in to Mount Rainier National Park today! It's a Saturday in August, no surprise the place is packed!
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    Glad we're on a bike- easy to get around the traffic :mrgreen: Crossing the Nisqually River-
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    Wow, what a drainage and what a view!
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    Self portrait ;)
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    We pull off at Rickseker Point to grab a snack and take it all in-
    RicksekerPoint.

    Kristhawee and the Land Yacht at Rickseker Point, Mt Rainier National Park-
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    You couldn't ask for a nice picnic spot!
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    Father and son at Rickseker Point, Mt Rainier National Park-
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    Let's push on to PARADISE!
    MountRainierNPMap.
     
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    A breathtaking ride up the mountain-
    80d0e74c630a72cac12586995bf05292_zps70bb73ee.

    Welcome to Paradise! Great to be on a bike as we can park in designated motorcycle parking right by the visitor center while the car lots were all full and people were having to drive down the mountain and come back via shuttle bus.
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    "... the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings." John Muir

    Indeed!
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    We ducked in to the Paradise Henry M Jackson Memorial Visitor Center to grab a Junior Ranger workbook and check out the displays-
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    Looking at the mountain and glaciers from the visitor center is all fine and well, but we wanted to stretch out legs, go for a hike and play in the snow! Let's go!
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    There are a bunch of trails heading up from the visitor center. They start out paved and crowded and get better the farther you go. Despite these signs there was an annoying amount of people trampling through the wildflowers...
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    Reckon the NPS could make a mint if they fined just a fraction of the people who go stomping around off the trails...

    Our goal was to reach Glacier Vista- it's about 2.5 miles and climbs some 1600 feet from the visitor center-
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    Amazing views as we slowly make our way up towards Glacier Vista-
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    The air is pretty thin up here at ~6000 feet! Every time Kristhawee would get tired we'd stop and work on his Junior Ranger book-
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    We spotted a fat marmot sunning on a rock near the trail-
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    I envy him his view!
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    What a life, eh?
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    Hiking the Skyline Trail! 1 mile down, 1 and a half to go!
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    Snow!!
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    Kristhawee on the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park!
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    Glacier Vista-
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    Lots of kids playing in the snow!
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    Happy Days!
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    Kristhawee was having a blast; so was I :thumbup:
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    That's Mount Saint Helens way off in the distance-
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    Look at Kristhawee's pants- he was soaked from playing in the melting snow, but it was such a warm day that he didn't care :p
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    Time to build a snowman!
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    He's tiny, but damn cute!
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    What a perfect spot to finish Kristhawee's Junior Ranger workbook and enjoy a picnic-
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    Uh oh, somebody wants to have a snow ball fight! :smile1:
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    The view down the Nisqually valley- you can see the bridge we crossed on our way up-
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    It's getting late and we need to turn in the Junior Ranger workbook before the visitor center closes, so time to head back down to Paradise-
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  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    The hike back down to Paradise was just as beautiful as the hike up-
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    Crystal clean air, mountain streams and wildflowers-
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    Looking back the way we've come- Mount Rainier in the late afternoon sun-
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    Paradise is in sight!
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    We made it back just in time for Kristhawee to turn in his workbook and get sworn in by a ranger to earn yet another Junior Ranger badge. This little video of Kristhawee taking the Junior Ranger oath is pretty adorable-


    Good job Kristhawee!!
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  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Getting late and we need to hit the road! Check out the stone work in the hand built Paradise Visitor Center- impressive!
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    Goodbye Paradise! Hope to visit again!
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    It's about 45 miles from Paradise to the Ranger Creek Campground just outside Mount Rainier National Park-
    ParadiseToRangerCreek45MilesMap.

    Fantastic ride with gorgeous views and very little traffic-
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    Mount Rainier looks great in the late afternoon light-
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    Amazing how little traffic there is. I guess most folks leave via the western exits?
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    The moon is already up-
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    Some sections of the road were under repair, but nothing the Land Yacht couldn't handle ;)
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    Leaving Mount Rainier National Park via the Mather Memorial Parkway (I smell BACON!) ;)
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    Welcome to the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest-
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  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We arrived at the Ranger Creek Campground just before sunset-
    8687fd426d65ef423a0dd94c41702393_zpsbfff5afc.

    It's a very primitive campground- there wasn't even potable water so I boiled water out of the river for our dinner. But the most surprising thing was the runway running right through the campground!
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    At $5 this was one of the cheapest campgrounds we enjoyed all summer-
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    Found a nice secluded spot with lots of room-
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    Then we went to explore the air strip-
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    A beautiful old single engine airplane-
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    Ranger Creek State Airport-
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    Headed back to our campsite- I want to get dinner made before it gets dark.
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    I figured that airplane was parked for the night, but no, they fired it up and got out of there just before dark-


    Cooked up a not bad dinner of pasta with tuna and we cuddled around our campfire and watched the stars come out.
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    This was our last night camping. Finally our journey is coming to an end. Kristhawee tells me he wants to stay with me forever. I feel the same and hold him tight.
    71e02a58dd2c7d514071d0fba2560e9a_zpsc770026d.
    Good night my sweet prince, tomorrow we return to civilization.
     
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Our trip is almost at an end :( We ride from Ranger Creek to Bellingham where we'll hook up with Dave and spend a night before I drop off Kristhawee at his mom's place in Snohomish the following day.
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    Dave met us along the I-5 and we rode the rest of the way together to his place in Bellingham-
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    Dave took us on the scenic route via Chuckanut Drive which winds along the Samish and Bellingham Bays.
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    Fun road, but lots of cops so we took it nice and easy.
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    I still dig dilapidated farms-
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    We made it to Bellingham in good time and Kristhawee was happy to see Mocha again-
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    Dave's got an awesome "man cave" of a garage- every tool you could imagine and tons of hunting and outdoor gear too.
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    Kristhawee was particularly impressed by Dave's collection of animal calls. Here he is trying out a duck call-
     
  9. Winghunter

    Winghunter Ol'Timer

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    Tony, I really enjoy all your postings. I am now in the age of 55. My son will become 30 this year. I remember when I had the first trip with my son in the USA on a GW 1200 Interstate. We made a ride from Houston to Sturgis. He was 8 years when we did the trip. never will forget it:D.

    Tony - you and your son are a great Touring couple!!!! Nice to see all your pictures and travel reports with your son.

    Ride safe and enjoy
     
  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We took the dogs for a nice long walk down to a waterfront park-
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    Striking the wisdom bell for luck (and maybe a bit of wisdom?) ;)
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    Back at Dave's house Kristhawee was in a naughty mood, though in his defense it must be said, Dave really asks for it!
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    Dave suffered having his head licked.
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    What does Dave's head taste like Kristhawee???

    MEAT!!
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    God I love how honest little kids are. It's official folks, Dave is a meat-head! :lol-sign:
     
  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    The final day of our epic summer adventure has arrived :lol:

    Dave took us on a fantastic ride up to the summit of Mount Baker-
    6ec2da246d636be73ccf2c87f8646c37_zps18474880.
    I don't know what's more spectacular, the road or the scenery!

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    Armed with some snacks we set out for a short little hike.

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    Can you see the mountain goats right in the center of the picture?

    Our bikes are tiny specks down in the parking lot-
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    Last chance for Kristhawee to play in the snow-
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    Kristhawee, the aspiring photographer, took this picture of Dave and me-
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    Not bad for a 5 year old, eh?

    Someone needs to help me come up with a good caption for this photo :lolno:
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    Some friendly Japanese tourists took this pic of the three of us-
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    A quick photo stop at the Mt Baker ski area on the way down-
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  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    What goes up must come down! Headed back down the mountain-


    Dave's so lucky to have such great roads and stunning wilderness right in his back yard-


    Back in Bellingham we went to Dave's wife's Thai restaurant for a farewell meal. Man can Dave's wife cook!
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    Kristhawee and Dave are still misbehaving-
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    Kristhawee gets a whipped cream mustache-
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    Good times!
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    Dave's wife and Kristhawee really hit it off. Apparently she's now decided she's ready to have grand kids :smile1:
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    A farewell picture: Evelyn, Pon, Dave and Kristhawee
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    Then back to Dave's to get packed up. Kristhawee didn't want to leave, but he didn't create a scene either- good boy :thumbup: I was doing my best to keep it together too. I really didn't want to say goodbye to my boy.
    304935_10152057499950710_1507181812_n.

    An uneventful ride to Snohomish and dropped off Kristhawee in one piece at his mom's place. He had a bunch of stepbrothers and stepsisters running around and that made saying goodbye easier as he had so many stories to tell and just wanted to play. It felt strange to ride off alone, without my little copilot and companion. I was feeling pretty blue, but Dave was a great help in keeping me distracted and cheered up.

    Big Dave's little VFR next to Tony and Kristhawee's Land Yacht ;)
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    I picked up some oil and a filter and talked bikes with Ward at BBRP in Bellingham- cool shop-
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    The title still hadn't arrived from Minnesota, so selling the bike wasn't an option. Fortunately Dave was kind enough to let me leave it at his place-
    526196_10152060494565710_2093889515_n.
    The good old Land Yacht is waiting for our next adventure!

    I was hauling back a bunch of stuff, including a new prosthetic hand for West which we abused nicely
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    539442_10152060730705710_314317237_n.

    Mocha lending a hand to Dave ;)
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    I wanted to take a shuttle to the airport but Dave wouldn't hear of it and insisted on driving me all the way there from Bellingham. Can't thank him and his wife enough for their incredible hospitality. Kristhawee and I are very much looking forward to seeing them again soon!

    And so ends our epic summer adventure. It couldn't have gone better. We were so lucky with everything- the weather, the bike, the roads, our health, the wonderful people we met along the way, and all of the memories that we will both treasure for the rest of our lives.

    Thanks for tagging along for our little journey. I hope you enjoyed it.

    Happy Trails! :happy1:
     
  13. Fishenough

    Fishenough Ol'Timer

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    Awesome this report is finally complete and what enjoyable trip report it was. Already looking forward to next summers adventure with Kristhawee and Tony - father son trips are the best, speaking from experience. My son was lucky enough to get in 3 weeks of home schooling whilst we rode around Laos 5 years ago.

    Kudos to big Dave for being such a great host (and exercising restraint from sticking Wes's newest appendage into other bodily orifices)

    Thank you!!
    Kev
     
  14. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

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    Great Trip Report and Photos Tony! Something to Remember for a Lifetime, Well Done! I would love the Chance to do a Trip like that one day. I've never been to Mainland USA so maybe in the Future?
     
  15. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

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    Enjoyed all of it - looking forward to this year's adventure! Brought back memories of a bike trip in 2003. Whistler BC - Washington State - Oregon & in to California. Beautiful all the way.
     
  16. bsacbob

    bsacbob Ol'Timer

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    What an epic adventure Tony i envy you, what quality time you've had together, truly awesome.
     
  17. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Thanks mate :)

    Just a few more weeks until I pick up the little guy and we hit the road again!!!

    This time West to East, route unknown, but little guy made me promise we'd visit our friends in Walla Walla again, he wants to find the Black Garter Snakes of Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park, and now that he's 6 he's really looking forward to going horse back riding in the Black Hills.

    Should be another epic summer!

    :happy1:
     
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Cheers Ian,

    Yes, as a Harley guy you should definitely put a tour of the US on your short list.

    Quite a few outfits rent Harleys and despite all the crazy Americans you see on TV, "real" America is still a wonderful place, blessed with tremendous natural beauty and good people. :happy1:
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Hey Tony, epic report if it ever was. Bring on the 2nd Episode & new adventures with your son. Lots of respect for you Dad.
     
  20. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

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    This trip is soooooooooooooooooo cool !!!!! Am amazed how well your son stood up to the rigors
    of traveling. I am going to do a trip like your with my daughter when she turns five. I thought
    she would have to be older, but I can see now that is not the case. Except I will do it on a
    Goldwing 1500, one of my all time favorite bikes.... :)
     
  21. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Thanks again for all the kind comments! icon_smile.gif

    Packing now, leaving in a few days. Gonna be a bit of a zombie after flying BKK-JFK-SEA, but I'll pop some pills on the first flight and hopefully get a bit of sleep along the way. sleeping.gif

    Kristhawee is keen to earn some more Junior Ranger badges so we'll hit Cascades National Park first, then meet up with my aunt and uncle and cousins from San Francisco who are driving up to Olympic National Park at the end of this month.

    We'll probably celebrate the 4th of July with my good friend and his family in Walla Walla.patriot.gif

    Then I promised Kristhawee that we'd re-visit Crater Lake National Park in south central Oregon where he wants to try to find the black garter snakes that only exist on Wizard Island smilie_clap.gif

    After that I really have no idea which way we'll go... If it's not too hot I'd like to take him to Colorado, but I've been reading that the state is already suffering terrible wild fires, so that might not be such a great idea...

    I wouldn't mind exploring Idaho a bit more. Always wanted to visit the "City of Rocks" National Reserve.

    It would be really cool to take the little guy up to Alberta, Canada to explore Banff and Lake Louise, but not sure if he's got a valid passport... There was a dispute with the ex regarding renewing my little guys passport. It expired and I sent her the paper work so she could renew, but for some reason that was never clear she refused to get it done... If she hasn't renewed it I guess Canada will be off the itinerary...

    Kristhawee also really wants to go back to the Black Hills. Sounds good to me! Grandma might drive out from Minnesota and meet us there, then Kristhawee can travel the final boring bit from South Dakota to Minnesota in the comfort of Grandma's car.

    Should be another fantastic summer! I can't wait! bananaman.gif

    If there are any GT-Riders along our route it would be cool to hook up for a ride, beer, smores, etc :mrgreen:

    Happy Trails!

    Tony and Kristhawee :happy1:
     
  22. Winghunter

    Winghunter Ol'Timer

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    Tony, wish you and your son a very safe and enjoyable trip. Take care
     
  23. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

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    Will be a tall order to top that trip but you guys make a great team and should give it a real run for the money. Would be great if you and Dave could join us on our group ride over the Cascades to Winthop tomorrow (22nd), leaving 9:00 AM. But may be a bit early for you considering travel fatigue etc. Anyway, looking forward to meeting up and riding as much as weather permits. We are still in the "Can't make up its mind if its Summer" period around here :( But your last installment/report was a nice reminder why I live here, hard to beat from June-Nov for natural beauty.
     
  24. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Oh man... You guys on the saddle again there..
    Ride safe and looking for your photos RR.
     
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