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1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sorry! Sorry! Sorr-eee! Geez!
To start off a ride report with Dylan Thomas, dude, what are you thinking? Not nearly shiny enough for the shortattentionspan theater crowd.
So, I'll throw in something just for gratuitous entertainment. These are the Sexah Monkeys from last year's Mardi Gras.

Ok, so this is what I am thinking...This is the third ride I've done without reporting, and that's a shame, right? Not because it is MY ride report, but ride reports stimulate the wanderlust in us as riders. We dream of the fantasy ride, the "Man, I'd really like to go there someday" response, and these reports will get someone somewhere to get off their fattening a$$ and just do it.

So, then, why the F "Dylan Thomas," especially since I have never been a fan of death and dying, or considering death and dying, or anything like that?

A few reasons exist for that and, believe me, you young 'uns, you will face this.

There comes a time in your life and, more specifically your motorcycle riding life, when you must consider the time when this thus far enjoyable pursuit must, of necessity, be closeted, put away, back in the toy box of toys you no longer play with for some reason or another. It is an existential thing. Put another way, you may just no longer enjoy it, it may be too much work, family pressures, but most pointedly, in my case, as one ages and the changes inevitably happen with just don't want to kill yourself.

That is what I was facing, I think. No fool like an old fool, and no greater fool than an old fool riding a motorbike. Two wheels and well being can be at odds with with one another, right?

Ok, for the sparkle seeking crowd another picture to keep you reading, or gawking, or drooling (you know who you are).

The Sirens of NOLa

So, advancing age, and the damm reality of it, may have pushed Dylan Thomas to "rage, rage" and can you imagine a poet raging? That must me a snicker-inducing sight! But, I am not into rage, or "rage, rage"--is that doubled or squared?

Though, I may flail my arms a bit, it's only for a short time and I usually stop when onlookers start pointing and laughing at me as seen below in my (much) earlier years.

Nah, not rage rage, but more like a roach (me), hit by RAID (advancing age), skitters around, ultimately on their backs, legs a-twitter...if I were Dylan Thomas, that's where I'd go with that...and that's where I have gone.

Reaching back about 24 or so months, I started what I was considering to be my Swan Song(s) of riding, some bucket list items.

First up was the Circle Tour of Lake Superior...this was an awesome ride (solo). Recommend it highly. One tipover, lots of mosquitoes, and just plain beautiful.

I went here and bought some pants ( that I love, btw )

and here

and here

and here, too

Lots of waterfalls, waterfalls out the wazou

met this guy, Bruce T, outside of Kakabeka falls near Thunder Bay,

and talked about New Orleans music, and we just lost another one, Art Neville of The Neville Brothers (keyboards)

All in all a very cool ride on my third foray into Cannuckistan.

But, wait! There's more!

Loving the ride around Lake Superior, and really liking Wisconsin along the way. I planned another ride, this time with my best riding partner, in the Fall to enjoy
1) the color
2) the apple harvest
3) the roads

As it turned out though, of those three things...Pick NONE

It was cold and rainy the whole damm time--so the roads were sloppy.
Any color that may have existed, was severely muted by the leaden skies.
I never saw an apple.

Couple this with the low back pain my colleague was experiencing, so that at every stop, he was complaining about his back, and just miserable, plus some discussions about motel choices, and his consideration of an early exit from the ride, and what was in the cards at the outset, was nowhere to be experienced in real time.
This ride was so, uh, un-pleasant, that it made me reconsider this whole motorcycleenjoymentthing. I told people afterwards that "if this is what motorcycle riding is like, I would not do it again. It was not all."

Of course I knew better--it IS fun; I prefer to ride solo to avoid other's problems shading my ride, to make my own decisions about where to stay, where to eat, to accept my own mistakes, not magnified by other's second guessing, and my own aches and pains are quite enough, thank you.

I only took 27 pictures the whole ride and most were after my friend decided to turn around early and head home, and I rode on.

So, with a bit of trepidation I planned the next ride, a solo epic (for me) ride, from my driveway to Vancouver Island. Would it be my last, could I do it, was it prudent, misgivings right and left, but plan I did, starting in February of this year, with an estimated date of departure June 17, the day after Father's Day.

edit: really? danm or damm or **** is a prohibited word? I'm shocked, shocked!

Super Moderator
5,003 Posts
Thanks for another engaging and thought-provoking post, good Doctor, along with your selection of photos, and odes to your Shangri La. The most though-provoking item was the photo taken in your youth, and I dare not enquire as to the circumstances ...

Regarding bucket lists, I don't have one as such, because it seems a little futile to me to have a list of things you feel compelled to do before you're dead and gone, deeming yourself a failure as you expire if you haven't ticked them all off. I can certainly relate to your musings on our inevitable mortality. When a young bloke starts riding, he feels he'll live forever, but approaching the fourth quarter-century, with body showing a few creaks and crevices, one starts to be mindful of the remaining years - not to measure them as such, as no-one can, but to be more mindful of the remaining days and how you use them, whether doing grandiose, long-wished for things, or simply smelling roses.

Having said I don't have a bucket list, I kind of do. When the topic comes up I say I only have one item on mine - to die in a high speed motorcycle accident in the Snowy Mountains at the age of 99, with my 89 year old wife as pillion following me into the ravine. Why 99? Well, 100 would be ridiculous, wouldn't it.

This may sound a little macabre, but such an event would say a lot about the way I lived my life until my dying breath. So that's how I approach each day. Maybe I have something in common with your quoted poet after all ...

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I want to do this report a bit different than previous, though it'll probably be the same.
On the ADVrider forum, where I am simultaneously posting, one wag said "Oh Boy, another JayElDee ramble." At first I thought a compliment--and it probably is, but, it could also be looked upon as sarcasm. Yes, it will ramble, and be as much not about motorcycles as it is about motorcycles, or whatever.

So, another entry is scheduled for today. After the gym, trying to stave off, uh, you know, death.

the term 'bucket list," for me is not a list of tick boxes, but just some things I'd really like to do and can be edited anytime. Catherine DeNeuve and Sophia Loren were on it for a long time, but no longer. Word has it that I am still on theirs, but i'm not talking and they know why.

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
British Columbia is a B I G place, covering a significant part of the planet. And it's really far away.

So, as fortune favors the bold, but REALLY favors the prepared, I started planning. Needed new tires before the ride.

My favorites are Pirelli Scorpion Trails II and Metzeler Tourance Nexts.
I chose the Torance Nexts because they are a bit better on dirt, though they ride a bit firmer.
I did not plan on doing any off-road, mostly for safety (and some skill) reasons. Going down, even unhurt could be a problem for a 73 year old and a fully loaded 1200 GS. I might be there a LOONG time.

Still, on whatever ride I've ever taken I have found myself on less than ideal road conditions. You always do. It could be the road turns to dirt or gravel or some mix of the two, or there is a significant stretch of roadwork...whatever. I had been happy with the Nexts and that's what went on. Historically I get well over 8k miles out of them, and that's what looked like the ride would be. At the end it came in around 7500 miles and there was significant tread left on the Metzelers.

Also, needed to do a 12k service...check and a biannual brake flush...check. The girl was ready

This is her the night before departure.

I would be remiss if I did not give huge thanks to the inmates over on They were great, with recommendations, suggestions, evaluations and generally invaluable advice. And they were enthusiastic about the swamp headed "foreigner" visiting their stomping grounds. Again, they were a great asset in all regards and too many thanks are not enough!

Leaving NOLa in the height of summer and riding through the heartland can be hot, so, I planned on leaving in the early am, and stopping mid afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat. I usually do not ride out of NOLa in the summer, prefering to travel in Spring and Fall, but this time it was unavoidable.

Days before I was going to depart, I had a patient who had just returned from BC/Alberta, the Banff/Jasper area, and the Icefields Parkway--a major destination for me, was closed for snow... and this was not unusual. Last year when I met up with P'man and Mrs P'man in late summer they had a similar experience just a couple of weeks before, so planning something "up north" requires some meteorological luck, but knowing when it is least likely to be thwarted by a m"wintry mix."
that meant leaving NOLa and traveling in the convection oven of June/July (for me).

On the way out of town I pulled over to get a shot of the bike in the swamps, soon to be very far behind.

Day one was uneventful...NOLa to Mena, Arkansas. Stayed at the Ozark Inn. I am not sure if there is a good part of Mena, but I suspect this was not it. Just across the parking lot a construction crew was busy doing something indiscernible, but it involved a back hoe, a front loader, noise and a lot of guys talking. Shovels could have been present, but soon enough they stopped.
Night came and went and Tuesday, June 18th dawned on what would turn out to be the worst day of the trip.

Again, I wanted to get an early start, so at dawn + 30 I was loading my bike, fueled by bad weak motel room coffee and the no-breakfast the Ozark provided. Ok, par for the course, no real biggie.

I am loading the bike and at the abandoned garage, also across the parking lot, the one that looks like a repository for old window A/C units, disassembled and rusting dishwashers, flat squares of grey metal, leaning against other grey pieces of metal, I see some movement, a scurrying, human in shape. I am thinking someone who works there is arriving. I continue to pack.

Soon I see that the moving shape was in fact human and headed my way.

You've been there, you're packing or refueling and someone approaches to talk with you about whatthehellyouredoing, whereareyougoing, get these questions all the time, right? As the shape approached and I was prepping for the conversation, no real conversation happened.
50 ish year old sorta white male, picket fence dentition, and a plaid shirt that would have been kinda red, if color had remained. Earth tones, I mean like REAL earth as in dirt and mud.
I am reminded of the coffee shop scene between Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction; Jules announcing he's going to walk the earth... "like Cain."

Yep, definitely a bum... now encroaching on my personal space. I say hello.
He mumbles something and is holding out a styrofoam cup that has something black and ashen in it at the bottom...maybe an old cigarette butt, maybe something else like the remains of a chew, but he's holding it out to me, though not offering me any, just out.

His speech is garbled, not with an Arkansas drawl, not with some speech impediment, not drunk (I think), and I make out that he's telling me he has no coffee.
Right, he has no coffee, well, brotha, this is your lucky day!
I tell him I can help him with that.

I go inside the room and get the motel pack of the "Mountain Colombian Josef" decaffeintated green packet "coffee" and bring it out to him.

He studies it, like it's some thousand year old theorem no one has ever proven or solved.

He tells me he has no water, things are starting to get a bit dicey security wise, I am thinking , and he then starts walking into my room, I guess, to get water.

I stop him, now raising my voice, "you're not going in there!" stepping in front of him. There is no one around, but in my motorcycle ninja garb and with a fully functioning frontal lobe, I must have been "imposing," and I have never been "imposing" in my life.
He shuffles off, disappears toward the front of the Ozark inn.

It was just a bad karma feel to the whole exchange. And then...and then...

So, my wife and I went to Mass the day before leaving. Cover all the bases, right? The gospel is the one "if you've done it to the least of your brethren, you've done it to Me," you know the one.
And I realize, 12 years of Catholic School guilt rearing its sometimes imprudent head, that this bum was by any measure whatsoever the quintessential "least of my brethren." I think i'd have to travel to Calcutta to find lesser. This was that guy, no doubt.

No, he wasn't Jesus, wasn't Jebus either, but on day two of this epic thing, this happens, really no big deal, I can blow it off, but I have had the experience before where I've done something on one of these rides and bad luck seems to follow me for a while, long enough to connect the dots, to add 2 + 2 and maybe get a solid 5, but it could be a 4, you know?

So, my plan is...I have water in my side case--I had forgotten that. I get one out and on leaving Mena, I look for the guy to give him a bottle of water.
I look, I miss a turn, manage to get lost in Mena, all the while looking for the guy aka the least of my brethren.
I never see him. In an ironic twist, I am bummed.

But some good riding lies ahead today, though so does some BAD riding.
First, the good.

The Talimena Trail traverses the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Winding with elevation changes it is a nice change after the getouttadodge interstates of the day before.

There was rain all around my trip out of NOLa, but I managed to ride between the drops, and the dry continues on my first scenic part of the ride.

I notice what appear to be box turtles crossing the road, presumably to get to the other side, and I am careful to avoid them, thinking now that my karma balance may be equilibrating, until...

THUMP . THUMP, oh man, I just rolled over a box turtle, now definitely in the red in my karma account. Sorrr-EEEE!

The Talimena only goes so far and soon I am in the environs of Tulsa or something like Tulsa, a TLO, a Tulsa like Object, and it become H O R R I B L E and H O T. Quickly.

The garmin, Oh Ma Gawd! I HATE the garmin, get me out of OKLAHOMA. I wind up with the school marm voice telling me to Make A U Turn, and Stand On Your head, and WE JUST WANT TO DICK YOU AROUND. And Make that Turn You Just passed, I swear I heard some giggling.

It's now very hot, sweating in my armor, struggling to see the GD garmin screen that just disappears to blackness in anything brighter than an 8 year old's birthday cake. It is horrible. I look at my paper maps and tell the garmin to aim for anytown OK, that is in the direction I want to go, about 25-30 miles away---get me to sweet sweet Kansas and out of OKLAHOMA.

The garmin never fails to please <sarcasm>. I put in the name of the town about 30 miles away, actually the first 4 letters of the name, and because the stupid garmin lists towns in ALPHABETICAL order, rather than by proximty, I am told of places in Poland and Indonsia, 6, 7, 8 THOUSAND miles away, but not the town down the road a piece. I could have put in more letters of the town, but the input system leaves a LOT to be desired, like the delays between tapping a letter and it actually appearing on the screen.

So, it starts "directing" me, sending me on the WEGOTHEREFIRSTWHITEMAN Turnpike. WhaaaT? I don't want to be on a toll road.

Dealing with a toll road on a motorcycle is not a fun experience, right? I thought I told you that, garmin, yet... Let's exit, no wait, the garmin is telling me to exit...uh oh, unmanned toll booth. Doesn't take cards, I have a 10, that's a non starter, so I snake around the barricade, a scofflaw and an outlaw in OKLAHOMA, and the garmin, instead of sending me on a local road as I thought the exiting of the WEGOTHEREFIRSTWHITEMAN Turnpike would lead to, the Garmin is sending me right BACK onto the WEGOTHEREFIRSTWHITEMAN Turnpike. I don't realize it until it is too fricking late!

Another scofflaw moment ensues at the toll booth at the entrance of the t'pke, and again when I get off at the next exit, and find my way OUT of OKLAHOMA and into Kansas, and the rain.

I've watched storms brewing in my general direction for a while and eventually we meet.

I pull over to wait it out and even in a storming rain, lightening and thunder, it was better than OKLAHOMA.

The end of day two finds me in Penny's Diner, in Wellington, watching Dorthy-Weather broil the skies from my booth with my tasty burger.

The next morning dawns grey then pink then bight overcast, and I am in Kansas, officially far from home.

Some can't stand the ride across Kansas and Nebraska. Not I, said the pig.
First, the plains are not always flat, but rolling to slightly hilly. Louisiana is flat, Kansas, Nebraska, not so much. It appeals as a minimalist landscape, land and sky and not much to break the horizon. Blue, gold, green in a tableau painted in watercolors by a 6 year old.
It stirs contemplation, almost a meditative experience. You're usually alone "out there. " You and the red tail hawks, the odd F-150, broken wind mill and a tarmac that could continue to Tatooine for all you know.

Rolling along the GS is doing its thing, Point A to Point B, and I finally stop in Sidney, Nebraska, near where Colorado and Wyoming and Nebraska meet.
I stop at the Comfort Inn, you know the one right by the Love's, Comfort and Love's woo hoo. A natural.

Turns out the Love's incorporates an IHOP, maybe not my favorite cuisine, but now they have burgers and other cow parts and that's what I have, that part of Elsie that becomes a Philly Cheese Steak.

Have you ever taken a shower at a Love's Truck Stop? You can. I wonder if they have beds? Hmmm.

So, as I mange my IHOP Philly Cheese Steak, the PA system is alive.

me and my fellow diners

Lemme set the scene.
I'm eating at anIHOP, for the first time since I've known better.
Actually an IHOP Express. It is within a Love's truck stop in Sidney, NE
An aural cornucopia awaits. I got the Philly cheese steak and it, and the attendant fries are good! On the radio is Faith Hill's cover of Take Another Piece a' Ma Heart, on the TV, Hannity is interviewing Trump, and over the intercom:
Customer 24! Your shower is ready! Please proceed to shower number 3!
Trump is talking about the wall...
Customer number 25. Your shower is ready, please proceed to shower number 7.
Occasionally, the overhead tells a driver of DH TRANS that his truck is in the way of the driver behind who wants to be on his way.
A family arrives to take the table next to me...Tattoos abound.
Mom sets the table for 4 kiddos , 11 and under.

Sitting at the window, I tell you what, Nebraska skies are gorgeous.
I'm doing fine.


Super Moderator
5,003 Posts
I read your report over lunch with relish, Dr S, and a glass of red wine. Actually I didn’t have relish at all as it wouldn’t have complemented the leftover stroganoff I enjoyed with the Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot, which I wouldn’t normally have had on a weekday lunch but the strogonoff, and your tale, were both too good not to be complemented in such a way.

In the context of the quotation from the Advrider forum you referred to, can encourage you by saying many great artists died in poverty before their work was recognised: Bach, Kafka, van Gogh ...

PS Greetings also from the Panzerfrau, who also enjoyed very much your turn of phrase.

150 Posts
I've not owned an R12R for a few years now...but I still lurk in the shadows hereabouts.

This is why. There's a level of erudition and entertainment on this site that just ain't there, elsewhere. Love your stories, Doc - love 'em. Thanks for sharing with us.

Super Moderator
929 Posts
Thanks Doc. Ride Long.

"We don't quit riding because we get old, we get old because we quit riding."

. . . 'Million Mile Man' Paul Mihalka (actually more like 1.4M)

Cheers, Dave

205 Posts
What a refreshing and almost Zen-like perspective on our precious two-wheeled meditative motorcycling mayhem! But when also topped off with simply luvverly pics and a most interesting and thought-provoking turn of phrase - priceless.

Thank you good Doctor!

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The next morning I hit US 30, The Lincoln Highway and enter Wyoming. There are backroads that sort of parallel 30 and I hop on to take me to Laramie.
I am definitely in The West now and the first big rocks are starting to appear.

When the backroad meets US 30 again, there's a welcomed rest area, and a H U G E bust of Abe.

Making tracks and heading toward Thermopolis, the winds are brutal, often from the side, but more often headwinds as I watch my mileage dip to the mid 30s. Getting low on fuel, I am looking. Garmin tells me there's a place in Hiland, Steelman's Bright Spot. Will it be Shell, or Chevron or Valero?
Is this it? (Thanks google)

I pull up to a pump, hidden by the trash. Everything's analog. Ruh Roh.
The glass cover over the display is missing, there is silver duct tape mostly covering the price, half of it is flapping in the wind. It looks for all the world like a dead, ex, former pump. It proclaims 85 octane, but the GS could probably run on mung if push came to shove.
Push meet shove.

I sit staring dumbly at the pump. The other pump is diesel. I have a half a gallon of the good stuff in my pannier, but to get to Thermopolis I needed more than that.
The door to the Bright Spot in Hiland, Wyoming says


I go in. Mostly brown tones greet me in the half light.


I hear shuffling and a woman's voice, but no woman,

the L O U N G E part of the Bright Spot is off to the left, and I peek in.

The proprietrix appears, shuffling out of the back, Grey haired, looking like Auntie Em, but older, worn, probably by the wind. He!!, she's probably younger than me, but Wyoming is rough on the skin and harder on "youthful look."

This is Auntie Em, the one who's NOT
1) the dude
2) Judy Garland

Y'all have gas?

Auntie Em nods, shuffles and affirms at the same time as we walk out to the short yellow school bus gas pump.

How much do you want?

OK< gotta admit, that question threw me a bit. 85 octane, no price on the pump,

uh, 10 dollars

That winds up being about 3 gallons, but 85 and 3 and $10 are a whole lot better than pushing this rig. Pumping done we go inside to settle up.

Where you headed.
I tell her
Where you from?
I tell her.

Oh, I spent some time down there after Katrina...with the Red Cross.

whoa that gets my attention...and we chat about her and my experience. She was helping out for about three weeks after Katrina, first I thanked her, then we traded notes. At the Bright Spot in Hiland, Wyoming I meet one of the angels that came to NOLa after the storm to help. Man, did we appreciate those people!

This is how I got around town in the weeks following

washed up refrigerators on Lakeshore drive

My house as I was cleaning up; "0B" was the code for "zero bodies."

The National Guard in Audubon Park

Katrina was in August. This is my Christmas Card that year.

I thanked the kind lady again and rode on. The Elk Antler Inn was my destination--there were antlers everywhere.
See the Antlers on the ceiling? Moose motif shades, velvet murals, oh yeah, movin' on up.

Now, one thing about the Elk Antler Inn, though, and that was the friendliness of the lady at the desk. Asian, maybe Vietnamese, all of 5 feet, always listing to port, often with a jerk. and and she would have been offensively cheerful if her smile weren't so damm infectious!

The other thing about the Elk Antler Inn was the paucity of three prong plugs in the room and the Gordian Knot of extension cords all vying for the single far wall 3 pronger.

I didn't burn up.

The next morning and the destination is Kalispell which will be my staging spot for the border crossing. But first, there's some riding to do, some old friends in the neighborhood; Chief Joseph and Beartooth in the house.

I head up 120, through Cody (cool town if you've never been, really good Tapas restaurant there with some nice wines ), and hang a left on WY 296, Chief Joseph Hwy, which along with Beartooth Pass are two of the most iconic motorcycle roads on the continent.

Sometimes what you wanna do and what you do are two different things.

wasted shot here just to show what my garmin screen looks like in bright overcast with the display on full brightness. This is the way it has always been, bordering on worthless.

basta garmin

Chief Joseph.

Chief Joseph goes on like this for a long while until you take a right on 212 and you are on Beartooth Pass. I do.

There are a couple of signs at the beginning of Beartooth, one no more impressive than the other. One says: Road Closed ahead.

The other says: Construction Ahead; Expect Delays.

A Wyoming state trooper is sitting in his car right there, marking time and space, nothing more. I decide to believe the Construction Ahead and I expect Delays and ride on and Beartooth is everything it always is, but it's getting colder on this the first day of summer.

Elevation increases, now in 5 digits, snow is alongside the road. I stop for a picture and...

Super Moderator
5,003 Posts
Once again, very entertaining narrative and photos, John.

Looking at the photo (where you sneak in moody clouds above snow capped craggy mountains) I can understand your dissatisfaction with the Garmin display. The Nav VI is much, much better. Have you ever tried fitting a sun-shield/visor? There are numerous generic types on eBay.

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Once again, very entertaining narrative and photos, John.

Looking at the photo (where you sneak in moody clouds above snow capped craggy mountains) I can understand your dissatisfaction with the Garmin display. The Nav VI is much, much better. Have you ever tried fitting a sun-shield/visor? There are numerous generic types on eBay.
The NAV 6 does not have XM radio, a deal breaker for me.

I have considered a sun shield, and maybe that would improve (or not), but shading it with my hands does VERY little to improve. It doesn't take much ambient light to make the screen nearly invisible especially at highway speeds, it certainly does NOT take direct sunlight, as overcast, if bright enough, can nearly blank it---it's just bad overpriced "tech."

It's not just the inadequacies of the hardware, the software sucks, too.
If I am on the MAP and I want to see the next fuel place...
Points of Interest
and then the STUPID design of the software does not separate fuel ava by your direction of travel---which the unit MUST know, or a good guess. Google would have AI to know; Apple would know.
so, you have NO WAY of separating out those fuel stations in front of you from those behind you.

How many times do you look at your fuel gauge as you are passing through a town, and make the decision to stop now, or await the next fuel station. For me that is a COMMON decision. However, if you are passing through a populated area and you want to know what's AHEAD of you, you could, on the scroll, see 5 pages of stations you just passed, and not at all see what's in front of you. How about a map to show icons for stations in your area which could be expanded out---this could be a simple software tweak, but not for the smug decision makers at garmin. Google does that. Makes you wonder about who hires and directs these "engineers."

You can mitigate this problem a bit, but only a bit, by

Points of Interest
my current route

It orders them by proximity. and then you are going to see what's behind you, that you've already rejected, as well as what's in front, but ONLY IF what's in front of you makes the cut distance wise, so in addition to the buttons above that distract you, now you have to scroll down and look for arrows pointing ahead, and hope that there is something within the garmin configured "distance window" that the so-called software "engineers" have deemed to be appropriate.

And to make it even more infuriating, the list will redraw and bring you back to the first screen without your input, so you have to keep scrolling down, and on the screen that you cannot see well.

Then to get back you your map, you have to long press the BACK button, but that, on some screens will bring you back to your original map, but on most screens, brings you back to the screen: "Where to" or "Map"

Because of the screen dimness (and this was NOT a problem on the much older 550 zumo, go figure) I have memorized where different buttons are for some , but not all functions...and it is pretty easy to hit the wrong button.
I choke when I hear Made by Bikers For Bikers.

On an Adventure rider radio podcast, Jim Martin was interviewing a garmin guy and suggested that it would be nice if you could change the the alert for going over the speed limit so that it turns red, not at 1 mph over, but say 5 mph over...The garmin guy laughed, I swear he laughed and the suggestion went nowhere.

I have seriously considered the WunderLinq, but it is dependent on cellular coverage, which is getting better, but not as good as GPS coverage. yes, i can download maps before hand, and I don't

It would be great and solve many problems IF garmin made the user interface user configurable, with configurable default settings, like every other handheld device out there, but they don't.
They make a design that they deem appropriate (or maybe there is no thought process at all, maybe I am giving the designers too much credit, or maybe those decisions are made in HR or marketing).
Then they NEVER EVER change it, despite suggestions on their worthless forums.

And one thing they have mastered it appears: they have made the units un hackable, so there is nothing that can be done by curious minds.

there are so many faults in the design, to me, that the advantages are almost, but not quite, outweighed by the disadvantages. This is a crappy design, crappy interface and an unresponsive company that acts like the monopoly they are--again, cell phones don't utilize their gps antennas as they could, not an answer for me...yet. Cells may work for some, but not yet for me.

So, I just went outside to show what I mean.
The first is the screen in full shade on a sunny/partly cloudy day

the second is
Where to
scroll down
Cities--here you can see 2(???) entries for "Bridge City" 2.4 or 2.9 miles from my house

The Third shows
where to
scroll down
B...wait for it to show up
R...wait for it to show up
I---wait for it to show up
D---wait for it to show up
and this is what comes up
It clearly shows alphabetical order, showing 3 entries thousands of miles away, for a search item that is 2+ miles away

This is stupid design and dangerous. Yes, I could find some place to stop and do all of this, but garmin never states that one should be stopped to use the zumo, in fact they imply the complete opposite ... made by bikers for bikers, glove friendly etc.
I was outside of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC, on a major highway about 25 miles away. I searched for the route into town. Actually, I was searching for my motel--a two step process.
where to
scroll down
N...wait for it to show up
A...wait for it to show up
N---wait for it to show up
A---wait for it to show up
and the garmin showed fully 4 screens of NANAs before Nanaimo which was about 25 miles away
Poland, Indonesia, Ukraine locales beginning with NANA, across oceans and thousands of miles away showed up before the place nearby. I kid you not.
In fact, because of the near invisibility of the screen it was hard to see Nanaimo when it did show up.

Then I was searching for the Buccaneer Inn (recommended), so I had to go through that again:
Where to
My destination
Points of interest
and scroll scroll scroll
didn't find it, and for this one I did pull into a parking lot, under a tree and did a search for it. Did not show all---I found the information from the Garmin, despite updated before I left for western US and Canada, to be very lacking. It was not unusual to not find places, motels that most certainly have been there a while. Fortunately, I had cell service and I found the address on my phone and plugged that in to the #$*^[email protected]*ing garmin and it led me there.
It was an infuriating device to use

Does the Nav 6 address this MAJOR and dangerous flaw?

Don't get me started on garmin, well I guess that's too late >:)
And I haven't gotten to the "red box alerts" that appear in the smallest font the garmin can display--worthless; or the fact that you cannot show a screen with a biga$$ display of your current can show a compass, but not speed which would be VERY useful. Or the "rain in the area" alert that cannot be configured to read a certain circumference area, but could be alerting you to rain hundreds of miles away---you're much better off looking at the clouds--seriously.


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5,003 Posts
I didn’t mean to get you started John :grin2: but from your description I understand your exasperation.

The Nav VI addresses some of these issues.

Firstly, as mentioned earlier, screen visibility is light years ahead.

With integration into the bike, when the fuel reserve warning hits, an icon appears on the screen, which when touched brings up the fuel stations, their distance (closest first) and direction by compass point. So if you know which way you are heading, this is of reasonable utility (there is a full screen compass display available, as well as the option of showing it on the map display, e.g. NE). This screen can also be reached through the Where to? menu.

You can also choose to show points of interest such as fuel, food and lodgings, shopping etc on the map display as default. Then zoom out as required and pan if necessary to see more distant POI.

The Address screen under Where to? will default to the last selected county/country, with a button to change it if necessary for your next destination. So that excludes all the unwanted options you describe.

Of course the Wonder Wheel makes scrolling easy, although I must be bumping it during around town riding and when I occasionally look at the screen, I have somehow selected a different screen. (I just happen to have the Nav mounted, rather than navigating to a destination.)

I don’t normally rely on POI in the database, preferring to plan ahead and enter the address as a favourite. But yes, the data is well out of date. I did a test for the Mitta Pub (the only pub in Mitta Mitta and a lovely place to stay at that) and drew a blank. I dud a search for fuel at Mitta Mitta and it correctly came up with the Mitta General Store - just across the road.

I don’t even fully trust the currency of the map data. A country road in Gippsland only a few kilometres from a major town close to a friend’s house has only recently appeared in the database. It was built about 20 years ago. When I discovered the omission (riding to my hosts’ house carrying a bunch of flowers in my left hand for the hostess, along a circuitous dirt road ‘detour’) I found it was in the Open Street Maps dataset so I load that as a supplementary map data set.

Unlike other devices, Garmin seems not to update their firmware, presuming as you say that they got it perfect out of the box. As if ...

There may be other functions you might find useful that I haven’t yet discovered..

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Super Moderator
929 Posts
More Garmin Luv . . .

My Nav VI is bright enough most of the time, but otherwise shares most or all of the exasperating interface foibles you describe.

In addition to the Garmin Basecamp infuriating eccentricities you've previously described.

Another fun Nav VI issue is when zooming in or out, especially out. When I'm zoomed in I of course see more streets. When I zoom out one level of course many of those streets disappear. But, some of those streets that disappear are ones I'd still like to see and they could easily still be there just one level zoomed out, but no they just disappear anyway leaving useless gray space on the screen. So in order to see them I find myself zooming in & out and in & out in quick succession to see them before they disappear to see where they go so I can figure out where I want to go while of course piloting a moving motorbike.

Yet another fun Nav VI 'feature' that I don't recall experiencing on my Nav V is battery life - the battery dies if the bike's not ridden for three weeks or so (sure I could ride more and worry less but life intrudes). When you turn it off from the front panel, it only goes into Sleep Mode, staying on in the background and continuing to drain its battery until you either fire up the bike again or its battery dies. This manifests itself as a non-working Nav the next time you fire up the bike three weeks later, whereupon you ride blissfully Nav-free until you later shut down the bike and the Nav then comes on because its charged now, thus tapping into a deep well of undying love and affection for your trusty and expensive traveling companion. To really truly honest to goodness turn it OFF you have to remove it from the mount and hold down the power button on the back for at least five seconds. Some have gone so far as to pop for the ~$100 Garmin external battery charger, or use non-Garmin chargers with hit or miss results, pulling the Nav off the bike and charging it between rides. Some remove the back panel and disconnect & reconnect the battery. Some contact Garmin about this known issue and some of them even get one or more new batteries gratis. Never ever had this issue with my Nav IV, and don't recall ever having it with my Nav V.

The only reason I continue to use the wickedly overpriced BMW Navs is because they work with the WunderWheel, which is great for zooming in & out on the fly (subject to the caveat above), but not so great for bumping the wheel sideways and jumping off the nav screen right when you're trying to use it (which is really BMW's fault, not Garmin's).

Well all righty then, anyone want to share these nice rants with the friendly and supportive Made By Riders For Riders Garmin Gnomes who should be able to fix all this with a few strokes of the keys, right? ;)

Cheers, Dave
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Basecamp? No-one actually uses that do they? It’s just Pretendware as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve tried a few (other) route planning software options but have reverted to planning on my laptop using Google Maps, then inputting strategically selected road intersections until the Nav calculates a route that looks the same shape as the Google Map route.

But we digress - looking forward to the next trip report instalment.

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Basecamp? No-one actually uses that do they? It’s just Pretendware as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve tried a few (other) route planning software options but have reverted to planning on my laptop using Google Maps, then inputting strategically selected road intersections until the Nav calculates a route that looks the same shape as the Google Map route.

But we digress - looking forward to the next trip report instalment.
new installment coming this afternoon, took a ride this am with Mrs S on the back and it was REALLY hot, so, chilling-literally, before I go out again to the gym---gotta stay all buff 'n schitt.

But the problem I've had with doing maps in Google and importing is that the garmin thinks I did it all wrong, and without telling me, recalculates the route. Its preference seems to be the most crowded and uninteresting roads..The roads more traveled. And the most evil thing about it is that the route shows up in Basecamp fine, but when accessed on the garmin, it changes.

This is a profoundly lacking device. To be honest, I am surprised that the garmin fanboys haven't come out to lynch me. Hmmm, maybe there aren't any?

ON the Zumo forum yesterday, after my rant, I visited to see if there was anything interesting. There are sometimes people who have enough time on their hands to push various parts of the screen to see "hidden" screens. I found one such, and I got to a screen that had a LOT of "things" there, but one of the "things" was "Backlight" with an Up/Down button next to it. My backlight was set at 48%...I pressed UP and brought it up to 100%, and when riding today, I think it was somewhat brighter...I could actually read it as long as I did not have the sunshade down in my Shoei. BTW, I did already have the brightness setting on the unit under display at 100%.
IIRC to get to the screen that has backlight, hold down on the battery icon for a few seconds
And as everyone on the zumo forum says, "not responsible if you brick it." But I didn't brick mine.

I also googled "Hack garmin 665" and came up empty handed.

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
The day to day aspects of the ride evolved on a day to day basis. Up until the day I left I didn't decide which way I would head up; which way I'd head back. To be clear, I had a good idea, but the actual route on day one was not decided until the last minute

There were some roads I wanted to incorporate, but the variables of rain, snow, fire, heat, asteroid, disease, famine, war, etc meant "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Coming from the Gulf south in full summer to the north that could be like our winter or worse suggested prudence, or, you just ride through it, shiver, swelter and dry out. I aimed somewhere in between.

It was the day before, in Thermopolis, I realized I could do Chief Joseph and Beartooth. Hey, it was on the way. Yeah let's do this. Chief Joseph went without a hitch, hung a right on Beartooth, considered the signs promising either road closed or construction delays, and rode on.

I climb Beartooth, the road surface better than I remember in 2016 when I last rode it. Beartooth is not a particularly challenging road. It's got some switchbacks, but not really hairpins with elevation changes, still it is fun and it is gorgeous, top of the world stuff. These pix are from my ride in 2016. Not this ride on the first day of summer, 2019.

The "Bear Tooth" of Beartooth Pass.

But, on this day, none of that was very I said at the close of the last entry, elevation rose to 5 digits, snow was on the sides of the road, though not falling, I stop for a picture, now 32 degrees.

To be sure the road was fine, no active snowfall or ice on this, again, the first day of summer, little traffic. Just before I shot the video, a car stopped from the other direction telling me the road was closed and this was the best place to turn around. We both said the LEO at the beginning did nothing to stop either of us, but really, had he been there to advise me of the closure, if allowed, I probably would have ridden up anyway to "take a look." And it was almost to the end of it.

So, Plan B was not shabby at all... go back down Beartooth and do Chief Joseph again, but now going the other way. Not a shabby choice at all.

On the way back I took this of the Clark Valley, a beautiful valley extending southward (I think) from Chief Joseph.

The appeal of this area is immediately obvious

as Chief Joseph winds it's way toward Beartooth, which, i think would be off to the right.

From Wyoming Tourism:

The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is named after the Native American chief of the Nez Perce Tribe. Following the Battle of the Big Hole in Idaho in 1877, Chief Joseph fled east through Yellowstone. He and 1,000 members of his tribe ran from the US Cavalry, who were trying to force the tribe onto a reservation so that white ranchers could have their lands. While crossing Yellowstone, the Nez Perce briefly captured several tourists before going north up the Clarks Fork River. The Nez Perce were trying to flee to Canada (an 1,800 mile trek), but surrendered after the six-day Battle of the Bear Paw in northeastern Montana. The tribe was stopped only 30 miles from their destination, the Canadian border.

In his speech of surrender, Chief Joseph expressed dignity and defeat with his famous words, 'Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.' The Nez Perce tribe was forced onto reservations in Oklahoma and Washington despite promises to allow them back on their lands. Yellowstone's Nez Perce Creek is named for this valiant attempt at freedom.

Onward to Kalispell for the evening, and tomorrow I cross the border at Roosville


and, I have to give some cred to the

Across the street from the motel. Comfort Inn??? iirc, was a casino with an adjoining restaurant. I'm always a bit leery of casino restaurants, fearing smoke and really plain forgettable fare. Not so at the Cattleman's (at all!).
I had a really good salad, but the appetizer was delish and deserves mention:

Battered Steak Strips
Tender Filet Mignon Strips lightly battered, fried
and served with housemade Southwest Ranch. 12.99

My tummy very satisfied and The Blue Dog (and Loup Garou if I'm not good) and I will be crossing the border tomorrow...

To learn more about The Blue Dog, check this out:
Musings of an Artist's Wife: Meet Tiffany, the Original Blue Dog

But the takeaway here is, I made it to British one piece.


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5,003 Posts
To be clear, @Dr. Strangelove, I’ve given up on all route planning software given Garmin’s unique interpretation of where I want to go.

I use Google Maps to plan my route, commencing with start and end points, then dragging it as required until it meets what I need. Then I go into the route planning app in the Nav and add the way points as well as shaping points to the degree necessary to get the Nav to plot the route I want. Shaping points are great as they don’t show up in the way points list when navigating, but they do ‘force’ the route.

Super Moderator
929 Posts
Thanks Doc, ride on, write back, keep blazing those trails to inspire those of us not quite there yet to ride those rides and write those postcards from the edge.

To paraphrase Steve McQueen in Le Mans (1971), riding is life, everything else is just waiting.

Cheers, Dave

1,613 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Crossing a border is a little bit unnerving, at least for me. Will they discover the rocket propelled grenade launcher, collapsible version (folds down to 14"), in my pannier. Would they think the Dirt Napper device strapped to my seat is some kind of scatological device, banned in Ontario, Alberta and the Czech Republic? Are they going to ask me trick questions? These concerns and more always make me sweat a bit.

Back in my Up The Gut report a couple of years ago, I talked about how I was "selected" for more than a basic interview, had to go inside, spoke with Officer Creamer (not making that up) everyone except me in flak jackets, black is the new black. and the honorable Officer Creamer giving me the third degree about how I get off of work so long, why didn't I just fly up, real obnoxious stuff, with absolutely no sense of humor, a real credit to the uniform. Other border guards protecting Canada's southern border from illegal migrants from The Great Satan couldn't have been nicer, but Creamer sticks out as a very memorable ambassador-straight from the Department of Anal Affairs-of our neighbor to the North. And as I approach the border, his memory does nothing to make me comfortable about this transit.

In the stop and go, I get my passport ready, I turn off my Sena, I take off my gloves. I pull up, I turn off the engine, flip up my helmet.

This version of Creamer, about the same age--30 ish, same build, same short hair, black, same demeanor, grim.

He's sitting in an enclosed booth, never facing me I strain to hear him, and he's peeved. He asks me some questions, and I can barely hear him, because in my preps to meet and greet, I left my ear plugs in.

He's right up there on the left.

I ask him if he could speak louder because I have ear protection in. And in a very WelcomeToCanada way he sneers and speaking to my left pannier says---and I hear this fine--- "No ****, why didn't you take them out before." Because I didn't want to, CaputPenis, I wanted to make you suffer in your little box, and I am not going to tell you about the plans for Grand Coulee Dam that I am going to give Mosheef Al-Sabbad at The Friendly Bean Coffee Shop in Kamloops, and if you have a minute, let me show you how the rocket propelled grenade launcher works...stand over there.

Nah, I really didn't say any of that when he laid out the Welcome mat, didn't even think it until now. Nothing like a first impression, right?
He mumbles something else and hands back my passport. Nothing more. So I say.
Are we cool?
Are WE COOL? with a big feces consuming grin.
And he actually smiles a bit and says
yeah, we're cool

I rode on ready to begin my excursion and really glad I talked back to the dude. It gave an unpleasant situation closure

Off I go. I am heading to Cranbrook for the evening. It looked like a place where I could kinda circle the wagons and be ready for the next week in BC. Easy food and lodging, and a bank to change dollars for dollarettes, the ones with that lady on them. It served that purpose well.

The next morning I head out now beginning the recommended roads from the good people on ADVrider, I am heading to Nakusp. I am no longer able to ride in between the drops, they catch up with me. It wasn't a washout, but it was raining just enough to make stopping for pix nearly impossible.

crossing the lake on a free ferry

I have the garmin weather app on my 665 and now discover another reason to have such a strong distaste for the brand. The weather app, as poor as it is, does not work at all in BC. Canada appears just as a map, no weather info at all, it stops at the 49th parallel. So, now, as I suggested somewhere, it is best to just watch the clouds. Watching the clouds tells me rain and sometimes sunshine, correctly.

So, I get to Nakusp, and I must say that this route was a very nice motorcycle ride, especially after crossing the lake at Balfour. I almost killed Bambi and his sister (or brother--I didn't notice the package or lack of). Mom crosses as I am coming along at a prudent, but fun, speed, and the two fawns wait until they see me, then Bambi starts to cross. Horn and heavy braking, Bambi gets a WTF look on his face, legs look like tumbled match-sticks, he stumbles, and then rushes back to the side of the road. Mom is watching all this as is the other fawn. But no harm done, and a maybe valuable life lesson for Bambi. Or not.

It was a good road for sure.

As I am approaching Nakusp, the rain is still off and on. I check in to my motel. I again get the room with a view of the stairway and I'm getting antsy to start taking some pics; I head out with my camera. Have Nikon, will travel. Disclaimer, some of these were taken the next morning.

 good they had to name it twice

Chances are we have it? Ok, Ok Let's see...
Soooo, lemme get this right, you don't have Swedish twins named Helga and Ilsa.
What do you have?
How about a rhesus monkey?
A grilled cheese sandwich?
A slimming effect? Linoleum? Oleomargarine? Shorts a size too small? Sam Cooke's gravestone? Huh? Look! I don't want a sunny disposition, don't give me that.
Truth in advertising must not exist north of the 49th parallel. Sheesh.

I ride on. I will say this is not the last time on this ride I come across a store promising far more than they can deliver.

I continue on BC6 and it continues to please, all the way to Vernon, then on to Revelstoke on 97A, which was OK, and then Ca 1, the Trans Canada Highway.

I liked Revelstoke. It was a cool town. In late june it looked like the major portion of the population consisted of 20-30 somethings who didn't have much to do, and who could simply be year rounders who work in winter sports, summer bringing leisure time. Lots of young dads with kids, Lots of young moms with kids. A sprinkle of older people, I may have been the oldest person in Revelstoke. It had a good vibe though. I ate at a place called The Old School House Restaurant and it was really pretty good and far more than just the typical on the road burger (or Mexican) place. It was in a part of the old school house, an old classroom, complete with school house globes for lighting and the old blackboard. The windows overlooked the old playground of the school.

After dinner, this far north, this close to the summer solstice, the days were long.

I liked Revelstoke.

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929 Posts
Heh, Revelstoke, how appropriate somehow.

Doc, you are the Poet Laureate of this little corner of the innerwebz. Your words are worth a thousand words, your images a million.

Thank you for bringing back little Sniglets of this indescribably beautiful world to inspire us from our occasionally moribund perspectives.

Ride on, write back.

Cheers, Dave
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