Matho Tapila Mega Moto Adventure

My new favorite picture of Nick and me

In June, Nick, my dad, Karen, Dave and I undertook our most ambitious motorcycle tour ever. Twelve days, five states, seven national parks, 3100 miles, and only two notable bike issues. Whew!

Highlights included a return to the 99 miles of twisty road leading to Lolo Pass, seeing all sorts of wildlife (moose, buffalo, big horn sheep, grizzly bear, pronghorn, and more), bowls of legendary cheeseburger soup, seeing the Brewery Follies in Virginia City, geysers and thermal springs in Yellowstone NP, showing those WY people how we dance in Seattle, an unexpected visit to a roadside air museum, hilarious entertainment by a singer in Gillette, WY (where Les Canards Sauvages almost got renamed “the water people”), contrasting visits to Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore, meeting an artist whose work was solicited for inclusion in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, walking around Devil’s Tower, prairie dogs, surviving 30+ mph cross-winds, a sobering visit to Little Big Horn, $2 margaritas and evening games of pool, an early morning blast up the Going to the Sun Highway (with no cars!), skinny dipping in Avalanche Lake, rafting the Middle Fork Flathead River, a visit with long-time family friends in Sandpoint, ID (dinner at a floating restaurant!), twisting the throttle through some of Washington’s best roads, being met by riding friends (Mark and Laura) in Winthrop on our last night, and surviving the final day’s ride home.

We live in an amazing country, and I’m so glad I get to experience it on two wheels with friends and family. Watch the slideshow below to see some of the visual highlights. (The arrow in the lower right corner will embiggen it.) Additional pictures by my dad are here.

 

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Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone NP

I’m buried in photos from my motorcycle trip in June, an impromptu trip to Dublin, and a few hikes, climbs, and overnight bike adventures in between. Thankfully, while the rest of the world is out adventuring, gear manufacturers are hard at work in Friedrichshafen and Salt Lake City, showcasing drool-worthy new gear for adventures to come. Some of it is available today, and some of it will arrive in stores this winter. Here’s a few of my favorites.

roof-top camperWhite Lightning Hard Shell roof-top camper. You can put racks on top of this low-profile camper so you can carry your bikes, surfboard, kayak, or whatever and have a comfy place to sleep. (At $3800, it’s pricey, but if you preorder this for delivery in the fall, you can save $500.)

pocket cleatsThese ultralight Pocket Cleats look like the first decent alternative to microspikes. At only 5.6 ounces per pair, that’s half the weight of the alternative. Oh, and did I mention they’re $10 cheaper, too?! It’s hard to imagine buying winter traction in August, but they may be hard to come by this winter.

There are a lot of portable espresso makers out there. Reviews are mixed, however, on the quality of the espresso produced. The Caflano All-in-One Coffee Maker looks like it could possibly make the world’s most perfect, fresh cup of drip coffee. A little adjustable grinder nests inside a mesh drip filter. Coffee drips into an insulated thermal mug. You’ve got to see the video to appreciate just how slick this thing is.

ATCBlack Diamond is releasing an upgraded ATC belay device. I don’t know anything about it, but it looks right sexy.

nano air lightAnd when the Patagonia Nano Air Light comes out, you can bet I’ll be buying one for super cold cross-country ski days. It looks like the existing Nano Air Jacket, but with hybridized panels for extra breath- ability – perfect for high-exertion activities in winter.

One helmetBolle has also introduced The One Helmet, a bike helmet I think I pretty much need to have. It’s got removable areo shells (okay, I don’t really need this), a built in LED safety light, interchangeable liners for summer and winter, a removable visor, and a “sunglasses garage” to hold your glasses when you want to take them off mid-ride.

Finally, if all this gear didn’t make you go glassy-eyed, Will Gadd’s article on overcoming fear is fantastic. Lean into it, analyze/learn from it, and when you decide to go for it, really commit.

 

 

ORD

Sometimes you find a rare, beautiful gem in an airport. Next time you fly through Chicago O’Hare, I challenge you to find this passageway. The neon flickers in a surreal, technicolor light show.

(It’s been there since I was a kid and I still it!)

Air time

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You could hear it in the woods that afternoon. Around the corner, obscured by the forest.

“Whaa-hoo!”

(A scream of joy? Or terror?)

Boom time!

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Stars and spangles light up the sky,
No wonder kids love the Fourth of July.

IMG_4597.jpgA boom, a trail of smoke, and then a loud pop,
As colorful sparkles fan out and drop.

IMG_4607.jpgOne after another, each twinkles and dies,
Just a moment’s pause, and the next one flies.

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IMG_4613.jpgThen all too soon comes the grand finale,
Wave after wave, like an electrified tsunami.

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And then it’s all over and all is quiet,
There’s a stillness where there once was a riot.
And clouds of sulfurous smoke in the air,
Are all that’s left to show that fireworks were there.

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