Alaska Sojourn!
Ian's Updates, Days 4 & 5

A Long, Strange Trip to Alaska
by Ian Schmeisser (

Days 4 & 5

On day 4, we play tourist… visiting Mt. Rushmore, not visiting Crazy Horse (it's still not done!) because of rain, visiting Devil's Tower and then blasting across Wyoming to stop in Cody for the night. Tom got pissed because we couldn't see Crazy Horse (he wanted a T-shirt). I saw it nearly 30 years ago, and from pictures in today's brochure, they haven't made much progress. Who wants to see a half-done tourist trap.

Listen up all you rally-goers coming across I-90… in Wyoming, you should take a break from the slab, exiting onto Highway 16 West from Buffalo. It takes you over the Bighorn Range, through Cody and into Yellowstone. Those riding GS models, and all you airheads who don't mind a little ground pounding, instead of taking 16 into Yellowstone, take 120 north from Cody, look for Chief Joseph Highway, take it to 212 West (you'll miss the Beartooth Pass, or you can run up and down it for giggles), then west into Yellowstone. This is a world-class ride, but 212 as it gets to Yellowstone, as well as the road going in the park's northeast entrance, is abominable. I loved it!!! But not for bikes with wheels that bend easily.

Strange things on Days 4 &5:

New Tom on Mount Rushmore.
It's now George, the new Tom, Ted and Abe. And I've got pictures to prove it.

As we approached Devil's Tower, strange forces took hold. My odometer clicked over 8080 miles, the same number as my license plate. And at the same time, the same number appeared over the Tower… in purple! Coincidence? I think not! And once again, I've got a picture to prove it.

A thousands thanks!
As we head into Helena, my odometer clicks over 9000 miles. Every time my odometer rolls over another thousand miles, I spend the next mile giving thanks to God… thanks for this fine world, for my fine family, and a great motorcycle to ride. You may think this strange, but I don't. Life is good.

Retired in Missoula
I started this trip with about 1K on a new set of tires. I have been nursing these puppies big-time all across the continent…which is very strange for me. But when I got to Helena, with another 3K to go before getting to Alaska, I got paranoid about my rear tire being able to make it. So… I swung by Missoula and bought a new one. I saw the rally site (no dental floss to be found) and visited the local dealer: Smith & Jones. Met the owner, Rich Gates… really nice guy. He kept his shop open an extra hour so that I didn't have to stay overnight.

So here I am with Tom and now Ted… the Wasserman in the Alaska Sojourn logo.

Stay tuned… things are bound to get really strange tomorrow… we're heading into Canada.

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