1k from Helena MT to Las Vegas NV

July 6, 2016


We had already been on the road for a few days.  My wife and I had were taking another road trip for this vacation.  We left from Utah through Wyoming. Rode through the black Hills, then went through Montana. 


We were set for the night deciding the next day's destination. My original plan was to camp in yellow stone then head to vegas for our 1k. The wife didn't care for Yellow Stone or camping. And liked the idea of gambling in Vegas. She knew the thousand mile ride was on the agenda for our trip, and Vegas was the perfect distance. After a few emails were sent off we had our destination and route.


Our plan was to leave as early as possible but not so early that we're riding tired all day. We woke up at 0500. After packing, checking out of the motel and topping off our fuel we headed south out of Helena.


We were took off really fast to try and get a good start to the day. I was glad we had our cold weather gear on. I haven't had to ride in that cold since last winter. I was freezing, she was freezing, I forgot to put my gloves on and I wasn't going to stop.


There was over cast with some rain clouds. I wanted to get out of the mountains before the road got wet. We saw deer running accross the roads so we kept an eye out and with all the twists through the canyons I couldn't go too fast. But we got the first 200 miles done while the sun was still coming up.  Once we got out of the mountains and hills it started to warm up.  The road opened up and we could really cruise. We were heading south with minimal turns, making stops every 50ish miles so Maria could stretch her legs.


Somewhere in Idaho we had our first little bump in during the trip. We made a routine gas stop. A little place off the road with no signs. After our fuel up we were riding along interstate 86. I was leaning forward on my bars checking a gopro I have ziptied by the throttle controls. I check to see if it's on then position my hand back by the break. The bike loses all power. I pull it over to side of the road looking all the lights flashing next to by odometer.


My oil light turns on.  I've been paranoid about that from a previous scare a couple days earlier at Sturgis. I Reset all the controlls and let the bike sit while I go through procedures in my head. I turn everything back on to check for more lights and I don't see any. I take off slowly to feel the bike. Everything seems ok so we ride. After all that I'm pretty sure I bumped the starter switch with my jacket sleeve. Which would explain the lights and loss of power. After that little scare we were back on our way. For another half hour or so.


A little further down the road we stopped again for Maria to stretch. Which was a terrible place to stop due to construction. There was no way back on the interstate so we have a 25 mile detour. I know the miles still add up. But I cant move as quickly through back road neighborhoods.


We did 90 miles straight so I could try and make up some of that time.  Maria wasn't very happy with that.  Our next stop was Jackpot NV. We were half way at that point.  That's when the day started to feel long.


Riding through Nevada seemed to take forever.  Two lane highways with people who don't want to move quickly if you want to pass. That was frustration.  I was also surprised at the amount of cops who hide in those hills. I was lucky once while speeding.  A second time another biker warned me of another cop hiding over a small bridge.


We kept moving south in the heat with no gas stations or other stops. Our first stretch after Wells a sign read no gas 115 miles. It went by relatively quick gas wasnt to low. We would leap frog all the semis and they would pass us again everytime we would stop. Once we got gas again the next sign said no gas 105 miles. I knew we just fueld up and had that extra 10 miles previously so I didn't think it would be a big deal.


As we were riding now it was getting later in the evening and we had traveled over 105 miles. Passing through valleys and canyons with no alternate routes. We were between 850 and 900 miles when i started looking at the fuel guage. I was already expecting a gas station and there had been none.


I was getting worried we were going to have to camp in the desert and our whole days ride wouldn't count.  We made a quick stop at on extraterrestrial highway to check our gps. Take a qick pic and move on.  The stop we needed was five miles up the road just in time.


After that stop we had our last 100 miles to vegas and to finish our trip.  By now it was pitch dark with a crsesnt moon over the mountains. We slowed it down in the dark and rode behind the same semi thw whole time. It was nice clear sky but I was too tired by then to enjoy it. Maria wanted to stop so we could take our jackets off because it was so hot. But there was no where to pull off the road. 


After one last gas stop about 20 miles from vegas we finished up our trip around 1040. From 6 amwe were riding all day. Almost 17 hours to do this but we got it done.

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© 2016 RIDE 1K IN A DAY by Curtis Morgan

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