The Backup Plan

The Backup Plan

December 22, 2020

Around May of 2020, we decided our plan to ride to the Arctic Circle in August had become untenable. COVID-19 had rendered cross-border travel difficult at best, likely impossible and definitely irresponsible. Fuck. Now what? We focused on work and family and once it felt like we had improved our business and personal defenses, the siren song of empty highways turned from a low hum to a constant, steady beat. Our group of friends agreed that whatever risk might be involved, the reward would be worth it. Ride or die. Over twelve days we travelled nearly 3000 miles. 

Starting in Wendover, Utah at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, we worked our way up through Idaho, a bit of Montana, across Eastern Washington and through the entire state of Oregon. We camped remotely and our buddy Rob drove a chase van full of firewood, good food and cold beers. As the summer of discontent ground down the souls of a polarized nation, we quit caring about news and feedback loops and enjoyed the outdoors along with some cantakerous old motorcycles. Mixing with other folks was at a minimum which was fine with us, ‘Rona or not.

After the first day or so, we talked very little about current events, stayed off our phones and focused on figuring out why a bike wouldn’t start or where the next hot spring was. It felt like the healthiest thing we’d done in months–and that was exactly the point.

The Backup PlanIt looks like JD’s on fire, but it’s really just steam from a recently quenched fire ring behind him. This bike and tireless rider made it the whole trip with zero complaints. Typical JD...
The Backup PlanFirst Sergeant Gilbow, USMC (about to retire!) had approximately one shakedown mile on his panhead chopper before this trip.
The Backup Plan“What year is it?” they always ask. “Which part?” I always reply.
The Backup PlanSshhhhh... Don’t tell anyone that the area in and around Stanley, Idaho is this awesome.
The Backup PlanRedfish Lake, Idaho.
The Backup PlanOtto soaking up some sunset vibes across the highway from the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The Backup PlanNo way we were gonna pass through Bend, Oregon without stopping at Squarebody Nirvana. Thanks @bornforadventure and crew!
Fishing > Feedback Loops.
The Backup PlanJD with the big haul of the day.
The Backup PlanShe caught more fish, drank more beer and scraped more pegs. The fearless Kalen Thorien was our secret weapon on this trip. She knew every trail, hot spring and backroad in the panhandle area of Idaho and Montana. Plus she’s fun to hang out with!
The Backup PlanSocial distancing? We’re OK with that...
The Backup PlanMan soup.
The Backup PlanDaily routine keeps 'em on the road. 
The Backup PlanIt's all downhill from here.
The Backup PlanMaybe we should stick to two wheels?
The Backup PlanIt's a working lunch. 
The Backup Plan5-star accommodations.
The Backup PlanBackroads are the best roads. 
The Backup PlanOutstanding in his field.
The Backup PlanSomewhere in Idaho. 
The Backup PlanBecause choppers.