2 Weeks In The West – Day 11

In Travel by AbhiLeave a Comment

June 27th, 2016 – Twin Falls, Idaho to Salt Lake City, Utah ~ 300 miles.

After several months, I finally get the chance to see Rick Van Vooren’s shop and learn more about his passion for small vintage Hondas.

Missed Day 10? Vy and I get out of Yellowstone National Park and meet Rick Van Vooren.

Before I get into Day 11, I have to mention something that I forgot from the previous day. Soon after Rick and I met, he gave me an incredibly thoughtful gift. He knows of my love of the Honda S90, so he presented me with an original Owner’s Manual. We put it in a ziploc bag to keep it in good shape in my luggage, and the only time I’ve taken it out since is to take this photo:

Alright, back to the morning of Day 11. Vy knew that the morning was going to be full of bike stuff, so she decided to sleep in instead. I was excited to go back up to the jump at the Snake River, and said excitement was compounded when I woke up to see one of Rick’s bikes parked outside of the garage. Looks like he was planning on riding his XL185 this morning:

We took care of a couple of short errands and then made our way back to Snake River Canyon and the site of Evel Knievel’s failed jump attempt:

Evel’s jump was originally set up on a ramp built on another ramp:

The main ramp was made out of wood and is long gone, but the ramp made out of earth is still there:

When I got up to the top of the ramp, my brain froze for a minute. Eddie Braun actually completed a very similar jump recently (across the Snake River but at a different spot) but I still can’t comprehend what it must have been like to cross this gap:

Speaking of which, here’s video of Eddie’s jump:

Baby Jack also had to check it out:

I first “met” Rick online in January of 2015, after he reached out to me to share one of his S90 restorations. We stayed in touch and when I shared my potential route he reached out to kindly offer his place for a night. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first met him in person, but it was instantly clear that we would get along.

Once we got back from the Snake River, Rick took me for a tour of his shop, starting with the bikes he currently enjoys.

If I started sharing detail photos of all the bikes, this post would take 45 minutes to read. So I’ll just leave you with one photo – the identification tag from a JDM import S90.

Obviously, he’s passionate about small classic Hondas. What started as a hobby has turned into something a little bit more formal – he now collects, restores, and buys/sells/trades classic Hondas under the name of Rickstoration.

As you could probably guess, all the bikes are runners and Rick ensures they all get exercise. Remember Buddy? He likes to chill in the rear rack:

That’s one cool customer:

Through hard work and networking, Rick has built up quite a library of Honda reference documents and a rolodex of Honda experts when the manuals aren’t good enough:

It’s not just paper – he’s also got plenty of spare parts ready to keep little Hondas on the road:

When I was there he had a Mini Trail on the lift but that’s since been finished:

In fact, one of his current projects is this insane Honda S90 trike that he found and is now going to bring back to life:

If you’re in the area of Twin Falls and need help with your classic small Honda, get in touch with Rick. I’m confident he’ll take good care of you.

At this point in the trip, my rear tire (a Heidenau Scout) was due for a replacement. Rick recommended that I get a replacement at Adventure Motorcycles, so he took me over there. Along the way, I discovered that Buddy isn’t the only dog that likes hitching rides in this town:

The tire replacement was quick, though the tech who swapped the tire told me that I was also going to need new brake pads in the rear and he didn’t have any in stock. I was initially surprised about this as my pads looked like they had plenty of life when I set out on this trip. Then it clicked – when Vy is with me, we constantly stop to take photos. Because of this, the brakes get a lot more use than you’d expect. Oh well. My BMW mechanic back in Los Angeles has a friend in Salt Lake City that I wanted to visit anyway, and this was the perfect excuse to see him.

In the morning, Rick and I had some fun exploring the top of the Snake River Canyon. For the afternoon, he suggested that we checked out the river itself. This time around he swapped bikes and hopped on his Dream:

One of the major stops on our tour was Shoshone Falls – the “Niagra of the West”. It’s actually 45 feet taller than Niagra but we won’t let that get in the way of the nickname.

It was a great ride with plenty of curves and beautiful scenery. We ended up at a restaurant called Elevation 486. Can you guess where the name comes from? Vy saw some rock chuck (also known as the yellow-bellied marmot) that she found amusing but we weren’t able to snag a photo in time.

Before Vy and I took off, I had to get one last photo with Rick and the excellent painted Honda logo in his shop:

Buddy also had to say bye to Baby Jack:

My plan was to spend the night in Salt Lake City and visit the mechanic first thing in the morning. There are two main routes that link both cities. One is 85 miles longer but it takes you through the Bonneville Salt Flats, so that’s the way we had to go. For that to happen, we had to head south through Nevada:

A couple of hours of highway later and we were back in Utah and quickly approaching the salt flats:

This attorney’s sign made me laugh. Call me!

Welcome to the holy land. Baby Jack got comfortable:

I’ve wanted to go here for years but for varying reasons I had never been able to make it work…until now. The salt wasn’t completely dry so I made sure to stick near the pavement and existing tracks.

The sunset looked like it might be a good one, so I killed some time talking to fellow tourists and having a photo session with Baby Jack:


The salt will find a way to get all over the underside. It’s very reminsicient of the calcium chloride used to cover the Dalton Highway.

Just like with the Alaskan calcium chloride, you want to wash off the salt quickly. A nearby gas station attendant kindly let me borrow a hose to wash the GS off.

We got into Salt Lake City and Vy treated me out to a night at The Bayou. It combines two of my favorite things – Cajun food and extensive beer menus. Baby Jack didn’t get carded for some reason so he ordered a locally-brewed stout:

Speaking of which – there’s a few screens over the bar and they rotate with information about the beer. My favorite infographic was a list of the most recently served libations:

We ended the night at an Econolodge in the downtown area as it was cheap and near the mechanic’s shop. Never again – it was one of our worst experiences in a US motel ever. No worries, though, because a few hours of unpleasantness later and we’d be on the road for our first visit to Arches National Park…