Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 5 - Idaho and Montana and...Construction.

I returned to Whitman Mission first thing in the morning. I'd seen the grounds a bit the night before and enjoyed a stunning sunset and the moon and stars in the night sky, but this morning was clear and bright and I got to watch their short film. Very interesting, as usual.

Then I was off to Idaho! But, the construction theme continues. We sat long enough that the trucker got out to do some stuff to his truck.

I fell in with 2 bikers for about half an hour. Kinda nice to have company. Never been behind 2 male bikers who so diligently did the speed limit. :)

It was hot early.

Rt. 12 for hours and hours today. It even goes through some towns. The Lewis and Clark trail was lovely, though, so it was a good ride.

The terrain changes so often and so quickly, sometimes without apparent reason. It's been interesting to watch the transitions, sometimes gradual and sometimes incredibly abrupt.

Some of this has been hard on the bike, but Lewis and Clark did it in worse conditions than this, right? I'm awed by the number of bicyclists who are riding some of these same areas. I don't know how far they're going or what kind of support they might have, but my hat's off to 'em!

Stopped at Nez Perce visitor center and watched, again, an interesting film. I like when from park to park the information overlaps and connects. It makes a big picture rather than a bunch of isolated experiences. I spoke with Ranger Kevin for a while about bikes and Nez Perce. I also soaked my stuff before getting on the road. It's haaaaahht!

They had a nice display room with some amazing work.

I got back on the road after some more chatting with Ranger Kevin at the bike. Even though I'd just soaked down, it was unbelievably hot.

I watched the water on my right, which was just gorgeous, and started to think about pulling over, but only if I could get to the it. If I can't get to the water, then I might as well watch it from here and make time. Did I mention it was HOT?

SCORE! I got to have my banana and drink some water here. I soaked down again and tried to get dressed, without trapping any of the gazzillion bees that were around, under any of my layers. It was nice, but almost too hot to enjoy it. I wish I could have gotten in, but I had to get back on the road.

Spent a lot of time crossing a mountain. Again, construction stopped us at 5 or 6 different places which really dragged the time out. Hours and hours in the mountain, which, for a while, was a help with the heat, but then the sun started going down and I was freeeezing! I know, I'm just never happy. I finally had to stop to take the vest off and put my heavy jacket on. I'd meant to put my helmet cam on, too, but forgot.

So, riding through the woods and with the sun going down I moved animals up on the priority list to watch for, but I also needed to keep my speed up to get out of there before it got darker and colder. Neither of those things were going to be good for me. The speed limit was 55 -70 with twisties marked where some engineer decided it was needed. It was pushing my limits.

In the picture below you can see the line of cars waiting at another stop.

And, after the slinky game of construction where all of 7 cars, bikes and trucks/vans would meet and wait and then run off to meet up at the next stop sign, after the last one, I'd never seen cars move so fast! There were no slackers in the group and we'd all had it with the stop and go, I guess. It wasn't 3 minutes before I couldn't see a sign of anyone again. It was all me, all alone, all the time, again.

So, here's the moose that I saw. Happily, he was far enough in front of me when I saw him that it wasn't a danger issue, but he trotted off into the woods quickly. Don't be fooled by his size compared to the trees. The trees are enormous. He easily took up half the road. He appeared young, but was big and lanky. :) The land became Montana not too long after this, so said a sign while I was coming down the mountain.

Then, suddenly, the road flattens out for a mile or 5, and then you're out of the mountain. It was rather abrupt! On my way out on this flat road I felt a now familiar *chug*. Oh, yes, again. For the first time in hours I looked at my odo: 199. 199! I hadn't gotten more than 165 for the last week. Does that mean I already used the spare gas? Find place on shoulder to pull over. Am I out of gas or is the can still full? Grab clutch, hit break. No, I filled it and haven't pulled over yet, I still have gas. Put kickstand down, get off bike. How long have I been stuck in there? Grab can off bike, notice weight of can, smile. Daggone, that was a long ride with no warning. Empty can into tank, repack, jump on and go. 3 miles later pull into gas station. Refill everything.

Another 2 or so would get me to Deer Lodge Montana near the next Park. Idaho was beautiful! I'd never been before, but would go back. Montana is stunning as well. I rode the last leg with the sun setting in my mirrors and the moon over my right shoulder. There were some wild temperature swings for that last 100 miles!

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and Yellowstone tomorrow. My stamp book is filling out! I lost an hour today crossing another time zone line. Things are getting tighter and there's rain again in the forecast. I have yet to find a rain suit, though I did stop at 2 stores today while I was passing thru a town. I still have my less-than-satisfactory jacket and pants, but would really like to be drier than that when the rain starts again. At least the forecast for tomorrow only has 'green' rain in the area. I'd like to avoid the yellows, reds and purples, as I've seen quite enough of them this trip, thank you very much. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How fun is this??!!!

You! So! Way! Cool!

Thanks for bringing me along on this trip. I've been feeling an urge to re-read "hitchhiker's guide to motorcycle maintenance" this I know why.

I'll be reading you.
hugs, Pam