Saturday, November 10, 2007

750 miles later.........Idaho Falls, Idaho

We hit the road out of Summerland at 5:00 on Friday night, with our first stop an hour later being the US border crossing at Oroville Wash. WooHoo!! We sailed through with out any problems. I had already drafted a permission letter for each of the guys that outlined the dates the bikes will be in the US, all the ins and reg info and a detailed summary of any personal gear. Stapled to each letter was a copy of their license, passport, and the reg for the bike. The border guard was a little overwhelmed but the whole thing was quick, efficient and painless. At the end of the inspection he went so far as to thank me for being so organized. Go figure.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and we eventually arrived in Spokane around 10:00 - tired, but safe and sound.
250 miles down
This morning we got up a little later than planned, had breakfast and were on the road around 8:30. We immediately hit the Interstate and I learned several things:
The US interstate system is FANTASTIC!. Yes it's a little less scenic than a secondary road but wow, are they ever well maintained. It's easy to average 65 - 75 miles per hour.
Which brings me to another thing I learned - a 17" U-Haul uses copious amounts of fuel after 60 miles per hour. So much for the 10 mpg indicated on the website - we're burning though at least half as much again. Oh well, we're making good time.
Finally, again thinking of fuel, I come to my third lesson. Love them hate them, one thing you can't fault the Americans for is their generous hospitality.
I'm having a tough time getting my head wrapped around miles again. I see 45 to the next town and think it's half as far as it is. Add to this a high burn rate with the fuel and you have a recipe for disaster. And when Rosi looks at me and says though clenched teeth.."next time you'll have to pay more attention" it's really "wife talk" for you idiot!
You have to drive though Montana and Idaho to truly appreciate how large and how empty it is. Desolate comes to mind but I'm sure the ranchers that lives in the odd house every 20 miles or so like it. So....I left Spokane with a rough idea of when I'd need gas and knowing that Butte was where I'd turn off to I15. The problem was, the junction turned out to be 8 miles THIS SIDE of Butte. No problem I said, how far can it be to the next little town. Apparently, quite far. This place makes Northern Manitoba look crowded. No problem I said again, just as the low gas light came on - there's a turn off to a town - let's take it. The "town" turned out to be one tavern and the closed remains of the only gas station with in 20 miles. Too far for me to chance it at this point.
And that's where American Hospitality comes into play. Two HUGE pick ups pull in with quads on the back, and out step three very young, very big, local boys all decked out for hunting. They said hi and asked how we were doing (probably thinking WTF are you doing here?) and I told them of our problem. One (Greg?) immediately says he knows a friend that may have gas and he jumps in his truck and off he goes down the road. 5 minutes he's later he's back, with the good news that his friend (John?) is on the way. Sure enough, another guy arrives with another huge truck and the biggest, brightest, most beautiful Jerry can of gas you've ever seen.
Thanks VERY much guys!
After that it was more uneventful miles and miles of miles and miles. Roughly 500 since this morning.
Which brought us to Idaho Falls around 6:30 this evening.
Onward and upward........

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