Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 1 & 2

Day One - Two
Summerland - Wenatchee - Three Rivers Campground, Lowell ID

Every time I go on a trip or an adventure I look for that one magic moment. That one time and place where everything comes together; the stars align and for one fleeting moment it’s perfection. A time and place to be locked away in your memory forever; to be later brought out of that closet you keep buried in the far recesses of your mind to remind you that it wasn’t a dream and yes, these things really happened.

But what if you find this place on day one of what’s still to be a twelve day adventure? Is it real? Is it true? Do you lock it away - and if you do, does that somehow take up space that should be used at a later date just in case you’re wrong?

I don’t know the answer but I do know this - if there’s a better stretch of road still to come on this journey it’ll have to be something only the gods can design for a motorcyclist to be able compete with the Lewis and Clarke Scenic Byway of Northern Idaho.

I left Summerland yesterday and rode for approx 300 klm to join Brad in Wenatchee WA. It was a typical hot Okanagan summer day and uneventful - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing sometimes. It ranged from hot to absolutely stink’n hot by the time I arrived but nothing I couldn’t handle and nothing out of the ordinary. We tend to complain these days when it gets over 35 but we have to remind ourselves that it’s summer in the Okanagan and it’s supposed to be hot; suck it up butter cup!

The first half of today was more of the same. It was pleasant enough when we rolled out of the parking lot at 7:45 but by 10:00 the temperatures started to climb. At one point we went through a small town in south east Washington and a sidewalk sign said it was 94F. And speaking of which, what’s with the “Evergreen State”? I’m guessing the guy that thought up that motto didn’t ride through the part of Washington I was in today. It’s more like eastern Oregon: bare ass prairie, wheat fields, dust storms, LOT’s of wind and generally miles and miles of miles and miles.

But then something magical happens; you cross into Idaho. If it’s possible to draw a line in the ground that matches a line on a map this is it. The road climbs, the temperature drops and for over 100 klm the road hugs a beautiful river. Wheat fields give way to lush green pine forest, blinding sunshine changes to sun dappled shade and for those of us so inclined, the riding takes on a spirited nature. OK - spirited might also be read as WooHOO, we’re flying now! - but it was heaven!

So here we are, a nice family run campground on the shore of a meandering river. In the morning we climb to > 7,200 feet as we cross the LoLo pass and cross into Montana.

Day One - 300 klm
Day Two (today) - 542 klm (It felt like a lot more though because of the heat!)


Day Three

Note to anyone reading this, please be understanding. My laptop has taken a beating and a few of the keys aren’t working :- ) If I say I’m having a rate time, you’ll have to use your imagination. Luckily spell check catches it most of the time.

So here we are, greetings from West Yellowstone Montana - the gateway to Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming USA.

And you guessed it, I spoke to soon - the gods smiled, the stars aligned and if anything, the roads only became better. We left Lowell and followed the L&C Byway for another 100 klm or so. It was cold and foggy at first but VERY beautiful - stunning would be an understatement. . The road hugged the shore of a quiet river on one side and towering mountains on the other, and twisted and turned it’s way to perfection. At the end of the river we climbed to > 7,200 and we crested the LoLo Pass, where we stopped for a hearty breakfast at a great fishing/hunting lodge in the heart of the forest.

From there we crossed into Montana which was VERY cool in it’s own right, if for no other reason than the speed limit increases to 75 mph - Buenos!

Montana is Big Sky Country and it comes by the slogan honestly. Without exaggerating, some of the scenery is spectacular! Beautiful mountain vistas and wide open spaces - but without the desolation of rural Nevada (but then, isn’t all of Nevada rural? ) The road was amazing! At one point we dropped out of a high mountain pass into a wide valley bottom with rolling hills and HUGE cattle ranches as far as the eye could see. Montana is lakes, rivers and ranches - and all of it’s simply amazing. Well worth the price of admission!

So here we are, a KOA campsite that’s so big it’s like a small town unto itself. Kids everywhere but clean showers, an on-site cafeteria and electricity at the tent sites. It’s not our regular thing but when you show up with no reservations at the main gate of the most popular park in America, you soon learn to compromise
:- )

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