Day Two

   

"Wonder and Bemusement"

Friday
September 6, 2002

Lewiston, ID -
Kalispell, MT

326 miles

5:40 driving time

 


 

I'd bet non-motorcyclists watch us sometimes and shake their heads in wonder and bemusement.

Take today for example:  We're about ten miles into the day, enjoying a slightly damp, but pleasantly cool ride up the beautiful Clearwater River Canyon east of Lewiston, on our way up to Lolo Pass.  We come upon slower traffic, in this case a red pickup (an old, beat up early 80's Dodge Ram) loaded to the gills with PVC pipe, probably heading out to plumb the nine bathrooms in John Travolta's Vacation Home #6 near Helena.  We reel off a couple snappy (but safe) passes, reveling in the crisp performance of our six collective Bavarian cylinders, giving master plumber Joe Fawcett our usual jaunty wave.  Now, believe me, we're not trying to act even a little bit superior just because we can pass slower traffic in a few car-lengths and enjoy corners at double the recommended speed number on the signs, while Joe has to trundle along more slowly.  Nope, not us.  Never.

In any event, seven miles further down the road, the temperature has dropped two-degrees and we're freezing our collective fannies off, so we pull over to add another layer.  And here comes Joe, drinking hot coffee in his comfy climate-controlled cabin.  After a couple minutes, we resume our journey and there is Joe again.  Of course, we pass himanother jaunty wave.  And wouldn't you know it, another ten-or-so miles and there is some signage we need to capture for you, our faithful three readers, so we pull over again.  Oh boy, here comes Joe again, now enjoying a donut.  We pull back on the road, and pass him for the third time, our wave now perhaps a little less jaunty.  And this time we actually ride more than ten miles so we really put some distance on Joe.  But around the next cornerdarn, a construction zone.  We stop and wait a grand total of maybe 45-seconds before Joe catches up to us again.  I turn around and make eye contact sheepishly.

And so it goes, the tortoise catches the hares every time we stop for the myriad reasons that  motorcyclists have to stop:  taking breaks, releasing coffee, cleaning face shields, adjusting clothing, whatever.  Needless to say, Joe beat our nimble, high-tech, 140-mph Bavarian missiles over Lolo Pass in his beat up '83 Dodge Ram.

The ride up and over the pass was great fun, of course, with big, wide sweepers, light traffic, and only a short bit of construction up near the pass, that unfortunately coated our bikes with the greasy road grime that only construction zones can generate.  After this, it was a brief run to the small town of Lolo which might have been interesting at one time, but now feels mostly like one, long strip-mall.  In fact, our really good riding pretty much ended after the Pass.  And we ran into our usual nemesisrain.

I'm sure our faithful readers remember what I said on the last BC tour:   That our equipment and technique was so good now that we could ride in rain all day without issue.  Maybe I need to be on the road a little longer to get into that  nonchalant frame-of-mind, because it was no fun, even if it only lasted 45-minutes or so as we went through Missoula.

Our route through Missoula and north up to Flathead Lake was ... well, I was counting McDonald's as we were going and the number got too big to comfortably remember.  I think they've got some serious land planning issues in the Flathead Valley.
 

Lewiston Howard Johnson:  There are lots of tradeoffs in selecting a motel room, but having the bike 10-feet from your door on the ground floor is worth a lot of other problems, maybe even slow phone lines.

We met a guy on a Harley in Kamiah (at the start of the Lolo Pass road) who had ridden from Florida and was headed home.  He got a Whizmo and Gizmo card, of course.  He passed us 15-minutes later riding sans-helmet in 50-degree weather.  Those Harley guys are tough, and we're wusses.

In quite a reversal from usual circumstances, the motorcycles seemed to out-number cars on Lolo pass today, which is really cool if you're a biker.  I'll take riding with (and passing) bikes over cars and trucks any day.  We saw some pretty good packs of ten-plus bikes.  Lolo Pass has a bit of a reputation as a biker road (the "Winding Road" sign above has appeared in several motorcycle publications), so I think a lot of folks come here as a destination.  I'm not so sure I'd ride a long distance to get here as the road is not THAT great, but it is a fine ride and well worth doing if you need to get from W. Idaho to S.W. Montana.

These first couple days are basically to get us positioned to begin the real "meat" of the tourriding The Great Divide.  So tomorrow, we head east out of Kalispell and take Highway 2 across Marias Pass and then head north to touch the Canadian border.  Wish us luck on weather.


Today, I (Whizmo) found myself talking in a very loud voice to a convenience store clerk.  I didn't realize I still had my earplugs in.  Roadside, we practically have to yell at one another to be heard.  (This is probably another reason why non-motorcyclists shake their heads in wonder and bemusement.)

So this leads us to Contest #2 ... a David-Letterman-Style Top Ten List:

The Whizmo and Gizmo "Top Ten" Side Benefits of Wearing Earplugs While OFF the Motorcycle

Side Benefits #1 - #9 Make an entry
Side Benefit #10 You can break wind with abandon (hey, YOU can't hear it!)

As you can see, we've primed the pump with #10, but we're sure you can do better.  The person we arbitrarily and capriciously select as having the #1 Benefit will be our winner.  The others will receive the glory of seeing their names in pixels.

Yesterday we began with Contest #1 'My Favorite Road Tunes'.  We were deluged with wonderful entries.  It was hard work, but here are our top 10 choices for Our Favorite Road Tunes.  You'll notice that your judges have a hard time with commitment, ending up with a six-way tie for third place.  Small print - in the event of duplicate entries, the first person submitting the song was selected as the winner.

Rank Song Artist Submitted By
#1 Radar Love Golden Earring Kenn Engstrom
#2 By The Time I Get to Phoenix Glen Campbell Terry Afdem
#3 (tie) Two Against Nature Steely Dan Adam Rauch
#3 (tie) Tied to the Whipping Post The Allman Brothers Band Caryn Condon
#3 (tie) On The Road Again Willy Nelson Patty Smith
#3 (tie) Draggin' The Line Tommy James & the Shondells Lloyd Gardner
#3 (tie) Across the Great Divide The Band Glenda Revelle
#3 (tie) Wichita Lineman Glen Campbell Gartha Ferrand
#9 I Can't Drive 55 Sammy Hagar Charlie Derk
#10 King of the Road Roger Miller Susan Grove

If you didn't make the list, take solace in the fact that there are plenty of chances coming up.  Keep those cards and letters coming.