Day Two - September 4, 1997
Spokane, Washington - Kalispell, Montana
Before we went to bed last night, we checked weather reports - on TV, on the Web, in the paper. Everybody promised good weather - and they were right. Apparently we paid our dues yesterday, as we enjoyed perfect weather throughout the day. This is more like it! My definition of nice riding weather has now been altered from "sunny and dry" to "it is not currently raining."
We decided to get up with daylight, have some coffee and a very light breakfast, then get some miles under our belt before having an early lunch. We stopped in Sandpoint at the Whistle Stop Cafe - highly recommended.
I went to pay for the meal with my credit card, and the girl at the checkout counter looked closely at my card ... "hmm, Riker, I know that name from somewhere."
I waited, and finally she said "William Riker, Star Trek?"
I explained to her that I am often asked about the connection, and that I always reply that we are very proud of our great-great-great-great-grandson and how well he's doing.
She gets this stunned look on her face and says "So you are related!"
I stifle a laugh and explain to her that Riker is a character on Star Trek, not the name of the actor. But I don't think I convinced her that I'm not related to Jonathan Frakes.
Back to the bikes. We were in three states today, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Montana is the big sky state, known these days for its daytime speed limit - "Reasonable and Prudent". We conferred briefly and agreed that Mark would be reasonable and I would be prudent. Without elaborating, it would be fair to say that we were able to legally explore the performance range of our machines today.
We were gassing up in Thompson Falls when an older gentleman rides up on a Honda 250 dirt bike, sans helmet. Apparently there is no helmet law in Montana. Darwin would love this place. He and Mark strike up a conversation about classic bikes, and they're yakking away about Hondas and Royal Enfields and Yamahas, in fact I think they managed to mention every single manufacturer of motorcycle except Harley-Davidson, which of course I am sitting on 5 feet away. Harumph.
We did have one brief tense moment on highway 200. A car that had been pulled off on the opposite side of the highway started back onto the road. Apparently the driver was fiddling with something, and continued from the shoulder of the road, across the center line, and directly toward us. Mark, the designated reasonable driver, moved far to the right and sounded his horn. The guy was completely in our lane before he looked up and swerved back. Yikes.
We arrived in Kalispell at about 4:30, including the hour we lost crossing into the Mountain Time Zone. Mark said "hey, let's play some golf." So he found a local course, and we motored over on the unloaded bikes and played nine holes with rented clubs. $10 green fees, $5 for the clubs, two lost balls, two found balls, and we're warmed up for the Jerks golf outing next week.
On the way back from golfing, it was dark enough that I took off my sunglasses for the short return ride home. I'm still behind a windshield, which provides plenty of protection, but within two minutes I took a big fat bug in the eye. Ouch. From now on, glasses always.
Montana is fabulously beautiful. The roads are scenic, there is no speed limit, it's sparsely populated. If someone wanted to create a motorcycle theme park, it would be Montana.
Tomorrow we head for Glacier National Park and Going To The Sun Road, which should be awesome. Tomorrow night we're in Havre MT.