Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just a minute as I take my boots off...

they still have mud from Shawn's garden, it has been raining heavy in the Northwest. I am in West Yellowstone and waiting on my brother and his son. Rooms were tough to get, I have a pretty big room, lots of room for more people but we aren't doing an Appleseed here, so I have it all to myself.

I left about eight yesterday, trip to Idaho was swift and only got sprinkled on a couple of times. I figured out how to go to the farm I was visiting for dinner, without going to a range first. Saw the whole family and had a fine dinner and conversation (every once in a while I think I should be more sociable and then I meet someone no one should ever have to). I even allowed Larry to pose on my Trusty Triumph for his biker buddies - the comments on Facebook, show that my bike still has all that stuff I lost somewhere along the way. I then negotiated the high plateau of Idaho, until I could get on I-90 and barrel down to Missoula for shelter.

As it had been cloudy all day the light seemed to leave the Earth a bit early, and the valley passes and the rugged mountains surrounding went deep black, but the sky held pale grey - what was up with that? Then I get a break in the clouds and the Moon smiles upon me blasting down the darkness at about seventy plus - must have been going down hill. I did stop to call my worried wife waiting patiently. And she didn't pick up, so I called the house number, and she didn't pick up. Time for me to find shelter. At about midnight I was clean and under the blankets. I woke a couple times after getting a solid three hours, and did some light exercises for the ride wired muscles. Went back to sleep, woke and made coffee and went back to sleep. Finally, I had to get up, get packed back on the bike and down the road again. The hotel had instant Quaker Oats, a package of each flavor and toasted English muffin to hold me until MickyD's somewhere. Called my wife and she answered, she isn't that worried about me.

Beautiful day to ride, the Sun shines, the sky is blue, and Montana has vistas that go on forever. Looking straight on down the valley for about seven miles thinking of adjusting fire on those fleeing targets of opportunity. Never mind, but it surely is a long way off, and the mountains are grand. Biggest thing about riding my motorcycle in Montana is that I once had a library worker that had ridden all over Montana with his motorcycles, and I finally remembered his full name, which I can't share. But the first time I prepared to ride to Minnesota on my bike he told me all to watch out for (fierce winds whipping the riders around). When I came back he soaked up all I could tell him about how it was now. Everything about what had changed. Not a lot of motorcyclists going my way, they seem to be going where I came from, in full leathers or coveralls. Montana refuses to acknowledge warm Summers, a decided effort to keep Californians out of the state. In the Winter they just freeze the tan Sunshown softies on the ski slopes then allow them to huddle around a fire with a mug of warmth telling tales of how tough they are. The real folks in Montana keep piling up wood for the big one and rescuing the fools doing adventure snow boarding and skiing - those avalanche starters extraordinaire.

I got to thinking of Oahu and California because of the long open highways without tons of people packed at twenty-five miles per hour, speed limit is seventy-five and bubbling. Downhill the Trusty Triumph was humming along making me wonder what a speed limit was for -- the poor trucks had some severe restrictions, four miles of six percent grade isn't good for fully loaded rigs, the brakes just aren't going to do it. The only slowdowns are for construction, and they are rebuilding bridges and roadways all over Idaho and Montana - and still the traffic is going well because there aren't too many folks crowding the pavement.

Montana must have more fly fishing than you could shake a pole at, the rivers and creeks (which in the Southwest would still be called rivers) are full with water, cold rushing water, from the mountains and recent rains, and there are turn outs for parking along the water so you can go cast that favorite fly out there. My personal favorite of a block of C4 or TNT wouldn't work well, the fish would be way down stream too quickly. You should see the tourist rafters, they are flying and the rapids are awesome - they have vests and helmets they should get home to tell about it.

Everyone seems to value space, even small vacation places seem to be sited on acres and acres. The big MT, is big and empty, but that has to do with that wicked Winter wiping everything clean like it was after the glaciers retreated.

Being on two wheels and touring is cool, this is a big state - the whole West is big. But I keep taking my hat off to those people peddling and hiking along the roadways, there isn't anything for many more miles and many more moons in that direction at that speed. And I thought I was carrying too much, some of these real bikers have three and four bags on their bikes and a trailer pulled behind. I know they are burning more calories than I, maybe not as much as the motorcycle but a lot of those just warm my leg behind the chaps.

Well, I leave you with a public picture of Larry on the Trusty Triumph, I kept the keys in my pocket - he was a dirt biker, they do strange things to fine machines.


Jeffro said...

Wow! What a fine time you are having! Enjoy!

Old NFO said...

Glad the trip is going well so far Earl! Ride Safe!