Helmut's coast to coast trip....kind of....Part3

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Helmut's coast to coast trip....kind of....Part3

Postby helmut » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:53 pm

Sept-10
I left Kalispell and hit into the Glacier Park onto the "Going to the Sun Road". As expected there was some slow moving traffic, but that was fine. Keeping a safe distance to the car in front of me allowed me to enjoy the scenery, which was absolutely spectacular. It was a rather cloudy day and I did get rained on, at times, on my way to the Glacier Park and inside. However, the fast moving cloud cover was not solid, allowing the sun to peak thru at select spots. The clouds played around the peaks, covered them, and moved down some slopes with fast rolling motions. Breaks in the cloud cover allowed the sun to put a moving spotlight on peaks, into valleys, steep hangs with waterfall-like creeks, and on the lower laying clouds.
Just as I ascended into the cloud level (Fog) granular hail started covering the roads a tad. I reached the peak in thick fog, mixed with hail and rain. After talking to a young riding couple (He: F650....She: Honda Moped 110cc 1986). I rode down the descent towards St. Mary, watching a wild assembly of clouds and sun rays chasing each other amongst the mountain peaks.
Numerous stops, due to construction and me soaking in the sights. I then took Rt89 South, which rendered a different view angle of the Glacier Park peaks. At some point all I could see were dead trees, due to some major forest fire some years ago. I also gained the impression that Rt89 is more used by free range cattle than cars. I then followed Rt 49 South, a rough road, but worthwhile doing.
I hit back to Rt89 North followed by Rt287North. These roads lead me along the grassland foothills, with the mountains always in sight. I was able to gas it again and get my first ticket for this trip. Doing 83mph in a 70 zone. Right after I got the ticket, the side winds picked up so much, that 70mph felt rather adventurous. Eventually I took Rt200 West and ended up in Lincoln for this night.

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Sept-11
After breakfast I went to a local auto-shop to change my overdue oil filter. Leaving Lincoln I scooted thru Missoula and then hit Rt12 (Lolo Pass) into Idaho. Rt12 is winding along rivers with fast sweepers for 100 miles or so, descending to 1300 feet. It got almost boring. Eventually I took Rt13 South, followed by Rt14 (nice tight curves) which climbed Mt. Idaho up to 4500feet. Up on Mt. Idaho the scenery offered high lying planes with hill peaks to the left. Taking Rt95 south then offered a wild view as it quickly descended to 1300 feet. Following Rt95 along Salmon River, it ascended slowly and I ended up around Hell's Canyon were I stayed for the night.
As I pulled into the motel a happy crew of beer guzzling KTM riders watched me pull in and they greeted me with some loud "buh"-shouting. After a friendly exchange of insults, they offered me a beer out of their severely depleted cooler. After this refreshment I demonstrated a BMW's ability as a beer carriage, and so the cooler was nicely stocked again. Not being cheap, the KTM riders invited me to a luscious Salmon dinner. We ate, washed down the salmon with some more beers, and exchanged some stories spiked with the occasional friendly insult.

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Sept-12
I stayed in Riggins last night and the first ride was up the main salmon river, a tiny road with construction which turns into a gravel road. There were nice white sand beaches along the river. Major gold-mining took place in this area some time ago and the occasional leftovers can still be seen. I took a rest at one of the white sand beaches and could not resist to start digging in the sand for an imaginary 2 pound gold nugget. I then hit back the same way I came from and ended up talking to an elderly couple, which collected stones for polishing. They told me that just recently 2 cougars have been shot at the rivers stone beach. They were young and had no fear of humans. It was suspected that they were someone's pets and then abandoned as they got bigger.
After that I went onto the 7 devils dirt road which leads from 1700feet up to 8200 feet. At the top, called Heaven's Gate, is a fire post lookout, which can be reached after a 15 minute walk. The post was manned with Mikel and his borderline collie. We chatted a tad and I hit back down the mountain. I followed Rt95 south and then Rt55 south which followed some rivers as they ascended to 4000 some feet. In Banks I hit East, past Lowmann, where I was lucky enough to find a motel for the night.

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Sept-13th
I left from the middle of nowhere and hit thru the Sawtooth Mountains. Eventually I ended up on Rt71 hitting Southwest towards Boise. For a good length this road featured tight nice curves and switchbacks. Getting closer towards Boise fast sweepers were more predominant,the evergreen tree coverage got light and the hills featured an arid look. I jumped on the slab taking I84 towards Twin Falls. Arid high planes were eventually broken up by agricultural activity. But no potatoes. Where are the potatoes? Idaho is supposed to be famous for potatoes and I saw only one potato field.
Hitting towards Kimberly I crossed the Snake river and it had much less water than 200 miles upstream. Most of the water gets sucked out for agriculture, so I was told. I arrived in Kimberly and met Bryan, whose family hosts my 16 year old German niece for a 1 year student exchange. Bryan, besides working at a radio station, is also a priest. Tonight he had a bible study with a group of college students at his home. I grabbed this opportunity and put my niece on the back of my bike (with full face and jacket) and we hit south into some rolling desert hills on some 30 mile gravel roads to watch the sunset. My kind of bible study. We saw some dear ( were able to ride up to 5 yards!) and birds and my niece was getting very excited for she never left the flats around Kimberly (she just arrived 2 weeks ago), plus she NEVER sat on a motorcycle ever before.
We returned around 9pm and some parts of the bible study group were still there. Very nice kids. Bryan and his wife are also very down to earth and I do get a very pleasant vibe from them. My niece is in good hands. I'm satisfied.

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Sept-14th
Went to bed late last night, got up at 9am and went to print out and mail my 2009 tax returns. What followed was a visit at the local barber to get my yearly haircut. For lunch I had a hotdog and then I went to see Shoshone Falls. Or what was left of it....Shoshone Trickles?
Nevertheless the place was nice and I hiked around for some time. I returned to Bryan's house taking some crappy gravel roads with lots of loose rock and washboard ripples. By that time my niece Nicole had returned from school and we chatted a tad, and then went to have Italian dinner in Twin Falls with the whole host family ( 7 of them). The food was good and plenty and we returned to the house, followed by more chatting. By 11pm it was time to hit the sack.

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Sept-15th
Got up at 6.30 and had breakfast with Nicole. She left for school around 8 and I packed up the bike and was on the road by 9am. The goal was to make it past Portland to visit my friend Jim. I ended up taking 84 West all the way to Portland and then hit SouthWest for another 50 miles. The last 2 hours I got rained on and the roads were rather slick, since it had not rained there for some time. For most of the 620 miles I mostly watched sage brush, then some evergreen trees, and as I scooted along Hood River it was nice to see Mount Hood a while before the rain clouds took over for good.
I arrived at 7pm and after a warm greeting, a drink and showing the house we had a nice dinner and some succulent bottle of wine out of Jim's fine wine cellar.


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hellebauer who?
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helmut
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Re: Helmut's coast to coast trip....kind of....Part3

Postby JimVonBaden » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:12 pm

I am jealous man!

I miss my motorcycle traveling days! :cry:

Jim :brow
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