Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 10 - Helena, MT to Lewiston, ID

Today may just have been the best day of the trip. What can one ask for? Good Weather? Check. Bright and sunny (and warm, at least in the afternoon.) High miles? Check. 357 miles today. Second biggest day of the entire trip. Trouble free bike? Check. The repairs from yesterday must have held up well. The Hodaka was flawless today. Great Roads to Ride? Check. US Route 12 across the Lolo Pass and into Idaho is on virtually every "great riding roads" list. See what I mean ? Today had it all. To top it all off it was my birthday too. 39. Again.

When I left Helena this morning it was the coldest departure yet. 46 degrees. Throughout this adventure I've tried to keep a certain level of "period correctness". Witness the Bell Custom 500 open face helmet, jeans as riding pants, the bike itself, and 70s music references etc. Well this morning, realizing that it was colder than I was really prepared for I did exactly what I would have done when I was in college (NOBODY had any real riding gear then!) I stuffed newspaper under my jacket! Any you know what? It worked quite well. Some things never change.

Extra insulation was important first thing this morning because when you leave Helena,headed westward on US Route 12, you immediately begin an upward climb toward MacDonald Pass which, at 6300 feet is the highest pass along my route. Not only did bike performance suffer at altitude, the temperature got even colder than the balmy 46 in Helena. But this too passed and soon I was winging my way toward Missoula.

Once past Missoula came the highlight of today's ride. The Lolo Pass and the 100 miles or so of twisties that follow immediately afterward and upon entering Idaho.

Lolo Pass is on virtually every list of great riding roads. From the actual Pass going Westward the road basically follows the Lochsa River through the Bitterroot Range. Stunning vistas are around every corner.

Eventually though, all good things have to come to an end and some 100 miles later we find ourselves back down to 1200 feet elevation in the little burg of Lowell.

From there it was a short additional ride to my overnight digs here in Lewiston, here on the Idaho side of the border with Washington.

Throughout the last few days I am constantly reminded (as a card carrying "Easterner") that things are a bit different here in the West I offer a couple of pieces of evidence of the same.

So now I find myself 2700+ miles from home and only 124 miles from my destination of Athena, Oregon. The Hodaka Days Reunion event doesn't officially begin until Thursday but I think what I'll do is ride on over there tomorrow. I can nose around a bit as they set up the event then head for my hotel/home for the next 3 days in Pendleton, OR (Woolens anyone?) which is only about 20 miles away. Then I'll kinda "officially" arrive on Thursday. I can't believe this is so close to being over. What an adventure. Stick around for another day or two though as you can never predict what might happen. Thanks again to you all!

Just a reminder that there are always more pictures on my Smugmug Photo Share. To check 'em out CLICK HERE

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  1. sounds like a great trip....!!!wish I could have been along on it.

  2. me and a friend are leaving alabama for diluth, then across scenic route 2 to glacier nat.park to missoula .gonna do 12 to lewiston .glad to hear 12 is a good mc road.good luck to you ,awesome ride