Friday, July 31, 2009

And Gone Again

It was a hit and run, as we are now in Ocean Shores WA for a few days (short trip, back in one day). Weather is cooler but for the ocean was very pleasant. I spent time last night getting the bike cleaned up after the nearly 4000 miles from the Spud Run. On our way to the ocean we stopped for propane in an RV park along the way. Oh well!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spud Run Epilogue: Home Again

Up at 4:30AM and on the road at 6AM the remaining four of us left Idaho for points west via US-2. One dropped off near Vantage to land in Thorp. Then there were three up and over I-90 to SR-16, where two cut for the Ollala area. I continued on SR-16 to Bremerton, arriving before 2:30PM. It is good to be back but the past two weeks have been an extraordinary series of twisties, sweepers, grades, and vistas. Many thanks to my four friends who made it all possible.

Spud Run: Day 10

Spud Run, Day 10: (Yes I know this entry is a day late, web access was non existent last night).

Riggins to Coeur d’Alene, a 275 mile run north along the Salmon and Clearwater Rivers, with sweeping and twisting ribbons of asphalt. We slipped off the main road (US-95) briefly to climb the Old White Bird Grade from White Bird to Poe Saddle, this a single strip of pavement with no center line or fog lines and only the occasional guardrail. Ridden at speed it can be thrilling as it carves it's way north. At Grangeville we took SR-13 along the Clearwater River north through Kooskia onto US-12 then SR-3 to St Maries for lunch. From St Maries we rode north along the eastern shore of Coeur d’Alene on SR-97, where the jumped on I-90 to ride west 8 miles to the end of the Spud Run. This journey has exceeded anything I imagined during the 12 months of planning. Our Road Captain nailed every mile, packing as much of the very best roads into 10 extraordinary days, thanks! Our Accommodation Czar had every stop secured making it effortless day after day. Local knowledge was often provided our buddy. Moral and welfare was covered by the master of his domain, keeping us on a straight and nearly narrow path. My job is a mystery to all, so I am just lucky to be in the mix.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spud Run: Day 9

Spud Run, Day 9: Boise to Riggins via Nampa, (285 miles); and way too much fun. We delayed out departure from Boise so one of us could buy/install a new rear tire so we didn’t gat way until noon. With the mileage and the time zone change we still reached Riggins ID before 4PM. The roads were sweeping, twisty, scenic and occasionally straight as an arrow. As a result there are no pictures. The road was just to challenging to permit any camera action. Weather was warm and allowed shirtsleeve riding nearly all day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spud Run: Day 8

Spud Run, Day 8: Ketchum to Boise, 319 miles and 11 turns. Let’s just say south central Idaho has enough room to build roads, so the needed curves can be far and few. Weather was good with a little more wind than we’d like but arrived safe and all is well. Dinner was at the Kodiak Grill, formally known as the Hill Top Café prior to an unfortunate kitchen fire. This establishment was once a featured on an episode of Food Networks “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spud Run: Day 7

Spud Run, Day 7: Dillon MT to Ketchum ID via SR-278, SR-43 US-93 SR-75. A bit chilly this morning but dry with partly sunny skies. Stopped for a second breakfast in Wisdom MT, a local café called Fetty’s Café. We were way ahead of the after church crowd and were all very well fed; no lunch for us.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spud Run: Day 6

Spud Run, Day 6: From Cody WY west through Yellowstone to the town of West Yellowstone with a brief stop to see Old Faithful and the Old Faithful Inn. From West Yellowstone we rode to Dillon MT for the night. All in all it was a very good day. Our entrance into Yellowstone was early enough on a Saturday to miss the lines and the public was backed up for miles waiting to get into the part as we departed on the west end. There was some rain and some heavy rain just before arriving here in Dillon, not enough to spoil the ride.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spud Run: Day 5

Spud Run, Day 5: What a Day! (269 miles) Left Bozeman at 7AM in a light rain and headed to the Gardiner/NE entrance to Yellowstone. The rain quit before entering the park and we followed the road east to US 212 over Beartooth Pass into Red Lodge MT for lunch. Let me just say that the road through the park was perfect with vistas, buffalo and bears. Beartooth Pass leads one to the “Top of the World”. There were several area of road construction between the eastern border of the park and the summit but still all that dirt was a very small price to pay. From the summit to Red Lodge the road snakes out of the mountains, which defines the smile on very motorcyclist's face. We are now in Cody, WY for the night.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spud Run: Day 4

A 300+ mile ride from Missoula to Bozeman with twisty bits and long straight prairie rides. It was cold riding until about 10AM then warm all the way from Helena, very nice! Our lunch stop was pure serendipity. A need for gas brought us to Wilsall MT and the Wilsall Bar & Cafe. For myself I order the Cob Salad with huckleberry vinaigrette and was presented with a generous portion of fresh, clean spinach with roasted chicken breast, Ham, Provolone cheese, hard boiled egg, tomato and the rest. But the huckleberry vinaigrette dressing was fit for everything from salad to pancakes. Huckleberries are to Montana as peaches are to Georgia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spud Run: Day 3

Spud Run, Day 3: A short 100 miles or so from Missoula to the Summit of Lolo Pass just across the Idaho border. US-12 from Missoula to the summit is an entertaining road and the morning air was brisk and very refreshing. We retuned to town in time for lunch and a visit to the local Harley Shop before the relaxing begins, but you will never know it from the pictures posted here.. Two of our group have relatives here so they will take time this afternoon to visit with them and the rest of us have a halve day off. Some pool, steam bath and laundry have consumed the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spud Run: Day 2

Spud Run, Day 2: From Kalispell we rode north and east to the west entrance to Glacier National Park, which has been open only a couple of weeks so far this year. Weather has been warm (hot to some) but perfect in my book. The camera battery died a few miles into the park, so I’ll have to rely on my friend for more pictures at a later date. The park was very busy and crowded but the scenery is more than anything I had imagined. Will have to return and spend more time. The Spud Run is more about the ride than anything else. From the east side of the park we rode west on US-2 and then south on SR-83 connecting with I-90 and into Missoula for the night (370 miles).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Spud Run: Day 1

Spud Run, Day 1 (third day out): First the pre-ride ride recap. Bremerton to Thorp on Saturday and a very pleasant afternoon at Scott’s summer hideout. Scott and I headed out Sunday morning early for Coeur D’Alene ID, taking several lesser traveled roads along the way, we still arrived at noon. Today, the first day, with all of us in tow, Steve our planning organizer led us though the hills and dales of northern Idaho and Montana to Kalispell.
The following pictures will tell the tale:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ride for food

Food: A common theme in many many recreations. Food can be a recreation unto it's self, but from personal experience I recommend moderation. Saturday broke with clear skies and the promise of warmer weather, which did not disappoint. A few days ago a plan was hatched by a group of riding/eating enthusiast to visit our mutual friend Scott in eastern Washington (state) near Ellensburg. We (four of us) met in the little waterfront town of Kingston WA to cross to the east side of Puget Sound via a Washington State Ferry. From the eastern shore we use rode over Stevens Pass (US-2) through Leavenworth WA (nothing like Kansas) to US-97, otherwise known as Blewett Pass to Ellensburg. We met Scott at his current summer camp about three miles west and a mile or so north of I-90. He was ready for us with a generous lunch and a chance to discuss our up coming motorcycle ride through Idaho, western Montana and northwestern Wyoming. After lunch Scott lead us out of town through the favorite Yakima River Canyon Rd, where he turned back and we continued to US-12 and SR-410 (aka Chinook Pass). Of all the highway passes through the Washington Cascade Mountains it offers perhaps the best view of Mt. Rainer. From the summit west bound there is a cascade of switchbacks before the road settles into a long course following the normal flow of water to the west. Once out of the woods the ride is a meat run from Enumclaw WA home. All in all 400 miles for lunch in the best of company is a day very well spent.