Valkyrie Road Trip Day 2, August 22nd, 2004
Spokane, Washington to Idaho Falls, Idaho
I was wide-awake by 6:00 A.M. totally filled with anticipation, and raring to
hit the road. I dawdled around my room, drinking the nasty hotel coffee,
took a bath…just waiting for the sun to rise so I could pack up my bike
and go. Silly me, I forgot to charge up my trusty Canon G-1 digital
camera, so no pictures on day two. In fact, I didn’t really take any
photos ‘till day three, and even then I
ran out of batteries far too soon! Oh well.
The weather was quite cool, around 50 fahrenheit, and it looked like it
was threatening to rain. How true that would turn out to be later that day!
I hit the road early, 7:30 A.M. or so, and headed east on Interstate 90,
straight into northern Idaho. The northern part of Idaho is a skinny strip
of the state that reaches clear up to the Canadian border, and they call it
the Idaho Panhandle, just like northern Florida.
The altitude rose quite a lot, as I rode into Coeur D’Alene, and the
Coeur D’Alene National Forest. The scenery was quite breathtaking. Lush, thick,
green forest, gorgeous mountains, waterfalls and rivers.
That gorgeous river where Brad Pitt’s character catches the humongous rainbow
trout! Through the Lolo National Forest and into Missoula, Montana, I
continued to follow the river, trying not to look away from the road too
much, at the natural splendor all around me. That is a really good trick
when motorcycle riding through beautiful country, as I would learn
more and more along the way. Got to keep your eyes on the road, but
there is so much to look at! So I would sometimes abandon hope of
making really good time, just slow down and soak in the scenery. This
was the case with northern Montana, truly some gorgeous country!
"A River Runs Through It"
I started hitting some occasional rainsqualls, and the temperature
dropped as the altitude rose, so I changed into my full warm rain gear for the first time.
I stopped along the way in the town of Superior, at around 11:00 A.M.
to have a late breakfast, after seeing a sign for a Cracker Barrel
Restaurant saying “Breakfast served all day!” Here I was treated to a
truly ‘Supersize Me” view of Middle America. This restaurant was full
of authentically huge, bulging Americans, LOTS of seriously
overweight people! Whew! And what ever they put in that omelet, grits
and butter cakes gave me some seriously hardcore gas. All the better to
propel me through the oncoming nasty weather I guess! Out in the
parking lot, I was parked next to a bright yellow super-sized Honda
Goldwing trike, complete with a really cool custom leather carrier up on
back with a cute little dog strapped into it, which growled ferociously if
you approached the bike. The bike had fancy lettering saying “Tweety
Bird” on the side and on the back of the bike was a painting of Tweety
saying “Sylvester rides a Harley!” Truly weird stuff!
The Interstate turns south after Missoula, and heads through Anaconda
and Butte, and then directly south through Dillon, and towards the Idaho border.
The scenery is reasonably nice, but not spectacular or remarkable in any
way. Rolling hills and forest, rivers, the occasional bridge, nothing
fancy. The intermittent inclement weather kept me pretty much focused
on the asphalt right in front of me. Thankfully, I was completely
wrapped in a warm cocoon, with my full-face helmet as well, and I still
averaged 65-70 mph, as I rode out of the mountains and into flatter high
country and the rainsqualls became more and more frequent, and the
temperature continued to drop.
As I approached the border back in to Idaho, I watched as some truly
nasty rain clouds gathered ahead of me. What had been intermittent rain
squalls, were building into something far more serious, and I hunkered
down and rode straight into some really hard rain and extremely high winds.
I may even have stopped, but this was truly empty country, no towns, no
intersections, no gas stations….just me and the high prairie, and the
lashing rain and frigid winds. From Monida, Montana, to Idaho Falls,
Idaho, was the most miserable leg of my journey in a way, but quite
honestly, I enjoyed every minute of it. I was where I wanted to be,
riding towards Colorado on my Valkyrie, weather be damned! My
weatherproof cocoon kept me bone dry underneath, and although the
tips of a couple of fingers started to get a little numb, I was pretty
comfortable for the most part. I even managed to keep my speeds up
around 65-70 mph, because it was very straight and opened road with
almost no traffic, which is really the most threatening element of riding in the rain.
I arrived in Idaho Falls just as the sun set, and got a room at a Red Lion
Hotel, which was a little bit fancier than what I was planning on, but it
was a gift to myself after the nasty cold wet weather. I got a huge room
with a big balcony overlooking the ‘Falls’ of Idaho Falls. I took a hot
bath, read for a little while and passed out, sleeping much better than I had the first night.
The Coeur D'Alene National Forest
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