We passed an interesting night at the Town House Inns & Casino – Great Falls. Jim and I believe that every girl’s baseball team in the age range twelve to sixteen was there. The sounds and action didn’t slow down until at least ten, but then the parents took over.
Up at seven, I was pleased to see not a single cloud in the sky. It was cold but clear. I stuffed all my foul weather gear, including boots, in my dry bag. Once completely packed and strapped down, I couldn’t find my dark glasses. They are in my foul weather jacket, the very first item in the bottom of the dry bag. I will not unpack, besides the glasses are scratched.
A stop at Big Sky Harley-Davidson solved my problem. I bought glasses from the clearance table.
We spent over two hours at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. From the observation area you can see one of the five waterfalls that the Corps of Discovery had to portage. They pulled canoes, boats, and all their equipment overland for eighteen miles to get around the falls.
This gives one an idea of what they had to do to portage. The expedition carried tons of equipment. As a military unit they had to carry ammunition. Captain Clark came up with a unique method. He used lead to make ten inch canisters that he filled with gun powder and sealed with bees wax. If boats capsized, the canisters went to the bottom where they could be recovered. Everything else was swept downstream.
They had a hands on exhibition with a docent who explained about Indian weapons and those used by the expedition. One interesting item was a bullet mold. Jim said, “I saw one just like that being used in a movie, The Patriot.” The docent picked up a mold that was hundreds of years old and said, “This is the mold they used in the movie.”
Our next stop was Choteau (Show-Toe) at the Log Cabin Café where they serve an excellent three bean soup. Even better was the sour cream raisin pie.
Choteau is part of the Rocky Mountain Front. “The Rocky Mountain Front forms the seam between the wild lands and wilderness of the Lewis and Clark National Forest and the foothills and the plains domesticated by area ranchers and farmers.” The area is sparsely populated.
Leaving Choteau Jim let me pass him and take the lead. This surprised me. He almost always leads. I think the reason has to do with cruise control. The lead bike can set any speed desired and relax. Harley’s never seem to mesh when on cruise control. The second bike has to change speed every mile or so.
I set my speed at 75 MPH, relaxed and put my feet up on the highway pegs. I went about three miles before turning off cruise control and put my feet on the floorboards. I had a premonition. Less than a minute later I saw movement on my right. A D.E.E.R. came in to sight. The buck jumped a fence that was maybe fifteen feet from the roadway. It landed and made a left turn toward the road about fifty feet in front of me. I stood on the brakes while telling myself, Don’t lose it, Don’t skid, Don’t go down.
The buck turned back to a parallel path, I eased off the brakes. It turned back in an instant. The dang thing was about ten feet from me as I went by.
Jim came upon the D.E.E.R. and had a similar experience. The buck jumped over the fence and back into the field and then jumped back and ran across the road in front of him.
My heart was beating so hard it seemed I could hear and feel it. I pulled off the road and stopped. Jim pulled up next to me. When my heart returned to normal, I looked at Jim and pointed down the road. I said, “Go ahead.”
Jim said, “No, you can lead, I’m not.”
I think he wanted me to run interference.
As a reminder and for those new to our motorcycle adventures:
D – Dangerous
E – Evil
E – Everywhere
R – Rodent
Deer are a rider’s worst nightmare. Except for automobiles, deer have killed more motorcyclists than anything else.
A half hour later I was negotiating some very tricky gravel when another D.E.E.R. appeared. Fortunately this one was standing about a hundred yards off the roadway.
Over the next fifty miles we were treated to some easy riding as the Rocky Mountain Front provided some astonishing scenery.
The road seems to go on forever. The Rocky Mountains are coming into view on the horizon.
The snow covered Rockies rise above the plains, almost as a skyscraper rises from a sidewalk. The sight is unbelievably beautiful.
We are spending the night at the Dancing Bears Inn, East Glacier Park, Montana.
I wanted to ride the Going-To-The-Sun Road from East to West this year. It is the only road through Glacier National Park. We rode it West to East last year. The road is closed due to snow. The upside is that we’ll be able to take US 2 which skirts the southern boundaries of the park.