Tag Archives: Glacier National Park

CLEAR WATER VALLEY and LOCHSA WILD SCENIC RIVER

After a good night’s sleep we woke to find that it had rained. The Harleys were covered with water. The sky exhibited all the signs of a storm passing through, but the clouds were breaking up. After an in-depth debate (5 seconds) we decided, It’s not gonna rain, but we need warm clothes.

Gateway Inn 6.13.12

In hindsight, the sky looks like rain.

The lady working the motel office was a font of knowledge. “Did you know that Grangeville is the largest city in Idaho County?”

I gave an intelligent response, “Oh.”

“Yes, we are and do you know how many traffic lights we have?”

I was at a loss but made a valiant try, “I saw a flashing yellow light.”

“It doesn’t always flash, and there is one more. We have two traffic lights.”

I’m not sure what value this knowledge holds for me, but as Walter Cronkite used to say, “And now you know.”

We left Grangeville for Missoula at nine. Six miles later I spotted a D.E.E.R. A doe was standing about ten feet off to the left of the roadway.

After Grangeville

We climbed from the valley floor to this beautiful stop on Idaho 13 midway between Grangeville and Kooskia.

We stopped in Kooskia for breakfast. After breakfast we gassed up for $3.91, the cheapest gas we have purchased so far. I think it is because we were on the Nez Perce Reservation.

Kooskia is located in the Clear Water Valley. I asked the server, “What’s the name of the river?”

Her answer had Jim and me laughing. “I don’t know.” She turned to another patron, “Bill, what’s the name of the river?”

His answer, “It’s the Clear Water River.”

Now she was laughing, “I just moved here in February.”

I ordered one pancake, eggs, bacon, and decaf. It seems that no one drinks decaf coffee in Kooskia. She brought me a packet of instant decaf and a pot of hot water. I decided on regular coffee. By the way, the pancake was the largest pancake I’ve ever seen

While waiting I used the bathroom. It held a surprise. When I needed a paper product, I found the dispenser empty. I tried calling Jim on my iPhone for help, but there was no service. In desperation, I looked out in the hallway. There was no one in sight. Holding my trousers up, I rushed to the woman’s room.

When I returned to the dining room, a man passed me headed to the facility. I told the server the problem and that another man was on his way. She blushed, hurried away and came back with the largest roll of T-P I’ve ever seen. I offered to carry it for her. She thanked me and away I went on my errand of mercy.

After breakfast we took a short break.

Jims Saloon

Jim felt right at home. The owner told us, “Be careful, you’ll run into road repair about ten miles up the road.”

Leaving town, we crossed the Clear Water River and turned off Idaho 13 and on to Idaho 12. Idaho 12 was another great ride. Within a few miles we saw a yellow warning sign. It advised us that we had 99 miles of windy road. It was true, wonderfully true.

Ten miles later we ran into Road Repair and stopped. I heard a loud voice. “What Blue Knight Chapter?” I looked behind and spotted a couple on a BMW. The driver, said, “What BK Chapter do you belong to?”

I was at a loss for a moment until I remembered that I had a Blue Knight License Plate Frame.

The rider said he had retired from the California Highway Patrol – San Diego office. Jim asked him, “Where you headed?”

“Deadwood, there is a big California-Texas Blue Knight get-together.”

After Kooskia

This picture is indicative of what we experience over the 99 miles of windy road along the Lochsa Wild and Scenic River. It was just another day in paradise. Well almost. Taking a close look at the roadway will show that it is wet. We stopped, unpacked all our stuff, and pulled out the rain gear. I hadn’t worn mine in a couple of years. It seems that someone removed some material, the pants don’t zip up and the buttons don’t reach the button holes.

Jim wanted to stop at a comfort station. Idaho places them along the road but do not mark them nor do they have signage telling you one is ahead. You have to guess. Jim guessed a few times before we found one.

One of those times, he was coming back onto the roadway when he dropped his Ultra in the traffic lane. There was very little traffic on the highway, except we had just pulled away from several vehicles at a road work stop.

I saw him go down in my rear-view mirror. Before I got back to him, three or four vehicles had stopped. The first arrived while he was still lying in the road. With the help of one of those who stopped we got his bike back up. I was in such a hurry to help him that I didn’t even get a picture. Jim’s comment when I told him, “If there ain’t a picture, it didn’t happen.”

It rained until we got to Missoula. At the first stop light, the rain was replaced with warm sunlight.

Our first stop was Grizzly Harley-Davidson where we purchased two much-needed shirts.

While I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw two motorcycles parked in the lot. They had passed us earlier in the day, and we had passed them about fifty miles back down Idaho 13.

Wellsville

As I went by I noticed the bikes had New York license plates. Then I noticed the green flag. I saw two things, “Hart Comfort Home” and “Wellsville”. I know that the Hart Comfort Home is an outstanding asset to the families of those suffering a terminal illness. My knowledge comes from my wife, Cathy Dean Cramer, and all my Dean in-laws. Cathy was born in the Village of Wellsville.

I stopped my bike behind the two motorcycles and went back inside the store. I found two real gents, Jim Smith and Rob Warboys. Both had flags, but Rob’s came apart. They rode to the west coast and are now on their way to Glacier National Park and then on to US 2 and across the top of the states back to Wellsville.

Not only are they riding, they are raising money for the Hart Comfort Home in Wellsville. You can check it out at http://www.comforthouseofalleganycounty.org.

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Day 6 – Coram, MT to Great Falls, MT – 212 Miles – 8.4.2012

Sundance RV did not have coffee so back down the road we went. The first place we saw was a huge rafting center, store, and restaurant. Pulling in we should have noticed there was one car in the lot. Oh, well, coffee was only a minute away.

Inside there was no one in sight. We went through the souvenir store to the restaurant, it looked great but with no one in sight. I hollered; “Hello”. We walked through the restaurant, store, and into a gift shop. We found a guy with a cup of coffee chatting with an elderly lady.

He was the owner; “I don’t open the restaurant until lunch.”

We got back on the bikes and headed to the West Entrance to Glacier Park. We stopped at the West Glacier Restaurant. We enjoyed excellent coffee and food at reasonable prices. Two Russian couples were at the next table. They were riding from Seattle to New Jersey.

We entered the Park using our National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes which are sold to those over 62 for $10. The passes are good for life. I’ve purchased three because I keep forgetting mine.

It is 50 miles from the West Entrance to the East Exit. It was a great ride. Motorcycles are the only way to truly enjoy the Ride to the Sun Road. We had been warned that because of road construction it could take all day. That is probably true on weekdays; after all there are only two seasons in Montana, Winter and Road Repair. We went through on a Saturday. There were no work crews but miles of construction zones complete with warning signs.

Motorcycles Proceed with Extreme Caution.

Our one delay, five minutes at a red light where a landslide was being repaired with only room for one way traffic.

As much as we raved about the Northern Cascades, they don’t hold a candle to Glacier Park.

Glacier
Glacier2

Glaciers carved these valleys.

2 ½ hours after entering the park, we exited via East Gate.

Despite all the warnings about wildlife the only thing I saw was a grouse jump in front of a jeep. Unbelievably it wasn’t killed. It ran back out between the front and rear tires, sans tail feathers. It left a pile of feathers in the roadway.

JAK says that he saw a young brown bear. His story is that the bear began to cross the roadway about five miles west of East Gate, saw the motorcycle, and jumped back into the woods. JAK hit the brakes and pointed to the road side. I saw his brake lights and him pointing. This wasn’t the only “invisible” critter that JAK saw.

After leaving the park, it wasn’t much more than a half hour before we hit the plains. What a letdown after all the beautiful scenery we had been experiencing.

P1020409

Our last 90 miles was pretty much like this. Pulling into Great Falls we headed to Motel 6. “Sorry we are booked up.”

I asked; “Do you know of any motels with vacancies?”

“Everywhere is pretty much sold out, but I think there is one room at the Super 8.”

JAK and I experience de j’vue. We head for the Super 8. Across the lot is a Best Western. I look at JAK and say; “What the heck, let’s check.”

JAK waited outside while I went inside. I got in line for the one agent working. Another agent opened, as I move to his position, I hear the first agent tell the couple who had been in front of me; “I’m sorry we don’t have any rooms.” Crap!

My agent said; “Let me check.” He plays with the computer; “One with a king, and one with two queens.”

Life can throw you a bone at times. This was one of those times.

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Filed under A Great Ride - 2012, Motorcycle