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Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Last, Hard Ride- The Montana Tour With Pictures, Part 2

Yesterday, I very nearly killed myself. It is one of the reasons why when you ride a motorcycle you must remain ever vigilant- but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Click to embiggen the pictures I have posted on this piece- they are far better that way. If your subscription has run out, this feature will work anyway. It's hard work writing and editing a world class blog like this and I don't concern myself with a dwindling readership which is mostly my mother and Troy.

After blasting through the center of Montana via Columbus and White Sulpher Springs, Troy and I arrived at the Great Falls Harley Davidson dealership. Troy bought a shirt for his gal and I stared at the bike inventory. I loved one bike, priced at a paltry 38,000. The salesman said it was a steal. I told him that indeed it was- for the dealership. While I chatted him up, he convinced me to switch hotels which I did. Some advice here. If you use a booking site like you have to cancel through This was a major pain in the ass which took me 20 minutes. They even tried to tell me it was non refundable wherein I said "bullshit, it was the cancellation policy which caused me to book it in the first place. Eventually, I managed to get it done- no thanks to the Indian call center and a call taker with a heavy Indian accent.

Troy at some geyser spot near Mammoth

The new hotel was very nice. Indoor pool, jacuzzi, breakfast. There were at least 20 bikers there. I found a biker, about my age, that Troy had talked to earlier. I walked up to him and said I hadn't found a man from New Orleans that I couldn't whip. He laughed and we spent nearly 20 minutes bullshitting. While packing later that morning, I couldn't find my favorite shirt- a black polyester over shirt that I use on chilly mornings. I searched high and low for that shirt but oddly, I forgot to just ask the front desk. (I called later, they are sending it to me)

Our route from Great Falls to Choteau was a pleasant ride. I have never eaten so many bugs. Bugs everywhere. Another reason to wear sunglasses and a doo rag. From Choteau we traveled up to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation at Browning. I had a friend from the Blackfeet tribe when I lived in Missoula and he was a great guy. The Blackfeet Indians are very friendly unlike a couple of other tribes I won't mention here. At any rate, we stopped for gas. We left and we hadn't gone a mile when I noticed my phone was missing. In a panic, I turned and went back to the gas station thinking it had been stolen. The clerk told me a woman had found it outside where we were standing in the shade. What a relief. I think I would rather lose my wallet. I am forever losing shit. I think my memory was better when I was drinking.

Yours truly, (I am hyper extending my gut) at Beartooth Lake

This is the part where I am gonna plaster a few pictures and try to catch up.

Top of Beartooth Pass, cold in the 40's and windy
Mirror inside the cafe, that's me on the right in 20 years

Cool neon, abused our waitress Barb unmercifully
E. Glacier entrance at St Mary, had lunch here

Ok, so I am pretty much caught up. Thought I'd tell you an interesting story. We were having lunch at this joint and I was of course teasing the waitress, which I have learned to do during my 25 years as a cop. There were 5 people eating in the bar. All of us were bikers, the other group were Canadians. In the middle of lunch, some kid sits down and starts to play classical music on the piano. It was pretty good. The Canadian bikers, seated next to us, kind of smiled smugly at this kid who was playing. When the kid left, one of the bikers explained to me that he was a concert pianist in a Canadian orchestra. He told me if I really wanted to hear that song- I should listen to him play it. The dude looked like a construction worker, go figure.

Ok so I am gonna put up a few pictures from the park. Downloading pictures on this Commodore 64 is taking forever.

Troy harassing some nice woman

You gotta check this out. I watched as at least 20 people were snapping photos and nudging each other, acting excited at a turnout in the park. When I finally saw what they were all all clamoring about, I find Methuzaluh, the mountain goat. This mountain goat is like a dumb shit decoy for park visitors, around 100 years old was my best guess. The park probably just tethers him there at night so he doesn't walk off or fall over and visitors feel like they get their money's worth. At any rate, Methuzaluh the mountain goat hobbled ever so slowly onto the ice and just plunked himself down.

Methuzalah, center ice, preparing for the afterlife

That night we found a hotel in Kalispell. Troy got in trouble over a video clip he took in Glacier that he posted on Facebook wherein he uttered "Show me your ****! to some random woman. Oddly his non random girlfriend did not approve so Troy stayed in to make nice and sweet talk his way out of that mess. I went out and found the tightest no limit poker game in the history of mankind. Those guys play for lunch money. I've played in home games with more action and money available. I managed to lose 40 bucks which I considered a huge victory given the circumstances.

That night and the next morning, we decided to deviate from our plan and try to make it home on Saturday. Butte hotels were full and Sunday was supposed to be the hottest day this year. (It was 111 in Boise today) So we hauled ass for Missoula and some breakfast.

I try to give every waitress as much shit as possible. It's just part of my DNA. Our server in Missoula was no different. Although she was only 21, smart, attractive, classy, and a college student with a real major- I think I convinced her that the rest of her life would be miserable, mundane drudgery dotted with periods of depression and divorce. Maybe she will have a couple of no account kids. That's what she has to look forward to. Her best years I said, were probably behind her. I think she realizes I was right. She was a sweetheart and because of that, we added a dollar to her tip for a total of two dollars. That's how we roll. She was kind enough to pose for my last picture. Thanks Taylor, I gotta feeling you will buck the odds.

Puts up with smelly, obnoxious, old men

I was not looking forward to the trip home. From Hamilton south to Boise is 300 miles of non stop curves, switchbacks, and suicidal deer. I actually donned my helmet. The other problem was that I was tired, sunburnt, and the heat was killer hot- over 100 degrees.

I run pretty hard. About 20 miles outside of Challis I was running along side the Salmon River. I was inside a left handed curve going away from the river. I entered the curve too fast. It turns out as I looked at it later, that this curve is a reverse superimposed curve meaning that it banks left but it is sloped down and away (opposite) toward the river. I have only seen a few reverse supers in my life. Road engineers are well aware of the dangers and hazards of these poorly engineered curves. I noted that all of the asphalt was torn off the road edge because so many drivers had done the same thing as I had. It was that torn up asphalt which slowed me down and allowed me to keep the bike upright. I hit a roadside hole so hard that it popped out the flush mount gas cap that I have and sprayed me with gas.

On a bike, there are no second chances. When you make a high speed mistake on a motorcycle, you usually pay for it. I lucked out plus- I didn't panic and try to turn my wheel which would have put me down. That's my experience helping me out of this jam. I would have been better off vaulting off the road at 40 or so and into the river upright. In Challis, I used a spray wand to clean off  all of the tar and dirt from my downward facing oil cooler and gathered my senses a little bit while looking for leaks or broken tire beads. The bike was unharmed. The rider however, had a serious wake up call and did the rest of the trip at or below the speed limit. From Kalispell to Boise the mileage is right at 500. It was a hard ride for an old man.

I can't wait for the next one.


Anonymous said...

Just exactly why I sold my bike in my MIDDLE 20s-I had so many near death experiences, it finally sunk into a testosterone fueled 23 year old that I was going to kill myself. Still there's nothing like riding into beautiful country on a bike.

Like the gorgeous country you're riding through

Now you only spent less then a day in Glacier? Unless you've been there a bunch Brian, I think that's not enough time.

I spent almost a year in Missoula, the only time I seriously considered moving out of Colorado-even when I was sailing for months at a stretch in the Carib, I always came back to CO

PeterE said...

How about that! You and I have something else in common! I always "hyper extend" my gut as well! In fact, I got tired of "hyper extending" it at random, so now i do it 24/7.

Linda said...

You bikers are CRAZY! I tell that to my daughter and SIL, and grandson. My grandson has had two bad wrecks, but he still climbs back on. Of course, I an old grandma, and love my Lincoln Towncar!

Anonymous said...