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Old 05-22-2014, 02:13 PM   #1
Lycan1 OP
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A Blonde and Two Gingers

We departed from the small town of Okotoks about fifteen minutes south of Calgary, after meeting up at the Tim Horton’s coffee shop at the town’s south end. I knew Andy, having ridden with him once about 4 years ago, and talking to him a few times since. Brian, I had never met, but when a white 990 showed up it had to be him. Both are very easy going guys and we were all within a year of each other age wise, with similar senses of humor.



It was a cool start but the clouds were not dropping any moisture at least and the winds were not howling. It kept getting cooler as we travelled over the small pass on Highway 22 south of Longview with the temperature warning light flashing on my dash. At Maycroft we turned west on the “gap road” to join the trunk road, and gravel, down to Coleman.



From Coleman we continued west on Highway 3 to Fernie, B.C. stopping at a motorcycle shop named Ghostriders. Brian had them cut down his windshield in hopes of reducing the buffeting that was rattling his brain since we hit higher speeds, and Andy was in search of a kidney belt. The only Kidney belt, the bike-shop had was for kids and would not stretch around a middle aged belly, even though his was the smallest of the group. While Brian’s bike was being modified, Andy ran over to Canadian Tire for a roll of Duct tape to make a “ghetto-style” kidney belt.





We stopped a while later to grab a bite in Cranbrook before heading to Creston and over the Kootenay (Salmo) Pass. Near the summit we started to get rained on which briefly turned to ice-pellets before petering out. We took the opportunity to play on the enormous, dirty snow banks with the obligatory photo-op before descending to Salmo. We attempted to find a trail that the GPS indicated as a small side detour but quickly discovered that it was a long dis-used highway that had returned to nature and become impassable.



A short run south from there brought us to the Nelway border crossing just north of our end point for the day, Metaline Falls. The pickup truck ahead of me after his inspection started to roll back into me and with the border guard and everyone else yelling at him to stop, managed to stop an inch from my front wheel. We got through the border, and had a quick run to the little motel up the hill from Meataline Falls.



Link: http://www.circlemotel.com/

The only game in town for dinner was the 5th Ave Bar, and it was a tiny hole in the wall, but the beer was cold and the food edible. It had been a long day and we sat out on the porch of the motel, playing with our tech and drinking beer for a short while before hitting the pillows to saw wood.

The Day:
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:17 PM   #2
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There would be Mud!

The clouds were drifting through the Valley, level with my field of vision from the deck of the Motel first thing in the Morning. Our Room seemed to be the “Elephant Room” with everything Elephant related throughout. The room was clean, and the bed ok,( but not great) with wood paneling on the walls and stucco-look ceiling panels. Think Thailand meets 70’s Rec-Room and you would be close.





It must have rained during the night as the parking lot and bikes were wet. After packing up we descended into town across some great paved switchbacks past the old powerhouse, to Cathy’s Café. I had been there last year and knew the food and coffee were good, besides, it was the only game in town. Today we would have a long run, needing to get to Sunnyside by dinner time and we would be mixing gravel and dirt and pavement to get there.



The first jump off pavement took us across a muddy two-track with lots of dips (read; puddles) and turns. I was a bit horrified at first, seeing the potential for disaster (for my leg) at every turn and the first deep puddle that soaked me did nothing to allay those fears. I was very cautious and much slower than I usually would be and worried that I would ruin the ride for the other two riders. They were very patient on the off-pavement sections, and I waited for them on the paved sections, being much more confident in my bike through the twisty stuff.





One particular section before we reached the Grand Coulee dam I was enjoying the pavement corners so much that I dragged my right boot hard enough to pull it back off the peg which hurt my injured leg a bit.
There was so much switching from pavement to gravel that I have lost track of just what we did when, but do remember a spectacular gravel road that had switchbacks so tight that first gear was as fast as you could take them without doing it flat-tracker style. We stopped for a nice lunch after stopping to see the Dam at Grand Coulee, which was definitely worth seeing.











The sun had come out to stay and the temperature climbed, seeming hot to us northerners. We found one closed road that Google maps said was public, but ran across a private ranch, and was gated. The resulting detour didn’t take long and led to another loose gravel road that seemed to sport a good population of snakes. The snake population was down by two after I went across, but at the speeds we were doing that is not the worst that could have happened. One left corner surprised me and the surface was so loose that I was sliding sideways, so I did a flat tracker and put my left boot down. My boot-heal snagged a rock and kicked the foot backward, but I made the corner, barely, leaving two wheel dips on the deep gravel at the edge of the road. Once I was straight and back up in my lane I looked back over my left shoulder to see my saddle bag form that side bouncing end over end behind me with Brian close behind it. I stopped and turned around to retrieve it. Brian was pointing at the marks by the ditch asking if I had made those and when I said yes he said “You crazy sonofabitch!” We both laughed and carried on, nothing damaged and no one hurt. The “Gobi” bags by Hepco-Becker once again showing how well designed they are; made to release rather than snap a leg in a situation like that, and tough enough to bounce down a road at 100 and not be any more than lightly scuffed.
By the time we arrived at the hill-climb location north of Sunnyside we were about done for the day, but managed to do the 20 miles down to town without incident. The Mexican restaurant in the same lot was a welcome spot for both, good food and cold margaritas. Even the drunken biker chick with the bottle of Vodka and the Wii upstairs (she told us) couldn’t rob me of sleep that night.

Motel Link: http://www.sunnysidecountryinn.com/

The Day:

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Old 05-22-2014, 02:23 PM   #3
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Nitro and Hill climbers

Since we were all still working on the huge Mexican meal from the night before; we decided to do the run up to the Hill climb (and the little café across the highway) before considering adding anything to the fiesta in our guts. The silver Dollar Café was nice and after we shot across to the hill climb to park and take in a long day of craziness.



It was the final day of the racing and the big boys were out! It was amazing to watch the smaller bikes and the racers were good, but then the unlimited class rolled up to climb. There were GXSR 600 and 750s with open pipes on full nitro and they were amazing! There were brand new KTM1190 motors in homemade frames with open headers that were nasty sounding and awesome on the hills. Such a wide variety of power and frames with the fearlessness of the riders (and hill) being the only thing in common.








The guy far left, Named Dusty Beer, truley the coolest racer name ever!!

It was like seeing a Giant Slalom ski-race in reverse, UP the hill, but MUCH louder. The tunes blasting out of the speakers raunchy and hard core to match the mood of the race. I didn’t bring a chair, but would have paid good money had anyone been selling, or renting any. I was hurting from walking and standing and finally found the vendor booth from “509” with a big black leather couch that they were happy to let me relax on.

Link: http://www.509films.com/blog/






Drone taking video.









The kids had lap races in between class-races and they were great to watch, with some definite future contenders with no “quit” in them and no-fear either! They had a hill climb of their own and they were just as (or more) competitive than the adults, with one kid walking beside his machine after it powered out, trying to get just a few more feet higher. Despite the respite on the couch, I was ready to head back to the hotel after the racers finished, and just as we got to town the skies open dumping heavy rain for about the last 3 blocks to the hotel. The prize under that rainbow was the margaritas across the parking lot from my room.




Locked up for the Night.
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:35 PM   #4
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Time for Us to Fly

Monday morning and we had a date in Walla Walla, at Tom’s Cycle to pick up my tinted visors that they had ordered in for me, since I could not get them in Canada. The guys were very accommodating with this, despite it meaning; a highway-run rather than nice back-roads for the hour and a half. We made good time, so much so that despite the hurricane force winds we had a trooper motion us to slow down, but at least he didn’t pursue. Yet another Mexican restaurant for breakfast, but it was good, and better than Burger King, our other option. We headed out of town and past the Washington State Penitentiary, which was much better to look at from our perspective, I suspect. Great roads, including one called Woopermup where I had a close encounter with a group of five deer took us up to the Palouse Falls. The falls were spectacular and would be a great spot to camp on another trip.















Once again Andy (the trip planner) had picked a fantastic route that mixed scenic and entertaining pavement with gravel that was a lot of fun. Coming across Peola road down into Clarkston, WA was an incredible experience on a road that had to be designed by a sport bike fan. We zig-zagged across the map to Grangeville and then wound our way across the back roads to Kamiah Idaho. We ended the day on Winona Grade road, as we came down to Kamiah with spectacular curves and views to match.





After checking into the nicest surprise (for accommodations) on the trip at the Clearwater 12 Motel, we grabbed fuel and then dinner at “The Hub” on Kamiah’s main drag. I enjoyed it so much I celebrated with a small wheelie on Main Street before relaxing out front at the motel.

Link: http://www.clearwater12motel.com/





The Day:

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Old 05-22-2014, 03:06 PM   #5
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Snow Way Hose'

Well, the Clearwater motel in Kamiah, Idaho was the best of the trip and truly first class inside. Huge rooms with modern decor and super clean, with the best bed I have ever slept in. The outside didn't tell that story. They put on an early and very nice breakfast spread in the lobby, so after filling ourselves up, we got a misty and cool start to the day. It only took half an hour and the fog had burnt off to reveal a gorgeous day.







We took a minor detour off highway 12 to the Lachosa Lodge see if we could get to the Lolo Motorway. Snow stopped us a couple of miles up, but Andy and Brian did recon a bit further up before turning around for the gimpy guy’s sake.







We stopped again for a photo-op at the Highway 12 (Lolo) Summit at the Montana Border.







It was easy cruising but really scenic and at one point we were flashed by a trooper, just reminding us to keep an easy pace. I saw a rider with a dark colored Victory wave to me from one of the river-side rest areas along the highway. Highway 12, to me is nicer the further west you go so the best part was at the start of the day. Once down over into Montana, Andy spotted a nice old homestead, so we turned around to snap some more pictures.






We kept on past Missoula and up to Condon, MT on pavement before jumping onto the Continental Divide Trail.



It was a bit early, considering the elevations we would be doing, and at 4400 feet we found snow. Brian, the guy on the white KTM did recon and said it was clear further ahead so we squeezed past the snow and again were stopped at 4700 feet without any end of snow in site.











Reluctantly we turned around and bailed back to the highway, to pick up the trail again about 15 miles further north. On the way down I scared a Grizzly cub off the trail in front of me as I came around one corner, gassing it as hard as I could thinking Momma wasn’t far behind, and I wanted no part of that action. I was running the go pro at the time and will see if I can slow it down to spot the furry fast ball of misery.

On the way out Andy and Brian had a little hill climb competition of their own. I was to afraid of hurting my recently broken right leg to partake in what looked like a lot of fun.








The trail north into Columbia Falls was a true test of navigation as it turned every mile or so winding its way in from the south on the C.D.T. route. At one point a short, gravel, two-track connector was blocked by a gravel berm and after a brief check of the gps we rode over the speed bump and carried on. The motel was a welcome site and again didn’t look like much from outside but was clean. The set up was odd, with a two bedroom set up divided by the washroom in the center. A Queen bed on one side and two singles on the other. The loudest snorer went into the side with the queen and me and Andy shared the room with the two kiddie beds. Once again there were a couple of nice chairs and a table outside the door so we could relax and enjoy (feed) the mosquitoes. The owner was very pleasant and told us were to find good food, or as she put it, “grease”. We chose the good-food option at the Three Forks restaurant in the old Micro-brewery just up on Railroad Street. I felt very under-dressed and grubby since I didn’t want to pull off my boots and get casual before dinner. My bad leg always swelled as soon as I took the boot off of it, and I didn’t want to risk not being able to get it back on, but was afraid to ride without the protection it offered. Andy went on another IPA hunting mission after dinner and I returned to the Motel to clean up and ice my leg. Once we were all back at the Motel we sat outside absorbed in or respective tech toys until the mosquitoes became to bothersome..



Motel Link: http://www.glacierinnmotel.com/

The Day:
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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In! This should be fun.
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:15 PM   #7
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You Shall Not Pass!



Last day jumpiness or maybe the last afternoon’s Monster Energy drink (senior citizen crack) who knows, but I was awake at 04:00 and so was Andy. We sat on our respective beds with faces illuminated by the glow of our tech, while we listened to Brian snore. By 6 a.m. we were all on the move and ready to head over to The Montana Coffee House for breakfast, before heading north up Northfork Road to Polebridge. The breakfast was huge (and good) and the coffee great. Bikes and riders fueled we headed out in the chill air eager to get going. The south piece of Northfork road was new to me since we had crossed the eastern range near Polebridge as part of the C.D.T. ride last year on Red Meadow road.






Polebridge Store Link: http://www.polebridgemercantile.com/

Northfork road runs in the valley between two mountain ranges between Highway 2 in the south and the Canadian Border in the north where there is a long defunct border crossing. We could see snow in abundance on the tops of both ranges, Glacier National Park the one to the east. The morning was slowly warming and the sun bright as we reached the Polebridge Mercantile for a quick coffee and fresh Pastry. The Polebridge store is over a hundred years old and has never had power lines to it; they stop twenty miles to the south. They get by on a generator as they always have. After a fresh Cinnamon roll (for me) and a Huckleberry Bearclaw for the other two, we carried on north to check out the Canadian Border that we were not allowed to cross. I’m sure we were being watched although there were no signs of human activity.

The Merc is open from
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,
7 days a week
May 1 through the last full weekend in November











That adventure done we headed south to join the C.D.T. and head west with Eureka in mind. We got about 10 miles in on a familiar section that had been under repair last year when Ian and I had come across. We stopped for pictures, which I had not done last time. Not long after that as elevation started to climb we started encountering snow patches but managed to squeeze through. Then another few corners and the snow was tree line to tree line and with no end in sight. We were beat and had to turn back. We went all the way back to the store and Andy asked if any of the passes to the west were open and none were. This was information we could have used a couple of hours before but it was what it was, and the trail had been fun.










We retraced our steps as far back as Camas Road that led into Glacier National Park and headed east toward East Glacier along highway 2, having decided that we needed the shortest way home now. I led the way along 2 east and then highway 49 north to meet 89 near St. Mary’s. It was a great twisty pavement run to the border north of Babb, Montana.





The rest of the ride was a fight with brutal, tiring winds that didn’t let up the whole way to Calgary. The trip was fun, and with great company, but it was great to roll into the driveway at home. My first ride of the season was a memorable one.

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Old 05-22-2014, 03:44 PM   #8
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Thought I recognized the bikes - I'm the guy on the black Victory taking a break at the Fish Creek boat launch on Lolo. Great day on the pass.

Thanks for the ride report, looks like it was a ton of fun.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:20 PM   #9
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Found this at work, I'll have to read it tonight (Ok, I found this at quiting time, otherwise I would read it at work)

It looks like a great trip
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicster View Post
Thought I recognized the bikes - I'm the guy on the black Victory taking a break at the Fish Creek boat launch on Lolo. Great day on the pass.

Thanks for the ride report, looks like it was a ton of fun.
I saw you wave, Cool! Hope your ride was a good one as well.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC Brian View Post
Found this at work, I'll have to read it tonight (Ok, I found this at quiting time, otherwise I would read it at work)

It looks like a great trip
Videos and more pictures to come. Hopefully the other two guys post up here as well.
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Old 05-22-2014, 05:49 PM   #12
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Video 1 from the Hill Climb

The first Video is from the Hill Climb last Sunday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O38e...ature=youtu.be

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Old 05-22-2014, 06:12 PM   #13
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Top notch photography! Well done. Looking forward to more of this trip.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:52 AM   #14
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Thanks!

Looking forward to more.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:19 AM   #15
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Lee - great job on the trip report. Many of my photos were of the same scene as yours, but of a much lower quality - I'm not much of a photographer. I did take quite a few snaps of the hill climb machinery - here's a few of those.

Bret Peterson's very tricked out nitro-burning KTM 950 getting ready for a climb:


A few more close-ups of same bike in the pits... no spark arrester on this baby :)




A couple of 1190 KTMs in the open class:



Best name ever for a competitor - yes, that's his real name:


Nice to see an Aprilia racing in the 700cc class:


A couple of very evil-sounding Kawis... they fired them up in the pits while I was about 6' away. Pretty sure my ears were going to bleed:



a couple more getting ready near the start line:



And the fastest bike/rider of the day - Jason Smith on a gorgeous fuel-injected, nitro-burning bored out XS650:


One thing we don't see in Canada - gas stations selling bongs. Is this just a Washington thing...?


Getting my hillbilly vibe going while taking a break on a classic Cadillac equipped with a fake hood scoop:


Enjoying our evening in Kamiah ID near the end of the trip:


I have lots of video from the hill climb - will try to edit it down to something reasonable and will post it here in the next few days.
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