It’s been a few thousand miles since my last post so here we go!
From Washington we made a bee-line to Colorado to help my sister plan a kitchen remodel and we dropped the Husky Adventure 450 off at a dealer to sell it for us. So Sad 😦
From Denver we went east. At least we had a good tail-wind!
We stopped in Rocky Ford and took a walk around the fair ground. Only gets used once a year for the county fair and it looks like it’s needing some loving. There is an RV parking spot here and it’s 3/4 full of people who have fallen out of traditional housing situations. Nice helpful folk who play golf on sunday afternoon
A friend and I went for a little bike ride from Renton to Seattle. He said it was going to be about 35 miles. Ended up being 56 miles. We rode out to Mercer Island then around to downtown on the edge of Lake Washington. Very scenic
It was a holiday monday so there was little car traffic and tons of people out enjoying the great weather
Some dufus ran a boat into the ground near a park. Close enough to walk to shore. What a shame
Here we are at the end of our stay in Big Sky Country and this is my impression of Northwest MT. Trees, plenty of trees. Mosquitoes, plenty of those in June and July. They taper off in August. Fires, lots of fires. Tons of smoke too.
Flathead County seems to be a popular tourist destination as well as a popular place to work from home. Somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 people moved here to sit at home during the pandemic. House prices are through the roof! Traffic sucks! Glacier N.P. is packed solid with tourists
There is some mountain biking around Kalispell so that’s fun. The forest roads are usually private roads and they don’t go anywhere except private timber land so that’s a bummer if you want to UTV or dirt bike. There are bears in the woods so riding a Mtn bike alone out there is not the best plan. Ditto for hiking alone
Bring a boat. There are a lot of lakes around here and you can put a boat on most of them. If you like to fish, all the better
Fog. The end of August this year has been foggy in the mornings. I like foggy mornings 🙂
There are oodles of gates around here. I suspect about 90% of the dirt roads are blocked by a gate. I took a ride up to the lookout tower and gated-out about a half mile short of the tower. Then I went in search of Lost Lake, gated-out miles from the water
The ride up the road was nice. Trees, rocks, bear prints. The usual
NF 511 is nice and smooth at the bottom and gets steeped, looser, and rockier as you climb it. I ended up airing down to 10 psi to take the rough out of the road. It’s doable in a Subaru wagon if you know how to drive. The dirt road to the gate is about ten miles. There are many trees overhanging the road so expect to get some pinstripes along the way
I rode the Great Northern from Kalispell to Somers. It’s largely along the side of Hwy 93 until close to Somers then it becomes a nice tree-lined path. Somers has a museum dedicated to the RR and the lumber mill that started the town
While I was riding around Kalispell one day I came across a piece of Americana from the 1950’s
There are approximately 45 forest fires burning upwind of my summer camp spot. The sky is a thick grey haze that blocks out the sun. déjà vu. I suppose it’s time to just accept this is summer in the American west and get use to it
Lake Koocanusa which straddles the Canadian/ US border north of Libby MT. Koo-Can-USA. Maybe there is a pattern here. Don’t know any Koo though
I got the boys a bug tent. Since there are a lot of mosquitos and I don’t want them getting eaten while they are out sleeping in the shade
I guess pealing out is the Montana state sport. I have not seen a single stretch of rural pavement that does not have burn-out marks on it. Keeps tire dealers in business
Lotta wind this year. Downed out-houses and trees dot the landscape. Took a walk around the neighborhood and talked with the local excavator. Been here his whole life. Anyway I learned that the forest around here is mostly private and what’s been going on with it. Seems it was all Rail-Road land/ Logging company land and they sold it to a big real estate company back east because the trees are all to young to harvest. The real estate company has been selling it off to retirees to build their dream homes. Which is good for the excavator company guy. He moves a lot of dirt and trees
Flowers gotta grow
I rode my bike from Kila to north Kalispell partly on the old railroad grade. About ten miles of paved trail running next to Hwy 2 West of Kalispell. It’s a little rough and I had a headwind both ways but not a bad way to spend the day.
I saw one of these shock-absorbing hitches on a truck in the RV park a week ago and now we have one too! It uses torsion bar suspension and I have always loved trailers with torsion bar suspension. I’m hoping it will smooth out some of the beating we get from the dreadful roads in America. The sales brochure says it absorbs up to 90% of the energy transferred between trailer and truck when we hit bumps
One down-side is the new hitch is 65 pounds! The draw bar it replaces weighed in around 10 pounds so we added about 55 pounds to the back of the truck. And the new hitch is about 4” longer than the old set up so I extended the safety chains a little bit to compensate. The electrical cord just reaches
I’m too old to be working on stuff this heavy but I did it anyway. Needed a nap afterwards. Zzzzzz
Update: This new hitch makes a noticeable improvement in the ride! YaY! It has the most effect on big hits that cause the truck to porpoise and the post- hit wave action is cut a bunch
I took a ride from our camp spot over the hills (the back way) to Marion, MT. Traversed a dozen miles of logging roads with ankle-deep silt on them. I did not expect to be riding in deep silt this far north and in the mountains. I thought silt was a desert thing. Apparently not
I hit some pave near Little Bitterroot Lake and followed it around as much of the lake as I could. Most of the lake-shore is private so no access to the unwashed masses. I did find three access points for regular-folk courtesy of the State. Thanks Montana
I spotted a couple of old log trucks in a person’s front yard. One looks to be from the 1940’s and the other from the 1950’s. Time was those trucks were state of the art and had that new-car smell. A 2020 F-150 could out-pull either of these trucks and maybe both combined. We live in amazing times!
On the way home I swung through a private air-park and started up a conversation with a guy in a three-wheel golf cart. Times are changing here too
I spent another day touring the back roads and checking out the local color. The weather forecasts around here are not very accurate and the temperature predictions are off by about 5-10 degrees each day
Spotted this old ranch on a trip near Thompson Lakes. None of the buildings have windows anymore and it’s still a delightful meadow for cows and about a million deer. Every time I go out I see deer and bunnies, oh my!