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
We’ll have to wait another 6 weeks or so before we can test it. We’re camped out long-term in Montana and our next trip is to Washington in September
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!
Spent the morning riding the Husky ADV 450 on some nearby logging roads. Since all the mines and cutting operations are closed for the 4th of July it was a good time to ride without a bunch of haul-trucks hogging the roadway.
I was not able to loop the logging roads into anything so it was an out & back day. It’s nice to be riding in the forest again. Green and humid with just a hint of mud puddle left by the last rain. Enjoyed several nice views of McGregor Lake and spent some time checking out the lake-side villas
As you may have read below we lost 5th gear in Truck 2.0 and ended up driving 500 miles in 4th gear. Slow going for a few days. When it happened I called a bunch of shops in Billings and one of them, which was 2-weeks out on repairs, recommended Mikey’s Gas & Diesel Shop. I called Mike and he got the ball rolling on repairs by ordering the parts he needed.
I dropped the truck off Thursday morning hoping it was not going to turn into a big week-long project and got lucky. Super lucky. Mike and his crew had it fixed in several hours. And the price was super too!
If you have car trouble in Kalispell I can recommend Mikey’s Gas and Diesel Shop
Below is a link to a map, etc. They don’t have a web site:
We had transmission issues on the Montana section of the trip. About 30 miles east of Billings we lost 5th gear. After that we were limited to 55 mph in 4th gear. We were the slow-poke in the right lane. Grrrr
5th gear is a know issue with the transmission in Truck 2.0 and I was hoping I would get away with not having it break. Nope
Limping into Kalispell seemed to be the best option. The wait time to get repairs in Billings was 2-weeks and there was no space in the local campgrounds. Grrrr
We left Fruita before the sun came up and it was still 74ºF. Cruised along the motorway to the mountains east of Toponas CO where the high was 72ºF and thunder storms lit up the afternoon sky. The morning brought a frozen windshield! All hail the glorious rain and cold temps! We saw a yearling moose who was sniffing around the camper – very fun!
From our first mountain camp we headed to the mountains east of Laramie WY. We camped at 8100 feet so the days were a cool 70-something with 40-something at night. No need for the A/C, but we were running the furnace at night
Ride all the rides! We camped near some Mtn bike trails and managed to ride a few of them. It’s nice to have new trails and totally different riding conditions. My local friend and I put on about 50 miles of trail rides during the week. YaY!
The boiz got to go out and sniff the local sniffs, climb the local rocks, and chase after the local squirrels
We have been enjoying some fine cool temperatures and rain for the past week. That’s about to change! Dammit! The reason for going north was to escape the heat, I can check out but I can never leave. The hotness I planned to escape has moved to where I’m going. Dammit again!