The Gates of Flathead County

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

Lets see if we can find it

The ride up the road was nice. Trees, rocks, bear prints. The usual

NF 511 on the way up to the lookout tower
Husqie ADV 450 in it’s element and aired down to 10 psi

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

Lookout! Tower!
Locked gate on the way to the lookout tower
Bear paw print on the NF 511 road
Bear paw print on the NF 511 road
Locked out on the way to lost lake

Out of town on a rail

Rail to Trail between Kalispell and Somers (the nice bit)

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

Welcome to
A yard engine from the lumber mill in Somers
She’s small, but she handles wire-rope like a pro

While I was riding around Kalispell one day I came across a piece of Americana from the 1950’s

Saw this cool old booth in Kalispell
So retro!

Orange is the New Summer

Smoke gets in your eyes

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 from the visitor center

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

Now the skweeters will stay off his nose

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

The smell of burned tires

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

Out of Service

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

Tenacity + Opportunity

Flowers gotta grow

Ten miles from Kila to Kalispell on the old RR grade

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.

Lots of concrete holding back Lake Koocanusa
The Fisher River
Another smokey day on the Fisher River
This is why we have mosquitos around here. There is a lot of standing water

Bump Remover

The new torsion bar hitch on Truck 2.1
The new Gen-Y hitch all hooked up

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

The old set up looked like this

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

This draw bar got replaced (see below)

I’m too old to be working on stuff this heavy but I did it anyway. Needed a nap afterwards. Zzzzzz

with a torsion draw bar like this

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

Lakes, Logs, and Landings

Nice little road through the woods

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

On the left – 1940’s? / the right 1950’s maybe

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

One fish, Two fish

Red fish, Whitefish

Weird weather around here

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

City of Eagles ~ Libby Montana

The last time I passed this way I caught a pix of a different eagle in Libby (

The old homestead

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!


We’re going to need a bigger boat

Ridin’ Around

Nice views from the cleared sections

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.

McGregor Lake from the North shore

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

Mikey’s Gas & Diesel Shop

Kalispell MT 59903

Like it says on the card. FYI the area code is 406

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.

The pesky 5th gear retaining nut. This one is an improvement over the original, but still slipped

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!

The back of the tranny where the 5th gear resides. All clean now!

If you have car trouble in Kalispell I can recommend Mikey’s Gas and Diesel Shop

The front of Mikey’s shop

Below is a link to a map, etc. They don’t have a web site: