Missing in Action

I let the youngest out and told him to go play. He disappeared. Gone

I’m super sad that he’s gone

The adventure is over

“All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them” ~ The Buddha

Travel Montage

It’s been a few thousand miles since my last post so here we go!

Riding with friends in the deep dark woods
Bike bridge probably on Tiger Mtn
Riding near Renton WA
The boys enjoying the autumn sun in Washington
The ferry to Friday Harbor
Kitty on the beach near Anacortes WA

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 😦

West of La Grande OR. Fresh Pine Smell!
Near Laramie WY

From Denver we went east. At least we had a good tail-wind!

Vanishing point
In Rocky Ford CO

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

Horse stall at Rocky Ford fairgrounds
Fall colors at Lathrop State Park CO

One lap of Seattle

Lake Union looking toward the locks

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

Government Lock

It was a holiday monday so there was little car traffic and tons of people out enjoying the great weather

Boating is hard

Some dufus ran a boat into the ground near a park. Close enough to walk to shore. What a shame

Montana Round Up

A foggy morn’ in an empty RV park

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

Blue sky and single track

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 🙂

Blue Sky!

It has been five weeks or so since we’ve seen this:

Now I remember what blue looks like, nice!

Our typical view is more like this:

The view from the viewpoint isn’t much, only a mile or so

I’ve been riding my bike in the Pig Farm Trail Area and it’s beginning to look a lot like it always looks

Single track trails through the forest are beginning to look alike to me
Single track trails through the forest are beginning to look alike to me
Single track trails through the forest are beginning to look alike to me

There are miles and miles of very nice trails in the area. Some are so seldom used they are overgrown with brush and grass. Probably bears on those trails – Oh My!

This is why IA needs a babysitter

Trees are going to be exploding on Thursday. Chance of flying bark

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