Our stop at the motorcycle shop in Clarkston was a success. We showed up just before they opened, and they had new rear tires on both bikes right away. Fresh rubber changes everything:
Now we were all set to ride the famous spiral highway in Lewiston, and then head east on ID 12 across the Lolo Pass.
Kevin and I don’t like the desert. We love mountainous places that get enough rain to grow trees. The landscape on route 12 improved dramatically as we went east.
The sign says “Winding Road, Next 99 miles,” which makes it my new favorite road sign.
Route 12 follows the Salmon River. Any road that follows a river is probably great, and route 12 is no exception. This was a fantastic day of riding.
The magic was interrupted only briefly for a few miles of construction. This was notable only in that the surface was extra terrible. The crew had just laid down fresh tar, and then small gravel on top. This amounted to riding on a both greasy (slippery) tar covered and gravel strewn surface. Gravel roosted randomly off of Kevin’s rear tire like a popcorn air popper. The tar covered gravel would stick to the front tire and coat it completely in small rocks, and then scrape underneath the front fender. It was really special to have tar covered rocks thrown from my own front tire hit me in the head.
As the day warmed up, and we grew tired of getting stuck behind slow people we couldn’t get around, it was time for a break to cool our feet off in the river.
I kind of want to live here.
Not long after crossing into Montana, was saw moose by the side of the road. I only saw the big one briefly, but Kevin says there was a Mama and baby. I of course did not have the helmet cam on at this point, and there was no way to get the camera in time to catch them.
That was pretty much the end of the day, so we found a primitive campsite off of 12 in the Lolo National Forest, and had a pretty relaxed evening (except for the mosquitoes, which tried to eat me alive. There were no mosquitoes in ID).
7/28/2012 – 231 miles. New rear tires, and a fabulous day of riding through the mountains of Idaho.