Knowing when to leave

Day 25 Sunday 28th July 2013 – Missoula, MT to Idaho Falls, ID

The plan said I should be in Butte, but I was in Missoula, about 100 miles short of Butte. From Butte, I intended to ride straight to Bondurant, WY, at over 400 miles that left like it was going to be a long ride but I thought I’d give it a shot. Since I wanted to cover a lot of distance, I decided to take the interstate – I-90 and then I-15. I might not have the same opportunities to take photos, but it gave me a better chance of reaching Bondurant by evening. The photos I did take, mainly from rest areas, really don’t do Montana justice, but at least I had the pleasure of enjoying all of the scenery whilst riding.

From Montana, July 2013
From Montana, July 2013
From Montana, July 2013

I don’t know if it’s always like this, but the stretch of the I-15 from Butte down to Idaho Falls is as windy as hell. It must have been gusting at 40 or 50 mph. There were several times when I was hit by sudden gusts and I was barely able to keep the Trooper in the right lane. The wind was so strong and sudden, that it seemed to be holding me up as I tried to lean the bike to keep it on the right course. It was not a ride I enjoyed. I dropped the speed and kept close to the shoulder, so I’d have more leeway either side if another gust hit.

One of the things about riding in huge, open spaces like Montana, is that you can see the weather for miles around you. Near the state line between Montana and Idaho, I could see ugly clouds gathering to the west of me. It looked like a thunder storm was in the making. I could see rain to both the east and west, with just a glimmer of blue sky to the south. I’d been lucky with the weather since I started my journey. Sure, it’s rained a bit in the south and had been cold and foggy on the west coast, but there’s been no weather that’s forced me to make serious changes to the shape of trip.

From Montana, July 2013

With over 100 miles to go to Idaho Falls, I twisted the throttle and headed hell for leather toward the blue sky in the distant south. Stopping only once for a quick snap of the not so distant rain.

My luck with the weather did hold out and I made it to Idaho Falls without being touched by a drop of rain. Bugs were another matter. And that’s one good reason for me to wear a helmet with a visor.

From Idaho, July 2013

The wind continued gusting all the way, although not quite so forcefully as to dump me in the wrong lane. Still it takes a lot of effort keeping the bike on the right track through those conditions. My hands, arms and shoulders ached from the sustained effort of a 2 hour virtually non-stop race against the rain in those blustery conditions, so I decided to call it a day at Idaho Falls.

I was a day ahead of schedule, and I could sure make use of the time to try to catch up on the blog. The further I got behind, the less chance I’d ever catch up and I was determined I would do better than I did on the last trip. So I pulled into a stop with wifi, located a hotel with a supposed biker bar near by and then went and checked in.

Despite being lucky with the weather, I wasn’t so lucky with the internet at my hotel. The free high speed internet access advertised by the South Fork Inn was non existent, the signal too weak to even connect to. Bang went my chance of seriously catching up on the blog.

I spent an hour in Starbucks drinking a coffee I didn’t want or need, to get one post done. But that one post kept me treading water, rather than catching up.

One thing is for sure, once Doreen is here, it’s going to be even harder to keep the blog going, as I found out in 2011. So I need to be completely up-to-date by the time I hit Denver.

Since I couldn’t blog, I went to investigate the alleged biker bar near the hotel. The Iron Mule Saloon is certainly a dive bar. They’d apparently had jello-wrestling in the beer garden the day before according to a home-made banner outside. There were maybe 6 or 7 other customers, including a couple of females, out in the beer garden when I arrived. No one inside the bar except for the bartender, so I went and sat outside.

It was quickly apparent that my fellow punters had spent most of the day at the bar and had consumed copious libations, especially the women it seemed. During the course of drinking my pint, I’m pretty sure one of the females dragged one of the guys into the outside restrooms for 10 or 15 minutes, and I’d hazard a good guess at what for. But their talk was loud and mean. They weren’t happy drunks. I could smell troubling brewing. It was time to leave.



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