Morning came way too early. My group may have arrived last but plenty of others waited up to make sure we were okay. One of the things I love about this group is that everyone atleast starts the day with a great attitude. Today was no different. So we assembled at the truck stop/general store/auto repair shop/ diner for some down home cookin' and to enjoy our time with the full group for a change. Oh, the one-stop shop also is the assembly point for the children of the town for bus pickup. So there's alot going on and 15 motorcycle tourist's didn't upset the works at all.
We got an early (for us) start out of the motel. Oh, let me clarify for those that just think we're lazy. Morning is a busy time! Just getting yourself moving after a hard day of riding can be a chore. Beyond that you have to pack up your stuff daily and either stow it on your bike or put it in the chase truck if that's an option. Mornings are also the time most of us do maintenance. We tend to get in so late on this trip that bike maintenance is put off until the morning. The mileage we're putting on these bikes during this trip is on par with what most riders put on a bike in a year. So you can imagine the oil changes, air filter changes, chain adjustments, and tire changes but don't forget about crash damage, adjustments, and replacing lost fasteners from the daily beating these things get on the trail. And I haven't even mentioned breakfast, water, and food for the trail. So if you can get on the road by 9 am you've either made good use of your time or skipped something.
One other notable thing happened today: no one knew what day it was. Juat imagine four people sitting there trying to make this connection with the rest of the world. This basic connection of just knowing what day it was. And we couldn't. There was no cell service, no one had a watch with a calendar, we were in a town too small to have a paper, there was no TV. Amazing. But we knew where we were going, knew the approximate mileage, knew the notable sections of our day, and knew where we'd get fuel. We were immersed in the trip and had left our worlds behind. Kind of a cool realization.
So back to the ride.....
We made a few wrong turns immediately out of town which ended up creating a really large riding group as we collected one another after wrong turns. Finally we got going in the right direction with Stan Nelson, Dan Bowman, Brent Cotton, Scott Nelson, John Therkleson, and Mark Cambron. That's alot of dust! We spread out as best we could and tried to make sure no one got lost. Today this finally worked out for us. We made good time and eventually ended up riding along another river into Cougar Canyon for fuel, food, and a nap for me. The nap under a shade tree did me wonders and I was fired up to hit the Lolo Pass with Stan as the rest of the group headed to our accommodations up the road.
Stan and I turned off the main road into a 10 mile climb up dirt roads until we met the Lolo Pass at the top. From there it turned into a predictable trail and climbed right on top of the ridge line for a 30 mile run. The views were spectacular. This was what Magruder could have been if we'd seen it in the daylight! We stopped at a few of the overlooks and I shot some video as we made our way. I kept wishing this could go on forever but the trail started to descend as the sun was dropping so I wasn't too upset that we were going to arrive at our hotel in daylight.
The accommodations this night was at the Lochsa Lodge in Powel, Idaho. It's a fishing resort with really nice cabins, a general store which sells fuel, and a lodge serving 3 meals per day. This place was really fancy. Stan and I got showered up and joined Calhoun, Lloyd, and Bob on the back porch for drinks and dinner as the sun went down. This was my best day of the trip so far. My thigh felt much better, my riding had really come together, my energy level was great after a nap, and the scenery just topped it all off. Our biggest worry was riding off the mountain while enjoying a view. That's a nice problem to have.