This was to be a large loop where we head east into Montana before looping round to end the day in Lewiston, Idaho.
First off was the climb out of the St Joe River valley and into Montana. We had been told the road turned to gravel in a mile so I was taking it easy, but the road was a racetrack perfect surface all the way up the mountain till you hit the state line with Montana. The climb up that hill was one of the best roads I have done. Perfect surface, sweeping bends and grandstand views over the mountains. Wonderful start to the day.
The drop down into Montana was a gravel superhighway. I think of these as roads with a sprinkling of gravel on them. Loose gravel is not my favorite as I've yet to master sliding the back end around, but even I got up to 50mph on this road. Unfortunately the logging trucks have mastered the art of sliding the back end out as I discovered when I met one in a corner
There was no danger of a collision but I was suddenly confronted with a wall of dust coming my way. I closed my eyes, pictured the corner in my mind and made no sudden control inputs. I captured it on video and was surprised to see I was only blind for a split second. At the time it seemed like an eternity.
Next interesting section was Lolo Pass where we head back into Idaho. Lolo Pass is pretty famous in these parts as a must do road. Plenty of folks have posted the picture of themselves with the "Windy Road Next 127 miles" sign. I've done it once before and didn't feel it lived up to it's reputation, but I was interested to see how I would feel this time. Ended up thinking much the same. It's a nice road but a 50mph limit on the Idaho side that is heavily policed takes all the fun out of it. 80mph would be a nice speed for this road, so it was just a gentle cruise down it for us as I had no interest in getting a ticket. The plus side is it is very pretty.
Next up was a couple of interesting but disconcerting moments. We gassed up in Kamaih and I managed to get the dregs of the tank. My friend couldn't get any gas and gave up and went to the gas station next door. I didn't have any issues but half an hour later when accelerating the motor would hit a brick wall, like a rev limiter, and then accelerate hard, hit a brick wall, accelerate hard. Was very disconcerting. I did not know my friend had to go to the other gas station at this point and I was somewhat relived when I found out. I thought my bike was dying on me so I was glad a fresh tank of Super was all it took to fix it. Next issue was a melting road surface that gave me a feeling that my front wheel was coming off. Three of us felt that so from that point on I was in slow and steady mode to get back to camp and have some beer.
FJR boxes make great coolers