Sue’s Excellent Adventure

Wednesday, August 15th


Day 12:  Wednesday August 15th

Bend, Oregon to Missoula, Montana  608 miles


I started the morning as the sun was just beginning to lighten the eastern horizon.  The mountains on the east side of Bend, Oregon weren’t much more than a silhouette to my right, growing more distinct as the minutes ticked by.  To my left were the famous “Sisters” mountains.  Lonely and cold in the early morning darkness, I kept watching for some morning pinks and blues to brighten their cloaks.  But it was not going to happen today.  The area Forest Fires have cast a smoky pall over all of the area mountains.


And it was cold.  I had three shirts on under my Aerostitch riding jacket, and I was still cold.  I considered stopping to put on the fleece, but I knew it would get warm soon enough.  But brrrrrrrr.r.r.r.r.rrr…..rrrr!


I rode through Redmond, Oregon at sunrise, and spent some time remembering the great rally here in 2001.  What a wonderful venue and great riding….  I hope the MOA considers coming back here sometime….


More two-lane roads took me into the fine state of Washington, well known for it’s wheat crops and microbrews.  (See photos below)  The roads had big, sweeping curves supplemented with some nice long, open stretches where the enterprising rider (ahem!) could pass tractor-trailer rigs and other slow-moving vehicles.  Every once in a while there would be a L-O-N-G two or three trailer semi-tractor that would require a little extra “goose” on the throttle to get past the unexpected long rig.  (Yikes!)


By the time I got into Lewiston/Clarkson on the Washington-Idaho border, the temperatures were near 100 degrees, so I took off two of those shirts that I put on early this morning.


NOTE TO SELF:  Send and email to Aerostitch to learn how to wash and re-waterproof these riding clothes.


From there I went onto Hwy 12, which is a 200 mile stretch many of us call “Lolo Pass.”  Normally this is a sweetheart of a road, full of tight curves and breathtaking views.  But today it was smoke-filled, with the smoke getting thicker as I headed east.  I thought about the people who live here who must have to deal with the threat of these huge fires all the time.  By the time I got to the Montana/Idaho border, the smoke subsided a bit, but it was still there as evidenced in the hazy skies and the smell of burning pine.


The song of the day in the helmet was “America the Beautiful.”  Washington State is full of ...amber waves of grain, and purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain.  I’m not kidding…..  This was a beautiful day to be an American, and to be on a motorcycle!


Tonight I met a lady named Jaimie who works at a Missoula restaurant and bar named Curley’s.  What a wonderful dinner companion!  And I didn’t even know there was a team called the Grizzlies.  J


And now—time to get ready for tomorrow!                   


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Finish & Wrap-Up