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Published: July 12th 2014
Intuition must have subconsciously influenced us on our first day to get some practice on gravel. It seems that most of Montana's back roads are under construction, and it appears to be completely acceptable practice to leave both sides of the road covered with very loose gravel, potholes, grooves, mud, oh and water in places too. Yesterday on the descent from Glacier Park, several "fancy", as my mum used to say, bikes turned around and headed back the long way rather than risk scratching their polished chrome. You've seen the guys (and it is usually guys) out front of their motel rooms at 5 am for two hours waxing and polishing before the day's ride. Not us. The dirtier, the better. We actually had fun on the gravel today, both laughing and trying to fishtail. It's only a matter of time before there's a drop, but don't worry we'll take a picture!
We had a heavy discussion this morning over a late breakfast (if you can call it that - just looking at all the white death the motel's "free continental breakfast" that lures to into booking, makes your arteries harden, and thus we resisted and had instant oatmeal and
bananas) as to whether or not we should continue to write these blogs. They are alot of work, even when condensed, and it takes alot of time importing photos, creating the map and even sorting out video which is non-existent on the blog at the moment (but you didn't need us to tell you that). At the end of a long day like yesterday, it's the last thing we feel like doing. So, we went back on forth on the merits of putting in so much time for a small faithful loyal audience, and voiced our concerns that we aren't getting any feedback (no comments lately), and wondering if this is too much effort for a trip that isn't mind-blowing and a first time out of this world experience like the St. John's and Back last year. Perhaps we should use the time to actually explore the area we have ridden into and discover more attractions like the Moose Saloon. We came full circle at the end of 15 minutes, acknowledging that we made a commitment to our family and friends to tell our story, and at the end of the day, it's ultimately our blog for us to read
in future years when, in our senility, we won't remember all the details .... Whoa Nelly.
And so here we are, madly writing today's blog before heading out for dinner tonight in Helena, Montana.
More green on green today, lake after lake. One deer. One highlight was discovering as we rode into Lincoln, MT that it looked very familiar and it all clicked when we rode by a cafe with old lace curtains adorning the rotting wood windows. Cinnamon Bun Capital of Montana! We had stopped here last year and had the BIGGEST cinnamon buns we have ever seen. Today, we shared ONE. Now that's willpower. And hypocritical having just talked about white death! Last year's route brought us there via Missoula, this year however we came from the north on route 83 and into 200, before turning right onto 279 to get into Helena. On our first pass through before u-turning back to the cafe, we waved at least 100 bikes and their riders settling in on the main and only street, spanning a whopping 4 blocks. Clearly, we weren't on the guest list for the first annual Lincoln motorbike rally. We were the only dualsport in
town, and didn't receive much of a warm welcome. Not one of the Harley crowd gave us any wave.
We both absolutely love riding these mountain passes and secondary routes. Switchbacks beckoned endless times, only to throw you out of tight corners towards vertical dropoffs with minimal or no barriers. Coupled with zero traffic, these roads make for an exhilarating, challenging technical ride saturated with gear changes, accelerations and decelerations out of and into each corner, steep banking, and fast switches aka a rider's dream. Ian had some fun with the video camera again today, filming while underway with his left hand. That may be another "drop" photo at some point? I attempted to do the same with the digital camera, but couldn't manipulate it with my left, so used my throttle right and came to an almost standstill with only 2 shots achieved. Time to get helmet cams?
This is definitely horse country. Ranches everywhere. Horses everywhere. Big diesel trucks everywhere. Have yet to see any cowboys actually in the saddle. Or bears today. Which reminds me of the handpainted sign in large red lettering on the side of the road on route 83 this afternoon: BEARS
1/4 mile. So I slow down, start to look in the trees for any sign of them, thinking that this is either a warning or information banner. 1/4 mile later, on the left hand side, tucked into the trees is a country store called Bears. OK, not one of my brighter moments.
Well, we will wrap this up for today so we can get out and see this block of Helena at least!
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