NOLA to Canadian Rockies 2018-Day 7

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ June 21, 2018/ BMW R1200RT, New Orleans to Canadian Rockies 2018, Touring/ 0 comments

Departure Location: Missoula, MT

Time: 0730

Weather Conditions: overcast, misty and 64F

Daily High Temperature: 84F

Destination: Spokane, WA

Daily Miles Logged: 408

Arrival Time: 1739

States Visited: Montana, Idaho, Washington

Daily Highlights:

  • Lolo Pass.  (Ride plan notes)After Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery crossed what is now Lolo Pass, on the Idaho-Montana border in the rugged Bitterroot Mountains west of Missoula, they described it as the most challenging yet majestic portion of their journey. At the 5,223-foot pass, which marks the state border, visitors will find the Lolo Pass Visitor Center overlooking patches of timber-flanked meadow. The Lolo Pass Visitor Center buildings were a part of the 1923 Old Mud Creek ranger station. In the 1970s, they were moved to Lolo Pass and restored. There, visitors can learn about the arduous 11-day journey of Lewis and Clark across the Bitterroots as well as the historic 1877 exodus of the Nez Perce Indians across the pass as they fled the U.S. Army’s attempts to confine them to a reservation. Lolo Pass lies along the ancient Nez Perce National Historic Trail and is one of the designated sites of Nez Perce National Historic Park, which commemorate this traditional route that the Nez Perce used for thousands of years to connect buffalo hunting grounds in the Great Plains with their ancestral homes in northeast Oregon.
  • Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway. describes the road as follows:
    • Absolutely beautiful views across Lake Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding mountains/hills. Lots of trees provide shade and there are many opportunities to stop for excellent photos and quiet relaxation.
    • Plenty of curves ranging from tight to sweeping. The road is quite smooth as it has been repaved in recent years.

A morning of haze, overcast skies and misting rain was not the beginning of the day we had all hoped for, but it was the day that was ours to appreciate and find the joy in owning.  After a quick top off of our fuel, we were well on our way only to discover that Jon’s GPS unit had suffered a failure of sorts in loading and processing the days route.  This obstacle, on top of the weather conditions the past few days, and a few other niggling quirks needing to be sorted out with his new bike, had Jon understandably frustrated.

Welcome sign at the Idaho/ Montana border at the beginning of the Lolo Pass.

As we pulled in to the visitor’s center, Jon made an effort to reload the days route into his Garmin unit only to discover that something with his maps had become corrupted and the only possibly solution was to reload them to the unit.  As he started that process, he decided to transfer the gpx file to the nav system on his bike via a USB thumb drive.  From the time that he walked out to his bike and came back into the center, two older ladies took his laptop, closed the lid, and pushed the the rest of his things onto the floor.  Jon handled the situation with grace and composure that I assure you I would not have been able to muster.” alt=”” width=”3024″ height=”4032″ /> Lolo Pass relief in the visitor center that mapped out the original Lewis & Clark pathway.


Before we set off, we prayed for good weather, safe riding, and for our Heavenly Father to lift our spirits as we went along our way.  All of our requests were honored throughout the day as we had just a few insignificant sprinkles over the course of our 400+ mile ride and with each passing mile joy returned.

Matt hanging our while a few others stopped for a quick photo.

At this hour, my words escape me in describing the awesome stretch of asphalt called Lolo Pass.  The historic significance of the area along with the scenery and exhilarating curves and turns that follow the river made for one of the most memorable rides I have ever had.  I may never be back this way again, but, it just might be worth the ride to this point just to do it again.

Due to the different map versions in our GPS units and the HD built in “infotainment” system, we missed our turn for our planned lunch stop.  That fortuitously led us to discover a total hidden gem called “Dad’s Diner” in Potlatch, Idaho.  Fresh baked breads, home cooked everything, reasonable prices, and very friendly service made the break great.” alt=”” width=”3024″ height=”4032″ /> My lunch was an open-faced hot roast beef sandwich on homemade wheat bread[/caption]

Jon worked on restoring his Garmin unit and by the time lunch was wrapped up, so was the reinstall that led to the fix of the previous issues.

om/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/img_0761.jpg” alt=”” width=”3024″ height=”4032″ /> Steven Jr was tired and food a way to get in a few winks during a photo stop[/caption]

Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway was a treat as it follows the shoreline of the lake for well over 50 miles.  Hairpin curves, switchbacks, and long sweepers delight riders like us, however, most of this byway seems to be in a heavily residential area.  So traffic entering into the roadway at times was a bit unsettling.  After 35-40 miles, we were looking for the interstate to get us to our home base for tonight in Spokane, Wa.  Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely, but it seemed to lack the variety of experience that we are getting spoiled in expecting as we explore these hidden away gems.

We encountered several traffic slowdowns and stops on the interstate that delayed our arrive by a little over 30 minutes.  Dinner was at a place recommended by the hotel staff called the Rusty Moose.  I don’t understand the name, but the food was good… I chose to split a steak with Jr rather than roll the dice with another potential salmon failure.

uploads/2018/06/img_6887.jpg” alt=”” width=”3024″ height=”4032″ /> Jon was happy once more and found his inner child while waiting for the hotel shuttle to pick us up for the night[/caption]

Tomorrow, we push towards Seattle which will be our rendezvous point with Trent who will be joining us for the next week.


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