Four Corners - Day 2
Start Location: Lewiston, ID
Ending Location: White Sulphur Springs, MT
Miles Today: 415
Trip Miles: 801
States Visited: 3
Low Temp: 65 degrees
High Temp: 85 degrees
Min Elevation: 764'
Max Elevation: 6329'
Okay, a few housekeeping items. First, several of you may have noticed that the mileage on the map does not match the mileage in the summary each day. There are actually three mileages. The mileage in the summary is the actual mileage directly from the odometer on the bike (which tends to be optomistic). The other mileages come from the ForeRunner GPS mounted on the handlebars of the bike. It calculates and records latitude and longitude readings every second. Then it has an internal algorithm that uses this to calculate exact mileage. Finally I export the data at the end of the day into a computer program called SportTracks that also calculates the mileage using its internal algorithm and builds the maps that are displayed each day. I don't know which is the most accurate, but Im not sure I care.
Second, I know that there are several computer novices out there following this dialog. If you don't fall into that category, you can skip the rest of this paragraph. For those that are still here, you will notice that several places throughout these pages there are words or phrases that are underlined and frequently displayed in a different color than the rest of the text. These are 'Links' and, if you move the mouse pointer over them and click the left button, a picture or web page with more information about the highlighted item will be displayed. If you click on the link and display this information, you can get right back to where you were by clicking on the left arrow in the upper left corner of your window. It is sometimes labeled 'Back' and will always back up to the previous screen.
Well we left Lewiston this morning and continued on route 12 since we still had Lewis and Clark to point the way. Route 12 follows the Clearwater River and Clearwater Canyon out of Lewiston. I've taken this route before, it's about 180 miles to Lolo Pass and it's an incredible ride. When you see signs like this, you know you're in for a good ride. Actually there was another sign for 77 miles but we couldn't stop to get a picture of it. We also took a few pictures of the river on the way up to the pass. Here's one Linda took while we were riding and here's another one. This is one we took while we were stopped. Once we got to Lolo Pass, we were greeted with a nice Visitor's Center and information about the pass. We also ran into a couple of biker chicks. I had to throw that in to keep Jason's attention. All in all, the road was great, the temperature was good, there was light traffic - just a great ride.
Unfortunately it was somewhat downhill from there - literally and figuratively. As soon as we passed into Montana, the speed limit went up but the roads were not nearly as interesting - at least not at first. After about 30 miles, Route 12 goes directly through Missoula and then joins up with I90 for a while. Once we got back onto 12, we ran into construction and the dreaded sign 'Extreme Caution - Loose Gravel Next 10 Miles'. It wasn't quite as bad as it sounded but it wasn't a lot of fun either. From there the road went right through downtown Helena. State routes are great once you're out of town but they tend to go right through the center of many towns. After Helena, the road got significantly better ranging between 5000 and 6000 feet elevation through both forests and open plains - not a bad way to end the days ride.
We really scored on a motel room in White Sulphur Springs. We got a nice room in a brand new motel that had just installed high speed wireless Internet the day before. We were the first ones to use and, while there were a few problems, we eventually got up and running. Although it did take a call to Jake, the guy who installed the system - I guess there's something to be said for small towns.
More tomorrow - Montana is a really big state and it's getting late!!