2014 Fall Tour – Part 3

 

U.S. Hwy 12 linking Missoula, MT to Lewiston, ID is one of the best motorcycling roads in America.  L-R, Richard, Robyn and Bjorn celebrate the road's 'goodness' at the Montana-Idaho state line

U.S. Hwy 12 linking Missoula, MT to Lewiston, ID is one of the best motorcycling roads in America. L-R, Richard, Robyn and Bjorn celebrate the road’s ‘goodness’ at the Montana-Idaho state line

Day 3 – Missoula, MT to Moscow, ID

After two full days of riding, the guys want a relaxed Day 3.  At last night’s supper in the Montana Club restaurant, Richard insists on using his iPad Mini to have his wife in Edmonton  ‘join’ us at the table.  The two-way video conference works flawlessly as he points his iPad at us and shows Maggie our surroundings.  We politely try to chat with her over the din of restaurant noise.  Technology enables us to be away from loved ones and still remain very connected.

We’re not in a hurry this morning.  There’s a BMW dealership in Missoula and we grab breakfast and head there for a look-see.  Big Sky Motorsports is a surprisingly large store and their selection of BMW motorcycles and accessories is very good.  GSA rider Richard is doing an impressive sales job on Bjorn, who’s contemplating a move from his Honda Varadero, but we can tell he’s wincing painfully as Richard tallies up the long, long list of expensive accessories the new liquid-cooled GSA can be guzzied up with.  I’m guessing Bjorn is feeling a sharp pain in the wallet area at the shed-load of cash for a fully-equipped GSA.

Refueling in Missoula, the RT is boringly consistent, returning 5.09 L/100 km (55.4 Imp. mpg.)  In preparation for tackling the legendary U.S. Hwy 12 (aka the Lewis & Clark Trail), one of the best motorcycling roads in America, I set the R1200RT’s ESA suspension to “Hard” and riding mode to “Dynamic.”  This ought to be fun!

U.S. Hwy 12 (aka the Lewis & Clark Trail) regularly ranks in the top 10 motorcycling roads in America

U.S. Hwy 12 (aka the Lewis & Clark Trail) regularly ranks in the top 10 motorcycling roads in America.  Photo at Lowell, ID

I’ve ridden the sinewy U.S. 12 numerous times, but in the past few years, it’s been west-to-east, from Lewiston to Missoula.  This time, we’re riding east-to-west, and it feels like a very different ride.  Perhaps its the relative newness of riding in that direction and the lack of traffic in late September.  Richard, who’s a rider with lots of kilometres and many years of riding under his belt is ecstatic; he’s never ridden the Lewis & Clark Trail and when we stop at the hamlet of Lowell for lunch, his jubilation is uncontainable.  “This is the BEST!  I can’t believe I’ve never been on this road before!”, he exclaims.

I recharge on cocoanut cream pie and coffee while the others order lunch.  We continue on west on the swervacious 2-lane pavement of U.S. 12 to Lewiston.

At the top of the Old Spiral Highway at Lewiston, ID.  L-R, Bjorn, Robyn, Tim and Richard.  This is gem of a motorcycle road.  Hairpin turns, steep grade and perfect pavement says it all

At the top of the Old Spiral Highway at Lewiston, ID. L-R, Bjorn, Robyn, Tim and Richard. This is gem of a motorcycle road. Hairpin turns, steep grade and perfect pavement says it all

Missoula, MT to Lewiston, ID is 322 kilometres (200 miles) of motorcycling nirvana.  In summer, traffic can be heavy and slow, but on our Fall tour, the motorcycle gods have seemingly cleared the road for us.  Traffic is light and we ride at a nice, sport-touring pace.

On U.S. 95, we ride north to Moscow.  This road too is designated a scenic highway.

“It’s ‘Football Weekend’ in Moscow”

Arriving in Moscow, I pull into the Best Western University Inn, a large facility that serves the University of Idaho across the street.  Late Friday afternoon, the desk clerk says there are still some rooms available, but asks ominously, “You KNOW it’s ‘Football Weekend’, don’t you?”  With that, he says the room rate is $200.00 USD per night.  I look at Robyn; he looks like he’s ready to pack it in for the day, and I’m tired too.  I make an executive decision, bite the bullet and wearily hand my credit card to the clerk.

Bjorn and Richard decide the price is too steep and ride to Colfax, WA, twenty-five miles west in search of a less expensive option.  When they check into the Best Western Wheatland Inn, the room rate is only slightly cheaper than Moscow’s inflated rate.  The desk clerk there tells Richard when it’s ‘football weekend’ in Moscow, lodging in Colfax, WA  fills up first with frugal fans trying to save a few dollars.  Bjorn and Richard are forced to pay a university football-inflated rate, too.

Prime rib at the Best Western University Inn, Moscow, ID is among the best I've had

Prime rib at the Best Western University Inn, Moscow, ID is among the best I’ve had

Meanwhile, back in Moscow, Robyn and I take supper at the Best Western’s main floor lounge.  I wouldn’t normally choose a hotel’s restaurant, preferring to find some other ‘local’ eatery, but we’re tired an it’s convenient.  My meal is a big surprise.  I order the 8 ox. prime rib ($17.50), and it’s outstanding, and among the best prime rib dinners I’ve ever had.

Except for missing Bjorn and Richard’s company at supper, it’s been the third straight day of glorious motorcycling.

Next:  2014 Fall Tour, Part 4 (conclusion)

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Charlie says:

    Your ride description makes me jealous. I have to quit this silly working stuff.

  2. Linda J says:

    Enjoying the account of your fall tour — and missing southern Alberta and Montana…

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