Part 2 – The Great Schnitzel Run of 2015, Cranbrook, BC to Orofino, ID

 

Refueling at St. Maries, ID.  This part of Idaho has some of the best 'drivers' roads in the western U.S.

Refueling at St. Maries, ID. This part of Idaho has some of the best ‘drivers’ roads in the western U.S.

Day 2, and it promises to be shorter with a more interesting variety of scenery and twisty bits of pavement.

We’re heading south, into Idaho which has some of the best motorcycle roads in the western United States.

Last night while digesting after our Schnitzel feast, we gathered in the pub at the Heritage Inn.  Our designated Squadron Leader, Robyn, calls for 7:00 AM breakfast in the hotel restaurant and ‘wheels up’ at 8:00 AM.  The schedule is a good compromise  – a little late for some, too early for a few and that Goldilocks ‘golden mean’, ‘just right’ for the rest of us.

We’ve been staying at the Heritage Inn for a few years on our rides to Cranbrook; one of the attractions was the ‘included’ hot breakfast in the restaurant where guests were able to order from the menu.  This year, the hot breakfast has devolved to a run-of-the-mill breakfast buffet with a steam table full of the nondescript, standard fare that penny pinching chain hotels across the nation offer – ‘scrambled’ eggs, sausage, pancakes, etc.  It’s a step down from the enjoyable breakfasts the Inn used to provide.

At the 8:00 AM departure time, a couple of eager beavers in the group have ridden off and will meet us along the way or at our destination in Orofino at the end of the day.  Our troop rolls out of the parking lot and a third group are still packing bikes and will depart a few minutes after us.

The ride to Yahk and the U.S. border crossing is uneventful.  The U.S. Border Guard asks the standard series of questions and keenly observes our doddering collection of BMW riders is no threat to America’s national security.  He efficiently whoooshes each one of us through and we’re southbound to the lovely, tourist town of Sandpoint, ID.

After crossing the border into the U.S., everything to me just feels different.  The secondary roads seem a little narrower than B.C.’s and elevations changes become more frequent.  Maybe it’s just me, but the views seem more scenic or maybe it’s just the idea of being in a different country that somehow changes the lens through which I view the world.

Day 2 route - 2015 Schnitzel Run

Day 2 route – 2015 Schnitzel Run  Click image for full view

Hello again – getting re-acquainted with the 2014 R1200RTW

The R1200RTW is becoming comfortably familiar again.  After purchasing the R1200RTW as a pre-owned 2014 BMW ‘buy-back’ last Fall, my first ‘big’ trip  was in mid-September.  I didn’t have the mileage or time to truly ‘bond’ with the bike.

Yesterday’s 700 km ride was enough to re familiarize myself with numerous electronic menus and the bike’s multiplicity of features, and today I’m feeling comfortable and relaxed.

The R1200RTW is a wonderfully grand, sport-touring motorcycle.  With the windscreen adjusted so I can look over the top of it, there is a nice, relatively calm pocket of air behind the aerodynamically-designed fairing, aided by clear plastic ‘winglets’ mounted above the mirrors.  At highway cruising speed and wearing my Nolan N90 flip-up helmet, wind management is right at the threshold tolerable noise, so one could ride without earplugs for a short while.  I choose to always wear earplugs.

On transit days, I ride with the bike’s ESA suspension set to ‘Soft.’  I admit, I’m a glutton for luxury.  But in Idaho, the roads become more interesting so I change the setting:  Soft > Normal > Hard and change the riding mode to Dyna.  With the suspension setting so adjusted, the RTW’s personality changes from a luxurious touring bike to an impressively responsive and sporting machine.  Throttle response is quickened and the stiffer suspension allows a quicker  turn-in and faster reacting motorcycle.  Life is good.

The OEM ‘standard’ saddle is not so good.  My RT arrived with the BMW low saddle when I bought it; I had it adjusted to its tallest setting, which, even with my short 30-in. inseam, allowed me to flat-foot the bike.  My BMW dealer exchanged the low saddle for the standard one at no cost, and I have it in the low position.  The OEM standard saddle is ok for a couple of hours.  Saddle comfort is a personal matter.  I’ve rectified the saddle issue with a relatively inexpensive air-inflatable Airhawk saddle cushion.

The Panhandler Pies Restaurant, Sandpoint, ID

It’s become our tradition to stop at the Panhandler Pies Restaurant and Bakery whenever we travel through Sandpoint.  We arrive mid-morning, just in time for coffee (and pie) or for some of us, a second breakfast.  The restaurant is rustic and charming, and the servers recognize our troop of Canadians from previous years’ visits.

One of The Panhandler's breakfast skillets

One of The Panhandler’s breakfast skillets

With full bellies we leave Sandpoint and ride for St. Maries and once we’re in that neck of the woods, the number of motorcycles on the road increases noticeably.  In and around St. Maries is one of the finest motorcycling regions in the western U.S. and we ride at a spirited pace.

Denis on his 2014 R1200RTW

Denis on his 2014 R1200RTW

 

Local/County Road P1 – Kendrick to Orofino

Local/County Road P1 runs from Kendrick to Orofino.  In fact (and with apologies to the residents of these communities) it goes from nowhere to nowhere.

P1 is paved, remote and with very little traffic.  It’s a long, hellaciously twisty back road without much civilization to detract from the endless corners.

For the well-traveled motorcyclists familiar with the B.C. Kootenays, P1 is much, much twistier than the famed Highway 3A from Creston to Crawford Bay or the mountain roads near Kaslo and Nakusp, B.C.

I’d say P1 is one of the most technically challenging and easily one of the best motorcycle roads I’ve ridden on.  It rivals Rattlesnake Pass (Asotin, WA Hwy #129 to Enterprise, OR Hwy #3.)  P1 is generally well paved and in good condition, and it’s long.  En route, we see many Harley riders and somewhere along the way there’s a motorcycle rally with easily a couple hundred cruiser riders occupying a campground.

P1 has one (not so nice) surprise – there is one place where the road crests and just over the rise there is a HARD right corner, and no signs to warn of the directional change.  Every rider commented on that ‘surprise.’

Orofino, ID

Sideways, I know.  At Orofino's supermarket, $4.29 bottles of wine,  unbelievably inexpensive for Canadians used to paying high 'sin' taxes

Sideways photo, I know. At Orofino’s supermarket, $4.29 bottles of wine, unbelievably inexpensive for Canadians used to paying high ‘sin’ taxes

In Orofino, Phil leads us to the town’s supermarket to stock up on provisions for this evening’s steak dinner.  (Details below.)  Wine, potato chips, dip and soft drinks are bought, and we’re all amused that there are $4.29 bottles of wine on the shelf.  We Canadians are used to paying high ‘sin’ taxes on alcohol, and the cheap U.S. prices are an eye opener.

Phil guides our group through town to the Konkolville Motel, run by Joseph and Sherry Chapman.

Because Orofino is surrounded by twisty country roads, its a favourite destination for motorcycle and car clubs.  Joseph Chapman says their summer season is booked heavily by clubs, and as Phil discovered a few visits ago, the Konkolville Motel has an undeniably attractive ‘deal’.  When you reserve a room, you can book a steak dinner for $18.00.  That includes an approx. 14 oz New York Strip steak (that you barbecue yourself), and a baked potato and salad prepared by the Chapmans.

In Orofino, ID the Konkolville Motel offers a superb cook-it-yourself New York Strip steak, baked potato and salad with your stay for $18.00

In Orofino, ID the Konkolville Motel offers a superb cook-it-yourself New York Strip steak, baked potato and salad with your stay for $18.00

The Chapman’s have their cook-it-yourself steak barbecue process organized efficiently, with groups given assigned time slots to use their large, stainless steel BBQ rigs.

Joseph brings our pre-seasoned, fresh New York Sirloin Strip steaks out and offers cooking advice:  “Cook your steak 8 minutes on one side then about 6-8 minutes on the second side for medium-rare”, he suggests.  His timing is right on.

Dining on New York Strip steaks at the Knonkolville Motel, Orofino, ID

Dining on New York Strip steaks at the Knonkolville Motel, Orofino, ID

We dine on our steaks al fresco, and Gale cracks open the bottle of wine she bought in town.

Just as she begins pouring into a plastic cup, Joseph appears and says, “I can give you real wine glasses for that.”

 

The Konkolville Motel's 12 oz. New York Strip steak is enough for two reasonable people.  I enjoyed it all by myself

The Konkolville Motel’s 12 oz. New York Strip steak is enough for two reasonable people. I enjoyed it all by myself

So the Konkolville Motel is friendly and classy, too.  Inside our rooms, we notice the decor is older (in what era was blue bathroom fixtures in vogue?)  But our room is immaculately clean and the bathroom in our unit is in perfect condition.  The next morning over the provided Continental breakfast, I remark that after slipping into bed last night, I observed the bedding smelled noticeably fresh.  That’s not something I can say about every small motel I’ve stayed at.

The Konkolvill Motel is highly recommended.  This was Phil’s fourth visit to this establishment in last past few years.  We’ll be back.

Day 2 from Cranbrook, B.C. to Orofino, ID was a relatively short day, a little more than 500 km.  The roads were superb, especially P1 from Kendrick to Orofino.  The icing on the cake was our superb stay at the Konkolville Motel and the fabulous steak dinner, all made even better in the company of good friends.

A raft of BMWs at the Konkolville Motel, Orofino, ID

A raft of BMWs at the Konkolville Motel, Orofino, ID

Readying for departure, Orofino, ID

Readying for departure, Orofino, ID

Next:  2015 Schnitzel Run, Part 3 – The Run Home

1 Comment

  1. Richard says:

    thanks “T”

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