On the Road in Montana

Apparently “Montana” comes from the Spanish word “mountain”.  Makes perfect sense given that 1/3 of the State is mountainous. it’s got the largest grizzly population in the lower 48 and elk, deer and antelope combined outnumber its human residents. Lots of roads, little traffic and wide open spaces make it a joy for riders.

After being on the move for a while, it was time to stay put for a few days. My first reaction of this campsite I’d reserved at the campsite in Polson, was a sinking feeling.  A postage size lot, the only tent on site swamped with RV’s – also on postage size lots, and stuck on a grassy corner.

 

Camping RV

But then the sunrise the next morning from a deck overlooking Flathead Lake and all was well.  I had this view, shade and reliable wifi. All was well.

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Not to be outdone by the sunrise was this spectacular sunset, made more vivid by the smoke drifting over from a forest fire in Idaho.

Sunset smoke sm

 Flathead Lake is known for the sweet and succulent cherries that flourish on its eastern shore. It reminded me of dad’s farm, with the cherry orchards on the shore of Lake Ontario. No mountains in Niagara though, only an escarpment.

Flathead Lake Cherry Orchard sm

 Of course I had to stop at a roadside stand and taste – and buy a quart. They were as delicious as any I could remember. So delicious – freshly picked, and I didn’t have to pick them!

Flathead Cherry Stand sm

 This farmer was proud of his crop – and so he should be. It was perfect!  I hope he had a good season.

Flathead Lake Cherries sm

Yesterday’s morning ride took me north along the Kootenai River, one of the largest tributaries flowing into the Columbia River. One wonders where that water has been and if it’s ever passed this way before.

Kootenai River sm

I was headed for the Libby Dam, completed in the 19t60’s and responsible for the formation of Lake Koocanusa (pronounced – coo -can-oosa) which stretches up across the border into Canada. A bridge just south of the border creates a 100+ mile loop, which makes an amazing ride.

Libby Dam sm

The girl at the visitor center told me there was a nice waterfall about 1/4 mile hike from the road. She didn’t tell me I had to ride a mile down a logging road to get to the trailhead. This sign made me think twice but I figured I’d check it out. When the road narrowed and I couldn’t find the trailhead, I’d already decided I wasn’t going for any hike in grizzly country, so turned around and got back to the main road.

Grizzly Bear Sign sm

I took a brief trip across the border into Canada but the road gets too far away from Lake Koocanusa. The mountains however seemed to shoot up in size and grandeur as soon as I got into British Columbia.

BC Rockies sm

A beautiful day’s ride, even if the temperature did reach 95 deg F. Today I continue west again, aiming for the coast of Oregon by Saturday night.

Posted in Life Lessons from Motorcycles
4 comments on “On the Road in Montana
  1. Carol Reichert says:

    Oh Liz, how I wish I were on the back of your bike with you…..as brave as you are I am with you in taking caution of grizzly bear country……My heart is full when I think of you and your travels……how I wish for a moment I had your courage……..I am watching you…….Carol

    • lizjansen says:

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your kind words. Riding across the country is just going for a ride every day. If you can ride, you can ride anywhere. You have a well of courage there – ready whenever you are. You’re using it every day and not realizing it. Just start small and watch it grow. 🙂

      Hope you’re getting some riding time in!

      Best,
      Liz

  2. Penny Green says:

    wonderful post – do you plan out your route in advance or do you just wing it?

    • lizjansen says:

      Thanks – and good question Penny. I usually have a few data points – places I want to get to – they form a loose outline – and in between, I wing it! 🙂

      Liz

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