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