Alaska 2023

Day 22

July 29

  Maggie finally decides that I'm not such a bad feller after all and graciously consents for me to pet her. It impresses her when I present my Professional Petter card for her examination.  
  Once again Todd and Kari go out of their way to make me wonderful breakfast with homemade scones. I'm really beginning to like this hotel and restaurant and you sure can't beat the prices. But I know that guests and fish both begin to stink after a few days so I've only planned on staying one night with them.  
  It's time to hit the road and head for the Holler so once again I thank them for being so kind this old hillbilly and I'm off.  
  I make it a point to take in the lovely view one more time as I leave.  
  Not far from their house, there's a family of wild turkeys crossing the road so I just stop and let them have the right of way.  
  Today I've only got 380 miles to cover and I'll be riding one of my favorite highways - Highway 12 which runs through Lolo Pass.  
  I pass by a lovely church off to my right and I have to admire the excellent condition of the building.  
  Todd has routed me through the town of Davenport which will keep me out of the craziness of riding near Spokane as I had originally intended.  
  It's really quiet at this time of day and for that I am thankful as I can ease through it with no drama.  
  The next little town is called Harrington and ...  
  has an interesting downtown with many older buildings that have been kept up over the years.  
  Todd redirected me to take Highway 23 out of Harrington to Highway 195. This is a much better route than I had planned and I really appreciate his knowledge.  
  It's pretty deserted and ...  
  runs through some serious farm country.  
  Nothing like having a nice highway all to yourself - especially when you are on two wheels.  
  As I pass by one small village, I can't help but notice that a church is in the center of it. This country was lot better off when churches were the center of towns and not the jokes of towns.  
  Before long. I turn onto 195 which will take me down the mountain past Lewiston and on to Highway 12.  
  I remember this intersection as there is a Washington State line sign nearby that I used for one of my other ST1100s.  
  I was going to do the Old Spiral Highway which is the old road down the mountain to Lewiston. It is one of the finest motorcycle highways in the state but given my injuries I decide discretion is the better part of valor and skip it for today.  
  Soon I am on my beloved highway 12 - one of my favorite roads in United States.  
  It is a lovely combination of great scenery and great sweepers. I notice an old railroad bridge in the distance making its way across the river.  
  And it runs for a good part right along several different rivers which I really enjoy.  
  When I pass this, I can't help but notice the curious road to the top.  
  Highway 12 is not really tight stuff, just sweeper after sweeper wrapping around curves in the rivers and the mountain ridges.  
  I see another old railroad bridge in the distance.  

I remember when I stopped by this sign to get a picture with my bike. A local woman gave me a lecture about blocking traffic (I was on the side of the road) while she sat in her car in the middle of the road blocking traffic both ways. My response was a simple one -

"Ma'am, I'll be glad to do that just as soon as you get your car out of the way."

She quickly drove off with a confused look on her face and I just had to laugh and go on myself.

  I see a group of riders coming up from the rear so I slow down and wave them on. I figure they are out for a run together and I'm in no hurry so I let them in front of me. Then I just stick with their tail gunner as they are setting a reasonable pace.  
  As I motor along, I notice that there is dribbles of red stuff on the road and pretty soon I figure out it is slick as fresh snot.  

I come to a construction stop and there is another rider there. He says -

"That stuff is really slick isn't it!"

and I agree with him. I can't figure out what it is but it almost looks like something has leaked out of a tanker truck.

  Curiously it ends at the Montana state line which makes me think it was purposely applied to the road surface. I notice that the Montana DOT has raised the state line sign up high to keep people from putting their stickers on it. The old had some much graffiti on it you could hardly make out what the sign said.  
  As I near Missoula, the road levels out and straightens out.  
  I enter into Missoula proper and begin the twists and turn to get to my motel for the evening.  
  It's a Travelodge and I think the lady behind the desk puts me in the farthest room from the door. But at least they have a luggage cart so I don't have to tote my baggage.  
  The only meal option is a Burger King sort of cross cornered across the street. Everything other option seems to have gone shut and out of business.  
  There's only teenagers running the place and they really can't be bothered by an old man like me. I finally get my stuff and it's okay but that's about it.  
  I make myself a mental note that when I come this way again I will definitely stay somewhere else. But I've come to spend the night not a lifetime so I make my way back across to my room and collapse into a fitful sleep.