In this year, my seventh season of motorcycle touring with my tent and sleeping bag, my wanderlust is drawing me back to Montana. It seems I left my heart in that state when I first rode west of the Rockies there in 2015. Riding east of the Rockies in 2017 perpetuated the love story and included a life-changing experience which eventually required me to acknowledge that one’s dreams can arrive too late in life to become reality. But admitting that you have become just too damn old to do everything you can dream of doing is necessary in order to claim the delights that await in what you can actually still do. That had been my task since riding through Wisdom, MT, in 2017, on my way home with a healing leg injury and a still-injured ego that would take much longer to find equilibrium. So in 2019 I revisited my favorite places and people on both sides of the Montana Rockies, knowing that I would make new memories to cherish, and that dreams, as dear as they may be, cannot be counted upon to satisfy nearly as fully as each day actually in the saddle.
Gallery 1 – Day 1
Gallery 2 – Hwy 3 and Beyond
Hwy 3, Idaho
Gallery 3 – A Dirt Ride that Wasn’t
I had chosen to ride off the mountain from Dickey Lake via a little-traveled road, the only town along which was Trego. When I pulled up at the town's 1-stop shop, I began chuckling. The sign for one door said "Open" while the other said "Closed"...and on the "Open" door was a small sign saying "Please use other door." Oh well, I didn't really want to go in anyway.
Gallery 4 – Glacier National Park and the Eastern Front
Going to the Sun
Gallery 5 – A Lake and a Land of “Hills”
Lake Frances near Valier, MT
The rear tire on my bike wears out fast. I had been measuring the tread daily since leaving home and I left Glacier knowing I would be changing a tire that evening. When I reached Lake Frances, I pitched my tent, said Hello to the camp host, Jerry, who remembered me from my fateful visit in 2017. That year he banged out some dents resulting from a little crash on my Suzuki V-Strom, near the Tiber Dam. He was pleased that I was back, and even more pleased that I wasn't likely to be crashing this bike. And he proved helpful once again. I was so tired that I forgot an essential step in changing a tire. He came by as I was struggling to get the rubber off the rim, watched a moment, then asked, "Did you break the bead?" Well no, I hadn't remembered that step. Then he asked whether I had anything with which to lubricate the new tire before mounting it. Well yes, I did. But by the time I got to that step, I forgot about using the lubricant until I was in the middle of a struggle to get the rubber back on the rim. Thankfully, I remembered it before Jerry came by to check on me again.
Gallery 6 – North to South – From Friend to Friend
Canyon Ferry Lake stretches on for 23 miles. This view is looking south from it northern tip. By the time I got there, I had begun to wonder about the clouds forming in the direction of Butte. I had mapped a route that, according to my GPS map, would keep me off I-15, but it turned out to include portions of the road that were no longer passable and I twice backtracked several miles before accepting I-15 as the only reliably viable route into Butte. I was so tired when I reached my friend's home that I wanted to crawl into a corner and cry. Instead, I fell asleep in a chair on her front porch while waiting for her to get home from work.