Beth Dixon: Day Ten

Monday, Sept. 26

Up about 9:00am Mountain time. Great view out my window of the side of a mountain. I went to the restaurant for some hash browns and ham, then back to my room to pack up. Rolled out of the parking lot about 10:30a.m. heading east. Stopped in Lolo Springs for gas. Only took 3.2 gallons, so I wasn't as close to running on fumes as I had thought. Took 93 North through Missoula, MT, to 90 West. I needed to cover some distance if I wanted to ride Washinton Highway 20 the next day. Just west of Missoula, the odometer rolled 12,000 miles.

I-90 wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. It is scenic for an interstate. Follows a river; nice rolling, tree-covered hills too. The pavement is in good shape and I didn't see any highway patrolman. I kept her up to about 85mph and covered ground. It was warm and sunny, but not so hot that I was too warm. Very comfortable, as a matter of fact.

I stopped in a rest area west of Missoula about 80 miles. Met a guy from South Africa. He come over to look at the bike. Years ago, he had toured Europe on a BMW R65 and has a newer BMW at home waiting for him. He is touring the U.S. in a van; stopping when he feels like it and camping along the way. He was headed for Seattle, then south along the coast. I gave him my phone number so he could call when he was in my area (and he did contact me when he came through town.)

Back on the road, I kept up a good pace most of the way into Wallace. Slowed by road construction, I figured I might as well stop for gas. It seemed like all the really great (read "twisty for a freeway") sections of I-90 were down to one lane due to construction and traffic slowed, stuck behind motorhomes or trucks. Grrrr.

Back to west on I-90. I stopped again just east of Spokane at a rest area. I was making good time and would be going through Spokane just as rush hour started. I wanted a break first.

 I took 90 west into Spokane. What they call rush hour is light traffic where I come from. I found the turn off onto Highway 2 towards Newport. Because of a construction detour, 2 goes right through the town. Luckily, I hit all but one or two lights green. In no time I was through town and on Highway 2 North to Newport.

Highway 2 is a two-lane with fairly wide shoulders. Rather flat country with not much to see other than trees along the roadside. It was beginning to get dark, but I didn't have far to go. Once again, I was stopped by road construction. The crew was about ready to stop work for the day. I heard the flagger talking to her partner at the other end of the construction zone over the radio. After work, they were going to the hospital to visit a friend. Seems two cars were racing down the highway and didn't slow for the construction zone. They went through it at speed, hitting the flagger. The woman was, amazingly, alive but in the hospital with numerous serious injuries. The two racing bozos hadn't been apprehended.

Once out of the construction zone, a pickup truck decided to camp on my rear fender. I was doing 70mph in a 55 zone, and there was room for him to pass. He didn't, he just wanted to ride my fender. Finally, I turned on my right turn signal, slowed down, pulled to the right side of my lane and waved him past me. He went screaming past, then slammed on the brakes. I could see no reason for slowing down, but had figured this guy was a complete bozo and I didn't want anything to do with him. I checked my mirrors to make sure no one was behind me as I slowed rapidly. Then the truck's brake lights go off and almost immediately come on again. This idiot is stopped on the highway in front of me. As I came to a stop and put my left foot down, two mule deer trotted from the road into the woods. Mule deer are rather large when seen from that perspective.

I made it to Newport without further incident and pulled into the first hotel I came to. I checked in and pulled the bike into a parking spot in front of my room. As I was unloading luggage from The Slut, a small, white-haired old lady complemented me on my nice Ducati. From the way she spoke to me, I knew she liked motorcycles. Her name is Mary. When she was in her 20s (which was probably about 50 years ago) she raced motorcycles at Daytona -- when racing at Daytona meant riding on the sand of the beach. She and her husband both have medical problems that keep them from riding, but she said they both still miss it.

After a shower I walked to the Chinese restaurant next door for a dinner of decent pork fried rice. Back to the room, I checked the map to make sure I knew where I was going the next day and turned on the football game. Enjoyed watching Denver lose, then called it a night.

Tomorrow is Tuesday and that means the North Cascades Highway, one of my three all-time favorite roads.

Get in your Inbox