Beth Dixon: Day Nine

Frank Hilliard
by Frank Hilliard

Sunday, Sept. 25

Chris Spindler was up and had his BMW packed before I was conscious. I awoke to the sound of a K-whiner riding off. Godfrey was already up (does the man _ever_ sleep?) and about. Jeff came to and stumbled to the kitchen to plug in the coffee pot. Coffee helped. I felt almost human after a cup or two. Jeff packed up his Ducati and rode for Boise. I started to pack my Duc and Godfrey to load the VSSC. Pat wandered out of the bedroom looking worse for the wear and mumbled something about pancakes. Godfrey and I decided to stick around for breakfast. :-) I finally left the Loughery's about noon.

I took I-95 South to 12 East. 95 is a decent two-lane highway, but rather boring. The corners were few and far between. Those I could find were posted at 40mph. After the first couple, I ignored the signs. At least it was easy to pass. I gassed up outside of Lewiston so I wouldn't have to go through downtown again. Found 12 East and promptly went flying right on by a highway patrolman. He must have been busy with his coffee and donut because he never even looked up.

12 is a nice road. I like roads that follow water anyway, and 12 follows the Clearwater River. Nice sweepers the entire way, good pavement, easy to pass motorhomes and other rolling chicanes. Again, any corner signed at 40mph or above was an "ignore the stupid sign" corner.

I filled The Slut's tank in Orofino because I wasn't sure how much gas there'd be from there to Lolo Springs. I could have waited to Kamiah.

Oh well. Met a Harley rider headed back to Lewiston from Lolo. He said he hadn't seen any deer, but there was a coyote running down the middle of the road. He gave me his name and phone numbers just in case I hit trouble and needed some help. When I thanked him he mumbled something about bikers needing to stick together even if I was on "a rice rocket." I started to laugh and told him it was a pasta rocket. He gave me a rather strange look, then went to look at the Ducati. He sort of grinned over his shoulder as he walked back to his bike, saying, "At least its a twin!"

From Orofino the road is even better. Sweepers all the way. The river makes great scenery, lined with trees and all that. When I got to the "winding road next 77 miles sign" I laughed out loud. I wanted to stop and take a photo, but there wasn't really a good spot to pull over. I was having a blast and had just gotten to the Really Good Part (tm). It was late afternoon, just getting dark. I had to make myself slow down and watch for Bambi. This is a road it would be really easy to ride faster than might be prudent. I did the standard roll on through the corner routine, and found myself going faster and faster for each consecutive corner. Fun! Really f*cking fun! But I knew Bambo had to be lurking somewhere.

It started getting cold as the sun went down. I stopped in a dirt turn-out. Noticed the ground was strewn with deer tracks. I sat on a rock to watch the river while I took a short break, munching on the pretzels I'd stolen from Pat that morning. I put on a long-sleeved t-shirt, my warmer all leather gloves and my silk balaclava. I swapped my sunglasses for my clear-lensed Gargoyles (they help keep wind out of my eyes).

It was pitch black by the time I hit the top of the pass. Couldn't see worth shit. When I came up on a cage travelling at a decent rate, I stayed behind him and used his headlights to light my way. It was only about 6:30 (7:30 Mountain time) and it was dark already. And getting colder. I had my electric vest with me, but didn't want to ride all the way to Missoula in the dark whether warm or not. Up ahead....lights! I stopped at the Fort Lolo Hot Springs Resort and checked in for the night. Comfy room, and the bar and restaurant were still open. The hot springs pool was closed for the night, but I didn't really care. I was a bit worn out by this time. (I hate riding in the dark -- just hate it. Probably because I can't see very well.)

I carefully motored my way across the rutted dirt/gravel parking lot and parked near my room. I unloaded the bike, stuck my head in the sink, ran a comb through my hair and headed for dinner before the placed closed. I perked up considerably when I realized they had Widmer Hefeweizen on tap. I had two, or was it three?, in short order. It went very well with the amazingly good scampi (who'd have figured the middle of a Montana mountain pass would have a restaurant with good scampi?). Two women at a nearby table had helmets with them. I'd seen a couple of cruisers in the parking lot. I went to say hello and we chatted for a bit. Both were fairly local, the hot springs were a day ride for them.

I wrote and addressed a couple of postcards over another beer. My dad was less than thrilled about his little girl riding a SFI red sportbike all over hell and gone by herself for two weeks. I tried to mail a postcard to my folks every couple of days so they wouldn't worry too much. Called Jim Franklin but had to leave a message as he was out. Made another couple of phone calls and heard the news about John Daker. Not much I could do from Lolo but think good thoughts, so I had another beer for John. Back to the room and to bed. I was whipped.

Next: Monday -- do I ride back Lolo or make time on I-90?

Frank Hilliard
Frank Hilliard

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