A River Runs Through It, Blackfoot River, Challis ID, Drummond MT, Galena Summit, Grantsdale MT, Indian Trees Campground, Lost Trails Pass, Mountain House Beef Stew, Mountain House Chicken A La King with Noodles, Norman Maclean, Philipsburg MT, Rotella 15W-40, Sawtooth Mountains, Seely Lake MT, Shalkaho Falls, Shalkaho Pass, Shoshone ID, Stanley, Sunny Gulch Campground, Swan Lake MT, Twin Falls ID, Wells
Canada 2015. Days 3, 4, & 5 (Aug 1, 2 & 3, 2015). On day 3 we left Wells, NV, at around 10 am after I finished working on the blog. We continued north on US-93. The first stop was Twin Falls, ID, where we got gas, Rotella 15W-40 for the KLR, and corn for popcorn. It has been a tradition in our camping trips with my brother and my kids to make popcorn for breakfast and dinner. We don’t carry a lot of food on the motorcycles so the rations from a Mountain House package need to be supplemented with something else; usually almonds and popcorn. After Twin Falls we crossed the spectacular gorge of the Snake River and continued north on US-93 and ID-75, first through farmland and later through old black lava fields to reach the foothills of the Sawtooth Mountains. Near Shoshone, ID, we stop for a nap on the beautifully kept lawn of a Christian church. We did not realize it was a church until a sister came out of the building to check the suspicious looking bikes parked under the trees. I don’t think she saw us laying on the ground until she was a few feet away from us. She was very nice. I forgot her name but I know she is from Arkansas and she is planning to go on a motorcycle trip with her friends back home one day. We chatted for a while and then we moved on. It was quite hot until we begun to climb on ID-75 towards Stanley, ID. We stop at Galena Summit to enjoy the amazing view of the Salmon River Valley below. We were looking for a place to camp but the three campgrounds at Alturas Lake were full. We continued north and after visiting several full campgrounds we found a spot—the last one—at Sunny Gulch Campground. After dinner (a can of sardines in olive oil, Mountain House Beef Stew, and popcorn for dessert) we took a nice stroll through the campground and went down to the Salmon River where we saw two bald eagles (the national bird of yanquilandia). The night was cool, perfect weather to sleep on a sleeping bag.
Next morning we left soon after breakfast (coffee and popcorn). We stop at Stanley to get gas and to fix the burnt fuse of my Garmin GPS. We continued on ID-75 in the direction of Challis, ID, but we had to stop at a campground a few minutes later because Adrián noticed that the KLR was not accelerating well. We discovered that the rear brakes were locked. The caliper and the discs were super hot. We tried flashing the brake fluid but were unable to fix the problem and had to open the brake pads using a screwdriver. We followed the Salmon River on route 75 and later on ID-93. In Challis we got gas and some wire connectors that we used to fix the fuse of the GPS. In Salmon ID, we purchased a can of brake fluid. Soon after we entered Montana and crossed Lost Trails Pass (6995 feet) we found a place to camp at Indian Trees Campground. After setting up the tent we disassembled the rear brakes and were able to get them to work again. For dinner we had Mountain House Chicken A La King with Noodles and popcorn. We also ate some purplish berries that we picked from bushes that grew everywhere throughout the campground. They could be Saskatoon berries (Amelanchier alnifolia) but we are not sure. We made a big fire that night and went to sleep at around midnight.
After breakfast the next morning we rode to Grantsdale, MT, where we got gas. Instead on continuing north to Missoula, MT, we took a secondary road, route 38, that goes over Shalkaho Pass (7,260 ft) and meanders through beautiful conifer forests. The road is mostly dirt and has been carved on some very steep slopes. We drove carefully trying to avoid looking over the seemingly endless precipices. From the road we could see large expanses of burnt forest all around us. It was sad to see the remains of some many dead trees, like wooden bristles sticking out of the mountain. We stop to take pictures at Shalkaho Falls and at a pond on a lovely meadow. We reached the town of Philipsburg, MT, at lunchtime and were quite hungry, so we decided to do something unusual in our trips, to have a sitting lunch at a restaurant. We went to the restaurant at the Sunshine Station and ordered two burgers with fries. It took them almost 40 minutes to prepare the food; the burgers were OK but the fries were soggy and disgusting. After lunch we continued on route 1 north and at Drummond, MT, we made the mistake of entering the I-90 South (Garmin’s fault). We wanted to take 270 North but there is no exit on the freeway for that road. So we had to do a U-turn through the grassy median of the interstate—a scary maneuver—to come back to Drummond and take the proper route. Route 270 took us to 141 that took us to 200. We stop at a campground on the Blackfoot River to give our butts a break. Adrián and I both like fly fishing so we know of the Blackfoot’s reputation. After reading Norman Maclean novel A River Runs Through It, I have a very idealized version of the river which did not match the reality of the section of the stream that we encountered on route 200. We turned north on State Highway 83 and, after a brief stop at Seely Lake, MT, to get gas and hydrate, we rode to the Swan Lake Campground. We did not feel like cooking dinner after the big hamburger we had for lunch so we rode out bikes to a grocery store and got some crackers, cheese, and a six-pack of Sierra Nevada pale ale. It was quite hot; ideal weather for a cold beer!