Sunday, September 02, 2007

Grandkids, helicopters,Kalispell, Forest Fires, Poetry

I'm back at work now but before I had to report, I put in the last long ride of the Summer. I left on a Friday morn and pointed the Road King north to Missoula, MT, home of my daughter, her husband Brian, and most importantly, my two grand-children, pictured here.

It was a great ride . I spent all day Saturday with family in Missoula, a great town, and on Sunday I rode north to Kalispell, Whitefish and Flathead lake. Over the whole trip, both up to Missoula on Friday and then up to Kalispell on Sunday, hung a cloud of smoke. Both Montana and Idaho were on fire in various spots, particularly Montana. On Friday as I rode up along the Salmon River, a helicopter dipped down to within twenty yards of me as I rode. It dropped a large hose into the river, sucked up a load of water and flew away to drop it's load on nearby fire. I rode most of the day Friday and all day Sunday with a wet bandanna tied around my face to fight the smoke and ash. On Sunday just outside of Missoula, I passed through the "Blackcat" fire, with flames just a few feet off the highway. This is amazingly beautiful country to ride in but most of that beauty was obscured by smoke as I passed through. Still, it was a fun ride.

On Monday, I rose early and headed back towards home, the long scenic route. At Drummond, I left the Interstate and took the Pintler Scenic Route which winds up into the mountains past Georgetown and beautiful Georgetown Lake and then back down into the old smelter town of Anaconda. The back onto the interstate for the twenty mile ride to Butte Harley Davidson and from there south to Twin Bridges, the historic old mining camp of Virginia City and on to the ranching community of Ennis in the beautiful Madison Valley, home of some of the best fly-fishing waters in the west. On to West Yellowstone MT, Island Park, ID and home to Pocatello. With an easy 1100 miles under my belt, I was off to work again on Tuesday. It was clear all the way home on Monday. Most of the smoke was gone and the weather was pleasantly mild. Here are some pictures from the Monday ride.

The smoky ride inspired a poem, Riding Through The Fire , which I've posted on Songs of the Open Road

I think you'll enjoy it.

Keep On Keepin' On

1 comment:

Kano said...

I've taken the same route more or less but in a cage. It is beautiful country and I'm looking forward to doing it again, this time on a bike.

Welcome back and have a great school year!