By way of an introduction: The group I ride with is a pretty eclectic bunch. We started out several years ago as a Kawasaki Vulcan group, but since then, have branched out into an all-brands, ride-what-you-brung type club. Our early season group ride each year is the Memorial Day weekend "Lolo Run" which always includes a stop in Lolo, Montana. Here's the ride report for the 2004 Lolo Run...
We survived Lolo ÔÇÖ04!
ÔÇ£Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaimingÔÇô
"WOW--What a Ride"!
Well, another Lolo run is complete, and I think this year set several recordsÔÇªThe record for the most consecutive days riding; The most consecutive days riding in the rain; The most snow; The most hail. We also tended to ride in smaller groups this year, with the larger group mostly coming together at the motels at the end of the day. HereÔÇÖs how my version of the ride wentÔÇª
Friday, Day 1: ItÔÇÖs quite an experience just learning how to pack a new bike for two people for the weekend. The BMW bags hold a lot of stuff, but we still want to be careful about loading on too much weight. A last look at the weather maps on the computer, and my partner Yvonne and I are on the road by about 10:30 in the morning. Our route will take us from Coeur d'Alene up Hwy 95 to Sandpoint, then East on Hwy 200 to Missoula. With only 700 miles on the clock, weÔÇÖre still breaking in the new Beemer, and plan on taking it easy on the first day. Still, we find that the big LT cruises quite nicely at about 75 MPH, with the cruise control set and the stereo blasting classic rock over the bikeÔÇÖs speakersÔÇª A bit cool, and an occasional light rain shower, but the miles go quickly and we arrive at the motel in Missoula in time to settle in to our room and take a short nap before we meet Veggie, Tumbleweed, Tim & Barb at RowdyÔÇÖs bar for dinnerÔÇª I can recommend the Hot Hawaiian Chicken pizza on Deep Dish Sourdough crust!
Saturday, Day 2: After a wet night, with several heavy storms passing through Missoula, Saturday morning looked like it could be more of the same. We rode south to Lolo and breakfast at KTÔÇÖs Hayloft. Quite an eclectic bunch of bikes and riders showed up for breakfast, with Yvonne and me on the BMW; Tim, Barb & Andy on Harleys; Airhead on his KTM; BuzzÔÇÖs son Ivan on a Yamaha V-max, and TinbenderÔÇÖs son on an older Suzuki 750. Only four Vulcans to hold up the VROC bannerÔÇªVeggie, Tumbleweed, Buzz, and Tinbender with his wife. Just as everyone was finishing breakfast, Epibunny pulled up on her Drifter and told us she just didnÔÇÖt feel up to doing the weekend ride so she was going to head back to Spokane.
The rest of us mounted up and rode South on Hwy 93 toward some promising looking patches of blue sky. The weather improved throughout most of the morning and by mid day, it was still a bit cool, but almost nice out. The rest of the group dropped out for lunch and fuel at Salmon or Challis, while Yvonne and I decided to keep on going to Stanley. Now on Hwy 75, the closer we got to Stanley, the colder it got. The outside air temp gauge on the bike was rapidly dropping to the mid 30ÔÇÖs and what had been intermittent rain showers was now big, wet snowflakes sticking to my windshield and helmet. God! I love the heated grips and seats on the big Beemer! I just wish I had a defroster for the windshield.
We cruised into Stanley and caught a glimpse of the Sawtooth range covered in fresh snow and shrouded in clouds. Still a beautiful sight! Just as we parked the bike at the motel and unpacked for the evening, a small hail storm passed through, and I couldnÔÇÖt help but think, whose crazy idea was this anyway!
We checked into the Mountain Village Inn, went shopping at the Mountain Village Mercantile, shared a drink with Airhead and Andy at the Mountain Village bar (are you beginning to notice a theme here?) and ate dinner at the (you guessed it) Mountain Village restaurant (Good prime rib!) while we waited for the rest of the group to ride in.
Sunday, Day 3: Woke up early today because of a bright light coming in through the windowsÔÇª Hey! The sun has decided to grace us with its presence. Still, the temp gauge on the bike says 33 degrees, and thereÔÇÖs frost on the windshield. Oh well, letÔÇÖs see how it looks after breakfast. Things always look better after the secondÔÇªthirdÔÇªfourth? cup of coffee.
Yvonne and I are getting pretty good at this packing the bike thing. WeÔÇÖre ready to ride while the others are still finishing their breakfast. We decide to get a start on the day, and pull out of Stanley Westbound on Hwy 21. A nice morning ride and we saw several deer and a pair of moose grazing in clearings along the highway. What we didnÔÇÖt see was the sign pointing to the turn-off we were supposed to take at Lowman, so we continued on Hwy 21ÔÇªall the way into Boise! At least we found a nice place to stop for lunch!
Full of food and fuel, we headed North on Hwy 55 from Boise for a nice ride through Cascade and McCall, connected to Hwy 95 at New Meadows, and on to Riggins. We arrived at the Best Western Motel in Riggins to find Hamilton and Rocket Girl unloading their Gold Wing and Ninja at the motel entrance. We also saw Veggie, Tumbleweed, Tim and BarbÔÇÖs bikes parked up under the roof of the building. We got checked in to the motel, unpacked the bike for the night, then went and found everyone soaking in the hot tub.
Dinner was at the CattlemanÔÇÖs restaurant about a block down from the motel. The grilled chicken breast with honey mustard glaze was excellent, as was the apple pie with ice cream. CouldnÔÇÖt tell you about the home-made blackberry pie, as Veggie got the LAST TWO pieces! Oh wellÔÇªheÔÇÖs still a growing boy ;-)
Just as we were leaving the restaurant, we spotted MrTater and his friend Larry cruising down the main street of town on their Vulcans. We chatted for a few minutes then pointed them in the direction of the hotel, and we walked on back. We spent the rest of the evening talking and comparing motorcycles with the rest of the group.
Monday, Day 4: It looks like itÔÇÖs going to be a great day. A few dark clouds in the sky, but theyÔÇÖre all to the east of us as we prepare for the last day of the ride. The hotel put on a typical motel continental breakfastÔÇª coffee, juice, pastries and those little bitty muffins you can eat in two bites. But what the heck, it comes with the cost of the room, soÔÇª
The group rolled out of Riggins at about 9:30 Mountain time. MrTater and his crew headed south to explore some of Hells Canyon country while the rest of us turned north toward Lewiston and eventually, home. A quick stop for a few photos on White Bird grade, then on North again. Back on Pacific time, and we arrive in Lewiston just before 11AM. Lunch at Taco Bell, and we say goodby to the rest of the group and head North out of Lewiston on Hwy 195 to Spokane and home again in just a bit over two hours.
With the detours we took, our trip totaled just under 1200 miles. I canÔÇÖt say for sure how much gasoline we burned on this trip, but I do know that it was a lot less than we would have used with the Nomad. We made the last leg from Riggins to Spokane without stopping for fuel, and still had nearly two gallons in the tank when we did fill up. That plus the speed control, the stereo, the heated seats and hand gripsÔÇª I am really happy with my new scooter, and thoroughly enjoyed the Lolo 2004 ride.
WeÔÇÖre ready to do it again (but next time, letÔÇÖs make it a bit warmer out, OK guys!)