September 18, 2007 GMT
Rested and raring to go!

Many thanks to kind hearted Aunts, eh? Not even my own aunt, that of Sioned, friend and late employee from home. Amazing how people can rise to the occasion and come up trumps. Iona didn't even know to expect me, yet when I called she steered straight through my own awkwardness and invited me to stay. So while my bike got star treatment at Couer d'Alene's Kawasaki dealer I received some of the same at Iona's home. Obviously the bike was cleaned and organised before I saw to my own needs! Five days rest were definitely in need and I left feeling refreshed and revived. Unfortunately I seem to have left another canine friend; Jo, the Coon hound, who I hope won't miss me too much.

Back on the road, and some very nice ones at that! A quick trip east on the Interstate 90 allowed me to get on the scenic byway (route 97), ride along Couer d'Alene Lake to route 3 and into St. Marie's, then the St. Joe's river road (route 50) all the way into Montana. Three days riding since leaving Iona's and they've all been along scenic routes, definitely not the shortest way to Yellowstone National Park. I entered Montana at St. Regis and took routes 135, to Paradise, 200 west to Plains, then the 28 north to reach Flathead Lake. The 93 took me along Flathead to the Northern tip, where I used the 82 East purely to link up with the 83, to head back down South again. My route seems all over the place, but the scenery and roads I've travelled make it so worth while. Highway 83 connects back up to the 200, which I took just for a few miles, going off road at Ovando, through Helmville and down to Drummond (last section is county route 271). With no other choice from Drummond I used tarmac, route 1 through Philipsburg, turning onto the 38 at Porters Corner. The 38 was mainly gravel road, going over the Shalkaho Pass @ 7,260 ft, and to the base of the Bitterroot mountains; which I'm going to follow for a few days before swinging back round en route for Yellowstone. Hopefully I won't get dizzy with all the zig-zagging and miss Yellowstone altogether.
Pheww! That's just the route, without any details, of which there are, of course, many. The ride along Couer d'Alene Lake was damned good riding, undulating twists and turns, rising high above the lake then snaking back down to cross ancient bridges, over muddy creaks, and giving my new tyres a really good trial run. Yep, they'll do! A pair of Avon's, actually made in Britain; rather than the Dunlop's, which are now made in Thailand! But I diverse, its so nice to be back on roads that beg to be ridden, tyres that cry out "lean further, please, please". But for some reason my better sense holds true and I take it relatively easy, rarely exceeding 70 mph. Even down the spectacular ride along St Joe's river I kept it reasonable, despite the temptation to give it full throttle round the delightful bends, as they followed the course of the river through its lazy meandering for many miles.

The jaunt up and around Flathead lake was similar for the lake views, yet more open and developed. The East side was better, where I rode past smaller lakes with less houses and only a few staging posts for trade. This ride was endured through heavy rain, though it still couldn't detract form the beauty of the area. So many log structures being built, real ones not log clad plywood, as I'd seen before. If only I could have taken out my camera, but it was way too wet to even take the rain cover off my tank bag. The logs were not pre-prepared, I saw a guy shaving off the bark before use. The variety of different types of buildings was phenomenal, they really are common in this part of Montana. Mind you, geodesic domes seem to be popping up unexpectedly as well.

Many of the roads now are being chosen for their high passes and off road properties, they are only open part of the year, so I've gotta get my arse into gear and do as many as possible before the snow arrives. I should still have time though! Coming over the Shalkaho Pass was awesome, very narrow track, really windy, very steep and with deep, deep drop offs. The road surface itself wasn't too bad, but I took it easy, there are too many hunters driving up there, I never know what might be round the next corner. So a bit of sense from yours truly, it has to happen sometimes, even to me.

Posted by Leslie Kay at September 18, 2007 09:33 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!