"The Short Day........."
Trip Start Jul 17, 2012
41Trip End Aug 22, 2012
I was really looking forward to this journey - it was meant to me a short trip from Billings, MT to Great Falls, MT via the Lewis and Clark National Forest. In fact, on our travels we have come across a lot of the Lewis and Clark trails, historic markers, pioneer facts and explorer's notes. For my Aussie friends and family if you want to learn a little more about Lewis and Clark you can do so right here (Nat Geo also do a great DVD on Lewis and Clark's travels).
Anyway....back to our 'short trip' today - It was only supposed to be 250miles, nominally 4-5hrs and that's taking it easy. The distance stayed the same, but our time blew out to a whopping 10hrs.
So the day started with a sleep-in for us both (no we weren't spooning Tunstall/Floody) - check-out wasn't until 11am and we planned to use it for a change
Roadworks........ So here is how we found out what Roadworks are like in the Northern states of USA, where we have since learnt that there are two seasons....Winter and Roadworks. We were zipping along at 70mph (posted speed limit in Montanna) when we noticed a large CAUTION sign saying somehting about Motorcyles and consider ALT route something or other.....bit hard to read it at 70mph....I spoke to Cliffy over the intercoms and asked him he caught the rest of the sign.... "What sign ?" he says - "That one back there mate, the motorcycle caution sign or something - did you see it?"......"'Nup..." - Oh well I thought, probably doesn't apply to us.......Soon enough we continued travelling West along Hwy 12 the roadworks signs appeared. Applying our 'Aussie Interpretation' of roadworks - we figured 1-4 miles of roadworks and then we'd be clear...... Try 40miles....on dirt and gravel....Now, if you read the previous post about Sturgis you will see that Cliffy and I have had our fun on slippery, gravel, dirt roads..... to say we were a litte gun-shy would be an under statement.
Was nice to sleep in a little and relax instead of trying to be packed on riding by 7am as usual
All started well until we hit the roadworks Glen described above. Basically it added hours to the trip and everybody knows the frustration of just sitting in traffic waiting to go. The waits here are about 30 minutes!!!!! Then you have to follow a pilot car through all the miles of roadworks with more stops etc. PAINFUL!!!!!
Never again will I complain about the M1 or Gateway roadworks that us coasties encounter during our daily commute to Brisbane airport.
Anyway we pushed on and had our lunch of last nights pizza on a bench next to a petrol station and were happy as this last section was through the mountains and recognized as a great road. Walking to the bin and throwing out lunch at the servo I nodded to a couple on a Gold Wing. We would meet later down the road where they would add more time to our "short day"
I forgot to mention that about an hour into the trip Cliffy only just remembered that he'd left the tent poles behind at Billings Holiday Inn
30mins pass by......Siri comes through the intercom again, 'Incoming Call from Holiday Inn' - "Mr Gallagher ?" - Yes, I replied....."We thouroughly searched the room, and the car park where you parked the bikes....I am really sorry, but we didn't find any tent poles" Hmmmmm. I thanked them so much for the call back and update, mentioned it to Cliffy who now 'seemed' really bummed out about leaving the poles behind. Anyway back to the dirt road.....
.........of course the corrugations added to our fun and frustration....40miles,....65km.....at about 20-30 mph....With stops of course.
Authors side note: It is along this section that I think Cliffy threw away our tent poles (an allegation he strongly denies). The poles we had been using for camping (and for future use in camping). Note - we only camped in Sturgis but I had planned to camp at some of the other National Parks. Without them, no tent = no camping
Their was a BMW GS Dual-Sport behind us.....he would have been laughing all the way, at us and his bike would eaten up the road. If you haven't seen a BMW GS series bike they are really like the swiss-army knife of motorbikes and handle nearly all situations really well.
Anyway, roadworks eventually finished and we pulled off to the side and the older gentlematn on the bike sidles up to us as well. Usual bike interchange is discussed, comments on bikes, the weather, the dirt we just ate etc.... "Oh - by the way - looks like you guys dropped a tube of zip ties back there or something" - Cliffy was very quick to reply "Nah, mate, I think I rode over some road rubbish or something or some plastic tube or something. The older gent tilted his head - "Oh, it looked like a small tube of zip ties or something...my mistake" And off he went. I chatted to Cliffy and asked if he thought it could have been anything "Nah, mate - all good; old guy was just seeing things"
Eventually, we make it to White Sulphur Springs - about 2 hours after our intial ETA for a well earned break. We are both looking forward to the next section through the Lewis and Clark National forest.....it is going to be the highlight of a crappy day.....
or so we thought,......
and then we met the 'Honda Goldwing' couple.....in the middle of the forest.....with a flat tyre. and no cell phone coverage.... you can see the video to see what happens.
We helped them out by riding 30 minutes back into White Sulphur Springs - taking about 20 mins to organise a tow truck for them (the tyre was shredded on their bike and we couldn't repair it) and then rode north again for 30 minutes to let them know a tow truck was on it's way. By now it was past 6.30pm and Cliff and I still had 2 hours to go on our 'short day.' We passed on our contact details in case they were stuck or things didn't work out, we also asked them to to let us know how they got on......haven't heard from them yet.....I think they still owe us a beer.