Friday, July 2, 2010

Rattlesnake Pizza and the Week in Review - Day 8

We arrived in Kalispell less one rider.  Nothing dire, just that Jim had to head home to deal with business concerns.  It was regrettable for all of us, but we will focus on the time enjoyed rather than the premature ending.  Saturday we will say goodbye to Ben and Steve after we cross Glacier National Park on the famous "Road to the Sun".  They have work obligations in Medicine Hat late Saturday.  That will leave George and I to chart a new course of unexplored challenges for the next 7 days.  After last year's 6 weeks biking around the perimeter of the continental United States together, we are entirely comfortable just the two of us, but we will miss the friendly bantering and good company of Ben, Steve and Jim.

We ran the gamut of weather today, starting with a cold (50 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 Centigrade) climb up the Bitterroot Mountains out of Dillon, Montana.  An hour into the ride we stopped for coffee in the high plains village of Wisdom, Montana (population 114).  It felt like winter with dark clouds arching over us and blowing cold air down our necks and into any other clothing gap left open.  I had optimistically worn shorts and  T-shirt under my motorcycle garb as I had each day but needed to dig out my rumpled motorcycle coat liner to wear the rest of the day.  Despite being cooler, the run north up Highway 93 was fast and fun until we got to Missoula where the locals and tourists all joined a long weekend traffic exodus in unison.  Progress slowed as we kept our eyes on the clouds.

They threatened to unload their heavy liquid burdens on us all afternoon, but only made good on that threat for sporadically a few minutes at a time.  Still, after our escape from the mountain storm 2 days ago, this time we stopped to put on the rain gear that all except Ben had brought along.  Faced with what seemed to be a certain dousing, we stopped where Ben managed to find a rather noticeable set of gear at a local hardware store.  Of course, once we were prepared for the storm to hit us it never did more than moisten our windshields.  We arrived in Kalispell, Montana, in the late afternoon looking like brightly coloured tropical fish, only we were outside any liquid environment and were perfectly dry.

Now it is very difficult for 5 very diverse guys to pick a nice place to eat in towns where we know none of the restaurants.  We often have had no one to ask, except hotel clerks who might well be part of a kickback scheme, or total strangers whose tastes might well run at variance with our own.  So tonight we Googled, "best places to eat in Kalispell".  Up popped "Capers" on Main Street (all American small towns have a Main Street), less than a mile away from our humble motel.   Sounded great, and looked good too when we arrived.  It was not very busy, although we met a fellow Canadian biker from Abbotsford in the entrance (what are the odds of that?).    Teri, the best server we had experienced so far, explained the specials, "Honey-Baked Salmon or Rattlesnake Pizza".  What would you guess I chose?  I hadn't had rattlesnake since killing and cooking one over a campfire when I was a 13 year old Boy Scout.  It was delicious then and again tonight.  Teri told us the chef has a line on snakes that are milked for their venom before becoming pizza topping.

Over supper we summarized the trip so far, given that it was going to be over for 3 out of 5 of us by tomorrow.  We have traveled 4500 kilometres (2800 miles) or 600 kilometres a day (375 miles) over the 7.5 days so far.  We have scaled dozens of mountain passes and peaks, as well as traversed a few plains and prairies.  The temperatures have soared to a very sweaty 95 F (35 C), and fallen to daytime lows of 40 F (5 C).  We have seen snow banked high on the edge of some roads we traveled, as well as blowing sand, hail, pouring rain and gale force winds.  We have waved to hundreds of bikers en route, and met dozens of them in person, including folks from Germany, Tennessee, Toronto and California.  We have remained healthy, except for the expected aches and pains.  The scenery and wildlife have been amazing and ever changing.  And the week's stories are filed away, to be recalled at some opportune moment, are now legion as well as the stuff of legends.  We have experienced more in one week than in a normal year.  And I never seem to be short of blogging material.

We have been blessed in so many ways.

1 comment:

  1. and not once in this blog did you mention the PD, that's definitely positive.