Kootenai Nat’l Forest

9 Jul

West of Kalispell Montana I took a gravel shortcut from hwy #2 over Silver Butte Pass. SBP rd, NF-148, Vermillion Rrd, Blue Slide Rd, and finally old hwy#200 to Noxon Reservoir.  About 35 miles of hot 95 degree gravel and deteriorating about half way into a trail not suitable for  vehicles other than logging equipment.

not a recommended shortcut

Riding solo I should not have been there but had no posible way to turn around on the narrow rocky trail. Focusing intensely a short distance ahead, pressing down hard on the footpegs and carefull throttle control got me through in about 3 hours. Way out of my comfort zone, with some skill and good luck the Vstrom got me safely back onto pavement. I believe that I don’t have any urge to ride any more of Montan’s gravel forest access roads with a fully loaded bike. These roads would be a blast to ride with a small group of riders equipt with trials bikes or small displacement enduros. Fortuneately there were only a few small wet muddy places.
The Quality Inn in Sandpoint offered relief from the heat and dirt, I’m sure I created a bit of a scene to watch as I hosed myself off at the front entrance with the hose from their flower beds.

backroads through Washington

Washington has great roads

The mostly paved roads from Usk to Chewwlah to Gillford passing close to the ski resort are great. Open sight lines, good surface, no traffic, lots of grade changes, signed for 35mph but enjoyable at 50+ mph.

The Cariboo Inn in Okanogan was a surprise, good value and exceptionally good food. Richard ( on his aging BMW ) and I shared the cost of a room and split off in our own directions in the morning.

Cariboo Inn

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