18 June 2009

Lookout Pass

We rode from Livingston, MT to Couer D'Alene, ID today, a distance of about 350 miles. That's usually an easy distance for a day ride, but not today. The route was a panoply of different land forms, from rolling high plains dotted with oil pumps and windmills to steep passes through rugged mountain terrain.

We climbed the front range of the Rockies at Bozeman Pass, then down into a broad valley as far as Missoula where we began a long and difficult ride up the mountains to Lookout Pass on the Idaho state line. The mountains were steep, craggy a d covered with firs. The highway wound in every direction, often going alongside a mountain river.

We paassd heavy trucks grinding uphill at 15 mph, engines screaming and a faint whiff of burning clutch in the air.

We stopped at the summit and took the picture above.

Then it was downhill for an hour, like a rollercoaster ride that never goes up. Steep descents that flowed into sharp curves that dropped into another descent. Part of the descent was on the interstate, with a 35 mph speed limit in places because of the sharp curves.

It brought us into Couer D'Alene, past the beautiful lake, 23 miles long and nesteled between mountains at 3,500 above sea level. Stunning!

Tomorrow we head to northern Idaho in search of famous potatoes.

1 comment:

  1. You will have to go a bit South for the "famous potatoes". The North part of the state is where Idaho gets its Gem State appelation.

    I grew up in Spokane but live in Boston now, so your travelogue is making me miss the N.W.

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