Friday, 17 August 2012

Glacier Park To Polson To Missoula

Leaving Glacier Park the weather continued to be very hot and great training for Central America.

The mission was to find a camp site that was suitable for tenting as everything we had seen was set up for RV’s with tarseal where you wonna put the tent up, everything else was on a hill or angle.

Devils Creek turned out to be the winner, although fairly close to the road we managed to get in behind a bank and trees to knock out the noise. Neat place with a creek so it was time to give the shirts a swim and dry.

During the evening we went to the local bar/cafe/pub and jumped on their Wifi to organise the next round of our trip and to see where we wonna go, with no idea of what was coming up we contacted shezonit from Polson from the ADV tent site thread as she had good offerings with local information.

Next morning we continued our way around the bottom of Glacier park, and started making our way to Polson not knowing if we had a reply or not, on arrival at Polson it was into McDees for a cold coffee and Wifi, shezonit (Maren) replied saying sweet so a quick phone call and we were sorted.

Maren had spare space for us which was cool and given she had been to Mexico a few times had some great information for us, while we were in town getting supplies she called Rocky so he could come over and see our bikes, well the small world thing happened again, just so happened we had bumped into Rocky and his riding buddies in Smithers in Canada, we had lunch in the car park with them.

Needless to say soon as he saw our bike he said I know these guys!!!!

On our return Maren told us that we were meeting someone who we had already met, classic!!!

Pizza from a local restaurant was on for tea along with discussions on travel and places to go. The following day was a local custom car show, there was some really beautifully done cars some with some serious coin poured into them.

48 Cadillac

A custom something

Groovy Rat Rod

Beautiful T Bird

And most importantly the bikes!!!

There are many more images of cars if you want to see them go here

Ellens famous Sushi was made for tea after a big day looking at hot cars, again the map came out and with the ADV infosystem in full flight we drew lines all over our map for places to go, things to see, an indicative idea of where to go after telling them what we were into.

The following morning after a leisurely pack up we rode back up to Bigfork and round Swan lake heading to Missoula.

Lance from ADV lives in Missoula, he was keen to meet us and put us up etc, Lance is a good friend of Geoff & Gus from Australia who are soon to be setting off for South America as well so we will meet them there, looking forward to that as Geoff has been a great source of information and a tech head on IT stuff helping with our web site set up etc.

Upon arriving in Missoula we found our the demolition derby was on ... saweet !!

Sub Trip Within The Trip 

Ellen got lost in Missoula

Left Polson, we headed to Missoula, to meet Geoff’s friend Lance.

If we took road 93 from Polson, there is only about 125k to Missoula. But Rocky said it is very boring. He suggested us to take the road back to Big Fork then going through a forest road, that is much batter.

We took this long way round, only 100k more and happened to see more forest fire again.

It didn’t take too long to find Lance’s flat thanks to GPS for once. He showed us our accommodation - Pink Lady, what a cool van. Lance is flatting with three girls, they are all very welcoming and I felt back to my old university time, flatting is great!

Then Lance asked what we want to do for that evening. Go swimming in the Clark Fork river or a demolition derby event?.

For me, I voted for swimming any time, they boys, of course, going to the car thing. Well, lets just lose each other for a while, do our own things.

Andi asked me if I want to take the GPS or Cell phone, I said no just in case someone steals it. I think I can find home (I call all the places we are staying home now) no problem, just a few blocks away from the river....what can possibly go wrong!!

Lance and Andi dropped me off at the river bank -- it’s in the middle of town, a concert is on for the night in the park which is right beside the river. I went down to the river - there were lots of people floating down stream on their rubber tubes, a natural water fall just under a big bridge which connects North to South.

I jumped into the big river to cool myself down, it has been more then 30 degrees, and the cool water just felt so nice. When I decided I had enough, it was nearly 7pm.

I thought I was walking to the right direction. After 3 set of traffic lights, still can’t find a over bridge which was a landmark I remembered. I walked back to the river, the concert is on and the park is packed. I tried another direction, after 100m, I decided to get back to where I started -- I got totally lost now.

What can I do now? I went back to the park, found a security guard, told him I got lost. He asked me: “Do you remember the street name?”
“Nope, but I know it’s not too far from here.”
“But how can I help you if you can’t tell me where do you want to go?”
“I have a phone number (I hope it’s the right one), if I can borrow your phone to ring my husband.”
“No problem.”
He dialed the number for me, but it’s an answer phone. I left a message - hope it was our phone and said I got lost, if he can come and pick me up on the way back.

It was too uncertain, firstly, I didn’t know it was our phone; second, I didn’t know if Andi took the phone with him; thirdly, if he did come to pick me up, I didn’t know when.

With some quick thinking, I remembered at Lance’s flat, we checked “spot” on our website see if it worked. If I can get on line I can locate Lance’s address, and if I can find a local map, the problem would be solved.

I asked around where can I get a local map, a gas station cross the river might have one. It took me a few minutes to get over there, I got the map. Now I need internet. It was nearly 8pm, Sunday night, all shops were shut. I found a Mexican restaurant, ask the owner if he can help me. He had an iphone, pretty small, however we managed to get the street address. It was on the corner of two street, which was exactly how I remembered. I had my map marked and off I went.

First, I needed to cross the bridge again. I thought it was a bit odd. I was sure we didn’t cross the bridge to get there. Maybe Lance’s took a shortcut. Anyhow, I had to trust the spot. I walked along the street, nothing looked familiar, it might be a different route. I walked and walked and walked, nearly a hour later, finally get to the point which marked on my map. The house is not there! On contrast, it looked like a big park with loud speakers telling people about the race. I was near the park where the car race took place! Andi must have taken the spot with him, and the last location is the car park.

What can I do now? It’s nearly dark, and I hadn’t had any food since Polson. I went into a transport company asked if they have computer for me to check my email. I knew Lance sent us his phone number earlier, at least I can call him. “No” they said, “ Maybe the shop two blocks away has it.” I was a little bit disappointed, but still there was hope.

I started to walk, all of a sudden out the corner of my eye Hobbit and Lance’s KLR sitting in the parking lot right in front of me. They are still here! I wrote a note and put it into Andi’s helmet: “I’m looking for you in the field, don’t leave without ME!”

As I was walking to the park, the event has finished. I saw Lance and Andi were walking towards me. It took Lance a few seconds to recognize me: “How did you find us?” “Thanks for Spot.”

It was such a relief seeing them.

Back To Missoula

My front wheel was feeling slightly out of balance so Lance took my bike to his work to check it, that is when the next level of disappointment started.

Per Ellens bike Hobbit threw his countershaft seal out only 100 metres from Lances house, he did not know until he got to work and he left a Hansel and Gretel oil trail for 2 miles to his work.

More calls to Suzuki and the local shop in Missoula, the local shop in Missoula being very disinterested and pretty unhelpful .... great!!!!

A couple of calls later to Leland Suzuki and these guys were on it and organizing things, I also discussed my 3rd gear which is whining pretty badly and our chain guards that had broken in half.

Not having a great start really for the want of buying a reliable DR!!, please Suzuki give us a sporting chance!!

Lance kindly lent us his workshop to do a temporary seal repair, this involved a large cleanup, clean the seal and surfaces, glue the seal back in and peen the case edges to stop the seal from bailing out again.

On the social side of things it gave us a sporting chance to take in Missoula, we took a trip to Weer Hots Springs which were VERY hot, watched the huge forest fire blazing on the back.

Tubing!!!! ... in truck tubes down the Clark Fork River, great fun and neat views, did get a bit cold at the end as sun fell but no one died so that was ok.

Ever wondered what a rail bridge looks like from underneath while floating past on a borrowed truck tube with a lima a rita in your hand, a wet arse and a train racing overhead... well ... now you do!! 

Our great hosts Lance and Erin

That concluded Missoula and we said our good byes to Lance and Erin, next installment hopefully good news on the bikes.

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