Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Glacier Experience - Day 5

Day 5 – Wednesday, June 27 – Bozeman MT to Whitefish MT
As usual, Ronnie was up before all of us.  He drank his coffee and tooled around until we got moving.  Once we were up, most of us enjoyed the free banana bread, which meant no McDonalds – wOOt!  Although, Ronnie did manage to find a McDonalds for Theresa’s morning ritual diet coke. 

Dead Battery - Oops!
We started the morning with Ronnie and Theresa finding a CVS to get a prescription filled and to head to Walmart for Kathy to get some rain gear, since there were chances of rain in the forecast.  We agreed to meet at Walmart before heading out of town, which was a good thing, since I left my ignition on while Kathy was inside.  It drained the battery and rendered the Ultra Classic useless.  We attempted to push start it, to no avail.  A kind gentleman, Mel, happened upon us and asked us if we needed a jump-start.  Mel was from a town near Bozeman, but headed to Washington for a funeral.  Ronnie had jumpers for the battery tender that I attempted to use, but there wasn’t enough current going through to get the bike started.  So, I took the seat off and did it the old fashion way.  We ended up with Ronnie, Mel, another guy, and myself hovering over the bike as we got it started.  The ladies, Kathy and Theresa, were back watching, taking photos, and laughing…  Once we got the bike started, I asked Mel and the other guy what I owed them.  Mel piped up, “a hundred pounds of twenty dollar bills!”  We all laughed and shook hands as I humbly thanked them and wished them well.

Yellowstone Harley Davidson in Belgrade was our next stop.  Of course, to get a shot glass – as well as to potentially buy a battery for the bike.  I ended up with two shot glasses from that location, since I couldn’t decide which one I liked more.  Kathy and I also procured a t-shirt each, and one for Skylee.  Ronnie and Theresa just laugh when we go to the HD stores, but I think they are secretly jealous, since Honda dealers don’t sell collectable shot glasses and cool designed t-shirts. :)

We headed a little more west on I-80, then made the turn on to 287 north towards Helena.  Once on 287, I noticed a sign that said roadwork ahead, motorcycles advised to choose a different route.  We proceeded, with some skepticism.  We found the reason why motorcycles were not advised on the route once we got a little to far to turn around…  it was packed gravel, for around 4 miles.  That was not fun, but we managed.

We arrived in Helena Montana right around lunchtime.  Ronnie was challenged to find a place on his gps, since his is newer and mine is a few years old and most of the locations on my map are outdated. We landed at Motherlode, a sports bar, restaurant, and casino.  The server was very nice and the food was excellent.  Ronnie and Kathy each had the homemade chicken pot pie.  Theresa had chili.  I had a Philly cheesesteak.

Once meals were eaten, we headed back on the road.  287 turns to 12 Hwy in Townsend, a few miles prior to Helena.  Taking 12 out of Helena to 141 to 200 to 83 was the plan, so we could end up on the west side of Glacier National Park for the night.  We had around 90 miles on the current tank of gas, so I didn’t really even consider gassing up.  Neither did Ronnie.  We were only on 12 for a little bit and around the Helena National Forest, there were construction crews laying down chip seal.  Great.

Cell Phone Pic - Gas - Casino - Glad We Made It!
As we traveled a little further, we noticed that there were not many towns around. No towns imply no gas stations.  Things were getting a little edgy, since none of us wanted to walk.  We continued to use our gps’s to attempt to locate a gas station near, when we happened across a Conoco gas station – and casino – at the intersection of 200 and 83 hwys.  I would say we barely made it, since I had 4.8 gallons delivered out of 5.0 possible. Ronnie had 4.9 gallons, but I think he has more room available. 83 Hwy was most excellent and is highly suggested, especially with a full tank of gas.

We arrived near some civilization by driving through Kalispell to Whitefish.  We began our usual ritual once again by arriving at a local watering hole to search out a place to rest for the evening.  The Bulldog Saloon was the choice.  This is the dive of the town, if that is what you are looking for.  A sassy bartender stating there was no table service (as she came over to get our order) and bathrooms that adorned photos out of adult magazines. 

Cell Phone Pic of Whitefish MT
We decided on the Cheap Sleep motel, since once again, we were in a ski resort town.  The motel reminded me a little of my days in boot camp, since the walls were made of cinder block.  Though it was an average day of riding, mileage-wise, we were all pretty beat so we just walked next door to Pizza Hut for dinner.  This was one of our few chain dinner stops on the trip. 

We continued to hear about the heat wave back in Kansas City, as well as the Fort Collins fire and now the Colorado Springs fire. Decided to call it a night so we could be fresh for Glacier National Park’s Going to the Sun Road the next day.

Other highlights:
·      Miles: ~ 315

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