We got up at 6:30 this morning to an absolutely beautiful morning. After a quick hotel breakfast, we got everything loaded up and filled up the fuel tanks at the station right outside of the hotel, and we were on the road before 8am. It was 62 degrees and sunny and felt amazing out.
I had found a dirt road that I wanted to take, even though it would take us a little out of route. We hopped on the interstate for about 20 miles to Anaconda, and then took Highway 1 over to Highway 38, which includes Shalkaho Pass. When we turned onto 38, there were beautiful fields with snow capped mountains off in the distance, so we stopped to take a few pictures.
The ride to Shalkaho Pass was just incredibly beautiful the entire way, and there were some nice curvy sections, which always makes the ride more fun. Once we were off the pavement, the road was just perfect. There were gorgeous trees lining both sides of the road, and then occasionally the Daly Creek would run alongside it offering breathtaking scenery. The road surface was also perfect, with mainly hard packed dirt, and some light gravel sections. The Heidenau K60’s did fantastic, even on the downhill switchback sections and being fully loaded, I never felt unstable.
The best part of Shalkaho Pass is Shalkaho Falls. It is right on the side of the road, and it is incredibly beautiful. It is picture perfect, and would make a great postcard. Even if the road itself hadn’t been amazing, these falls would have been worth the detour on their own. I told Dwayne that I sure do know how to pick a good road, to which he agreed enthusiastically.
Eventually we made it back onto pavement and continued on into the town of Shalkaho where we hit Highway 93 up to Missoula. It was up to 85 degrees when we got there, and Dwayne was getting hungry, so we stopped at Applebees for lunch, mainly because we saw that they had shaded parking spots.
After lunch we had to ride through Missoula to get to I-90, which we hopped on for about 5 miles to MT-200. We stopped for fuel right off of the interstate, then took MT-200 up to MT-83 towards Kalispell. Although it was over 90 degrees at this point, the scenery was so gorgeous, I almost didn’t care that I was so hot. We got behind some slow moving traffic a few times, but luckily we were able to utilize some passing zones to get around them up until the last 30 miles or so.
At one point we were cruising along and I kind of glanced over to the side of the road, then quickly did a double take and saw that there was a moose standing in a pond of water about 100 feet from the road. As I looked at it the second time it looked up at me and we just looked at each other as I passed. I wish I hadn’t been going highway speeds and could have gotten stopped in time to get a picture of it. I may have spooked it if I had stopped, so maybe it wouldn’t have happened anyways, but the way it was standing there with the trees behind it, it would have made a perfect picture.
We are now in Kalispell for tonight and tomorrow night, and tomorrow we will be heading to Glacier National park, and I can’t wait! It is going to be incredible! Hopefully being a Monday it won’t be horribly busy, but regardless, i’m going to enjoy every second of it! You can bet I will have some beautiful pictures to share, too.