We got a bit of a later start today due to sleeping in a bit and not knowing where we wanted to ride. We needed to swing by Maverick Motorsports for some chain cleaner, so we didn’t want to get too far from town. Dwayne suggested we hit Petty Creek Rd between I-90 and Hwy 12, so I found us a dirt/gravel road that ran along the river to get us there so we didn’t have to take the interstate.
The road started off a wide well-kept gravel road with a bit of local traffic on it, and it eventually got narrower as we went.
A couple of times Google Maps tried to route us on “roads” that actually didn’t exist. I’m not sure if there were roads there at one point, but there was no sign of any road now. The second time this happened was right in front of a huge, fancy cattle farm, and across the road from their driveway was a huge sign about trespassing and extremely pricey fines. We were unsure if the sign was intended for their property, or what we assumed was a continuation of the road we were on, so we started to turn around, but then decided it was for their property and not the road, so we went to turn around again to continue on towards our destination when Dwayne said something was wrong with his bike, it was making an awful sound and vibrating. I turned around yet again and went back to him, and checked my phone for cell service in case there was actually something wrong. Luckily, although we were out in the middle of nowhere at this point, i actually did have cell service. He had me hop off my bike and remove my helmet to try and listen to see where it was coming from while he started the bike again. When he did, a rock shot out of the fan, alleviating the noise and vibration. Whew, thank goodness!
We continued on to Petty Creek Rd and took it back to the South. Shortly after we turned down it we saw three Bighorn Sheep near the road, one of which was standing in our lane and was wearing a tracking collar around its neck.
The North side of Petty Creek Rd is paved for the first 12 miles, then it turns to gravel, and later to dirt. At one point we stopped to take a picture, and I had parked my bike close to the center of the road, but still on my side where a vehicle could pass if needed. I was taking pictures when Dwayne heard something coming, so I hurriedly put my phone back in my handlebar mount and threw my gloves on, and I had just got moving and to the right side of my lane when a huge logging truck came barreling around the corner. That definitely wouldn’t have been able to pass, or stop in time, so poor Tora would have been demolished if Dwayne hadn’t heard it coming.
Once we got to the end of the road where it meets Hwy 12, we decided to head back to Missoula to go to Maverick Motorsports to get what we needed and grab lunch at the hotel before heading out again.
What started as a quick stop for chain cleaner ended up being a great conversation with the guys, and a demo ride on the newly updated Tiger 800 XCA, which is the off-road version of my bike. Technically my bike is a “road” version, but don’t tell her that, because she doesn’t seem to know 😉
I loved the new TFT display, and the fact that the cruise control buttons are now on the left handlebar, as they should be! I was surprised that the XCA didn’t feel any taller to me, but I keep my seat in the high position and they had this one in the low position, so that made the height difference negligible.
Although I did like a lot about the bike, it felt harder to corner than my roadie, probably due to the 21″ front wheel, which I’m not used to. I am sure that’s something I would adjust to quickly, but during my short ride, it felt a little awkward to me. I did love that they made the tall first gear issue a lot better with the new model, though, and the throatier sound of the exhaust was like music to my ears. I think I’ll be keeping my Tora though, for now.
When we got back to the hotel we ran into three gentlemen we had talked to yesterday who were supposed to be heading across the Magruder yesterday and today. As it turned out, one of them had gotten sick in the high temperatures, and they had decided to turn back to be on the safe side. They showed us a route up 9 Mile Rd that went over Siegel Pass to Quinns. We decided to take their advice and ride that route after lunch.
The ride started out as a beautiful cruise down a gravel and dirt alternating road in the valley between two mountain ranges. There was a bit of local traffic, and it was very dusty, so we got dusted out a few times. Eventually we turned onto the road to go over Siegel Pass, and we never saw another vehicle the rest of the way. It also became a less-maintained, narrower path.
The scenery was incredible, and the road was a lot of fun. There were some rocky sections, though not quite as challenging as the Beaver Ridge ride we did yesterday, and a lot of twists and turns. It was a fantastic road, and we were so glad we took their advice. I did put my GoPro on, but I’ll have to go through the video when we get home and upload it then because I forgot the sd card key for my phone and I didn’t bring the laptop, so I can’t view the footage until we get back.
At the end of the road, it intersected with hwy 200, which ran along another river and offered beautiful views. We stopped for some pictures before slabbing it all the way back to Missoula to end the day.
That’s it for today, I need to figure out plans for tomorrow and get some sleep, so I’ll write more tomorrow night!