Day 3: The Lolo Motorway

Initially, the plan was to head South today to ride the Magruder Corridor, then ride the Lolo Motorway on the way back tomorrow. We made the decision last night to not head down to the Magruder this trip, and instead just ride the Lolo Motorway today.

We slept in a bit again and didn’t hit the road until 8am. I’ve found that I have to wear my REV’IT! mid-layer jacket under my mesh jacket here in the mornings as it is only in the 50’s to low 60’s to start out, and today was no exception. I hadn’t needed my heated seat up until today, but when the temp dipped to low 50’s for a while, I was happy to have it, since I didn’t have any liners in my pants. Poor Dwayne had forgotten to bring any layers, so he was a bit cold to start out.

We took Hwy 12 to Lochsa to hit 569 up to the Motorway. Once we got to the motorway, I went ahead and shed my mid-layer jacket and cut off my heated grips and seat, as I knew I would be getting hot soon enough.

The Motorway is a dirt road with varying surfaces. There is some loose, sandy stuff, and there are a lot of rocky sections, but there are also some fast, hardpacked surfaces as well.

The views are absolutely incredible and you really have to concentrate on not riding off the side of the cliff while trying to take in all of the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately wildfires have once again started nearby, so there was a lot of smoke lingering, making the mountains in the distance a bit hazy. It wasn’t as bad as last year though, and hopefully it won’t get that bad again.

Things started off pretty tame with mostly hard packed surfaces with some rocks sticking up here and there, and the occasional washout. We were enjoying the incredible views and stopped a couple of times to take pictures.

Eventually things started getting a little rockier, and required a bit more concentration, so I wasn’t able to admire the views quite as much other than what was in front of me.

I had remembered my GoPro today, and I was doing good about using it, but for some reason it shut itself off on me a couple of times. Once, of course, was right before the most intense part of the day, when we hit a really steep, loose-rock-filled section with switchbacks. I’m pretty certain Dwayne was wondering what in the heck I’d gotten him into at that point, but we gave it hell and made it up without issue, and unfortunately I have no video to prove it.

Speaking of the GoPro footage, I’ll have to wait until I get home to upload it because I had it mounted upside down on my SoPro helmet mount so it wouldn’t be in my way, and I’ll need to flip it before I can share it.

The only people we saw on the Motorway were 2 side-by-sides, 4 ATV’s, one of which came around a blind corner half in my lane like a bat out of hell, and 2 jeeps who stopped and talked to us for a minute before continuing on. Luckily we met all of those in relatively easy sections, so it wasn’t hard to pass.

After some particularly technical rocky sections, we decided to stop for a minute to rest and take some pictures of another great view. It is crazy how much of a workout riding these trails can be, especially at higher elevations and when you were slacking on your cardio for a full month beforehand, lol!

We had planned to hop off the Motorway at Gravey Creek Road to go back to Hwy 12. We were pretty worn out from the last two days of riding, and Dwayne had a bit of a headache, so we stuck to this plan and did just that, and we went back to the rest area at the Idaho/Montana state line to have a picnic lunch like we had done on Monday. Gravey Creek was an easy gravel road, which rewarded us with a nice creek to behold at the bottom.

During our lunch break we were graced with the company of this little guy. He is a Columbian Ground Squirrel which Dwayne named “Chuck” and he is a chatty little critter. Chuck almost became lunch when a fox hopped out of the woods beside us unexpectedly, but luckily he hopped back up into the woods just as quick as he hopped out. I would have been pretty mortified for my new little friend if he had gotten snatched up.

After lunch we took 12 back up to Missoula and went back to the hotel. Having ridden 12 a handful of times now, I can safely say it is officially my new favorite paved road. Between the incredible scenery and the perfect alternating sweepers, it is the perfect paved road. You can keep your Tail of the Dragon, I would rather ride Hwy 12 any day!

We were already unsure of what our plans were for tomorrow, but that compounded when Dwayne went to lube his chain and heard something clanging around inside his rear wheel hub. We can see there is something in there, and we kind of thought it might be a piece of slate, but it sounded metal, and upon trying to break it apart with a screw driver, we found it wouldn’t break and it looked shiny where he had been poking at it. So now we are trying to decide if we want to wait around for Maverick Motorsports to open in the morning and have them look at it, or possibly just rent a bike for him from them for the day, or if we are just going to find something to do other than ride and get ready to head home on Friday. I can’t imagine that something broke off inside there, but I also hate to risk it and end up being sorry. I guess you’ll find out what we decide in tomorrow’s post.

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