Day three, Sunday. The original idea was to make it to my destination, the Bitterroot Valley, sometime early to mid afternoon today. But I've made good time and the roads and sky ahead of me is clear.

I head northwest and finally depart Highway 287 which I've followed since Loveland Colorado, for Highway 41 south to Dillon. Then Highway 278 toward and ultimately into the Big Hole. The first 20 miles of that road are just incredible. Smooth, flat, 100 mph sweepers. I made one run up to 120. Too bad I forgot to get a picture before I cleared the bike computer.

Note to insurer: All speeds discussed here are purely hypothetical and represent what might be possible on motorcycle such as mine, in the hypothetical case where one might take such a bike on such a trip as mine. :-)

Somewhere I entered the Big Hole and the road went to crap. There were big gaps where the pavement simply wasn't there for 25-50 feet leaving nothing but a big patch of dirt and gravel. Some holes were marked, some weren't. A lesser motorcycle would not have been happy.
As I was passing through Jackson MT, in The Big Hole, not to be confused with Jackson Hole WY, I saw something that caught my eye.

That's it.. That's the whole town. A bar, a cafe, a barn a few cars.
And let's see that sign a little closer..
What it says is "E-MAIL to Anywhere FREE!".

It just struck me as kind of funny to find this sign in this one horse town. I almost took them up on their offer, but hey, I took the motorcycle trip to get away from the the un-real world.

The road finally smoothed out again, and I popped out in Idaho at the top of Lost Trail Pass, and promptly re-entered Montana 20 feet later. I followed a couple of kids in a Ford Ranger for a while down Lost Trail. They were trying very hard to stay in front of me, and I wasn't trying at all to pass them. After I watched both tires on one side bend and jump up and down as they slid the truck around the corners I finally put them out of their misery by passing them and left them behind so they'd stop deluding themselves and slow down.

Down the hill and into the Bitterroot Valley. This is where I grew up. My stop for the week was Darby MT about 45 miles north on Highway 93 into the valley.

That day:
I got a picture of my grandmother's house

And Joe and Val's house
But somehow I managed to not get a single picture of the Bitterroot Valley itself. Maybe next time.

I spent the rest of the week here, rowed a rowing shell, and paddled a sea kayak on Lake Como, admired the mountains of my home-town, and otherwise avoided the net and the boob tube. The one day I rode my bike up the valley I found that most people drove 55 or slower, although highway 93 is known to be particularly full of erratic drivers. If you want fast, this is the one road in Montana to avoid.

And, in case anyone's wondering. "Reasonable and Prudent" is totally up to the interpretation of any given state trooper, but generally they won't hassle anyone up to about 85mph if they're driving a vehicle up to the task. Above 85 and you're asking for trouble. Above 100 and you're in trouble. Other than my couple high speed runs, I kept it around 85-90 on the open highway and I ALWAYS watched for and did the posted speed limits in and around towns. Locals tended to drive anywhere from 50 to 85 with modes at 55 and 67.

The end of the trip nears.

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