Repairs, Weather, and Girls Day!

I held my breath a bit in the early morning light as I turned on the ignition and watched the voltmeter arm swing confidently to just under 14V.  Whew!  I had packed up camp, hitched the camper to the bike, and was ready to leave Buffalo Gap Campground by 8:00 a.m. (I’m writing in civilian time, but in my head, it’s still 0800 🙂  )  I called the nearest Harley-Davidson dealership, Black Magic H-D in Willison, ND, about a 2-hour ride north, and described my issue.  

Think y’all would be able to see me same day?

Yep, we do our best to accommodate travelers, come on in, we’ll see you when you get here.

I nervously watched the voltage meter for the two-hour journey, but it held steady through the whole ride and I made it to Willison without issue.  Of course, Mike was right, and the stator was going out.  After several phone calls late in the afternoon, the part was ordered and set to be overnighted.  By the time the part arrived and the work done, I was two days behind on my road trip agenda.  No worries, I’ll adjust fire and can still arrive on-time for my campground reservations in West Glacier, MT.  

When I posted my rough trip map outline on the Bunk-a-Biker Facebook page several months ago, one of the hosts along Hwy 2 in Montana reached out to me to let me know she’d be happy to host me.  We had been in communication a few times since then, so I texted her to let her know that I was still coming on the expected date, but that I would be pulling one of my longest towing days yet to get to her, so I wasn’t sure of my arrival time.  No worries she texted, just be safe and we’ll see you when you get here!

The heat and wind were intense along Hwy 2 between Williston, ND and Shelby, MT, but the checkerboards of rolling green and gold hills were picturesque.  I saw lots of “amber waves of grain,” but of course when there was an actual pull-off for me to take a picture, the amber grain field had already been cut to stubble and was no longer waving, but was still gorgeous.
All that agriculture sure attracts the bugs! It felt like someone was throwing rocks at me for a while!

And once again, I hit the Bunk-a-Biker jackpot!  Maloni, an avid biker with three bikes of her own, made space for my bike and camper in her garage.  Only a fellow biker can understand just how tiring towing for 400 miles with a motorcycle can be in 98 degree heat, with winds gusting up to 60 mph (yep, no $hit, it was that bad!).  She got me all settled in and chatted with me for a bit while I cooled down.  After laundry and a shower, I was treated to a perfectly grilled steak, baked sweet potato, and salad – a real home-cooked delight!  We hit it off so well, I was bummed that we wouldn’t be able to ride together a bit.  With Glacier National Park only about a hundred miles from her home, she had great intel on routes, sites, and timing, which she shared with me, even though she wouldn’t be able to accompany me.

A kindred spirit for sure!  As we shared stories of riding in arduous conditions, I shared with her the mantra I remember in those conditions- “Yeah, but did you die?!”  She laughed, got up, and showed me a shirt with the same saying!

The next morning, I was greeted with coffee and a scrumptious breakfast.  As we lingered over coffee, I commented that it was too bad that she had to work and couldn’t ride west with me for a bit.  

She grinned like the cat that ate the canary and said, “I made some phone calls- I’m riding to Glacier with you today!”

YES!!!

And just like that, girl’s day out on 2-wheels was on!

We stopped at Memorial Park at Marias Pass, which has several monuments, including the obelisk honoring Theodore Roosevelt, at the site of the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide between Canada and central New Mexico- 5213 ft.  It is traversed by Hwy 2 and remains open year-round. 
Campsite in West Glacier KOA
We bee-lined it straight to the West Glacier KOA Resort so I could unhitch the camper and ride unencumbered for the rest of the day.  I quickly opened up the camper and we hit the road!
We hadn’t had lunch yet, so our first stop after I got checked in at the campground was the Huckleberry Patch at the nearby town of Hungry Horse.  
Yep, Maloni and I had huckleberry ice cream for lunch from the Huckleberry Patch!
After ice cream, we rode the short, yet twisty, road up to Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir.  Named after Jerry and Tex, two horses found skinny and hungry in the area after wandering off in the winter of 1900-01, the dam stands 564 feet.  Built in 1953-58, on the South Fork of the Flathead River, Hungry Horse is one of the largest concrete arch dams in the U.S. –NPS website
Hungry Horse Reservoir is 34-miles long and has 170 miles of shoreline.  There’s a 50+ mile scenic road that skirts the shoreline and provides access to picnic areas, boat launches, and campgrounds, but it’s gravel the whole way, so we opted not to take it.  –Forest Service website
Another amazing biker met through Bunk-a-Biker, and another friend made.  Looking forward to riding with Maloni again in the future 🙂

Before we knew it, the day had flown by and it was time for Maloni to head back east.  Unencumbered with a 55 mph camper speed restriction, I’m sure she had a quicker return trip!  It was a GREAT day of riding and I made a new friend that I hope to host in NC someday 🙂 

Now, time for Glacier National Park!

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