Posts Tagged ‘Wallace’

I’m a certified SCUBA diver and we have a safety slogan – Dive Your Plan.  It means before you hit the water you and your buddy should know exactly where you are going to dive, for how long, and how deep. If there is a good wreck another fifteen feet down, but that depth isn’t in your plan you don’t go down to it. Once you’ve had your allotted time underwater, ascend to the surface. Don’t change the dive plan. A dive plan makes for a safe dive. Period.

Although it doesn’t have the same risk, we could use the diving metaphor for motorcycle trips.   Thorough planning for a motorcycle trip can free up a person to enjoy the ride.  But, maybe you’re a “man of the moment” and looking for a more carefree, happily riding along and where you end the day is where you end.  So, what’s your style?  I try and have balance…a hybrid model if you will.  Over planning takes some of the spontaneous elements out of the trip, but I’ve been on a few of those rainy, dark nights looking for a hotel room because the city you ended up in had the National Little League Championships and was sold out!

I don’t know about you, but I dislike poring over maps. I hate how they unfold, crinkle and cover my saddle bags then never seem to fold back into that convenient size.  To my knowledge that actually has never happened!  I don’t like looking at all those squiggly map lines or guessing what unique wonders are out there when I ride.  Once I’m on the road, the map stays packed. I rarely consult it en route.  Not because my trip is so well planned out, but I sort of have an understanding of where I’m going to be at the end of any given day and I’m good with that.  And like the gents who get together for coffee at a local shop in the morning where everyone has an opinion about something and the conversation goes in different directions… if I take a side road here or there it only means I’ll arrive a little later… so be it.

Hecla Mining

Hecla Mining

For example, one ride a few years ago which I will always remember – first because I was solo and that’s uncommon and second because my inadequate planning came back to bite me.  I was headed up to Glacier National Park.  I made my way to Wallace, Idaho (I-90) and I had one of those knee-jerk carefree shorten my trip ideas to head up toward Thompson Falls, Mt and ride Hwy-200.  A quick glance of a map indicated there was a short cut on old Hwy-4 north through Burke, ID.  Turns out to be an unincorporated community with a year round population of 38!  The road winds up through a rather steep canyon only 300 feet wide and my plan was to cross over Coopers Pass on the Montana border and save literary hours.  Unfortunately the asphalt ended in this semi-ghost town and I was on National Forest Developed (NFD) road #2673.  A loaded Fatboy on a gravel road is not my idea of a dirt bike endurance trip so after another 10 miles of trying to convince myself the pavement would surely return…I admitted defeat, turned around and drove past the abandon Hecla Mining buildings and made my way North on Hwy-153 at St Regis, Montana.  Of course three hours later than I had planned, but I can now talk about Burke-Canyon Creek Road in the northern most part of Shoshone County Idaho with some authority! 

Happy trails…

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Rollrcoastrgurl and map courtesy High Country News.

Postscript: These days the Burke, ID area is viewed as a major source of pollution.  Everyday a stream that runs under the mill picks up and carries hundreds of pounds of heavy metals down through Wallace, ID and eventually into the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.  A good article on the “poisons in paradise” is HERE.

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