Friday, 06/14. On a quite cool morning I rode out of town before 8:00 a.m. headed for Blackfoot, and soon found myself rolling across the Arco desert on U.S. 26, my destination Missoula, Montana and the home of my daughter and her family. I was looking forward to spending time with the grandkids and visiting some old friends.
The Arco desert is a massive ancient lava flow, the distinguishing feature of which are three large buttes, actually rhyolite domes formed by ancient volcanic activity. The windy desert is also home to the Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility I stopped for the firs time in Atomic city, a small burgh about a mile off of the road. I had often passed by but never went down to the town, now home to about a dozen folks.
I continued on to the town of Arco then turned north on U.S 93 headed for Salmon, ID. This is a very scenic route overshadowed by Idaho’s tallest mountains, passing through Mackay and on to beautiful Challis on the salmon river, where I stopped for gas. After Challis, 93 winds along the Salmon river through some breathtakingly beautiful country. I stopped for Lunch in Salmon. I had experienced some light, intermittent rain showers earlier and as I ate in Subway, it began to rain pretty steady. I donned my rain gear and continued my Journey north on 93. As soon as I left Salmon, the rain stopped and I never saw another drop on the whole trip.
Heading north from Salmon the highway first hugs the north fork of the Salmon then rises to Lost trail pass and down into the Bitterroot valley, following the Bitterroot river through Hamilton, Lolo and on to Missoula. It is a fantastic motorcycle road along the Bitterroot River and, although it had snowed that morning up on the summit, the road was clear and dry the whole way. I arrived at my daughter’s home to be greeted by Grand kids and this: