2004 BMW MOA National Rally ÔÇô Spokane, WA
Chapter Five ÔÇô Go West, Young Man (and Woman)
(see previous posts/pages for Chapters One, Two, Three and Four)
All through the NW MT-Northern ID-NE WA area you will see reference to Mullan Rd and Mullan Trail. While the folks in the East were fighting each other, during 1859-1862 Captain John Mullan of the US Army was establishing a route between Fort Benton, MT and Walla Walla, WA. The goal was to connect the Missouri River and the Columbia River for a supply route. It was marked with ÔÇ£MRÔÇØ for Military Road but this designation is now more commonly described as Mullan Road.
This road was 25 feet wide, ran over 624 miles and hand dug. It was used for over thirty years; then it became part of the motorway designated The Yellowstone Trail (1912-1930s). This was somewhat of a marketing ploy to encourage tourism via a transcontinental highway stretching from MA to WA or ÔÇ£Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound.ÔÇØ This was a private endeavor, similar to the Lincoln Highway project which was started a year after this one and ran parallel but through Midwest states. In the 1930s, as the national highway efforts consolidated all the various routes, this route became Hwy 10. In the 1980s this became part of the Interstate system, now known as I-90.
You can walk on or drive stretches of the Mullan Road, see the old Yellowstone Trail signs and some of the original bridgework still intact across local streams as you leave Montana from Missoula (the frontage road on the north side of I-90) and all the way through the panhandle of Idaho. Stop and visit the historic tree nursery Savenac, I-90 exit 16, Haugen, MT; the road(s) cut through the front yard of the compound. The Mullan Tree monument is off of I-90, exit 28 in Idaho. The crew rested a day because it was July 4, 1861 and blazed a tree with the date. This resulted in the names you see today: Fourth of July Summit, Fourth of July Canyon, Independence Pass, etc. Some of the road can be seen here, too, along the interpretive trail.
Coming from the East: Stop for gas in St. Regis, MT, then take the local road called CamelÔÇÖs Hump, about 15 miles to the other end, where it connects with I-90 again at Harrison. Right now this whole stretch of I-90 is one way each direction and 45 mph due to bridge work so this is actually a faster way to get through the area, although this section of I-90 has incredible sweepers and is normally a sport-bike heaven.
If you have an extra hour or two, instead of CamelÔÇÖs Hump, for a different route, leave St Regis and I-90 behind and take Hwy 135, which follows the Clark Fork River. It is joined by the Flathead River at Hwy 200. Take Hwy 200 to Thompson Falls (or if you are coming across the State on Hwy 200, take note). Just past town, take the bridge to the left, across the river. This road will take you over Thompson Pass and into Idaho.
If you are riding GS and have an extra hour or two, take CamelÔÇÖs Hump to the Harrison end but donÔÇÖt get back on I-90. Instead turn up the forest road to the North (your right), go past the campground, up over Knox Pass towards Thompson Falls. When you come to the bottom you will feel like you just drove out of someoneÔÇÖs backyard, which you have. You will hit the pavement at the same road as the previous paragraph, but you are already across the river from Thompson Falls. Go left on the main road and you can rejoin your pavement-bound buddies (if you separated at St Regis at the same time, you should all join up again here with about the same time traveled) and you can all go over Thompson Pass together.
The road over Thompson Pass was first paved only a few years ago and many maps do not show it as paved or even show the route. When you hit the Y near Prichard you can quickly drop down to Wallace, ID and regain I-90 via a route that is steep, twisty and big time fun, or take the right hand route and meander along the Coeur DÔÇÖAlene River road back to I-90 near Cataldo ID. If you had friends who left St Regis via I-90, they will have had time to eat in Wallace ID while waiting for you to come in the back way.
spokane rally '04
I've been watching the forum and am somewhat saddened at what's been said by some of my neighbors, so I want to set the record straight with my perceptions and experiences.
I'm a Spokane resident, but wasn't raised here. I moved from the Seattle area 5 years ago, due to a mandatory transfer of my wife's job. The move was made willingly, but with some apprehension. All those misgivings were unfounded.
Spokane is a biker's paradise. Any kind of scenery and any kind of road (or off-road) you desire, it may be reached within 20 minutes from city center, except mountains, which will take you an hour or so.
Some have complained about bad roads. NOT SO! Spokane County's roads are great, well maintained, and pretty well marked. The city itself has had some unfortunate fiscal issues in the past several years, so there are potholes and patches. They aren't a problem except in winter, and even then, not too bad.
Someone also mentioned the Rally venue, the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds. I have no idea what the "might as well have it in the middle of the stockyards" comment was all about, since there are no stockyards any more, although there are several clean and well-kept animal barns on the fairgrounds campus. Someone mentioned showers. For one, if you look at one of the pictures someone posted, you'll see what looks like a baseball stadium. It looks like one because it IS one. Complete with home team and visitor locker rooms and, therefore, showers. The Fairgrounds has also recently seen a transformation process undertaken in order to make it into a venue that can handle multiple simultaneous major events. In order to make that happen, more shower facilities were constructed. I'm not positive, but I believe several full-hookup RV sites were added. Beyond that, there is a full service truck stop less than half a mile away. The nearby community college's facilities will also probably be made available. Whether you want mom-n-pop motels, chain, budget, or classic landmark hotels, B-n-Bs, primitive or full hookup camping, it is all close by, within 10 miles, most within 5. I plan on making my floor available to my many on-line friends whom I've never met in person (also, I've got central AC in case the weather is TOO hot). Beyond creature comforts, the fairgrounds are comparable to the nicest agriculture-oriented facilities out there. Lots of room to spread out and I can personally guarantee that there will be no floods.
So much for the venue complaints.
"Montana" has already sung some of the praises for the area; I'll add more. In 3 hours, you can be across the Idaho-Canada border and into the East Kootenays of British Columbia. Lots of incredible roads and scenery (one GS road that runs higher into the mountains and comes down into the Yaak Valley in Montana, I believe), wildlife, hiking, fishing, breweries, wineries, pubs, and incredible deals on shopping, lodging and food (I have a cabin up there and I love the place). I know of at least one hotel that will put you into a homey riverside room for about $35 US a night and you'll get in on an impromptu potluck BBQ (bring chips or something from a nearby store) if you arrive early enough. A great way to spend the last night before the rally or the night you leave the rally.
But back to Spokane: you can find whatever makes you comfy. There are microbrew pubs, wine bars, jazz clubs, golf courses, live theater (Best in Nation winners 1999 and 2003), you name it. There is a favorite hangout for local riders, a gas station / convenience store called the Rocket Market, where the eurobike crowd shows up first Tuesday of every month at 7pm. On Tuesdays and one other night every week, there is live entertainment. In the parking lot. The Market started out as a yuppie grocery store and just sort of acquired a mind of its own. On the live music nights, it gathers quite a crowd. They've got about 60 varieties of brew, the obligatory espresso menu, plus a hell of a deli / dessert counter. The music is always good, as is the mood of the crowd, a great place in which to watch the sun go dim.
I could go on extolling this area's virtues, and probably will do so at a later date. But if you're straddling the fence on whether to come, make the leap. You'll have a great time. The Rally has the unqualified support of local government and business. Taken as a whole, the whole area, including the venue, is maybe the best that the Rally has seen in a decade, and anybody who misses this one will definitely regret it.
Yeah,I would take some of that AC floor space;and I have friends coming from Michigan with some of their children and a spouse or maybe 2.Kay??:D
Has anyone noticed that the site appears to be a couple of blocks from the interstate? That combined with the picture of the site someone posted awhile back makes this site look pretty dreadful.
Sorry. Just an observtion. I'm sure it will still be a blast to go though. Hoping to make it my first trip to the West Coast. I'm sure there will be many things to distract from an ugly rally site. :beer
Wonderfull, if Charleston was not bad enough, we have a rally between to rail road tracks in spokane
Re: 2004 Rally
[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Unregistered [/i]
Wonderfull, if Charleston was not bad enough, we have a rally between to rail road tracks in spokane [/QUOTE]
Check the poll:
Spokane Sounds like Fun
Was there a couple of years ago for a meeting in Post Falls, ID. Flew into Spokane and drove over to Post Falls. Also got to go to Sand Gap, ID. Neat town.
Looking forward to the trip and seeing the sites and visiting the Micro's and sampling the local flavors:bliss
Just got back from riding some of the incredible roads described by Montana. Glacier Park, Flathead Lake, Thompson Falls, St Regis, Northern Idaho and the Locksa River. Getting here and day rides wil be over half the fun. Who takes their bike to a rally to park it?
"Who brings their bike to a rally to park it"
I do,unless I have to have a short ride for pie,poutine,laundry or shower.I do my riding to get there and back.The rest of the time I want to see and be seen,hang with my pals,make new ones,snort beer out of my nose with laughing,buy something absolutely essential(just like golf,when my game falls apart I accessorize);I bought a diode board from the dealer in Portland Oregon a few years ago when the turn signal flasher quit en route to Redmond a few years ago and guess what?My on board board fried before I got back to Vancouver!!
I have been to Spokane and found it a great city.I dont know the venue,but I am darn well prepared to like it a lot!!:clap
I'm rather pleased to hear that the rally site for next year is Spokane. That means that I should be able make it down there for most of the weekend (I all ready checked my shift calendar). I have never been out to one of the BMWOA rallies before because I have not been able to put together the time needed to ride to the chosen locations. This one will be close enough to make it an easy days ride, two if I make it interesting. Hope to see you all there.