It's the 7th day of our BMW motorcycle ride from our home in Prescott AZ to Portland OR. We decided on a shorter route today, starting from Bozeman, MT and ending 265 miles later in Missoula, MT. We started on Route 191 South, then turned west onto route 84, riding through irrigated green fields with white-capped mountain ranges in the background.
Turning onto Route 287, we rode through MacDonald Pass at 6312' on the Continental Divide west of Helena. Originally known as the Frenchwoman's Road because it was a toll road run by the wife of a French Canadian, today it's the primary paved road through the area.
In Townsend, Route 12 joined Route 287. We crossed over the Missouri River, and then along Canyon Ferry, where the Louis and Clark expedition traveled. As we rode along, I like to imagine that not much in the scenery has changed since this expedition over 100 years ago.
Traveling in the Southwest means covering sparsely populated long distances, It was after 1pm before we found a place to stop for lunch, the Dinner Bell in Gold Creek. Run by a local Mennonite family, the Dinner Bell deli offers a variety of sandwiches on homemade bread and a picnic table on the porch outside to enjoy lunch.
We finished today's ride with temperatures in the mid-90's as we made our way through numerous stoplights to our motel in Missoula. The odometer on the BMW rolled over to 42,000 miles today, and we easily have another 2000 to travel before this trip ends.