We very suddenly need a different plan!
After we had replaced the front screen and straightened the handlebars ...and eaten a full pack of jelly snakes its suddenly hit us… “where now?”
We make no plans apart from a few days ahead and those that we had made saw us completing the BDR and ending up on the Oregon border. But now after the crash we weren't going to make the end.
After chatting to a local guy in the parking lot of the Honda shop and seeing where we were at that point on a map we realised we were only around 1000kms from a ghost town in Montana that we had wanted to visit.
A route there would take us through Idaho as well; where we had been told it was beautiful by the guy in the parking lot. He recommended we take the 90 (an interstate/motorway) all the way there but as previously stated highways and main roads were things we wanted to avoid.
So we plotted in a destination on our “scenic” app and chose the “curvy” route and excluded highways …tada! The route was 100km longer BUT took us through all the backroads including the gravel roads.
At first we travelled through acres and acres of Pear orchards and even stopped for lunch at the side of the road in one! We later discovered that Washington State is the largest producer of apples, hops, pears, blueberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries in the U.S
Our route then took us through the Palisades where black cliffs and vertical basaltic rocks where either side of an irrigated strip of farmland.
We then hit a gravel road that wound up onto a plateau at the top of the cliffs.
We wound through farmland growing crops, vegetable and fruit and eventually came to a town called Othello where there was a MASSIVE McCain factory that was processing all the surrounding crops and made the town smell like raw frozen chips/fries early the next morning.
We found a cheap motel room because they had no locks on any of the doors in the hotel due to the electronic locks being upgraded but the fitters not turning up …bizarre but true!
The following day (18th Sept) we travelled East across the semi-arid basin region of flat horticultural/agricultural land. This could have been a boring, straight ride; however using the scenic app again we ended up taking all the back roads, many of them gravel.
It made us feel incredibly free… just riding through these vast expanses, not know where our route took us and having no pressing need to be in a certain place at a certain time (we only book accommodation or choose a campsite when we get tired).
Lunch was left over pizza that Nick heated up on our engines. One of the things we are finding in the US is that portion sizes are massive and we always have leftovers for another meal.
As farmers we were fascinated to know what crops were growing, especially the more remote we got and the drier it got. In one section there was harvested crops one side and freshly planted crops the other …what on earth would they plant now that would survive the savage winters???
Nick had a dig around in the planted furrows and discovered it was wheat …planted very deeply; obviously for protection.
That night we ended up in a small and pretty town called Kamhia on the Clearwater river.
It was the first time that we had seen someone wearing a revolver around there waist and a stark reminder of how different life was here compared to what we were used to.
On Monday 19th we left heading for a campground at the ghost town; it was over 550kms but we reckoned we could do it. Unfortunately we had to stop off a few times along the way and realised that we most definitely were not going to make it.
The area we were in at around 5pm was remote and each small town that we came to (there were very few!) had no accommodation left due to travelling construction and road workers. We enquired at a campsite but they wanted $50USD ($85NZD) for a campsite!!!!!!! We declined on principle.
We rode the flat plains of farmland and ranches for miles and miles and came to Jackson, population of around 10ish. There was a very cool little hotel but it was locked up. We called the number anyway and they had one room left for $79USD …a bargain!
It was possibly one of the coolest places we have ever stayed and decorated with an authentic western theme. We felt a lil’ bit like cowboys …on bikes …with lots of protective gear and no lasso!
If you are ever in Montana then go to this place; The Bunkhouse, Jackson.
Good nights sleep and all ready to explore a real ghost town!