Pre-ride: Day -1 DGB heads out

We were on the road this morning by 6:30 AM, departing Gillette, WY; and yet another awesome day greeted us. The road quickly brought us up to 4,000 of elevation, and our entire trip to Idaho vacillated only a few hundred feet with the exception of two notable passes and our final descent down the mountain into Coeur d'Alene.

The geography we encountered in Wyoming is startlingly in contrast to the waving grain prairies that we left behind in South Dakota. Sub-Alpine is very arid and there is little tall vegetation; no trees at all for as far as you can see.   Rolling hills and mounds of glacial moraines make for a surreal world, dotted with antelope, cattle and horses ranging over a vast endless landscape. A low scattered overcast caused dappled shadows and partial rainbows to appear and disappear as if a giant, unseen painter were creating and recreating one canvas after another. God's country, to be sure. 

This eerie world transformed into Montana, with the Rockies now appearing in the vista, and trees beginning to reappear under the canopy of the storied "Big Sky" which caps all with a seemingly endless dome. Patrick commented that our journey of 500 some miles essentially taking a short cut across the SW corner of Montana was equivalent to driving across the entire state of Ohio.  The scale of this world is difficult to grasp. 

We crossed the Continental Divide at around 6,400 feet and followed the Interstate into Butte, where we had lunch. We then set our sights on Idaho, hoping to arrive at the home our hosts for the evening by 6 PM.  Tom and Eileen Little live in Harrison, ID, on the northeastern side of Lake Coeur d'Alene. We arrived right on schedule, and immediately were introduced to local life in rural Idaho. 

Tom and his son Matt toured us around their property and shop. After exploring restored Jeeps, a "deuce and a half" and various truck and tractor renovations, Matt picked up on the problem we were having with a seized bolt on the receiver hitch, preventing us from leveling the trailer properly. Before we knew it, Matt had an oxy/acetylene kit and impact wrench out. We had the hitch adjusted in no time, and what a difference it made in getting the weight evenly distributed on the axles and tires.

A dinner of elk steak awaited us, and good company and many laughs ensued. Tomorrow morning, we depart for Seattle. Many thanks to Tom and Eileen for sharing their home with us.

DGB