Day One: Arlington to Missoula

In Missoula MT at the moment. Had a great drive, over Stevens Pass on US2, then WA SR28 to Quincy, then 281 to I-90. Then 60-some miles of I-90 to Ritzville, then through a hazy, smoky Palouse along WA SR 261 to US 12. Lunch in Pomerory, where the haze and smoke from a nearby fire was astounding. We left the smoke when we climbed to the Alpowa summit west of Clarkson. In Lewiston I stopped for gas and noted that I had seen 20 MPG on the last tank. Not bad for the E-type! The next 50 miles were spent trying to get at the head of the car queue to get free for the best of US-12 through Idaho.

It was even better than that map looks! 77 miles of never-ending curves. I counted the 1/10ths of a mile when the steering wheel was slack, and it totalled about 5 of those 77 miles, and never more than 3/10ths of a mile was it ever continuously straight… I was always tugging the wheel left or right. It was heavenly. 🙂

Oh, and I only saw three other cars on that stretch.

There was some smoke in the air and it was also getting towards the end of the day… a sort of early and long-lasting dusk. As such, I was not confident enough to push the car to “Ludicrous Speed”… Instead I was driving aggressively, but not anywhere near the limits of the machine. Why? I really did NOT want to have a close encounter with a deer… or an elk, or a moose, or even a bear (this road skirts the northern edge of one of the largest Grizzly bear habitats on the planet. Part of it was on fire, so who knows what was wandering over the road!)

Even with my eyes playing “scanner” it was still a very enjoyable ride. I averaged 60-80 MPH at all times, and probably touched the brakes fewer than a dozen times. Two of those times were for some rather large deer prancing across my path. Thankfully I saw both with plenty of time to slow to a stop without any panic.

After I scraped all the bugs off my windscreen at the top of Lolo Pass, the road lost some altitude and had some long straights where I was able to get it up to a ton and just hold. it. almost. Forever.

Truly wonderful.

My parents are tagging along as well. They spent the past week visiting friends on Vancouver Island. They drove. Dad alternated between driving or riding with mom, and coming along with me. I took this montage on I-90 somewhere in central Washington:

All my photos are available for viewing here.

One thought on “Day One: Arlington to Missoula”

  1. Chuck,

    What a great vacation! Having toured parts of the country with an open top, I can appreciate the joy you are obviously having on this rally. Thanks for sharing.


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