Making it to Boise and getting onto Rt. 21 north to head on up to Lowman and Pine Flats campground, I’m in one of the most beautiful states I’ve been in: Idaho. I’ve been through 48 states and because California is so immense, I do think California is the most magnificent. For its size, Idaho is a close second.
On Saturday, July 11, around 4:00, I made it to Pine Flats campground and got a tent site. There were quite a few people at the campground, but I stayed to myself. However, a guy who saw my California license plate stopped by to talk with me and I found out that he used to live by me in Clairemont. What a small world, I thought. He said he was leaving in the morning and he brought over four beers (wonderfully small world)!
I found the hot waterfall that Kinsey talked about. Magnificent! Most all the people at Pine Flats cleared out on Sunday except for the campground host – a guy trying for the D.A. job in Boise – and me. During the days I stayed there, everybody kept to themselves during the day and we all got together at night at the campground host’s campfire and played Trivial Pursuit while consuming many beers and glasses of wine.
Paul, the campground host, warned me that on Friday and Saturday, the campground usually fills up, so I packed up and headed north to Montana’s Glacier National Park. For guys traveling through Missoula, stop in at Fred’s Lounge and thank me later.
And for any Californians traveling up to Idaho by vehicle – nowadays, be warned! People from Idaho have been “Californicated” enough. When driving with California license plates, you’ll be followed, stopped and questioned by the law.
By late Thursday, July 16, I made it up to Glacier National Park. I’d been here a couple times before and it always seemed to be nasty weather, even in July and August. And guess what? It’s raining. A guy on a BMW motorcycle pulls in and I ask him if he wants to split a campsite to save a few bucks. He welcomes the opportunity to save some money, as he’s been riding from upstate New York, up by Canada and Vermont. His name is Kevin (K.P. Ward), and he hikes during the day while I ride up to Logan Pass, where it’s snowing, and into Alberta, Canada, where the weather is not much different.
In the evenings, Kevin and I would sit under the hand blow-dryers in the restroom, drying wet clothes and swapping stories about the day’s adventures. Kevin noticed a Tecate Beer Club shirt that I was wearing and he asked me about it. He pronounced it without any accent, as in "te-kate" (only two syllables). I explained about the small, quiet Mexican border town where the beer is made. I told him it reminded me of a town out of the 1950s – a Leave It to Beaver setting.
After three days of riding and sleeping in the rain and sitting under the hand blow-dryers in the restrooms trying to dry up and get warm, I decided that I had had enough. Kevin agreed and decided to split also. He asked me where I was going and I told him about a place I saw on the way up, called Bearmouth Lodge. I told him there was a sign that said $12/night for a room.
It didn’t take him very long to figure that we were paying $7 a night to sleep in the cold and rain at Glacier National Park and that for a few bucks extra, he could have a hot shower and a dry, warm bed. He said that sounded great and asked if he could ride along with me.
Late Saturday, July 18, after riding in the rain, rain, rain and more rain and cold, we made it to Bearmouth where all the $12 rooms were occupied. We settled on a double room with four beds for $22. That was the last room available in the lodge.
While waiting, another biker on a GoldWing Honda pulled in and needed a place to stay. We offered him (Bill) one of our beds and the cost went up to $24. Because I’m a math teacher, I figured that’s only $8 per person and the campground up in Glacier was $7. But now we have a dry place to sleep. My stinky socks on the radiator kept everybody out of my room!
There was a family reunion going on at the lodge, and we kept getting beers to drink all night long. We even got invited to the family reunion breakfast. We all got up late, around 10:30, missed the breakfast, and headed in different directions. Bill was going home to Spokane, Washington, Kevin was headed to Kalispell, Montana, and I was headed south and west, toward Lowman for a few days and then eventually back home to sunny, warm San Diego.
Fast-forward to Saturday, August 15. I’m back home in San Diego and I’ve decided to take a trip to one of my favorite places, Tecate, Mexico. So, I go out to my bike and take freeways 52 east to 805 south to 94 east just past the Dulzura Café and then the Barrett Café and a few curvy miles to Jct. 188 south to Tecate.
There, I dropped into my favorite place, the Bar Diana. When I go there in the winter, even before I take off my leather jacket, the bartender has a Tecate beer with a glass full of cut limes waiting for me. But this is summer and no leather jacket (and no helmets required in ’87) and within a minute after entering, the same service is bestowed upon me. I have one Tecate, two Tecates, three Tecates, and so on, until at one point, I say, okay, “Solamente una mas.”
Well, after I had “just one more,” I needed to stand up and go outside to get some air. Across the street from the Bar Diana is the town square where locals congregate and whatnot. Well, who do I happen to see walking down the street with a motorcycle helmet in his hand? That’s right, no other than K.P. Ward.