Thursday, 27 August 2015

US-12 & Lolo Pass


Located in the north central corridor of Idaho, US Route 12 – sometimes named the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway – connects three states together through a 174-mile road system. Starting from the west in Lewiston, Idaho, Washington state travelers can begin their journey east into Montana. US-12 ends at the Lolo Pass, the highway and Lolo Trail's highest point. The highway twists through mountains, passes over grand rivers and flows through Native American reservations, giving this a lifetime experience for all who seek its direction.

 No matter where you start your US-12 journey, you'll see some of the Northwest's most prominent and well-recognized natural features. At the Washington border, US-12 crosses Snake River and eventually the Clearwater River. From there, riders will enter the Nez Perce Indian Reservation and find themselves immersed in an endless amount of land. Much of the area surrounding US-12 was originally discovered by Lewis and Clark along their expeditions in the early 19th century, therefore many landmarks and historical sightings can be found along the highway. Because of this, riders will take step back in time while cruising the open road.
The most significant feature of US-12, and simply the most fun to ride, comes along the Lolo Pass. Even though US-12's 174 miles are easily ride-able in the morning or afternoon of a calm weathered day, Lolo Pass will bring you back to the area over and over again. Surrounded by pines and evergreens, this two-lane highway has become a motorcycle rider's paradise in recent years. With long curves and even longer straightaways, riders can easily pass slower motorists in order to keep the ride interesting. But motorcyclists traveling through the area, especially those from out of state, should be mindful of the other traffic that finds itself present on the given day. Industrial trucks and bicyclists alike travel Lolo Pass, too, therefore everyone should be respectful of each other. Large rest area parking spaces dot the Pass, making relaxing stops a possibility no matter how far you've traveled.                                                                                                                                                                    
 Like many Northwestern mountain towns and highway systems, US-12 will get rather cold and uninviting in the winter months. Riders should fully be aware that weather conditions can worsen the higher up in elevation they travel, and especially if time is to be spent on Lolo Pass, either for riding or exploring purposes. Having said that, Viking Cycle biker leathers make for warm, comfortable attire no matter what kind of bike you're straddling. However, places like Lewiston can become rather hot in the summertime months. Temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees and stay in the high 80s as the sun goes down. Draggin' Jeans are loose and breathable, yet protective when it matters most, especially on this ride. In short, pack both warm and cool weather clothes.


 With proper planning, the Lolo Pass and US-12 can be
one of the most enjoyable rides of your life. It's certainly not as epic as Route 66 or US-62, but for a day's commute, it's certainly something to remember for years to come. Of course, adventurers could always continue the journey on either side of US-12, as Washington and Montana roads that carry the highway further offer marvelous rides just the same.

Monday, 10 August 2015