Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 16. The Last Day.

Friday the 19th.

After breakfast in the cafe at the Chieftain Motel, we left with 2 goals for the day. Vist the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site, and make it home by sundown.
The first stop was just 47 miles away in Cooperstown. 4 miles north of hwy 200 on hwy 45 is the North Dakota State Historical Society's very well preserved Minuteman Missile LCC (launch control center). I visited the similar facility run by the National Parks Service near the Badlands this June. I have to say that the Parks Service facility is nowhere near as complete or nicely restored as the one in Cooperstown! John and I spent nearly 2 hours looking at every square foot of the place. At the Badlands facility, I felt rushed and it seemed like I was through it in 15 minutes. I was happy to pay the $10 admission. I'm sure it's going to help keep the LCC open. It's a great piece of Cold War history.

View of front gate from inside security office.

Underground mechanical room. The floor is hanging on 4 huge shock absorbers. There are parts of 2 of them in the background.

Blast door for mechanical room.

Door frame of blast door for control room. Signed by crew on the last day the facility was active. At the bottom, "in aquilea cura" was the motto of the 448th Missile Squadron. It translates to "under the care of the eagle"

2 red chairs for launch control officers.

Launch control board, 1 of 2. The red box is where the missile launch keys were kept. Each officer had his own padlock on the box.

Keys were inserted here...

After the tour of the LCC it was pretty much a minimal stop run to home. We stayed on 200 until it ended at US-2 near Floodwood, MN.
A quick run down I-35 to the twin cities, and I split off on 694 to Cottage Grove, then into WI on hwy 10. To home... just before sundown

Total mileage for the 16 day trip.... 4753

Day 15.

Day 15. Thursday the 18th

We had spent the night at Fellman's Motel in Jordan, MT. It was a nice place. The price was right. It also had a great shower, small, but the water pressure and flow were awesome.
We left town and continued east. We crossed into ND and noticed all the oil wells and temporary housing. It's a booming area.

We came across a coal field. There was an electric dragline working. It's a Marion 8750. It weighs 13.5 Million pounds. The boom is 360 feet long. The bucket is 20'x16'x10' it weighs 244,000 pounds. It holds 125 cubic yards of overburden(dirt). It's HUGE!!

for a while, we thought the weather was going to turn bad. This was ahead of us, but by the time we got to it, there was nothing but gray skies.

We stopped for the night at the Chieftain Motel in Carrington, ND.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 14 More Montana with Nukes

This morning it was 35 degrees in Lincoln, so we were in no hurry to get on the road. It wasn't long before the temps climbed and the riding was good. We continued east on 200.
Our route took us past Malmstrom A.F.B. Home to 150, LGM-30G, 300 Kt nuke equipped, Minuteman III missiles. It was interesting to see the differences between the '90's era LCC's (launch control centers) and LF's (launch facilities) of SD and the current ones in MT.
I toured the National Parks Service's restored LCC and LF near the Badlands in SD on my trip west in June. Pictures Here.

LF...launch facility.

LCC...Launch Control Center.

In Lewistown, we stopped for food and fuel. We noticed that there was a museum with a Minuteman missile on display.

Because we got a late start, we ended up in Jordan, MT for the night. We should be well into ND by tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 13. Making the Turn Towards Home.

Day 13. Tuesday the 16th.

This morning, we left the Motel 6 of Coeur d'Alene and headed to Rathdrum, via ID-41. The further north we went, the more Idaho looked like a place I'd like to live. The panhandle area looks a lot different than southern Idaho. In the south, there was a lot of sagebrush. In the north, it's pine trees. It reminds me of western Oregon. We followed ID-41 all the way to US-2 on the ID-WA border. We took US-2 east to Sandpoint.

John wanted to ride hwy 200 from it's start in Sandpoint, ID all the way across MT, ND, to the end in Cloquet, MN. We Got on 200 near the east side of Sandpoint. We rode 265 miles of it today. We stopped for the night in Lincoln, MT. We checked in to the Three Bears Motel, unpacked, and went to The Montanan for dinner. I had the best bacon cheeseburger I've ever had.

Visitors outside our motel room near sundown.....

Day 12. Grangeville to Coeur d'Alene

Day 12. Monday the 15th

We made today was a much slower paced day. We stopped a lot, and I managed to take a bunch of pictures and experiment with different camera settings.
I've been north out of Grangeville on ID-13 to US-12 to Lolo, 2 other times. The ride is one of my favorites. This time, we turned left on 12 to go west.
We crossed over the Clearwater River on ID-7 and into Orofino. We took county road P-1 and stopped at the Dworshak Dam.
In Kendrick, we had lunch at Archie's Place. The weather was turning colder, and by the time we got to Troy, via 99, we had to stop and put on another layer of clothing.
We turned to head west and rode through Moscow and into Pullman, WA. We went up WA-27 to Palouse. Then back into ID.
We gassed up in Potlatch and went north on ID-6, the White Pine Scenic Byway. It's a short ride, but the scenery is great!
Out of St. Maries, we turned left onto ID-97, the Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway. It's a nice 35 mile ride that takes you along side Lake Coeur d'Alene. The views are nice, but maybe I was tired, but it seemed to take forever to get to the end.

Day 11. Arco to Grangeville

Day 11. Sunday the 14th.

We checked out of the D-K Motel, gassed up, and left Arco. We headed west on US-20. This interesting building was in downtown.

We stopped at the overlook just before the Craters of the Moon N.M. Neither John nor I felt like taking the time to drive through the park.

After passing through Picabo, we turned north on Gannett Road. Gannett Road meets up with ID-75, just south of Bellevue. That section of ID-75 is the Sawtooth Scenic Byway. The view was nice but there was a lot of traffic. The area is a huge tourist attraction. The prices for real estate in the Ketchum and Sun Valley area must me outrageous. One yard had a helicopter parked in it.

We stopped in Stanley for lunch and fuel, then left town on ID-21, the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway. In Lowman, we got on the Wildlife Scenic Byway, also known as, NF-24, or, Banks-Lowman Road. That 33 mile section of roadway is awesome!

In Banks, we headed north on ID-55, the Pyette River Scenic Byway. Our original plan was to stop for the day in either McCall, or New Meadows. Motels in McCall looked too expensive for our budget. In New Meadows, we gassed up and decided to go all the way up to Grangeville.

We stayed at the Super 8. It was the same place we stayed last year on our trip through the area, and the place I stayed on my trip west in June. After being quoted a rate for the room, I asked the clerk if she'd give us a deal for staying with them 3 times in the last year. She knocked $11.00 off.

I was so tired from the 400 mile day, that I fell asleep in my clothes watching TV. I didn't wake up and go to bed until 0400.