We had to come farther down the motorway than planned to find an available campsite, putting us much closer to the night three lake than planned. It still ends up being a ride we’re glad to be done with when finally we pull into the empty campground.
In spite of no water white noise, we sleep fairly well again before crawling out of our matching tents to fire up our three matching Jetboil stoves for coffee, banter and maybe oatmeal.
The day is dry and bright before we make our way down from panoramic Indian Point to continue on the Lolo Motorway in the tracks of Lewis and Clark.
It doesn’t seem like eight years have passed since we last rode here. Most sights are exactly as I recall,¹ as if it was just last week when we visited.
I later looked up an old picture from exactly this spot and the signs actually are substantially changed — so much for memory.
This section of the motorway is especially bumpy. Not fun bumps, like the road up to Burnt Knob on Friday, but jarring. Last time we rode this I noticed “twelve and fifteen miles-per-hour were sometimes teeth rattling speeds.”¹ I wish now I had dropped tire pressure this morning. It would have made the day’s ride more pleasant.
When the turn to Rocky Ridge Lake appears, I find I’m quite ready to call it a day.
The campground is empty — ideal. We circle around the available spots and settle on the one with the best lake access.
Joel and I both need to tighten a mirror after bumping it loose. Information for non-riders: the mirrors on these bikes are threaded into a nut that is in turn reverse threaded into the handlebar mount so it can break loose in either direction. That’s nice to keep anything from truly breaking but often means you need a pair of wrenches to tighten it back up.
Jeremy has the right idea. Joel and I soon fall in line when we see him set quietly in the sun at the lake’s shimmering edge.
I take pleasure in walking methodically around a place, pausing to ponder delicate patterns and enchanting microcosms. It doesn’t feel like I’ve really seen a place if I haven’t had a chance to discern its fine textures.
“There’s an in-hole and out-hole so it’s probably their butts,” Joel proposes.
We are watching inchworms descend from branches over our heads, noticing both ends look the same, joking about which end produces the silk.
Jeremy has three remaining beers we’re trying to chill in the warm lake water for later celebration.
“Here’s a big one,” Jeremy lets me know.
“I don’t think it believes we can see it,” I suggest as I kneel closer and closer to a big frog after its smaller cousins quickly hopped away.
As luck requires, a dad with his wife and two young kids arrives with fishing poles just as we’re beginning to bathe. He looks askance our direction to confirm, I suspect, there’s nothing he’ll need to hide their eyes from.
Jeremy gets the logical idea to attempt climbing aboard our former soap holder log. It goes as expected.
After an apparently busy weekend, the nearby forest is picked clean of deadfall. Ever effectual Jeremy scavenges far and wide for our evening fire fodder.
The fishing family has left. We are bathed. Wood is stacked. Whiskey is poured. Music is playing. We sit around the fire ring laughing, scheming, cajoling, interrupted only by a dive bombing bird trying to take out Jeremy’s eye. Whatever he did to get these logs wasn’t well received by the avian community.
“Are you going to put your fly on?” my brothers ask as darkness falls.
“I was hot last night,” I answer. My tent is set up with just the netting walls and top; no rain fly. Their ongoing remarks finally have the intended effect. Now I feel paranoid. I reluctantly stretch the fly into place, expecting I’ll have my retort when we awake to the same dusty ground.