Every few months I check Google for Big Coulee Road.

It’s one (??!) of the roads I managed to crash on. It was back in 2007 on the way to Alaska (?!).

I remember it well.

Most things I don’t remember nearly as vividly.

We were in the middle of nowhere. The bike’s computer was saying I had around 50 miles of fuel left. The GPS said a gas station was around 100 miles away.

Not good.

There we were. On a dirt road. Me at the controls and En behind me. A full load of stuff surrounding us — camping gear, supplies, clothes, parts… stuff.

“Turn Left on Big Coulee Road.”

I looked at the GPS. I looked at the sign. The GPS was nothing more than a squiggle. The road had a caution sign.

“No. I don’t want to turn left!”

We scouted around a bit to no avail.

Big Coulee Road was between us and a bigger highway. A bigger highway with — parhaps — a gas station and a motel.

– = –

 Eventually we turned down Bug Coulee Road.

At first it was easy. For the first hundred or so feet.

We were descending from a plateau to the valley floor. Down the edge. A rock cliff was on the right, treetops on the right as the cliff continued down.

– = –

We hit a patch of deep loose gravel and the rear wheel spun up. We went down. Thankfully we didn’t hit the cliff to our right or go down the cliff to our left. Just a low-speed low-side.

Other than the corner of the panier nothing got damaged.

The bike was picked up and we continued a few miles and got to the main road. A semi drove by. Gas was near — it had to be.

Turning towards Glacier National Park we went west. A few miles later we arrived in Ryegate. We got the gas we needed. En asked the proprietor about a place to stay. He pointed down a quarter mile to the brightly lit motel sign.

Checking in we said hi to the kitty that lived in the lobby and proceeded to start picking out some of the rocks that had lodged themselves into the cooling fins of my right cylinder.

– = –


Not my bike… but a few hundred feet above the crash…

(more here)

I’ll never forget that day.

– = –

Yellowstone. Beartooth Pass. Big Coulee.

I don’t think I’d trade it for the world.