The BEST First Ride to Montana – Leg 3 – Missoula, MT to Coeur D’Alene, ID – 275 Miles

Day 3 of our ride to Montana started early. I couldn’t wait to be up-and-about to check out ‘Big Sky Country’. An I’ll tell you, ‘Big Sky’ is exactly right. I felt like I was spared from falling into the wide open blue by some magical glue that kept me anchored to earth. I expected to be sucked skyward, a feeling akin to the awe I felt when I first witnessed the majesty of the Grand Canyon. The morning was incredible – not a cloud in the sky – just the golden glow of another stunning sunny day to ride.

While we didn’t make an exhaustive tour of Missoula, we did see enough to know we’d love to stay, but the road was calling, so we headed out. My passion to see Montana was triggered by a movie, ‘Last of the Dogmen’, starring Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey. The story centers on a broken-down but skillful bounty hunter [Tom Berenger] who is hired by his estranged father-in-law [Kurtwood Smith] to hunt three armed escape convicts loose in Montana’s Oxbow Quadrangle. I was overwhelmed by the splendor of the mountains and resolved to make my way there. And dang, here we were right at the proverbial doorstep of the Oxbow. YeeeHawwwww!

It wasn’t until we arrived in Missoula and took a closer look at the map that we realized a town in Montana bore our family name – Rollins. So we HAD to get there and check it out. To get there, we took I-90 west to MT-93 north bound for Flathead Lake and Rollins. The ride was kind-of pretty, but unremarkable. Yet, the promise of viewing the ‘Dogmen’ mountains and our namesake was almost as motivating as the sheer pleasure of riding..

The jaunt to Rollins of fewer than 100 miles, took about 2 hours. Rollins is a quaint little lakeshore resort town with Post Office, gas station/convenience store and burger stand [just south of the town]. The later caught our attention, advertising ‘Buffalo Burgers’. So, we made a stop and frankly enjoyed our first and only ‘Buffalo Burger.’ We ask about the origins of the town and learned that a ferryman by the name of Rollins founded the settlement in the early 1900s. He ferried customers across Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. In addition to tranquil splendor, the lake offers world-class fishing with rainbow, cutthroat, bull, lake, and brook trout, as well as arctic grayling, bass, perch, and pike. We didn’t have gear, but if you’re into fishing, Flathead sounds like a great place to spend a weekend or a week!

We left Rollins south, back down MT-93 roughly 11 miles and took a right onto MT-28. This was a very enjoyable ride. The road was old but solid with virtually no traffic. About an hour down 93, you’ll pass just east of a local hot spot, literally, Hot Springs, MT. We didn’t pause to the enjoy the springs, but were told it’s wonderfully relaxing.

MT-28 intersects MT-200. We took a left and then about 5 miles south, we took a right onto MT-135. Now, prepare yourself for one of the most beautiful rides of your life. MT-135 cuts through the mountains and runs alongside a gorgeous mountain river – and oh what beauty. The river is perfect for ‘tame’ tubing, and we observed watched a number of families inner tubing in the Montana sunshine. I’ll bet there’d be some good fishing there too. From time-to-time we’d pass a mountain resort, and I thought more than once, a family retreat here would be fabulous. I was disappointed when we left nature’s beauty and returned to the concrete reality of I-90 at St. Regis, MT.

St. Regis is a typical truck stop community. We gassed-up, enjoyed a snack and were on the freeway north for Coeur d’Alene, ID. The ride to Coeur d’Alene is 95 miles on I-90, which runs east and west across the United States from Chicago to Seattle. The stretch from St. Regis to Coeur d’Alene lopes through the Montana-Idaho mountains with stunning vistas and pine-laden mountain-scapes. What marvelous beauty. What humbling greatness.

Appearance of the placid resort waters of Coeur d’Alene Lake, the area’s keynote attraction; heralded our arrival to Coeur d’Alene. The city of over 50,000, is devoted primarily to tourism and enjoys a full complement of hotels, motels, restaurants and services. We stayed in a popular discount chain I’ll not mention nor recommend. In subsequent trips we’ve continued on to Post Falls, ID. – a smaller, but more inviting community. In Post Falls, there’s a cool 60’s restaurant – the Hot Rod CafĂ©. Bike night is Thursday from May through September. The Hot Rod menu features a great selection of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, desserts and beverages. And the food is as great tasting as the atmosphere is fun.

That brings us to the end of the third day of our trip – a day of ‘Big Sky’ vistas and riding tranquility – the conclusion of Leg 3 of our BEST first ride to Montana.

What Are Ghost Peppers?

If you haven’t heard yet, Ghost Peppers is the western term for Naga Jolokia peppers that originated from the mountains of India. Rated with over a million Scoville units, the Ghost Pepper’s intense and almost hellish spiciness is considered by the Guinness Book of World Records as the spiciest chili pepper on the planet.

Naga Jolokia peppers are cultivated in the hillside regions of India and some parts of Bangladesh where it is considered as an herbal food to ward off stomach pains. The locals believe that the strong, tenacious spice of the ghost pepper is enough to cancel out abnormal acidic reactions in the stomach. Ghost peppers are eaten and consumed in these regions on a daily basis, using them as a main ingredient or spice to their dishes. A ripe pepper pod measures around 2.4 to 2.5 inches in an orange or red hue. Unlike other kinds of peppers, it has very thin skin and has a wide range of fruit sizes.

If you can’t imagine how spicy the Ghost Pepper is, its Scoville units confirm that it is 300 times hotter than the jalapeno. Those who have tried it say that once the surface of a ghost pepper touches the tongue, the feeling almost akin to licking a hot rod without actually burning. Some say chewing on a fresh pod will send a cloud-like pressure all over the body that will try to escape through the scalp. Although these testimonials seem horrific, many culinary daredevils still find satisfaction in eating bhut jolokia peppers. These peppers are usually watered down before even reaching the market to potentially reduce its spiciness. Growing ghost peppers is a painstaking job, that’s why folks in the Western hemisphere usually enjoy them in dried form, though there are some who choose to grow their own for a more genuine and spicier taste.

Although not particularly accepted by everyone as edible, these peppers are slowly making their way to the culinary mainstream. The best places to find ghost chilis dishes and pods are Indian restaurants, markets and stores, and even eBay. The next time you stumble upon a dish with the phrase “ghost pepper” in it, you should think twice before literally putting your mouth into the pit of fire.

Catfishing in Ponds: Get The Frypan Hot!

Channel catfish is the smallest type out of the three main types of catfish that can found when catfishing in ponds. There are two others such as Flathead and the Blue Catfish. These two species grow in larger sizes while Channel catfish remain small and are most commonly found in ponds.

Flathead catfish can be easily caught due to the fact that their appetites are extreme; they readily pursue almost any food and that applies to bait as well as their usual prey, unlike the other two types. Blue catfish are more challenging to catch because of their size and eating habits. On the other hand, the smallest type which is the channel catfish is great for managed ponds. They actually eat a trash diet. Channel catfish eats dead forage fish and pick up bugs on the surface of the water. More so, the channel catfish’ population does not have problems surviving after every catch, hence making it the easiest to catch in a pond.

For fishing in a pond that offers a variety of catfishes such as blues, flatheads and channel, take into consideration using a medium action rod that either has a spinning reel or a bait-casting reel. This is one of the recommended types of tackle to use. The fish will be able to easily eat the bait of a single point hook by using these treble hooks.

Another recommended option is to use an ultra-light fishing tackle. Spare rods should be taken, this way having more than one line soaked could increase the chances of being able to catch a greater number. Ensure that the drags on the reels are set loose in order to allow lines to soak. The fish will be able to swim with loose reels on the bait and in the process they will hook themselves. The rods should be tightened as soon as a change is noticed on the drag. This should be enough pressure to catch the fish.

Giving enough time for the bait to soak should generally make fishing in a pond a lot easier. There are other means as well such as tossing dog food, or tossing small specks of leftovers. This would enable the fish to swim near the location of the bait that could lead to an easy catch. It is also an advantage to go fishing in a pond during night time or whenever it is dark. The bigger ones are best caught during night time, plus putting on larger baits and more odorous baits could give better chances of a bigger catch.

On the other hand, noodling has become popular in fishing. It is a term for fishing catfish using bare hands. This may sound simple but is actually more complicated as it involves the hands. This may result from minor wounds to superficial cuts as a result of a bite as the process of noodling itself involves putting the hands in a hole and catching the fish with bare hands before removing it out from water. Although its concept sounds simple, securing the fish using bare hands is not that difficult but rather remains challenge and requires the skill of an experienced noodler.