Day 18 – June 4: over the pass, into Montana

Day 18 – June 4: over the pass, into Montana

Day 18 6/4

Miles 59.5

End point – Missoula Montana

Total miles – about 1000

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of an air compressor. The rafting guides were getting the 16 foot boats ready for another day on a very high, very fast moving river. I didn’t envy them having to run the rapids – they were fast and way above my level. Guess that’s why they pay them the big bucks.

Knowing that today really only held one obstacle, I managed to get a move on by 8am. The 13 miles to the top of lolo pass were on a road that thankfully didn’t have much traffic. What it did have was potholes, cracks and generally a pretty crummy surface. But it wasn’t very steep overall and I managed the climb in good time. Heck I reached the top and felt great.

Maybe my legs and body are finally getting acclimated to this thing.

On top was a visitors center with water and wifi and coffee and hot chocolate. A veritable heaven. Eric showed up as well and we chatted with several cyclists who had biked up from Missoula. They gave us some advice regarding the road in (bike lane!) And where to eat (big brewery!) And told us the road surface got a lot better in Montana.

Excited, we started our descent after snapping pictures at the Montana sign. Exciting!! The road WAS better and the landscape seemed to change almost immediately. Tall stands of trees on the hills and noticeable rock formations that were just blasted out of the hillside. Montana felt… nicer? More open I suppose. Maybe it’s because the last few days were all stuck down in river gorges that being able to see more than a hundred meters at a time that seeing for miles again was wonderful.

What wasn’t wonderful was the wind again. Right in the face. So hard a few times I was pedaling hard downhill. Once we got down a little farther and sheltered a bit I was able to open the throttle and hit top gear on my bike. Hearing the wind you create whistle in your face and the hiss of your tires on pavement as you cruise along was just amazing.

I stopped for lunch at the site of Fort Fizzle. I love that as I travel I get to see and read so much history. The last week has been quite a bit of Lewis and Clark information and today was all about the flight of the Nez Perce from the US Army. It’s fascinating and it’s history i never really heard about before in more than passing.

The last 13 miles into Missoula were all on a new bike path. Smooth crisp and clean. And it meant I could stay off the busy highway. I had contacted a guy from Warm Showers for a stay and biked in to find a huge old manor home. A house for musicians the downstairs had been converted into a venue/community space/bike hostel. It was wonderful. I claimed a couch and met Martin, a guy from the Netherlands who is cycling from Canada to Argentina.

I stopped at the store and got some pasta sauce and spicy sausage and made a huge pot of rigatoni. Delicious. Beer might have been involved as well. So i slept like a rock.

Tomorrow will probably be a rest day as I try and get some town chores done. I need to visit bike shop and get new brake pads and possibly new tires. Find some new thrift store shorts (I destroyed the zipper on mine) and maybe hunt up a musical instrument. It gets a little sad and lonely on my own so it seems like a suitable solution. And visit the Adventure Cycling Association!

Thanks everyone for all your love and support the last few weeks! I miss everyone!

4 Replies to “Day 18 – June 4: over the pass, into Montana”

  1. Fort Fizzle, ritagoni and a house of musicians — delightful post! from here on you’ll really see the wide-open west. so different from east coast. you’ll love MT, WY and CO (half of CO, anyway). xoxo

  2. Looking good. Following you on a map. Matching places with pictures. Take care and enjoy the scenery!

  3. “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk (bike) with love and reverence” Henry David Thoreau

    ” A good attitude can always make the difference” mjam..(me)
    As always have fun, be safe and enjoy this wonderful opportunity you have given yourself.

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