Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chilly, Beautiful, then Brutal

Sat June 26 - 103 miles from Thompson Falls to Missoula

The day started chilly - we rode to a local Elks place where they served a great breakfast. The usual eggs, bacon, toast and oatmal but then several home made coffee cakes.

The beginning of the ride was along a river - we were in a valley with sun light mountains on the right and shadow on the left. It was cool - mid 50's and very scenic. We looked for big horn sheep in the mountains but never saw any.

By lunch it was warm and sunny - around 80. Both of us were feeling sluggish. We had ridden a good pace with Mark (TX) before lunch, but I was not up for keeping the same pace.

The road after lunch was rough and noisy. Cars were going by fast while we rode in the emergency lane. The noise from them got to us. It was also a strong head wind and a headwind. At one point we had a two mile downhill, but with the wind we never got going fast.

We stopped at a sandwich shop and had a fresh cooked doughnut and an espresso. The couple next to us was fascinated with our trip and kept asking questions. Talking to people has been one of the highlights. I am reading a book called "Travels with Willie" - he is a bicycle adventurer. He talks about how his bicycle is his "passport". When he rides into town people open up quickly and share food, lodging or stories. We are experiencing the "stories" part. It is so nice to meet people and talk to them.

The snack helped me tremendously (we still had 30 miles to go) . . . but Chris was still in low spirits. Noise, headwind, heat, rough road all got him frustrated. I pushed hard and we made it by around 3-4 pm. It was a long, brutal day.

The nice part is we are in Missoula and are staying in a dorm. As I pulled in Jo (UK) had a few extra beers (she is so fast she was able to stop and pick up two six packs) and I enjoyed one.

Chris and I went out for Thai food and ate huge amounts - we have been so hungry. We enjoyed electricity and reading in bed without headlamps.

Sunday I woke early - 5:30 am. That is our typical camp ground wake-up time. I went down to do laundry and found 3 others already doing the same. After a week of getting up early, it is hard to sleep in.

Chris went white water rafting and had a great time. He and Nathan (20 yr old from CA) were the only cyclists who went. I did errands, dried the tent (wet from dew), shopped and napped. It was a nice day.

This week was over 600 miles. The upcoming week is shorter at about 450 miles. However, it has a huge climb up the about 9000 feet before we head into Jackson (Grand Tetons).

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