|Home | Classifieds | Mechanic | Links | Race Headlines | Features | New Books | Photos | Travel | Cartoons | OH-WV-PA Info | Site Map | Search | Contact|
Thursday, June 25, 1996
Clark Fork, Idaho to Libby Dam, Montana
I had only four hours of sleep again, but I rode strongly regardless. We awakened to a flat tire, so our starting time was again delayed; in addition, we immediately entered Montana, and lost an hour due to moving to a new time zone. We had breakfast in a small cafe with Ed. I'm learning how to feed myself so I feel healthy and have energy. The vegetarian omelet sounded great, but the butter and eggs would have sunk like a stone. So, two boxes of Raisin Bran sufficed....delicious! DAVE AND ED HAD GREAT PANCAKES.
Beautiful rides along the Bull River and Lake (bald eagle right in front of us), Kootenay River and Falls, and Koocanusa River and Dam. I'm really enjoying the social aspect of our trip. Everyone is so interested, helpful and friendly.
There has been a major change in our plans due to tragic news. Going-to-the-Sun Road, through Glacier National Park is closed indefinitely due to a rock slide which killed a Japanese tourist two days ago. We didn't finish riding until 9 p.m. I'm bone weary today, didn't even care if I showered. (I keep thinking of my brother-in-law Dennis and his new wife, Ruth enjoying their honeymoon laying on a Hawaiian beach.) When the park clerk said "tenting spot?", both Dave and I said "cabin" without hesitation. Then laundry by hand, unpacking panniers, writing in journal..zzzzz.
BECAUSE OF THE REQUIRED CHANGE IN ROUTE AROUND GLACIER, WE PLAN TO SHIP CAMPING GEAR HOME WHEN WE GET TO WHITEFISH ON THURSDAY. WE CAN'T KEEP SPENDING LONG DAYS ON THE BIKES, SOME PARTS OF OUR BODIES ARE GOING TO BREAK DOWN. TODAY WE EACH HAD FOOT PAIN WE HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE ON A BICYCLE.
Wednesday, June 25, 1996
Libby Dam, MT to Olney, MT (77 miles)
We were glad for the cabin as it poured while we were preparing to leave this morning. Then it rained again at night after we had made camp. I slept seven hours last night, a record! Even so, it was a difficult day for me, just really fatigued. Dave "bonked" around 1 p.m. but recovered well after a break for lunch. The ride was roly-poly and he says it's really hard to get any rhythm established. The route was along the Koocanusa River/Lake, which is formed by the Libby Dam. The place we had intended to camp ended up having no bathroom/shower facilities, which we were told when we stopped at a place for a drink. They told us about a full-service campground seven miles further; although I was tired, I gladly rode seven miles for a shower! It turned out to be a Harley Davidson campground. The crowd was a little rough around the edges, but very nice.
We heard today that Glacier has reopened, so now we must again revise our plans. Also, we saw a paper which reported 23 American soldiers in Saudi Arabia were killed by a suicide truck bomb. I think I'd rather be out of touch than hear that kind of news. As we tried to get to sleep, a horse being shod 50 ft. away was not happy and was very vocal about it. It's eyes were actually red with rage or fear.
Thursday, June 27, 1996
Olney, MT to Lake McDonald, Glacier Park (62 miles)
Today is our daughter Kelly's birthday. We made great time to Whitefish, beautiful weather. We stopped at a bike shop and got advice on the logistics of sending home all the camping gear. The bike is just to heavy and wind resistant for us to make good time. It takes us till 9 p.m. to finish 90 miles and that's too long in the saddle. Also, Dave must use so much strength and effort to steer and control it. And camping requires so much longer to set up/break camp. It won't be too bad to ride long hours if we're pulling into a motel.
More torrential rain---streets flooded; we took brief refuge under an awning of a little place on the highway but had to continue on eventually. I finally got some vegetables! Hot, steamed fresh veggies-heaven! While on the street packing our gear to send home, a retired school principal stopped and talked at length. He's interested in tandems and cycled across Africa last year. He had lots of advice for us. He told us not to worry about getting a motel room, they'll somehow find room for cyclists. "Ask a farmer if he has a place for you". He made it sound so effortless. He even gave us his card in case we needed help in Montana. We stayed at the Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier. THE INTERIOR OF THE LODGE WAS SPECTACULAR. WE HAD A LOT OF COMPANY IN FRONT OF THE HUGE FIREPLACE.
Friday, June 28, 1996
Lake McDonald, MT to Browning, MT (70 miles)
Only the spectacular scenery made today bearable. I could not find a comfortable position on the seat no matter how I shifted; it was agony by afternoon. Also, very cold over Logan Pass in Glacier with a hailstorm as we started down the east side. It was painful, especially for Dave who can't turn his face away as I can. We began at 7:45 a.m. and reached the top of the pass at 11:08 (cyclists must be off the west side of Going-to-the Sun Road by 11:00 a.m. due to heavy vehicular traffic). Phenomenal views and snow banks many feet high. The Visitors Center was closed, it was snowed in. We were surprised by how few (2) cyclists we saw, then read that the road just opened last weekend. The poor tourist died on the first or second day.
We had another long six mile climb outside the park and then up, down, up, down. The road down was very winding and narrow with blind curves. I was not happy with our speed, and some whimpering did occur! We then crossed the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and stayed in a low-cost, no frills motel. I asked the owner if I could lay our clothes out in the back yard to dry, in the wind and sun it would have only taken minutes. He said he had an 85 lb. Pit bulldog in the backyard! So he put his clothes in his own dryer--people are so nice to us.
WE TOOK THE "MOTHER OF ALL SHORTCUTS' TO BROWNING. WE NOT ONLY AVOIDED A CLIMB, BUT TOOK ADVANTAGE OF A 25 MPH TAILWIND. BY STANDING UP WE COULD COAST FOR A MILE WITHOUT EVEN PEDALING. AT DINNER WE SAT NEXT TO A UNIQUE CROSS-COUNTRY CYCLIST. HE WOULD CYCLE FOR A WHILE THEN STOP AND WORK TO EARN MONEY ENOUGH TO GO ON. HE PLANS TO GO TO MAINE AND THEN SEE THE STATUE OF LIBERTY. HE IS PULLING A TRAILER WITH ABOUT 100 LBS. OF EQUIPMENT. HE PLANNED TO GO ANOTHER 30 MILES TO CUTBACK BEFORE DARK.
Saturday June 29, 1996
Browning, MT to Chester, MT (104 miles)
Dave let me buy cherries from a roadside stand! I rigged up an ingenious method for carrying them and eating as we rode. With no daytime speed limit, riding through Montana has not been as pleasant as Washington. Many drivers are less courteous also. The white roadside crosses which mark highway fatalities are everywhere, even on long straight-aways, with no trees or poles to hit. It must be head-on collisions involving speed/alcohol. There were signs about giving up alcohol all over the reservation. We passed through Devon, MT, population 13. There was a Frontier Bar, a grain silo, and a sign post with about four family names on it. It makes Babb, Montana look positively metropolitan! We had a flat tire on the prairie. THE PERFORMANCE GT-K TIRE FAILED AFTER ONLY 1,000 MILES.
We began to see prairie dogs; saw a scruffy mule deer. The bird-life has been amazing ever since we began this trip. Being on a bicycle and traveling through desolate or sparsely populated areas has enabled us to hear such beautiful songs. Today we saw 10-12 pelicans (we think) and a similar brown bird.
We were lucky tonight. We were planning to ride on to Rudyard because we were feeling good and the tailwind was pushing us along at 21 Mph. I mentioned it to the dinner waitress in Chester and she said it was no longer open. So we checked in Chester's two motels and there was only one opening. We ended up paying for a suite with a kitchenette. It would have been 60 more miles to the next stop!
Sunday June 30, 1996
Chester, MT to Harlem, MT (105 miles)
|1,014 miles to date|
MUCH HOTTER WEATHER TODAY, BLAZING SUN, FLAT, LESS WIND. WE COMPLETED 55 MILES BEFORE NOON. WE PASSED AND WERE PASSED REPEATEDLY BY TRAINS. ONE ENGINEER GAVE US A BIG WAVE TWICE. MY FEET ARE BOTHERING ME AFTER ABOUT 75 MILES BECAUSE OF CONSTANT PRESSURE ON THE PEDALS.
I wanted to go on to the next town, a distance of 43 more miles, but Dave claims "cooler heads prevailed". I was happy we did stop, though, because the Olympic gymnastic trials were on TV.
Monday, July 1, 1996
Harlem, MT to Glasgow, MT (123 miles)
Today's ride was a new record for me. Dave woke me at 4:30 a.m. swatting at mosquitoes; of course he went back to sleep while I could not! It was a long, monotonous day; had a paceline for a while with two brothers. There was road construction for 10 miles, three of it was gravel, and it constituted the most interesting aspect of the ride. Some new wildlife--fox and porcupine; unfortunately they were road kill. It was 100 degrees in the shade and the mosquitoes were killers.
|Two Week Total: 1,138 Miles|
Week 3 | Features | Crank On Home