27 May 2008

Ascent and Descent

Down from the mountains

I was up early once again today and on the road by 6 which was tough with my whole body fighting to stay in bed. i hadn't decided on a final destination for the day but I knew that Missoula was up ahead at 144 miles and there was another mountain between us so today was not going to be a day to break any records.
Grey start
I made solid time to the town of Wisdom which was sadly lacking any crowds but I had a great breakfast in a restuarant there which seemed to combine every breakfast item into a hash brown mix. The owner of the restaurant was actually just back from a 2 week trip to the UK so she told me about her trips to Rye, Chartwell, Aberdeen and the Shetlands. She also stayed in a B&B a few miles south of Gatwick so she may have had the honour of a Horsham visit (she couldn't recall).
Strange patchy hill
The next 30 miles of climbing went by pretty smoothly with lots of deer to keep me company at the sides of the road and only the last 4 miles were particularly tough. Just after the summit I found myself about 100 yards from the Idaho border but following the proper route meant that I had to ride away from it and look forward to formally crossing it in a day or so. From here there was a scary descent from the mountain pass since my back brakes were disconnected as they were fully worn and would damage the rims if I used them. I made it safely to the bottom and rewarded myself with an ice cream and then powered through the next twenty to the town of Darby where a huge burrito awaited me for lunch.
Mountain Top Forest
Logging Victims

It was 2pm now and I was beginning to entertain thoughts of going the further 78 miles to Missoula but my body wasn't too happy with that plan and made the next 20 miles particularly painful with the sun now in full glow and my knee and back aching with every mile. At Hamilton I stopped at the bike shop and bought some new brake pads which was a relief, and borrowed some tools to tweak a few things that weren't ship shape including my speedometer and cadencemeter which has been broken for almost a week since Buhler.
Lower Elevation
I considered stopping here for the day but pushed on to Stevensville 19 miles down the road which wasn't a fun ride with no shoulder and narrow lanes all the way. One downside of leaving the high elevation is that the flys attack you again. Up high there were no flies, bees, grasshoppers or other creepy crawlies but as soon as I went below 4000 feet they began their attack on me.
With still more rain clouds gathering in the sky and 120 miles in the bank I treated myself to another hotel and have found a real beauty called the Stevenson Hotel. It is some sort of historic building and I have a suite with its own jacuzzi and a PC for 30 quid! Bargain bucket!

I have been through the pages since Pittsburg and arranged the photos so that they look a bit better and have uploaded the ones from the last few days so enjoy.

1 comment:

Mike Herlihy said...


This is the greatest bike tour blog ever! Thanks for your wonderful photos and stories. You have made me ready to take a similar trip, although at 53 I'm thinking west to east is the way to go!

Thanks again,