Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 55 - LIbby Dam, MT to Clark Fork, ID

Miles biked for the day: 80
Total miles to date: 2803

I woke up very early and started biking by 7:00 and after 14 miles I decided it was time for a small brunch. Huckleberries are a popular speciality food around Montana and the cafe I stopped in told me people drive all over the place to get their huckleberry flapjacks. I chose not to argue and happily ordered an appetizing flapjack. While dining the waitress informed me that a fellow customer shared some concern about my bicycle trailer. As the 80+ year old man looked out the window to my bike set up he told the waitress, "That girl is not going to get very far, her trailer is dragging on ground and it will wear out." Once I told him I have traveled 2,600 miles from Maine with that particular set up his concerned dissipated as his jaw dropped in amazement.

Further down the road I saw two cyclist heading in my direction. In my excitement, I crossed the highway and stopped my bike to have a chat with them. As they approached I started waving and they both FLEW by me at lighting speed and said, "Hi" and kept riding. I was disappointed, but only until I saw yet another cyclists, Butch, who crossed the highway to have a chat with me. We had a good time swapping stories and giving each other some important helpful information. Butch was traveling solo but met another solo cyclists, Dick, and they decided to travel together for a week or so. Since Dick was so far behind Butch, 5 miles later I met Dick and we chatted for a bit. Another 10 miles down the road I saw another solo cyclists and we chatted for about 15 minutes. Lastly, I went another 10 miles or so and saw another solos cyclists. I still had about 25 miles to go so I did not spend nearly as much time with him. I saw a total of 6 riders today all headed for Bar Harbor, Maine. I saw one couple and 4 men in their 50's/60's all traveling solo who all started their journeys two weeks ago.

The route I am pedal biking on is called the Northern Tier route organized by Adventure Cycling. Most people typically tackle this west to east and begin around May or June. This is the reason I went nearly 45 days heading west before I saw a cyclists heading east. I am also the first west bound cyclists all of the east bound cyclists are seeing (and may see for quite a while) and so many of them are thrilled to see me.

My mantra, "It will only get warmer" proved itself strong today as the temperatures approached 90 degrees. I found great relief in the many streams, creeks and lakes I past throughout the day for a brisk splash of water. I had to pay $.25 to fill up my water bottle today at a bar and for some reason I thought it was noteworthy.

I crossed into Idaho which put me in my final time zone. I chose a good day to tackle 80 miles since I gained an hour. I arrived to my destination and set up camp. Meriwether Inn is a local hotel allows travelers to set up a tent in their lawn and for only $10 they even provide showers! Bob and Frita, who manage the property, were the sweetest hosts and went out of their way to help me with whatever I needed. I cooked up a yummy lentil and quinoa soup with sauteed veggies with my camp stove. I love to cook outdoors and now that the weather is nice I feel more comfortable and anxious to cook.

I cruised down to the local tavern for a night cap and to meet some local Idaho folks. I have some bad news to report though, they allow smoking in bars in Idaho which I did not enjoy. The locals unsurprisingly took care of me all night and were just as friendly as all of the people in the other states. I finished my evening and headed back home to my tent for a peaceful nights rest.

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