Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our third state, Montana!

Monday, June 23rd
Clark Fork to Dorr Skeels Forest Service campground on Bull Lake which is a reservoir lake of the Bull River
42.5 miles average speed 10.7
(Max speed 32.4)
4 hours riding time but on the road for seven hours (we were poking along taking breaks and pics)
We have ridden 323 miles. Day 12 of our trip.
Today's ride was lovely.  We started with something that Adventure Cycling calls the "Heron Alternate". We left Clark Fork and crossed the Clark Fork River. The road was a little hilly but other than some huffing we made it without walking. Well no, we did walk once. Those river valleys are killers.
The route sheet said that the road would get very potholed. It actually just turned to a hard packed dirt once we entered Montana but it was fine to ride on with our 1.75 front tire and rear 2.0. (Read this as thick tires for those who don't know the lingo. Ok THAT'S  WHY WE DIDN'T REACH RAINY PASS...) The only problem was that when a car would come by (infrequently) the would be a checking cloud of dust. I pretended I was a cowboy on a range ride.  We're in Montana after all. The cars were very considerate and drove slowly by us.
Then we got on Hwy 200 which wasn't much fun. There wasn't much of a shoulder and what there was was uneven.  It was getting hot under the sun, although it wasn't humid, the sun is right overhead.
We finally came to the junction of 200 and Hwy. 56 and there was a nice little store. We had some cold drinks and some ice cream (which I regretted later since it sat like lead in my stomach. Ice cream is for when the ride is over!). I also charged up my cell phone. With all the pictures I take it tends to run down.
Hwy. 56 was wonderful.  The traffic was light. It started out with some hills. Dave was a bit grumpy with the Adventure Cycling description of "rolling". His shoulder was hurting but he hadn't mentioned it to me.
We met another cyclist, Mike, who is biking out to the coast. He had stopped and talked to Lorriann and Dale. (And I found out thru Ken's blog that he had talked to him too. Nice to meet other bikers who take the time to talk for a few minutes. He also described the terrain as rolling but the valley widened out and it truly was rolling. The snowcapped mountains were steeply rising all around us. Awe inspiring to be on a tiny little bike with all that splendor.
Stopped for a comfort stop and my legs were instantly covered with a new hatch of tiny mosquitoes which gave a preview of the night to come. I came out of the woods covered with bloody streaks from smacking them.
Also saw a sign  about a bear study which I have posted below.
We did come to an area of homes around Bull Lake. We tried stopping at a bar for some dinner. They were remodeling the kitxhen and only had hot dogs or pizza and they were out of cheese. No we aren't going to bike back when the cheese gets delivered.  We talked to a Harley rider who was interested in our trip but also tried to redirect us for the following days' ride. "No hills!" Yeah right.
Finally pulled in to the campsite next to Lorriann and Dale and immediately sprayed ourselves with Deet over the sweat and sunscreen. Wonderful sticky and fragrant.
But it was a beautiful site and once we at our freeze dried meal we felt better.  I discovered that I could do a washcloth bath in the latrine and the skeeters didn't follow me in there. Montana mosquitos do have one habit that I don't think Minnesota mosquitos have, they go into an empty tent even before you are in there!

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