Days mileage: 87 miles
(picutres: 1: pair of cyclists from Lexington, Va 2: Stephen and I at Montana border
3: the first bicycle to cross the TransAm bike route)
A new state. Montana...(though if someone looks at the western profile of the state they will clearly see the profile of a man's face...so, it should really be called MAN-tana...just a thought, perhaps?)
Anyways, Stephen and I finally got an early start on the day. A cool, cool mornign, to say the least, that reminded me of cool, autumn mornings from back home in Virginia. I put on all the clothing items I owned and started pedaling as to get out of the "no service" wilderness and get in a decent meal.
Stephen and I both agreed that we must be biking on a tredmill...for the land looked exactly the same as it did yesteday with, hands down, the exact same bends in the road and the river. Luckily, our repetitive thoughts were shattered by seein a pair of bikers working their way towards us. Naturally, we stopped as to chit and chat, chat and chit about whatever. Ends up they live in Lexington, Va and had been on the road for quite a while. They had just retired and were taking as much time as their hearts desired. We then pressed on and ran into a trio of guys biking xc too (2 guys from Brooklyn, NY and one guy from England). We did the same as with the previous couple and pressed on to restock before we made our attack up Lolo Pass and dropped down and over into Montana once and forall.
That's when our fortune, hands down, changed for the better. We ran (or biked rather) into a group of about 20-30 folks who were biking xc, going in the same direction as ourselves, but had a support van...so they were def able to fly by us as we all started to feel the physical and mental strain of climbing up Lolo Pass. We chatted with them too and ends up their riding to Massachusetts and raising awareness for Duchenne Dystrophy....we stopped at t heir group van for gatorade and conversation and knocked out the last three miles of the climb.
Stephen and I raced to the state sign..me losing of course seein my gears would not shift...and, as Stephen stasted, had bigger legs then moi. It was somewhat close and a good way to officially exhaust the legs after that climb. We stopped to take pictures and started the descent into Montana and down towards the towns of Lolo Hot Springs (whcih we didnt' stop at seein it was in the 90's) and Missoula (which is where we planned on stopping and taking a rest day on July 4th.
The Summit of Lolo Pass topped out around 5,200 feet, so we had a nice coast on down for a while before the land tappered out and required a bit mor effort on our part to maintain a speed between 20-25 mph.
We rolled into Missoula around 4:30pm (Rocky Mtn. time) and headed straight towards the Adventure Cycling Association headquarters. There were rumors milling about that they had free icecream and we'd get to sign the registar book and get our pictures taken. We made haste.
It was amazing to get an official tour of the building and got to see a lot of memorbilial from the very first crossing of the country via a velo. We hung out afterwards and chatted with folks who were riding ahead of the group we were passed by earlier. They were still waiting on their arrival and were also taking a day off on July 4th. We continued to pry as to where they would be staying, and that's when they stated they were sponsored by Marriot, among other big companies. Well, well, well. It just so happened we had no place to stay and begged the question as to whether we could sneak in with them.
We got the nod of approval from the head man and will, surely, forever be grateful for such kind gestures towards comfort. We talked more and more with the group members and chaperones who were watching over the kids. Good deal.
It was nice to end the day in an over airconditioned room with over-soft-pillows.
I was looking forward to a day off the next day, glad to be in a new state, and anxious to map out the next 10 days that would lead me down to Boulder, CO where I'd get to see Loretta. I dozed off while writing rambling thoughts in my journal....