Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We are flying through ND thank you NW wind

Arthur to Fargo/Moorhead July 29, 2009 - We said goodbyes to our visitors again at Arthur and "blew into Fargo". Our first stop was to get some parts at the local bike store for Jim's bike, I got some shorts since I have worn out at least 1 pair. The camping location we had planned on was along the Red River in Fargo. Due to flooding we were told camping was no longer allowed at that location in Fargo. We crossed the river into Minnesota into Moorhead and are camping at the KOA outside of town. It is rainy and not the best conditions but we are taking a rest day so regardless of conditions a day of rest will be appreciated. Hello Minnesota!

Cooperstown to Arthur July 28, 2009 - We started off the day with all 21 or so of us biking out to Oscar-0 at the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Command Site. We were given a great tour of the site including a trip 60 feet down to the actual command center where the missiliers could have launched nuclear armed minutemen missiles if needed. This site is similar to those that surrounded Wichita. Since the end of the Cold War with the USSR most of these sites have been closed or abandoned. North Dakota decided to acquire this site as a historical attraction. The visit reminded me of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the cold war and Dr. Strangelove. Once the tour was over we had a good breakfast in Cooperstown and a fast tailwind ride to Arthur. Arthur was a nice little town with a town mall that included government offices, showers, a grocery store and other services. Many of last night's riders also stayed over in Arthur in the city park.

Cooperstown Biker Rendevous July 27, 2009

On the evening of July 27 in Cooperstown we heard down town at the Oasis Bar and at the library too that more bicyclists had come into town. When we all got back to the City Park we found a good size group of cross country bikers. My apologies to those whose name I omitted or got wrong but I believe we had Tracy from Arizona, Maggie and Joe from New Hampshire (who knew our Art from a an experience at Art's bicycle shop in Buckfield, Maine) who were headed west and eastbounders Kali, Scott, Mark and Dan. This is in addition to Eli from NYC, Bob and John from NY and CA respectively as well as Art and Jon who have been with us since Republic, WA. There were 21 bikers in total. To top it off Mary's parents came up from Wichita to visit. It was an exciting time in Cooperstown. We all a great time exchanging stories and experiences, we even all got together for a group picture. The local Eco Devo person got wind of our numbers and stopped by to set up a special tour of a new historical site outside of Cooperstown which is a decommissioned missile site. Tomorrow the group is invited to a special tour of the missile silo. Here come the mosquitoes bedtime.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Latest from the road

Tolna to Cooperstown July 27, 2009 - Breakfast in Tolna was very good Belgium waffle, sausage and eggs. The cafe is supported by the city after Tolna lost its only restaurant. Favorable winds blew us past Petkin and on to Cooperstown before noon. Our bike group is growing we have young Ely from NYC who teaches in Portland OR, Tom from upstate NY and FL, John from California, Art and Jon from Maine and the 6 of us Kansans. Received my new ATM card and some bike shorts from home, have time to do laundry, catch up on this blog, and do a lot of other "housekeeping jobs". We are moving well through North Dakota we are still on schedule and will be in Fargo in two days. We will definitely take a rest day in Fargo before we move on to Minnesota.

Minnewaukan to Tolna July 26, 2009 - The local rock and roll band played until 11:30 p.m. for the town festival. We enjoyed Minnewaukan the walleye and pike fish fry and the great hospitality. After a breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausage at the local American Legion (part of the festival festivities) we were off to Petkin. As it turned out we stayed in Tolna which shortened our ride. I set out without real good directions and almost missed a turn but fortunately ran into the Smith's (Road Angels) from Syracuse, NY who had Adventure Cycling maps and got me on the right road. Their blog
is The route took me by a big Pow Wow event in Fort Totten and some exciting group fishing along Devil's Lake. Due to more services and food in Tolin a last minute decision was made to finish in Tolna rather than Petkin. Art from Maine missed the message and settled in Petkin, 7 miles down the road. I mention this because somehow Art was able to borrow the Cadillac convertible of the lodge owner in Petkin. I am sitting in the park in Tolin and Art pulls up in Cadillac trying to recruit us to come over to Petkin. As it turns out we stayed in Tolna and Art stayed in Petkin. Had an awesome pork roast and stuffing dinner from the local cafe. Those of us who stayed in Tolna hung out at the local bar, only water for me and told bike stories until bed time.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Little City by the Big Lake

In case you missed it previously we have posted pictures on Picasa at the following link:

Rugby, ND to Minnewaukan ND July 25, 2009 - We had a great day today cruising through the North Dakota countryside from Rugby. Two years ago Braden, Roger, Lynda and others from Wichita did the week long CANDISC bike ride and Rugby was one of our overnight stays so we were in familiar territory, we camped at the Rugby fairgrounds. The ride from Rugby to Minnewaukan (The little city by the big lake) was about 60 miles. It has been the consensus that today was one of best cycling days we have had in some time. Had a great lunch in Esmond. We are staying at the city park along Devil's Lake as Minnewaukan celebrates its 126th year. Part of the celebration includes a walleye fish fry tonight which we will partake of. As I blog away I hear the local librarian mention that there is concern that Minnewaukan could flood from Devils Lake so they are fearful that 127th celebration may not happen with the lake growing in size. In 3 days we will leave North Dakota and enter the great state of Minnesota.

Minot, ND to Rugby, ND July 24, 2009 - We left Sandy and Terry's after a breakfast of homemade egg, Canadian bacon and cheese muffins. Down the steepest hill in Minot to Railroad Avenue and out of the back of Minot. We had quite a few miles with no shoulder on a 4 lane highway, Route 2. We all had lunch in Towner a community we had camped in previously during CANDISC. After lunch Art and Braden went to the local park for a nap. Art reports he woke up much later in the afternoon and was abandoned by Braden who evidently woke and left him sleeping in the park. All was well however as we all reunited in the Cenex station at Rugby. There was some confusion where we would be staying but we all ended up at the right location-the fairgrounds.

Makoti, ND to Minot, ND July 23, 2009 - We arrived in Minot where Sandy of Minot (we met her on CANDISC bike ride in 2007) had graciously offered her house for the night. Sandy had left her home open for us and we started showering in shifts. Sandy's husband Terry came home but was aware of our visit and a great host. One of our group, Jim, while showering broke the shower head off. Jim came walking out of the shower with shower head in hand and handed it to Terry. Terry found the accident amusing, Jim on the other hand was very embarrassed. That evening we had a hamburger cookout and did our nightly stupid road treasure activity. All 11 of us slept at Sandy's on the floor, on couches and in spare bedrooms. We really appreciated the hospitality of Terry and Sandy and still a little embarrassed about the shower incident. Thanks again Sandy and Terry!

Newtown to Makoti, ND July 22, 2009 - We left Newtown at a reasonable good time after we had a great omelet breakfast that we prepared in our motel room. The day was pretty easy with more hills but good winds. We all arrived outside of Makoti at our favorite meeting spot the local CENEX station and convenience store. Upon entering Makoti a home sign said Makoti next 6 exits hard to believe with 139 population. Makoti had 6 streets. Makoti was small but had a beautiful city park with showers available at the Thrashers building out by the elevators. We had a nice evening at Makoti with very few mosquitoes.

Lund's Landing to Newtown July 21, 2009 - Gary's truck had a dead battery, Loony Lund said he had no jumper cables although everyone thought he did. We happily left Lund's Landing and headed for Newtown with lots of hills but a pretty ride along the banks of Lake Stephenson. We arrived in Newton mid-afternoon, ate and found a motel/laundromat. 5 of us stayed in one motel room but it was a big one with a stove, fridge, and usable shower. Most of did laundry, ate and made a visit to the local grocery store for supplies. Our biggest event here, other than clean laundry was to buy enough food for Art's morning omelet breakfast extravaganza. As I recall among other things he bought 3 dozen eggs and 3 pounds of bacon. Breakfast will be served at 7 ish.

Willison, ND to Lund's Landing July 20, 2009 - A strange day was about to occur. We left Willison, Jon and I from a mosquito free motel and the rest of the crew from a mosquito invested park. We all stopped at a local bike shop which was actually just a small part of an auto repair and tire center to see about spokes and tires. We fought mosquitoes and hills to get out of Willison. I ended up cycling alone and at around mile 19 I was nervous about directions and had no map. Somewhere around Lake Sakakawea I stopped at a house and spoke with the occupant about directions to Lund's Landing. We said I was going the right way but that I should be aware that the owner of Lund's Landing had a temper. I arrived at Lund's Landing to find a great spot with a patio, showers, nice view of the lake. Braden thought we had a great spot and was told by the owner to make ourselves at home since he was closed for a few days. We all fixed some food a the landing and were having a great time until the owner showed up. We looked around a bit and spoke to a few of us and then when Art walked out of the shower area with dripping wet laundry the owner snapped and went into a tirade about the cost of water, septic tank maintenance, etc. To avoid further conflict we departed to the adjacent campsite and spent a lot of the next two days about our encounter with Loony Lund. Our camp site had no water and lots of mosquitoes. Fortunately Braden and I went back to the person I got directions from earlier and were able to fill several solar showers and numerous water bottles to get us through the night. We all hit the tents early to avoid mosquitoes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Day in the Life and finally a new state

Culbertson, MT to Williston, ND July 19, 2009 - Early this morning both Don and I had rattlesnake encounters. On the previous day's ride Jim had mentioned that he heard a rattlesnake along the road and he stopped to take a picture of the rattler. Neither Don or I was able to photograph our rattlers. My encounter happened as I was cruising along the shoulder and heard a rattle, I swerved out to the roadway and looked back to seek a rattlesnake along the shoulder. No bites or strikes but I was very nervous about riding close to the shoulder for the rest of the day.

Since the trip started we have stayed in motels only 2 or 3 times, mostly we have been camping in RV parks, national park camp grounds, city parks and other facilities. The process works like this, a day or two out mostly Braden, Don and Art confer on where we might camp the next night or next few nights. Considerations are safety, water, showers, food-essentially Maslow's hierarchy of basic needs. Once a distance and a suitable camp is identified we depart. At our destination we have a basic routine - drinks, rest break, set up tents, shower, hand wash bike clothes, hang clothes to dry, get some food and prepare for the next day. Usually we are in the tents by 10 p.m. Culbertson was no different, up around 6:00 a.m. have some coffee and breakfast. Braden usually has a pot of hot water so that we can make an instant oatmeal breakfast and some coffee (I use a small french coffee press, works well).

I didn't mention that riding into Culbertson we had a huge hill to climb, leaving Culbertson was much flatter but about 15 miles out we had hills and road construction. For more than three miles we were on unpaved roads with hills which took us to the state line. At the state line was a Montana casino but nothing else other than a welcome to North Dakota sign that we posed by for a picture or two. The ride on into Williston was hilly but we had some good wind pushing us from the southwest. Although we are happy to be moving along our decision to rest in Williston has changed, too many mosquitoes and the rest room and shower facilities have issues. Braden and Don rigged up the solar shower in the only usable restroom, I chose to stay at the Marquis Plaza and Suites. Our rest day instead will be a short riding day to New Town, ND.

July 18th, 2009 Wolfpoint, MT to Culbertson, MT

The Big Sky Motel served us well. We did have to chase the proprietor's kids out of our room however. It was quiet and relaxing at the motel, the big event was the judging of the road treasures contest. Lately we have taken to an Oz Bike Club activity where you pickup items along the road and compete with your fellow bikers with a story in the evening about your find. I think this was the night I won with a pair of women's leopard skin print panties. The winner receives and gets to carry the coveted Flaming Mountain award for the day. I held the prize for several days with "Michael Jackson's glove", the panties, Blood Sweat and Tears, possibly something else can't recall. We leave Wolfpoint after a MacDonald's breakfast on a mission to get to Culbertson which will take us close to the Montana State Line, we are all ready for a new state. The ride to Culbertson was another mostly headwind day, we had some warm temps too, high 80's could have hit 90. We all cooled off in the local swimming pool, visited the market bought steaks and chicken. Braden did a great grilling job at our campsite in the city park so the day turned out nice. While at the camp we were joined by a biking couple who have been on the road for 12 years-William and Alexandra. The couple sing and play for schools, churches, assisted living facilities, etc to fund their on going adventure. The couple has ridden across Europe and the US. I dubbed them the Wandering Musical Missionary Minstrels. They played a few songs that evening including a Chech folks song but their efforts were hindered by mosquitoes and we all headed for our tents to avoid them. Tomorrow the ND line.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Unedited photo download see link below

By popular demand photos to date of the trip starting with the Pike Street Market in Seattle.

Also check out this blog from Jon our riding companion from Maine also known as Spokemon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

No Country for Old Men

Joplin, MT to Havre, MT July 13, 2009 - We departed from the tiny town of Joplin and proceeded to Havre. This was a quick ride we had a good tail wind and a lot of flat terrain. As we proceeded down Highway 2 we stopped at a few small towns for drinks and eats. The best place I saw was Blackie's Bar but it was closed on Mondays. Art, Jon and I ended up stopping there for a rest and noted that there was a big rain storm approaching from the Bear's Paw Mountains. The rest of the day involved some great tailwinds from the storm and pedaling fast to beat the rain into Havre. We beat the rain but a recurring issue hit us again, Jon breaking spokes, it looks like he may need a new wheel. Once we got to the Northern Montana State University campus dorms Art's dorm room turned into a bike repair shop in an effort to get Jon's wheel repaired and trued. The dorm stay was nice, 10 dollars a night with Internet, showers, cooking and laundry available. Jon's wheel was repaired, tents dried from the night before, food at a local casino and a trip to Wal Mart ended the night.

Havre, MT to Harlem, MT July 14, 2009 - The day started with a lot of rain. Braden, Lynda, Don, Mary, Roger and I waited out the rain in Char's Restaurant in beautiful downtown Havre. Jim, Jon and Art stayed at the dormitory and left from there. Around 9 or so the rain subsided and it turned out to be a good Day for riding fast. We left Havre in a light drizzle, cool temps and proceeded to Harlem. With a nice west wind we were hitting 15-20 mph which is good for a loaded bike. The half way point of the ride was Chinook which we made in around an hour or so. After a rest and some food at a convenience store in Chinook we rolled into Harlem. Harlem was a small town with a good pizza place and Deb's Diner. Our camp site was next to the Harlem City Hall and we had access to the restrooms at city hall and the showers and swimming pool adjacent. The pool water was heated to around 90 degrees and quite relaxing. We had a lot of time for bike tune ups, naps, and relaxing in Harlem. Tomorrow on to a camp area east of the town of Malta, MT. We had been warned by previous westbound bikers about mosquitoes so it was decided for various reasons we stay inside somewhere, Sleeping Buffalo would be our destination. Good night from Harlem.

Harlem, MT to Sleeping Buffalo Campground west of Saco, MT July 15, 2009 -Got a good start around 8 a..m. for Sleeping Buffalo. Our route headed into the Fort Belknap Reservation toward the town of Malta. It was fairly long day, some wind and heat, rolling hills. The day ended with our stop at Sleeping Buffalo. We anticipated cabins but the sleeping accommodations were more like a bunch of double wides hooked together. The place also had a gift shop and hot springs pools. The place was rough, nothing was in good repair and the food selection was at the bar and consisted of frozen pizza. The two married couples shared a room and 4 of us "singles" shared the adjacent room. Jim from Detroit was presumed missing in action but turned up at a Motel in Malta, a good decision for him in terms of lodging. The water was undrinkable and when you showered the room filled with rotten egg smell from the shower water. The good side of things was that we were protected from mosquitoes by being inside otherwise I would not recommend the Sleeping Buffalo campground at all. The room did have a TV and we all watched Lethal Weapon 2.

Sleeping Buffalo Campground to Glascow, MT July 16, 2009 - We blasted out of Sleeping Buffalo and headed 15 mile down the road to Saco for breakfast. Saco was supposed to have the worst mosquito problem in the area but we didn't notice it so much. From Saco we continued east on Highway 2. The terrain was rolling hills and took us southeasterly through Hinsdale toward the town of Glascow. We camped for the night at an RV park that was very nice particularly in contrast to the previous night. The water was odor free and drinkable much to our delight. Somewhere in past two days we saw an historical marker that noted one of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's train robberies. I believe they also had a third gang member Deaf Charlie. Speaking of trains the freight and passenger trains that go along Highway 2 are frequent and we are constantly hoping to find accommodations away from the noise of the railroad.

Glascow, MT to Wolfpoint, MT July 17, 2009 - Many locals have warned us of staying at Wolfpoint. They indicate that there are crime issues and that bikers would be vulnerable. Nonetheless we are staying in Wolfpoint and moteling for the night just be safe in case there is any validity to these warnings. The ride to Wolfpoint was tough for some reason heat and headwinds mostly. On our way we stopped for breakfast in Nashua. We had a great breakfast and the waitress challenged us to eat their big meal. Two 16 inch pancakes, 3 eggs, sausage and hash browns. We declined but the waitress did bring out the pan the pancakes fit on, it was like a large pizza pan and full 16 inches. According to the waitress no one has ever been able to eat the big cake meal under her watch. After Nashua things got tough, heat and head winds again. We took a back road that we thought would wind along the Missouri River. It did not. To make matters worse Jon and I had to fight off some nasty black dogs and we started to run out of water. We got of the back road through the little town of Frazer. A lot of the locals along the way have indicated the water is bad and needs to be treated. In Frazer we met a missionary who gave us a gallon of bottled water, it was a godsend. Jon and I got back on Highway 2 and proceeded into Wolfpoint. After cooling down, meeting up with the rest of our group we ate and proceeded to our motel for the night. I picked up some money from Western Union at the local Radio Shack and all was well again. Our motel was not bad and pretty cheap the 5 single guys all roomed together and most of us slept on the floor. All the negative things said about Wolfpoint proved to be false and we did not encounter any problems. As of July 17 we have completed 1342 miles.

Heading East to North Dakota

Shelby, MT to Joplin, MT June 12, 2009 - The prevailing west winds have decided to come from the east so we have a head wind all the way to Joplin. It was a moderately tough day with the winds and our time slowed until we arrived in Chester. Chester was a nice stop and we all took advantage of the cafe, Subway and grocery store. We will have a group meal in Joplin as there are no restaurants. The plan is for chicken bomb sandwiches, creation from out Maine friends. The chicken bombs were great and a welcome meal after a windy day. Favorable winds took us from Chester on in to Joplin. There was not much town in Joplin but a great city park that we were allowed to camp free. There was a bar and cafe in Joplin that was open, Karl's or Ken's can't recall. Several locals were sipping beer and playing darts-not much action. Several of us did not set up tents and slept in the pavilion. A big rain and wind right after some set up tents, no damage but some wet tents. During the night after the storm the park irrigation system came on and there was more water for the tenters. I was happy I chose the pavilion for the night. Havre tomorrow and we will stay in the dorms at Northern Montana State University known for its nursing and diesel mechanic schools! We found out about the dorm deal from an east bound biker, Fred, on his way to Washington from Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Havre here we come, North Dakota by July 19th or 20th.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Updates and Observations

Cut Bank, MT to Shelby, MT June 11, 2009 - We have had spotty, limited or no internet service for some time so hopefully I can update the ride today or tomorrow. Riverview RV was our home for the night in Cut Bank. We had a great host and nice accommodations. After we set up camp we all went to the local Pizza Hut for dinner and to MacDonald's for desert. It was a bit windy and cool in Cut Bank and we all went to bed early after watching some TV in office. Breakfast at MacDonald's started our day and we were all out on the road early, somewhere I lost my debit card. On the plus side the winds were out of the west and the road was rolling hills with lots of flat stretches. With the wind at our back we flew to Shelby and camped at a city park on the outskirts of Shelby. Most of the group checked out the festivities and music associated with a local festival of some kind and many of us including myself lazed around the camp taking it easy and going through all my gear to find the lost debit card with no success. I checked out the Amtrak schedule for future use when Dana comes to visit in Minnesota. All went well in Shelby and look forward to westerly winds, flat terrain and Montana in our rear view mirrors. On to Joplin, MT tomorrow...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Oh Canada

Cardston, Alberta, Canada to Cut Bank, MT July 10, 2009 - Back in the USA, you don't know how lucky you are boy. We left Cardston from Lee Creek Campsite in cool, rainy weather today. After climbing out of Cardston we had some relatively flat highway, Highway 2 I believe. We had some nice distant views of the Rockies that we just crossed over Continental Divide on. The ride today was excellent, the rain cleared, the temperature stayed moderate and we had very favorable winds pushing us along. Despite some pretty daunting climbs the ride was reminiscent of the Flint Hills and looked somewhat like that part of Kansas except for the Rockies looming in the distance. By the half way mark we had only seen 6 cars and by the end of the day probably no more than 20, Art was keeping track of the traffic count. We were in a very rural area of Alberta so no towns, just farms for 35 miles until we reached Del Bonita, Alberta population maybe 5. We had lunch at Del Bonita at the General Store and Post Office. The lady who ran the operation said she had 50 mail boxes at the DB Post Office. We all had some Gatorade and drinks at the general store, Art and I had some tasty Ukrainian sausages. At one time we thought about staying at DB and the postmistress said it would be fine to camp there but it was such a nice day we moved on. We left DB and it was two miles to the Canada/USA border. Our group moved through customs in fine shape but our support vehicle was inspected. After crossing back into the USA conditions remained ideal. We climbed a few hills but mostly had rolling or flat terrain all the way to Cut Bank. During the ride I thought of Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, although this experience and Kerouac's are vastly different I sort of struck by some of the spontaneity and freedom of the road maybe more about that in future blogs. We are camped at the Riverview Campground in Cut Bank and have enjoyed nice showers and friendly staff. Tomorrow is a short day to Shelby as we continue through Montana. Our ride today since we decided not to camp in Del Bonita was around 71 miles.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cruising through Canada

We left Waterton this morning after Braden's pancake and sausage breakfast. Brandon, the vintage Honda rider came over to join us. We took group photos to post on our respective blogs. After saying good bye to Brandon we looked around Waterton as Brandon rode off to Vancouver, BC. Today we were not on a very tight schedule for our ride to Cardston. Lynda and Roger left first, followed by Don and Mary, Braden drove the pickup, Art and I headed up to see the Prince of Wales Hotel which overlooks Waterton. It is a grand old hotel that was built in the 20's. After our tour of the lobby and a quick look around we departed for Cardston. The ride was a good one but still had a few hills to climb, got a little rain and made it in to the Lee Creek campsite. Unique to Cardston is that in the late 1800's Brigham Young sent some missionaries to Mexico and Canada to establish Mormon churches. As a result Cardston and the surrounding area is heavily populated by Mormons and there is a beautiful tabernacle in the city that was built by the Mormons. Tomorrow it will be back in the USA and on our way to Cutbank, MT.

Updating the daily ride

West Glacier to Avalanche Campsite @ Glacier National Park July 6, 2009 - As the day nears for our climb up Logan Pass we leave West Glacier and head into the Glacier National Park. In anticipation of our climb we have a light day, only 18 miles. After a great breakfast and picking up a few supplies for cooking dinner we headed toward Avalanche Campground. Glacier Park was busy, we saw the circa 1930's White Touring Buses that have been updated by Ford with propane fuel for a nice green touch, will post photos when I get a chance. The ride along MacDonald Lake was spectacular, lots of streams, falls, mountain views. Once at Avalanche we sat up camp and most of us took naps. Art and Jon took a 2.5 mile hike up to Avalanche Lake and encountered some hail and rain. Those of us who stayed back in camp extended our naps due to rain the rest of the afternoon. Almost everyone had wet tents, I was lucky and well rested. We all ate early and retired for the next days ride very early.

Avalanche Camp to St. Mary's July 7, 2006 - Braden started shaking tents at 5:00 for today's climb up Logan Pass. We are all very anxious about this ride, park rules state that no bikes can be on the Going to the Sun Road between Avalanche and Logan Pass after 11:00 a.m. hence the early assault on the pass. Fortunately the first 5 miles of the ride were relatively flat followed by 11.2 miles of continuous climb to the summit of the pass. We were all on the road after a quick breakfast by 6:30 a.m. Our group scattered out on the assent to Logan. The ride was very scenic and one of the most beautiful I have ever done, the 16 plus miles took us about 3 1/2 hours, we were in well before the 11:00 deadline. At the pass we saw some deer and mountain goats, but no bears. We paused for a picture at the summit 6,758 feet which was also a pass over the Continental Divide in the Montana Rocky Mountains. Everyone was very pleased with the ride, happy it was over and all of us felt a sense of accomplishment in our achievement.
The rest of the ride was down to St. Mary's and included seeing the shrinking Jackson Glacier. Once into St. Mary's we ate, rested, took the shuttle bus up to Logan Pass to re-visit our ride and see a few more sites we missed during our 30 mph descent. On the way down in the shuttle we saw a black bear. Back in St. Mary's we camped at Johnson's RV Park for the night after some really good Bison and Elk chili.

St. Mary's to Waterton Lake National Park Alberta, Canada July 8, 2009 - We thought our most difficult ride was behind us, but no. We left St. Mary's with a tailwind and flats heading to Babb, MT on to Canada. Unfortunately after Babb we hit some really steep hills and headwinds. Although we were only going about 45 miles this was one of the harder rides we have had. Our border crossing was easy and we had a nice down hill for awhile followed by more climbs and a relentless headwind. We encountered some supported recreational cyclists who were mostly amazed at us carrying all the gear we carry. I am sure some of us would have liked to have traded bikes with some to relieve the burden of the 40 pounds or so of gear we haul. Coming into Waterton was beautiful but the winds picked up considerably gusting to around 40 mph I am guessing, it also became much cooler and the first thing I did was stop at a outfitter and buy some more warm clothes. Waterton is a beautiful place and our camp site was along the Waterton Lake, with dozens of deer roaming the camp ground and endless burrows of ground squirrels. During our stay we met Brandon from Alabama who was riding a 1982 450cc vintage Honda motorcycle on his way to Vancouver BC. The was really stripped down and did not look comfortable. Brandon had ridden the cycle from Alabama and was taking some side trips to do some hiking in the mountains. He told the story of the previous night getting stranded on one of the mountains and spent the night mostly awake trying not be bear bait with just a tarp and a sleeping bag. We cooked up a communal dinner, after buying spaghetti ingredients at the biggest grocery store in Waterton. We bedded down for the night, it was windy and cold, Art and I did not put tents, we slept in the shelter on the floor, it was very comfortable. Braden is cooking pancakes in the morning and we will be off to Cardston.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We are nearing Logan Pass and the Going to the Sun Road

Columbia Falls to West Glacier July 5, 2009 - Today is an easy day we are in West Glacier, MT after a 20 mile jaunt. We left Columbia Falls around 9 a.m. and arrived in West Glacier at a very nice RV camp. Coming to you on dusty road if want some loving-I got a truckload, I am soul man, etc..... The road to West Glacier had one glitch, 2.7 miles of dusty washboard road. On the way our group found a beautiful mountain spring and several riders filled their water bottles. I advised against drinking the water hopefully we will not have a water borne illness outbreak at this stage of the ride. We plan on doing laundry, bike maintenance and resting today as we near the almost 7,000 foot Logan Pass which we will travel on Tuesday along the Going to the Sun Road. The weather here is very nice 70's but a chance of rain. Adios from the road. JAB

Getting Ready to climb Logan Pass

From Fortine we had 55 miles to Columbia Falls. The roads have been narrower and in many cases with less shoulder for us to ride. We said good bye to Jerry's Saloon, were happy none of the revelers drove through our camp ground when the bar closed this morning at 2 a.m. Had a lot of thunder and lightning but no rain on us as we headed down the road for Whitefish and our destination-Columbia Falls. Had lunch at Stillwater Saloon which was in a nice setting beside a river and somewhere before Whitefish we took a back road. While on that road we spoke with a local couple on a tandem that were headed home and they gave us additional directions. Despite our map and the tandem folk's advice we still found ourselves not sure of a turn. Mary flagged down a motorcyclist who gave us directions back to the main highway in Whitefish. He left us with sage advice "keep the rubber side down". Once back on the main highway it was very congested with July 4th travelers. Once in Whitefish we discovered that our other traveling companions from Maine were ahead of us and had stayed on the main highway all day, our back road detour was much prettier and safer but a few miles longer. Once through Whitefish all was good and we took yet another back road with little traffic on into Columbia Falls. We have a nice campsite ant the Glacier RV Park on the edge of town, ate some BBQ and fry bread at the Back Door Restaurant and topped off the night with some fire works. Our total mileage is over 700 to date not quite the equivalent of 2 BAK's. It seems like a majority of the 700 miles has been climbing so we are doing well in terms of schedule despite the current mileage. The group is happy but look forward to a couple of easy days as we head up to the base of Logan Pass and the Going to the Sun route which, depending on who you talk to, will be the most difficult climb but consensus is it will be the prettiest, that day will take us into Canada for a day or so.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jerry's Saloon

Rocky Gorge Camp to Fortine, MT July 3, 2009 - We headed out for another 50 mile ride to Fortine. The big issue for the day is where we will camp due to both distance and availability of camp space. The ride was hilly yet again with both steep climbs and great down hills. We decided during the day, after several phone calls, that we would try to find a place in Fortine to stay. The only action in Fortine was Jerry's Saloon, Fortine, a town of 160 had limited services. At Jerry's Saloon Art was able to negotiate with the owner (who is not named Jerry) for use of a nice piece of ground next to the bar. There were no showers so many of us went down to the local swimming hole and took a very cold dip in the river. Afterward we heard the story of Jerry. It seems that one night while asleep Jerry heard noises down at the bar which was only about 50 yards from his house, Jerry called the sheriff, got his gun and went to investigate. It seems as though Jerry thought he found the burglar and shot at him, the other party returned fire. Unfortunately Jerry shot at the sheriff and the sheriff returned fire killing Jerry. The would be burglar got away. Despite other stories of drinking, fighting and shooting we had a peaceful night in Fortine.

Beautiful Montana

Libby to Rocky Gorge July 1, 2009 - Had a great breakfast at Libby at the Antler's Inn restaurant. Proceeded Libby Dam which involved some fairly good climbs and some nice downhills. The Libby Dam is on Lake Koocanusa which runs for about 70 miles up into Canada. We did about 50 miles of it and saw some rock climbers at several locations along the way. The Forest Ranger I met suggested we stay at Rocky Gorge campground at the Kootentai National Forest. We had a very primitive camp site and set up a solar shower in the trees, cooked out at the site and Jon and I serenaded our fellow campers with some blues.

Happy 4th of July to All and updates on the ride

Cabinet Gorge RV Park to Libby, Montana July 1, 2009 - Departed Cabinet Gorge for a 50 mile ride or so to Libby, will miss the blueberry turnovers at the Big Sky Pantry. This was a nice ride, as all of the routes have been this one was very scenic. About 30 miles out we had a nice downhill run to the highway that would take us into Libby. The route took us by Kootentai Falls and we all stopped their to see what the falls had to offer. The place was busy, as a wedding had just taken place at the falls. Art and I, Mary and Don all hiked down to the falls and agreed it was worth the walk. Some kayakers were testing their skills along the falls but we missed them shooting through the falls. We got back on the bikes and headed for Libby, got in about 4:30 or so, we cooked at the campsite (2 Bit Outfit RV Park) and called it a night.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Slice of Heaven

Sandpoint ID to east of Montana State Line June 29, 2009 - Left Sandpoint from campground around 8:30. We will pick up a new rider today, Jim from Detroit. Jim has ridden with Braden and others before and is a day or so behind us for this ride. Jim has called Lynda and said he had success with putting a sign on his bike saying "need ride to Sandpoint". In addition Art and Jon from Maine have been camping and riding with us. The road out of Sandpoint is nice and we have favorable winds carrying us to Montana. We had a great lunch in Hope, ID and absolutely beautiful scenery and ride along the Pend Oreille River. We crossed the Idaho/Montana Border at 3 pm and went into Mountain time after stopping at Kootinai Falls. The weather is warmer today but the mornings have still be cool in 40's. I believe it was 93 today our warmest day yet. We found a camp spot called "propane available" actually it is Cabinet Gorge RV park. Had a great blueberry turnover with ice cream and whipped cream at the Big Sky Pantry that was awesome. Will we have start another state and Montana will take us awhile to cross, only in Idaho for 1 1/2 days. All is well.