Day 25 06/15/22
Today we finally woke up to sunshine. It just lifts your spirit when you start out warm and well rested. We slept in today until 7:00am. Sarah said it was the highlight of her trip. She was able to wake up to a frappucino and let her stomach come to life before eating breakfast. Let me go on record and say, I hate instant outmeal so much that I have come up with a new name for it, "Choke meal". Day after day eating choke meal and a protein drink for breakfast, yummy! Moving on. Today was one of those days that will come back to my memory for years to come. You know what those kinds of days are like where something triggers your memory and you are transported back to a moment that was so special you can feel it, sense it, hear it and see it with vivid reality. Today we rode through miles and miles of green fields interspersed with carpets of yellow canola against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains surrounded by a piercing blue sky. That's the kind of stuff most of us only see in pictures. We pedalled 27 miles to the town of Kooskia which is adjacent to the Clearwater River in a beautiful tree lined gorge. There we ate lunch at a cafe and talked with the locals. I had a wonderful reuben sandwich and Sarah had an egg salad sandwich. It was the best reuben I've had in years or I was just hungry or both. We headed out of town up highway 12 following the Lochsa river and the Lewis and Clark trail for 30 miles. The freedom of riding along that rushing river under perfect skies and knowing some great historical men traveled that same route was phenominal. We stopped a couple of times to take it all in and catch our breath. We arrived at a place, near Lowell, called Three Rivers; two rivers converge into one which is quite a thing to see. I am still pondering how they came up with the name. After picking up some cold drinks we pedalled off to our campsite. We both would say this day stoodout as one of the best so far, but who knows, there is so much more to come.
Rode 54 miles today
Day 26 06/16/22
We woke up to a long day ahead of us. Why? Because we are trying to outrun the weather again. I got an email yesterday from one of the riders ahead of us and he experienced hypothermia going over Lolo pass because it was so cold. So we want to get over the same pass by tomorrow because another weather front is coming in. In short we had to ride close to 60 miles today to make an attempt at the pass tomorrow. The weather was overcast but good for riding. We shot a lot of pictures and stopped along the way to eat and read some of the signs along the Lewis and Clark trail. Ran into a woman named Alicia who is running next to last in the Trans America Race. We talked for a good while along the roadside and we snapped a picture with her.
Three or four times we had to stop for mechanical issues which I could only temporarily fix until we got to where we would stay. We landed at Lochsa Lodge for the night and slept in this great rustic cabin. Alicia was here as well but she decided to go over the pass to finish off her day. We ate dinner in the restuarant and met all kinds of other riders sitting at the tables around us. A man named John joined us at our table and we talked for hours. Another husband and wife (Donna and Rick) were tag teaming, one would ride the bike while the other was driving the car. Another couple from Eureka rode up the Columbia river. Overall it was a great day.
Rode 58 miles today
Day 27 06/17/22
We both had a good nights sleep in our cozy little cabin but morning came to early so we enjoyed a few extra winks. We thought we had all of the bugs worked out with our bike's drivetrain, but we were wrong. We packed the bike and hopped on under a blue sky morning. It was 8:30am as we took a few pedals and it all came unglued. The derailluer and the chain were locking up. We spent over an hour in the parking lot of the lodge riding around in circles while making adjustments. Our first mile and a quarter for the day were in the parking lot. Talk about going nowhere! I finally got it to shift to some degree so we set off pedalling. As we were leaving a lady was driving by and rolled down her window to tell us, "one heck of a storm was coming in." That didn't help the frustration level. Had very few mechanical issues and the ride was beautiful. Shot a few pics but spent most of our time riding. The highlight of the day was crossing into Montana. We have now ridden about 1,000 miles and just getting started. Had to get a hotel tonight at a Days Inn because weather is coming in. At the end of the day we need to find a bike shop to get our shifting problem fixed. I found a bike shop 36 miles down the road where they will take a look at it tomorrow.
Rode 50 miles today
Day 28 06/18/22
Left the Days Inn on a cloudy morning and rain forcast for the afternoon. We rode up to Hamilton to the Valley Bike Shop. The mechanic wasn't quite sure what was wrong with our bike but he had a name for it, chain suck. Learn something new every day. Anyway he took it in back and told us it would be a little while. We left all of our gear and went to Suzzet's Organic for breakfast. Scrumptious! When we arrived back at the shop he had it waiting for us. It was time for a test ride and it failed miserably. I won't bore you with all the details. They were super helpful but could not help us. He suggested we head to West Yellowstone to a bike shop there but it was 400 miles away. We could still ride the bike in a diminished capacity but I needed more options. I talked to the bike shop in West Yellowstone but they suggested we go to Missoula because they were overwhelmed due to the recent park disaster. The bike shop in Missoula was willing to look at it on Tuesday but today is Saturday and they are 40 miles away which presented another set of problems. I emailed the manufacturer of the bike and they got back to me within the hour. They said to check the anti chain suck bracket. Who da thunk?
So I checked it and sure enough it was bent. The problem was, I needed a vice a chisel and a hammer. Last time I checked, Sarah didn't pack any of those items but she had a phone number from one of the staff at the bike shop. While we were at the bike shop Darrell, an employee, gave his number to Sarah and said if we needed any help just give him a call. So I called him at 8:00pm on a Saturday night and he brought over a vice, chisel and a hammer to the hotel where we were staying. We fixed the anti chain sucking bracket in the parking lot of the hotel. Thank God for nice people. I put the bracket back on and we are back in business.
We rode 36 miles today
Day 29 06/19/22
We are taking a day of rest today. Not much to report just hanging low and getting some laundry done. Went to Calvary church this morning and had some brunch with the folks afterward. Planning out our route for the week ahead and hope to get back on the road in the morning.