Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 10 - July 11 - "A river runs through it" but unfortunately, so does a busy road

Day 10 - July 11 Missoula, MT to Lincoln, MT - 83.1 miles (133.7 kms) - total so far  791.5 miles (1273 kms)

Distance:83.1 miles (133.7  kms)
Total time: 7hrs16mins (including a long lunch stop with good news from NSF, a conversation with BigHorn Sheep - oneway - and other photogenic opportunities) 
Average Moving Speed: 14.8mph (23.8kph)
Maximum Speed:33.8mph (54.4 kph) 
Calories burned: 4097
Elevation gained: 2936 ft (895 meters)
Weather:  Partly sunny at first but then mostly cloudy with temperatures rising from 60F (15C) in Missoula to 80F (28C) in Lincoln.  Wind from the south west generally favored me and it got stronger after lunch.

Powered by: a bowl of oatmeal,  1 bagel, a banana, 2 donuts and yogurt for breakfast; 2 liter of Gatorade, 2 liters of water, 1 protein bar, 2 bananas  and a peanut butter-banana bagel sandwich with a huge dollop of peanut butter (again very messy). (4 bananas in toto).

After a pleasant day in Missoula yesterday, it was time to hit the road again.  The very helpful chaps at Missoula Bicycle Works took in the bike on no notice in the morning and completed a check of the key parts, and returned it before the shop closed. They also offered valuable advice on a good place for coffee and a pain au chocolat around the corner (wonderful) and biking routes east across Montana.   I spent the day at the University Library catching up on work.  As usual in the summer on American college campuses, the place was mostly empty except for sports camps for teenagers and campus tours for prospective students.  Missoula itself seems a very relaxed place (compared to Boulder) and the network of bike paths on the streets is very extensive.

Empty campus of University of Montana. These letters on the hillside above the campus are a feature of Western colleges and high schools

I got my earliest start yet around 8:30am and headed east out of Missoula along the river.  Traffic was heavier than I expected on rte 200 and it remained that way to Lincoln.  Temperatures and skies were conducive to riding, and the forecast was correct in calling for temperatures reaching no more than 80F (28C), much better than the 100F (38C) degrees in eastern Washington last week.  

These Big Horn Sheep seemed less interested in me than in the nibblings on the slope

It would have been nice to have this wind behind me but no luck - it was mostly off my right shoulder all day but for 5 blissful miles, it was a perfect tailwind.

About halfway between Missoula and Lincoln, the road passes through Seeley valley which is the scene of the well-known book by Norman MacLean (and movie with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt) " A River Runs Through It"about a last fishing trip by two brothers.  There are many access points to the Blackfoot for fishing and I saw a few parked cars along the road.

I took a slight detour off the highway to see Ovando; it's a very small place.

One of the many nice fishing spots (and I don't fish)

Another possible fishing spot

Traffic was quite heavy for the last hour into Lincoln and the shoulder (margin) became non-existent at points.  I could not enjoy the view as I had to concentrate on the traffic and the many logging trucks.  After a relatively easy day, I pulled into Lincoln about 3pm.  It's not hard to locate buildings here as there are few of them.  My hotel of the night is on the National Register of Historic Places, an all-log building of the Hotel Lincoln.   It has has an excellent restaurant and I had the best pasta with vodka sauce I've ever had.  And it was a very large serving that I finished with ease.

My room for the night

There is a really peculiar expression on this wood carving in front of the hotel. I don't know what it's supposed to represent.

Tomorrow is a relatively short ride (about 60 miles to Helena) but it traverses the Continental Divide over Flesher Pass, over 6000 feet (nearly 2000 meters).  Apparently, the downhill to Helena is a lot of fun but a local denizen told me tonight that he thinks that there are roadworks on that side so that might curtail the joy of a long downhill.

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