Monday, August 30, 2010

Western Montana

I'm in Washington!! But first off a quick review of the past however many days (I loose track of time like nothing).

So, riding out of Whitefish I headed south towards Missoula. On the way I pulled over to talk to a cyclists who was stopped in the middle of a hill talking aloud to himself. Now, I hate to stop in the middle of hills, but it was obvious this guy needed to talk. He'd just started riding the Continental Divide trail (from Canada to Mexico on single track and dirt roads). His second day was so bad he had gotten off the trails and onto paved roads where I met him, he was thinking of calling it quits. He is also from Seattle and a seasoned tourer, but I couldn't believe the amount of stuff he had with him: full front and rear panniers as well as a fully loaded Bob trailer! Lugging around all that weight I'm not surprised he got off the dirt. We talked awhile, then rode on, but I was quite a bit faster and ended up losing him pretty quick.

That night I rode out to Inky's river cabin, my Warmshowers host for the next number of days. I met Inky and Danny and their friends Ellen and John also stopped in for the night. I had a blast listening to the four of them, all such interesting and spunky people! The cabin is a historical site on the outlet of a beautiful lake. We ended the evening roasting s'mores, I think those were the first of my whole trip!

Ellen, Inky, and John with Holly
From the cabin, I rode on to Missoula where I stayed in Inky's house with Danny and Inky's daughter, Meghan. She lives up in the hills out of town surrounded by public land and with a gorgeous view of the valley. I spent the next three days resting, catching up on a few things, and exploring Missoula. It was wonderful to not feel rushed.
I visited the University of Montana and met with the chair of the geography department graduate program. We had a good talk, but I came to realize that I'm still a few years away from applying to grad school. I'm glad I found that out for sure.

University of Montana and "the big M"
Missoula had lots going on. They had a summer food festival and concert series both Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening, which I enjoyed listing to lots of classic rock covers. I was impressed with the showing for a weekly event. Otherwise I wandered around town, spent lots of time in the library, cleaned up my bike, and caught up with lots of friends on the phone which was wonderful.
Weekly summer Out to Lunch food and music gathering

A great view of smoke from Inky's house
On my way out of town, I stopped in at Adventure cycling Association's headquarters. They told me they see around 600 tourers a year! They have it all figured out, Jill, one of the magazine editors, gave me a tour of the building, they have a lounge for tourers with books, maps, computer, ice cream and pop. I had my portrait taken with my bike and signed their registry. I also got a chance to speak with the head of ACA's tour's about leading trips for them; I'd have to wait two years unfortunately, but it's be a lot of fun. I also spoke with Jill about writing an article for their magazine, I'm pretty excited about the idea and need to get a proposal out in the next few weeks!

Adventure Cycling Association
From Missoula I rode northwest towards Idaho. Not having had a hard days ride in what seems like a long time, I rode myself to exhaustion the last three days. Idaho was a quick crossing through nice river valley's and along the lake.

Lots of river valley riding; nice and flat for the most part!

In Idaho, Lake Pend Oreille

Riding across Pend Oreille

I spent last night just 3 miles from the Washington boarder and was ecstatic to cross over this morning. Now I'm in Spokane, meeting up with a friend in the area this evening. Then I (hopefully) will get picked up and driven back to Montana for a friends wedding. So, it'll be a few days before I continue riding west. I figure I have only 5-6 actual riding days left which is crazy, but I still have lots of stops to make to drag out the 13 days left in my year...

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