Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 56. jackson, mt to darby, mt to missoula, mt - 130ish miles.

I slept in fo sho after my late arrival into Jackson. I ate an incredibly unhealthy breakfast with Jon. We even scraped another table's plates after they just left food sitting there. Never leave food sitting there...unless you're in japan. I hear that it's polite to leave a little bit when you're finished. If this is incorrect, please shout.

It definitely took some motivation to get going. That motivation came in the form of sweet rolls and mtn dew, and then I was off with no destination in mind - just riding. As I hit the town of Wisdom, MT 18 miles down the road, the mosquitos I had been warned about, began to swarm. These things were some sneaky bastards, a different breed of blood-sucker. They would chill in the draft I created and then come in for a juicy snack, and then WAAP, squashed, dead, gone. These devils swooped in for nearly 30 minutes before I climbed toward Chief Joseph Pass and started gaining elevation.

I climbed for nearly 3 hours, reading stories of Chief Joseph, the Nez Perce Indians and Lewis and Clark along the way. Atop the pass, the wind blew in strong from the North fighting my descent the entire way. After climbing for hours, the most relieving thing is the descent but when wind stands in the way of a smooth cruise and I am forced to pedal that's when I start to lose it a bit. Chief Joseph pass towers at 7,200ish feet and I descended just over 30 miles to Darby, MT which sits at 3888 ft. So a 3400 foot descent that was one of the most dissatisfying of the entire journey, but, meh, what are you gonna do? I had wanted to ride a bit past Darby to Hamilton but due to the wind and my crazy brain I stopped in at a local restaurant with the plan of camping at a local rv park for the eve.

In the eatery three other cyclists had just sat down to dinner. I joined them. One dude had started his cross country trip over a year ago but due to physical health issues couldn't finish. So this year he picked up where he had left off. Two other guys had started at the end of April in Yorktown, VA and were headed to Florence, OR. The solo guy excused himself from dinner promptly to go and update his blog. He was a bit too structured for crossing america via bicycle, I thought, but to each their own. Who am I to judge? I chilled with the other guys for nearly an hour talking about all the strange, crazy and interesting experiences we had all had thus far. We were to go to the local watering hole for a few beverages but there just wasn't much happening so we called it in for the night.

After setting up camp, I called a couple good pals I had in Missoula to see of their whereabouts. Well, the original plan was to chill with them but they had to head out from Missoula the next morning at 5:30 to guide rafts down the river in West Glacier, MT, 2.5 hours north. I was bummed that I was going to miss them but they insisted we somehow see each other. "We're gonna pay our bill here and then we're coming to get you. No questions" they told me. "Well, I can't argue with that. see you guys soon." an hour later a car with a bike rack showed up to grab me, my friends inside. We packed it up and cruised straight-up to Missoula.

I know you're now thinking, "What? A car ride? What the hell?" I assure you that I am making up for the 60 mile auto-ride and then some due to the fact that they kidnapped me and brought me to West Glacier, 150 miles north, so I'll be covering that distance when I depart, adding 100 miles to the trip and probably a couple days.

After a bit of bar time at a local Missoula establishment we crashed for the night. I climbed onto a comfy sofa and passed out, my legs tired from the two days of mountain passes and headwinds. It was great to be on cushions as well as with friends. Montana is one bad-ass state, boy.

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