Tour Prepping

Between doing the taxes, testing out the new, improved Little Nellie, and shopping for gear, I have begun preparations for my 2023 bike tour. The plan is to ride from home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia to Bar Harbor, Maine. From there, I ride home. Somehow. Using mostly the Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast Route, I constructed a preliminary itinerary, mostly guided by the availability of campgrounds and motels. The ACA maps also contain info on where to buy food and the location of interesting places along the way.

New Gear

One of keys to a successful tour is getting a good night’s sleep. I have had mixed success in this regard. For last year’s tour I brought a Sea to Summit pillow. It’s much better than sleeping on a pannier filled with clothes. And it packs down to the size of a can of corned beef hash.

I have been using a lightweight REI Sleep Sack for most of my tours. This is a sleeping bag with very little insulation and an open toe box. It was great for sleeping on warm nights during my previous tours but it was woefully inadequate on the cold nights in the mountains out West last summer. I fear Maine may get a bit cool at night so it seemed like a good time to upgrade.

Last week I bought a Nemo Forte bag rated to 30 degrees. It packs down to about twice the size of the Sleep Sack but fits snuggly in one of my rear panniers. I gave it a try in my family room. Dang. Soo comfy!

This week I bought a Themarest NeoAir Xlite sleeping pad. It’s what Mark and Corey, two very sound sleepers, used last summer during our tour through the mountainous West. When I got it home I used the included air sack to inflate it. The air sack is the new thing in camp gear inflation. It’s a super lightweight bag with a valve at one end. The valve attaches to the intake valve on the sleeping pad. You roll the top of the bag down, trapping air inside. As you continue to roll the top down the air squeezes into the pad. Repeat as necessary. I had to do 13 iterations before the pad was filled. PIA. Mark and Corey used a small battery powered pump. You attach the pump to the valve and go about your business setting up camp. The pad inflates in a matter of minutes. No muss. No fuss. Long story short I’m going to get me a pump soon.

I tried the bag and pad out on my family room floor. It’s about as comfortable as sleeping in bed. The padded rug underneath helped but I’m satisfied that my sleep problems will be a thing of the past. I’ll test everything out in the backyard in April just to be sure but I have a very good feeling about this.

I also bought an REI brand walking cane. It collapses down to a couple of feet in length. I should be able to strap it to my rear rack or put it inside my rack top dry bag. This should come in handy when I get to Valley Forge and other places worth exploring off the bike. Take that spinal stenosis.

In addition to the pump, I’ll probably buy a new dry bag. My old one still holds plenty of stuff but it has a duct tape patch on one end which is not ideal for keeping things dry.

The Route

Using the Adventure Cycling maps, I did some cogitating. As I said, places to sleep are a key determinant of the length of each day’s ride. The maps tell me where to find campgrounds and motels but not Warmshowers hosts which are abundant. I factor in the Warmshowers options as I ride.

One of the disadvantages in travelling alone is that hotels and motels will be more expensive since I won’t be able to split the cost with other riders. One of the advantages of solo touring is the fact that Warmshowers hosts tend not to want to deal with more than one or two people per night. Thsi was a source of frustration for Corey. Mark, and me last summer. I should have many more Warmshowers options as a solo rider

The tour starts May 23, two days after a very busy week. I am planning on attending my 50th high school reunion in Albany, New York. I would have ridden to it but I will also be attending a Crowded House concert in DC a couple of days later. (The concert was rescheduled from September 2022 after the drummer hurt his back.) The route will begin at home and take me through 11 states (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia, This will add two states, New Hampshire and Maines, to my 50 states quest,

Day one will likely be off route to take advantage of Mark’s offer to stay at his place in Linthicum, Maryland south of Baltimore. Riding the ACA route then cutting over to Mark’s place would make for an 80 mile first day. Using a more direct route, one that I used on my first tour in 1999 tour as well as on two other event rides to Baltimore, I’ll be able to shave 25 miles off that distance.

After Mark’s place, I’ll rejoin the ACA route, bypasssing Baltimore to the west and heading up a rail trail to York, Pennsylvania. At York, I hang a right and head across the Susquehanna River to Lancaster County, Amish country. After Lancaster comes Valley Forge which I have never been to.

The route continues skirting Philadelphia to the northwest. North of Easton I cross the Delaware River into New Jersey and head up the Delaware Water Gap. (I understand a detour is in place because of a landslide in the gap. I expect I’ll be doing some climbing.) I’ll ride up the Delaware to Port Jervis, New York. Travelling into New York, I’ll follow a rail trail along the eastern side of the Catskills until I cross the Hudson River on the Walkway over the Hudson Park, a repurposed raillroad trestle at Poughkeepsie. Here I may divert to check out Hyde Park just to the north of Poughkeepsie. The route continues into Connecticut and across the Berkshires. (Knees don’t fail me now!)

At Windsor Locks, after ten days of riding I’ll leave the the route and head south to West Hartford where I will take a rest day at my daughter’s place. Hopefully there will be a minor league baseball game that night.

Back on the road I’ll go back to Windsor Locks and turn right, going across the northern edge of Connecticut to the upper Northwest corner of Rhode Island.

(One possible change to my journey would involve riding off route to Providence where I went to grad school. After that I’d head east to Cape Cod and out to Provincetown. Then take a ferry across Massachusetts Bay to Boston where I went to college. The downside to all this is getting back on the ACA route which bypasses Boston about 30 miles west and north of the city.)

From the corner of Rhode Island the route heads northeast to Westborough, Massachusetts between Worcester and Framingham. Continuing northeast the route enters New Hampshire north of Methuen, Mass. After a night in East Derry, I will head to the coast and enter Maine near York. After that, I ride 200 miles up the coast to Bar Harbor arriving around June 10.

I’ll spend a day exploring Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island before heading back down the coast following the Adventure Cycling Northern Tier Route. This route coincides with the Atlantic Coast route until Brunswick, Maine before leaving the coast and crossing the Green and White Mountains in New Hampshire and Vermont, respectively, more or less in a straight line.

At Ticonderoga, I’ll re-enter New York State and follow Lake George and the Hudson River down to Albany where I grew up and have family. I’ll take another rest day there.

The current plan is to ride down the Hudson to Poughkeepsie where I will rejoin the Atlantic Coast Route for the ride back home.

I expect I’ll make it home by the first week in July with 2,200 miles of riding under my belt. This will get me back in plenty of time to partake in family events, most importantly, a visit from my son who I haven’t seen since the pandemic hit.

If my son’s itinerary results in him arriving in August, I may head west from Ticonderoga on the Northern Tier instead. Where I would turn south is anybody’s guess. At most this could add 600 or 700 miles to the trip. (In general, the longest route would go from Ticonderoga to Erie, Pennsylvania where I would turn south to Pittsburgh. From Pittsburgh to home is 350 miles of mostly off-road riding.)

Stay tuned.


I’ve been wanting to do long distance bike tours for as long as I can remember. The idea really took hold of my imagination when I met a young woman named Anne back when I was in grad school. Anne had ridden across the country on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail as part of Bikecentennial. Bikecentennial was an event involving several small groups of riders going east and west who used the TransAm crossing as a way to celebrate the U. S. Bicentennial. Anne told me all kinds of tales of her trip. It was profoundly life altering for her.

It took me nearly forty years but I finally made the crossing myself. It was every bit as life altering for me as it was for Anne. Frankly, I don’t know how she and the many others who rode Bikecentennial did the ride with the equipment back then, The thought of riding a loaded-down ten-speed bike over all those mountain passes out west then up and down the Ozarks and Appalachian Mountains in the east blows me away. The bike I rode had 24 gears in a drivetrain that had been modified with lower, easier to spin chainrings. The highest mountain pass I climbed was Sherman Pass in Washington State. At 5,574 feet it was about 10,000 feet less than Hoosier Pass in Colorado on the TransAm.

Sometime around 1990, I became a member of Bikecentennial, the organization that developed the TransAm Trail and the 1976 event. I figured for a few dollars a year I could dream about following in Anne’s tracks while I rode my bike to and from work here in DC.

Bikecentennial the organization became the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) and developed many more routes across the US (and a bit of western Canada). After a few self-designed bike tours in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005, I used Adventure Cycling route maps to ride solo around the top of Lake Michigan in 2016. The next year I used the ACA Atlantic Coast Route to ride to Key West and the ACA Florida Connector Route to cross Florida from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale. In 2018 I rode solo from my home near DC to Portland Oregon using maps from four different Adventure Cycling routes. I used three different ACA routes to go from Northern Indiana to San Francisco in 2019. Last year I used two of the ACA routes to go from Saint Louis to Portland, covering the western two-thirds of the TransAmerica Trail in the process.

Last year I noticed that my friend Jeff had become a lifetime member of Adventure Cycling. To my knowledge he’s never done a tour. He just thinks it’s a cool organization worthy of support. A few years ago a couple of BikeDC expats, Emma and Katie, became Adventure Cycling employees. And last fall, my Friday Coffee Club friend Ricky became an ACA board member.

It seemed like Adventure Cycling was closing in on me.

Had I known I was going to be doing this bike touring thing into my late 60s I could have saved a bundle of cash in annual dues by becoming a lifetime member of Adventure Cycling way back in the 1980s. Instead, I paid my dues annually for 32 years, all the while reading about bike touring in Adventure Cyclist magazine, the best bicycling magazine around. I suppose it’s all proof that imposter syndrome is a powerful force. I could at least take comfort in the fact that I was supporting an organization that was doing great things for bicycling and bicycle tourists.

I doubt I have more than a handful of long distance bike trips left in my tank. It makes not a lick of financial sense to do it (heck, I don’t even itemize anymore), but last month I decided to become a lifetime member of Adventure Cycling. I figure I’ll make back the cost in terms of annual dues savings in about 25 years.

So who wants to go for a ride in 2048?

Bike Tour 2022 – Darby to Missoula

I neglected to mention yesterday’s brief moment of terror. Near the end of the seven-mile descent, the road surface changed. The Missouri Department of Highway Mayhem added a rumble strip that I managed to hit at 28 mph. I hit one strip then another before escaping to the paved shoulder. No problemo. Just some wet pants.

We ate breakfast in the cabin after a good night’s sleep. Then we lit out for Missoula some 62 miles downhill to the north. Or so we thought.

After the first ten miles I struggled. We were riding on US 93, the only main north/south highway in the Bitterroot Valley. Traffic was unpleasant. After 20 miles or so we were shunted onto a bike path that has seen better days. (US bike infrastructure motto: we build them but we don’t maintain them.)

Both Corey and I were nearly hit by stop sign runners eager to get onto the adjacent highway. When my near collision happened, I abandoned the trail for the chip seal shoulder of the four lane 70 mph highway.

The road had rumble strips so I could hear any encroaching vehicle. I also have a mirror. I felt much safer.

We stopped a couple of times for gas station convenience food, but my body wanted a break. In Lolo we stopped at Dairy Queen. They have a $7 meal deal that was just the right amount of food (with a small ice cream sundae).

After that the trail into Missoula improved immensely. Once we were in town we rode trails five miles to the headquarters of the Adventure Cycling Association, of which we are all members. The ACA made the maps we are following. I took the lead and somehow brought us to the ACA doorstep without a missed turn.

After some photos we headed a half mile west to a hotel where I stayed in 2018. Our room is a second story walk up but it was recently renovated. It’s my turn to sleep on the floor.

Tomorrow we are taking a day off. We’ve been hitting the hills and the miles hard lately. We need fresh legs for the ride over Lolo Pass on Monday.

Miles today: 70. Tour miles: 2,335.5 (previous day’s miles were messed up)

For most of today I felt like llama poop
Mural along the Bitterroot Trail.
A storm was bearing down on us

The End and the Beginning

I’ve lived in the DC area for more than half my life. I’ve been to most of the touristy spots multiple times. Like many people, when our kids were little we took them to the Williamsburg area where there is much to see and do. On the historical side, we visited Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, but, for some reason we never got around to Yorktown, where the British army surrendered to end the Revolutionary War on October 19, 1781.

On Tuesday, I remedied that omission on two wheels. Starting at the Williamsburg visitor center I rode the Colonial Parkway 13 miles to Yorktown. The roadway surface, composed of aggregate (small stones in concrete), is a bit rough. It is oddly three lanes wide with no lane markings. Distance is measured not with mileposts but with kilometer posts. I can’t recall seeing this anywhere else in the U. S. It was hot and humid but the ample shade kept me comfortable until the parkway reached the banks of the York River.

Colonial Parkway

The river is wide, perhaps a half-mile or more. The parkway, now unshaded, turns to the southeast following the river and passing through marshy areas and by narrow beaches. After a gentle upslope, the parkway ends at the entrance to the Yorktown Battlefield. The visitors’ center was closed, of course. A few people wandered around zombie-like listening to a virtual tour on their phones. To tour the battlefield takes three hours by car. Unless you’re a serious war wonk, you can cut to the chase and head to the Victory Monument.

The 98-foot tall monument was erected in the 1880s. It has a massive base which supports a column topped by a figure of Liberty. (Liberty has twice been damaged by lightning, Make of that what you will.)

There are extensive inscriptions on each side of the base. These writings make clear that the Yorktown battle and siege, to a very great extent, was a French operation. It was the French navy that fought of British ships off the Virginia coast, thereby preventing an evacuation of the British army by river and sea. Of the 17,000 land forces on the American side, 5,000 were French soldiers. Without the French we Americans would spending pounds, drinking warm beer, and singing “God Save the Queen”.

And so the war ended and the new country, no longer under mortal threat from Britain, could begin in earnest.

In 1976, the year of the U. S. bicentennial, the monument became the start and finish of a new tradition of sorts. Bikecentennial was an event that sent small groups of bike tourists across small town America between the Oregon coast and the Yorktown Monument. The route they followed was named the TransAmerica Trail. It traverses over 4,000 miles through Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

The Mule and The Monument

Fittingly, for some TransAm riders, Yorktown is the beginning. For others, it is the end. For all it is a profound experience. In 1981 I met someone who was in one of the 1976 Bikecentennial groups. Equipped with a ten-speed bike and a whole lot of heart, Anne Meng rode with six other scruffy riders from west to east. I found pictures of her group on Flickr. (Search under TAWK518, the code for their group.) They show snow, fatigue, endless roads, and joy. Oddly, she never mentioned that she crashed and spent a night in hospital in Montana.

Today, the Bikecentennial organization is called Adventure Cycling. They have mapped over 50,000 miles of bike routes in the United States. My 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 bike tours were nearly all on Adventure Cycling Routes including parts of the New York to Chicago, Great Lakes, Lewis and Clark, TransAm, Northern Tier, Pacific Coast, Western Express, and Atlantic Coast routes. By my count, I’ve done about 9,800 miles of their network.

After returning to Williamsburg, I headed to Jamestown Island, adjacent to the Jamestown settlement, where the ships landed. A tunnel near Jamestown village was closed to bikes, necessitating a detour into the village. It was quaint and uncrowded but for re-enactors of early colonial life and a few tourists. Back on route I rode past the Jamestown Settlement site (which I visited with my family years ago) and onto Jamestown Island. The one-lane, level road through the woods was closed to cars. Yay, pandemic.

The rest of my ride took me in a twelve-mile arc around the western side of the Williamsburg area. This was unremarkable exurban and suburban riding in blistering heat. I stopped at a gas station convenience store for drinks and snacks. Half the people in the store were not wearing masks which made me very uncomfortable and angry. I suppose causing someone to suffocate in their own blood is worth the inconvenience of wear a piece of cloth over your face.

In 30 minutes I had reached the end of my 60-mile adventure.

Bike Tour 2019

Here’s my plan for my 2019 bike tour.

Big U Bike Tour Map.JPG

I start in Chicago (or north central Indiana). I follow U.S. Bicycle Route 66, the dark blue line, to southwestern Missouri. This route follows, to the extent possible, the old Route 66 highway. I switch to the TransAmerica Route, the orange line, and head west across Kansas and the southern half of Colorado. In Pueblo, Colorado I take a day off after 1,300 miles. I’ll need it. I leave the TransAm Route and head west across the Rocky Mountains and into Utah. If I have it in me, I’ll do a side trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. I’m not planning on hiking but the scenery alone in Bryce will be hard to pass up. 

Between Pueblo and South Lake Tahoe, California, there are dozens of mountains to climb. Most of them are higher and steeper than the seven climbs I did in Montana and Washington State last summer. My maximum elevation last year as a little over 5,600 feet. This route has climbs that go over 10,000 feet. To add to the difficulty there will be long stretches with no services, including no water. And did I mention some of these will be in desert? I bought a water filter and plan on carrying extra bottled water whenever I can.

I’d like to cut weight on this tour but there really isn’t anyway to avoid carrying a tent, sleeping pad, cold weather clothing, food, and water. The best place to cut weight is from the engine. Unfortunately, I now weight 213 pounds. No bueno. I need to be under 200 by the time I leave Pueblo.

Near South Lake Tahoe, I turn north along the Sierra Cascades Route. I thought this was going to be the hardest part of the trip, but now that I have seen the elevation map of Nevada, these mountains will be a relief (so to speak). This stretch of the tour will take me past Crater Lake. Once I get into Oregon, I’ll decide whether to continue following the Sierra Cascades Route to the Columbia River. There I can turn west following the river to the finish in Portland, Oregon. An alternative would be to switch back to the Trans Am route at Sisters, Oregon, climb over McKenzie Pass, and ride down to Eugene, or even continue to the coast. Either way, I would use the Google to route me to Portland.

Since I fully expect to be a hurtin’ unit for much of this ride, I have thought about places where I can call an audible and change or curtail the tour. For instance, I can cut out the Sierra Cascades entirely and ride one last climb west across the Sierras to Sacramento or, even, the Bay Area.

I planned a two-month itinerary, the same as last year, even though the tour is 700 miles shorter. The lower daily mileage has more to do with the availability of resources than with the difficulty of the route itself. For example, when I am faced with the option of a 45 mile day or an 80 mile day, I am planning on the 45 mile day. (I generally end up riding farther than plan because riding is preferable to sitting around a campsite or a motel.)

I plan to start on May 15. The original idea was to take Amtrak to Chicago. Mrs. Rootchopper has dangled the idea of driving me to her parents’ house in northern Indiana. I can ride west and pick up Route 66 in a day or two (and avoid the traffic of northern Illinois.)

I am open for suggestions as to what to call this tour. The Big U is one idea. YODO in the Wild West is another. If you have any suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments section.

Stay tuned.



Imposter Syndrome, Nightmares, Eagles, and Maps

When I retired, I finally could say good bye to imposter syndrome. an intense, irrational feeling of inadequacy.  To some extent it served as motivation. Six months after riding solo across the country, I am doubting my ability to do a long tour. It makes not the slightest bit of sense but there it is.

For decades I have had nightmares about being in grad school. Typically, this involves forgetting to go to class (I missed only a handful of classes in college and grad school) or getting lost on campus. Last night I had a very disturbing nightmare about statistics, of all things. In my dream I had forgotten everything I knew about statistics. I felt utterly useless and defeated. I was rattled by the dream for a couple of hours after I woke up. This is totally stupid because I took statistics in high school, college, and grad school. I taught statistics at a college in Rhode Island. And statistics played a major role in my professional life.

A couple of hours after I woke up, I found a very woo woo guided meditation online. I just shut off my skeptic and went with it. It was recorded live and featured the sound of rain from a passing shower. After 25 minutes the lingering anxiety from the nightmare was gone.

Having restored my sanity, I went for a ride. I did 41 1/2 miles yesterday in shorts so I wanted to do a fairly easy 30 today.  I was meandering through suburban neighborhoods when I decided to go down a dead end street to take a look at the Potomac River. The street was lined with McMansions that go for well over $1 million. As I passed one of the last houses before the turn around, I spotted something in a pine tree. A big nest. And right above it was a bald eagle. I am guessing that he may have been guarding a brooding mama eagle.

Eagle backyard

Before my ride I called Adventure Cycling about some maps I need for my tour. The maps that would guide me across Utah and Nevada were out of stock last week. It turns out new maps will be available on Friday. So I ordered all the other maps I need. Later in the day, a couple of packages arrived. One contained a pair of hiking poles. I intend to put them to use in April and later in the summer. The other package had new tires for The Mule and a lightweight lock, which I will use instead of a heavy U-lock.

Speaking of weight, I have noticed that The Mule’s engine has added some mass in recent weeks. Time to dial back the beer and chips. Oink.

Tour Planning 2019

  • Warm weather and improving health have nudged me to start thinking about a tour.
  • I went to Friday Coffee Club and talked to Felkerino about the Sierra Cascades Adventure Cycling Route. He said it was not a climbing hellscape, had lots of services, and is very pretty.
  • So I just sat down and mapped out a tour using Adventure Cycling’s interactive route map.
    • Take Amtrak to Chicago (I’ve ridden across Ohio and Indiana enough, thank you.)
    • Ride Bike Route 66 from Chicago to Marshfield MO. (Basically this is in west central MO.)
    • Hang a right and take the Trans America Route west from Marshfield to Pueblo CO.
    • Take the Western Express Route from Pueblo through the Rockies, the canyons of Utah, and the basin and range terrain of Nevada to Alpine Village CA, near the southern end of Lake Tahoe.
    • Switch to the Sierra Cascades Route north to Sisters OR.
    • Switch back to the Trans America Route and head west from Sisters to the Oregon Coast.
    • Ride from the coast to Portland and fly home.
  • This tour would be 3,700 miles long. That’s 600 miles shorter than last year. This one is considerably hillier and hotter, though. I guess I could do it in 65 days.
  • If I were feeling spunky, I could ride down to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. This would add 300 miles and a week. Also, a side trip into Bryce Canyon would take a couple of days.


Any Road Tour: Day 43 – Downhill squeeze on I-90

Last night’s dinner at the Old Post in Missoula featured two pale ales that did a fine job of hydrating me and my dinner of a southwest burger with tater tots. Thanks again to Emma Wimmer for the dinner suggestion. Based on social media comments, Emma is missed by a whole mess of #bikedc people.

Speaking of #bikedc people, Alex Baca returned to DC today after several years living in San Francisco and Cleveland. (I think we should call her LaBron.) I can’t be at her welcome home party today but, we’ll, Welcome Home, Alex!!!!

Oh yeah, the bike tour.

I lingered over breakfast at the hotel to avoid riding in sub-50 degree weather. Did somebody say “Early April?”

I followed an informal route provided by Adventure Cycling. The ride out of Missoula included a lot of suburban ick but eventually I was on a frontage road to the very western section of the Mass Pike.

The frontage road doom turned to gravel and dirt for about ten miles. I didn’t care. I was rested and pretty much nothing would make me cranky.

Frenchtown went by in a blink and after 33 miles I rolled into Alberton. It had a general store so I parked The Mule under an extended eave and went looking for grub. It was a real challenge to find something not in a can or less than 80 proof.

As I shopped a cold rain began. I stood next to my steed eating Doritos, cookies, and a candy bar while swilling Diet Pepsi. Nutrition is my middle name.

The rain stopped so I headed out of town following my map onto the interstate. All was going well until I entered a construction zone. Traffic was one lane in each direction. I had a wide shoulder to myself until I came to two bridges which were about 150 yards long in total. No shoulder. Eek.

Fortunately the road was trending downhill and the speed limit was lowered from 80 to 55 mph. I waited uphill from the bridges and took off when I saw a big gap in traffic. I made it across with room to spare.

A mile later it happened again. This bridge was half as long but it was on an uphill section of road. I pedaled like crazy but only made it half way across before a white old man sedan rolled by me at about 30 mph. Thankfully it wasn’t a Winnebago.

I took another frontage road soon after the two squeeze plays. The views were great. The road was paved. I was following the Clark Fork River. I passed a rafting outfitter who yelled a greeting and offered me water. Nice lady.

In Superior I stopped at a funky cafe and gift shop. I ordered the peanut butter and banana panini and coffee. The sandwich came with chips, carrots, and a small piece of chocolate chip chocolate cake. And a cup full of honey for dipping.

With very happy tummy, I resumed my ride for the last 13 miles to St. Regis. This entire leg was on I-90. Once again I came to a bridge where I lost my shoulder. Once again I failed to cross the span before traffic caught up to me. I was fortunate that the first vehicle to reach me was a tractor trailer with a very patient driver. I heard him downshift as he approached. As I cleared the bridge I gave him a wave and a thumbs up.

Like yesterday today’s ride was nearly all downhill. I did only a handful of climbs of more than 50 feet. There were headwinds but they were manageable. And it rained a bit.

The best part of the day was getting to 70 miles and feeling like I could do a lot more. I didn’t. During the stop in Alberton I reserved a room at a motel in St. Regis.

Total miles: 76

Tour miles: 3,124.5

Tomorrow should be my last day in Montana.

Any Road Tour: Day 42 – Missoula rest day off

Last night I laid out my wet things in my huge room at the Holiday Inn. And passed out.

I awoke and laid about, checking on flights home from Seattle and Portland. I packed up and went next door for coffee and a breakfast burrito.

Then I hit the bank because sometimes only cash will work in the hinterlands ahead.

I rolled over to the mothership, the headquarters of the Adventure Cycling Association. A friendly young man whose name I forgot took my picture with The Mule for the legendary Adventure Cycling wall of bike tourists.

Next I met Emma Wimmer, a former resident of DC and mutual friend of about a dozen #bikedc folks. She started by giving me routing advice for the next several days. Exactly what I needed. Then she gave me the cook’s tour of the place. I’ve been a member for at least 20 years so it was fun to see how it all works. I even met Ginny Sullivan who works on nationwide bike routes. We also have lots of mutual connections and interests.

After over an hour I posed with Emma for a picture outside. Thank you, Emma. What a treat it was meeting you.

Emma gave me recommendations on a camping store where I bought seam sealer for my tent. And on a restaurant (The Catalyst) where I bought lunch. Grilled cheese on vegan bread? Well, despite the dairy anomaly it tasted great.

Next on the advice of a Twitter follower I went to the Big Dipper for some ice cream. It was chilly out so I put on my jacket while I ate.

A block away I found Missoula Bicycle Works. They replaced my pedals (they’ve been squeaking since Minnesota) and tightened my rear hub.

Next I rode gently to the west of town and booked a hotel room. There I sealed the seams of the rain fly of my tent. Then I went inside on an absolutely beautiful afternoon and fell sound asleep for three hours.

I guess I was tired. They call me Mr. Excitement.

After waking I watched an inning of the Sawx vs the Nats on TV. What ever is wrong with my Nats? I am sure that my Baseball Operations manager is working hard to fix it, aren’t you Katie Lee?

In the evening I walked a half mile to the Old Post, Emma’s dinner suggestion. She went three for three.

Miles: 4

Total miles: 3,048.5