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)