Any Road Tour: Day 35 – MOTS

There was a weatherman in Boston who used to put the word MOTS on his weather maps. More of the Same. That’s what today was.

Highway 200 which I was on all day yesterday continued to Willett (emphasis on first syllable). The road rolled but I had several instances of miles long level stretches. The route pivoted toward the southwest so, of course, did the winds. It was also about ten degrees warmer but, by DC standards, this is hammock weather.

The ranges here are thousands of acres with only a handful of cattle on them. You see a house every ten miles or so.

After having a lousy day on the bike yesterday I decided to eat and sleep like a king. Dinner was French dip with gems. Blueberry pie a la mode finished me off.

I took some ibuprofen pm back at the tent and slept through the night. Except my body won’t give up east coast time.

I had a breakfast platter to fuel my ride. Eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns.

I rode for over 20 miles to Sand Springs where I stopped at the town market and post office. The Postmaster has just made a huge platter of cinnamon buns so I had one with some Gatorade. Bwaaaa!

I had another Gatorade with a cookie while talking Postal Service with the Postmaster.

About mid ride I noticed evergreen trees on the rolling hills. They were a welcome change of scenery but they seemed to be either damaged by fire or some kind of blight.

About 50 miles of rangeland later I rolled into Willett with its dirt streets and weathers buildings. There was nowhere to tent camp but a couple of bicyclists had parked their RV so I joined their site. This is legal as long as I am traveling with them, you see.

Michael and Leonore are very nice folks riding west to east with a humongous sag wagon.

I am eating dinner at the Winnett Bar. The waitress forgot my order of tater tots so she brought out a huge basket of them. The perfect accompaniment to my chef’s salad.

I’ve been getting conflicting information about Rogers Pass, so thanks to Marie Morris for tracking down the official websites and 800 number.

Miles today: 76.5

Total miles: 2,618.5

Any Road Tour: Day 34 – Montana beatdown

After a healthy breakfast of cold pizza, I packed up and rode to the town food market. It wasn’t open until 10 am so I bought a gas station sandwich and bid Circle farewell.

Oh, they have dinos around here.

For the third day in a row I had headwinds but at least I had level ground for a few miles. Then the rollers started. Up 200 feet down 200 feet. Repeat for 60 miles.

To make things interesting the road had expansion joints every 10 or 15 yards. It was like hitting thousands on mini speed bumps. Also there were no services along the route except for a rest room at the half way mark.

It was a two lane road with a 70 mph speed limit. For those of you who thought riding on the interstate was dangerous, I say “Pshaw!”

Up. Down. The wind would stop midway through a climb only to smack me as I crested the hill. All day long.

I had to bail on a climb when an overwide farm machine passed me.

A bike tourist named Dale came from the other direction. We stopped and talked for a half hour. He came from Seaside Oregon, through Portland, and Missoula. He said the road over Rogers Pass is closed from flood damage. He was stuck for days before a pilot of a single engine plan gave him a lift over the mountains!

I told Dale to keep an eye out for Martin who left Circle a couple of hours after me.

The last three miles into Jordan were mercifully flat. They lasted forever. All I wanted was to put up my tent and get off my bike. I rode around looking for the town park not believing that the postage stamp park with a pit toilet was my home for the night.

I had dead legs all day today. I’ve just done too many long days without a break. I need to do some cogitating about my schedule. I started peeking at return flights from Portland and Seattle. It looks like Tuesday July 23 is less pricey and fits my itinerary. I’ll wait until Missoula to book the flight though.

If Rogers Pass is still closed I have two options. Ride north and pick up the Northern Tier Route. This would be pretty but if any roads get closed I’ll be stuck. Alternate routes go through Canada and I didn’t bring a passport.

Option B is to ride interstates to Helena and Missoula. It may not be scenic but it will be fast because the road surface is good and there are no steep climbs.

Final good note: Tater tots are called gems in Montana.

Miles: 69

Total miles: 2,542