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.