Before I begin today’s report I wanted to show you my trail angel from yesterday. Here’s Maria who invited me to join the “plant nerds” at the Montana Native Plants Society meeting in the woods west of Lincoln.
If I have the story right, she gee up in the tiny town of Ovando, MT about which more in a moment.
I hung out with the plant nerds all night. It was a full out orgy in the woods,
I’m kidding. It was an earnest group of field botanists who truly care about the flora of Montana. Got me the most interesting part was hearing how Maria and her friend Jack Potter (no not the former PMG) talk about their joint replacements and related medical problems. Hiking is very hard on the body. I feel better now because when I go hiking I feel sore all over.
Anyway, thanks to the MNPS and Maria for taking me under their wing got the night.
I slept poorly, the after effects of drinking beer the day before and riding hard two days in a row. And the fact that it rained all night, outside and inside my tent. (I will shop for seam sealer tomorrow.
Also i slept in my rain gear for warmth since the temperature dipped into the 40s. (There is snow visible on top of the taller mountains around here.)
After breakfast with the nerds I took off on the long ride ton Missoula. I had planned to ride to Ovando yesterday but the climb over Rogers Gap, fierce headwinds, and Maria’s sales skills put me nearly 30 miles shy of that town. A 55+ mile ride from Ovando to Missoula would have been a nice break from the long days I’d been putting in. With the distance from the MNPS meeting to Ovando, today’s ride clocked in at 88 miles.
The headwinds were moderate to start and the ride was nearly all downhill. Sleepy and sore, my body wanted nothing to go with the effort.
After a half hour I rode through Lincoln. I had been told that accommodations in Lincoln were probably sold out but I could see plenty of empty campsites as I rode through town. Sadly, I had to skip the town’s rodeo and it’s famous Ring of Fire.
The ride to Ovando was done on fumes. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm.
My friend Charmaine sent me an article about how this tiny town of less than 100 attracts Nicole tourists from both the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Route.
I joined Tom, a GDMBR rider, for second breakfast at the town eatery. He described bear paw prints as big as his plate and riding into a herd of elk. I take my chances with Winnebagos.
We briefly talked to two other GDMBR riders from New Zealand.
On the way out of town I checked out some of the town’s kooky sleeping quarters for weary cyclists: a teepee, a chuck wagon, and an old town jail. I’d have stayed but my rest day in Missoula was my top priority.
Into the increasingly strong headwinds I rode. I was out of gas after 15 miles. I stopped to eat junk food. After another five miles I was bonked again.
It was misery amid splendor. The beauty of the mountains and woods and streams was astounding. I could have stopped every mile to take pictures. In the interest of getting myself off the bike sooner I kept riding.
After 75 miles I stopped at a sub shop in Milltown. I was starving. I ate giant sandwich and it instantly revived me.
Good thing too, the headwinds intensified with each passing mile into Missoula. One blast in particular almost brought me to a dead stop.
I forged ahead and asked the Google to direct me to a Warmshowers house. The Google tool me on a confusing ride through the University of Montana campus.
I finally found the lovely house in a beautiful neighborhood. As I rolled my bike inside, I became dizzy. I had waaay overdone it. It seemed like a fascinating place to stay but I just couldn’t deal with interacting with people. I made my apologies to the hosts and rode off to find a hotel.
And so I landed in a huge room in a Holiday Inn. Tomorrow I rest.
Tour Miles: 3,044.5