Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day 61: All in all we're all just bricks in The Wall

Day 61
Hamilton to Missoula 52miles

Slept pretty well last night. Did get woken up by a thunder storm at one point, but pretty much fell straight back to sleep.

In the morning Terry cooked a fantastic breakfast of pancakes. I do like American style pancakes with some maple syrup, so they were devoured pretty quickly!
Terry and Carl (and Molly the dog): Fabulous hosts

I said farewell to my extremely generous hosts, and set off for Missoula. Terry had given me some alternate directions which avoided some roadworks on the main road, and also took me on a bike path for a lot of the ride.

The riding itself was pretty simple, the road was sloping gently downhill as it followed the Bitteroot river. I was able to keep up a pretty good pace all the way. The last 10 or so miles from Lolo to Missoula were on a very busy, two-lane highway with not much shoulder. That was a little scary, but Im getting used to it now!

The road to Missoula is actually a spur from the main route. But the reason for taking is is that Missoula is the home of Adventure Cycling Association. These are the people who devise all the bike touring routes in the US, including the TransAm. So they like to see the people who are doing the riding.
Yep, this is the place!

Drop-handlebar door handles: Pretty cool really

I arrived at the ACA, and got a very warm welcome. I also got a couple of free cans of coke and some ice-cream as I relaxed in their cyclists lounge. However, probably the main reason to go is to be immortalised on the wall of fame! They take your picture and stick it up alongside all the other tourers who have come through their doors (and the doors have pretty cool handles!). It was interesting to see a few familiar faces. I saw Jerry who I stayed with in Wisdom, Mike who I passed yesterday and also Dave who I had ridden with all the way back in Virginia.
Me and Wenlock on The Wall

The Wall of Fame: Im third from bottom in the middle

After relaxing for a bit more, I went off to find a nearby hostel. This had been recommended to me by a couple of people. Its cheap, has good facilities and is in an excellent location.

Missoula seems like a really nice city. Its clearly very cycle friendly, as people were whizzing about everywhere on bikes. It probably helps that it is a University town, home to the University of Montana. In that regard it reminds me a lot of Charlottesville, but a more modern version.

Since it seems like such a nice place, I am going to take an unprecedented two day rest! The route from Missoula to Astoria is a touch under 1,000miles. Even after taking 2 days off, I'll still have 25days to cover those 1,000miles – an average of 40miles per day. My first 1,000miles took me 21 days, and that was when I had more kit, wasnt so fit and was doing the toughest riding of the route. So I should be fine (famous last words...)

I think my body will definitely appreciate the extra rest. And then I can get back on the road, refreshed, revived and ready to cover that last section of the route.

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