Sunday, 7 August 2011

Day 64: Into the Potato State

Day 64
Missoula, MT to Powell, ID

The last sentence from yesterday was “If everything goes well, the next time I post an update, I'll be in Idaho!”. I only just made it today!

Had a pretty rough start to the day. Only got less than a mile down the road when I hit a huge pothole. My bike made a horrible noise, and it transpired one of my front pannier racks had basically collapsed like a concertina and rammed itself into my front spokes! Luckily it didnt break any spokes, but a couple were a bit wonky. Obviously I also needed to get a new rack too.

Went back to the motel, dumped my kit back in my room (luckily check out was noon, so I still had a bit of time). There was a bike shop just down the road, and they straightened up my front wheel, but had no front racks in stock. Quickly popped back to the hotel to get my raincoat (it was raining quite heavily today), and then headed into town. The first two bikeshops couldnt help, so I ended up back at Adventure Cycling! Luckily they had some in stock, so I was there in the cyclists lounge with my bike upsidedown, fitting my new rack! Had to call the hotel to tell them I might be back a little late, but they were ok with it.

Eventually got back, loaded up and was able to head out. By now it was almost 1pm, so I had lost a lot of time.

On my second attempt at leaving Missoula I made very sure to avoid the same pot hole! One advantage of my new racks is that they are a bit higher off the ground, so no problems with them scraping on the floor anymore.

After missing my turning at Lolo and having to backtrack, I eventually got on the right road and was still hopeful of making it Idaho at some point today!

The views were very nice. Soon passed by Lolo peak, and then was riding through some lovely forested mountains.
Lolo peak
I hadnt really realised (despite it being on the maps) how far Lolo pass (and the Idaho border) was. The route was gentle climbing up towards the pass, but was never too steep. There was a bit of rain in the air, but generally never too heavy. Apart from one point when it started coming down pretty heavy. By the time I had got my jacket out, put it on and cycled 5mins up the road I could take the jacket back off!

Eventually reached the top of the pass, and crossed into Idaho. Cue standard photo of Whiskey under a state sign.
I feel they could have made more effort with this sign!

Pulled into the visitors centre, and they had signs up saying that a lot of the campsites on route 12 (the road I was on) were currently closed for maintenance. This wasnt good, as thats where I was planning to stay. Although I had just passed into pacific time (8hrs behind GMT), I tend to operate on the time of which ever timezone I had started from, so for me it was almost 5pm. So I decided to head for Powell, 13miles into Idaho, and then see how things were.

The descent was pretty cool, with some stunning views.

As I got to Powell, I pulled into a private lodge place, and saw a couple of familiar bikes parked next to a tent. Leo and Sandy had obviously also decided to stay here.

It turned out to be a bit of a result. The lodge didnt charge me to camp, I had a nice place to spend the evening having a couple of beers and some friendly faces to speak to.

Leo and Sandy had got ahead of me by only taking 1 day off in Missoula. They have decided to do the Lewis and Clark route to Oregon as its a bit shorter and they want to finish as soon as they can.

There I also another older couple, from New Zealand, camping here tonight who are doing a combination of Lewis & Clark and TransAm to Colorado on a tandem. We all had a bit of food and drink together. Nice to chat to a few other people and swap some stories.

So I've now fully completed 8 states. It's starting to feel like I'm getting closer to the ocean.  

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