The Long and Winding RoadPosted: July 14, 2013
Hooray! We’ve reached Missoula, Montana – our unofficial half way point in the ride. Here’s a bit of a tour update and a few reflections on the whole thing.
We’ve been on the road around three weeks and things have gone splendidly. We’ve covered about 1300 kilometers which translates into approximately 312,000 pedal rotations or 642,600 heartbeats while cycling. We’ve had no problems with the bikes or anything we drag along in our kit. Overall, the weather has been better than expected. It seems as if the 49th parallel is a bit of shower curtain. As soon as we crossed it, the major wet weather stayed behind. It hasn’t been as hot (yet) as expected but we still have a number of weeks and lower latitudes where we may get the really hot stuff. We want to thank our good friend Dawn Smith in Quesnel for our “Cheeky Wraps” and the helmet cap she made for me. It has kept my nearly bald head from frying in the sun through the helmet. The sun tan always looked bad too. I could have been mistaken for a Klingon from Star Trek. We’ll have to put some photos on the blog… maybe.
We’ve seen some beautiful wildlife on the way. In the last blog you heard about our close encounter with a black wolf. It was like swimming with sharks – you can’t really believe what you’re seeing. Some of the creatures that have crossed our path: Foxes, rabbits, deer, (fawns too!) otters, skunks and many, many different birds. Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and countless raptors all majestically cruising the skies above. One pair yesterday morning appeared to be lazily dancing above the Clark Fork River as we rolled by. We also saw 3 large wild turkeys and 10 turklets…too cute! Osprey nests are common and sometimes close to the road. One concerned parent scowled at us as we rode by her home. She sounded a bit like Marg Simpson fretting. Yet another encounter was with a Golden Eagle who had his eye on a dead rabbit on the road ahead. He swooped down over our heads from behind as if to say, “Stay away!”
Then there’s the not-so-wild wildlife. Dogs. Pesky critters. Today we met one character who was all of 12″ tall with an attitude to be reckoned with. Snorting, the black meanie came from out of nowhere. I kept telling him he was going to get into trouble but he’d have none of that. Barging his way onto Montana Hwy. 200 this pint sized whirling dervish was doing his job like a mini Terminator. Even a burst of speed from our two-wheeled Winnebago’s didn’t deter him. Finally, about a kilometer from his home, he put his teeth away and called off the chase. The nerve.
Yesterday was a beautiful 82km ride from our campground near Paradise, MT to Arlee just north of Missoula. We followed the Clark Fork and Flathead Rivers and on the way we stopped for a “world famous” bison burger at the Bison Inn Cafe in Ravali. Mmmmm… While we were there, we met a number of cyclists on an organized, fully supported tour. (Everything is carried for them and food is always ready when they arrive) They’re riding all the way across the country on bikes that weigh less than my front wheel. Looked like fun but 112 MILES per day is not what we’re into. Good on them. Different strokes. It’s still cycling!
We really appreciate the feedback and comments we’ve received. We started three weeks ago in Kamloops with a long journey in front of us. One pedal at a time, we’ve crossed an international border, state lines, a time zone and here we are in Missoula. Was it difficult? Truthfully, no. Remember, one pedal at a time, hydrate when you need to, seek shelter when it’s hot or raining too hard to see, start early and stop early if you like where you’re at and don’t forget to eat whenever you’re hungry. And if all else fails, eat ice cream. While riding the backroads and byways it’s great to know people are supporting our Ride for True Health.
Thanks! Chris & Heather