Last night in the tent was actually quite chilly, packing up at around 8, it was still barely above zero. But heh, I’ve complained so much about the heat, i can’t start complaining about a little cold….yet. Marcus and i set off to reach the summit of lolo pass, the first part of the day would be around 12 miles, climbing to 5,200 feet, with the last 6/7 getting pretty steep. We were making good progress up the hill, with Marcus setting the speed and me clawing onto the back of him. With a brief stop near the top that i really needed and Marcus used to take some pictures, we made one last push for the top. We eventually reached the pretty unspectacular summit of the pass, me looking like i had just run up the hill 5 times and Marcus looking like he had driven next to me in a well air conditioned car. We checked out the visitors centre, took some pictures and then headed off.
The pass also represents the border between Idaho and Montana, and the transition into the mountain time zone.
The next few miles were really fast downhill, this was followed by many miles of flat of slightly downhill fast riding.
About 15 miles from Missoula, Marcus got away from me and then i stopped for something to eat. The wind picked up a little but before long, i was in Missoula. Missoula is a pretty big town and really cycle friendly, everyone here cycles. It is also the home of the adventure cycling association, who create the maps that i am using. That was my first stop. When you arrive, they give you free juice and ice cream, then they give yet a tour of the place and take your picture for the wall. Marcus was still there when i arrived, he is now heading south to the yellowstone national park with Florida his probable final us destination. I headed to a hostel that the guy in the aca office suggested. The guy running the hostel suggested a music/food weekly festival in a nearby park. I headed there and got some dinner.
I got chatting to a really nice local couple, Ken and Becky. They explained that the event is on every Thursday evening throughout the summer and local restaurants come and set up stalls to serve food. It was really fun, with even a homeless guy strutting his stuff on the makeshift dance floor. The evening ended and i headed back to the hostel, pleased to find that the six bed room that i was staying was still empty. Im staying here tomorrow as well, it seems a really cool city. A really nice start to Montana. I thought i would share a poem that is written on my maps about the lolo trail which ends here, part of which i have been on. “This road is winding, crooked and rough. But you can make it, if you are tough. God help your tires, god help your load, god bless the men who built this road” Ralph S. Space