Day 12 - Plains to Missoula - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

June 14, 2016

Day 12 - Plains to Missoula

Hmmmmmmmmm.

Well, the wind blew all night - hard. Fortunately, I was protected somewhat by the cottonwood grove; however, the thought did occur to me, at times in the middle of the night, that a huge branch might just fall off onto a little tent below.

Getting up at dawn was less efficient, today, since it was socked in. The wind abated and the drizzle began. And it was cold. The bank clock said 48F. So I sat in front of the library and journaled, then went out to the Conoco where they had a little cafe. There was an old man, more than 90, with his 50+ caretaker at the next table. The language was peeling the pain right off the walls. Seems the old man still likes to find younger girlfriends and the caretaker was more than pissed that these women were stealing him blind. Morning news.

Another Bend in the River
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The order took quite a while and I was in no hurry anyway. Finally, I pushed off at 9:00. 9:00 - unbelievable! When you are riding in the cold drizzle with a breeze to add to your enjoyment, it is hard to be all sunny and bright. The mind wanders to grumbles and grievances and has plenty of time to do so. Not to mention that the big trucks would give me a cold shower spray every few minutes.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Forks of the Clark Fork and Flathead Rivers
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Anyhoo, I stopped at the only store in Paradise - a junk shop and chatted with the owner for a few minutes. I would have bought dry clothes, but she didn't sell clothing any more. Then it was another 15 miles to Perma and - lo and behold - the Old Perma Store, just a cabin, was open. Harold Shaw, the owner, came over after I had been inside a few minutes. He was in his 90s, too. And had been a mechanic and oil man in Gillette back in the 1970s and 1980s. We had a great conversation over bananas and a Pepsi. And let me tell you, they were the best bananas and soda I have ever had. I would have taken a picture of the store, but I had to pry myself away. Harold followed me out the door - and, I guess, he gets little company.

Clouds, River, Road, Wind
(Would be spectacular on a sunny day)
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More drizzle, but a tailwind. Another 21 miles to Ravalli and I made it to the cafe just in time for a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and a big bowl of homemade soup. And while I was eating, the sun began to break through! Wow!! Except that the tailwind was now a headwind. I changed out of my wet things into my last dry clothes, but the wind took away what little warmth the meager sun had to offer. Steady climbing. Gusty wind. Pedal. Pedal. Pedal.

And there was fresh snow on the Rattlesnake Range. A good deal in the bowls.

Fresh Snow on the Rattlesnake Mountains
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From the store in Arlee, I called and made reservations at the hostel in Missoula - figuring that I could now make it all the way. Lemonade and Doritos. Don't tell anyone. Pedal. Pedal. Pedal. Finally I got to the top and started the fast descent into Missoula.

Had Plenty of Time in Low Gear to Look at the Fresh Snow
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Still 9 miles on Broadway into town, but there was a tail wind again. I rode the fantabulous River Trail system for a bit and finally pulled into the hotel at 8:00. Chris, the owner, welcomed me and showed me around. Stunning place, old house, immaculate. But I didn't even have the energy to eat. Just took a shower and collapsed.

The Bike/Ped Bridge over the Clark Fork in Missoula
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Today's ride: 77 miles (124 km)
Total: 677 miles (1,090 km)

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