Day 14 - Missoula to Blackfoot River Canyon - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

June 16, 2016

Day 14 - Missoula to Blackfoot River Canyon

Stopped by Adventure Cycling before leaving Missoula. Greg Siple took my photo with "Lucy" my trusty steed - red Trek 8000. (Named for Lucille Ball because I got her the week she died) It was a restful two night at the Spruce Street Hostel - spotless and welcoming - but it is always a little difficult to get going again after everything is spread out all over creation. Not to mention the dismal 45F drizzly and windy day.

Had to Get in One More Pic of the Great Trail System in Missoula
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I rode out towards East Missoula and Milltown. The change was fast and immediate. The lum er mill in Milltown was closed and the tidy millhouses - which would go for a quarter mil in Missoula - will have few takers. I wonder if they even notice this in Missoula.

A Side Street with Well-Kept Mill House in Milltown
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By now, there were a few small patches of blue - plus a killer tailwind - so I hot-footed it east to Potomac along thr Blackfoot River. The fishing access sites make nice rest stops for cyclists, too.

The Blackfoot River Is a Blue Ribbon Trout Stream
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In Potomac, I ran into Jen who had been riding the GDMBR race and was almost hypothermic. I got her to come into the cafe with me and we had a hot lunch. She had been slammed with rain, sleet, snow, and wind - - and was done. I have written the organizers before that early June is too early for the Northern Rockies - but they blew me off. Other cyclists kept coming into the cafe - turning it into a real biker bar.

Finally got back on the road again - still drizzly, but still with a tailwind. Managed to get to Ovando by 5:00 and pick up a few things at the general store. Dr. Christine Barstad - my favorite doctor in the world - once had a small practice there. It's next to impossible to provide medical services to rural Americans.

Blackfoot River Bend
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The Little Hamlet of Ovando - Population Maybe 100
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Old Cabin and Meadows
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Pushed off once more and made the last 16 miles into the Blackfoot River Canyon. Highway 200 had been pretty generous with shoulders all day until I hit the canyon - then they disappeared. Fortunately the traffic, which had been moderate-plus, had died down. Still there were a few scissors and a worry or two.

Killer Deep Rumble Strips that Wander Back and Forth across the Shoulder
(They must hire a drunk to do them.)
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Found the former forest service campground just off the highway. Marshy with puddles the size of Lake Michigan, but there were two sites right on the river that had a little dry ground. Two local guys were at one - which made me feel less isolated. I grabbed the other and set up quickly. I feel asleep to the sound of birdsong and the rush of the river swerving around a fallen log.

Campsite on the Blackfoot River
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Today's ride: 71 miles (114 km)
Total: 748 miles (1,204 km)

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