Missoula - Seeley Lake, MT - The cat named Chevy won't stop this tour, and neither can COVID - CycleBlaze

July 22, 2020

Missoula - Seeley Lake, MT

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1,949 elevation gain

Having a rest day typically leaves me slightly bored and ready to get on the road the next morning. I was out the door at 8 AM, and a little apprehensive about dealing with the traffic heading out of Missoula. It was not an issue. Our lodging was well located for departure. Within a mile, I was past the majority of commercial development and quickly out into the country. It was a stark contrast to our ride into Missoula from the south which was all day traffic and development.

I enjoyed the solitude next to the Blackfoot River and the pine vistas. I stopped multiple times to send photos and answer text messages. It's really difficult to get down the road when I keep stopping! Jacinto had a 14 mph average for the day. Mine? 10.5 mph. I wasn't having any trouble, I just stopped a lot for photos and to answer messages. I didn't pay any attention to the computer or it's numbers. That's rather odd for me. Usually I seldom stop. I think it's finally sinking in that the trip is coming to an end and I should savor these last few days.

I wasn't making very good progress for the day. I really should concentrate on getting down the road. I saw many signs for the Resort at Paws Up. It looks expensive. They had kayakers in the water right at the top of the climb. Although I'm using the word climb loosely. The downhill was nice and gave my miles for the day a boost. It was gently downhill to the intersection of 83.

The shoulder on Highway 200 was at least ten feet wide, a cyclist's dream! But, all good dreams come to an end. I turned onto 83 and the shoulder narrowed down to a more typical two feet. Ah, well. I was hoping for even less traffic. Once the cars started passing close to me, it seemed as if there were more. They seemed to come in spurts, usually a line following a motorhome or a truck pulling a boat. There were definitely more logging trucks - to go with the Trump signs? Just a few miles down the road, a logging truck passed so close it took my breath away. As it continued past me, I could see the rear duals on my side of the white line - and we aren't talking a ten foot shoulder here! This is the two foot shoulder! I had no more than taken a deep breath and my rideable shoulder disappeared. Now I had a crumbling two inches past the white line. The highway department placed a yellow share the road bicycle sign right where the shoulder disappeared. How ironic to have someone pass too close when there was actually enough room. Was it malicious or inattentive? It was at least ten minutes before another logging truck passed me. I gave a large, friendly five fingered wave. The truck moved over and honked a friendly reply. Whew. Maybe the guy who passed me too closely contritely radioed his coworkers? Or perhaps he radioed them in glee? Or maybe this driver was nice all by himself. I had only one more logging truck pass me, this one painted in a flag motif. He also responded by moving over and a friendly honk back. Again, I imagine he is trying to compensate for the renegade logging truck driver.

Seeley Lake is long and spread out. A shoulder reappeared when the development did. I've bicycled this road before. I had forgotten about the lack of shoulder. I had a nice day over all. I was on the road much longer than I expected, just because I wasn't worrying about getting down the road. Our last three days are all over 50 miles a day. Tomorrow I should focus on the ride. There's a 50% chance of rain tomorrow - there's nothing better than rain to chase me to the next town.

I stopped at the grocery store, hungry. Everyone knows not to shop when you are hungry. I wasn't planning to buy dinner, but it rather feels like I did. I bought four chicken kebobs. Some spinach dip that isn't quite as healthy as I'd like - chips to go with it. Fruit. A Calypso Lemonade that is identical to the one I bought in Dove Creek, but it didn't taste near as delicious. Perhaps I need to be sitting outside in the hot sun on a bench at the gas station with salty sunscreen dripping in my eyes . . . then it would taste good?

I called Jacinto to say not to stop at the store. He was only a mile behind me. By the time I loaded all of the groceries and checked in at the motel, he was pulling in. We have a king size bed tonight and a roomy room. The last time we were here, we were at the far end of the motel and I had to sit at the office for the wi-fi to work. Tonight our room is adjacent to the office. I can hear their phone ring. The wi-fi is now lightning fast. They have an odd little ice make that is a small box and makes perhaps ten cubes at a time. I think they got tired of me coming back for more ice and finally gave me some out of their own fridge.

I had forgotten that they have all sorts of free snacks in the office - fresh fruit, cold bottled water, candy (the good stuff like Snickers and Reeses).

I was sitting outside working on the journal and rain chased me inside. Let's see about tomorrow.

For dinner we can go to the fast food place next door, which has hamburgers, hotdogs, and tacos. Or we could walk down a little and go to a steakhouse. I asked the lady at the motel where she would recommend. She said they didn't eat out much, but she would either go to the steakhouse or to the golf course. I'm not too hungry after the chicken kebobs. Let's see where we end up.

Later - we went to the fast food place. That was a mistake. I had tater tots with taco meat, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, and olives. It had yucky nacho cheese sauce on top. I don't know how I missed that. I didn't even finish it. Jacinto had a pork chop sandwich that he said was fine. They had a giant line for ice cream. Jacinto didn't want any because it was soft serve.

Tomorrow night we have dinner reservations at the B&B. It is really expensive. I hope we get enough to eat. We stayed there last time through. The breakfast was big on presentation and not much sustenance. I went back to the room and fixed oatmeal as a supplement. I'm afraid dinner is going to be the same thing. Our other choice is to walk a mile down the road to the bar and eat there. That's what we did last time.

My view the first part of the day.
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Should you feel the need - there is a school!
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There were a number of these signs along Highway 200 - note the bottom line. That was new this trip.
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A dugout near Potomac.
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The barn was adjacent to the dugout.
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These mailboxes were across the street. The mail lady came by while I was having the photography fest. She only delivered mail to a few of the many boxes.
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As I cycled on past, I saw that it wasn't the gas station serving prime rib, but the adjacent Potomac country store. There wasn't any other commercial development for many miles. Yet, they served a need.
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It is haying season everywhere.
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I found this peacock feather in the middle of nowhere. I also saw a white teddy bear and thought some child must have been throwing a tantrum. A mile or so down the road was a pink pig . . .
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I picked up this strap. Now I will be able to tie my bike up in the uHaul we have reserved. We were not able to find a one way minivan rental home.
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This Sinclar is at the intersection of Highway 200 and Highway 83. It has both a beef and a dinosaur. I did not see an advertisement for prime rib.
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There were few if any flowers on Highway 200. As soon as I turned the corner onto Highway 83, both sides of the road were lined with prairie cornflowers. (Did I get that correct, Bill?). It was odd.
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Sculpture in Seeley Lake.
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Today's ride: 54 miles (87 km)
Total: 2,139 miles (3,442 km)

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