Day 90 (25th zero day), in Missoula: Checking off items on the list of things To Doula - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

July 21, 2022

Day 90 (25th zero day), in Missoula: Checking off items on the list of things To Doula

In this view of a sidewalk in downtown Missoula, Blue is parked at a bike rack at right, and at left is a clapboard sign that reads: "YOU DESERVE A COOKIE." This is in front of the window of Mary's Mountain Cookies, where I enjoyed a huge ice cream sandwich.
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Thursday stats

Ooof, today is a difficult one to quantify ...

Zero daily progress in terms of actual bike touring.

Ice cream flavors: I got myself an ice cream sandwich made of chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream.

Beer flavors, at Cranky Sam's: A Scotch ale and a tropical blonde ale for me, and raspberry sour and a Weiss with apricot for Dani.

Food and drink expenses: I'm guessing about $120.

Lodging expenses: Half of the $288 that I mentioned yesterday, at the Travelodge.

Capital expenses (and a little food): $197 at REI. We each bought a pair of pants, plus some camper meals and campstove fuel. But the biggest reason for going to REI rather than another store? My sleeping pad had developed a slow leak and I could not find the hole to patch it. Dani suspected a seam or the valve, either of which would be too hard for us to patch. I did eventually patch what I thought might be a tiny hole, but that was no help. Presh, whom we met in Darby, had suggested I bring it back to REI, and, having failed to fix it myself, I did just that. REI readily took it back — their return policy is almost too darn forgiving (thank you, REI!). I hope they are able to fix the problem and re-sell the pad at a discount. So, I effectively exchanged it for a new sleeping pad, which has a higher R value, weighs less and is less noisy. The only advantage that my original sleeping pad had was a greater width, so I hope I don't miss having those few extra inches (they were pretty nice). I guess I'll find out soon enough. The funny thing is that the pad I had originally, the Sea to Summit EtherLight XT ("regular wide" size) was actually not my first choice when I was first looking to buy a pad six months ago, but as soon as I tried it out (it was my first inflatable sleeping pad), I was extremely happy with it — until it started leaking a few days ago and I had to wake up in the middle of the night and re-inflate it. Now that I've returned it, the same Sea to Summit model was not available, but my first choice, the NEMO Tensor Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad, which had not been available six months ago, was available now (and in fact, Dani bought the same one before she joined me on this trip and has been loving it), so now I'm going to try it myself. In either case, I can say, hands down, buying an inflatable sleeping pad was the biggest improvement to my sleeping setup and probably the best $200 spent on equipment. If I had bought one earlier, I might not have bothered with the hammock-tent hybrid that I used on the first half of this tour.

Dani's daily digest


My first real zero day! (We technically stayed two nights at Jenny Lake but we biked 35 miles in the course of sightseeing at Grand Teton National Park, so I don't think that counts).

Woke up shortly before six and began my day with a short run on Missoula's beautiful riverside trail system.

The next to-do-list items was laundry. The nearest laundromat, Lemon Laundry, was the nicest, cutest laundromat I've ever visited. Like a Pinterest laundromat made real. In addition to themed decor (yellow and lemons everywhere - even the dish soap at the sinks was lemon), there was complementary coffee, cookies, and powdered detergent (the detergent in a rustic-chic galvanized tub). 

Breakfast was from the grocery store. I ate yogurt and fruit, my usual normal-life breakfast.

We brought the bikes to the local bike shop for a check-up. The bike shop guy instantly recognized us as touring cyclists, which made us feel like he understood what services we would likely need. My bike needed a new chain, but Chris's (replaced in Denver) was still good. We both got our drivetrains cleaned. We had to surrender our bikes for a few hours.

Luckily, Missoula has an AWESOME bus system. The branding alone is A+: its logo is a mountain lion and its name is.... wait for it... The Mountain Line (ahhhhhh! so good!). The buses are free, come every 15 minutes, and even have free-wifi! Apparently, the system won public transportation system of the year in 2021, and based on my experience, they deserve to win again in 2022. 

Missoula is the biggest town we've seen since Fort Collins, making it a great place to resupply. Much of the afternoon was spent shopping, a mix of necessary and discretionary purchases. It's kinda fun to run errands in an unfamiliar town. It gives you a peek at the answer to the perennial tourist question "what is it like to live here?"

We ended our day with drinks at Cranky Sam's, food from Zoo Thai, and a walk along the riverfront. 

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