Day 96, to Lolo Hot Springs: Back into the heat of the moment - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

July 27, 2022

Day 96, to Lolo Hot Springs: Back into the heat of the moment

The words "MOOSE XING" are painted here on U.S. 12 south of Missoula, near Lolo Hot Springs. The road tapers off toward the top right of the photo, where we see Dani riding toward the green mountain on the horizon.
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Dani MooreI'm so glad you included this pic because I failed to mention the two designated MOOSE XINGS we crossed today.
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1 week ago

Welcome back to the Chris Cross America Tour! Today we began the fourth and final stage of the ride. We've got somewhere around 1,100 miles to reach the endpoint of the TransAm in Astoria, Ore. (and then I'm guessing another 100-ish to Portland, whether we'll catch trains). I'm not quite ready to accept that the tour is going to end in a few weeks, but I'll probably reach acceptance before then. Either way, we've still got about three and a half weeks on the road, so let's soak it up. Here we go!

Wednesday stats

Start: We woke at Granite Peak Campground just outside Missoula, took the cat bus into town for breakfast together and then dropped off the cat bus at its owner's house, where we had left our bikes. Blue had a flat. I decided to replace the whole darn tire because it went flat several times in the last couple of days before we reached Missoula and I could not find the little metal staple that was stuck in the tire and causing these flats and I was ready to give up. We went to a shop and bought a new tire, and in the process of replacing the inner tube, I accidentally found the piece of metal stuck in the tire that was hiding from me for so long. So we plucked out the staple, patched the inner tube and returned the tire that I had just bought and didn't actually need. All this is to say: We started from Open Road Bicycles in Missoula!

End: Lolo Hot Springs

The Daily Progress: 36.1 miles

Cumulative climb: 1302 feet

Cumulative descent: 413

Elevation at endpoint: 4166

Lodging expenses: $27?

Food expenses: $51

Entertainment expenses: $24 for admission to hot springs and pool, plus $11 tip for the live musician here at the bar, John Till. (He was good!)

Dani's daily digest

Today we are back in the saddle after a five-day vacation from our vacation.

On Friday, we met our friends Rob and Jenn in Missoula, loaded into the ridiculous and ridiculously awesome "Cat Bus" and road-tripped to Glacier National Park. We never found an adjective sufficient to describe the park, but we did our best with words like "majestic," "spectacular," and "breath-taking." 

This morning we breakfasted with Rob and Jenn, returned the Cat Bus, and fixed Chris's infernal flatting back tire for once and for all (we hope). We then set off for Lolo Hot Springs Resort, 36 miles from Missoula. The ride was hot but otherwise straightforward. We were climbing to Lolo Pass, but the climb was gradual and painless. We saw three elk bound across the road. We wished the huckleberry smoothie shack we saw in the first 10 miles of the ride had been in the last 10 miles of the ride.

At Lolo Hot Springs, we found a shady campsite with companionable boulders. The fellow at the neighboring site had a lot of ...unorthodox... ideas that he was eager to share with us. The ideas came in torrents of high-school science vocabulary linked with nonsensical but grammatical sentences. We broke away to shower and luxuriate in the 90-degree waters of a hot-spring-fed pool. We finished the day with dinner and a drink on the resort's patio. John Till, a one-man bluegrass band, serenaded the crowd as little girls invented clogging dances to accompany the music.

This is not a great photo, but it captures the environment, which I always appreciate when trying to remember a place. In the background is John Till singing and playing guitar, surrounded by patrons on the patio of a restaurant to the left. As usual for this area, tall evergreens line the horizon beyond the patio.
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Today's ride: 36 miles (58 km)
Total: 3,419 miles (5,502 km)

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