Day 29 Missoula, Montana: The Road Behind, The Road Ahead - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

May 29, 2011

Day 29 Missoula, Montana: The Road Behind, The Road Ahead

The first 1500 km of the tour have brought a variety of problems - drenching rain, heavy traffic, medical glitches, mechanical breakdown, snow, hilly terrain. It also brought some wonderful rides and some wonderful people.

There are maps on the pages for Day 8 and Day 15, showing the route we took to those points. And here is what we did in the last two weeks:

No doubt, the next 1700 km, to Winnipeg, will have the same elements. We do expect less rain, more heat, mosquitoes, and less traffic. But there is one other thing on the horizon that especially gives us the heebie jeebies: ghost towns.

Ghost towns will not be a problem because we are afraid of ghosts. And by ghost towns we do not mean those that disappeared a century ago. We mean the stretches of highway on which services are far between, and where towns shown on the map can not be assumed to offer food, camping, motel, or sometimes, even water.

We have already looked at the impact of rural depopulation in towns like Colfax and Garfield. In Colfax there were many unused buildings, but also a big grocery store and quite luxurious motel. Then in Garfield we were lucky to find a cup of coffee, but we did find one. However looking ahead, there are stretches in Montana and in Alberta and Saskatchewan without much of anything.

We think this situation is more pronounced in eastern Alberta than in Montana, so our plan is to hang on below the border for a bit, before surfacing in Saskatchewan. Trying to make sure that we do not get stuck in the middle of nowhere has taken some late bedtimes. Still, there is no help for certain areas. For example, coming out of Missoula on Hwy 200, past Lincoln there is a 5000 foot pass - Rogers' Pass - and the next "town" after that is Simms, 90 km from Lincoln. Depending on how hilly the road is, that could be OK, but we also have not been able to ascertain whether there are any services in Simms. **Flash** Google Street View has just shown me a gas station with convenience store in Simms!

Routng with a computer in each hand.
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Here is our approximate plan through to Winnipeg:

Meanwhile, we are waiting for Dodie's wheel to get rebuilt, on Tuesday. This has given time for a pilgrimage back to the Mother Ship - REI, to fine tune our stuff yet again.

Return to the Mother Ship.
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On the way to REI we came across this scene. - Clearly needs some packing help!

This person needs a BoB
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When we came through the door at REI, one staffer asked where we had been, since he hadn't seen us for a few weeks. The revelation that we had actually gone out and pedalled somewhere was a bit of a surprise. I think the staffer (and we) had fallen into the assumption that the expedition was mainly an expedition to REI!

The day ends with two mandatory pictures of Avi and Violet!

Laurie and Avi
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