Day 64 - Missoula, MT to Jerry Johnson hot springs, ID - Can('t) Hurt Me - CycleBlaze

July 15, 2021

Day 64 - Missoula, MT to Jerry Johnson hot springs, ID

My favorite pass time

Today we woke up and made oatmeal in an instant pot. It's been a while since I had done this and I can't wait to get back to eating more oatmeal at home. If there are two things I miss, it's my cat and seel cut oats in a pressure cooker.  We all packed up and reluctantly said goodbye. We wanted to leave at a reasonable time since the heat wave is still on. We made pretty good time to lolo, although the smoke was increasingly bad.

Pretty intense smoke at the top
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We started up the pass and cruised up the 25 miles during the 1-2% grade portion. As it increased to 6% for the last 8 or so, we saw more smoke and more signage about fires. All the rest areas and campgrounds were closed and taken over by forest service personel. We did see another cyclist on his way down who said the pass was definitely pass-able, so that gave us hope. We had been monitoring the situation for the last few days. At the top of the pass, we saw no fire and moved into idaho.

We met a guy on a custom foiled recumbent. Pretty interesting
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Lolo pass is at 5200', while lolo mountain is over 9000. It always seems like the landscape changes when you pass a border, even though it's just a man made designation. This time it increased in beauty even more. Even through the smoke, it looked like we were descending into a steep valley along the lochsa river.

We follow this river for almost 100 miles
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We made great time down the mountain and found a campground/restaurant/lodge where we ate our own food and used their wifi. I texted Chris that we made it over the pass and we took a short break. We had run into a recumbent cyclists going west on the Lewis and Clark trail. He got a flat at the lodge that took him a while to fix. He had a weird cover over his whole bike for aerodynamic reasons and he didn't wear a shirt while riding so it looked like he might be naked under there. We never did find out. We left the lodge on route to Jerry Johnson hot springs, which our warm showers host from a few days ago has told us about. We arrived across the river where there was a large suspension bridge to cross to get to the springs. We decided to continue down 12 to scope out the Jerry Johnson campground to make sure we could camp before we spent the rest of the afternoon at the springs. The campground was closed, but we just bypassed the fence. It was great, it looked like the camp had been closed for 2 years, but the bathrooms were open, stocked with toilet paper and the poo was completely pumped out. We were stoked, so we rode the mile back to the springs. We didn't want to leave the bikes out on the road, so we decided to walked across the bridge. When we got across, we decided just to try and ride the dirt path to the  springs since it was a mile. It started super smooth but we went through several wet spots and had to get off the bikes a bunch of times. Alex and Anton both took a fall and I was starting to regret taking the bike in. Anton helped me lift the bike over another log and we finally made it. The springs were low key, especially compared to Saratoga.

This doesn't look like much, but there are small pools out by the river
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There were several small pools, mostly next to the river. We got in all the pools and alternated with the river. We decided to cook dinner there before leaving. Mary and I made soup, cleaned up and got ready to go. The ride back was similar, but with fewer falls. We also saw the main spring, which we missed coming in.

This didn't come out as well in the photo
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It looked magnificent, but we had to leave. The ride back was fine and we pulled into our private campground. We pitched tents right in the road and put our food in the pit toilet again. We slept without a fly and went to bed early since we just passed into the new time zone.

As a side note, after going over skalkaho pass, a screw on my front rack backed out almost all the way. I try to check bolts but I obviously don't do it often enough. I caught it in Missoula when my bike was upside down.

That front rack screw is nearly gone
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Mileage: 70

Altitude gain:2800

Today's ride: 70 miles (113 km)
Total: 3,291 miles (5,296 km)

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