the heron alternate, the first bicyclingism, and troy.... - Seattle towards Minnesota - CycleBlaze

August 1, 2007

the heron alternate, the first bicyclingism, and troy....

I woke up at 5:00, purely by accident. I would never do something like that on purpose. The light is what did it.

Although the light is what woke me up today, it used to be the sunlight. When sunlight hits a tent it gets very hot inside very fast. Years ago, I used to be good enough to where I could position my tent and use the sun as an alarm clock. I was accurate within twenty minutes, but I don't do that much camping these days.

I packed up and pedaled to the Cabinet Mountain Cafe where I had some scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast.

Then I rode to the library where I saw they don't open until 11:00. 

11:00?!?  ELEVEN??? Hmphh... back in the day when worked at the library....

The ACA map offered an alternative route out of Clark Fork. It's an extra 2.5 miles but the name (Heron Alternate) sounded intriguing, so I took it. 

I never did see any herons.

Nor did I see a sign welcoming me into Montana, although I'm sure they'd have welcomed me if only they'd known I was coming.

Bikers always take pictures next to state border signs. I think I have a picture of me and/or my bicycle next to every state sign I've seen.

My shifters started acting up again after about ten miles. I considered calling Jim to see if he offered roadside assistance, but after realizing I had no cellphone service I decided not to call him.

Do you ever moo at cows on the side of the road?

oh. me neither.

The Heron Alternate turned out to be better suited for a HumVee than for a touring bike. By the end of the detour, I had ridden over some bone-jarring road.

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At the end of the bumpfest I checked my panniers to make sure they hadn't come off. It's a good thing I checked, because the left rear hanger had slipped off.

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The scenery continued to be gorgeous, but I noticed a haze partially obscuring the mountains.

At the Big Sky Pantry, on the corner of 200 and 56 I stopped for lunch. They have a deli which was generous and cheap. I ate outside and listened to five or six guys who work for a utility company talk. I learned that there were two fires near Libby and one near here. That's what the haze is from.

Surprisingly, out here in the middle of nowhere, where there's only an intersection and a building (it isn't even a town), I had good cell phone reception.

The afternoon was hot. I drank plenty and was able to stay reasonably hydrated. There were a lot of ups and downs, though more ups today.

I pulled over to the side of the road to check something on my bike. During the inspection, I saw a couple of bikers going in the opposite direction, but they were going downhill with the wind.

Mark's Bicyclingisms Number One:   Jesus Christ Himself could appear on the side of the road in need of help, and if a biker is going downhill with the wind at his back... well, best of luck to Him.

They smiled and gave me a thumbs up sign as they flew by.

Little Joe's is the last stop to get something to drink before Troy. It's a large, dark, almost empty place... but it's cool. I ordered a Pepsi and made it last about forty five minutes.

Have you ever gone into the restroom at a restaurant to wash the road dust off your face, only to find out later that you have a piece of paper towel stuck to your forehead?

oh. me neither.

On the way in a high school kid asked me a few quick questions about touring while his family was waiting for him. He seemed somewhat interested, so I gave him information about ACA and the URL of my blog. I hope he reads it and sees how fun it can be.

I've been debating about what to do for the evening and decide to get a motel in Troy. The road from Troy to Libby is almost all uphill, though not steep, and I'm really feeling the heat today.

Troy is actually off the route a mile or so. Once you leave the route, there's a very steep drop into town.

This is a picture of the Kootenai river, just before the descent into Troy.

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I'm just curious.... When you're going downhill on a bike, do you ever want to yell as loud as you can, "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HA!!!!!!!!!!!!"

oh. me neither.

Once in Troy (pop 957), I pulled into the Ranch Motel and asked about a room. To my surprise, he said they were booked. To my chagrin, he said both motels in Troy were full, as well as all of the motels in Libby. There's a baseball tournament.

He did say that they offered showers for $5.00. I took him up on it before all of the guests arrived and the rooms were full.

Afterwards, back in the office, he told me how far away the campground was. I had already cleaned up, so I asked if I could wait in the air-conditioned office until it got a little cooler outside. Then he went over to the digital thermometer on the wall and pushed a button. It showed the high temperature for the day: 105 degrees. I was actually kind of surprised. He told me I could just pitch a tent in the field behind the motel if I wanted, as long as I put it in the corner in case someone wants to play volleyball.

I sat in corner and blogged for over an hour while the owners, Keith and Nancy, largely ignored me. Keith, in his USPS Uniform, watched the Mets/Brewers game.

I pulled out my charger and plugged it in while I wrote, but tried to be very inconspicuous. Although their sign outside said free wireless internet I was never able to get connected, but at least I was able to recharge my battery.

I set up my tent, then went to the cafe Keith recommended. When he gave me his recommendation at 8:10 he neglected to tell me they close at 8:00. I arrived at 8:15.

Then I rode back to the other side of town where I found "R Place." I ordered a cheeseburger and a Pepsi.

I don't know if you can buy a Coke product. There just aren't any anywhere in the three states I've been in so far.

I had a chocolate shake for dessert. It was, without a doubt, the worst shake live ever had in my life. Does food taste better when you're on a bike tour? Absolutely. But not always. I had three or four swallows and left the rest.

Once the sun goes down, things cool off nicely. I went back to my tent and wrote a while.

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I overheard a conversation late this afternoon, and am reproducing it word for word.  

It was between my legs and my butt.

Legs:  "I. Am. Machine. Want. Push. Pedals. Am. Stronger. Now."
Butt:    "OH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE STOP! OUCH! OW! NO!!! DON'T SIT DOWN !!!!!!!!!!!! OH SWEET JESUS... (sobs) PLEASE, I'M BEGGING YOU, YOU'VE GOT TO... OUCH!!!!!! (sobs) YOU'VE GOT TO STOP THIS!!!!!!"
Lungs:  "OK, you two.... whatever"

Miles 60.54
Maximum speed 32.6 mph
Average speed 11.5 mph
Time 5:15:54
Cumulative mileage 501.48

Today's ride: 61 miles (98 km)
Total: 502 miles (808 km)

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