Friday, July 22, 2011

(I also beat an unloaded Orbea-rider over the pass...)

It rained last night. I packed up my wet tent and hit the road. I rolled quietly out of the yard making sure not to wake - or talk to - anybody. I stopped at the first picnic table I saw: Dairy Queen. I paused to properly prepare PBJs for the day. PBJ sammys - check. Guidebook knifed up - check. Phone says where route is - check.

Rolling out of town was shitty. Busy and overcast. The town of Lolo ten miles down the road was not uplifting. It seemed like cold with possible rain. I drank a so-it-says highly caffienated push-button mocha coffee and a chocolate milk with my first PBJ sandwich.

From Lolo Montana, I took route 12 west. Everything was almost immediately better. In spite of a slight and gradual climb and some headwind nonsense, I was happy. The traffic died down, and everything seemed alright to look at. The climb got steeper until I crossed Lolo Pass and entered Idaho and the Pacific Time Zone. I relaxed at the visitor's center at the pass. There was free coffee and hot chocolate. There was a room with chairs and a TV. The television showed photos of bears and wildlife in slideshow-mode while playing serene music. I was calmed. I liked this place. I liked the ride up here, the rangers were extra friendly, and I could exist well here in this moment. I sipped a second hot chocholate and ate my second PBJ as a herd of waddling tourists popped out of a big white bus, one by one. There were three men on motorcycles: I overheard the conversation and understood the one guy to have been "beaten up by the wind" and also expecting to "get a workout." I looked at my bicycle and wondered what he was talking about. It looked more like 3x Denny's 24/7 on his schedule.

I continued to ride until I'd gone 98 miles. I asked a volunteer ranger, and he told me I could set up a tent on the grassy island in the parking lot. Perfect. Free; ideal.

I spent a long day riding through beautiful scenery. As serene and wonderful as it was, it still had a level of monotony. I'm within striking distance of the Pacific Ocean. I had the idea that riding 700 miles in 7 days would be a good challenge. I fell short of a "century ride" by 2 miles today, and questioned the logic behind the challenge. Challenges are fine for their own sake, but it won't speed up my trip appreciably. I don't need to speed up, and the better places to camp aren't always 100 miles apart. I still plan to increase mileage until the coast. The sun stays up forever, and it's impossible to find enough places to goof around for long enough. I feel strong and athletic, and I'm happy.

Expense Report:
$2.80 - Coffee, chocholate milk.
Total: $2.80

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