What a day. Trucks were pulling out of the gas station next door before dawn. Roy slept through it. Here's a view from our window after we got up.
Breakfast at Mel's Cafe was delicious but more leisurely than we'd hoped. After we packed up, we went less than the distance of the front porch before Roy had to fix two flats on his rear wheel. The first was a failure of a patch earlier in the trip; the second was an abrasion on a new tube.
It was a little after 9 before we set off. Fortunately, it was cool and overcast and we had a tail wind for the first 20 miles.
The mountains were all around us, but there wasn't much else until we passed a Hutterite colony.
Notice the communal living quarters. The man on the tractor spoke to us and opined that we had a good, cool day for a ride.
When we rejoined MT Route 200, the hills started to get interesting. One descent was so steep, I told Roy I would rather climb it twice than descend it again. For my complaint, the wind turned on us. Soon, it was a struggle to hit 20 on a downhill.
Before we could ascend Rogers Pass, we had to cross the Dearborn River.
Climbing to Rogers Pass was anticlimactic. We took great pains to stay hydrated and nourished, having a snack just before we started the ascent. It was a grind, but it wasn't difficult. Keeping up with Jenn on an Arlington Hill Ride is harder.
We had been warned about the narrow shoulders and the traffic. But there was a shoulder and the traffic came in clumps. If it sounded like large trucks, I took to stopping on the side of the road as they went past, especially if cars were coming the other way. So there were no real issues.
When we got to the top a man in a pickup pulled over and offered to take our picture. He gave us all sorts of encouragement about the route ahead. So we felt very optimistic.
Just below the Pass, Roy noticed a man cleaning his lawnmower with a hose. Even though we had plenty of water for the last 18 miles or so, he decided to ask him to fill up our empty bottles. (We now have 11 bottles between us for days like today when there are no conveniences on our route.). The man said that truckers stop and ask him for water all the time. He said we would encounter a lot of gravel trucks for the next 3 miles because of a dam repair project. He was right.
The western side of the mountains is more forested and there are a lot of hiking trail access points. We had a snack by one of them.
As we were approaching Lincoln, a sign said we had to see the grizzly bear. Indeed, eight years ago this bear was killed by a pickup. Lincoln won the political dispute over the location of his stuffed remains.
Lincoln is a very touristy town catering to hunters, fishers, and bikers (the motorized kind). There are at least 4 motels and as many restaurant/bar/casinos.
We are staying at The Three Bears, but its theme is more about hunting than Goldilocks.
Tomorrow is 80 miles to Missoula. It's supposed to be mostly downhill. Let's hope that's true.