Thursday morning was bittersweet. On one hand, we’d be moving onto our third state in two weeks which was exciting. On the other, we had to leave the majestic garden of eden known as the Wagonhammer. To make matters worse, I realized Thursday night in Montana I had left my amazing, flower and silk bodywash in the shower back in Idaho. It was kind of tragic - it was my guilty pleasure after long hard days on the road. Oh well, less to carry.
We jumped back on 93 north right outside the Wagonhammer and started a climb that lasted 27 miles. Matt had his Wheaties that morning and was climbing strong.
It was a serious quad-burner with switchbacks as far as the eye could see. It was the kind of climb you have to put a jacket on for, not take it off, because it goes so high. After somewhere around 3500 feet of climbing we reached the top: Lost Trail Pass at 7014 feet. Hooray!
The visitor center at the top was nice. We got free Montana maps and lots of info about the road, and construction, ahead. Sounded like the road ahead might be interesting. We also got more proof the Pacific Northwest had a brutal winter: the pass had 19 feet of snow over the winter.
We mellowed out in the sun for a while. I had the unfortunate luck of putting my bike right above the sprinkler system they were testing out, so my food bag got a nice shower. Matt and Dan realized the Continental Divide was close, so they made a little half-mile detour to the sign up Chief Joseph Pass to experience the magic of watersheds.
The descent into Montana was a screamer. On the way we met another cyclist climbing with what had to be 200 pounds of gear in a massive trailer. I wish I was exaggerating. He was stopped for a smoke break (yep) when we met him. The conversation started out pretty normally, but before long he was talking about republicrats and nuking the US, not to mention the two times he’d been hit by cars on his bike and his 10 years in the military blowing things up. Definitely an interesting fellow.
The rest of the ride was pretty quick. The road in Montana is better - more shoulder and we seem to be getting a wider berth from cars (no offense Matt to your home state). We had a late lunch in Darby, a surprisingly cool little town, and push onward. We decided to spend the night in Hamilton, Montana at a little campground called the Angler’s Roost. It had great owners and we were happy to have showers (even without bodywash).
We finished the night laying in the grass, Matt on his various electronic gadgets scheming routes , Dan reading philosophy to workout his mind after working out his body, and me groaning, rubbing my legs and drinking Tang fantasizing about driving a car. All in all a tough day with the climb, but we still wouldn’t trade it for anything else this summer. Canada here we come.