May 23, 1999
|Woke up this morning to frost on the ground. When I
was ready to leave, Lori advised me to hop the fence and take I90. It was better
than the secondary road and has a wide shoulder. Lori helped me get my bike and
trailer over the fence then I was on my way. After riding 5 miles, I had my first
actual flat. The tire on the B.O.B. trailer had picked up some small pieces of steel
wire...this wheel rolls right in line with the other two and they didn't get a flat. The
Continental tires are a much harder compound rubber and I'm using those thorn resistant
tubes. Instead of repairing the holes I just replaced the tube and tried pumping it
up. Since I biked through a lot of rain, the grease was washed out of my Mt. Zefal
alloy pump, making it difficult to use. I got maybe 25psi in the tire and decided to
ride it like that until I reached the next town, where I might find an air hose.
Continuing the ride, the low tire gave me much more resistance than I'd expected, making me work harder. But the scenery was exceptional. Montana keeps getting better every day! Clinton was about 20 more miles of riding and when I got there I went into the only convenient store they had. After finding one of those pre-packaged, loaded with preservatives, bland tasting, microwaveable, sandwiches, I got a SOBE' tea and headed for the register. I inquired about an air hose and she told me it's been broke for about a year and that the guy fixing it is really slow about getting anything done. Outside, I decided to try the pump and possibly dig out my "Judy Butter" grease to re-lube the thing. A guy with long black hair and covered with tattoos noticed I had a problem. He immediately opened his trunk and gave me a can of Fix-A-Flat, then told me to just keep the whole can. I really didn't want to keep the rest of this stuff, just use enough to inflate my tire, but he was adamant that I keep it, so I thanked him.
I inflated the tire as much as the can would allow, and boy did that make a huge difference. I rode away with greater ease, that is until the interstate turned to grooved pavement. They are apparently re-paving the surface or something. They grooved it all the way to the edge of the shoulder. My arms began to itch from the vibration as I pedaled at 8mph to make it easier to tolerate. I tried singin' one of those dumb lyrics I made up, one that I made up on a desolate stretch of road. The secondary road was in sight but I would have to go over a barbed wire fence, up a small hill, and past the railroad tracks. Just as I was debating this, an exit was ahead! I continued riding, wondering if this secondary road would take me all the way to Missoula. The day was incredibly nice so I didn't let too much get to me. A green mountainous scenery with a very warm, bright sun, was too inviting.
As I approached a large gas station/store, I noticed a cyclist in my rear view mirror. I turned into the parking lot in search of an air hose to finish inflating the tire. The girl on the bike had stopped by the door as I went back to park my bike so I could ask inside about an air hose. Of course I had the usual difficulty finding a place to park my bike. I usually try to lean it against the wall but it was difficult to find sufficient space due to newspaper boxes and the ice box, so I leaned it against the curb. That is when I met Kristen, the other cyclist. She asked about my ride and told me that she was training for the American Lung Association bike ride from Seattle, WA to Washington DC. After a few moments of conversation, she invited me to stay with her and her roommates. Cool!!! I totally forgot about getting air in my tire and after I bought a Gatorade and we rode together into Missoula. What a neat town, cyclists everywhere. People are on bikes all over the place. This is a first for me since I started my ride. The bank sign read 84 degrees making it my hottest day since I left Florida.
Arriving at the house where Kristen lives with three roommates, She unlocked the garage so I could store my stuff inside. There were about 8 bikes hanging from the ceiling and several others throughout the garage. They also had a bike stand that could mount 2 bikes, one on each side, to work on them. What a cool set-up, a complete bike shop in the garage! I got a change of clothes out of my trailer and one of her roommates got home. Chris had been out on a bike ride and had stopped to fill his water bottles. He introduced himself with a mud spattered face and bike clothes. We talked for a couple of minutes then he was off to finish his ride. Inside the house I met another roommate, Teresa, and then made my way to the shower. After showering, Kristen and I rode to the store so we could buy some food for the pot-luck we were headed to. Then we stopped by Drew's place, her boyfriend, and the three of us rode to the cookout. What a cool town to ride in. There are bike paths, and trees line the streets everywhere providing shade from the warm, bright, sun.
When we arrived at the house it was difficult to find a place to put our bikes because all the trees and fence space was occupied by all the other bikes. Many people in this towns ride their bikes everywhere and come to find out, it is filled with mostly environmentally conscious people. Looking around at all the people, I was immediately reminded of the cookouts in the biology department at the university I attended. Birkenstocks, some tie dye, guys with long hair, everyone brought their dog, and mostly vegetarian dishes. It was very easy to talk to anyone there, so many friendly people. I met Don, Heather, and a couple others whose names escape me. The food was excellent and we sat on the ground talking about everything. Drew is going into a Masters program for GIS. It's ummmm, Graphical Interface Systems...I think. Something like that. He explained it and it sounded like a cool field to get into, it has to be better than healthcare! Kristen is finishing up her degree in biology and is still trying to decide what to do from there. It is pretty much a known fact that it's very difficult to do anything with a biology degree. Before PT school, I was a biology major and president of the Tau Gamma chapter of Tri-Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. Although I loved biology, I knew that a bachelors in biology was just a steeping stone to something else. This was so amazing, sitting in the grass shaded by trees and hangin' out with all these cool people. Just a few hours before I was contemplating a campground or looking for a hostel to stay in. This is what's cool about adventure with no plan or set structure, I just go and see what happens.
As the sun dropped further in the sky, we lost our shade, so Kristen, Drew, Heather, and I, walked to the side of the house blocked from the hot sun. Everyone decided to get a movie and go back to Kristen's to watch it. Drew had to go home first and Heather had to stay and clean up some since she lives there. Kristen and I rode to Hastings to rent a movie. The good movies that I hadn't seen, Kristen had seen. We started to get "The Apt Pupil" then looked around some more. I noticed "Holy Man" with Eddie Murphy. Both of us thought it had to be a good movie since Eddie Murphy was in it. So, we got that one and biked back.
Chris returned from his mountain biking excursion. He biked 100 miles! The mountains are so close that he just biked from the house up to the top of one mountain, passed by the house for a stop, then biked up another mountain past the other end of town and back. I had already heard about Chris' hardcore, extreme mountain biking, but I couldn't imagine 100 miles up and down two mountains with fat tires and low tire pressure. It would have to be like me biking 200 miles on the road. Anyway, Chris is a very good mountain biker and humble about it. When he gets done with a long ride where he went and how many miles he went. Chris is not the type to boast about his accomplishments. When he's not biking, he works full time with MRI imaging.
Drew was already there when Kristen and I returned then Heather arrived. Se we went to the living room in the basement and started the movie. The basement has two bedrooms, a full bath, and a living room. There are two bedrooms upstairs where Kristen and Teresa sleep and two downstairs where Chris and Jock sleep. The downstairs living room is where the only TV is so we sat there to watch the movie. I think we were all waiting for the good part, but the end of the movie seemed to come way too long. In a word, it Sucked! Of course, I think Kristen blames me for picking it out :-) By now it was late and everyone left...and I had a place to sleep in the downstairs living room.
Wind - Calm
Today - 53.15 miles