August 1

1 08 2009

Day 56:

Goodbye Montana!! I say with great enjoyment that we are no longer in Montana. North Dakota and Montana (except for the rockies) were the most PLAIN stretch of country I’ve ever seen. We were welcomed into Idaho with a more conservative speed limit (55mph) as opposed to Montana’s speed limit of 70mph. Today’s ride took us 70 miles from Libby the small town of Clark Fork, Idaho. There were a few hills but nothing we can’t handle. And of course we saw a few bikers including a man who is en route to Bar Harbour, Maine.

When we got into Clark Fort the nice people at the motel in town let us camp on their lawn and use the shower facilties. Thanks to Bob and Freda for the hospitality. We would of preferred to stay in the motel but it was full up. Thanks to those good folks! Tomorrow should take us 64 or so miles into New Port, WA, where we will look ahead to the Cascades.

It’s weird to think that our trip is almost complete…


July 31

1 08 2009

Day 55:

Spectacular. That is the only word to describe today’s ride. I am ahead of myself however as spectacular also describes the massive thunder and lightening storm we watched as we camped last evening (for free! ) at the Frontier Campground in Rexford, MT.

Shortly after settling in for the night the rain began in earnest and the show began. The sky was live for about 45 minutes. During the ensuing downpour, we heard the sounds of others setting up camp next door to us. In the morning we awoke to a little village of tents all around us.

After our camp breakfast (thanks to Linda, Leyton and Alex for the hot coffees) we started out for Libby under a brilliant sun in a cloudless sky. A short distance form the campground we crossed the Koocanusa Lake Bridge and traveled carless route 228 along the spectacular shoreline of the glacial blue lake. No cars also means there were no services on this route and our regular snack stops were absent today. As a result, the lack of both a substantial lunch and robust breakfast took their toll on our energy levels. There is no denying that today’s 70 miles were some of the most grueling of the trip but also among the most beautiful. We enjoyed our lunch on a high promontory overlooking the lake and an Osprey nest compete with 3 young and very noisy birds.

At the end of route 228 we stopped at the Libby Dam (this dam created the lake) and got some badly needed refreshments at the visitor center. The rangers on duty told us that we were just 3 and ¼ down hill miles from food at the River Bend Restaurant and Saloon. We all felt better after having a meal and realized once again what a small world it is as our server (Rita Ouellette) is originally from Dover, NH. This week we also met people from Concord and Epping.

We were about to start out on highway 37 for the 14 mile ride to Libby when a local mountain biker Damon suggested on alternate route. Thank you Damon. We enjoyed a carless ride on the shady side of the river to Libby and checked into the Venture Motel where we were rejuvenated by the hot tub.


July 30

1 08 2009

Day 54:

After a very enjoyable stay at the Pine Lodge in Whitefish, we woke fairly early and grabbed a quick breakfast and set off. The road was fairly rolling with still some nice downhills. At Olney, we had a nice snack at the local mercantile and then headed off in the direction of Eureka. With Fortine only 22 miles away, we decided that would be our lunch destination. The local bar/saloon/café was soon spotted, right on the golf course, which made for a nice spot for a few minutes in the shade after lunch. By then it was quite hot. Not sure if we should make Eureka our final destination (20 miles away) or go on to Rexford, we set off debating the pros and cons of each. Eureka had motels and Rexford had campgrounds. You know which way the boys were voting. I was of the mind to get a few extra miles in today so tomorrow would not be too long. I find I function best when the mileage is around 70 or less. Arriving in Eureka late in the afternoon, we called the two motels. Again, we were faced with a dilemma. One had wifi but no cots, the other had cots but no wifi. Also, the price was a bit steep. The only other consideration was the weather, which was calling for scattered thunderstorms possibly. Not fun if we camped. We grabbed some cold drinks while deciding what to do. Finally, we decided to go the extra 7 miles to Rexford and camp near the marina.

Just one mile down the road, we had a quick rain shower (the boys were not amused) but it quickly passed. Then, Jake who was behind me, shouted “flat tire”. I yelled to Brian and Zach and Maggie who were ahead of us but they did not hear. So, Jake called Zach on his phone and had a truck flag down Brian to tell him to come back and help fix the flat. In the meantime, Jake and I took his wheel off and waited. (Brian has the tools after all) The local sheriff stopped to make sure we were ok and then Brian and the others arrived back up a hill. The tire was changed in record time and off we went.

Of course, there was a big hill entering Rexford and we soon found ourselves at the Frontier RV Park. Brian entered the Bar and Grill and inquired where we should set up camp. The manager was not around, so the girls in the bar just told us to set up on a nearby grassy patch around the corner. We set up camp and headed over to the bar for a great dinner of chicken and salad. The bar also has a shower, so after dinner we took turns cleaning up. Pretty good set up for a bar. As I write this sitting in the tent, Brian and the kids are visiting with the people next to us in an airstream trailer. They are from Cranbrook, BC. I saw several other BC plates in the park. Lots of stories being told.

Tomorrow, we head off to Libby where Brian has already booked us into a nice motel, complete with pool and hot tub. Should only have 60 miles tomorrow so we’ll hope the rain doesn’t continue into the day. Time for sleep.