Tuesday, June 21, 2016

59: Adventurous Cyclists!

Ice cream at Adventure Cycling
Today before we left Missoula we had to make a trip to the Mecca for bicycle tourists: the Adventure Cycling headquarters. It was actually kind of fun to get a tour of their facility, peruse the many maps, look at the photos on the wall from the founders' early trips, and of course have our ice cream.

Because we are not following a specific route, but rather making up our paths as we go from destination to destination, we have a lot of options. We have spent the last couple of days trying to narrow those down so that we could purchase the adventure cycling maps that would help us on the various segments of our trip.

We left there full of enthusiasm for the next couple of months, and armed with a dozen maps to guide our way. If they have a prize for the tourists using the most maps, we certainly should be in the running!

We have ridden along the Blackfoot River for most of the day. We found a sweet little campground next to the river where we are spending the night.  It was $12 for a non-Montana resident without fishing license. Alternately, you could book a private house at the "Paws Up Ranch" just down the river for a cool $3,500 a night.  Your choice.
Blackfoot River

Dinner at the campground was one of our staples: Kraft mac and cheese. You may remember it as the gloopy orange stuff you loved as a child, and I'm here to report that it really hasn't changed! But, sometimes a calorie is just a calorie. And so you eat Kraft mac and cheese - because you can!

Along our route we rode past some fabulous ranches in the valley. There are some really lovely places out here. I am thinking perhaps some of the hamburgers that I have enjoyed lately may have come from cows that hung out in these meadows.
Beautiful ranchland in the valley

There's probably still three or four hours of sun light, but we are headed down. The weather is warm, not anything like the heat we're having back home, but warm enough that we'd like to get the worst part of our climb tomorrow over with before we it gets too hot. So an early start means an early bedtime, even if the sun is still out.

In the next few days we are bound for Billings, Montana. There we will meet our friends Gary and Joanne Goble. They are interested in riding along for a portion of our trip, so they will meet us there and we will do some riding together in Wyoming and South Dakota before they head back home. I'm very excited about our reunion with our friends from Colorado who also ride a tandem.

A little postscript from the day: When I got up in the night, I thought, "oh darn! We managed to position the tent so that the camp's one light is shining in." But once I got out of the tent, I found out it was the moon - splendidly bright and almost full, filling the night sky with light so I did not need my head lamp to find the potty.  Blessings, indeed!

The day's report:  Missoula to Russell Gates Memorial Campground, 42.8 miles/2783 to date

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