July 18th, Lewis & Clarke Route East, Day 1

Camping tonight at 5,600 ft elevation near Roger’s Pass. Hopefully it won’t get to -70F as it happened in the winter of 1954 at a mining camp near here.

Got up at 7, but unexpectedly I didn’t leave till 10. The main delay was losing my bike lock key set. I locked the bike Thursday night and didn’t put the keys where I always do — or I did and they fell out, since I remember finding that zipper open. After emptying all my bags, checking all the pockets, looking on the floor of the teepee, under the picnic tables I was minutes from going to the mechanic and asking if there was a bolt cutter around. Decided to look under the picnic tables one last time, and I found the keys partially under the leaves of a weed growing in the gravel.

The Lewis and Clarke alternate route heads east out of Ovando on highway 200. This really is not a good road for bikes traveling east the road is twisty with a river off to the right. Guardrails placed 2 feet from the white fog line are all over between Ovando and Lincoln. West bounders only have the 2ft wide shoulder to worry about. 200 has wider shoulders after Lincoln.

What I missed yesterday when planning miles is that there was a mountain pass I needed to climb. The grade wasn’t too steep, and the gain was about 1,000ft. I actually felt like I had the road to myself because 9 miles are under construction with guards at both ends holding up traffic till the pace trucks gets back to lead the next group. 5 to 10 vehicles would go buy every 15 minutes. Awesome to have a whole lane to myself and the traffic forced to go slow do to the pace truck.

For a bit in Lincoln I thought I was going to stay there. Right outside the campground I decided I didn’t want to stop with the daily mileage at 28. That is just too low. I crossed a rangers station that was open and went in and asked about campgrounds. She said there weren’t any in the 20 to 30 mile range, but there was a dirt road at the top of the pass that would likely have somewhere to put a tent. I said, “I didn’t realize there was a pass.” Makes complete sense that I would need to cross the divide one last time, since I was on the west side.

My tent is set up next to a small trickling streem winding down a tight nook. Has its own micro climate. Cooler and higher humidity causing green moss to grow on all the trees. My tent is set just outside of the cooler area. I moved my bike further away so it would have less dew on it in the morning.

Dinner was an apple, spaghetti “circles” in a can, Knorr with half an onion cut in it. Dessert was an apple pie pastry.

Tomorrow I have a sizeable descent for around 6 miles. I’m currently planning on heading straight to Great Falls for a bit more than 70miles. May end up being my longest day this summer. Hopefully I can find a laundromat and showers. I’d like to get my clothes cleaned and me cleaned fully.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *