July 17th, Ovando Rest Day

Today was not about putting on miles. It was about seeing what bike routes went East and resting the body for a day.

I’m definitely headed East. Very tough decision. There are a lot of like minded friendly people biking the Great Divide route and I’m sad to leave the group.

Meet Anne P. today for the last time. We’ve been crossing paths the last week. She went on to Huckleberry pass this afternoon after buying me a soda at the cafe. She has done a handful of long distance touring and is a bit of an inspiration.

I’ll be taking the Lewis and Clarke trail to Dickinson, North Dakota. Depending on when I arrive there, I’ll ride the Maah Daah Hey trail, which is for sure a 5 day commitment if I don’t use a shuttle. Then I’ll jump onto the Northern Tier over to Fargo. From Fargo I’ll take my own route South preferring to take as many rail trails as possible.

A cool thing that happened today is that Kathy from The Angler store found me a scale to weigh myself. The gentleman over at the tire shop across mainstreet had one. I’ve lost nearly a pound a day. That is inline with my past bike tours. Now to keep biking for many more days.

July 16th, GDMBR South, Day 15

Today I biked 46 miles from Seeley Lake to Ovando. Staying in a teepee for $5 that the town has setup. Kind of a novel whimsical way to end a metally down day. Was greeted by Skip upon arriving. I think he has made it his job to great all us bikers and talk awhile.

The last handful of days I’ve not been my happy cheery self. Act it, but not feeling it inside.  I feel it gets down to the fact that the novelty of climbing multiple thousand foot passes while being overweight has now worn off after 25 days.

The weight is definitely coming off. I have a rollup sewing measuring strip, and I’m down a handful of inches on my chest, belly and waste. Meet two guys, Cam and Christian, in Ovando tonight that I saw 18 days ago in the provincial park and their first comment was, “You’ve lost a lot of weight.”  In Eureka I took a shower at the motel and when I looked in the mirror I thought it was bowed making me look thinner.  I’m sure the mirror was flat and not a fun house one.  I’m super happy I’m losing this weight.

Losing weight is my main goal this summer. I want to get down to a healthy “pinch an inch” weight and reduce my chance of developing diabetes or other costly medical problems. Biking the Great Divide and part of the Northern Tier before has been a means to accomplish my weightless goal.  The named dirt or paved route I take is not important. The only thing that is important is that I keep biking, and on days that I don’t bike I eat very conscientiously.

The Great Divide has more than proven to me to be a super route. Great sights to see, wonderful towns, giant mountains free campsites everywhere, friendly people all over. There is no doubt that I want to bike the whole thing.  Today I feel that this year is not the year I’ll be completing the route. As I mentioned above, my added weight is dragging me down and making this particular route no fun. I’m not sure of the specific route options near me, but I’d like to take the
nearest paved biking route that heads east.  Tomorrow, Friday, I should be able to check routes, download GPS data and make a plan.

This decision is tough, but after mulling it over for a week, I’m nearly 100% ready to leave the route on Saturday.  Tomorrow I’m taking a rest day after 8 days of biking. My attitude may change, but not likely.

Today’s route was alright.  Was 30ish miles through the lower hills. Views were the best near Ovando, especially since I was biking it later in the day and the sun light is a better color. The morning was very dark with storm clouds everywhere. Thought I would get poored on, but only a few sprinkles. Racked up some extra miles because I found a big sign saying the forest road was closed, so I biked back into town with the plan to do 83 to 200 then found out there is no shoulder on 83, so headed back to the dirt road to chance it. The huge bulldozer let me pass.

Checking out the cafe in the morning.  Planning on pancakes. Then some stretching sessions with a few doses of wifi.

July 15th, GDMBR South, Day 14

Today was simply awesome. From Holland Lake up and around Richmond Peak then ending at a dispersed site 5 miles from Seeley Lake next to Morrell Creek. 26 miles total today.

Reminded me of the really scenic rides in the Canadian wilderness. Long ride up with great views all around then awesome potentially dangerous ride down with more great views that one can’t look at because you’re looking down at the path.

Had about 15 mile climb on good roads. Just rideable for me. Had to stop and walk for a bit because I was just exhausted. On these long climbs walking is the break period. Need to keep moving in some manner. I reached what looked like the top. Junction of 4 roads with a great view into the valleys.

From this junction I got onto a closed road barricaded by rocks. This closed road climbed more for about 2 miles and was old and washed out. Only could walk on the valley edge. Exciting and nerve wracking. I’m not afraid of heights, but was making sure to pay very close attention to the rocks and my footing when pushing my bike. There was one 30 foot section where 3/4 of the road slid down the cliff.

Eventually I rounded the mountain and began a great downhill on another very old road. Pine trees were growing in the middle between the car treads. This section was much longer than I was anticipating. Most of it was very tight and there were branches brushing both sides of me. Plenty of thrills on this downhill. Straight drops down into the valley, track that severely slopes to the side down the hill. I needed to walk a few sections. There was even a section that barely had room for me and the bike to walk. The track opened up a bit and I read treated to a bunch of drainage moguls made to help the water go downhill. Quick dip down then back up. Kind of fun, but got old after the 5th one.

Ending the night at a dispersed site by a stream. Other people have used this in the past. 10:15 now and I’m finishing up eating a bunch of oatmeal. Getting dark. Need to go get a flash light to clean up and hang my food bag. Wanted to cook some red lentils and Ramen also, but not enough time. This gigantic thing of oatmeal should do me ok for calories.

Starting to see my breath, so the temperature is dropping. Overall today was cool. Felt like a jacket was needed on the downhill run when in the shade. Actually on the uphill also. Certainly warmest right when I left camp at 12, then steadily dropped.

Headed for Ovando tomorrow. Depending on the timing I may push to get closer to Huckleberry pass.

July 14th GDMBR South, Day 13

Today I biked 46 miles from Fatty Creek to the Holland Lake Forrest Service campsite.

I’m thoroughly worn out today. So much climbing. It was at a grade that I could bike it, but chugging along for that long and far is very tiresom.

Took a side detour to the Condon Mercantile to look for Heet alcohol for my stove. Glad to report they had a whole rack of it. I considered buying two twelve ounce bottles, but decided that would be overreacting. I bought a 5oz mixed lettuce package and some mixed frozen fruit and ate those for lunch sitting out front of the store. Try and get something healthy when I can.

Noticed that there was only about 4 tire tracks from Cold Creek heading south to the junction of highway 83. Rained last night wiping the slate clean, so those tracks were from today. What this means is that the 30 member Adventure Cycling group skipped this section. They camped in Condon last night and must not have wanted to back track north a handful of miles. I could have done similar, but the purest in me says I need to do the entire route sticking to the main or alternates. If I go off route for something I need to return to that point later.

I’m sitting here at 10:50pm cooking dinner as I write this. Think I got into camp at 9:45. Dinner is a pot of sweat onion, red lentils and a Cheddar Broccoli Knorr. I kind of sautéed the onion for 10 minutes, not expecting it to be fully soft. Then I added the water and other ingredients. I’d rather be sleeping, but I also really need to eat something that isn’t granola bars, almonds or raisins. Guess I won’t be waking till 8, so that I can get a full nights rest.

The trail tomorrow looks hard. 2500ft elevation gain up to Richmond Peak. The unknown is what the true climbing total is because the trail is always rolling. Looking at the topographic map on phone I noticed a 1000ft gain in 3/4 mile. I might be reading it wrong, but for sure I’ll be pushing my bike for awhile. Planning on making it the 35 miles to Seeley Lake. Any more is probably unrealistic since I’ll be leaving at 9:30, and I want to pick up food there also.

Well dinner tastes great. Need to go get on some warm pants and gloves, so I can finish reading this pot of food. Chilly this evening.