Did 17 miles today. Went from the Trading Post campground in Swan Lake to the free Forest Site on Fatty Creek Road.
Got going late today. Woke at 9:30. Paid for my campsite last night at 11 this morning — the people were really surprised I came in and paid.
Meet John one of the Adventure Cycling subcontractors right as I got onto the route. He was cleaning up the route flags for a tour they have running this week, and invited me to the lunch stand that was 5 miles up the trail. Told me if I didn’t take too long it would still be there. As the trail would have it, the route was all down hill from there. Right when I arrived, I helped them find a brake pad retaining spring for Don’s bike; instead of on the ground it was hanging in the chain. They told me I earned a second sandwich for finding it. I got a laugh out of it since something similar happened to me up in Canada. Sat and talked a bit about the trail, their jobs, and my bike while eating a watermelon. Told them I hadn’t had a flat yet. Helped them take down the awning, since it needed 4 people. Truck drove off, John biked off after telling me I could get dinner 30 miles up if I got there by 6:30.
Biked a bit up a rocky hill, then into some pines with a squishy road of pine needles. All of a sudden it became too squishy. I have my first flat tire of the trip. Any slim remote chance of making it to Condon to get free food just flew out the window. Did the usual routine of taking all the gear off and flipping my bike over to remove the wheel. Got the tube out and aired up some and found the whole was caused by the rim and my silliness. I left one round of tubeless tape in there and it wasn’t installed flat, so the tape caused the flat. Took 900 pumps to seat and fill the tire up. I’ve got a better rythm of holding the pump base in my left hand and the handle in my right. Quicker and takes less energy, but I still had to rest for a minute between each 100.
A big intermediary goal for today was to get to the Condon convenience store because I had heard from some North bound riders that there was a gas station there also. Gas stations normally have Heet alcohol needed for my stove. 4:00 came around and I was still 20 miles away and there was a campsite to the left. I have no idea the store’s hours. Decided the smart thing to do was call it a day. Visit the store(s) in the morning.
What that decision meant was more cold food tonight. Anne was at the camp and offered her stove up, but she is running low on fuel also. I’m not about to use her fuel when my brain is the one who spaced out up in Columbia Falls. Ended up eating raisin oatmeal first. Then I was curious how a cheddar broccoli Knorr meal would taste not cooked. The stuff really needs more than an hour of soak time. The rice hydrated in probably 20 minutes, but the little noodles took much longer.
Not sure my route tomorrow. Currently considering Holland Lake. I hear that it is really scenic.
Looked at the maps here before shutting my eyes. Encourage that the huge elevation climbs go away after Montana and stay gone till Colorado. Was getting a bit discouraged, but checking the future maps has helped my outlook on getting this route done. Read about a long rail trail with a lot of squishy volcanic ash and I’m looking forward to biking it with my fat bike. Still haven’t done any proper sand riding and this rail trail sounds like a good and proper test of my bike. Further down the GDMBR, I’ll probably ride the paved alternate routes in New Mexico to avoid rain delays; suggested to take them if down in that section in late summer like I’ll be. Also noticed the 150+ mile sections with no food options throughout all the maps. Maybe I’ll become superhuman like the Divide racers and cover that in a day. Then I won’t need to worry about how many days of food to purchase.