Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Onto the grass lands of Montana

Yesterday we spent the night in Babb in a hotel associated with a pretty cool general store. The store was your typical old store with creaking floors and an inventory that covered a wide range of goods. The owner was very cheerful and helpful in answering our many questions about the area. It is again an example of one of those places I would normally just drive by but on a bicycle...


Today we left Babb, Montana and instead of looping north into Canada we took an alternate road south (464) to Browning and onto 2 East. We are pretty much mountained out and are anxious to begin piling up miles heading east. The mountains are now a thing of past for us - however beautiful they are. Instead we are experiencing the beginnings of grass lands. The land is generally flat with some gentle rolling - perfect for the tandem so we are hoping to pile the miles on and get into Minnesota. Surprisingly we have found ourselves longing for the mix of soft and hardwood forests that seemed not to exist in the NW.

The mountains are getting smaller

There was a fire that broke out along the road just north of Browning - no more than 30 minutes after we passed through. There have been several times on this trip that we have felt a guardian angel watching over us. Thank you to those who are praying for us.

We are now in Shelby, Montana which is a cross roads town with no trees but lots of wide open country. It was a little cooler today - high in the mid 80's. However there were no clouds and by 3pm we had had enough sun.

Miles today = 93

Total miles = 1137


Monday, June 29, 2015

Continental Divide

Today we climbed. About 3,500 feet up the Going To The Sun road over Logan Pass at 6,664 feet. The climb was long, but the scenery spectacular. We are now east of the Continental divide. All downhill from here. right?

View from Going to the Sun road

Sal & Debbie did show up at Avalanche Campground later in the evening last night. So the four of us climbed Logan Pass together. It took us 2 hours 50 minutes to ride the 16 miles to the top. Just a nice slow grind - slow and steady. The road itself is an engineering marvel cut into the side of cliffs as it slowly climbs its way up.

Now we are in Babb, Montana which is located just east of Glacier NP. The large jagged mountains are now replaced by much smaller rolling hills.

Miles today = 43

Total miles = 1,044


Sunday, June 28, 2015

More Adjustments

We have reservations for a cabin at the West Glacier KOA for tonight and tomorrow night however we covered the 28 miles to the KOA by 8 o'clock this morning. There was no way we could stop that early and so we pressed on to Glacier Park and made it to Avalanche Campground before the 11 o'clock cut off at which time all bicycles need to be off the road. The rule is that bicycles are not allowed on large sections of the West Side Going To The Sun Road between 11AM and 4PM. So tomorrow we will be on the road at the crack of dawn to cover the remaining 16 miles to Logan Pass before 11AM. We will gain about 3,000 ft in elevation. Shouldn't be a problem and the air will be nice and cool in the early morning. Meanwhile our campsite is very beautiful with views of towering mountain peaks all around us.

Avalanche campsite

We were hoping to see our fellow riders Sal and Debbie who we met and enjoyed while we were in Whitefish. Unfortunately we do not see them here. More than biking we share a love for Golden Retrievers. Both of our Goldens loved to dive for rocks.

Sal and Debbie

We enjoyed a hike up to Avalanche Lake this afternoon. God's majesty is evident everywhere we look. It is absolutely breathtaking.

Avalanche Lake

When we got back to our campsite it was HOT! Forecasts were for a high of 104 deg F and I believe it reached it. We were both very sleepy and so we laid down for a nap - two and a half hours went by very quickly!

We changed our rear tire today - first one. It lasted basically 1,000 miles. Not bad for the rear tire of a loaded tandem.

We are both beginning to feel stronge and really good on the bike. The human body continues to amaze us in how it adapts and responds to things like this ride. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).

Miles today = 47

Total miles = 1,001



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Plans adjusted and firmed up

Last night we tried to reserve a tour for Monday through Glacier NP via the red buses. Unfortunately they were all booked and the free shuttles in Glacier don't start until July 1st. So we shifted gears and rented a car today and spent the day as a tourist checking out the beautiful mountains of Glacier. The Going To The Sun road climbing to Logan pass looks good (and beautiful). Having done today what we were planning to do on Monday, we are now planning to pedal into Glacier on Monday and stay at Avalanche Campground that night. Then we will be in a great position to crank over Logan pass on Tuesday - one day earlier than originally thought.

The drive through Glacier today was stunning.


Friday, June 26, 2015


Today we rode to Whitefish, Montana. Most of the ride was along route 93 with a 14 mile repreave along rolling back country roads just before arriving in Whitefish. There were beautiful ranches with large ornate iron gates blocking their long driveways. The countryside continues to be beautiful.

The weather continues hot. We are so surprised that this far north and this high up (reached 3,000 ft today) can be so hot. We were up at 5 and on the road by 6:30 in order to get off the road early.

Today's weather forecast

Whitefish is an iconically western town with a decidedly "western" atmosphere. It's a nice town with interesting shops, restaurants, and friendly people. It will be a great place to spend a hot day off the road. We have also been introduced to huckleberries - berries that the locals claim only grow in the Northwest and in the wild. They remind us of wild blueberries except that they are a little larger. We enjoyed huckleberries in ice cream, smoothies, and pie. All very good!

Oh! We have both enjoyed our very own bathroom with bath tub and shower. Finally we are back in civilization.

Miles today = 39

Total miles = 954


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dickey Lake

We got another early start today - 6:30 and were greeted by the call of loons as we climbed up the highway. Later as we were riding a road that traversed a cliff we saw a young moose running down the road toward us with a logging truck following slowly behind. With nowhere else to go the moose continued along the road toward us but thankfully passed by safely. For just a moment we weren't sure where the moose was going or what if anything we should do. We continued riding past Lake Koocanusa to Eureka where we had a great breakfast. Then onward through some beautiful ranch land. It's interesting how quickly this land changes. We also intersected with the Great Divide Mountain Bike route.

We finished the day at North Dickey Lake campground - another USFS campground. The campground has a great beach and the water feels great. An interesting thing occurred because these camp grounds don't have showers. After 3 days of riding without a shower my thought for just a second after diving into the water was one of surprise as to how salty the water tasted. Tomorrow we will be in White Fish Montana where we will be staying at a hotel for 2 nights - then we will get proper showers.

The forecast continues to predict temperatures in the 100s for this weekend so our plans are to lay low and be tourists in the Glacier National Park area. We will be in White Fish for two nights followed by two nights in West Glacier. We continue hearing reports that Glacier is already very crowded this year so the plan as we play tourist will be to ascertain the advisability of riding the Going to the Sun road (traffic wise). If we don't we will head east over Maria's Pass. Once past the mountains we suspect faster travel - there are just to many beautiful placing here to stop on visit.

Miles today = 48

Total miles = 915


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rocky Gorge Montana

What a fabulous day today was. It will go into our memory as one of the best rides we've had. We started in Libby and road basically north on Old Haul Road to 37 along Lake Koocanusa. There was virtually no traffic and amazing scenery. Many of the lakes here are turquoise in color and Lake Koocanusa is no exception. We quit early as we are positioning ourselves to be at Glacier not on the weekend. We are at Rocky Gorge campground - a USFS campsite. It's rather primitive with no showers or electricity. But it's beautiful and very quiet. Bears can be an issue so we are storing our gear in a "bear box" for the night. There is also zero cell phone reception so we are glad to have our gps tracker / satellite communicator.


There is only one other camper here. Turns out he is an uncle of one of Marcia's former students and knows the Turner Maine area well. Small world!

We are feeling much stronger and are looking forward to Glacier and beyond.

Miles today = 43

Total miles = 867


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On to Libby

It's getting hot again! Sunny and in the 80s with forecast for the mid 90s by the weekend. Neither Marcia or I handle heat well so we will be hitting the road early and quitting early. The next several days will be low mileage anyway because we have reservations for a cabin in West Glacier for Sunday and Monday nights. That gives us 5 days to go roughly 170 miles. Western Montana is so beautiful that it will be good to spend some down time to enjoy it. Today we traveled route 56 north to route 2 east and find ourselves in Libby, Montana. The riding was wonderful.

Miles today = 50

Total miles = 824

Marcia making friends



Monday, June 22, 2015

Hello Montana

We've set up camp at Two Rivers RV Park in Noxon, Montana. Yes, we've entered another state leaving Idaho behind us - and we have entered another time zone putting us only 2 hours behind our east coast time of home. Two Rivers RV Park is a 4 star affair. They cater to the cyclist and do a great job of it. Dave Fuller road with us on mountain bike for 55.5 miles only to jump into the Cabinet Gorge Reservoir and turn around and pedal back to his camp. 5 years ago he and his son Evan road their bicycles cross country and jumped into the same river at the same place. We road primarily on route 200 from Sandpoint and were delighted with each turn in the road with views of lakes and mountains.

Miles today = 58

Miles total = 774

Dave & Steve
Dave taking the plunge before turning back



Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers Day

Today was a great day spent with Dave & Tammy Fuller at their camp on Lake Pend Oreille. They were unbelievable hosts. It was fabulous spending time with them and their wonderful dog Arwin.



Saturday, June 20, 2015

A very long 7 miles

We are now in Idaho! It's such a beautiful state. Especially where we are for the next two nights (yes - one more day off before saying goodbye to Steve's cousin Dave). Dave road his bike with us to his camp on Lake Pend Oreille. It's an amazing lake that we are really looking forward to checking out tomorrow. It was a great day with cooler temps, clear skies, and gently rolling hills.

The toughest part of the day was the final 12 miles which we originally thought was 7 miles. That was a very long "7" miles of winding back roads along the shore of Lake Pend Orieille. We were just not mentally ready for the extra miles at the end of the day.

Miles today = 92

Total miles = 716

Lunch in Newport
Entering Idaho
Dave and Marcia on the bridge from Sandpoint



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stronger than you think

I listened to a great presentation by Joyce Meyer.One of her key points was how Americans are so addicted to comfort. I strongly agree especially as we bike in the heat over the mountains. What I think about is that I am uncomfortable by choice. I think of Pastor Saeed and others that are being held captives in very uncomfortable situations for the cause of Christ and I pray for them.

I also think of the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh when he said "You are stronger than you think and braver than you know". That is very true for me as we journey. We can feel your prayers and are so very thankful.




Wednesday, June 17, 2015


We've arrived in Spokane. The day was the most comfortable yet - maybe 80 degrees with a dry cool breeze. We covered the 53 miles in 5 hours and felt strong at the end. We continue to see the land transition from brown to green and are hopeful that we may have several days ahead with cooler temps and lush forests. We also hit our first dirt roads today. It was the result of our attempt to bypass a really big hill with traffic and no shoulder that we hit when we road out here 8 years ago. The attempt was successful and the couple miles of dirt was well worth it.

Green rolling hills for lots of ups and downs
Our first dirt road in rout to Spokane

We will spend the next couple days visiting Steve's cousins in Spokane.

Miles today = 53

Total miles = 624


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rolling Hills

We began our day with a 7 mile climb and we are now in Steptoe, Wa. We're staying at an RV campground that is nothing more than a wide spot in the road and certainly not well cared for. Describing the condition of the shower would not be for anyone who is squeamish to read. But, once again we are content sitting in the cool shade.

Overall we gained 1600 ft of elevation today. We would climb one hill only to go back down not quite as far. We climbed 2900 ft and descended 1300 ft. Has to happen if we're ever going to go over the continental divide.

Food continues to be a mystery to us as we figure out exactly what it is that our bodies are craving. So far it can be summarized as more salt the better, high sugar and carbohydrates, Bear Claws, milk and oh yes - today I rediscovered Orange Slices (the candy - fat free).

If you should ever happen to find yourself in Dusty, WA you should stop in at the Dusty Country Store. It's a great place offering everything from food to quilts. Today was our second time because we stopped there 8 years ago when we pedaled through on a different ride.


On bicycle we experience the land in wonderous ways - sight, smell, feel of the breeze, every incline (up & down). Every day has been an experience of discovery and today was no exception. The land continues to get greener and today it rolled in a way that reminded us of a plateau cut in several places by streams and rivers. Thus all the ups and downs we experienced today.

Miles today = 47

Total miles = 571


Monday, June 15, 2015

Learning to be content


This morning Marcia and I read Psalm 121. It is so appropriate to how we feel and what we're doing.


Today we traveled from Walla Walla to Deadman Creek Outfitters at Central Ferry Washington. We've found on previous rides that many restaurants have closed making it difficult to eat at any regular interval. Today was no exception and we pedaled 30 miles to Dodge where we finally found a suitable fine dinning establishment.

Another fine dinning experience

After breakfast we finally connected with another touring cyclist who we had been leap frogging but not connecting throughout the morning. It seems that no matter what you do, you can always find someone else doing the same and a bit more. His name is Jeff Skinner who started in Alaska and is on his way home to Florida. You can find him on "Crazy guys on a bike" and search for his name.

Jeff Skinner bike tourist extraordinaire

Deadman Creek Outfitters has a comfortable place for our tent and provides hot showers. We'll soon be cooking supper consisting of a one pot meal of rice, broccoli, cheese and pepperoni. What more can a person want?

The countryside is a bit greener now with a few trees consisting of several wheat fields. We could smell the grain as we pedaled and it reminded me of an old barn filled with hay. It was great.

Miles today = 65

Total miles 524