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Friday, June 29, 2007
Missoula to Townsend...what the heck is going on with this stupid website?

Hey everyone! I am writing from Townsend once again to put this entry (which I wrote yesterday) back onto the website. This website is generally obnoxious, and it seems to have removed everything I wrote. Luckily, it was in the archives. What the heck? It has made us wrestle with ten computers to let us upload pictures, too. Bleh!
Anyway, today (Friday, June 29th) we woke up in a park shelter in Townsend and decided to take a rest day so that Karen's achilles tendon could get a rest. It has been a little ornery since going up MacDonald Pass the other day. We'll be back on the road tomorrow and Martinsdale bound.

Missoula to Townsend
Hello Everyone!
I did, in fact, rejoin my dear biking buddies in Lowell, Idaho after a five and a half hour car ride (they made some good time!) It is now four days later, and we have a wopper of an update to do, so I will tell you about our ride from Missoula to Ovando to the Continental Divide to Townsend, Montana.

Missoula to Ovando
Karen, MinWah and I woke up in Geraldine's back yard, ate oatmeal and Kendar's delicious unicorn poop (colored sprinkles) cookies and head out of town. We spent a good portion of the day riding next to the Blackfoot River, surrounded by beautiful mountainous, rocky scenery, and oodles of adorable baby farm creatures prancing in their spacious pastures. When we rode into Clearwater Junction, (not on the map, but bigger than many towns that were) Karen got an ice cream cone to celebrate her first 100 miles. MinWah and I will hit ours in about 200 miles. We hopped back on our trusty steeds headed towards Ovando, where we said we would meet to decide whether to continue on, or stop for the night. As usual, I fell behind the other two, stopping to take pictures, taking my time up the hills, and getting a bee out of my sandal (after it stung me). I wasn't expecting to see them until Ovando, but to my suprise, I soon spotted them on the side of the road apparently talking to two other bicycle tourists. Although I had imagined this meeting exactly as it really happened, I was still shocked when I pulled up, and those two bikers were Alouitious and Erin themselves. I lived with Alan last year in Madison, and we had joked about meeting up on the road during our bike trips...I didn't really believe it would happen as it did. We took pictures, I gave them some leftover cookies from GB's party, and we continued on to Ovando.
The kind people of Ovando didn't bat an eye when MinWah walked into the general store and asked if there was a place we could pitch our tent for the night. The pointed us to the yard next to the Museum, told us where we could get water, and said there was a port-a-potty out back that was there for travelers such as ourselves. We settled in quickly, despite the vicious mosquitos. One of the volunteers who runs the museum stopped by a little later to prepare the displays for Ovando's enormous Fourth of July celebration, and asked us if we would like to come in and look around. I have never been one for museums, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. There was a display of around twenty different kinds of barbed wire, bunches of pictures of Trixie, Ovando's famous lasso-er in her prime, and lots of scrapbooks of the Blackfoot River 4-H club and the Cowbelles, a women's beef advocacy group. I never considered how much there was to know about beef. The museum had a true ranch country feeling that was exotic and interesting to a midwest dairy-farm-country girl. We had Mommy Welling's famous pasta sauce with our spaghetti, and as we were cleaning up one of the museum's neighbor's, Shawn, stopped by to chat. He leads backcountry horseback riding trips, fishing trips, hunting trips...and it sounded like rafting and just about anything else you could want to do outside in Montana. He was only home in Ovando because he was recovering from a run-in with a frightened mule. Needless to say, he had some good stories to tell.
Our sleep in Ovando came early and fast.

Ovando to the Continental Divide
The ride to the Continental Divide was mostly the same beautiful views and rolling hills as the day before. A sometimes gentle headwind whipped itself up in the afternoon, and we were happy to accept some iced sweet tea from the Preacher's daughter we found behind the church as we were looking for water in Avon. She said that the road up to the pass was straight, gradually rising, and boring. She was right. The headwind and the heat and the rise put together made for a slow, difficult ride. When I caught up with Karen and MinWah at the gas station right before the pass began, I spent several minutes with my head in the sink, running cold water over my neck to cool me off. That worked quite nicely, and we started trucking up MacDonald's Pass. I stopped for water every mile, pouring it down my back and down my throat. Nearing the top I found some shade cast by a road sign and stopped to eat some gummy bears. Those gummy bears got me to the top (thanks Mom). MinWah said that this pass was her first REAL challenge, and that she had to growl to get those last hundred feet...but we all made it. We took pictures and I spit ceremoniosly upon the continental divide. Eventually, the remnants of that saliva will run to both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. We stayed at a campsite at the top of the pass, hiding our food in a bag in the bathroom to keep it from the bears and raccoons since we had no safe container or bear rope. We should get one of those.

Continental Divide to Townsend
After calling my dear old Daddio to wish him a happy birthday, (man, is he old!) we joyously got on our bicycles to ride down towards the Atlantic. The first five miles were very steep, and the next five still had a considerable decline. I think those ten miles must have passed in about 20 minutes. It was glorious. I sang "The Midnight Rider" the whole way down, very nearly swallowing quite a few bugs. "He's never seen the northern lights, he's never seen a hawk on the wing, and he's never seen a spring hit the GREAT DIVIDE, he's never heard old camp cookie sing." I yelled the great divide part at the top of my lungs, no matter that my spring was really just a bunch of spit. Anyway, we zoomed through Helena, just about died on the terrible, nasty, enormous highway getting out of the city, and survived to push on to lunch in Winston. There, I bought a small container of ice cream to celebrate still being alive, and took a nap under a tree. By the time we started biking after lunch the headwind which we had had before turned into a headgale, and lost any cooling qualities that it may have previously had. For 13 more miles we rode into a blast furnace, meeting two other bikers who are riding to raise money for the Lupus Foundation along the way. Now, we are tapping away happily in the air conditioned Townsend Community Library. It is getting towards closing time, so we must go find a place to stay for the night. I wish you all happiness and cool weather whereever you are.



Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 02:55 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Not so Lolo

From Lowell we headed for Powell: a 60-ish mile day. Powell is another small rest place for rafters. The scenery was really great along the Lochsa River: mountains, trees, white water, spiffy bridges and gondolas all wrapped up in one. It was pretty much a very slight uphill, until a mile out from Powell where it started getting steep. Sometime after lunch, we decided to take a rest at a spring. Ariel got the most wet, and the others dipped our heads for the most part. Boy, it was refreshing!

At Powell, we stayed at the campground, since they didn't let us stay behind the store. We ate a nice dinner at Lochsa Lodge, because Mommy Welling treated us for some nice food. (Thanks Mommy Welling!) I think we might have scared the couple sitting next to us: we laugh quite loudly, good thing we were outside on the porch. Before we went to bed, we made friends with our campsite neighbors (old folk-retired) who biked from Kansas to Ohio, then are heading West to Washington.

Next day we went over Lolo Indian Pass. Yep, the pass wasn't very low. It was 15 miles of rather steep uphill. But at least we had a tailwind and the surrounding mountains were pretty. At the top of Lolo Pass, it started hailing/snowing/raining. I guess COLD sums it up nicely. But there was FREE HOT CHOCOLATE and coffee and tea; whoever thought of that idea was ingenious. After a long rest at the top, we put on virtually all our warm clothing on and headed down. Yay downhill! except for the parts that were sleeting. From Lolo Hot Springs into Lolo and Missoula was a very nice ride...a slow steady downhill and hardly any cars (virtually effortless!). The four of us rode together for most of it.

Oh, and somewhere along the way, we crossed from Idaho into Montana, and also changed time zones.

When we got into Missoula, we decided to head over to the Adventure Cycling Headquarters. (we had heard there was free ice cream and soda there.) But along the way, we bumped into a woman on her bike at an intersection (Her name was Geraldine). She saw our panniers and said "Do you need a place to stay?" Just like that, we found ourselves a nice home for the night, but we had to finish our unfinished business first.

The Adventure Cycling Headquarters treated us very nicely! Yes, there was all the free food...and free stickers. We thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pictures of the bike tourers from the early days. There was also a wall of pictures of all the bike tourers that have visited. So they took our picture too. After they closed, Kendra picked Seager up for the wedding. Thanks for the cookies Kendra, and see you in a week Seager!

We then headed over to Geraldine's place. She was bike touring for 8 years before settling in Missoula. Apparently, after graduating from Cornell Engineering, we told her mom she wanted to lead bike tours in Europe and all over. So that's what she did. Over some yummy tofu&spaghetti dinner that Ariel cooked, we introduced her to the world of dumpster diving. She was thoroughly intrigued and fascinated. I'm so glad we got to spend the night in good company. Makes me think Missoula may be a great place for me someday!

Posted by MinWah {bio} @ 03:49 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

June 23, 2007 Lowell, ID

Got a pretty early start out of Lenore. It helped that the night was fairly warm. I awoke as light began to peak up over the horizon. We had an early stop in Orofino, where we restocked on food. The landscape changed a lot throughout the day, gradually becoming more and more green. We started off the day with gold-green hills dotted with evergreens, and by the end of the day the mountains were covered in coniferous forest. The scenery was beautiful and so was the river. Did quite a bit more climbing today...for the most part, especially earlier in the day, the road looked flat, but the signs we saw indicated that we were gaining altitude. There are many nice sandy beaches and rapids on the river we followed...I don't know what it was to begin with, but it turned into the Lochsa River. I think it was the Clearwater for awhile.

The weather was sunny, but definitely cooler than in the desert. There are a lot of small towns with friendly people.

We rode up to Lowell, and found a place to camp by the motel. Lowell is really just a campsite, a general store, a restaurant, and a motel. Even though we had no cell phone reception, when Ariel met back up with us after dark she was able to find us quite quickly. Ariel came up in the evening with Carol, Anne, and Steve, bringing a feast from Grandpa Bill's last party. There was all sorts of delicious food, including several types of cookies, cakes, fruit salad, barbecue beef, egg salad, jello mold, sausages and potatoes, etc. Unfortunately, Carol, Anne, and Steve couldn't stay and left after only a little bit. Anne left me with this luxurious REI thermarest-type camping pad, which packs up quite small, even smaller than the yoga mat that Tim and Kate gave me in Astoria, so I sent the yoga mat back, and have felt like I'm sleeping in a hotel every night since. This is evidence that Anne is a fairy godmother and aunt wrapped up in one wonderful person! I hear she likes to make wedding cakes, too...

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 03:13 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

June 22, 2007 Pomeroy, WA to Lenore, ID

Pomeroy had even more adventures in store for us after Minwah's entry. After we left the Pomeroy library we headed to the town park, which allowed camping with the permission of the sheriff. As we arrived, a company picnic was just finishing up. They had all sorts of tasty food to eat. As Minwah and I were settling into the gazebo, Seager strategically stood around the picnic tables, and when he finally heard someone say, "If no one takes this, I'm going to throw it away!" he scored us some tasty pie. After the word got around that we were accepting food donations we were served some delicious ribs, german chocolate cake, two different kinds of pies, and some Pepsi to wash it down. Mmm mmm, 2nd lunch!

(Note, to those who are interested I am abandoning my vegetarian eating habits while biking. Need the protein. Orian bought a gun this summer, so I guess if he shoots something I'll eat that, too).

We hung around the park all afternoon, ate dinner, and got ready to go to sleep in the gazebo, which was in the middle of the park lawn. We had been assured by the sheriff that the shelter over the picnic tables was safe from the sprinklers, which would come on at 5am. However, Seager's experience with sleeping in town parks led him to suspect otherwise, and he slept restfully. It was a good thing, too..

Click Here to read more

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 03:01 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

A Wedding

Folks, I don't have a lot of time to do an update so I'm going to leave you folks with a teaser until later.

I'm in Rock Island, Il having taken off a weekish to go to my good buddy Josh's wedding. The rest of the group is still in Montanna and I'll meet up with them later. Hopefully they'll get to the internet and do a real update for you soon as I don't have a lot of time.

Here is a quick one. Since we last updated in Pomeroy we went to Lenore, Id, then Lowell (where Ariel rejoined), then Powell, then Missoula, Montanna by going over Lolo Pass. There I departed with Qehndrah and went to Davenport. They are on their third day heading east in Montanna.

I hope they find a computer today to give you all a thorough ride report since I won't be able to for a few more days. Keep checking this spot! It's hard to update from the middle of nowhere but we'll get to it!


Posted by Seager {bio} @ 05:57 AM CST Link | Leave us a note! (3)




June 2007


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