I woke this morning to find the landscape under a blanket of snow. A couple of weeks ago my reaction to snow was one of exuberance and excitement at the prospect of such an exotic phenomonon. Now however the sight of it illicits an exasperated sigh at the prospect of another freezing day. After munching my way through a mound of toast at the meager, but free, breakfast this morning I ventured out the door, knowing that I wouldn’t be warm again for a while.
Although the temperature didn’t rise much all day, I was losing altitude and soon descended into a spectacular river valley, complete with thick wooded areas – a sure sign that I’m leaving the mountains! I spent the entire day following the Clark Fork river, losing around a thousand feet in altitude. For the first time in a while I’m below 4000 feet, so hopefully I’ll have some warmer weather as I head towards the coast. The ride today was awesome, with blue skys giving me a great view of the mountains either side of the river. I did, however, have a headwind for a lot of the day which made for slow progress -it’s frustrating having to pedal to achieve 14mph going downhill! Nevertheless I managed to beat the rain to Missoula, checking into a motel just as the heavens opened. I might have to get used to the rain though, from looking at the weather forcast it looks like I’m going to have a wet end to the trip, but, we’re all waterproof!
Missoula is another landmark on route – it signals the end of my journey north, from here i’m heading straight to the coast! It’s also the headquaters of the Adventure Cycling Association, the non-profit organization that produce my maps and develop cycle touring routes in the US. I’m planning on taking the day off tomorrow, visiting the ACA, and getting ready for the last push to the Pacific.