I had intended to get up at normal time this morning, bit at 05.00 this morning I lacked the resolve – knowing that I only had 60 miles to do. I was up at 06.00 and out by 07.00, feeling rested and full after one of the best free breakfasts all trip.
For a change it was both warm and dry this morning (although I was still clad in my full cold weather gear!) and I felt fresh climbing up from Missoula to Lolo, about 8 miles down the road. From Lolo I turned off the beaten path and into the wilderness, from there the next town of any note is over 100 miles away. I had the last mountain pass of the trip to tackle, and climbed for over 30 miles to get to Lolo Pass and the boarder with Idaho – fortunately only the last 8 miles were steep, and I made it to the top without much trouble. Crossig the boarder into Idaho also marked my tranisition to pacific time – the last of the 4 time zones i have to cross! The views on the Idaho side of the pass were much better than the ones coming up the Montana side, where all I could see was the dense forest lining the road. Coming down from the pass I spotted another cyclist climbing up the hill – I crossed the road, and chatted to him. Rich who is retired and in his 60s is cycling from Astoria Oregon to Bar Harbour Maine across the northern US. He had origionally planned to follow the transam trail, but had decided on the back of some tough climbs from the coast that he couldn’t handle the Rockies – so Lolo Pass is about as big as it gets from him. He had taken the same alternative route that I’m riding, and told me that it’s an awesome ride – especially as it’s mainly downhill for me! About 10 minutes after meeting him I arrived at Lochsa Lodge, where I had planned to spend the night. At this stage I was thinking about going to Kooskia 90 miles away today, as I was making good time – I decided to go in and get some lunch before I decided whether or not to push on. I had just sat down when 5 other cyclists came in – they were all students from the university of Kansas and are cycling across the northern US to Boston. It was great having lunch with them, and hearing about their ride so far – as I’m about to tackle what they’ve just riden over the next couple of days. I traded one of my waterbottles with one of the guys – so I now have a souvenir from Kansas.
Having spent a while at the resturant, I decided to stay here overnight. It’s a great place, the cabins are comfortable and rustic, and the main lodge has a brilliant atmousphere. I showered and settled in, and then wondered back to the lodge, planning on reading by the fire. No sooner had I arrived when Jane came in – she is from Durham, and is driving a support van for two friends from Christchurch who are cycling the transam trail in reverse from Astoria to Yorktown. I spent the afternoon talking to them, and swapping stories – it’s been great today, I think I’ve done more talking than I have in the rest of the trip combined. I’ve got a big day tomorrow, but it’s mainly downhill, so it should be a nice ride trough the woods.