This is part of a series of posts written during my cycle from Vancouver, BC to Minneapolis, MN in June 2013. For the most part I followed the Adventure Cycling Association’s ‘Northern Tier’ Route, but deviated where I saw fit. It was a great experience, read on to find out more…
Today was supposed to be a ‘short’ 90 miles, following a series of valleys to Kalispell — a town on the edge of the Rockies. Instead, it ended up being quite different.
I was up at 7 this morning, although it was really 6 for me as I gained an hour transitioning to Mountain Time yesterday. I packed quickly, ate a huge breakfast at a diner, and was on the road for 8.30. I’d barely made it down the street when I ran into another cyclist. He was even more of a hobo on a bike than I am: since getting divorced a few years ago he left his job as a college professor and has been cycling around the US ever since — crossing the country no fewer than five times. He was amazed by how light I was travelling, having never seen anyone condense their gear so much. We talked for a bit and cycled together for a few miles before I left him behind. I made really good time for the first 40 miles, before two punctures within 10 miles halted progress. Punctures mended I continued on to Kalispell, however what Google had identified as a campground was in fact a trailer park – a place where people live permanently in caravans.
I had no option but to press on — not knowing that the first campground that would take me was 30+ more miles down the road. I tried a couple of RV parks, but they seemed to only cater for the ridiculously large motor homes that Americans seem to think are a good idea. On a side note, how it is legal for someone to drive a 50ft RV, towing a car, on a regular driving license is beyond me — most of these things are the size of a lorry! At least I had increasingly spectacular views of the Rockies as I made my way toward them.
Finally I reached a campground, paid an extortionate fee (it’s close to Glacier National Park), and took a long awaited shower. I had dinner at the camp restaurant, which turned out to just be a guy with a barbeque. On the up side, he thought I looked hungry and gave me double helpings — a whole chicken and two baked potatoes later I was contentedly back in by tent, ready to sleep.
On a side note, another perk of pushing on was that I crossed paths with a Tour Divide rider, we only rode together for half a mile before he disappeared down a dirt track, but it was good to get a feeling of how he’d found the first few days of the race.