Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-07-26Montana page 12 of 54

Day 12, Montana

From the campground by the Lochsa River to Hamilton, Montana.

I got going half an hour after first light, and resumed pedaling up the road along the river.

Lochsa lodge




15 miles later I reached the Lochsa lodge - one minute before its restaurant's opening time of 7:00 am, and was among the first ones through the door. The tables were all set, each with four chairs, and I had a table to myself. The dining room filled up, I got my order, then I noticed a scraggly, motorcycle-type in a black leather jacket, waiting to sit down for breakfast also. I got up and invited him to my table. He sat down across from me, and thanked me for the consideration. What ensued was one of those times when you meet someone that influences your life, in whatever way. We had a very pleasant conversation, then I finished my meal and went outside. What happened next blew me away. The fellow came out and I asked which motorcycle was his. He pointed over there, and my jaw dropped.

Jaw dropping 2010 BMW S1000RR, belonging to the scraggly motorcycle-type in the black leather jacket. Looking at this bike was a mind opening and life changing moment. It was such a beautiful machine, and the guy was so friendly - as were all the other motorcycle-types I had met lately - and they were having so much fun. I suddenly realized how much I had been missing. I decided, then and there, to get a motorcycle (of whatever type). But first I had to finish this trip.  

Picture the scene back inside the restaurant, with the people eating and lots of empty seats at their tables, and no one offering to let the motorcyclist sit down. And picture the shaggy one to be the friendliest of all. Then picture him to be the modest of all, with a machine probably more powerful than any car or truck in the lot. Sometimes life is full of irony.

The eight miles to Lolo Pass were steep in places, but I did find a beautiful little spring of cold and pure water to slake my thirst.

Stop to collect water

Spring

Then at the summit I stopped at the ranger's visitor's center to have a look around. Then back outside, I saw a couple of cyclists posing at the "Welcome to Idaho" sign. With their camera I took pictures of them and their bikes, then they offered to do the same, with my camera and bike, across the street, in front of the Montana sign. They had come from Virginia, and were celebrating "only two more states to go." (in light of my experiences, I didn't think that they were almost there.)

Welcome to Montana

The ride down to Lolo Hot Springs was a fast one, and I stopped for cold drinks at the resort. Then on down to the town of Lolo. Jenny had sent me a package containing maps, chain lube, and a treat: a bag of fresh figs from one of our trees back in Arizona. So I stopped at the Post Office to pick it up.

Alongside the busy highway out of Lolo was a bike path, and I had fun riding it.

The afternoon storms began to develop, and to push strong headwinds my way (storm dump), so that next 4 hours were tough. Also the road was under construction, and not in my favor.

I arrived at Hamilton wet and tired, so pulled off at the first motel.

Sunset over Hamilton, Montana

Miles pedaled today: 96.2

The story has 54 pages. This is page 12.
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