Reading about riding; Adventure Cycling

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Looking around like I own the place, this is my second trip to Adventure Cycling headquarters in a year and I know where all the secret stuff is stashed.  The ice cream and sodas are in the cooler, you must sign the guest book for fear of Greg Siple’s becalming wrath; and the cycling library is straight ahead, left at the tandem and right toward the kitchen.  This may be the most extensive cycle-centric library in the country and it’s chock full of Dervla Murphy, Ian Hibell, Joe Kurmaskie, Barb Savage and other usual and unusual titles.  There are hundreds of old travelogues; some have become timeless classics and some are out-of-date stories of sweating up hills and running out of food.  In fact, while Barb Savage’s Miles From Nowhere is considered a classic bike touring text, her penchant for hyperbole is a little off-putting and after the fourth time that Larry retrieves escaped ball bearings from his freewheel, I lost interest.  Still, the book is widely read and was a gateway for many American cycletourists.  I was on the hunt for an adventure of a different caliber, and Ian Hibell’s Into the Remote Places was the reward.  Ian’s writing is even and descriptive, with a honest sense of his immense adventure– there’s no need for hyperbole when the truth is unbelievable.  The book begins with cyclists hacking a route through the Darien Gap, surviving on handfuls of rice.  It continues similarly.  Long out of print, it is books like these that make the ACA cycling library special.  For your next trip to Missoula, set aside a day to lounge in the shade reading about riding.

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Ian’s Norway to Cape Horn, South Africa bike is now prominently displayed in the reception area, featuring an old Carradice Overlander handlebar bag (the red one is not original, but is nearly identical to the black one he used) and Carradice panniers.  As well, large water reservoirs are contained atop the panniers, the load supported by an integrated steel carrier.  The bike is smartly packed for a trip spanning continents, and the Sahara Desert.  Before the days of fatbikes such a trek required a bit of walking.  Walking through too much water in the Darien Gap and with not enough water in the Sahara is what sets Ian apart from the field of long-distance cyclists, although the “field” is rather thin to begin with.  He is the first to travel, completely, from Tierra del Fuego north to Alaska.  At the time the road to Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay wasn’t built, so Circle, AK near Fairbanks was the northernmost road-accessible point on the continent.  In the late sixties, my boss and the owner of The Bicycle Shop in Anchorage, AK hosted an English cyclist for a week.  Leaving town, he pedaled with him out to Palmer.

“An English guy?”  There must be thousands, I think.  “What has his name?  (Pause.)  Was it Ian Hibell?”

“Oh yes, Ian.  He’s the only guy I’ve ever allowed to stay with me.  He stayed a week.”

And so it was.

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Greg Siple is always a treasure of information, especially of the early days of Bikecentennial and TOSRV.  This time we spoke of the influence his father had on his cycling career, and cycling in general.  Charles is still living in Ohio, and David Herlihy (author of Bicycle: A History) is soon to visit him to harvest stories of his experiences with six-day racing in America.  There aren’t many living cyclists front the pre-war era.  And since 1982, Greg takes our portraits for his collection; more recently he has begun to weigh the bikes that come through Missoula.  Mine weighed one pound more than last year at 67 lbs, without much food or water.  The heaviest bike weighed was a Swiss cyclist whose panniers contained over 174 lbs.

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This photo is from my visit last year, dated September 20th.  These are impromptu Polaroids taken in the office while Greg’s collection of photos are taken in the back alley in front of a large white background.  Convincing the organization to pay for film in 1982 was a challenge, he said.  He still shoots film, and presumably, doesn’t have to twist any arms to get it.  It’s impossible to see, but Carla Majernik’s chrome Peugeot in the background features rubber handlebar grips, installed on the drops.  Thirty years before I hacked Ergon grips to my drops, others were concocting similar solutions.

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I’m spreading the word, and have created demand for Ian’s book and for the ACA bike library– last year George the Cyclist came looking for it and spent the entire day reading; Sean’s return to Missoula had him looking for the same title, and I told a grip of young cyclists on the Trans-Am Route about it yesterday.  The door pictured at the top of the page was the entrance to the original headquarters on the second floor above Eddy’s Club on Higgins Street.  In a recent trip to Missoula, Dan Burden (Dan and Lys Burden cycled the first half of Hemistour with Greg and June Siple) signed his name on the door in the night.  Greg didn’t even get a visit from his old friend.

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Riding cross: Bannack, MT to Idaho

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My first few days back on fat tires wear the nubs off the knobs, riding on pavement.  Thereafter, I huff and puff up Fleecer Ridge, barreling down the other side.  Being able to descend with abandon is fantastic, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the ability to climb with vigor for some cheap thrills– I require a bike that can do it all, fast.  After a few days of dreaming about normal sized wheels and tires, something happened.  Finally, I can ride the Pugsley the way I want.  It has taken some acclimatization, literal and figurative, and some muscle development.

Leaving Anchorage, I labored up small hills and wondered if I would regret riding a fatbike through the other three seasons.  Over Denali’s passes and the Top of the World Highway, my body responded with strengthened legs.  Reaching the Great Divide Route, brutish climbs reawakened those climbing muscles.  At every major junction in the process of touring on a fatbike, I’ve labored under new challenges and wondered if my heavy go-anywhere bike was a good idea.  And finally, after fitting fat tires this week in Bozeman, I’ve had to grow a new pair of legs to keep up with myself.  I’m realizing the perceived limitations are in the rider, not the bike.  Even now, there’s more to this motor than has already been realized.

To propel a bike with as much utility and versatility as the Pugsley requires a strong motor, and following a few nights of sore muscles I can now ride the Pugsley like a cross bike, like I want.  Gravel grinding– climbing fast and descending faster– is now fun and familiar.  Doing it on 4 inch tires at 15 psi is new, but it is intoxicating and childishly fun.  I barely ever scrub speed while descending; while climbing, it’s good to keep the wheels turning and the momentum up, but traction is never the weak link.  And yesterday, across mild terrain, I pedaled and floated over 80 miles of gravel, culminating in a blistering sunset effort to Red Rock Pass.  Laying down to sleep amidst tall grasses and sage, I smile and reflect that riding the Pugsley does not limit my riding style.  I smile and laugh that I’ve spent the day riding it like a cross bike.  I laugh, for there’s a lot more to riding fat tires than floating over gravel at 20 mph, but it’s just one of many things that can be done on a fatbike.  Six months ago I was riding in the dark, in the snow.  Now I’m sleeping at over 7000 ft on the Montana/Idaho border, thanks to a particular purple bike.

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My breakfast of choice, of late, has been Cream of Wheat.  It cooks quickly and sticks with me better than oatmeal.  I add brown sugar and fruit in the morning, or for a savory evening snack, garlic and vegetables do the trick.  Surely my mother will laugh, as I grew up hating oatmeal and tolerating Cream of Wheat.  Now, I love both.  On this occasion, peaches, bananas and brown sugar give me fuel.

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Of course, that’s a Scott Montana overhead.  This wilderness lodge near Polaris, MT welcomes cyclists, although I only stopped to admire this nice vintage ATB.

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Some southern hospitality can even be found up north.

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Bannack is a ghost town and the first territorial capital of Montana.  A hearty thank you to my hosts at the Bannack Campground, Paul and Jamie, who are full of life in this deserted valley.  We shared an evening together, and they shared their dinner and cold silver cans of beer with blue (lavender) mountains.  Since retirement, they’ve discovered that working as campground hosts satisfies their love for travel, and their desire to meet people in a more relaxed, conversational setting.  In exchange for their time and effort, they have free rent all summer in a spectacular corner of Montana with a steady stream of visitors.  Two main bicycle routes, the Trans-Am and the Great Divide Route, pass near Bannack.  It sure beats Texan Gulf Coast summers, they say.

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The ride up and over Medecine Lodge Pass into the Big Sheep drainage challenges me; the sustained climb on the Pugsley strengthens me.  I’m finding that the more I do it, the easier it becomes.  Descending, my rear tire begins to slowly go soft.  I don’t mind fixing the occasional flat, although I hope it’s not something I encounter daily.  The big tires require well over three hundred pumps with my little Lezyne road pump and the older dropout design of the purple Pugsley requires me to loosen the rear brake caliper, which feels like one step to many.  The process is a bother.  I will be searching for a system to minimize flats, especially in the thorny southwest.  Sealant applied to tubes, or a pure tubeless setup are considerations.  A pump with a bigger chamber would be nice.

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On this night, I encountered a group of adventure motorbike riders.  All were on the de facto “ultimate adventure bike”, the BMW GS-1200.  They were riding a variant of the Great Divide Route from Albuquerque to Helena, in a ten day period.  Some of them laughed at my pedal-powered efforts.  Secretly, I laughed at the imminence of Monday morning, a pot of Folgers, and a desk job.  I will still be here in a week.

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And in a push to the Idaho border, a dotted line of classic gravel roads lead the way.  All I have to do is pedal.

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Going to Jackson; vintage Yellowstone

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Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have provided the guard, and respite of a few days without internet. It turns out the parks can still be a place “away from it all”; not that there are any lack of tourists, all of whom seem to come from places with accents (like Mississippi, Missouri, and the Midwest) and can’t believe that I actually biked here. I have begun to fabricate truths and spin lies. Sometimes I am from Alaska or Canada; sometimes I’m going to Bolivia, or Guinea, or another country that most people can’t “place”. It’s fun, and the reaction is usually the same as if I were going to the next obvious place, Jackson. “Wow!”, “No shit.”, and “Really?” are often heard while cycling through the parks. Accordingly, I respond “Yup”, “Shit.”, and “Really.”. Over, and over, and over. I should probably have more patience with people. That’s one of several reasons I’m not a politician. Yes, I realize that’s funny to you.

Yellowstone is a beautiful corner of Wyoming– mostly (also bits of MT and ID)– encompassing a vast caldera, high plateau, mountains; and steaming, boiling, and bubbling coming out of the ground. Despite the crowds demanding to know when the next miracle of hydrogeology will occur, if you happen to wander into the woods– not in the direction of anything boiling or spewing– you won’t see anybody at all.

I spent two hours warming my fingers and eating oats at the Old Faithful Visitor’s Center. I didn’t bother to see the the geyser. It was a nice day to be elsewhere. You don’t take 75 deg days for granted in northern Wyoming a few days short of the autumnal equinox, at 8000 ft.

Five days from sea level and Lael (proudly, pompously) crossed the Continental Divide three times in Yellowstone–all in a day, at or above 8000 ft.

Our first night in Yellowstone, we bathed in the union of the Boiling River and the Gardner River. Scalding hot plus freezing cold equals tolerably scalding, mixed with lukewarm and cool. Perfect on a near freezing evening.

I’ve been fighting a cold for a few days. Almost eighty during the day, almost twenty at night; the weather is brilliant, but my body is confused.

Jackson is a great bike town, and a great place to hide away and relax for a few days. There are a couple of framebuilders in town. I spotted a 26″ wheeled touring mountain
bike with more braze-ons than I could count (six on the topside of the downtube) and vintage Suntour Alpine Gearing (36 or 38t freewheel cog); a 1997 700c “touring bike” that fits 2.1 inch MTB tires, which makes it a pioneering 29er by accident, also with a softride stem and drop bars (Salsa Fargo?); and an impressively crafted swingbike (like the old Schwinns), with real-world parts including Schwalbe tires and vintage MTB equipment. 20110924-015156.jpg20110924-021240.jpg20110924-021339.jpg20110924-021406.jpg20110924-021523.jpg20110924-021543.jpg20110924-022145.jpg20110924-022216.jpg20110924-022304.jpg20110924-022403.jpg20110924-022440.jpg20110924-022536.jpg20110924-022550.jpg20110924-022620.jpg20110924-022751.jpg20110924-022823.jpg20110924-022851.jpg20110924-023021.jpg20110924-023206.jpg20110924-023217.jpg20110924-023233.jpg20110924-023412.jpg20110924-024421.jpg20110924-024440.jpg

Greg Siple; ACA, Hemistour, and TOSRV

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He looks like someone’s dad, on his way to grandfather; secretly, he’s one badass dude. It’s likely that Greg isn’t described that way often enough. Maybe I just like saying that because he’s so nice, and humble; and half a foot shorter than me.

I first heard about Greg in relation the the Hemistour trek from Alaska to Argentina that was undertaken with his wife June, and a handful of others in the early seventies. For all the Long Haul Truckers, Europeans, and Rohloff hubs riding that length today; Greg and June did it on handbuilt 650A (26×1 3/8, 590mm) wheels, customized long-cage Campy derailleurs, and TA handlebar bags– these should be reminders that good wheels and simple gear is adequate for the long haul.

The puzzle solved itself further when I realized that Greg and June had founded the Bikecentennial project– with others– and the subsequent organization to continue the work that made for a successful summer on bike in 1976. Bikecentennial became Adventure Cycling in 1993, and as a result, youngsters such as myself know even less of the momentous and memorable summer of “76. In truth, it’s Grant Peterson who’s been insistently telling the story of the American bike industry, planting Bikecentennial and Earth Day firmly between Schwinn (of old) and Trek (Red Barn); that’s how I first heard about the happiest, healthiest summer in recent history. Bike touring is alive and well in the US, but maybe it could use another kick in the ass. Does a big summer sound like a something that could happen? help? The time may be right. The time is always right for riding bikes.

In my recent visit to ACA, I was humbly informed by Greg that he and his father had organized– a little by chance– the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV)– the first, largest (for a while), and most prominent multi-day group tour in the country. In 1962, Greg and his father Charles embarked on a two-day ride through Ohio countryside on a weekend in May. The next year, two more joined them. Within years, there were 16, then 45, then hundreds and thousands.

Anyone who has ridden Seattle-to-Portland (STP) or another multi-day tour; the Trans-Am trail; or the length of the hemisphere, owes a bit of thanks to Greg and his cohorts. There are likely no more than two degrees of separation between Greg, and every bike trip in America this past year. Not “kind of”; Greg is a big deal.

Greg and I stood in the basement for a moment, admiring Ian Hibell’s bike– bike church.

Photographing bikes and riders: Greg has long been attached to both bike and camera, but has– with dedication– photographed touring cyclists visiting Missoula since the early 80′s. He possesses a vast collection of photographs and stories of all variety of bike travellers; dogs, trailers, folders, handcycles, octogenarians and babies all make the list. An exhibition of his work can be seen inside ACA headquarters, at a travelling show (currently in Helena), and pasted to the sides of a utility box in down town Missoula. I share a few choice examples from downtown Missoula.20110915-095256.jpg20110915-095453.jpg20110915-095643.jpg20110915-095734.jpg20110915-095814.jpg20110915-095849.jpg20110915-100111.jpg20110915-100155.jpg20110915-100220.jpg

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A day in the life: Up, and down

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There are many joys to cycling the land; riding up and over three Continental Divide passes in a day is one of them. A bloody melange of blood, dust, and gravel; on the downslope of the third pass, is not. Aside, Helena National Forest was just another day.

On the backside of Priest Pass, less than 15 downhill miles from Helena, I was probably focused more on cold milk than on cobbled roadways. Actually, a single melon-sized cobble in the roadway was enough to unseat me from my proud, lofty perch. I had been riding shirtless most of the day– three passes and ninety degrees excuses me from decency– yet had retained my helmet (always) and clownish lime-green speckled not-Wayfarer sunglasses. I was proudly being weird amidst more traditional outdoorsmen– I figured the beard would excuse me.

Over the pass and gaining speed, I waved to a man suiting up with a bow and a handgun, on a mountain bike. Eight seconds later I was sliding along dusty, dirt track tangled with my bicycle. I quickly stood up to wave to the crowd, and to dismiss the suspicion that I was “hurt”. No one had seen it, and it did hurt. “Fffff…”, I grimaced, then went back to pretending.

I washed up with water– which makes muddy blood– and rode to town, broken.

I got some first aid fixins at the grocery store, and had a picnic pondside which included: A quick dip to start, followed by some rubbing alcohol (hurts, a lot), Neosporin, and a side of gauze and tape. I felt human again.

I met another touring cyclist on his way back to Seattle from Houston, and we both agreed that we had not seen or heard of any camping in town. I made a desperate attempt at securing a patch of grass by calling the police station; the dutiful operator informed me that there was “a city ordinance that prohibits camping within city limits”. Right, as do all cities, but I’m asking you a question…a favor. Maybe the message was prerecorded– she repeated the phrase four more times. Obviously, I had been persistant. Many other Montana towns have open arms to cyclists. Helena has ordinances, and a “No Vacancy” sign. Maybe that sign said No Vagrancy; I was seeing double.

John and I rode nine miles out of town to USFS land for a pleasant creekside camp. A local fellow on a vintage 26″ wheeled BMX cruiser showed us a secret campspot.

Upon returning to town the next morning, I headed directly to the State Park pond from the evening prior. This time, I was immediately identified as an out of state vagabond and asked for $3. I scoffed, sarcasto-politely thanked the kindly old man, and left.

The flickering “No Vagrancy” sign creaks, swinging in the dry winds of the high plains.

To clarify, the pond is man-made, and the park operates without gates. It looks like a city park, and Montanans come and go freely. But if you’re weird and homeless, it costs three dollars, or five; still seeing stars.

Helena has a nice looking downtown with a pedestrian mall, old brick buildings, and a rustic firetower on a hill. It’s probably a nice place to visit if you are a tourist, just not a cycle-tourist. The bar is now set low– Bozeman’s got it easy.

Note: I’m doing fine (hey mom); I’m a bit bloodied and bruised, but thankfully not my angelic (bearded, sun hardened) face. There’s a nice dent in my helmet. Now I can tell you to wear yours. Wear it: there are stupider looking hats.

I am to blame for falling, but I had been cursing my undersized 1.75″ (47mm) replacement tire all day. The CST Selecta is notably smaller than the Schwalbe Marathon tire by the same nominal description. Misrepresenting tire size should be criminal. A proper tire will be fitted in Bozeman.

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Table for one

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It’s no secret to most that the impetus for this trip came from being un-friended in a rather major way. What to do when a girlfriend of an exact handful of years and 15,000 touring miles says, “meh”, and quits?

Within two weeks I was on my bike– I don’t fool around.

Riding the Divide has been on the list for years; I often work during summer, so my thanks for the opportunity to quit my job to traverse the mountainous west goes to you-know-who.

But, this is about life on the road, alone; love, lost; friends for three days; and how not to be alone in a crowd.

Enter, me– in Missoula.

I raced to town, into a headwind for 54 miles on a half-gallon of chocolate milk and oats. ACA was closing early, so after Greg Siple showed me the sights and I suggested my way into the basement to see Ian Hibell’s bike, I was loose on the streets of Missoula. All my acquaintance-friends from Mexico were awol, and so was I. Lost and lonely in an exceptional city of how many? It makes sense when you don’t speak the language; it’s confusing when you are good at it.

Wish Jane was still around. Somewhere between maple-bacon ice cream and lazing riverside, I wouldn’t be scouring my psyche. That’s not the answer,but she reminded me how much I like people. I really like people on bikes.

I’m over-fed and well-hydrated; the riding is easy, and my bike fixes itself, if it were to ever break. Damned, if I’m not kind of bored, though. I occasionally blame the “route” for being rural/remote and boring, but it’s not boring and I know it. It’s beautiful, and the camping is anywhere you fall off your bike at the end of the day, deep in
USFS lands. Second to people– warm, interesting people– I miss milk and yogurt with my oats when I’m out of town. The feeling is called lonely; the milk is an addiction.

How do you slice and sautee a city like Missoula to make it more tender? Even a friendly city full of bikes has a shell, and Missoula doesn’t blink when a bearded guy shows up on a bike. Beer– the local cure-all– helps, but the result is rather like using sugar to feed yeast. With time and patience and healthy, mature yeast; bread will rise. With sugar, it will explode. Beer is cheating, and the result is fluffy white bread, which in real-life terms means you meet a lot of dudes who think it’s “sick” that you rode so far on a bike. Fluffy and white.

Then there is FreeCycles. FreeCycles is that daunting rustic loaf with nuts and seeds breaching the surface. For 15 years, this place has been helping people get on bikes. Operating much like other co-ops around the country, FreeCycles is bigger and better– better organized, better managed, and a lot bigger. A pedalbus to seat 21 is half-done, and Rockhoppers fight High Sierras for floor space. Bob, the founder and career alt-transportation advocate gave me a key to the place in less than a minute. It must have been apparent that I wouldn’t walk off with a dozen Huffys and a box of rusty chains.

Oscar is my housemate under the FreeCycles roof. He’s from Guatemela via Fairbanks, and one of those guys that keeps his hair neatly combed and some reading glasses nearby. I showed him the MayaPedal website. And we danced together, sort of, at the Union Bar. He’s a great dancer; but a little too old for me.

Even the abbreviated list of “why Missoula is better than wherever you are living”, must include the Good Food Store. Yep, good food. More of it comes from Montana than you’d expect. GFS beats the socks offa Whole Foods anyday.

Missoula has three Saturday Farmer’s Markets, the central and refreshing Clark Fork River, and some of the best on-the-ground cycling infrastructure in America.

Camping under FreeCycle stars for the night.

Be in control. Love Missoula. Ride your bike.
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Great Wide Open and the lifeblood unveiled

I left Havre two hours into the afternoon with a full belly and an earful of telephone conversations in the shade. I filled a bottle with water and left US 2 for the first time in many hundred miles– since Grand Rapids, MN. A few miles out of town I realized one 40 oz bottle of water would require a little moderation; difficult in this drying prairie wind. No services for 45 miles, I planned to get some water at the border. After the usual questions about employment and residence (none, and nowhere I respectfully answered), I delved into the long story to satisfy customs that I was not entering Canada to gain employment or injure myself on their dollar. I was informed that not many cyclists pass this rural checkpoint, Wildhorse. With no potable water onsite, a few bottled waters were offered, and I was again on my way. The first sign read, “No gas or services next 80 km”. I sighed; I would again have to ride another fifty miles for the promise of water. This is not a true desert, but it was hot and dry. I did not see a single structure for 45 miles; just the most beautifully paved road and shoulder with an average of one vehicle an hour. This was the wild version of what Montana had promised. These vast grasslands were peppered with grazing cattle, antelope, deer, moose, and two beady eyes from the roadside that frightened me– a beer can reflecting my headlight.

A moose reared, and turned in one muscular display against a twilit horizon. It was not, after closer inspection and a near heart attack, a horse. It was a very athletic moose.

I am scared of a lot of critters. Sometimes I am scared of crunching leaves.

The last, furious miles into Elkwater passed through the Cypress Hills, “an elevated island in the vast prairie that captures cool, moist air and sustains a localized pine forest”. And thus, a long, fast descent after dark on a deserted road– in the midst of vastness, an island– past a ski resort and ending at a lake. A break from beautiful, Albertan monotony.

The morning brought an early rise and a classic display of bike trip resoucefulness. Coffee and a warm concoction of yams, raisins, and Grape Nuts by the waterside. A swim– the first since Minnesota– and an outdoor shower. A full drivetrain cleaning, and some lube. Public restrooms and electronics charged. And free wifi in the lobby of an upscale lodge (I dressed my best).

Fully revived from the desperation of yesterday’s riding, today brought favorable winds and uncharacteristically fresh legs after a late-night surge (or purge). Submersion–swimming– is the lifeblood of this metal cowboy. And a liter of chocolate milk.

post script: Lost my maps and debit card in MT, somewhere. Moms are real helpful sometime. Mine is getting more frequent phone calls, for a little while at least. ACA is most helpful as well. That’s what they do: help people ride bikes.

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Montana is nice

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It’s always nice to make visible progress on the map. I am still amazed that I can actually propel myself across counties (in an hour or two), states (in a week or less), and continents (months). Western North Dakota is experiencing an oil boom; construction and roadwork follow right behind. Many area towns such as Stanley and Ray have become oil towns, with transplants from all over, many from the Gulf region, mostly men. The romantic image previously held regarding lumber camps, 1970′s Alaska pipeline work and similar man-parties, has been tarnished. Williston is at the heart of the boom, clogged with trucks, full of dirt from nearby roads, and altogether hectic. I passed through on Friday afternoon at 3:30 in the rain, and have nothing good to say.

Friday, 3-6 PM is the worst time to be travelling on a bike through cities.

Montana seemed peaceful, instantly. I expect every town for the next several hundred miles to offer free camping, and US 2 continues to be good, no nonsense riding. And finally, I am seeing other cyclists. Two at the border, three at camp last night, a handful on the road this morning…where have they been hiding?

A Scottish woman rides “around the world”, sort of. She has a Thorn Sherpa with the now discontinued Schwalbe XR tires. The Sherpa is like a badass Surly LHT. Secretly, it’s a lot like my bike as well, but nobody seems to appreciate that. The Sherpa is a great bike– Thorn only makes great bikes for serious touring. If anyone wants to buy me a bike, Thorn would be the place to go. Thanks in advance.

Looking forward to getting there; that is, to Jasper/Banff. Then the games begin.

A foggy morning, and a big sky day.

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