Starting Location: Weeksville, MT
Ending Location: Missoula, MT
Lowest Elevation: 2448
Highest Elevation: 3960
I tried to get up really early again, and I did okay considering I had just lost an hour the day before. I was on the road by 8:30 and keeping a really good pace. This day was the nicest day yet. It was already nice and warm in the morning and there were hardly any clouds in the sky. The solar charger did much better on this day!
I continued to pass by incredible scenery along the Clark Fork, which had a turqouise color water which was stunning to look at with the mountains that were constantly beside it. And everything was so green!! It was such a great day for me. I was keeping a really fast pace and constantly in awe of what was around me.
When I checked my phone during one of my breaks I was very happy to see that I had received a response from Ethel Macdonald on WarmShowers saying that she would be very happy to host me, and that there was a cyclist from Holland also staying with her for the night. This gave me some extra motivation to keep a good pace to get all the way to Missoula, as that would require me to have my furthest day thus far.
I kept giving myself small goals and competitions throughout the day to try to keep myself going. There was even a point where I found myself trying to race a cloud that was moving in front of the sun so that I could stay in its shade. As I was riding I passed by three guys who were cycling the same route as me, but they were only carrying their water bottles and had vehicles riding ahead and preparing the meals for them. We continued to switch off passing each other throughout the day while we took breaks though I still beat them to Missoula, and I was pretty proud of that considering I had a whole lot more weight than they did.
Like the day before, this day offered no shortage of beautiful views of the mountains, river, and other scenic landscape. I would have to say that this was my favorite day of the trip so far. The great weather and constant eye candy made it unbeatable, and the thought of riding to a home where I would have a bed was so great to think about.
Just before getting into Missoula, I called Ethel to let her know that I was a bit ahead of schedule. She was happy to hear that I was arriving early and she started to get dinner ready. I arrived at her place around 4:30, meaning I was able to keep a pace of 11 mph throughout the day even with my breaks included. I was greeted by Ethel and her dog Leela, and also introduced to Joop (pronounced Yope), a Dutch cyclist who is doing the Transamerican Trail which is where I will be on for most of the rest of my trip. Right from the get go Ethal was so kind and generous to me. She showed me to my room in the basement and where I could put my bike in the garage, and gave me tons of information about Missoula and biking. Once I had all my stuff into my room I took a shower and started laundry then headed upstairs.
When I got upstairs Ethel was quick to offer me a drink, and gave me multiple beers to choose from (gotta love that). We took a seat and got to know each other some more as Leela sat on my lap enjoying a new friend giving her attention. Joop also came up to join and we all chatted about our adventures and such. Ethel is an incredibly inspirational woman who has been on many long term bike tours around Europe and the US and has hosted over a hundred people with WarmShowers, as well as stayed with over a hundred hosts. It was so great to hear all of her stories and wealth of knowledge about cycling.
I also really enjoyed meeting Joop. He has a blog that can be followed at www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/joop. It is written in Dutch but he also has english summaries on his posts. He even gave me a card for his trip that has his information on it which I thought was really cool. He has a lot of people following his blog from back home, and was featured in the local newspaper for doing his big trip!
We continued to talk as we ate a delicious dinner prepared by Ethel. Finishing a big day of riding with a nice home cooked meal is the best thing ever. I was so thankful for her to be so generous to us. We even enjoyed some tea and ice cream with raspberries after dinner. When we finally finished with our conversations, I went back down to my nice and spacious room to write the past few days blogs and look for more WarmShowers hosts for the future!