05 September 2010

Missoula to Powell via Lolo Pass

The moment we got out of Missoula, Ken got a flat.  (Note:  I still have not gotten a single flat tire!  Unbelievable!)  Anyway, he fixed his tire and we headed toward Lolo Pass, and as usually happens when climbing passes, it began to rain.  This rain would persist until the following day, leaving us "stuck" at the beautiful Powell campground on the Lochsa River for two whole days.  We read books and played Farkel and just hung out and tried to stay dry.  It was sort of relaxing, and sort of boring.  We got some great photos...
That wire in the pieces of tire lying on the road got Ken's back tire.
A busy road - not a fun place to have to fix a flat.
A closeup of "chip seal" which is terrible to ride on.  Not only is it not smooth, trucks going by actually fling rocks at us with their tires as they fly past us.  We got nailed MANY times.
These clouds were more than just rain clouds.  We got hailed on, twice.  It didn't hurt much since we had several layers of clothing on.  It wasn't fun, though.  Not at all.
When we reached our campground destination at Lolo Hot Springs, we were surprised at how BIG the rocks were in this area.  Our campsite was so cool!

This pretty much sums us up.  lol
Notice anything about this dumpster?  Um, it's OPEN???
Mo did a little rock climbing.  That's his thing.

Simon too.  He loves climbing.
Our neighbors had the most interesting set up.  There was a ladder in back so they could climb up into the tent which sat perched on top of their truck.  We never did see the people, just the truck.
This place was an unexpected treat...

I love this pic.
Pretty big trees!

Ken looks rather defeated in this picture, and ya know, it's actually a pretty accurate depiction of how we were feeling for much of this day.  The cedars were a nice distraction, but the majority of this ride was very difficult.  It's hard to ride in the cold rain, slowly getting soaked and chilled deep into your bones, knowing you have to pedal a long ways feeling like that before you can get warmed up again.  
Luckily we made it here - after climbing Lolo Pass and riding 26 miles in the freezing rain.
It was such a beautiful ride, though, in spite of being miserable most of the time.  To me, Natl Forests are incredible.  Better than the Natl Parks because they are still wild, no tourists.  God is there.
Our campsite was perfect.  Right near the bathroom, the water, the river, and the dumpsters, and situated in such a way that we were guaranteed no nearby neighbors, we set up camp on the muddy ground and prepared to hunker down until the weather improved.
Occasionally the sun peeked through the trees and made some fantastic lighting, which we took advantage of. During these "times of light" we were able to cook something to eat and go to the river.
Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians - "Philosophy, is a walk on the slippery rocks...."
...religion, is a smile on a dog."  (I love that song.)
The Lochsa River is rocky and shallow and we would follow it through the mountains for miles and miles after leaving Powell.  Truly a blessing for cyclists doing the TransAm (westbounders anyway) is the descent along this river.  The farther down you get, the more the river becomes wider and more wild. 

We also did some maintenance on the trikes while it wasn't raining.  See Ken's ponytail?  It was kinda fun to see him with long hair, even if it was moss from a tree.  LOL!  What a goofball! It took me awhile to notice it since he kept a straight face the entire time he had it on.  
Yes, another flat tire.  He got this one right as we pulled into Powell.

Goodness, he is so cute in this picture.  
Since we had so much time to talk during these rainy days, we acknowledged that the end of the trip was nearing and we discussed our feelings about that.  It made us appreciate even more the experience of being cozy in the tent while the rain drops gently pitter-pattered on the "roof."
One more state line to go!

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