Last night I got a particularly helpful text from Jamie: avoid the wide paved shoulder after Darby. The three of them experienced 3 flats in 2 miles.
In Hamilton we stopped to use the library and Janelle needed a package from the post office. Ted was taking video while riding in traffic and I figured he was going to get hit by a car and that would be the fatal footage.
After the library I chose to travel alone. We had gotten information from several sources about the route into Missoula, so we decided to go off route on a road under construction. This advice was exceptionally astute. About 1 mile out of Victor the construction began. The wrong side of the road had been paved for a mile and traffic was not yet allowed. After that, there was 1 mile of incredibly smooth, hard packed dirt, also closed to traffic and then about a mile beyond the end of the construction a bike path began. It took me all the way to Lolo. It is amazingly pleasant to ride however without having to constantly look in your mirror to see what is behind you. I rode with both earbuds in and my helmet strapped securely to my... rack.
In Lolo the bike path ended and I was forced to don my helmet and did not even feel comfortable having one ear bud in. The shoulder narrowed occasionally to about 2.5 feet, which probably seems adequate to drivers, but shoulders are frequently loaded with debris, which cyclists need to avoid, making it an obsticle course.
I tried to take a picture of the cows so close to the path, bu they moooooved away as I dismounted.
Upon reaching Missoula, I entered a Safeway looking for cold drinks to enjoy while I waited for everyone else. I got a Naked juice and an iced tea, buy wanted a single beer, so I loitered in the beer isle until someone started to look in the micro brew end of the cooler, then proposed that I buy one of his six pack. He was surprisingly agreeable, but we both felt a little like we were doing something a little off, like buying beer for a minor. I wrapped my AC map. Around it in case there is an open container law.
When everyone arrived we tried to find the Rei, but it wasn't where Google maps said it was.
I moved on to stay with a family Sara had hooked up with, the Kesslers.
Greg and Marcie Kessler took us in and despite being in the middle of packing to leave for the weekend with their two charming sons, were exceptional hosts, tag teaming coming out to talk to us in the kitchen. They even cooked us dinner. Sara, Heidi, Mike, Jamie and I had a blast.
Remember the name of the tour? It has been a while since I was offered help: the Affirmation of Human Goodness.
The evening ended with
Heidi and I talking late into the night (late for me).
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