I woke up Jamie and Tricia by rustling around in our tent cabin at 6:30. I had to get up at about 1am because sleeping on a cot without an air mattress in a down bag provides no insulation. I quietly filled my air mattress and slept very soundly, unlike Jamie, who apparently froze all night. Tricia did much better, since she was on the floor on her matterss. John and Roger apparently suffered similar issues.
We ate a big breakfast at Pop's (okay, not huge) and said goodbye to Tricia. The support van for the fully supported AC ride passed us going back towards the pass from yesterday and offered to serve us lunch at the top, but we had come from that direction; Jamie and I decided it would take something fabulous to get us to climb back up it. We also saw 2 more cyclists; they were from Germany with red Ortleib panniers. I told Jamie she should go with them, since her panniers matched theirs.
About 10 miles out something Tricia said came back to me; she was surprised and dissappointed by the small number of trees in Montana. We thought it odd at the time, because we were mostly travelling in what Dwight would call a "tunnel of trees". In addition, we had spoken to a home owner who mentioned that even though he lived between/ in close proximity to the Mission and Swan mountains, he could see neither range except when passing through a clear cut. At the 10 mile mark or so though, the trees were drastically reduced and the sage cropped up. 30 miles of this with the sweetest town sandwiched in there: Ovando. Nice people running the merchantile/inn, where we met 2 retirees cycling various routes from Florida to Portland, OR. They asked loads of questions about forming a group and the GDMBR in general. The proprietors (and some older folks with ATVs) looked at all the bear shots on our cameras and concurred the bear we'd see was a grizzly. There was a grizzly skin on the store wall.
No one but Roger was paying attention to the routing distances and we almost missed our turn off—it was unmarked, gravel and looked just like one of the ranch driveways. 10 miles or so through open ranch lands with a 15 mph headwind took us back into the forest. A 2 mile moderate climb brought us to Big Nelson CG on Cooper's lake with 6 sites. Though it is mostly private land, it is lightly developed and peaceful. We had to split up into 2 groups and even then there were not really spaces for 4 tents. The people in the site next to us, Jeff and Pam from the Mt. Hood area, offered to store our food in their truck overnight, so we wouldn't have to hang it.
Jamie and I swam in the lake and ate tortellini with green peppers and instant pesto sauce. Not bad.
start ODO- 753