Day 16: Tuesday, July 7, 1981
We left our rustic lodge under threatening skies. They soon made good on their threat. However, the light drizzle throughout the morning wasn't as bad as last afternoon's rain, and the 15 miles to the top of Lolo Pass seemed to go quickly, even though it was noon by the time we reached the top.
After a half-hour stop at the Montana information center/warming station at the top of the pass, we found that temperatures had dropped to 38°, and the rain had turned to sleet. We decided to start downhill before the weather deteriorated further. As hard as it was to climb up, going down was more miserable. I was shivering so much that the bike was unstable, and the brakes were wet and ineffective. Rick was so cold that he had to stop riding for a while and wrap himself in his space blanket.
At the bottom, it had warmed to 58°, but was still drizzling off and on. Strong winds were mostly at our backs for the ride through Lolo and into Missoula.
|The Bitterroot River between Lolo and Missoula|
|Bashful heifer on a Bitterroot farm|
|A meandering creek in the Bitterroot|
The Birchwood AYH hostel in Missoula caters to bicyclists, and we arrived in time to get the last four beds. Most of the others were taken by a Bikecentennial group. One of its members was Patti Krupiarz, a Lansingite with whom I'd ridden on DALMAC several times. She had left Portland on June 13, and plans to finish by September 9. If we continue at our present rate, we should finish before the end of August.
Dinner was a huge pizza at Zimorino Bros. (Red Pies Over Montana). Since this is a hostel, we have to be in bed by midnight. I'll use the rest of the evening to catch up on my notes.