Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

Archive for June 28, 2012

June 28th – Eureka to Columbia Falls, MT

Views on Old Highway/Tobacco Road 7 Miles From Euerka, MT.

June 28th Statistics –Eureka to Columbia Falls, MT:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 70.7 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 11.8 mph
  • Today Ascent – 3,478 feet
  • Today Descent – 2,735 feet
  • Today’s Ending Elevation – 2,981 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 10
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 716.5 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 71.7 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 34,978 feet

The bike ride today was nearly perfect except for one stressful issue.  The great part of the day included: 1) Sunshine all day (regardless of the fact that is was 39 degrees when we had breakfast and only 45 when we started biking at 8:30 am – it did reach the 80s), 2) Continued beautiful scenery, 3) Light traffic on 22 miles of bucolic country roads (with some climbs over 10% reminiscent of Chester Country), 4) the city of Whitefish, and 5) dinner at the Three Forks Grille in Columbia Falls – the best meal of the trip so far (the Caesar Salad with smoked trout was outstanding).

The bad, really bad, element of the day was 50 miles biking on Route 93 – lots of traffic, little or no shoulder on most of the 50 miles, uneven and broken pavement where I had to ride – overall terrible road conditions – a very stressful experience.  It was only at dinner that we were told by our waiter that Route 93 is the most dangerous road in Montana – certainly not a surprise.  I had a scary moment when a logging truck came so close to me (even without on-coming traffic) that I was blown off the narrow shoulder into the dirt (I kept the bike upright).  Unfortunately, we have one more similar road to ride in North Dakota (Williston to Minot with natural gas trucks) which we are going to revisit biking.

Tomorrow we cross the Rocky Mountains – our last major climb until we reach New York State.

June 27th Photos

Mile 8 – Nate and Diane climbing Old Haul Road. Libby, MT in the background.

Mile 11 – Heading down Lake Koocanusa on Old Haul Road.

Mile 14 – Kootenai River near the end of Old Haul Road.

Mile 15 – Crossing the Kootenai River looking downstream to Libby, MT

Mile 20 – Libby Dam

Mile 20 – Cross country self supported bikers, Rick and daughter Jesse (making the trip for the second time) from Cincinnati, and Nick, a college student in Outdoor Recreation at Western Washington University. Nick and Jessie, if I had a daughter, I would cherish the opportunity to do what the two of you are doing – best wishes for the best father-daughter experience.

Mile 25 – Lake Koocanusa

Mile 27 – Lake Koocanusa whose shore I paralleled for 48 miles today.

Mile 30 – Lake Koocanusa behind me.

Mile 31 – Lake Koocanusa shoreline Route 37 ahead of me.

Mile 35 – Route 37 along Lake Koocanusa.

Mile 45 – Route 37 and Lake Koocanusa behind me.

Mile 65 – Sun finally came out on approach to Eureka, MT.

Mile 70 – Eureka, MT in sight.

Eureka, MT – View from hotel, Ksanka Inn.

Classic Adventures SAG wagon.