Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Whitefish to Eureka - day 36

Total miles biked today is 59 - blue skies with windy conditions in the afternoon (fortunately we were done biking our 59 miles before the wind picked up)

We left Whitefish at 5:10AM this morning and headed to Eureka. We had approx a 20 minute climb out of Whitefish but after that it was more rolling hills the majority of the way to Eureka. Once again we are in a remote area with no places to stop for the first 35 miles.

We arrived in Eureka around 11:00AM and stopped at Jax Cafe for a delicious breakfast. We then checked into our hotel and will spend the rest of the day relaxing. There is a Woman's Bicycle tour group (25 gals ranging in age from 45 to 72) at the hotel tonight. They are biking from Anacortes, Washington to Fargo, ND. I am sure we will be visiting with them this afternoon.

We are only 8 miles from the Canadian border and within 100 miles from Idaho. It seems like we have been riding in Montana for a long time.

Our bike should be good to go now and hopefully we won't have any additional problems. We only have about 600 miles to go and in the overall view of things we have already biked 2200 miles so 600 miles is really nothing. However, we have one huge hurdle to get over and that's called the Cascade Mountains in Washington. We will be biking over 5 mountain passes before we get to Anacortes so the next 600 miles should be interesting and probably a little slower going that we have been doing.

Happy trails - yes, life is good!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

West Glacier to Whitefish - day 35

Miles biked today is 28 miles (we are having our front wheel bearings replaced at the bike shop in Whitefish)

We left West Glacier a little after 5:00am this morning and had another long gradual hill to climb right off the bat. We had a very pleasant ride early in the morning with the birds singing and little traffic to start off with along with more beautiful scenery.

We arrived in Whitefish at 7:30AM and went to eat at a restaurant right across the road from the bike shop. We wanted to make sure that we were at the bike shop when they opened. On our way into town we had stopped at several hotels to check on the availability and the cost and found out that it was going to cost us at least $100.00 for a hotel that night. Whitefish is definitely a tourist area and so due to the time of the year everything is very expensive. We booked a room at the Super 8 hotel and then went and sat by the bike shop waiting for them to open at 9:00AM. While sitting there a gentleman from Whitefish rode up on his bike and started talking with us. To our surprise he told us to cancel our reservation at the hotel and come and spend the evening at his place with him and his wife. It is our understanding he lives up on the mountain and so he will come and pick us and our bike up at 5:00PM with his trailer. Dennis indicated that it is quite steep up to his place so he recommended he pick us up. Dennis has done a number of bicycle tours all over the US and Africa so we are anxious to hear of his adventures.

John and I went for a walk after dropping our bike off at the bike shop and went and did a little shopping. John ended up buying a frame with a saying about "Things his mother taught him" and then we walked to the UPS store to ship it home. While at the store we also had some more calling cards printed up as I only had one left.

From there we walked back to the bike shop and picked up our bike and then went to the library to work on our blog and download some more pictures. Around 3:30 Dennis came to the library and picked us and our bike up and took us up to their home to get cleaned up and then head down to the Farmers Market.

Let me tell you - Dennis and Barb are a wonderful couple and we really enjoyed our time that we spent with them. They gave us a tour of their beautiful town and then we went down by the Farmers Markets where there were vendors set up, food stands, and music to entertain everyone. It was a beautiful sunny day - a little windy but overall a wonderful day! Afterwards we went back to their home and spent a little time visiting and we went to bed about 10:00pm.

Our plans are to leave around 5:00AM to beat the traffic and warm weather. We have about 58 miles to bike to Eureka tomorrow.

To Dennis and Barb - your friendliness and hospitality means so much to John and I. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you ever get to Wisconsin you will have a place to stay.

Happy trails everyone!

East Glacier to West Glacier - back on the bike - day 34

Total miles today was 60 - just getting daylight when we started out at 5:00AM

Today is the day of the big challenge as we will summit the Rockies via Mariah Pass on highway 2 towards West Glacier. We headed out shortly before daylight and immediately started a 12 mile long but gradual climb to the summit at approx. 5216 feet. Once at the top we stopped and took pictures but unfortunately it was so early in the day that we couldn't find anyone to take a picture of the two of us together. We reached the summit about 6:30AM. After taking a few pictures and congratulating each other with a hug and high five we put on our rain gear to break the cold wind of the high altitude on our 13 mile ride down the mountain. We had a total of 57 miles to bike to get to West Glacier and the views were incredible with the Flathead river running along side highway 2 and numerous waterfalls along the way. After our 13 miles descent we took off our rain gear because it was warming up quickly.

One of the waysides that we stopped at on the way down the mountain was called "Goat Lick". This is an area where the mountain goats come down to lick mineral off the rocks along the banks of the Flathead River. We saw about a dozen mountain goats with their kids along the river.

With our early start this morning we ended up completing our 57 miles by 10:00AM and stopped and ate breakfast at West Glacier and had the rest of the day to relax. After checking into the hotel we met 4 bikers that were biking from Anacortes to the east coast. They sat with us by our hotel and we discussed biking stories for a couple of hours. Very enjoyable way to spend part of the afternoon. One of the guys adjusted our rear brake for us - thank you so much as we were having trouble with the brake since the rear wheel was rebuilt last Saturday.

We had dinner and then sat in front of the hotel and enjoyed the beautiful bug free surroundings. One of the gals that worked at the hotel came out and sat and visited with us.

We are planning on leaving at 5:00am again tomorrow to avoid the traffic and to get into Whitefish before the bike shop opens at 9:00 because we need to get new bearings in our front tire. We should have a brand new bike by the time we get done with this trip.

Life is fantastic!

Happy Trails!

Glacier National Park - Sunday, June 27th, 2010 - in car

We started out the day today walking across the street from the hotel and eating at a little restaurant called "Whistle Stop". I ordered French Toast thinking it would come with two pieces of french toast and that would be plenty as we were not biking today. Well the french toast here comes as almost a whole load of bread with apples, cinnamon, and cream cheese filling. WOW - very good but way too much - John also got to enjoy it. Actually we wouldn't have had to order anything else if we would have known the portion sizes.

Afterwards we went to the office at the Sears Motel and asked the gal where she would recommend we go. She suggested that we drive up north of St. Mary's to another part of Glacier National Park called "Many Glaciers". So we hopped in the car and headed north winding our way up the mountain with beautiful views in every directions. We came across a group of 10 or 12 horses that were running wild on the road and into the field. How our grandchildren would love to see that. We have also seen our share of deer but we still have not seen any moose or bear. We were so happy that we had the opportunity to go to "Many Glaciers" with a spectacular waterfall and beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. If you haven't been to Glacier I would recommend a visit here.

After leaving "Many Glaciers" we headed south and drove the "Road to the Sun" again and then headed back to our hotel. We ended up going to dinner at another restaurant just up the road from our hotel and then went to bed early as we are planning on biking to West Glacier tomorrow. Due to the traffic and warmer weather we are planning on getting up at 4:30 and heading to West Glacier by 5:00.

What a great summer we are having!

Life is good!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, June 26th - Car from East Glacier to White Fish, Montana

We got up at 6:30 this morning and hopped in the car we rented and headed for Whitefish, Montana to get to Glacier Cyclery as soon as they open. We need to purchase a new rear tire and additional tubes due to all the flat tires that we have gotten the last 500 miles or so. John is also having the spokes checked out on the rear wheel.

On our way to White Fish we stopped at West Glacier and reserved a hotel for Monday evening. We met a father and son that are biking across the Midwest from the West to the East. Very nice people - in fact, when he found out that we were heading west he gave us a 20% off coupon to use at LaQuinta in SandPoint, Idaho. Nice guy! We exchanged road stories and then continued on to Whitefish.

We arrived at the bike shop around 9:00 and they said they could work on our bike tire but it may not be done until late this afternoon.

So we had the entire day to do what we wanted to and also a car to do some site seeing. One of the mechanics at the bike shop suggested that we drive up to Big Mountain ski resort as the chairs lifts are available to ride to the top for a great view. Once arriving at the resort we bought lift tickets ($10.00 a piece) and got on a chair lift and took it to the top. What an amazing and spectacular view. We did a little site seeing and then took the lift back down and headed back into Whitefish. We stopped at the grocery store and had a late lunch/dinner of grilled chicken and salad before heading to the bike shop to see if our wheel is ready to go.

We are now at the library so I can update our blog and our plans are to pick up our bike wheel at 4:30 and then go to church at 5:00 before we head back to our hotel in East Glacier (90 miles away).

After picking up our wheel we went to church and then headed back toward Glacier. We decided to drive through the park and go up to Logan's Pass (Highway to the Sun) on our way back to East Glacier. What an amazing park and spectualar scenery - every direction you look is prettier than the last. Due to the amount of rain that this area has received the waterfalls are amazing and everything is a beautiful green. On the "Road to the Sun" we came upon two big horn sheep standing in the middle of the road and just looking at us before they turned and ran back up the mountain. We stopped at Logan's Pass Visitor Center but it was already closed for the evening. We will stop back again tomorrow.

We have reserved three nights at the Sears Motel (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) which is really individual tiny, tiny cabins with the bare essentials. This is also who we rented the car from.

Tomorrow we will do some site seeing at Glacier National Park and drive up the "Road to the Sun" road, again, and hopefully get to see some wild animals. Yes, as long as we are in the car I want to see some wild animals. lol

Hope everyone is enjoying there summer!

Happy Trails!