Day 10: Missoula to Lincoln, Montana

I was itching to start pedaling again after yesterday’s rest day.  Sleeping is good, but  I could be sleeping at home in a bed that is far more comfortable than many of the motels where I am staying.

I woke up at 4 AM, but it was too dark to pedal.  I went back to bed and checked again at 5 AM.  It was still too dark.  I woke up at 6 AM.  The sun was up and the restaurant beside the Motel 6 was now open for breakfast.  I was the first customer of the day!  I had a cheese omelet and went back to my room to pack up.

I was on the road pedaling at 7 AM, which for me is shockingly early.  I tell people one of the reasons I like being a professor is that I can sleep in,  but not today.

Pedaling that early in the morning has some pluses.  There are few cars on the road.  It is peaceful.  It is cool.  The big minus is that the sun rises in the east and I am pedaling due east.  During the early morning hours it was hard for me to see.

I wasn’t worried about the cars seeing me.  First, because there were so few on the road Sunday morning.  Second, the road and the shoulder were separated by  a large rumble strip.  Any car veering into the shoulder would make a horrible noise warning both myself and the driver.

The plan for the day was simple.  Pedal abut 80 miles uphill to Lincoln, Montana.  The Rockies are like the letter “M.”   I went up the left side of the “M” from Idaho into Montana.  I then came down into the middle of the M going through towns like Alberton.  The middle part of the “M” was Missoula.  Today I am climbing the right half of the “M.”  If all goes according to plan tomorrow morning I will cross a mountain pass, which is the top of the “M”‘s right side.  Then it should be mainly downhill to Great Falls, which finishes the Rockies and the analogy.

I thought the road (Montana route 200) would have no services but was pleasantly surprised.  There were a couple of gas stations, with bathrooms and even one highway rest area.  The negative part of the route is that today there are many campers and recreational vehicles on the road.  These are large vehicles, often driven by inexperienced operators.  People with a regular car or truck license should not be able to drive an RV unless they pass a test showing they are qualified.

I arrived safe in Lincoln.  There are four motels in town.  One advertises that haunted rooms can be had for no extra charge.  I passed on that one.  One advertises it is the cheapest.  I passed on that one since it was a half-mile more to walk for dinner.  The third seemed very dumpy.  I decided on fourth called the “Three bears Motel.”

So far I have been in the motel for a couple of hours and it seems “just right.”  The only strange thing is that my room has four chairs.  I was expecting just 3; one for mamma bear,  one for papa bear and one for baby bear.  I guess the fourth is used by Goldilocks when she stays in my room, which is room #3.

5 thoughts on “Day 10: Missoula to Lincoln, Montana”

  1. You deserve a couple of less eventful days (and some porridge that is just right). All the better for the climbing days. That sushi bowl looked tasty by the way.

  2. The fourth chair is for the guy who is biking across the country. That way there is a place to sit for all of you. Remember though, don’t feed the bears.

  3. Hi Jay, I am taken with how the everyday things here – a gas station, rest area or an extra chair – take on tremendous significance on the journey you’re taking. What an adventure! Good luck on that right side of the “M” Lenny

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