7 Days, 335 Miles, 2 Provinces, 1 Big Montana!

Where to start?! Marty and I had a late start out of Banff. It was raining, not drizzling, raining. The terrain was alot of rock, ups and downs, fording large puddles, and basically a whole lot of not fun. We stopped at the first campground about 20 miles in and set up camp. So grateful for waterproof pants and the investment of buying a nice tarp! Camp was gorgeous even in the rain and one camper said we had a wolf visitor in the night.

The next day was still rain and though we hit “gravel”, we were fighting the slush of the road, the easiest of hills required our granny gear and the altitude was clearly a factor. We stopped every few miles, walked and eventually found a lodge to get dry. We considered staying, but at $546, we didn’t. We did drink 5 cups of tea before heading out again.

Fortunately for us the weather cleared and the riding was much better. But both of us “bonked”. For those who don’t know the experience, it’s basically your body being depleted of energy and you just feel very fatigued. Given our low mileage again, we started doubting exactly how much of the route we could do.

The next day was sun again which lifted our spirits. We managed an easier 43 miles and had we left earlier had the feeling we could have gone further. But it was getting late and we stopped at an informal campground with a firepit, decorated with beer cans and guns shells…

So yes the views were wonderful blah, blah, blah… But getting on the bike again was tedious! We kept in mind that this was day 4 ( the time which many people want to quit), and we booked a hotel in the town of Fernie. This place was so cute! The hotel was a true cycle hotel with free laundry and a bike washing station! We walked to the pub and had our first beer of the ride ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. We discussed our slow progress and decided we had seen the best parts of our Canadian portion and planned to hit the road to make up some time and get the heck out of Canada!!

Blue Steel butt cream is a superstar!

The next day we crossed the border into Montana and I rode the most mileage I have ever done, 67.7 miles! We both felt great! We stopped at a good restaurant in Eureka where Marty had a hamburger with huckleberry ice cream in it (Soo good!) And we ran into other cyclists riding the trail. We had one guy come up to us who is from Winthrop, WA. Apparently he and his friend we’re motorcycling the area, checking out routes for future bike rides. That night we rode on and campec along a beautiful stream. The next morning, still in the tent, we heard a weird animal noise and then Marty abruptly thrashed around having just been “attacked” by unknown wildlife…. A.k.a a squirrel :). Surviving the harrowing attack, my brave man made breakfast and back on the road we went.

This was a climbing day, but still we did much better than day 2! We met a man from Oklahoma cycling with a sidearm ๐Ÿ™‚ who we played leap frog with for the remainder of the day. We slowly passed him walking up a portion of the second hill climb where we later got off to walk abit. This is where I was attacked viciously by mosquitos that bite through clothes and cycling gloves. Just miserable. Too tired to ride to keep the mosquitos away and too miserable not to ride. We pushed out bikes as quickly as our muscles would let us, got to a flat part in the road and started riding again. 5 Miles down the road we made camp near a lake where I soaked my hands in the cool water for some relief, then quickly set up the tent and fell asleep until dinner.

By the way, I’m not any thinner… This is crap. No donuts, no excessive eating, and pushing a bike all day everyday, what’s up?

We arrived in Whitefish where we ran into ‘Oklahoma’ again. He told us that just a minute or so after we passed him a black bear was on the road! Kind of sad to have missed it. He just told it to go away, and it did. His ride ended for the day in town with a hot tub. Marty and I pushed on to the little, but nice town of Bigfork. We had dinner at the Flatheads brewery where Marty had a jalapeno poppers hamburger (also very tasty). We took advantage of a free room from booking.com and that leads to this morning where I’m relaxing in bed with some coffee and woohoo! Marty surprised me with a donut from the hotel lobby :). Definitely not Sluy’s, but it works!!