Hot days and hot nights

We said we’d be in Missoula by August 1. To make good on that promise, we need to leave Marion. The forecast predicts temperatures in the 90s, so we give ourselves four days to get there.

Our local expert recommends Thompson River Road. We deviate from the Divide (again) and connect a series of paved and dirt roads from Marion to Missoula.

A lazy morning means a late start, and the sun is already high in the sky. My legs are sluggish and I feel directionless today. We only have 30ish miles to go. What’s the hurry?

image

The ponderosa pines whisper to me in the wind, luring me in for a nap in their shade.

Huckleberries line the creekside and supplement lunch.

image

We pedal on, but I’m distracted, constantly looking for a good swimming hole.

Around a bend, we find camping with picnic tables and a swimming hole. This will do. Everyone is happy.

The morning sun is slow to reach the valley floor. I drink tea in my down coat.

Thompson River Road spits us out onto Highway 200. We arrive in Plains and search out burgers and ice cream. After digesting, we swim in the river. Someone fishes from the bridge. The heat is opressive, but I could get used to this, I think.

image

Photo by Tyndall Ellis.

image

Down the road, train cars sit idle in Paradise, waiting for a crew.

image

Back in the ponderosas, we camp for the night.

Morning brings a big climb. At the top, I stretch and eat huckleberries before zipping down.

image

image

image

Soon, we’re cruising through ranchland. There’s not much shade and the sun is climbing. Just when I think we’ll be riding through the afternoon on pavement into Missoula, the Nine Mile Ranger Station appears. There’s big shady trees and green grass.

image

Photo by Tyndall Ellis.

Coyotes yip in the night as I gaze at the Blue Moon from the tent.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Hot days and hot nights

  1. I hope that you are getting used to the heat because there is lots of heat coming. Tyndall is taking great pictures and you have amazing prose.

    Like

  2. Hey Tyndall! It’s Katie…from AVRS. Found your blog via facebook – looks like an awesome idea and itinerary, way to jump right in there and make things happen! I done quit my job April 1 and am bumming around the west until Thanksgiving, so I’ll keep tabs on yall to see if we end up in the same state sometime, it would be hilarious to cross paths and swap paperbacks. Been thinking about building up an old rigid fork mtn bike into a tourer for next spring…might have to pick your brain.

    P.S. How do those packrafts handle? I’ve heard good things but I just can’t see how that could be, from their trim.

    Like

    • Hey Katie, Good to hear from you. Be sure to send me a note if you think we will get close. We are heading down the Divide Trail put together by Adventure Cycling. Likely to be in New Mexico by October. We love the pack raft. It’s an incredible tool for Alaska where access doesn’t exist. It’s a very forgiving boat. It’s not made to track though. So if you are paddling through lots of slow water it may not be the best choice.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s