Day 59. Missoula MT. | End: De Borgia MT. | Mileage 3447.2
All along interstate 90 orange signs caution drivers. The lanes hop around as the flow of traffic remained constant. At times we would have the entire road to ourselves, both lanes and the shoulder. Disregarding “road closed” signs and walking the bikes over renovated bridges; we made good time and stayed away from the flow of traffic. Northern states make most of their road repairs during the summer months when the weather allows the machinery to work properly on the mountain passes. Deeper into the mountains, mangled and twisted guard rails remind us how dangerous this stretch of road can be. We moved as a pair, watching each other’s back and reached for the safe ground.
Riding into town only a few hundred feet, we stopped and asked a man how far down we need to go. Laughing, he points and says we passed it. This would be Gary; a friendly man whom lives with his wife in the mountains. He offered us a patch of grass to sleep, yet another kind person lending us a hand. With much conversation and the night approaching, he left us to our sleep and the rabbits that roam his yard. The chance for a bear encounter tonight is high he says, walking into his house. We are camping in the mountains where the animals don’t always just run and hide. They are curious and in search of food, thus why I have my air-horn close at hand for any surprise visitors.
We made it to the base of our next big mountain pass, nothing too extravagant when considering altitude, yet a 10-mile climb at 6% grade is not a slice of cake. We shall tackle the pass in the early hours of the morning with the warm sun sinning on our backs as we move evermore west. Another time zone change and state border await us on top of this pass, making it that much more rewarding. Idaho in reach and Washington just beyond, Canada is not too far into the future.
The interstate is the best and most direct route in the direction we need to go, giving us the reason to commute on a normally cycling prohibited zone. We have graduated to the next step of road conditions and didn’t mind the faster traffic on our left. Joking at the topic, all we need to become black belts on the tar road is to jump on an airplane runway. Beginning on modest bike trails and back roads, the step up to highways then interstates was the reflection of our progress on this journey