August 18, 2001

8/18/01 Clearwater Lake

51.6 / 6423 miles

When I went to bed the sky was nothing but stars. That's why I was a little surprised to hear it raining pretty hard about 3AM. Woke up for a couple of minutes trying to get my brain to decide if there was anything to do. Rolled over and went back to sleep.

The good thing is that it's so dry here, the road first soaked up the rain. And as a side benefit, it also cut down on the dust (but just a little). Today's ride had us on all sorts of surfaces; hard packed gravel, packed dust, loose dirt, double track (also called jeep track), and single track trail. A lot of ups and downs too. I even got to jump a half dozen downed trees, not an easy task pulling a trailer.

The highlight of the morning was stopping at Jim Creek to get some more water. Cool name and the water tasted soooo good. Looked like someone had camped there recently too.

Imagine that - Jim Creek

"Campsite Closed" was what greeted us when we reached Holland Lake, our planned destination. We stopped at the Holland Lake Lodge to see about some lunch but it is "fine dining" and you need a reservation. Instead of stealth camping at the closed campground, we decided to push on. It would lessen our climbing and mileage for tomorrow (reported to be one of the hardest sections on the entire route) plus there was supposed to be a pretty nice lake about 10-miles ahead.

Now we're talkin'!

The one kink in the day came to my notice as we were leaving the Lodge. One of my pedals had a broken clip that my cycling shoes are supposed to cleat into. A closer inspection showed that a hinge screw had come loose and I'd lost the tension adjuster completely. The pedals are still usable, but only on one side. I'll probably have to replace them in Helena or Butte. Bummer! And I just bought those pedals in Washington.

The last miles of the day were on an overgrown road, closed to vehicle traffic, that got thicker as we went. You couldn't even see the dirt most of the time, but you could feel when you got out of the track. Finally it abruptly ended with a wall of dirt. Mike said that without the trailer he could have probably rode up it. But because of them, we had to get off the bikes and push.

The hiking trail down to the lake was real technical single-track, meaning lots of obstacles like tree roots and rocks to maneuver about. I think I did pretty well. The big problem will be going back up this steep trail the 1/2 mile back to the road.

Camp along Clearwater Lake

I'm camped almost on the shoreline of Clearwater Lake. We have it all to ourselves. Decided to hang our food bags tonight in case of bears. Mike and I are slowly getting to know each other. I have a feeling we could go the distance as a team. In a few days, I'll ask him if he feels the same way.