June 27, 2004

6/27/04 Aspen Grove Camp MT

84 miles (2383 total)

Todd is an experienced touring cyclist having done several solo and group tours. He had an idea about opening a hostel and with the Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail in mind, picked Great Falls. I'm sure glad he did.

B & B Hostel in Great Falls

My usual early start was even more important today. My route would cover 80-miles and cross the Continental Divide. So I needed as much time as I could muster because it was sure to be a long climb over the Rocky Mountains.

Great Falls seemed abandoned as I rode through empty streets this early Sunday morning. Stopped for a chat with the woman at the Sinclair station in Vaughn. Probably should have stocked up on goodies as I don't think there are any more services along the highway until I reach Lincoln tomorrow.

The road wound it's way among lesser cousins of the Rocky Mountains ahead. Even having seen them before, these mountains continue to instill awe. Kind of makes everything seem small and inconsequential with them looming overhead.

Rocky Mountains

Finally hit roads with long passing lane climbs. Seemed I get to the top of one climb, only to loose all that elevation gain on the downhill.

Just got lucky that Bowman's Saloon was open. This business out by itself in the middle of nowhere was doing brisk business with people headed to Agusta for the big rodeo today. Didn't seem to matter that it was only noon. But lunch was just the energy I needed for the next push over the pass.

Downhill, but look at those 'uphills' ahead

The odd thing was that the road leading up to the pass all day seemed more difficult that the pass itself. Was a little nervous because traffic was heave and there wasn't much of a shoulder. The toughest part was the last two miles But the smell of pine was refreshing as I grunted my way up to the crest.

As passes go, Roger's Pass isn't all that high at 5610', but considering that I was at 3335' this morning, it was high enough. Met a father who was waiting for his wife and daughter to make the climb. She had told him she wanted to bike across Montana, so every weekend, they bike another section. Good for her.

Now, it's all downhill to the Pacific

Thought I'd get a screamer of a descent but it was too gradual to gain any speed. The big concern was I was headed straight for a rain storm. Put my rain gear on and tried to race it to the campground. Made it just as it started to rain.

Had to cook under the roof of the outhouse but that was ok because the smell probably kept the mosquitoes away. Didn't have much else to do so went to bed early. A couple of hours later, the sun finally came out just in time for sunset.