Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 15 Tuesday-Friday 7/21-24/09

Day 15 Tuesday-Friday 7/21-24/09
Logan State Park to Whitefish, MT
60 Miles
682 total miles

Tuesday was the day that I made it to sanctuary to my sister-in-law, Manita's, home in Whitefish and a great extended visit with the family where i will stay off the bike for 3 days to rest and recover, visit with family and enjoy summer a bit in Whitefish. The ride from Logan State Park along Rt 2 is very challenging at times, much the same as the passage from Libby to Logan-- disappearing shoulders, big trucks, etc. Once you reach Marion, there's a huge 7 % grade downhill for 3 miles which is thrilling and takes you to a lower, warmer elevation for the remaining ride to Kila. Just outside of Kila, headed to Kalispell, there is a gravel surfaced bike path that eventually turns to pavement-- I don't recommend the gravel part with full touring gear-- too loose and soft in places and I almost lost control, but once he pavement starts, it's a welcome sanctuary from the hwy 2 traffic all the way into Kalispell. My friend and nephew, Matthew gave me a great tip to take the turn off of Rt. 2 onto West Valley Road-- which I followed up to Farm to Market Road (Mt. 424) and rode it all the way to the reconnect above Whitefish. It was slightly longer than going into Kalispell and then up US 93 north out of Kalispell, but so much prettier and far more relaxing, with low traffic and wonderful vistas of the Flathead Valley and surrounding farmlands. The last 3-4 miles of HWY 93 into Whitefish was treacherous! Slow down people!!!

Have spent the past 3 days chilling at Manita's house, spending time with her, Eleanor, Matthew, their baby Olive. Visited the farmer's market, did some errands, got my new contact lenses taken care of and recharged the batteries! Alfred, Audrey and their 3 boys Chase, Sully, and Hans came for dinner last night and we sat down to a big pad Thai feast. Finally niece Nathalie came rolling in late last night, returning from a trip to Phoenix/Tempe area where she was looking at a naturopathic school there. It was great to see everyone out here and enjoy the summer in Whitefish a little with the gang. Thanks for the wonderful hospitality!!!

This afternoon, Matthew and I will ride into the park from Whitefish (no baggage!) where we will meet with Manita, Eleanor and Olive for a night of camping and an early morning rise to ride the Going to the Sun road over Logan Pass and to St. Mary campground for Saturday night. On Sunday morning I get fully loaded again fro my chug across the plains of Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota. I figure it will take me about 10 more days to cross Montana and another 5 for North Dakota, putting me into Minnesota about the end of the first week of August. Time will tell-- it's Big Sky country out here!

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