20 Jul 2010, 10:28pm
1 comment

big beautiful sky

sure is! at any rate it is a groovy little town. we’ve really enjoyed our time here. here’s the catch-up–

after white bird hill, we rolled into grangeville, idaho, and stopped for lunch. it was saturday at 11 and i was pretty excited to see this sign:

but i guess the farmers had all sold out and gone home, ’cause there were maybe three stalls selling crafts and that was it. bummer.

the kiwis caught up with us and we all got some lunch, then continued on.

(niel and adi’s bikes. photo by a.)

(looking down on the clearwater river)

(adi rollin’ along)

kooskia, idaho. like many of the small towns we’ve been through, it’s seen better days…

there was, though, a little natural foods store that sold reed’s ginger beer (our favorite!) and made real fruit smoothies. yum yummm. the kiwis got a motel room for the night and let us hang out with them for awhile until the evening started to cool things off a little bit.

from kooskia…

(oh boy oh boy!)

(we passed a bunch of houses on the other side of the river that looked to be accessible only by cables like these. we saw this one in action but i wasn’t quick enough with my camera. there was a gondola-type-thing that people rode in.)

we made it to syringa, where a lodge-type-place let us pitch our tent and sold us some milk with which to cook our morning granola. it’s so much better with milk.

(this is why it takes us an hour and a half to pack up camp every morning)

the next morning we started climbing.

the clearwater river really lived up to its name! there were all kinds of little side creeks leading into it and making pretty little rapids and waterfalls, too, but none of my photos of them turned out very well, i guess. at some point it became the lochsa river.

(we stopped to visit the historical lochsa ranger station, now a sort of museum. this was the root cellar.)

like i think i mentioned, we’d thought we might get to lolo pass, but we didn’t. instead we set out again the next morning–still pretty darn tired, to be honest–with thirteen miles to go to the summit and the state line.

at every mile marker we sang a little song that a. made up:

thirteen miles of climbing to go
thirteen miles to climb!
go up a hill,
oh what a thrill,
twelve more miles of climbing to go! (yay!)

eventually, of course, we made it. there was a little visitors’ center where we learned some more about lewis & clark and the nez perce–oh, history i have learned a lot about on this trip so far by reading roadside signs: the gold rush, mining, the oregon trail, lewis & clark, the nez perce indians, the lolo trail. ask me about it sometime.

and then, and then!

that’s right! we rode our effin’ bikes to effin’ montana!!

montana is funny. starting down the other side of the pass towards missoula on narrow winding route 12, we passed these two signs in quick succession:

just a thought, montana, but maybe lowering the speed limit might help reduce the number of little white crosses by the roadside?

after an ugly eight-mile stretch of busy highway and gravelly shoulder, we arrived in missoula. hurray!! we met our couchsurfing host, micah, and abandoned our bikes at his place to explore on foot.

(missoula is so cool there is whitewater kayaking right in the middle of the city! seriously, we were downtown when i took this photo.)

(folks watching the kayakers)

we wandered downtown, ate an amazing dinner at an asian fusion place, and then went to a bar/venue called top hat, where a portland(!) band was playing bluegrassy music. drank spiked huckleberry lemonade.

today we slept late and then went out for breakfast.

(it made me laugh)

as we were finishing up with breakfast, we saw adi and niel ride past! so we walked over to the adventure cycling offices, where we were sure we’d find them. we got to say hi to them one last time (their route takes them in a different direction after missoula) and also picked up a new tire for a. that my mom had sent there for us (thanks, mom!).

micah had left us a note inviting us to come visit the farm he works at, so when we finished at the aca offices we walked out there.

micah showed us around and harvested a few tasty carrots for us:

we fed the greens to the pigs:

(a. in the childrens’ double helix garden)

pretty awesome place. afterwards we walked downtown again, and found the hand-carved carousel in caras park–

(the ticket booth)

right next to the carousel building is a playground that reminded me so much of the playground i played on when i was tiny in carlisle, massachusetts (”the castle”) that i would swear they had the same designer. awesome. the castle didn’t have cool paint like this one though:

or musical instruments:

we got pizza for dinner and then went to see a political documentary at an arthouse theatre. and then we watched the sun set again.

we are a little sad to leave missoula, so we’re gonna take our sweet time tomorrow morning and maybe even stick around for lunch. but here’s the back side of that painted electrical box i posted at the top of this entry:

so i bet we’ve got some awesomeness ahead of us, too.

23 Jul 2010, 8:37am
by Jim Bangs

You have a wonderful blog here and I have enjoyed reading about your trip. I got here through John Meiners CGOAB blog.

Maybe we will cross paths in Colorado, I will be on a bike trip to New Mexico starting next week.

That playground looks like a “Leathers” playground design…we have one here in Estes Park. They have designed playgrounds built with natural materials all over this country.

Nice job with the pics….beautiful!!



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