RA21: New Phase

East Glacier MT to Shelby MT

You’re out of the woods…
Step into the sun
Step into the light

From The Wizard of Oz

I slept great in our house in East Glacier MT.  The bed was one of those “grandma’s feather bed” types, plump with big pillows.

Breakfast pancakes and eggs, then a slow preparation for riding.  Somewhere around 10AM we finally pulled out and started east on US2.  As we pedaled I looked behind us and began realizing that we were saying a long goodbye to the mountains and to the snow.  And hopefully to the rain for a while.

Goodbye Rockies

The westerly tailwinds were killer, like a hand pushing you in the back.   Add in a gradual drop of a thousand feet and you’ve got one wild ride on your hands.  Our resident thoroughbreds Bill and Frank hit over 45 miles an hour in this stretch.

Sailing east

While we cruised east, a convoy of antique cars proceeded in the opposite direction.  It was pretty neat to see them coming because almost every one of the drivers gave a friendly wave to us cyclists.

Antique convoy

The six of us all made Cut Bank before 1:30PM, covering 50 miles.  Jack and I found the gang at a McDonalds being interviewed by some ladyfans, and we all reveled in the great tailwinds.   The consensus was to eat lunch and then continue eastward.

Rendezvous at McD's
iPhone pals

Jack and I then toured through the town looking for some local eats and finally found the C&L Country Café on Central Avenue.  This was one of those really excellent finds, a diamond in the rough.  Off the main road and down by the tracks, all the clientele were locals, and when we got to talking with them it seemed they all knew each other and many were related in some fashion.  Farmers talking farming.  They asked lots of questions about our trip and we ended up talking quite a bit with an older gentleman who had all sorts of stories and history pouring forth out of his brain to willing listeners.  The food was good, but meeting these friendly folks was even better.  I really like to go to this kind of place.

C&L Country Cafe in Cut Bank MT

Another wind assisted 25 miles into the town of Shelby, MT.   This was easily the easiest 75 miles I’ve ever done in a day.   We didn’t tour through Shelby much, but rather went straight to a campsite north of town, set up, and spent the afternoon looking at maps and talking at the picnic tables.  Jack and I decided we weren’t really all that hungry for dinner, and so nibbled on peanuts and cashews.

The sky has gotten big out here
Campsite in Shelby MT

We all met or remet 2 other touring cyclists using the campground.  One, a fellow named L. E., was a guy we’d met on the road several times in the mountains, touring from Seattle to parts unknown east, maybe New York.  He is a freelance photographer and showed me some excellent work on his online at http://lefteyeimages.photoshelter.com/

Mosquitoes at our campsite went from prevalent to downright thick, and forced everyone to an early retreat behind netting.

One of 2,000,000 of our campsite buddies, recently deceased

75 miles today, currently in Shelby, MT.  Knee status: 30% better and improving.  This is a very happy trend.  Some of the other riders are now feeling some knee twinges, which I attribute to the tailwinds.  It is easy to overpush with a tailwind, trying to take advantage of it.  Hopefully none will be as bad as mine were last week.