I wrote briefly from Seeley Lake, but it got late and I ran out of time. That night we slept in 10×12 canvas tents out behind a motel, and Leslie and I shared ours with a northbounder named Tricia. She slept on her pad on the floor and was just fine, but Leslie and I were cold up on our pad less cots! Live and learn!
Tricia started at the Mexican border in late May with another rider but he wanted to go faster so he went on ahead. He only lasted a few weeks and called it a trip! But she persevered and kept riding solo. She kept thinking well, maybe I’ll just do a few more days… Now she is just days from finishing at the Canadian border! She was fun and funny and it was quite inspiring to hear her stories. I know I’ve been glad to be with others many times already, someone to bounce directional questions off of, someone to make noise with while waiting for a bear to wander off!
Anyway, from Seeley Lake we rode 48 miles to the Nelson Campground on Coopers lake. At the top of a 13 mile gravel climb we met a group of 4 wheelers who we chatted with for quite a while. Eventually we rejoined pavement and entered the cute little town of Ovando. It looked like a tiny town out of an old Western movie. The folks in town were super nice and even offered us a place to camp. We hung out for a couple hours chatting with two road cyclists riding from Florida to Portland, Oregon.
I’d been running with a squeaky chain for a few days. I’d had it lubed at a bike shop in Seeley Lake, but they didn’t do a thorough enough job so I squeaked again in no time. John and I unloaded and flipped it and got if back to running like new!
At Nelson’s campground there were two tiny sites left with barely anywhere to put tents! We split in pairs and slept on very sloped spots! It was a gorgeous lake nestled high in the mountains, so it didn’t matter that the ground was uneven! The campers next to Leslie and I were very friendly and offered to house our food overnight in the cab of the truck so we didn’t have to try to figure out a bear hang.
From Coopers Lake we climbed 6 steep miles cross over Huckleberry Pass then dropped way back down into the town of Lincoln. At only a 22 mile day or so we were in town by noon. Typically the guys climb way faster than Leslie and I and hang out at the summit for us to catch up, but they were not at the summit when we got there today. Leslie and I kept going anyway and never caught up with them. We assumed it was an easy day and they’d just booked it for town. However we got into town and can’t find them anywhere. We’ve left our bikes out in front of the library and decided we might as well do some blogging while we wait. We’re just hoping they aren’t waiting for us somewhere up on the mountain! It was a pretty obvious route with good signage today though, so my guess is they are just in a bar somewhere and their bikes aren’t visible from the road!
Update: They texted from the local bar where we met them for a relaxing afternoon snack. They had been swimming at the top of the pass and we’d blown right by them!