I’m so excited to be back in the mountains after 2 weeks biking across flat stretches of road in scorching sun. Eastern Montana has been the most challenging part of the tour for me thus far. After the hills of North Dakota, I welcomed the mostly flat roads through this next State, but did not anticipate how defeating it would feel to see the next town over the horizon for hours while pushing through 20+ mph winds straight in the face.
During the days we faced 100+ degree heat, so most decided to get up and ride just before sunrise and at sunset meaning my sleep schedule was completely turned upside down. Around Saco, MT was where we met the mutant mosquitoes. We did a night ride and even speeding downhill, we were being pelted by the insects in the face, breathing them in thick clouds and many still found a way to land on us as we were riding. Once we reached our stop, I had collected hundreds of bites along my legs, arms and face. The following day, we decided to face the heat of midday to escape these bugs, but were absolutely blown away when we realized they were still out and about and still biting like crazy!
I have accepted being perpetually tired, thirsty and hungry. Moral began to drop within the group after Wolf Point, MT, where 2 riders were attacked by stray dogs. Many bike issues came up over the last 2 weeks and some of the group were forced to hitchhike as there were no bike shops to do repairs for almost 200 miles. In spite of all this, we are all still strong, healthy and grateful. As soon as we reached Cut Bank, MT and we could see the mountains in the distance, it was incredible to see how everyone’s spirits lifted. The air started to smell more familiar and I began to recognize the flora, like old friends, and I felt as if I was coming home! Yes, the mountains are truly where my heart is! I will gladly climb mountains over flat roads and headwind any day!
We made it to St. Mary’s campground in Glacier National Park on July 31 after a 3,000ft vertical climb over 20 miles. After spending so many days on the road with hardly ever seeing a single tree, I almost broke into tears when we finally came upon a forest with trees all along the road sheltering us from the late afternoon sun as we climbed. The Green Riders took a much deserved 2 days of “rest” in Glacier NP. We hiked to Hidden Lake with a mountain goat as our tour guide and took our time climbing up through the clouds to Logan Pass, being rewarded with the most incredible 25 mile downhill ride to the west side of Glacier and then spent the next day swimming and lounging at Lake MacDonald. We arrived in the beautiful town of Whitefish, MT yesterday afternoon where we worked in a community garden at the local Lutheran church. Today we ride to Trego, MT (only 40 miles away) where we will be planting fruit trees at an organic farm. At this point, our group has rescued about 4,500 lbs of food from dumpsters. So far, my favorite dumpster meal was in Shelby, MT, where we found pineapple, coconut, strawberry and limes and made an epic smoothie to go with our dumpster bread and tomato sandwiches!
My beautiful rode bike is holding up nicely! So far, I have only had 1 flat tire! *knock on wood* Two miles outside of Cut Bank, my left front rack broke off and started dragging on the road. The bolt had snapped off in the rack, but Adam and I were able to use pliers to take it out and luckily I had extra bolts. This took about 25 minutes on the side the road to repair. We also MacGyvered my large saddle bags that had started to rip apart just after entering Montana!
Thank you all so much for following! I have been working on a poem about gratitude for the last month and hope to have it finished by the time I reach Big Summit Prarie, OR where my bike tour ends. A group of us will be leaving the rest of the Green Riders from Sandpoint, ID to head south to Oregon. Due to timing of the festival, lack of ride shares available and the bike tour end date shifting, those of us attending the Eclipse Fest will not be able to finish in Seattle. A majority of the group will be heading to Vancouver, BC, Canada in late August, so we will have a Green Riders reunion in Canada!
Much love and joy to all of you! Special shout out to Vail Valley Vixens and Venture Sports.