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A long, hard day, but Montana’s on the horizon

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun
I realized last night that I was back in Pacific time and still don’t know how that happened. I didn’t change my watch from mountain time, mostly because it seems like I am always in the mountains.
Today started very early with some concern on several fronts. I knew I had a really long way to go today, and every single bit of it would be uphill. For 65 miles, there would be no services available. Plus it was going to take me more than 20 miles to get to where the 65 started.
I loaded up on water and snacks and stopped for breakfast at the last possible place. My trip today would all be in a deep wooded national forest, the same one that Lewis and Clark crossed as they headed for the Pacific. Part of today’s ride was on the actual Lewis and Clark trail.
The route for today followed the Lochsa River. I, of course, was headed upstream, but it was a reasonable climb. No coasting today. My goal was to go as far as I could, then pitch a tent in one of the many free campgrounds provided by the national forest. The other goal was to get as close as I could to crossing Lolo Pass, the last one in Idaho. The total ride for today was 93 miles. I am totally exhausted, and can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep. The top of the pass is still 13 miles away, but I did reach civilization again, and am staying at the Lochsa Lodge because they give free camping for cyclists. I ate at their restaurant tonight. I didn’t get my needed 8,000 calories today, but they did have a great veggie burger.
Montana comes at the top of the Lolo pass also.
Along the way today, I met Lloyd Johnson and his wife Connie as they volunteered at a historic park ranger site. Lloyd Johnson used to be a wilderness ranger, and we talked about a book that I had read. I’ll get him the title. He also let me fill my water bottles at a much-needed time and also offered information on how steep today’s ride would be.
I will finish Idaho and map 3 tomorrow morning, Then I will be in Montana for map 4. Yellowstone is at the end of map 4. Much of map 4 will be at a higher altitude. I’m ready to go see Montana.

David Freeze is a Rowan County resident and freelance writer.

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