Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bike America Day 12: Exploring Missoula

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day's distance: 22.25
Average speed: 11.3
Maximum speed: 31.25
Overall distance: 669

After 160 miles in two days, I was ready for a break. My body had been holding up well but things were just starting to nag at me. My neck and shoulders were sore, my hands and wrists hurt from gripping handlebars all day, and my knees and achilles tendons continued to ache. Having pushed it in the days prior, I was in for a treat of a mere 22 mile day.

We still woke up early so that we could take full advantage of our day. Josh dropped my mom and I off 15 miles north of our motel, exactly where we'd quit the day before. He drove back to the motel to edit photos and check out of our room while she and I rode back. The ride was pretty but uneventful. We climbed for a while and were then rewarded with a long downhill. At only 9:30 am, it was hot and I was really glad we wouldn't be continuing on the open blacktop roads as the temperatures rose throughout the day.

We rode the fifteen miles to our motel and six miles from there to our campground, the KOA close to downtown Missoula. I had never stayed in a KOA before and was surprised at what a hopping little village it was. They had a pool and "fun center". There were cabins and tent sites that were mostly full and they advertised their nightly "ice cream social" and daily breakfast.

We set up camp by 1pm and, with plans to swim later, decided to skip our showers and head into town. We ate at Doc's Gourmet Sandwiches which had over 4 stars on yelp. All of our food was totally delicious. I peeked in some clothing stores and small boutiques and had absolutely no motivation to buy cute things with the knowledge that I won't have the opportunity to wear them for months. That's a good way to save money!

Then we went to the Adventure Cycling headquarters. They offer free ice cream, maps and wifi in their "cyclist's lounge" for people who stop in on bike tours. They also, unbeknownst to us, offer free year-long memberships to cyclists who bike in so I signed up. We got our picture on the wall and a new route map and said our goodbyes. Their door handles were pretty sweet.

We drove around the small University of Montana campus and were inspired to google population information on the state. Then we stopped in a local brewery to pick up Montana beer based on the recommendation of one of the adventure cycling staff. The brewery was The Kettlehouse and our beer of choice was the cold smoke scotch ale. She told us this is the beer that all the locals drink.

After returning to camp, Josh and I went for a swim and fired up the little charcoal grill. Dinner was steak, tomatoes and potato salad. We talked for a while, did various forms of internet things, and went to bed. Another long day on the saddle would commence in the morning and we'd have my dad back on the team to participate.

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