It's a Go….Maybe
December 8th, 2014
Much has happened since the last post, negative and positive. I set 8-04-14 as my start date because the flight was $119 while the other dates were between $169 and $179. A week before the start date, I shipped by bike, trailer, camping gear, clothes, etc. to Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, Montana. I told them to assemble the bike. Just one less thing to worry about. A couple of days before the start date, Glacier Cyclery calls and informs me that while assembling my bike they find that the frame is cracked and can’t be fixed…I need a new bike. They said that they had a bike that I might like. It has 27 1/2 inch wheels and my bike has 26 inch wheels. I did buy new tires (not steel beaded) and tubes for my bike and they couldn’t be switched out.
Talk about uncontrollable anxiety and having, basically, sleepless nights. I thought of all kinds of back up plans, such as, calling another bike store in Kalispell, Mt. This guy was big on 29 inch wheel bikes. That put me into a real spin. On Monday, the day of my flight, I called Keith and he basically, calmed me down by telling me that 27 1/2 inch wheel bikes were what people were buying. 26 inch wheel bikes were old school. He also, informed me that 99% of new bikes did not come with steal beaded tires, which can be can be a nightmare changing…think crow bar, smashed fingers, and lots of cussing.
The flight to Seattle went without a hitch and I got a bonus when Mt. Rainier poked it’s head out through the clouds. Needless to say, I took more than a few photos. I transferred to a crop duster for the flight to Kalispell. I won’t go into any detail, or anything in general, regarding that leg of the trip. I got to my room at Cheap Sleep ($127) at 1am and of course had a fitful night’s sleep thinking about what this bike looked like that they set aside for me. I just hoped it would work out because the thought of renting a car and going to Kalispell to check out their inventory only added to my anxiety.
Glacier Cyclery is about 1 1/2 miles from Cheap Sleep, so picture me walking down the street dragging this old beat up suitcase with a green stripe spray painted across it, so it would be easy to identify. When they brought out the bike, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I took it for a spin and told them “wrap it up”. Actually, they spent most of the day modifying the bike, such as adding the bike computers from my old bike, the seat, and what took a really long time was adapting the rear housing, which was radically different than the housing on my old bike, so it would accept the trailer axle. You know technology, they’re always changing things.
Well, to make along story short, I got out of the bike shop at 2 and was hell bent on riding to Eureka, Mt, 50 miles. It was in the 90’s and pulling this trailer, which was more than fully loaded, was proving more difficult than I thought it would. At around 30 miles I knew I had to find a place to camp, no way could I make it to Eureka, unless it was in an ambulance. I spotted this house with what seemed like an acre of lawn and checked with the owner, who came out of the house looking and acting like Yosomite Sam, about camping on his lawn. His way of saying no was to inform me that there was a campground two miles up the road. Wow! two miles away, no problem, even though it turned out to be five miles.
I was more than happy to see the sign, North Dickey Lake Campground, even though the small sign under it read, “Campground Full”. My plan was to inform the camp host that I had a chronic condition that required immediate attention, which was rest. I didn’t have to say anything because when she saw what I look like, basically, beat to hell she said she has a site for me. Then she brought out from her motor home, fruit, candy, crackers, and lots of cold water, even a cold wet towel for my head. In no time I felt 100%, well actually, 60% better.
The site she had for me was on the side of a hill, so I didn’t know how I would get my bike and trailer up there. Just then, the direct neighbor of the host said he had a tent site that he wasn’t using because he had his trailer. He and his family are from Canada and they were very gracious. Before leaving to visit their friends in another camp site they left me several slices of pizza and two can of beer.
To fully recover from the beating I took today, I decided to stay another day at Dickey Lake. The next day I did go for a short bike ride minus the trailer to have a late breakfast at this cafe I was told about. After breakfast I hung around the lake and eventually, went swimming to cool down. It’s still in the 90’s.
Today, which is 8-07-14, I rode to the U.S./Canadian border, the official start of the Great Divide Route. I rode ten miles on the route, which is a paved road, that went through ranch land and had a couple of nasty hills. The route took me back through Eureka. It was around noon and it was hot and I was next to this motel so I decided to treat myself to a room as opposed to camping in a city park. Next to the room, was a Subway with wifi and I spent more than a few hours working on this blog, downloading and editing photos and having to redo part of the blog because I hit the wrong button and things disappeared. You know computers. Tomorrow, I’ll be heading to the backwoods, so the blog will be on hold for a while.