July 4, Libby, MT

An incredible day on the bike today. In stark contrast, yesterday, after a day of rest in Sandpoint, we awoke to the rumblings of thunderstorms. We rode off bundled against the cold temps, surrounded by dark threatening clouds and swirling winds. Not ideal riding conditions. The pavement was wet but as we rode, the sun broke out occasionally and warmed our spirits. The wind continuously swirled around us, a tail wind for a few miles then a side wind then a head wind but never rain. We could see rain bursts around us but we seemed to be threading the needle and not getting rained on. As we ate wonderful sandwiches in a Clark Fork shop called The Pantry, we watched the table umbrellas outside lift in the heavy wind. I was really beginning to believe that we were going to avoid rain on this day’s ride and that jinxed it. We slogged through steady rain for the last 20 miles of the day’s ride but, luckily, it let up just as we entered the campground and we were able to quickly set up our tent before the rain started again.
Already in camp was an Adventure Cycling (the organization that makes the maps that we’re following) tour group. They’re traveling the same route as us with a sag wagon. We quickly made friends with two other couples who were also riding tandems. The rest of the group was really nice too – average age about 60 (in other words, those who have the time to ride cross country). They even treated us to leftovers from their meal of tacos so we didn’t have to cook in the rain.
That night was very cold but when Karla and I got up to pee in the middle of the night the sky was clear, starry and the moon shined brightly through low lying fog. It was so beautiful, we stood and stared for a few minutes – sleep be damned.
We awoke to blue sky and the sun trying to shine through the trees surrounding the campground. Hip, hip, hooray. Ding dong the witch is dead. Yippee. Our best day of riding yet awaited us. Today’s route would take us north for 36 miles along the Bull River and would skirt the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness on its western side. It would then head east for another 15 miles along the Kootenai River for a total of 51 miles. We started the day by visiting another The Pantry and had wonderful breakfast burritos then took off in dense coniferous forest. Large mountainous hills with rocky cliffs surrounded us. Huge swaths of green wet lands with low lying vegetation flanked the Bull River that rang along our path. The Cabinet Mountains with their snowy caps stood in the distance. It was magnificent and our tandem saddles provided the best vantage for this glory.
Karla suddenly called out “Moose!”. On our right was a female running through the marsh. We must have frightened her. Karla was frantically trying to get the camera out when the moose hooked a left and disappeared in the trees along the road before she could get a shot. We proceeded cautiously hoping to get another glimpse. Suddenly, the moose crashed through the underbrush onto the road 100 yards ahead of us. Karla again fumbled with the camera and the moose disappeared in the trees on the other side of the road. Damn missed the shot, again. Ah well, we proceeded down the road reflecting on the magnificence of the huge animal and how lucky we were to see her. Suddenly the moose crashed onto the road, again, a mere 50 yards ahead of us. Foaming at the mouth, the moose clattered awkwardly down the road away from us. Karla finally got a picture before the moose disappeared again in the trees but for the life of us, we can see no moose in that lone picture. Wow, thank you moose, you just enhanced our day and we’re sorry you were so frightened.

Yummy sandwich from The Pantry in Clark Fork , MT

Adventure Cycling van. That’s Tim, one of the leaders.

The folks on the tour with Adventure Cycling.

Tandem captains and their rear admirals.

Beautiful riding along the Cabinet Mountains in Montana.

Ideal moose country with the Cabinet Mountains peaking over the horizon.

The Cabinet Mountains just after our moose encounter.

9 thoughts on “July 4, Libby, MT”

  1. Wonderful post Scott! I was imagining what it must be like for you guys…what an adventure!


  2. Too cool – great post and the sandwich doesn't look half bad either! Need to get an atlas and figure out where you are. Steve

    How lucky to run into that moose! I bet your getting skinny these days. How fit are you getting? Best wishes as you continue. Luv, jace

  3. Wow, the Bull River is a fantastic trout stream. I have not fished it but know it's reputation and it sure is beautiful country. Enjoy, Gerard

  4. You guys just keep making me more jealous. I LOVE the travelogue. Nice way to kinda think we are along for the ride. Take good care my friends
    Love you. Becky

  5. Wow – what a great adventure! It's great to read your descriptions of the day and special events like the moose! Keep on enjoying the ride!

  6. We're in Missoula after driving around Montana for a few days and have made one shocking discovery you should know about. Microbreweries closed at 8 pm, by law. Pubs can stay open longer, but the make-it-and-drink-it here places close early. That has impact in WolfPoint near the eastern border, east of metropolitan Glasgow. According to the Montana Brewers Trail Map (which you might already be using to supplement Adventure Cycling route information), Missouri Breaks Brewing closes at 8, and isn't open on Sundays.

    Knew you would appreciate this important info.

  7. Off to France to morrow so will probably not be able to follow as closely. Looking forward to catching up with the blog when I return. Happy Trails, Sharon

Comments are closed.