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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Northern Transcon Day 7 - Thompson Falls to Missoula MT

The unofficial message at the start of this adventure was, if you can make it to Missoula, you can probably make it to the end.  Well, after 7 days on the road, I'm doing ok with just a little bit of foot discomfort for the last couple of hours.  However, we still haven't traveled as far as a 1200 kilometer brevet (750 miles), and I finished that in slightly less than 4 days in 2014.  The difference is that all of the riding on the Northern Transcon is in daylight, and there is a full night's rest every night.

Skies were overcast with a bit of fog this morning, but no rain.  It was a little chilly, but the sun shone through after a couple of hours.  We followed the Clark Fork River for about 30 miles before State Highway 200 continued east through Dixon and Arlee and joined US 93.  We kept on US 93 south all the way into Missoula.  There was a long 6 mile climb from mile 80 through 86, but otherwise the terrrain was moderate.  Montana makes heavy use of rumble strips (shallow depressions in the pavement to alert an inattentive driver) along the shoulders.  Unfortunately, they often are right in the center of the shoulder where a cyclist would like to ride, forcing bikers to either ride out in the traffic lane, hugging the white line, or on a very narrow strip of pavement between the rumble strip and the edge of the pavement.  Some highways have wide shoulders which, although normally littered with pieces of tire tread and small gravel, are still safer than riding at the edge of the traffic lane.

 It is now pretty warm in Missoula.  We will need to depart here half an hour earlier than usual tomorrow due to the longer mileage (136) between Missoula and Butte MT.  There will also be 2000 feet of additional climbing.

We have had a couple of special treats at lunch so far - ice cream bars from a visitor's center on Thursday, and huckleberry milkshakes today from a cafe near the town of Revoli.

A less glamorous part of PAC Tour - drying some laundry in the motel room.
Clark Fork River
Clark Fork River
Clark Fork River from a rest stop
We saw a lot of freight trains and had to wait a few minutes for this one to pass
Gear bags are lined up waiting for riders to claim them
A vintage steel bike, or possibly a "KOF" (Keeper of the Flame; recent build using old methods)
Most titanium bikes are unpainted, but this one by Merlin has a custom paint job
Not seen very often - Scripture verse on a seat stay
Another vintage steel by Columbine in Colorado
Maybe the most unusual bike here - all carbon but all of the cables are completely hidden inside the frame.  Handlebars and stem are molded into a one piece carbon unit


  1. Terrific pictures. An amazing trip! Love the scripture on the frame.

  2. Checking in with you daily .. regards to you and Mz D.

    Peggy C