Seeley Lake, MT
East Glacier, MT
Home (Larry/Karen Perry's RV)
Cool, Stormy, Hail
It was pretty chilly when we got up this morning. There was steam rising off of Lake Inez in front of our tent - it was really pretty. Also, we were happy to discover that the things we hung in the tree last night to keep them away from the bears were still hanging safely up there this morning. We ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal, put on our cold-weather clothes, and headed out.
We rode 18 miles to the next town, Condon. As we rode on, we noticed the sky looked pretty dark. We knew it would rain, but we didn't know when. It looked like it could start any minute.
Our plan was to get to Condon before the rain, stop at a restaurant, warm up, eat some food, and wait out the storm. We got there before the rain - check -, found a cute little place with a porch to put our bikes under - check -, and went in - check. We were so cold. Normally we warm up as we ride, but today we just stayed cold.
We ordered coffee and hot chocolate, then sat and started drooling just from looking at the menu. We finally decided on the 'Sod Buster' - a double portion of hash browns, with green peppers, mushrooms, and onions smothered in cheesy goodness. Yum, yum. We split it, and when the lady brought it out, she said she made some extra for us because she heard we were biking. Yay!!
We stayed for about an hour, but it never did start raining. The sky was clearing up some though, so we left and went across the street to the general store for some groceries. The sign on the side said they had beans, beer, and bacon. Sounded great, but unfortunately, they didn't have the groceries we needed. When Nathan came out, we called his dad on my cell phone because today is his birthday! He didn't answer, so we sang "Happy Birthday" to the answering machine. Some ladies nearby started dancing and singing with us. It was fun. :-) Feel free to write Dad-Reinhard a happy birthday message in the comment section below the blog!!
I also called my grandpa to tell him where we were. He asked where we were planning to end up today. When I told him we were aiming for Bigfork, MT, he said "I'm in Kalispell right now, and that's just about 10 miles from Bigfork". I was stunned! Kalispell is about 90 miles from where they live in East Glacier, so he was a long ways from home! I told him it would probably take us another 5 hours to get to Bigfork because it was 50 miles away, and he told me he was going to spend the day right where he was, so I should call him when Nathan and I arrive. What a great surprise!
I was full of energy, but before we could keep going, we needed to find some food for lunch, so we went down the road a little further and found a larger grocery store that had what we were looking for - canned chicken and cheese. While we were there, I decided to use their restrooms to change into some warmer leggings, and as I started changing, another girl came in! I thought I had locked the door, but apparently their locks don't work very well...
I'm glad I changed into my warmer leggings, because it stayed pretty chilly all day long. We would warm up for short periods of time, but we mostly just stayed cold today.
On the road, we met another cross country biker, and he is actually trying for a cross-CONTINENT bike trip. His name is Luis, and he is from Portugal. He is an economist and statistician there, but he was able to wrangle 15 months off from his job, so he is taking the time to ride his bike from Alaska down to Argentina in South America!! He was very energetic and friendly - a great person to run into on a cold day like today! You can't really tell from the picture, but we were doing a handshake.
After going a little further, we were getting hungry for lunch, and it started looking like rain again, so we stopped at a little cafe/general store, and had the best carmel latte we've probably ever had. We also enjoyed putting our regular chicken-and-cheese-on-a-hot-dog-bun sandwiches in the microwave for a change. Warm food is so good. :-)
Just like the last time we stopped for potential rain, it didn't rain. So we decided to head out again, and as soon as we went outside, it started raining. Geez. It was just a slight rain, but rain is rain, and this was a cold rain to boot. So, with my grandpa waiting, Nathan and I put on our rain gear and got ready for our first bike ride in the rain.
To my GREAT SURPRISE, it was actually really fun to ride in the rain! We had rain pants, rain jackets, waterproof gloves, shower caps over our helmets, and glasses. The only thing exposed was a little bit of our faces, so we were able to stay nice and dry. I found riding with my rain gear on to be just as fun as playing in the snow all bundled up in a snowsuit. You can totally enjoy the elements while staying cozy and warm - how great!
So, most of the time while it was raining, I was riding with this huge smile on my face, feeling like a hard-core biker as I pedaled through the growing shower with my hubby. I thought to myself that most of the cars passing us probably felt sorry for us because we have to ride in the rain, but I was having such a fun time! I thought to myself that I'll have to remember the next time I see a biker in the rain, they just might be really enjoying themselves!
We were almost to Bigfork, and I thought that we should probably give my grandpa a call to let him know we were still coming and almost there. I called my mom first though, and she said that my grandpa had been driving around looking for us, but he couldn't find us! She asked which road we were on, and I said '83', and she said that my grandpa was on '35'. Eek!
I called my grandpa, and he was indeed on 35 looking all over for us. He had driven 50 miles South, and he was currently driving back North, and he was 35 miles away from Bigfork. I told him we had been on 83 all day, and we were 6 miles from Bigfork. He thought we'd be on 35 because it's a quicker route to Glacier, but our map told us 83, and we didn't realize 35 was quicker, so we were on 83. Bummer.
So we all headed to Bigfork, and Nathan and I arrived about 10 minutes before he did. We met on a street corner, and when he got there, the sky suddenly turned very dark. We all noticed it, but no one said anything. He suggested we follow him to a restaurant. Food sounded good to us, so we agreed! We had only started following him when a very big gust of wind came. It was immediately followed by a massive downpour, and we were still riding our bikes! After about 30 seconds of the downpour, it started HAILING (just pea-sized hail, but still hail!).
I couldn't believe it! I thought it was all so crazy that I just started laughing and could barely keep myself together enough to watch where my grandpa was going! I thought I must look like a lunatic to all the other drivers because I was riding my bike in the pouring rain and hail and I couldn't stop laughing! We still had all of our rain gear on, so we weren't getting wet at all, but our bikes were getting heavier by the second as our bags got drenched in water.
The hail only lasted a few minutes, but it kept on raining. Many places we stopped needed reservations, so we ended up looking for a place to eat for a long time before we found something. We ultimately decided on pizza. We ordered a large and the three of us ate the whole thing! It was good.
After dinner, Nathan and I were examining our clothes and bikes, and we realized that our waterproof gloves were actually only waterproof on the top, but not the sides or the bottom (weird), so our gloves and hands had gotten soaked. Also, our shoes, which were not waterproof at all, were totally soaked, and so our socks and feet were all wet and cold. Our panniers had held up OK, but everything could use a good drying out. We weren't looking forward to camping that evening at a wet campground either...but se la vi, right?
My grandpa said "Well, we can see if we can fit the bikes in the back of my CRV, and I'll just drive you to Glacier National Park if you want".
Hmmmmm......we weren't sure what to do. One the one hand, an extra rest day would be nice, and it would be really great to not have to deal with all of our wet, cold gear. But on the other hand, wouldn't it be like cheating or something if we accepted a ride? After a little thinking and debating, we decided that we really didn't want to spend the night in a cold, wet campsite and then ride on tomorrow with wet, heavy stuff. We ultimately couldn't resist the offer of a ride and a warm, dry bed. So we said that if our bikes would fit, then we'd take the ride. It was quite a challenge to make our stuff fit - we had to take the wheels off, some bags off, lay seats down, rearrange things, etc.. - but we were motivated, so we did it :-)
Stuffed in the car with my grandpa's dog between Nathan's legs and my head between a bike seat and a wheel, we rode 90 miles back to East Glacier and arrived well after dark at my grandparent's RV.
We said some quick hello's, decided to leave the bikes in the CRV overnight, pulled the bed out of their sofa, and went to sleep in front of a space heater with about 4 blankets and lots of pillows. Heaven :-)