Colgate Campground, ID
Home (Carla Green)
It was really cold when we woke up this morning. I'm not sure of the temperature (mid 40's?), but I'm pretty sure it was our coldest morning yet!
Nathan was able to get a fire going this morning. All the wood we gathered last night and put in the fire pit must've dried out some, I guess. It was a nice fire, and we sat by it while we ate breakfast. We tried a new breakfast food today - peanut butter on a hot dog bun with uncooked oatmeal on top. It was actually pretty good! We didn't want to cook our oatmeal because there was no running water at the campground to cook or clean our dishes with, so we would've had to use the water from our water bottles, and we definitely didn't want to do that!
After breakfast, we packed our stuff up and put on almost all of our cold weather bike gear. We were both feeling numb all over when we started riding. But after a few miles, we started warming up....aaaahhhhhh :-)
We had only gone about 5 miles when we met Mike and Anna, some fellow cross-country bikers. They were on a tandem bike riding West to the Oregon coast. Apparently, they had tried to ride across the country before, but they ran into 3 weeks of rain and hail, so they had to stop their trip and go home. Now, they are picking up where they left off and finishing their journey to the West Coast. Good job guys!
Just a few miles later, we met some more bikers! This was a big day for us. Ken and Jen were also riding across the country east to west like Mike and Anna, but they were on recumbent bikes. We had now met cross country bikers on regular bikes, tandem bikes, and recumbent bikes. And we have seen bikes with panniers (saddle bags, like we have) and bikes with B.O.B.'s (special bike trailers, short for Beast Of Burden). It's pretty interesting to see all the variation in bike touring.
So anyway, Ken and Jen were totally cool. They were riding to support organ donation, and they were biking with their Chihuahua, Simon. Simon loves to bike and camp - how great is that?! They also told us about this amazing place called Hot Sulfur Springs, Colorado. It's got a hot springs (obviously) that's really great (obviously), and also a restaurant called the Glory Hole. At the Glory Hole, there's this guy named Smiley who makes the biggest cinnamon roles you ever saw, and they are apparently to die for. Now I can't wait to get to Hot Sulfur Springs, CO!!
Both sets of bikers had come across Lolo pass recently and they told us two things about it: 1) it was hard going up, but fun coming down, and 2) the East side of the pass (the side we were going up) was the longer side (boo!).
We had been going slightly uphill for a few days now, but we could tell the uphill was getting steeper as we got to the pass. When we finally reached the bottom of it, I was already worn out. The road grade going up Lolo pass was 6%. Now that might sound like a small number to those of you not familiar with road grades, but 6% is pretty steep, especially when it lasts for a while. In our case, it lasted 5 miles. After only a few seconds (literally) on the 6% grade road, I told Nathan I didn't think I could do it, and I wanted to walk. Nathan told me I could do it, and he kept encouraging me the whole way, so I kept pedaling. We stopped every mile going up for a break. I think it took us about an hour to go the 5 miles up the pass. It was sooo hard, but when we finally got to the top, we had both made it the whole way without walking, and I was SO excited to have done it! I don't think I could've biked the whole way without Nathan's encouragement - thanks, Hubby! Lolo Pass is at 5,225 feet.
I felt something else besides excitement when we got to the top too...a pulled muscle. It was my left hamstring. :-( I think I must've pulled it a day or so ago, but it didn't bother me too much until we did the climb. Now I could feel the pain even when I stood still. I got some advice to ice it, use IcyHot, and avoid using it. Well, maybe I could find some ice somewhere, but I couldn't really avoid using it because we still had to ride 40 more miles to get to our final destination for the day, Missoula, MT. So I just took a bunch of Ibuprofen instead.
At the top of the pass, there was a visitor center with coffee and hot chocolate. We helped ourselves and relaxed a little bit in front of a TV showing a movie about Lewis and Clark's adventure. It was amazing; I was riveted. We've been riding along their route ever since the West coast, and we've been slowly learning more about them, but that movie really drove home their challenges and bravery like nothing else had for me. I've heard of a book called Undaunted Courage that is all about their trip. Many people have told me that it's a fantastic book that has left a lasting impression on them. I would really like to read it, but I haven't found a copy yet.
The visitor center also had free wi-fi. As soon as we found out, both of our eyes got wide, because we hadn't had electricity, much less internet, in days. We were excited to update our twitter feed with news that we had made it through Idaho and to the top of Lolo pass! We also used the internet to get onto WarmShowers.org to find a place to stay for the night in Missoula, MT. We got in touch with a lady named Carla who said we were welcome to use her yard. She also said we were her first WarmShowers.org guests. Neat! Missoula was 40 miles away, and it was already 3pm, but we'd heard that it was mostly downhill the whole way, so we could make it in about 3 hours, so we told Carla we'd see her around 6pm. It was actually 7pm her time because the top of Lolo pass marked the border between the Pacific and Mountain time zones, so as we went over, we lost an hour. That means we've biked through a whole time zone now - wow! And we're in a new state too, Montana!
And I have one last story about the visitor center. We met this really great family who was very interested in our story about becoming debt free, following our dreams, and trying to go into business for ourselves. The father told us that his family had become debt free through Dave Ramsey as well, and he had gone into business for himself, just like we wanted to do. He told us that after going into business for himself, he became more successful than he ever thought he would. I don't know what kind of business he has, but what a great story! He wanted to encourage us, and we definitely felt encouraged!
As Nathan and I made our way out of debt and started thinking about what we wanted to do now that we had some savings, it's interesting how our definition of 'success' has changed. We think of it now as being more equated with 'happiness' and less with 'money'. More with 'freedom', and less with 'stuff'. I know that you've probably heard this kind of talk before - that success equals satisfaction and happiness, not money - but we never honestly felt that way until the past few years when we were working on our finances and figuring out how to honor God with our resources and lives. Now, as our attitudes and desires change, it is fabulous to throw off the typical American yoke of money and the need to be 'rich'. We acknowledge that money is important for a lot of things, but we see it now as a tool to help us get where we're going, not as the end goal, anymore. It is really, really cool to be experiencing this change in desire together.
We were so excited to meet another debt-free Dave Ramsey family, so we took a picture together before heading out.
When we started down Lolo pass, it was awesome to be going downhill!! After so many days of pushing uphill, it felt great to let gravity work FOR us for a change. After not too long through, we ran into a small headwind. It wasn't too bad, but it did make it a bit harder to go the 40 miles to Missoula. It's amazing how even a small headwind can make a big difference.
By the time we got to Carla's house, we had logged almost 70 miles for the day, and we were tired! We started unloading and thinking about making dinner (beans and peanut butter sandwiches), but then Carla came in with a bunch of fresh-picked vegetables from her garden for us! Her kindness and the fresh vegetables revived our spirits immediately, and we went to town cooking up a delicious meal in her kitchen.
Nathan made fried green tomatoes, and I made the filling for rice, green onion, and squash burritos. Then Carla came in and gave us some of her left over beef and small chilies too! She had been working on repainting the outside of her house all day, so she was tired and hungry just like us. She made a fire on the back porch, and we finished preparing dinner. Then we all sat around the fire, eating our dinner and getting to know each other. It was perfect. :-)
Since Nathan's sleeping bag was still wet and our tent was a little soggy too, she said we could sleep in her living room if we wanted. So after we took showers, we set up our blankets on her living room floor and went to sleep, happy to be inside, and extra happy that tomorrow was our rest day! After a long week of uphill cycling, we were ready to give our muscles a break and anxious to update our blog with news of our travels.
Good night all.