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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

May 16, 2007      Miles 38      Total miles 993


Today was a pretty quiet day on the road. I stayed in Hamilton last night and did laundry and spent a lot of time on the phone with my wife since she had the day off. Today is a big day in the life of Ksenia, my oldest daughter. She is in Air Force ROTC and she left to go for four weeks of summer training in Alabama. I had been having a flat tire on one of my trailer tires each morning so while I was in Missoula I bought a couple of tubes and changed one out. The one Jarod fixed in Oregon is still doing great.

Here are a couple of things which caught my eyes as I left Hamilton this morning. The car is a 1921 Ford center door. The sign says it runs good and the price is $10,000.
The first 3 miles out of Hamilton is another of those fine bike trails. After the bike trail ends, it was pretty dangerous in some spots. The drivers are much more aggressive than in Oregon. I was watching my rear view mirror very closely and got off my bike on many occassions when I felt it was just too dangerous.
The Bitterroot mountains are beautiful. It has been hazy here since I arrived and you just can't get the feel from this picture just how beautiful it is. I like the jagged mountain tops. The difference between this part of Montana and Oregon and Idaho is that here the mountains are five miles away from the road whereas in the other states there was usually a sheer mountain on the edge of the road and on the other side of the road was usually a river.
What do you think of the brand on this horse?
Here is a better picture of it.
The water in the river is crystal clear and very cold.
The town of Darby has a population of around 700 people. There are at least five bars on the main street. That seems to be common in the small communities. I like it when the mountains are mainly grassy and then suddenly there are massive granite walls.

From this to this with a little fire. There was a fire here seven years ago which ravaged 350,000 acres. I don't see a bunch of pine seedlings popping up like you might expect.

The road finally turned back to having a nice wide shoulder. I had been facing a headwind all day and was wanting to get over Chief Joseph pass before the day was over but it was clear there was a storm on top. I rode on for a few miles and guess who I ran into? Yep, it is Ian from Australia, who I met in Missoula two days ago. He had been run off the road by a truck and he ran into a guard rail and damaged the front end of his bicycle. He had tools but didn't have the right one to fix the damage. I loaned him my tools and he fixed the problem. He was lucky he didn't get hurt.

The bike repair was made and Ian and I rode for about three miles together. With the storm on top of Chief Joseph pass, Ian decided to stop because he didn't want to chance getting caught in the storm. I pressed on because my map showed a motel before the pass and I thought I would just stay there for the night.
An hour later, guess who I saw at the entrance to the motel? It was Ian from Australia. He caught a ride to the motel but it turned out the motel is closed until tomorrow. We found a place to pitch our tents and that is where we are for tonight. I hope it clears by morning so I can get this 7,200' mountain pass behind me. Ian will continue on Hwy 93 at the top and I will turn east on Hwy 43 to Wisdom.