More like a scare. A big scare but also a big rescue. Thanks to an angel…Carol!
First, though are some boring riding details. Wind out of NW at 20 made for long day in saddle. Woke with no energy and just tired. Ate hot oatmeal and Folgers instant coffee which seems to taste better every day. Really needed a day with a headwind. Burning out on the long 10-hour saddle days. But onward anyways.
I started at 7 am and didn’t get to Shelby until 11:30. Stopped and ate nuts and Pop Tarts but still dragging.
Shelby is fairly good size town at least in comparison with most MT towns, and I stopped at a diner for lunch. Cheeseburger with bacon. Wow did this help. Found a lot more energy going forward.
At times you climb to 3,400 feet, but you descend into Cut Bank fast. I had called the owner of the only campground I could find as the city park was still closed. Carol told me she had bathrooms open and would have me a spot.
Wrong Way, Google
Main problem is Google took me to the wrong location 3 miles out of town. Google’s spot was and old RV park with one camper. I decided to ride the three miles back into town and look for a cheap hotel. As I biked along, I noticed some trailers and upon closer inspection found it to be the Glacier Misty park I was looking for.
No one was in office but a quick call to Carol and she was there in two minutes. Carol is type of person that is so easy to talk to…she just is friendly. As we discussed what I was doing, she pointed out that East entrance to Glacier was closed. I was a aware of this but planned to bike into Browning and spend the night then go onto West Glacier, which opened last week.
Time for the big surprise…Blackfeet Indian reservation have closed the East entrance to Glacier, but you cant stay in Browning on the reservation (ghost town) unless you quarantine for 14 days. This was a huge obstacle…going west against wind plus the mile of climbing meant I could not get from Cut Bank to West Glacier in one day. Looking at the map, it would take 250 plus miles to go around.
I called Jane and texted my support team. Any ideas?
Jane looked into renting car, and my dad suggested a train.
I went over to discuss options with Carol and she told me to go to Pioneer Club for dinner, and she might know guy named Pete who could give me a ride.
At dinner where I killed some wings, I worried about what I should do. I felt like this was another obstacle stacked against me and was definitely depressed. Went next door to microbrewery and had a beer. I felt doomed and really whipped. Hard day’s ride and now this…
Answer to Prayer
Upon return to camp, Carol came over to see me in a large car. A Grand Prix. She wanted to know if I thought my bike would fit in the trunk. I have owned two GP’s during my sales career and was very familiar with this car and trunk. Oh yeah, I have fit many bikes in GP trunks.
Pete loaned her the car. Pete is an 80-year-old friend to Carol and even gave her gas money.
Carol said to be ready around 6:30 am and she would drive past the reservation.
Answer to prayer! Bad day to good day. Rescued from a tough spot!
As I walked back to my tent, I noticed the clouds clearing to the west and got my first look at the Glacier mountains. They likely were there all day, but it was too cloudy to see them. Majestic is best description I can come up with.
Next morning Carol was out front at 6 am with car ready and fueled.
It was such a treat to ride in a car again, to fly down the road at 70, to just sit and view the countryside.
Carole was great company. I learned she has a collection of old cars including a model T and old 1950 pickup. She has lived in Utah, Colorado, and Montana for last 9 years. She owns a horse and still rides at 70. Her son is a Southwest airline pilot, so she flies all around and once rebuilt a Cherokee plane and was also a pilot.
She often stopped to show me local art or the best place to view a waterfall.
She was a miracle for me and would not accept payment. Thanks Carol!
Her transportation allowed me to spend better part of Friday in West Glacier. I around Lake McDonald and took pictures and went on a short hike.
In the park, lots of people would stop me and ask about my ride. The park entrance was free and uncrowded.
As the day got older, I needed to once a again find a place to stay. The park was open only during the day and did not allow any overnight camping. I biked out to my fave road US 2 and headed west. About 3 miles down the road, I saw sign for Glacier Camp. They had bike tent camp area for 12 bucks per night.
Here at camp I met 2 young ladies biking from west to east, headed to Yale this fall for grad work.
It was fun to share mutual bike experiences. They are also going to ride the Rising Sun Road tomorrow. We had to hang our food bags as last week a bear passed through the camp. The girls showed me how it’s done hanging their bag much higher and joking that a bear will use mine like a piñata. Ladies are Emily and Charlotte.