Day 69 – Chester, MT to Shelby, MT – 43 miles
We got up early today, expecting a light headwind this afternoon. Actually, we don’t try to wake early as our bodies seem to be conditioned for 5:30-6 am – I suppose the time changes have worked in our favor in that regard. When Jim went to add some air to the tires, the frame pump fell apart in his hands. Bummer! We’ll have to bum some air from another cyclist!
We had breakfast at the local diner at 7 am & were on our way by 7:45, or so. A few miles out of town, we noticed another eastbound cyclist in the distance. After a few more miles, we caught up & it was George! We’ve been seeing him at our overnight towns but finally, we’ve seen him on the road! Over the course of the day, we leapfrogged each other – oh, and he let us check our inflation with his frame pump!
For the first time, our weather app failed us, but this was a pleasant surprise. The forecast had been headwinds at 5-10 mph (not a big deal) but we actually had TAILWINDS, gusting to 20 mph! We met a couple of eastbound riders along the way – Jess & Josh started in Seattle, are headed for NYC and were battling headwinds. We stopped & talked to them for quite awhile – nice couple having a great trip!
We finished our day’s planned miles pretty quick & considered moving on to Cut Bank but decided not to chance the afternoon thunderstorms. We got into Shelby just as the Children’s parade was finishing (the county fair is going on this week!). As we were walking the bike through the parade route, a woman came up & asked us about our trip. Turns out she is a bicyclist also & just rode into town. Her name is Gina (“Ginna”) and her riding partner, Lee was continuing on (we saw him but we didn’t stop to talk) but she is taking the train back to Seattle and will rejoin him again in a few weeks. We ended up going to lunch together & talked for about 3 hours! She gave us a lot of encouragement regarding crossing the Cascades & it really set our minds at ease! What a nice person! Also, in the course of all this, George walked into the restaurant, all clean & showered and joined us too! 3 of the 4 of us enjoyed the daily special, lasagna, which was really good! AND we all enjoyed trading stories of life on the road!
Josh, Jim, George & Jess: