Day 74 – West Glacier, MT to Whitefish, MT – 27 miles
We had breakfast with Norma, Bill & Andrea today before heading on to Whitefish. They are going to explore Glacier National Park today & meet us later for lunch / dinner in Whitefish. It was overcast & cool and we started the day with a little climbing. We took the advice of a cyclist we met yesterday & rode US-2 to Hungry Horse, enjoying a nice shoulder most of the way and a lot of fast downhills which caused us to zip up our shirts and tuck our fingers in our sleeves! When we got into Hungry Horse, we got a snack & then Jim went to one of those little drive-up espresso stands and got the day’s special, which was a mocha with huckleberry whipped cream. It was real good!
Leaving Hungry Horse, US-2 became quite narrow & the shoulder pretty much disappeared for about a mile or two. I suppose that us why Adventure Cycling doesn’t route you that way! Luckily for us, it was quite early still, the traffic was light and the motorists were very considerate of us. We got into Columbia Falls (looks like a very nice town) and suddenly we were out if the Rockies, it seems! Now the hills really are hills and the flats really are flats! (Unlike yesterday’s strangeness.).
We took a rest break in town and mapped out our route to the bike shop in Whitefish & then continued on our way. We are now in a large, flat valley between mountain ranges, so the roads were mostly flat or gentle descents toward Whitefish. We just google mapped our way on the back roads, taking whatever looked interesting. We rode some dirt road but it wasn’t bad – very hard packed. We also saw quite a few cyclists as we got closer to Whitefish, including a couple of tandems – one of which was a Bike Friday (brand) tandem.
Whitefish is really a nice town – an old Great Northern Railroad town with lots of nice old homes, lovingly restored and beautiful gardens. Also lots of great restaurant options & fun shopping! We easily found the bike shop, Glacier Cycles, which is quite a bustling shop and talked to one of the mechanics about checking a few things on the bike. He gave us directions to the hostel, which is a block and a half from the bike shop so we went there, unloaded the bike and then took the bike back to the bike shop. The room wasn’t ready at the hostel so we decided to check out the town. That is when we realized that the yarn shop is TWO DOORS DOWN from the hostel! How awesome is that?!? Plus, they’re forecasting strong thunderstorms tomorrow, so we decided this is a great place to spend TWO nights! Looking forward to some knitting & relaxing!
Norma, Bill & Andrea met up with us again for dinner after their day at Glacier National Park, then we all walked down the block to the Tuesday evening Farmer’s Market. In addition to fresh fruits & vegetables, there were food trucks, hand crafted items and live music. After wandering thru the market, our friends had to get on their way, so we said our good-byes. Jim & I stuck around to enjoy the music & people-watch, until dark skies threatened. We were back at the hostel for about 10 minutes when the sky opened up with heavy rain & thunder & lightning. This made me wonder if the state of Washington has received any rain, so I checked on the status and they said that rain & drizzle have been helping – the fire is not contained but the North Cascades Highway is open again! So, no more complaining about rain for these cyclists – I’ll try anyhow!
Norma & Andrea:
Same pass – we came thru this along the river, coming out of Hungry Horse:
A little stretch of dirt road – Jim says to trust the Gatorskins!
Greeted in Whitehorse by Mum’s Flowers! 🙂
Yarn shop 2 doors down from the hostel!
Thrift store find! They’re just his size!
Doe & fawn in town, around the corner from the hostel:
Dinner with Norma, Bill & Andrea:
Hanging out at the farmer’s market: