Day 76 – Whitefish, MT to Rexford, MT – 60 miles
We sure enjoyed our two night stay at the Whitefish Hostel. The people that run it & staff it are so very nice – 2 sisters, Kirtlye and Lynon opened the place a year or two ago and James (a kiwi who has a hybrid kiwi-Aussie accent) also mans the shop. It is a very clean, tidy place with a vegan cafe / bakery on the first floor and two bunk rooms on the second floor. One of the bunk rooms has 4 beds and the other has 6 beds and they were completely full both nights. Each night we were the first ones in bed but our bunk mates were very quiet & we never heard them come to bed each night. It was also very conveniently located to downtown, the bike shop & a grocery store.
Each night before bedtime, we’d hang out in the cafe area of the hostel with another guest. Last night we talked with another hostel guest & cyclist, Jack Day from Des Moines, Iowa. He is 70 years old (doesn’t look a day over 55!) & on his 4th annual bicycle tour. He said something like, after you retire if you sit, you might not ever get back up… so he just keeps riding! This year, he is touring the national parks – Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. he told us he rode up Beartooth Pass (10,947′) & it took him 12 hours. When he was nearly to the top, a guy pulled over with a cooler of cold drinks and sandwiches, figuring he could use some more fuel. When he got to the top, it was dark & he had to go a few miles down before he found a campsite. What an interesting, fun guy! You can check out his adventure via Facebook: Call to Adventure – Follow the Ride
When we came downstairs this morning, Jack was already downstairs drinking coffee. It had rained (& hailed) overnight and was cool & raining again when we got up. We took our time drinking coffee, eating breakfast & chatting some more with Jack. When the rain let up, we took some pics and said our goodbyes.
We had a short bit of road construction to contend with as we left town, but it wasn’t bad. The road to Eureka and eventually Rexford, was twisty turny with some small hills. We would lose a little more elevation today, so more uphill than down. We joked that our flatlander brains don’t work so good in the mountains. When it looked like we were going on a flat or slightly downhill, we were still struggling with gravity! We took a few quick breaks, found a small store in the tiny town of Olney for snacks and then pedaled on to the Fortine Bar for lunch. Root Beer was the drink of choice, and the food was very good. We were cold in the bar and when we left, the outside temperature wasn’t any warmer! Some clouds rolled in and we got out the rain jackets. It was a good thing – there were light mountain type showers all around us, and we rode in very light rain off & on for most of the rest of the day. It was strange to be cold. Even stranger to hear all the locals talk about how hot it is going to be tomorrow! Hard to fathom that with our warmest clothes on, but we will see.
It’s such a joy to ride with a variety of scenery. The clouds and rain made for interesting shading and colors on the mountain peaks. What looked like heavy fog in the mountains was actually light rain. The skies and the mountains were so dark, we wondered if the dark trees on the nmountains were making the clouds look extra dark or visa versa.
We stopped at Eureka for groceries for dinner. We have a warm shower host for the night, but he was not going to be able to provide dinner for us, which is not at all unusual. We picked up Ramen, fresh mushrooms, and a can of chicken (to be combined with our dried veggies) for our famous noodle stew -Mmmm!
We had a bit of a climb to get to Rexford, and pulled in to our Warm Shower house around 4 pm and met Richard. We don’t like to brag about how important our visit is to the city of Rexford, but we are staying at “Hizoner” the Mayors house! Richard had a dinner date with his ex-wife-and-his best friend (his words), MaryLou. We met her and also met one of their grandsons that was visiting from Billings. They headed out for a family dinner while we made dinner in Richard’s kitchen, relaxed & worked on this blog entry & our knitting projects. When Richard returned we enjoyed some great conversation, particularly his recollections about “Old Rexford”, dealings with the Army Corps of Engineers & the creation of Lake Koocanusa. You can read about it here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Koocanusa
Shawn got new handlebar tape to replace the tape damaged by a curious horse: