"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age."
-Lucille Ball, from Ericka Warren.
"You can have them bikes . . . I've got horses."
-Jim, a new friend at Fireside Inn in Simms, Montana
"The risk in trying is more rewarding than the fear of failure."
What a ride today. We are now in Great Falls and not even close to getting out of this long state. Our mileage total for today is 76.4 miles.
At 7:30 this morning we unloaded our bikes five miles below Rogers Pass. The temperature was around 34 degrees but there was no snow or rain. The sun was even trying to peek through the clouds as we headed up the pass. At 8:00 we took some pictures at the pass so you will know that we really have crossed Rogers Pass and the Continental Divide and we're not lounging on a beach somewhere in Florida.
The ride down what the locals call the steep side of Rogers Pass was a thriller. Whenever you can put in some miles without pedaling and whenever you can go twenty-five and thirty miles an hour without pedaling, it's a thriller! Now we are officially out of the mountains and I will miss them. Let me clarify that statement: we'll miss seeing the mountains but we won't miss pedaling up the mountains!
It was interesting looking back and seeing the Rockies fade away as we started pedaling the rolling hills of the plains. But, the Rockies and especially Rogers Pass were big goals for us. Yes, we have reached another goal. We are now out of the big mountains!
In Simms we stopped for lunch at the Fireside Inn. We beat the Simms crowd as we ate lunch at 11-ish. Other than our three and the staff of two, the only other person in there was Jim. He gave us road information and encouragement. When we were leaving, he even came outside to tell us to get some pizza at Eugene's Pizza in Gallager's Shopping Center in Glasgow up on route 2. An ex-Navy man, Jim told me, "I've been to five continents, forty-two countries, and forty-four states and I know pizza. That's the best pizza in the world!" Okay Jim, we're going to make a stop for pizza at Eugene's Pizza in Gallager's Shopping Center in Glasgow, probably sometime next week.
The last twelve miles into Great Falls were the worst twelve miles of the whole ride thus far. The wind was unbelievable. Yesterday we had the wind with us. This afternoon it turned on us and the difference was something else. From what I hear, across the high plains of Montana we will have wind all the time. I talked with a man yesterday and he told me to be ready for the wind up here. I told him, "Maybe we'll get lucky and get all tailwinds."
He said, "Oh, up there on the plains the wind just blows in all directions at the same time all the time!" Good to know!
We are getting closer to Bar Harbor, Maine. That's the ultimate goal. Each day gets us closer even though we're slow! We've ridden in every kind of weather, through towns and cities, uphill and downhill, headwinds and tailwinds, mountains and now plains. We've got a lot to look forward to as we head to Maine. To get there we will continue to set smaller goals that are in line with the ultimate goal of Bar Harbor. Our first really big goal was Washington Pass. Our next goal was Idaho and then Montana. Today we reached our goal of crossing Rogers Pass and the Continental Divide. Right now our next goal is North Dakota, 353 miles away. (Oh yes, and Eugene's Pizza in Gallager's Shopping Center in Glasgow.) We'll be in Montana at least five more days. Then we'll set another goal, most likely Minnesota and picking up Sarah. That's the way we'll get to Bar Harbor: one goal at a time.
Somebody once said, "If you shoot at nothing you'll hit it every time." It's risky, setting a goal, but it's worth it! Sure beats a lifetime of nothing!
I'm smelling the Atlantic already!