One of the most beautiful spots on the Tour Divide has to be looking at Glacier National Park at sunset. The peaks are lit up with the setting sun. My stop tonight, as last year will be the front porch of Sondreson community building. I know I’m sleeping in bear country, but really feel pretty safe on the front porch with my bear spray and spot tracker close if needed.
Next is up and over Red Meadow Pass, and a quick 30 miles down to Whitefish for a stop at Glacier Cyclery, pizza and a couple of beers. I do some quick grocery shopping in Columbia Falls then it’s on towards Ferndale. Wanting to get ahead of last years pace, instead of stopping with riders at motels, my plan was this year to ride my own race. It’s easy to make motel plans with riders in the afternoon, but when the conditions allow, this year I’d push on. Riding solo I was confident I’d be able to find a spot on the side of the road to sleep. Last year I spent 13 nights in motels, this year 3. I also only spent 3 nights in my tent this year. To be faster, I’d put out my pad and bag and enjoy the stars.
I knew I wasn’t going to make it to Seeley Lake tonight, but I was going to push it later into the night. Making Swan lake wasn’t too bad, especially seeing my only bear of the ride. Even though it was a small black bear, it definitely kept me moving after sunset.
The next morning, riding somewhere past Swan Lake, I hear voices behind me. It’s Gee Man –
‘MARTY, I’VE BEEN CHASING YOU SINCE WHITEFISH, YOU LEFT 2 MINUTES BEFORE I GOT THERE! YOU HAVE BEEN MY CARROT!’
Gee had mechanical issues on day one and had to resolve those issues. Knowing I was somewhere up ahead, he was chasing me down. Our small group of 4 riders made it into Holland Lake Lodge for a late lunch. Riding in the cold rain that day, we were in no hurry to continue on until mid afternoon when the sun finally broke through and it made for a great ride into Seeley Lake where we did get rooms.
The next morning, we got separated. Pulling into Ovando where there is food and The Angler to take all TD riders photos. There I was greeted by a local with 4 cinnamon rolls for me and Konan Stephens with whom I’d ridden with earlier. The group was faster than I, and had the remaining home made rolls and left them for me – thanks guys!
After Ovando it’s on over Huckleberry Pass and on to Lincoln where I grabbed supper and again to stay ahead of last year’s pace, I pressed on. In Lincoln, I had met up with Andy Green. We both left town solo, but caught up with each other on the road. At this point, it was raining again, so we talked about stopping at the bike-only camp site, which I didn’t find. Continuing on, I stopped at a residence to see if camping in their front yard was ok, which it was. Very nice family the in the morning felt bad they didn’t offer me their spare bedroom for the night.